§ 3.40 p.m.
§ Debate resumed.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I should like to say a few words to-day on the theme which my noble friend Lord Salisbury dealt with so effectively in his speech yesterday—namely, the threat which, in spite of what my noble friend Lord Alport said just now, I believe is presented to Western European civilisation by Communist influence in, and ultimately, perhaps, Communist control of, Africa.
But first, I should like to say a word of very warm welcome to the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, on his first appearance in this House, and certainly at the Dispatch Box. He and I are old friends. We have worked together in many other spheres, and I am delighted to see him here. I must confess that I do not always share his views, nor, indeed, have I approved of his policies in the past, but it does not make my welcome any less warm for all that. It is traditional on these occasions—though not, perhaps, for the speaker before the noble Lord making a maiden speech—to say to him that we hope we shall hear from him again. I think this applies with very special force to the noble Lord, Lord Caradon. I feel that the one great justification for the appointment of a Minister as head of the British Delegation to the United Nations must be that he will also be able to keep in touch with political and public opinion at home, and explain his actions and views to Parliament from time to time in a way that it is not possible for a career diplomat.
I remember very well when my noble friend Lord Avon, then Anthony Eden, was Minister without Portfolio for League of Nations Affairs in 1935. He spent much time in Geneva, although not actually resident there. But however heavy the pressure of work at the League of Nations, he always found time to return to London to keep in touch with his colleagues and to take part in Parliamentary debates. The time that it takes to fly from London to New York to-day is about half the time which in those days it took to get to Geneva, so I hope that, now that Lord Caradon has found his feet in New York and has also made his debut in this House, he will 817 find it possible to attend here as often as is convenient to him.
Although the Soviet Government began to interest itself actively in Africa only in 1958, the Soviet leaders have long been aware of the prospects which the penetration and control of Africa would afford them as a means, so to speak, of by-passing Europe and cutting it off from the Far East. In one of his writings, Lenin expressed the view that the way to the conquest of Europe lay through Africa. This possibility has, in more recent years, certainly been fully appreciated and exploited by the Chinese Communists. It is, I would suggest, no coincidence that these two, the Soviet Union and Communist China, happen to be the only remaining great colonial Powers in the world in their own right. By this I mean that, apart from anything they may be doing elsewhere, they themselves control vast colonial populations, whether they be Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Turcomen, or the people of the Baltic States, or, in the case of China, Mongolians or Tibetans.
South of the Sahara, it appears to be the Chinese who have made most progress, based partly on the fact that they are the "have nots" as opposed to the Soviet "haves", that they are themselves not a white race and are also, so they claim, the victims of colonial oppression. Certainly for some time past, through their diplomatic and other missions in Dar-es-Salaam, Bujumbura and Brazzaville, they have carried out subversion, propaganda and guerrilla training, both inside and outside those territories;, on a grand scale. In these matters, apart from promises of substantial financial aid, which may or may not be forthcoming, they undoubtedly make use of bribery on a big scale to undermine individual leaders throughout East and Central Africa, including the two Congos.
I feel quite sure that President Kenyatta, President Nyerere and Dr. Obote are well aware of what is going on, and that they are determined that their countries, having just gained independence, should not now be subject to a far more ruthless imperialism than they ever knew before. Nevertheless, the Chinese pressure is intense, and will get stronger. The prize, apart from strategic considerations, includes the whole mineral wealth of Southern 818 Africa, and it is enormous. Some success has already been achieved in the Congo by the Chinese Communists and now in the Sudan, where no fewer than five Ministers of the new Sudan Government are Communists. I feel that the African leaders, including, I would say, Dr. Kaunda of Zambia, will have to be very much on their guard if they are to stand up to this sort of pressure.
The path of the Communists, both Soviet and Chinese, is at the same time, in some respects, made both easier and more difficult owing to the powerful group of highly industrialised Western-minded territories in Southern Africa, consisting of the two Portuguese territories, Rhodesia and the Republic of South Africa. The Organisation of African Unity at their last summit meeting in Cairo in July made it quite clear that they did not intend to rest until South Africa, the Portuguese Provinces, and, no doubt, ultimately Rhodesia, are overwhelmed. This passionate hatred—for it is no less—of South Africa, with its apartheid, and the Portuguese territories, with their complete racial integration, can really be understood only if it is realised that behind these attacks there lies a real driving force which is racial hostility, a genuine form of racialism which the Communists, whether Soviet or Chinese, are doing their utmost to exploit.
Therefore we are placed in this dilemma: whether, on the one hand, to support those Southern African Governments whose interests are identical with ours in the fight against Communism, or to oppose them, and thereby sacrifice our own interests by trying to appease the independent black African States who are set on—a phrase which the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, used in one of his reports—"a collision course". Hitherto, in order to placate the Afro-Asian bloc at the United Nations, and because we genuinely dislike and reject the policy of apartheid in South Africa, we have supported various forms of pressure on those countries which have been proposed at the United Nations from time to time.
I had occasion yesterday at Question Time to refer to what I regard as the totally unjustifiable denial of arms to Portugal to defend her African territories from external attack. The Prime Minister's embargo on arms for South 819 Africa seems to me to be another part of this process. Although he himself has declared that he is opposed to an economic boycott of South Africa, the States of the Organisation of African Unity, and certain elements in the United Nations as well, have been pressing strongly for sanctions. The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, was rapporteur of a group of United Nations experts who produced a report this May for resolving South African problems, and I read it with great interest. I must say that the first thing that struck me was that these proceedings, including the Security Council Resolution on which the report was based, was directly contrary to Article 2 (vii) of the Charter of the United Nations. I can remember very well resisting similar demands year after year as British Representative on the Fourth Committee, as had, indeed, my Labour predecessor at the Colonial Office.
The second point—and I say it with all respect to the noble Lord and his colleagues—is that the main body of the report dealing with proposals for a National Convention in South Africa, a Constituent Assembly, a Constitutional Opposition, and so forth, are really quite unrealistic. I do not think there is the slightest chance of the South African Government accepting anything of the kind. The report terminates with a recommendation for the application of economic sanctions by the Security Council if the proposals are not accepted. I seem to remember that the noble Lord said something similar in an article which he wrote for the Saturday Review last July on this subject, and I should just like to ask him whether he stands by those proposals.
My Lords, the fact is that neither economic boycott nor sanctions, nor the denial of arms, is going to make any difference whatever to the South African position. In my opinion, nothing short of a war in which the major world Powers were involved would cause the South African Government to alter their present policy. Indeed, I think it is true to say that every form of pressure which is applied to them, whether it is by the United Nations, by this country or by the Organisation 820 of African Unity, serves only to unite the European population behind the Government. My Lords, I do not think that this is the solution to the South African problem.
My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that in regard to South Africa, Rhodesia and the Portuguese territories we have got to take a very long view. I have always believed that Bantustan, the product of apartheid, held within it the seeds of its own destruction. I mean by that that the more successful it is, the more rapidly, in my view, will the other Africans outside the Bantu States be bound to achieve a greater measure of economic, social and, ultimately, political equality. However, this must take time and I do not believe that it will serve the interests of the West in any way if we seek to disrupt the South African Government at the present time. Of course, in the Portuguese territories this process is already going along fast. There is complete harmony and integration, and complete equality of all the races before the law, and growing autonomy of all races both in the provincial and in the central Legislative Assemblies.
I believe that we should make our position clear to our friends in the independent African countries. I cannot see any advantage in paying lip-service to a policy which is wholly impractical and which, if it were to be carried out to its logical conclusion, could lead only to disaster for ourselves and, more important still, perhaps to the great mass of the Africans, who would find themselves faced first of all with a situation which could make the Congo pale into insignificance, and which in the long run would probably lead to the domination of vast areas by the Communists.
My Lords, before I conclude I should like to say a few words about the Congo. Here we have rebel elements supplied, advised and financed by the Chinese Communists, which are not only resisting the constitutional Government of the Congo, but have also perpetrated some of the most appalling atrocities against blacks and white alike. During these weeks while these dreadful events have been unrolling themselves, I must admit that I have found it difficult to understand why members of Her Majesty's Government in this House and 821 in another place have not expressed in public their horror of these crimes and their anger against the perpetrators. Up until the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, yesterday I have found no expression of horror or indignation in all the statements which have been made by members of Her Majesty's Government about the massacre of British subjects.
Why is the blame not laid firmly on Christophe Gbeneye, who for years has been a tool of the Communists who instigated these attacks? It is quite untrue to say that the massacre was caused solely by the rescue operations mounted by the Belgian paratroops, for Gaston Soumialot, the other rebel leader, told Mr. Ian Colvin of the Daily Telegraph last July of the measures which, in certain circumstances, would be taken against white hostages in what he called "Congolese fashion". I am afraid that it is perhaps solely because the independent African countries have decided to regard this operation as a colonial intervention that we have not been ready to speak our minds.
Is that why the rescue operation was, in fact, broken off earlier than was planned and before several more missions had beer; completed? Is it really true that we can do nothing more to help the British subjects still held as hostages or in hiding? Cannot we or the Americans, with the agreement of President Tshombe, send in helicopters from aircraft carriers to seek out and rescue the remaining hostages? We hear well-authenticated reports of the supply of arms of Soviet origin from Algeria and Egypt, via the Sudan in Soviet military planes. Surely we should protest against this when, at the same time, the Sudan Government have taken it upon themselves to ban the harmless flights over their territory of R.A.F. aircraft carrying out troop movements. The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, expressed himself forcibly in regard to these shocking affairs in his recent speech at the General Assembly in New York, but he did not perhaps go as far as M. Spaak in denouncing these vile men who are committing such terrible horrors. But practical help is better than words, and in the face of this supply of arms to the rebels surely we and the United States should be doing our utmost to 822 ensure that President Tshombe lacks nothing to restore law and order in the Congo.
We should all like to see this problem settled by the Africans themselves, but one must recall that the Organisation of African Unity were invited by President Tshombe to help him with troops yet refused to do so. For the sake of the Congolese, for our own sake and for the sake of the Africans, I really feel that we cannot sit back and let the Congo dissolve once more into complete chaos and then perhaps to emerge, in part at any rate, as a Chinese Communist fief. This would indeed be a disaster, for it would be not the first perhaps, but by far the most important, step on the road of Chinese and Soviet imperialism towards the domination of all Africa south of the Sahara.
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (LORD CARADON)
My Lords, since I had the honour to be introduced to your Lordships a little over a month ago I have devoted my whole time, interest and effort to my work in New York at the United Nations. I have sat in the General Assembly and the Security Council, which are still in session, but I have taken a few days' leave from that occupation because I wanted at the earliest opportunity to take my place with your Lordships, to present my respects to your Lordships and to make some report on the endeavours and anxieties which concern us at the United Nations at this time.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, for his invitation to return to this House from time to time. That will be my purpose and I hope that it will be possible fairly frequently to come back and drink at this fountain of political wisdom. I might say, if I might change the metaphor, that I feel perhaps like a jockey who comes from the heat, mud and urgency of the race track to offer, somewhat breathlessly, a few words of advice and comment to those who watch the races through their discriminating field glasses from the eminence and detachment of their boxes in the grandstand. I hope that I shall be able to return from time to time to do likewise.
I think that many of your Lordships know the kind of life we lead in the 823 United Nations. Any research or preparation must be undertaken very early in the morning and we sit all day in the Assembly, in the Councils or in the Committees. We continue our arguments and our negotiations far into the night. I cannot pretend that it is all joy. When I listen sometimes to some of the long, set speeches read in the General Assembly, the statements of the positions of different Governments, I remember a poet who came from my own college at Cambridge (as your Lord-ships know, all the great poets came from Cambridge)—and I quote from William Wordsworth:Earth is sickAnd Heaven is weary of the hollow wordsWhich States and Kingdoms utterWhen they speak of Truth and Justice.Those thoughts go through my mind sometimes when I listen to the long speeches made in the General Assembly. But always below the oily surface there is the swell of strong feeling, and at any moment a dull debate may spring into life. A week or so ago we heard Foreign Minister Spaak speak in the Security Council of the rescue operation which has been referred to by your Lordships. In sustained eloquence and in marshalled argument it was as fine a speech as I have ever heard. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that the United Nations is now the centre of the stage of the diplomatic activity of the world.
What, then, are the subjects which particularly occupy our attention at this time? I think there are three main preoccupations. One is the question of Article 19 of the Charter and the dispute with the Communist States, and with France, too—a dispute which threatens to stultify and to delay the whole work of the United Nations. Secondly, there is the continuous, persistent work in economic development which is sponsored and carried out by the United Nations—just as important, I often think, as the work of peace-keeping. And, thirdly, there are the dangers of the world, the racial feeling of the world which I believe threatens to set the whole of Africa, and indeed the whole world, aflame. In the comparatively short time that I must allow myself to-day I would ask your Lordships' permission to speak shortly on those three subjects.
824 First, the question of Article 19 and the provision of the Charter which states that any States whose arrears exceed the amount of two years' contributions shall have no vote in the Assembly. I think there are certain misconceptions about this. Some people assume that this is mainly a financial matter, and people in this country sometimes tell me they feel that the United Nations is a club with members who do not pay their subscriptions. That would be a very dangerous simplification. The dispute is far deeper; it is a constitutional and political dispute. It involves the whole function and power of the Security Council and the General Assembly, and the relative functions of the two. It is a basic difference of principle.
It is sometimes spoken of as a confrontation between the Americans, on the one side, and the Russians, on the other. It is nothing of the kind. It is a difference of principle between certain States: the Communist States and France, on one side, and the whole of the rest of the membership of the United Nations, on the other. It is a basic dispute of great consequence. The discussions which have gone forward will affect the whole of the future of the United Nations, and, I believe, the future of the world. It is no mere financial discussion, no mere confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The essence of the dispute is that the Russians maintain that all peace-keeping should be directed and come under the control of the Security Council, where the Veto exists; whereas the rest of the members of the United Nations maintain that the General Assembly has the right and duty to intervene where the Security Council, owing to the Veto or otherwise, has failed to act. There is a subsidiary dispute in the matter of assessments: the Russians maintain that assessments for peace-keeping can be made only by the Security Council, whereas clearly, under the Charter, assessments for peace-keeping can and must be made by the General Assembly.
The dispute is serious because if it is not resolved then within the period of this Assembly we shall reach a position in the United Nations which is already in serious debt—150 million dollars in debt—when the Communist States, and possibly France, have hardened in their 825 position not to pay the arrears which are due, and when other States, particularly the United States, because the whole of the financial structure on which the United Nations is based has collapsed, will tend to make their contributions dry up and there will be a steady reduction in the whole stream of financial sustenance on which the United Nations depends. So the situation is serious enough. Nevertheless, I think there is some prospect that we shall find a way out of this serious difficulty.
I place my confidence in three factors. The first is the confidence I feel in the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The second is the confidence I have in the general membership of the United Nations. And the third is the fact that no great Power, neither the Russians nor the Americans, nor anyone else, can in these days afford to flout the wishes of the majority of the members of the United Nations. [believe that these factors may well provide the solution to our problem.
Take first the authority of the Secretary-General. I think it is easy to be a dictator, and comparatively easy to be a leader in a democratic society; but to be Secretary-General of the United Nations, where he has so great a responsibility with such limitation of power, is far more difficult. Seldom does any nation take anything to the United Nations until everyone has made such a hopeless mess of it that there is nothing more, in national or selfish advantage, to be gained from it. Then, having required the Secretary-General to carry out, often on an uncertain mandate, the handling of a practically impossible position, one or other of the great Powers, and others, too, seek to hinder and hamper him, or even hamstring his efforts to carry out the mandate he is given.
All day long—for he can never refuse to see any representative of any of the 115 States—the Secretary-General listens, patiently. Then, at the end of the day, or even far into the night, he has to decide; and he knows that he can decide only within the narrow compass of what he can be sure will be backed by the Security Council or the General Assembly. I admire his patience; I admire his courage, and sometimes, when I think of him, I like to remember what was said by another great liberal statesman: 826We believe in no man's infallibility, but it is restful to be sure of one man's integrity.My Lords, here is a man trusted by every group and every nation. He is at the moment sick. When I saw him a day or two ago at his home he was certainly not yet well. I am sure that every Member of this House and of the other House would wish me to take back to New York a message of hope that he will soon be fully recovered.
I now speak of the general membership of the United Nations. I know that it is fashionable to be supercilious and contemptuous about the general membership. I have a different view. When the United Nations faces frustration, or an impasse, we see the States of the world, from all parts of the world, coming together through their representatives to ensure that the United Nations survives. The great Powers, it often seems to me, will back the United Nations when it suits them, but when it does not suit them will do their utmost to hinder and hamper it. But the generality of the membership of the United Nations, when there is difficulty, when the United Nations itself is threatened, come together. We saw this in regard to the Troika which we know was an attempt to introduce a Veto against the initiative of the Secretary-General. All the States—the new States, in particular—came together and said that they simply would not have it.
Again, in this impasse, shortly after I arrived in New York, four representatives came to see me. They were Ambassador Sosa Rodriguez, from Venezuela, Ambassador Neilson, from Norway; Ambassador Adebo, from Nigeria, and Ambassador Pazhwak from Afghanistan, representing the Scandinavians, the South Americans, Africans and Asians—representing, maybe, a hundred states altogether. They came to put to me the ideas which they, the majority of Members of the United Nations, wished to put forward in order to ensure that the great nations should not destroy the organisation on which we all depend. And the basis they proposed was to forget the past, concentrate on agreement for the future and rid the United Nations of debt. These three principles are, I believe, the principles which will prevail. It may be that even to-day, almost as we speak, progress could be made—not a final solution, but progress—along the course which these new 827 nations, in particular, and the smaller or the middle nations, have set as an example for the larger nations. The strength of the United Nations rests in the fact that it is not a pawn of the big Powers. It is an association of big and small, rich and poor, weak and powerful coming together; and it is the general view of the United Nations which, God willing, will prevail.
I pause here just for one moment to say something, if I may, about a popular delusion. In this country, in particular, people think that it is madness to have in the General Assembly the United States of America, for example, having one vote equal with Iceland or with Cyprus. This is a common accusation. It arises from a complete misunderstanding of what the General Assembly is. The General Assembly is not a Parliament. It does not pass legislation; it does not even vote money. The General Assembly is a forum for popular expression of world opinion. Member States may succeed in getting any resolution passed—it may even get a two-thirds majority. But the resolution may be entirely ineffective unless is carries behind it the overwhelming opinion of the countries concerned. The sort of vote that matters is the sort of vote that was achieved in regard to South Africa, where the voting was 106 to 1, the one being South Africa. When you get a vote like that you must take some notice of it.
The General Assembly provides an opportunity for the expression of world opinion. To think of it in terms of a Parliamentary system where votes count in passing legislation is a complete misunderstanding of the whole structure and purpose of the United Nations. As I say, it provides an opportunity for the expression of world opinion; and when world opinion is unanimous, as it is on one or two issues, then all of us must stop and take notice. The third factor which I believe makes for the likelihood of a solution of our problem, is that none of the great Powers can now afford to flout the wishes of the majority.
I wish to turn for a moment from this particular issue which we trust will be solved. It may be that further time is required, but we trust that it will be solved in the interests of all. I wish now to turn for a minute or two to the question which so far as I am concerned, is 828 one of possibly the great consequence of all. It is the question of economic development. It was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Oakshott, particularly, yesterday, when he spoke of North and South; and if one maiden may speak across the gulf which separates us to a more experienced maiden on the other side of the House, perhaps I may be permitted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed and admired the speech to which we listened yesterday. The noble Lord spoke of the division of the world between North and South. The division is not only a division of race: it is very much a division by poverty. So that what can be done by the international community to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor nations seems to be all-important.
For the past two years, I have been working for the United Nations itself, in North, East and West Africa, particularly, to see what we can do through the Special Fund and the Technical Assistance Board, and the Specialised Agencies, to raise the standard of living in Africa and elsewhere. I must not spend long on this particular aspect, but it would be wrong to think of the contribution of the United Nations without paying special attention to it. I have been more concerned with the circumference than I am with the centre. I have seen the work on the ground, and when I think of the work of the United Nations and its Agencies, I think of the East African Cattle Plan where the United Nations worked out, with the Governments of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda, a scheme to cover the whole of East Africa for the development of the cattle industries throughout the whole of East Africa, on the basis of a unified approach. Only the United Nations could have proposed such a plan; only the United Nations negotiation could have brought the three Governments together for the purpose. This, I believe, offers the greatest opportunity for economic advance in East Africa at this time.
I think of the team of agriculturists which is to go to Sierra Leone, following my discussions with the Ministers in Freetown not long ago. I think of the College of Higher Technology in Tripoli, Libya. Soon, the first graduates will emerge from that College to meet the grave need of Libya, now that it has such tremendous revenues from oil, for additional skills 829 among its people. I think of the College of Public Administration in Mogadishu, in Somalia, where the United Nations is helping to meet that country's need for trained officials. I think of the great Niger dam where, as the result of the work of the United Nations officials, the dam is to go forward, and already the scheme has attracted £75 million in investment. I think, too, of the great dam in Pakistan which is to provide for the controlled irrigation of no less than 2,750,000 acres.
This is the kind of scheme in which the United Nations excels. In the Congo itself at this time there are 2,000 civilian servants of the United Nations working to bring the advantages of social advance and education to a country which so desperately needs it. There was no such thing as a Congolese doctor at the date of independence. But immediately the United Nations selected 59 young Congolese and took them overseas to train them as doctors. They are now about to graduate and return to serve their country. As I say, this is the kind of work in which the United Nations excels. Take the great locust scheme, where 40 countries have come together in three continents to fight the desert locust and beat it. This is the sort of work for the United Nations and from my own experience on the ground I can vouch for the fact that the Technical Assistance Board and the Special Fund, the former in fifteen years and the latter in five, have made a magnificent contribution.
I am not going to attempt to give your Lordships any long row of statistics, but the cost of the United Nations total economic effort amounts now to £80 million a year. Over £3 billion have been invested through the World Bank and with the international Agencies, and since this effort began, 200, 000 people, from Africa, Asia and Latin America, have been given special training overseas; 20, 000 experts have been sent to developing countries; and in the Special Fund alone, out of the first pre-investment schemes the expenditure of £2 million has resulted in a total investment of £275 million being achieved. My Lords, this is the work which goes forward all the time. And it may be that, in the end, this is just as important as the work which we talk of when we speak of peace-keeping.
I turn to the third subject, the question of race feeling, and to the question par- 830 ticularly, if you wish, of Africa. I will not attempt any catalogue of the dangers of the world. I suppose that probably the worst dangers of all must surely be, as my noble friend Lord Walston pointed out, in regard to North and South, and must be in regard to the questions of poverty and population. Half the world, as we know, lives just above or at the poverty level, or below it. We know that the population of the world doubles its present number in less than forty years. We know that in many parts of the world prosperity is not advancing, but is going backwards. In travelling through Africa, as I have done recently in a dozen States, I have learned that over half the population in places like Kenya or Zambia is under 17 or 18 years of age. We are going to have a revolution in Africa, not only a revolution of race but a revolution of youth. Youth will not be prepared to go back to scratch a miserable, bare livelihood by antiquated methods from soils which have been eroded. We face the tremendous dangers of race and of youth, and, particularly in Africa, we face dangers far greater than any we have yet had to consider.
When I have been in America speaking about Africa I have described Africa as a great house in which in all the separate rooms you see the work go forward. You look into one room and see imaginative, courageous work going forward. In another room you see things going on the success or wisdom of which you doubt. In another room you see things going on which are positively wrong or evil. At the same time, down in the cellars in the southern States of Africa, the fuses are lit, likely to cause explosions to blow not only the cellars but the whole house sky high.
When blood flows in Africa, immediately all Africa is involved and, consequently, it seems to me, the whole world. These are the dangers as I see them, and I am not alone in my view. If your Lordships think this is only my view, may I say that the fact that the greatest danger in the world is the danger of race conflict is the view often expressed by the Leader of the Opposition in another place? None of us can disregard this danger. None of us can fail to see the needs to which this danger gives rise.
Here I should like to stop for a moment or two in order to refer to the 831 speech made by the noble Marquess yesterday and the speech made to-day by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, about Africa. I am sure the noble Lord would wish me to state exactly what I did recommend as a member of an expert group in the United Nations on South Africa. We recommended that there should be consultation. We recommended that 13 million Africans should at least be consulted. We recommended that there should be international pressure to achieve that purpose, it is true. As to sanctions, we recommended that there should be an expert examination of all aspects of sanctions, something which had never been done. That recommendation was approved and voted for by the previous Government, and that action of examining all aspects of sanctions is now being carried out. This Government and the previous Government agreed to co-operate in that exercise. We recommended it; it was necessary to be done. We have entered into that examination of all aspects of sanctions without any commitment whatsoever, but it was right that the examination should be carried out; it was right that it should be recommended.
Further than that, we said that if South Africa proceeded on its present policy, its present course, then in the end there would be no alternative but the consideration of the application of sanctions. But our immediate recommendation was the specific one which has been acted upon and accepted by this Government's and by the previous Government as well. That is the action which we recommended. I have no reason whatsoever to change my opinion on that matter or to retract from what we said in our report.
I want now to refer to what was said on more general matters. I would hesitate, your Lordships having been so patient in listening to me, to go into detail on the questions raised by the noble Marquess. Indeed, I must exercise what restraint I can, for it is obviously wrong that I should, when first addressing your Lordships, enter into any serious controversy, and should rather look for any area of agreement which might exist. There are wide areas of disagreement which it would be better perhaps to leave to another occasion.
As to the Congo and the part we have played, the noble Marquess yesterday 832 complained that we had not spoken out; that we had been halting in our references. Nothing would be more contemptible than for a speaker to quote his own speeches, but would your Lord-ships permit me to quote three sentences from what I said about the operation which was carried out by the Belgians, with American assistance and with facilities which we provided? I said in the Security Council a week ago:After all the bloodshed and the ruthless killing in the Congo, should an effort be made to save 2.000 innocent lives? Should grave-risks be taken in doing so? Should my Government facilitate and assist that aim? The answers to those questions was. Yes, yes, yes. I myself do not doubt for a minute that the answer was right. Indeed. I feel that no other answer was conceivable, and we are deeply grateful to those who carried out this rescue operation which succeeded in saving so many lives, including those of many Commonwealth citizens.Do your Lordships object to that wording? It seems to me that it was clear and forthright enough.
I would therefore turn to one other aspect of what was said on the question of racialism. Here I should like to refer to one of the most dramatic moments that I remember in the United Nations. That great orator, the Foreign Minister of Belgium, was speaking, and was speaking on the subject which the noble Marquess wishes to emphasise. Having spoken of, 'the horrors, which he did not wish to emphasise unduly, he said:I do not wish, even for the purpose of employing an argument which would be sensational, to fan the fires of racial antagonism which, alas!, we can already see beginning to flare.Then, suddenly, he turned, and said:Since the Second World War the whites, sad to say, may no longer give advice or lessons in the matter of human horrors. Since Buchenwald and Auschwitz no one of the white race has any right to give advice or lessons. My own heartfelt conviction is that there has never been a guilty race. My sincere conviction is that there has never been a guilty people. My sincere conviction is that there have only been misguided men and contemptible men.I remember that the effect of this statement, made by a Foreign Minister in the Security Council, was at once to remove the fierceness of racial feeling, the bitterness. I am glad that the noble Marquess referred, in what he said yesterday, to the fact that not only had a number of white people been killed in terrible circumstances, but far more black people 833 had been killed. We must be equally concerned with what is now continuing. If there is any accusation, in this House or elsewhere, that we have failed to speak out in the Security Council, or that we have failed to give a lead on how these matters should be dealt with, I would deny it. I would leave to a later occasion to enter into any controversy on the other matters which were raised.
My Lords, if we face the dangers to which I refer, what is to be done? The answer, surely, is that if we are to deal with the dangers that exist to-day, and those still greater dangers to come, it must not be done any longer by national intervention. The days of national intervention are surely nearly over, if not already over. There must be international action. That is the lesson of Suez; it is the lesson of the Congo; it is the lesson of Cyprus.
In Cyprus we were able ourselves to hold it for a time, unsatisfactorily perhaps; but it was necessary for an international answer to be found, We were able, in the mutinies in East Africa, to send in a small force and to assist the Governments there. The Belgians, in their decisive action in the Congo, were able to save many lives in Stanleyville. But who believes that these problems, as they grow and increase, can in future be dealt with by small forces sent by individual nations? More and more it must be that international action is the only answer, if small conflicts are not to become widespread conflicts involving the whole world. Therefore, I believe that we should make no excuse for our policy of supporting the United Nations. And the purpose which we have at the United Nations at the present time is to strengthen, and where necessary reform, the United Nations. That is the purpose which we have set ourselves.
I myself, if I may say so, think that there is one other danger. We talk about dangers in Africa and dangers in Asia. I think there is a greater danger nearer home; a danger that we, in our affluence, may become so soft and selfish and self-centred, so superior and supercilious, that we lose the respect and the leadership of the world. I have been struck by how obsessed people in this country seem to be with their own domestic problems, with their own increased comfort; how lacking in sympathy and understanding they are for the prob- 834 lems of the wider world; and in the lazy, selfish years through which we have come, how lacking in inspiration and purpose our policies have been overseas.
We still enjoy great respect in the world. I see it particularly at the United Nations. The principles for which we stand, the purposes which we have set, are widely respected. The fact that we have enfranchised and brought into the councils of the world more than 600 million people in less than 20 years, is something which is widely admired in the world. I do not tire of telling my Soviet colleagues at the United Nations that we in the British Commonwealth have brought into the councils of the world, have enfranchised, in less than 20 years nearly three times the whole population of the Soviet Union. We have a right to be proud of our record, and in the world there is a great respect for our record.
I believe that it is a primary British interest to support the United Nations. I do not believe for one moment that there is a conflict between our own national interest and the high purpose of creating an international organisation which can keep the peace, and help to bridge the gap between rich and poor. In working for a strengthened United Nations we are serving a British interest as well as a world interest. Others may seek to impede or to intrigue or to oppose, but it is our purpose to give practical encouragement and to engage in constructive participation with the other nations at the United Nations.
I have the honour to lead our delegation at the United Nations. I follow Sir Patrick Dean, under whom I previously served. There is no one for whom I have a greater respect: a man of great judgment and ability. But I have a much easier task than he had. No representative of this country at the United Nations has ever had a better mandate than I have. My predecessors were often restricted and hindered by their instructions. My instructions are clear: to work with all the nations there represented: to justify and defend our policies: to support the Secretary-General; to seek at all times initiatives which will strengthen, support and sustain the United Nations. Those are the instructions. I hope that I may have the opportunity, as I say, to return from 835 time to time to your Lordships. I hope that when I do so, even if there are disagreements, you will be good enough to give to me and my delegation your understanding and, I hope, your encouragement.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ LORD SHERFIELD
My Lords, it is a privilege which might appropriately have fallen to a more senior Member of this House to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, on a notable maiden speech. To anyone who knows of his record and achievement, the sincerity and force with which he spoke could come as no surprise. He has a difficult and arduous task as our Representative at the United Nations, one which few would envy him and which will call forth all his energy, patience and diplomatic skill. Indeed, my Lords, when he took his analogy from the noble sport of racing, I could not help thinking, as he described his activity, that it could more accurately be compared to a "rat race".
But, my Lords, it is essential to try to make a success of the United Nations, and I am sure that the noble Lord who has just spoken can make as great a contribution as anybody to that objective. I am sure your Lordships were glad to hear of his intention to come back from time to time to this House. Indeed, after what we have heard this afternoon it will be a matter of regret to your Lordships that he cannot spend as much time in this Chamber as he will have to spend in the coulisses of the United Nations.
I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, will forgive me if I do not follow him into the subjects which he has raised. I rise to make two, and, I hope, not completely unrelated, points. The first concerns what is commonly known as our nuclear capability; that is, our capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons and then to deliver them. This is, I think, a separate matter from the independence of our nuclear deterrent, which is open to a large number of interpretations. Many of them have been canvassed in this debate, and I do not intend to go into them further now.
But I assume—I certainly hope—that, no doubt after many comings and goings, some formula will be found covering arrangements for the control of the 836 Western deterrent which will meet the present situation within the Alliance. I hope, too, that the eventual formula, though it must necessarily accept the primacy of the United States in the nuclear field, will not put this country in a position inferior to that of any other of our Allies. But whatever the arrangements are, I am of the opinion that our contribution to it should be an independent contribution of our own weapons. The credibility of our deterrent depends, I suggest, less on the arrangements for control and command, which sooner or later (and I hope it will be much later) will be revoked or modified, whatever we now say, by changes in the situation which brought them into being, than on our own capacity to produce weapons.
This involves capital works and know-how. The capital works are, I believe, already in existence. So is the know-how, thanks originally to our own efforts and more recently to most fruitful and mutually advantageous collaborative arrangements with the United States. But know-how means not only technical information and manufacturing experience but the existence of teams of scientists and engineers. In my view, it is essential that we should, in all circumstances, keep both in being and keep them up to date.
It may well be more convenient and advantageous at the present time to obtain some of the necessary materials or components for our weapons under suitable arrangements from the United States; and I see no reason, in view of the cordial state of our relations with Washington, why this should not continue for a very long time. But we ought never to lose the capability, which we now possess and which we have so painstakingly acquired, of producing the complete weapons ourselves. It would surely be intolerable that at a time when France, and perhaps other countries, are acquiring or are thinking of acquiring this capability, we should proceed to give it up. This would in no way assist the effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons: it would simply mean that we should cease to be credible as a nuclear Power.
The cost of this activity, now that the capital charges have mainly been incurred, though significant, must be small in relation to that of our Defence programme; but, no doubt, if I may use a colloquialism, 837 something has "got to give". No doubt we have for many years been trying to do too much in and for the world. There should be no reproach about this; I think it is to our credit. But I fear that the mass of our people either has not had the desire or the will, or has not fully understood the need to make the effort necessary to back up our obligations. But, admitting that something has "got to give", this Government will have exactly the same difficulty as pevious Governments in finding the right place.
I have urged that our nuclear capability should remain untouched, but the difficulty about cutting anything out is that every candidate appears to be embedded in concrete. One must make some suggestion, and my own is that we should look hard at the level of our forces in Germany, as was mentioned yesterday by the noble Lord, Lord Teynham. I know most of the political arguments against doing anything about this, and, of course, I do not underrate them. It was all very well 15 years ago, before Germany had become one of the strongest economies in Europe and before she had rebuilt her armed forces. Even then, it could be argued that the real threat to the West was not in Europe but in Asia, and through subversion and revolution in Africa. With a different regime in the Soviet Union, with the changes taking place in the satellite countries, underlined by the visits now in the official programme of the Government, and with the resilient economic strength of Germany, set against all that is going on in South-East Asia, this seems much more obvious to-day. An impartial observer from outer space, if he could bring his intelligence to bear on this point, would surely think it extraordinary that, in present circumstances, one of the first and heaviest charges on our balance of payments should be the defence of a country vastly richer and much stronger than when the commitment was made.
Of course, there is the supposed alleviation of support costs; but I venture the opinion that this support will never be obtainable on a sufficient scale to cover the deficit represented by over 50, 000 troops. The effort to obtain them is a permanent irritation in our relations with Germany; and I do not think that the larger orders required will be forthcoming, particularly in view of the 838 strong American influence on German procurement and the priority which the Germans, quite understandably, give to American requirements. Of course, I am not advocating the withdrawal of all our forces from Germany, but I suggest that their level could be brought down, without any real impairment of the strategic position, to that at which the cost of support could be secured through realistic and attainable arrangements with the German Government. Of course, it will be difficult to extricate ourselves from the anomalous position in which we find ourselves, but perhaps the effect of trying would be a little less serious than is commonly supposed.
My Lords, I realise very well that both the points I have made, and particularly the latter, present some difficulties, but I hope that these will not impede a dispassionate judgment, for I believe that both of them are real points, going to the heart of our international and our strategic position.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, this is, in effect, the third maiden speech that I have delivered. The first was 35 years ago, when I was elected to the House of Commons; then, after a period of 20 years in the political wilderness, I was returned once more, and emotionally, if not literally, I made another maiden speech; and now I do so on this occasion. I am a little reassured, as I look around the House, to find many familiar faces which were in another place. I should like to express appreciation particularly to the noble Lord, Lord Alport, for what he said in anticipation of my speech. I am not quite sure that I shall fulfil all his hopes. A maiden speech should be non-controversial. I shall try to speak in a persuasive spirit, but I do not expect that I shall carry the whole House with me in the views that I shall express.
My Lords, this debate has covered both Defence and Foreign Affairs, and clearly they are closely related. In most of my remarks I propose to concentrate on Foreign Affairs. The Prime Minister has said that armaments are an instrument and a reflection of foreign policy, and I believe that foreign policy is the more important. But I feel, in honesty to your Lordships, that I should make quite clear in my first sentences that I 839 utter in this House my attitude towards nuclear arms. I regard them as a blasphemy against Creation. They could erase the whole story of man: his evolution through the ages from primitive forms of animal life; his conquest of nature; the beauties he has reached in literature, in the arts and in architecture; the wonders of medicine which have defied death; the wonders of science which have defied space; his search for truth in philosophy and in religion; the spiritual contributions of saints and saviours, which have brought a reverence to the human family; and, perhaps closest to us, the rich joys and loves which are the experience of our daily lives and that of millions of men and women. It is inconceivable to me that men can plan the manufacture of a weapon which can write the end to that human story, and can contemplate its use.
The defence of the weapon is that, by the balance of mutual fear, it has maintained peace. But by the blackmail of brinkmanship it has more than once brought us to the very edge of the precipice of human disaster. Pope Paul said in his Christmas message yesterday:The process of stockpiling more destructive weapons makes fear the inhuman basis of peace.That it should be so is surely the last betrayal of the creative human spirit. I recognise, however, that this is a minority view in decisive political opinion and that, unless one is to circle ineffectively in an eddy, it is a duty to participate in the main stream of life.
We are met immediately by the challenge of the Atlantic Nuclear Force. There seem to me to be two advantages of this proposal. First, it would prevent the dissemination of nuclear weapons to other Western European Governments and, by example, to many other parts of the world. Secondly, international nuclear disarmament will become easier to negotiate between East and West if power is concentrated under two authorities and not spread among many nations. My fear is, however, that the A.N.F. may worsen the relations between East and West which have recently been improving, which we have all welcomed. It would be a dark cloud to our hopes to-day if antagonism were to grow again.
840 The noble Lord who opened for the Opposition pleaded that inaction is often the best action. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, who replied on this side was absolutely right when he said that in the situation of the world to-day a supreme effort must be made towards disarmament and peace. I welcome that our Government are showing the same dynamism in international affairs as they are in our affairs at home. There are hopeful signs. I mention two which I think should be recorded in the course of this debate. The first is that the Western Allies, including Bonn, have agreed to the suggestion for Four Power informal contacts on Berlin. The second was mentioned by my friend Halvard Lange (as a boy he was in my home), who is the Foreign Secretary of Norway and is, I believe, the Chairman of the Council of Europe. He has announced that the seventeen members of that Council have adopted a more open attitude to eastern Europe. Discussions of technical matters will begin, and, by beginning there, they can so easily be extended.
I believe the greatest hope of all for peace lies in an imaginative idea which came jointly from the late Hugh Gaits-kell and the late Aneurin Bevan: the disengagement of the danger regions of the earth and the removal of areas not yet decisively committed from the two Power blocs. They had mostly in mind, of course, Germany and Central Europe. It is because I believe there is a great Rope in that imaginative idea that I welcome the new emphasis which the Foreign Minister of Poland, Mr. Rapacki, has given to his proposal for a nuclear-free zone of Poland, Czechoslovakia and East and West Germany, which other nations could join, and nuclear disarmament could be extended by the reduction of conventional arms under a system of control. He has associated with that proposal a European security conference prepared by representatives of NATO, of the Warsaw Pact and of neutral nations. On Monday he had a seventy minute meeting with the Prime Minister of this country. I hope that the area of agreement between them was greater than some of the Press reports suggest. We must come to this kind of proposal if we are to hope that Berlin and Germany will be removed from endangering war.
841 During this debate more than one reference has been made to Africa. Africa is one of those areas in the world where the Governments are asking that it be removed from the power bloc struggle. The 34 independent Governments which now represent two-thirds of its population have all declared for the disengagement of the continent. I agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that we must speed if the continent of Africa is not to become a battleground of the cold war. There is a danger, particularly, that the Congo may become an African Vietnam. The noble Marquess warned against the danger of Communist affiliation. I hope that we shall not imagine that the alternative to that is to bring the continent into the Western Alliance. I believe that the salvation of Africa will be to keep it out of the cold war and to keep it independent and disengaged. And, when we are thinking of the Congo: Yes, there is evidence of Communist infiltration; but there have also been pressures from the West behind which there have been very powerful vested interests.
My Lords, I am quite certain now that the policy which we should advocate in the Congo is one of conciliation between the conflicting forces. The Guardian has reported this week that the Belgian Government is now convinced that no military solution is possible. We have learned for the first time about what had mystified us—why Mr. Adoula had resigned his post as Prime Minister. We know that he resigned under pressure because he wanted to make peace. He is now the leader of a third force within the Congo itself. He has denounced the refusal of Mr. Tshombe to negotiate with the rebels. I believe that if we are seeking the unity of the Congo, and peace in the Congo, we must support the leadership which Mr. Adoula, the ex-Prime Minister, is giving, and particularly the proposals of the Organisation of African Unity. Its proposals are for a cease-fire, for the withdrawal of all foreign troops and armaments, for negotiations, and for the appointment of a national Government, followed by a democratic election.
May I just add this, in case the charge of silence may subsequently be made, that as one who belongs to the third generation of a family of missionaries I 842 am horrified by what is happening in the Congo. I expressed my concern even before the massacre of Sharpeville, and I have done so in every speech and in every writing on the subject since. But I beg your Lordships to remember that what has happened in the Congo is, as one noble Lord has said during this debate, an inheritance from a cruel past. Let us remember that Africans have died in even greater number than whites, and let us devote ourselves to trying to bring peace to that territory.
A third area which is now seeking disengagement is South America. It has been mentioned from both sides of the House. I think it is highly significant that the States of South America should now be asking that their sub-continent should be disengaged.
I should like to say a word or two about the situation in South-East Asia, which I regard as the greatest danger to peace in the world to-day. It is arched by China. Does anyone now doubt that we ought to make it an urgent issue that China should be brought into the United Nations? If it has an ideology of inevitable war, if it has an ideology which reflects the first stages of Marxist-Leninism, that is due to the fact that, just as Russia held that ideology when it was isolated in the world, so China is holding it to-day. And if we wish to meet the danger which comes from China, we must bring her into the councils of the world.
To the south of China is the great area that was Indo-China. After the Geneva Conference Americans, under Foster Dulles, were opposed to neutralisation, a policy from which, however, they have had to retreat in Laos. But we still have the consequences of the Foster Dulles policy in what is happening in Vietnam. I hope the House will bear with me for a moment if I quote from a despatch of the Washington Correspondent of The Times on the 22nd of this month. He wrote:A return to a complete military dictatorship would appear inevitable."—That is, in South Vietnam—The re-emergence perhaps of General Khanh as Generalissimo—as a Vietnamese Chiang Kai-shek—will solve nothing. The Buddhists are now intractable; while a period of military dictatorship might curb political activities, their calculated withdrawal of 843 support for any Saigon Government committed to continuing the war will almost certainly make political stability impossible.The Washington Correspondent described the present situation in Vietnam as… continuing military disaster, military juntas, and a Buddhist leadership that ceases to be enigmatic only to express its opposition to the war….He says that the present policy of continuing support for Saigon is now seen to be profitless. It will be pursued for the time being because there is no obvious alternative, but,all the indications suggest that in spite of the difficulties at home and in south-east Asia the Administration will soon seriously consider a degree of extrication if it can be honourably achieved".I think that we are now reaching a stage in Vietnam where America will have to change her policy, as she was previously compelled to change it in Laos. As for the future, I think that there is possibly an early hope of a national Government being established in South Vietnam, in which there will be a minority Communist representation. I think it very likely that that Government might agree not to become united with North Vietnam, and that it would be neutral as between the two power blocs. I think that that development might give America an opportunity of withdrawing without humiliation from a position that is becoming impossible for her in Vietnam.
I would refer for a moment to the situation still further South, between Malaysia and Indonesia. I went there with a Labour Party deputation last year. I accept entirely the right of Malaysia to defend itself. But we must be looking to the future. We must be seeking, even in the present difficulties, to find a way of peace in that area. I believe that the way would be a return to the spirit of the Manila Conference, where the proposal was made that there should be a confederation, including the Malayan States, the Philippines and Indonesia.
I apologise to your Lordships if I have spoken at some length and if, in a maiden speech, I have put forward views which in some ways may be controversial. I began by a reference to the destructiveness of science in nuclear weapons, 844 but the same science, and often the same powers that science has unleashed, if constructively used, could end poverty and unnecessary disease on the earth by the end of this century. Perhaps on another occasion we may be able to discuss the means. Now all I will say is that peace remains a negation of life while half the world is hungry.
§ 5.10 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Alport, appeared to be jealous of the position which I hold on the list, following the last speaker, the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. But I relish the position, and would not have wished, now that I have heard the noble Lord, to give way, because, in my view, he has achieved what he set out to do: he has been deeply persuasive, with a burning sincerity, about matters on which it is impossible for any of us not to feel deeply. I am a professional soldier, and I feel equally with the noble Lord the horror of the nuclear weapon. But also I share the horror of these other weapons so luridly described by Mr. Philip Noel-Baker in his book The Arms Race, where, among other things, he says that one really competent biologist in a small laboratory can, with material now available, assemble sufficient to kill any number of millions of any country and act decisively against the largest. That, to me, implies that a nuclear agreement is only a beginning; and, horrible though it is, the deterrent of the balance of terror has achieved peace for a time.
I am glad that I was here when the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, made his speech, which seemed to me to be a speech of magisterial authority, adding lustre to the whole House. I was thrilled by his exposition of the tensions at the United Nations. In view of this, I hope he will not run away in the middle of my speech, because I have one or two painful feelings about certain aspects of the United Nations Resolutions which I should like to mention a little later.
I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for initiating this debate, and also to his Party, because I have been to this House very often to criticise his Party when they were in power, and I have had the utmost assistance in doing so; and noble Lords have listened with patience while I gave my views. Although 845 very often there were few people sprinkling the red leather when I spoke (they did not always give me a very favourable time), the words which I wished to utter were broadcast in the areas where the people I was speaking for listened to them: they were not favourable to the Government, and yet they tolerated this. I do not think there are many countries where this tolerance would be granted and where so much help would be given.
With regard to the new Government, I have been hoping that perhaps an attempt would be made, net so much to deal with brush fires, but to heal the wounds which give rise to these things in certain parts of the world in which I am interested. For instance, what divides me from the Conservative Party, and has done for some years, is our relations with Egypt and the handling of matters there. I have been hoping very much that the new Government would make some approach to Cairo on these matters. After all, many changes have occurred since 1956, the date of our last invasion of that country. My own family connection goes back to one of the earlier invasions in 1882, when we defeated one of the earliest patriots, Arabi Pasha. But the Canal works, the high dam loan have come from a different source, in spite of what we had to do in the way of obstructing it.
An industrial revolution has occurred, and Cairo has become a centre of some diplomatic importance. I notice that this year there have been three major conferences in that country—the Conference of the Arabs, the Conference of the Organisation of African Unity and, in October last, the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries, which numbered, I think, 47 participants and 10 observers, and who are very nearly half the total number of independent States of the whole world. They included members of the Organisation of African Unity, and I think all the Arabs, and for the first time some observers from South American States. They discussed matters outside Africa and outside their own area—the world, Cyprus, Palestine and Cuba—and they denounced various empires, including our own, for their misdeeds.
It is because they concentrated on particular imperialisms which they still dislike that I want to mention something which was very well put by the Germans a few days ago in a pamphlet which prob- 846 ably all your Lordships get. I think it said that since the last war the number of independent States who owed their independence to former imperialists was as follows: from France 23; from the United Kingdom 18. This 23 plus 18 was a large proportion of the whole Conference, and in a great many cases there was no revolution and no bloodshed; it was done with the utmost goodwill. But we get no sort of credit for this, even from those who have benefited by it, who in their jargon try to represent that it is all the result of some violent revolution against imperialists who are still lurking in the wings, waiting to go back.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, mentioned briefly the other side of the picture, to which the Germans also refer in the same pamphlet—namely, that the Soviet Union have swallowed up Latvia. Lithuania and Esthonia so that even their Statehood has been extinguished; it has divided Germany, taken a piece of Poland, taken a piece of Germany, taken a piece of Rumania, Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine, and maintained minority Communist Governments, against the will of the people, including the violent repression of two democratic uprisings, one in East Germany in 1953 and the other in Hungary in 1956.
The Chinese People's Republic has its responsibility for imperialisms which it is continually denouncing. When I was in India last year the presence of China in Tibet and the recent invasion of India by the forces of Red China were a source of constant apprehension and dismay among Indians, who had lately regarded them as friends. So far as I can see, there is no Colony we are not giving freedom to in the course of a very short time: that we should continue to be denounced as imperialists is, I think, a mistake. I hope that we shall make some approach to one of the main focal points of this misrepresentation—namely. Cairo—to try to settle this matter.
It is obvious that they have very genuine grievances. For instance, there is the question of Palestine refugees. I notice that Resolution 194 (111) paragraph 11 of the General Assembly, which resolves that:refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours should 847 be enabled to do so at the earliest practicable datehas been reaffirmed by the General Assembly in fifteen succeeding Sessions, starting in 1948. What has been done? This is an ulcer, surely, in all those Middle Eastern Arab States: the presence of 1¼ million people. All the United Nations can do—and this is a criticism—is to reaffirm a Resolution which has not been carried out. It has done it for sixteen years, and looks like doing it for a generation. It will continue doing it until all those originally concerned have been replaced by their children. Can we not take a better grip on this matter in order to bring this problem to a head and solve it somehow? That is one of the things I feel about our treatment of that part of the world: we have left ulcers and we do nothing about it. Resolutions are not carried out. If they are inappropriate, surely it is wrong to pass them any more.
Reading from the proceedings, as I do, of the non-aligned countries and of O.A.U., and in particular the declaration of the former at the end, I find that they seem to have two passionate feelings which carry them away in all their relations with us and with other Europeans. One is freedom, Uhuru—whatever word you use. It is the same passion that the Greeks have always had—their freedom. It means everything to them. I think it is a most valuable thing, because it ties up with their horror of the nuclear arm. They are genuinely desirous of being out of it and not involved if it should go off. I am sure this is a genuine feeling, and it seems to me that their hero is neither in Moscow nor in Peking, but in Belgrade. It is President Tito who is their model—not that I am an admirer of the dictatorship of President Tito. Yugoslavia is, however, the only white nation fully represented with them, and their first meeting took place in Belgrade. It is he and his independence from East or West which they prize very greatly.
It seems to me that when this desire for freedom is unreasonably obstructed, in some way it produces complications, and I want to answer one or two things said by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. My feeling is that to suggest that all is 848 a matter of conflict between East and West in Africa is a distortion. They have a passionate attachment to their own freedom; their desire not to be involved in our bellicosity, as they call it. I think this is valuable and should be preserved.
There are some things which we have done which seem to me to produce trouble. For instance, I have a friend who sent me a very long memorandum on the Sudan. We all know of the differences between North Sudan and the South. The South is African and pagan, and the North is Muslim and Arab, or Arabised—Arab for short. These two halves have never in our colonial era got on well with each other. They get on less well to-day. We have forced them artificially together. There has been an open rebellion for, I suppose, the best part of a year between the South and the North, and the North has lost all effective control over the South. Thirty thousand refugees have poured into Uganda, and perhaps a similar number into the Congo.
The Sudan African National Union, which is the political arm of the South, has its headquarters in Leopoldville, which alone explains why Khartoum does not sympathise with Tshombe. He is housing those whom they regard as their enemies. We have recently entertained in this country President Abboud, now President no longer. Such official visits usually mean that we have supplied them with some obsolete aircraft we no longer require and perhaps we train their forces. I hope that we are not sustaining the sinews of this internal war between North and South. If the South desires its freedom, it should have it, and we ought perhaps never to have set them up together. I hope that we are not behind the Khartoum Government in what is a civil war, a rebellion, where the South is an inherently incompatible unit with the North. If it wishes to be free, I do not see why we should interfere and force them together.
I had the same or some similar feelings with regard to Ethiopia. Ethiopia seems to me the most unstable empire that is left. In so far as it is not a one-man State, it is mainly governed by a 12 per cent. minority of Amharai who are still described in the Statesmen's Year Book as the most important race in Ethiopia.
849 That this ramshackle empire can survive seems to me most unlikely and perhaps most undesirable, I have asked the Foreign Office, and had no answer—this was from the previous Government—whether the tripartite treaty of 1906 can possibly still be effective. It was invoked in 1934. Is it effective? Are we in any way guaranteeing the political and territorial integrity of Ethiopia?—because I feel we should be out of it and do nothing of the kind. I ask for information.
With regard to my favourite subject in your Lordships' House, the freedom of the Somali: nation, and the fact that it is divided, I have one last thing to say. We are concerned with Kenya and sustaining Kenya as a viable and prosperous State. With this I am in total sympathy. On the other hand, if the Kenya Digest is correct, we in Britain have been supplying free and gratis an air lift of supplies to their army in their Somali colony in the north. Our sappers, again if the Kenya Digest is correct, are to build a strategic road across the Lorian swamp. They have white political officers, a white commander of the army and, until recently, at any rate, had a white Commissioner of Police. It is very difficult for the Somalis to know where Britain is behind the military subjugation of their colony and where it is Kenya. Unless this is sorted out and we leave Africa to sort its own affairs, and withdraw underwriting the black colonialism of Kenya as I think the Government wish to do. we shall have further trouble.
Recently a Briton was kidnapped by Shifta; he was a white man. He was restored because the Somali authorities got hold of him in Somalia, where those in authority are still well disposed, in spite of all we have not done for them. But times change, and if they continue to be frustrated, while men, I fear, may be kidnapped. I think nobody in this country should any more appeal for help, as was done in the last case, to release these people. We are concerned in Kenya, in the North-Eastern Region, in subjugating the people who want to be with other people. I hope that there will be a withdrawal of support for this military subjugation where we do everything except press the trigger—that is what I feel is being done.
850 I have a further point with regard to the United Nations which I wanted to bring to the notice of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon. It is Resolution 1514 of December 1960, paragraph 3 in particular:The inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence".I am myself a dedicated supporter of independence for Africans, but this breakneck speed seems to me to be producing "Congo" after "Congo". We are doing it so badly and so hurriedly.
In this connection I take Portugal, which is mentioned in the Declaration of Non-Aligned Nations as the one country where not only do the people have a right to take up arms violently against their rulers but it is the duty of all participants—and there are 47 of them—to help them with finance and military aid now. I should have thought that we should say, "No, we are not going to be associated with that in any way, never mind who says so." So far as I am aware, and I presume it could be stated, the Portuguese are working inevitably towards a situation where there will be more black Africans than Portuguese on the franchise, and this will happen in a reasonable measure of time. I should have thought we ought to take a stand now and not let it drift as in the Congo and Goa and wait until there is another Congo. Let our attitude be known.
I speak as a great supporter of African freedom. I do not wish unduly to delay them, but things are going badly in various places. This year there has been a rebellion in the Sudan. In Rwanda I believe tens of thousands of people have been killed. In January we only just stopped what was not merely a mutiny but an incipient revolution in our three East African Territories; and we did not stop it in Zanzibar, where I understand 4,000 Arabs were killed. It is the speed at which we are putting power in the hands of people who are not trained for it that is causing the trouble. I suggest that we should slow up, provided there is an assurance that we are moving in the right direction; and there is such an assurance in Portuguese Africa and in Rhodesia, although it is absent in South Africa.
851 My Lords, I have one further point with regard to our relations with this part of the world, and this is on the question of aid. I gather from all sorts of sources that we are pouring money, which is largely wasted, into Kenya, and I am also sure that when a great deal of the money is handed over to indigenous peoples all over these new territories, not only in Africa but elsewhere—everybody tells me this—there is a very great risk that much of it goes to corrupt sources. It is often spent in a way that it is not intended to be spent. I think the Americans have been more cunning here, and the Russians, too, to a large extent. They are organising projects, and instead of pouring money into the hands of people who do not know how to spend it they undertake carefully considered projects. I think the Americans in Somalia are considered to be among the slowest people to get going. They take anything up to three years before a project is started, but once it gets started it is put into the hands of expatriate experts who do know what they are doing.
I have been studying an area in which we were so deeply interested in the nineteenth century, the area of the Nile, whose waters have often been a bone of contention; the risk of this was mentioned in the Maffey Report. We were recommended by the Maffey Report to secure the source and channel of the blue Nile in the interests of Egypt, for whom we were responsible. I am wondering for this particular area whether there could be set up either by the United Nations or by a consortium of powerful friends, a water conservancy for power and irrigation throughout all this area of the two Niles, so that these great sources of water can be developed as a viable scheme under competent management. Naturally, it would have to be agreed by those people concerned, but I put it forward as a large project instead of there being little dribs and drabs of monetary aid which I fear may be wasted or put into some political kitty and probably spent on some revolution or for some political Party.
This is my conclusion with regard to the two main matters, of freedom and aid of some sort, which I suggest should be handled with greater perceptiveness, with a view to preventing these outbreaks 852 of "brush fires", instead of wondering how to deal with them when they have broken out.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ LORD NATHAN
My Lords, mine is the fourth maiden speech in these two days. Those who have preceded me have a vast experience, be it in another place or elsewhere. I have no such experience and I therefore crave your Lordships' indulgence. I come to your Lordships' House in a spirit of inquiry, as I hope befits a new Member. Having been concerned with World Refugee Year and the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Walston, in his speech yesterday, in which he briefly referred to South-East Asia and the population there, struck me with particular force, as did the remarkable speech of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, to-day.
I venture to remind your Lordships that since the debate on this subject in another place last week there are throughout the world over one million more mouths to feed. A year hence there will be some 60 million more. Barring some cataclysm, such as an atomic war, the population of the world will double in a few decades. This is the cardinal fact; this is the context in which policies have to be determined. The projected increases in population in South-East Asia are so vast as to be worth quoting to give some measure of the problem.
The present population of the area, including mainland China, is 1-5 billion—half of the world population occupying about one-seventh of the world land space. This already represents an enormous increase over the last few years. By 1970, the 1-5 billion will be 2 billion; and by the end of the century it is estimated at 4 billion. An increase in population of about 50 per cent. between 1960 and 1975 is estimated in each of India, Pakistan, Indonesia and mainland China, with minor variations either side of the 50 per cent.
The magnitude and speed of these population increases must, inevitably, unless radical steps are taken, lead to political and economic upheaval, springing fundamentally not from any differences of ideology but from shortage of living space and food. It may be that in outward form, attitudes of nationalism or Communism, or both, may be adopted 853 but they will be a symptom only. On a smaller scale, pressure of population on land space has given rise to conflict throughout the ages. But the problem now presented by reason of its scale is different in kind from anything previously experienced.
An expansion of this size must inevitably be a world problem, and has, of course, been treated as such in recent years. Substantial help has been given and is still being given—financial and technical assistance and so forth—by the Agencies of the United Nations, by members of it, including ourselves, while finance is being provided on a commercial basis by the World Bank. Clearly this must be continued and expanded. But I believe that important policy decisions have to be taken of a broader kind.
First, it may be assumed that new land will be opened up, developed and settled, by the use of international money and skill, and that these new areas will be populated by transferring to them large numbers of people from other parts of the same country. The people transferred to this new territory will be trained in the latest techniques of husbandry; and no doubt industry will also be established, with schools, houses, and so on, in line with the modern requirements of a viable economic community. Some may say that this is not a matter of international concern so long as migration is confined within one sovereign State. But I wonder whether it is still possible to take this traditional view. If this new territory being opened up is situated in a border area, it will not be surprising if the neighbouring country is alarmed at being exposed to attack, where previously, perhaps, it was protected by dense jungle or impassable swamp. The neighbouring country may be critical of a system of international aid which can lead to this result. Pressures to prevent such developments may therefore arise unless adequate guarantees are available to safeguard neighbouring countries. This may involve the provision of teams of observers, supported, if necessary, by an international force.
Or, again, if a country has land which is capable of being developed and seeks aid from one of the international Agencies, is it wrong for the United Nations to impose terms—for instance, 854 terms as to accepting immigrants from other countries—as a condition for granting aid? Then there is the question whether a United Nations Agency should have power to develop unused land that is not required for settlement by the State of which it forms part for the benefit of persons who are not nationals of that State. The problems of feeding and providing land for such large populations are incapable of solution along national lines. The grant of international aid is itself indicative of this. Yet it is essential, in the interest of world peace, let alone our own commercial interests, that these problems should be solved, and solved by peaceful means acceptable to all those who are directly involved.
By the application of scientific methods it seems possible that the vast increase in numbers could be fed, given time, the absence of restrictions, freedom to use every piece of land available and the movement of populations to occupy it. Any programme requires time; there is little time. But there must be freedom to operate the programme, and this can be obtained only with the concurrence of all the sovereign States participating in it. The need for urgency of action is apparent. The need for leadership in the development of new ideas in this area is no less urgent.
My Lords, this is a province for which I believe that we in this country are particularly suited. There is here a great deal of knowledge of the problems of developing countries gathered from all over the world. We are not one of the giant Powers. We have outstanding representation at the United Nations. Above all, there is the urgent desire, particularly among the young in this country, to find an outlet for idealism which has been pent up for lack of a broad objective. It was no accident that the largest contribution to World Refugee Year came from this country. Nine million pounds gathered up and down the land, from every town, village and hamlet, mostly by private voluntary effort, is evidence of this. The success here of the "Freedom from Hunger" Campaign, designed to create conditions in which people may learn to feed themselves—not the mere grant of aid—indicates the measure of support available to any scheme which catches the imagination. These, of course, are charitable endeavours; but, given the chance, the good will behind them would 855 readily overflow into their political counterparts.
I have not put forward questions in order to provide answers. I have done so merely to indicate just a few of the matters which require to be considered and debated if a new, constructive and dynamic approach is to be formulated. For this undoubtedly is the first need. The problems of South-East Asia are unprecedented. They cannot be solved within the straitjacket of conventional ideas. Of course we must help in resisting Communist military and political aggression. Of course we must fulfil our obligations to Malaysia. But these are merely the conditions under which a creative and positive policy for South-East Asia can be developed and put into effect. Peace cannot be imposed by dominant force on a dynamic society, and any society multiplying at the rate we see in South-East Asia can only be dynamic. Peace must be engendered by conscious co-operative effort in which we should play our part.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I should like first to join unreservedly the noble Lords who have already spoken in congratulating the three noble Lords who have made their maiden speeches this afternoon. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, I was glad to find, expressed the delightfully heretical and high-minded views that have made him such a unique figure in British public life, and I hope he will often do so in time to come. Lord Nathan's father was one of my oldest friends and colleagues, and of course he was an able, frequent and much respected speaker in your Lord-ships' House. I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, is following in the footsteps of his distinguished father, and I assure him that we should all like to hear him frequently in the future, especially as he gave us a speech of such solid and serious quality this afternoon.
The speech of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, was, of course, not a maiden speech to me. I have heard the noble Lord on many different occasions, in many different settings, and always with pleasure, but I do not think I have ever listened to him with greater pleasure than I did this afternoon when I heard his moving and powerful speech on the 856 subject of his work at the United Nations; and I think this may be because he himself finds your Lordships' House a congenial forum for one who has spent most of his life as a civil servant to graduate or descend to as a politician. I warmly welcome the fact that the Government have decided to replace a civil servant—a very able man but still a civil servant—by a Minister of Cabinet rank as its spokesman and representative at the United Nations. This underlines the importance the present Government attach to the United Nations, and is increasingly the normal practice of most of its other members.
I am sure your Lordships will agree, having listened to the powerful speech of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, that it is also of the utmost value to Parliament that our man at the United Nations should be able to report from time to time on the great and momentous issues that are discussed and decided there. I welcome particularly the choice of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, as the Government's first representative in this post, because the noble Lord, by his record of courage and self-sacrifice in upholding principles in which he believes, has already won the confidence and respect of the young countries in Africa and Asia which now constitute the majority of the members of the United Nations. No one could be better fitted than my noble friend to convince these countries that British policy is not reactionary or imperialist but is in line with their own national ideals and aspirations. I believe that this task is just as essential to the unity, and indeed the survival, of our Commonwealth as it is to the success of our peace-keeping efforts at the United Nations.
I must admit, although I do not want to strike a Party note in this debate—I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord Strang, warned us against doing so—that I was not at all happy about the attitude of the late Government, certainly during part of the period during which they were in office, towards the United Nations. It seemed to me that they were not quite reconciled to the fact that in the last ten years the United Nations has changed in a revolutionary way from being mainly an Anglo-Saxon club to being a mainly Afro-Asian club. Hence, I believe it was that their policies 857 were often in conflict with those of their fellow members of the United Nations.
I believe that we are now returning to the first principles of British foreign policy, by bringing our own national policy more closely into line with world opinion as expressed through the United Nations. Surely this is more than ever necessary now that our success as a world Power must depend much more on diplomacy than on military strength. My noble friend's appointment will also add weight to the initiative the Government are taking to strengthen the peacekeeping capacity of the United Nations.
I welcome the support the Government have given to the idea of the United Nations "fire brigade" or stand-by force which will be available at short notice to serve in any part of the world where violence is imminent. I am sure that the right way to set about organising this force is to earmark elements in national forces rather than by direct recruitment, and that the great Powers should contribute money and logistic support rather than men. The state of the world to-day surely illustrates the vital importance of this peace-keeping rôle of the United Nations. There is peace in Cyprus because of the presence of United Nations troops. I am glad that the Government have decided to make another large financial contribution to the United Nations force in Cyprus, and to extend for another three months their presence on the island. We all hope that the mediator will provide an acceptable solution in the meantime. If he fails, I cannot see any prospect of preventing further violence in Cyprus and, in all probability, a war between Greece and Turkey, unless the United Nations troops are retained after three months have elapsed. I hope the Government will bear this consideration carefully in mind.
The tragedy of the Congo, to which reference has been made by several speakers this afternoon, is surely due primarily to the premature withdrawal of United Nations troops. The horrors of the civil war in the Congo—and they are horrors that affect black men and white men, and horrors that affect innocent civilians on both sides—and the growing danger that it will become another theatre for the cold war, are surely the best possible examples of what happens when a peace-keeping force is 858 withdrawn before the local Government has the capacity to maintain order.
Before I leave the subject of the Congo, may I say that I really was rather surprised yesterday when the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury (I am sorry that he is not in his place at the moment) described the rebels as "the levies of the Eastern bloc". I do not think that anyone who knows Africa would subscribe to that view. These men, whatever their views, are African nationalists, national and tribal rivals of Mr. Tshombe first and foremost, and they will accept arms from anywhere they can. But they really are not Communist mercenaries, as I think the noble Marquess seemed to suggest. This does not, of course, remove the danger that unless peace can be restored in the Congo—and I hope that the Government will bend all their efforts to this end—international rivalries will be fought out in African territory.
I should like to conclude my remarks by saying something about Europe, and to start from the bearing of the relationship of the proposed Atlantic Nuclear Force to our relations with Europe. The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, in his speech yesterday was, to put it mildly, doubtful about the usefulness of the Atlantic Nuclear Force. But I thought, if I may say so, that he attached too much weight to the military and defence aspects of this force, and too little to its political aspects. We in this House all agree that the dissemination and proliferation of nuclear weapons must be stopped if the unimaginable horror of nuclear warfare is to be averted. Indeed, it was the late Government which supported the Irish Resolution in the United Nations against dissemination. But if we accept, as I think we are bound to do, the equality of the nations in Western Europe, and we and France nevertheless still insist on keeping our own nuclear weapons, Germany will inevitably acquire these weapons before long, either independently or in association with France. And if Germany, why not, at a later date, Italy or, indeed, any other European country that can afford this disastrous luxury? This proposed Atlantic force gives us the best and the only opportunity available at this moment to substitute 859 collective nuclear security for national nuclear insecurity.
It may be asked, as indeed it already has been: What about France? Will France come in, or will the Alliance be divided? I myself do not think that, under its present leadership, France will come in. I am not so sanguine as Lord Gladwyn in that respect. But the door should be kept permanently open, and in the long run France may join. But the present policy of France is surely a policy of nuclear nationalism, plus the possibility of a European deterrent at a further stage of European integration. This is not a policy which I think we could possibly agree to or be associated with. On the other hand, I think it is going much too far to say that the Alliance will be broken up if a situation arises in which we have to act without France.
General de Gaulle has made it quite clear that he supports the North Atlantic Treaty, and, indeed, lately he has concerted with the American Strategic Air Force to plan joint targets with his own forces to follow. So there is no doubt that General de Gaulle still wishes to regard the United States as an ally. But when we are considering this from the point of view of our future policy, we surely cannot allow France, or indeed any other European country, to veto something that the great majority of other countries in Europe and North America consider as desirable.
If we succeed—and I suggest that the strongest political argument for this force is the argument for the prevention of dissemination—in stopping this spread of nuclear weapons in Western Europe, we shall have a most valuable card to play for the further relaxation of East-West tension. This relaxation of tension, which has been going on, and which we hope will go further, is the key to all the major advances that we may achieve, including arms control and disarmament. The Russians are still haunted by the nightmare of Germany as a nuclear Power. If they can be convinced—of course they are not convinced at the moment—that nuclear weapons will be so completely scrambled in the Atlantic Nuclear Force that no participant can withdraw them for its national purposes, we shall have removed a major cause of East-West tension.
860 This might also lead to agreement about a thinning out of the armed forces stationed on both sides of Europe. The noble Lord, Lord Sherfield, emphasised the importance of this as one of our major objectives, in order to make a substantial financial contribution to the righting of our present imbalance of payments. I think everyone would agree that the cost of our Army of the Rhine is one of the major factors in the present disequilibrium of our overseas payments, and also that we could not possibly reduce or cut down the Army of the Rhine unilaterally and without the consent of our Allies. So it really depends on getting agreement with the Russian Government for a mutual reduction of forces which will be acceptable to both East and West.
Although I disagreed with much of what Lord Carrington, the Leader of the Opposition, said about the Atlantic Nuclear Force, I agreed with much of what he said about Europe. I very much hope that the Government will give most careful consideration to his suggestions and those which were made subsequently by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, about our future policy in relation to Europe. I think the Government might clearly be asked to give a little fundamental thought to British policy in relation to political union in Europe. I very much hope that when this fundamental thought has been carried out the Government will make some positive proposals about the next stage of European political union.
In the last few months the German Government have published their proposals and they were followed shortly afterwards by those of the Italian Government. It makes us, I am afraid—and I find this when I am in contact with some of our Continental Parliamentary colleagues—look rather insincere if we say that we want to join in talks with the Six about political union and that we should be seriously hurt if we were left out, and if we, at the same time, do not want to commit ourselves to the form of union which we ourselves would be prepared to join. Of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, rightly pointed out, it was at that stage something very far short of federation, or even confederation. But I am sure that an initiative of this kind from the British Government would be most welcome to the majority of the countries in the European 861 Economic Community. I was very struck at the meeting of the W.E.U. last month to find that, apart from France, all the other countries of W.E.U. wanted us to join from the start in any future discussions about closer political union among the Six.
I was glad to note that the Government have made it perfectly clear that they want to take part in these future discussions, and that if they take part they do not intend to veto anything which their partners agree about. In other words, they want to take a constructive part, and if they find they do not agree they are going to allow the other countries to go ahead, and will not try to torpedo anything which they will be able to settle among themselves. I am glad to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, had to say about the sub-diplomacy of European Parliamentarians. I hope, with him, that the day will come when the Council of Europe will represent, as it was intended to do, the whole of Europe instead of just the seventeen countries which now belong to it. But that day is some way off.
We should aim in the immediate future at associating our friends in Northern America as closely as possible with the work being done in the Council of Europe. The North Atlantic Treaty was much more than a military alliance, and obviously envisaged the association of peoples on both sides of the Atlantic as well as an alliance between Governments. Hence, the wide scope of discussion at the NATO Parliamentarians' Conference. We should like this friendly association with the United States extended to the neutrals as well as to our partners in NATO. Hence, the significance of the visit which we are expecting to the spring meeting of the Council of Europe of a high-powered delegation from the Congress of the United States. This delegation will be headed, we hope, by the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. If this Congressional visit to the Council of Europe becomes an annual event it will constitute another valuable link between the United States and Europe. This is the way to prepare for an Atlantic community which we all want to see in the long run.
This new move in Parliamentary sub-diplomacy (to use the useful technical 862 term introduced by my noble friend Lord Kennet) would not have been possible without the good offices of the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne. As the first British President of the NATO Parliamentarians' Conference, he was in a favourable position to become a firm friend of both the American and European delegations; as leader of the British delegations to the Council of Europe, he is on equally friendly terms with the neutrals.
Lord Crathorne may be better known here and outside this House as a mild protagonist of Sunday entertainment, but I should not like this opportunity to pass without noting his much greater and more notable claim to fame. I should like to pay him a sincere tribute, with which I know all his British colleagues at NATO, the Council of Europe and W.E.U., would like to be associated. He has indeed done invaluable work for many years in improving our relations with Parliamentarians in Europe and in North America. The fact that he was willing, after the present Government came into office, to continue to lead the British delegation is an illustration of the bipartisan character of British foreign policy which, as the noble Lord, Lord Strang, said, is of such great importance to this country and is easier to achieve in your Lordships' House than elsewhere.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl one question? He said that the proposal for the Atlantic Nuclear Force was political rather than military—I agree with him entirely on that—but that if it was not successful politically in uniting NATO there was no point in it. If that is the case, would the noble Earl agree that some other method should be tried which might achieve the object of uniting NATO politically in the way which I think the noble Earl had in mind?
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I think the point I made was that even if France disagreed, as they do disagree, on the Atlantic Nuclear Force issue, this would not disunite NATO in the sense of breaking the Alliance. General de Gaulle has expressed his own strong support for the Atlantic Treaty. I am not going to debate this point; I merely wanted to state the view which I expressed.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, speaking at this somewhat late hour, after 863 a long debate, I do not propose to detain your Lordships for long. I happen to agree entirely with all that was said yesterday by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and also with what has been said this afternoon by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. The debate has ranged so widely that one must be selective and speak with considerable brevity. I propose, therefore, to reject the temptation to deal with the Far East in whose confines I spent 25 years of my life, to say a few words about Africa, where Communism is making great strides through chaos to conquest. I should also like to say a few words about the United Nations Organisation which, in some of its attitudes, at least, seems to be ably, if somewhat unwittingly, assisting that process. I do not in this respect agree with my noble friend Lord Alport, because I regard Africa as a key continent in this struggle between Communism and the West.
First of all, I should like to offer my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, on his brilliant maiden speech. Those of us who have known him in his distinguished career expected nothing less than this, and we have not been disappointed this afternoon. Although I do not endorse his approach to some of the problems of our troubled world, I sincerely hope that we shall often have the opportunity of hearing him explain them in his own inimitable way. It may even be that, as time goes on, he will modify his attitude and his views. As an incurable optimist myself, I do not regard any man as beyond redemption—not even Members of the Government's Front Bench.
My Lords, I want particularly to deal with some particular aspects of the United Nations, which the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, very properly excluded from his speech this afternoon because they were controversial points. He dealt at length with the social welfare activities, and the scientific and technical aid activities, of the United Nations; and no one, so far as I know has ever criticised or failed to praise those activities. But what fills some of us with apprehension is the modern craving for political power, and the move to interfere in the internal policies of other States.
I now leave personalities and turn to Africa and the United Nations. It seems 864 to me that what is sadly missing to-day is a constructive international policy, more clear-sighted, compassionate and less emotional towards the problems of this continent, and especially towards that of race relations, which are inevitably bound up with economic aspirations. The facts of Africa need no recapitulation by me. Over wide areas to-day we see the disaster and tragedy which have followed independence. The United Nations' policy has been unable to guarantee human rights, nor has it protected the liberty of the individual. A flag, a hymn and admission to the United Nations are very inadequate support for democratic institutions. Increasingly we see the defeat of the principles for which we are all supposed to stand. Governments close their Parliaments and abolish their courts of law, and put an end to disagreement by terrorist methods.
We are told constantly that the internal policies, for instance, of Portugal and South Africa, and even Rhodesia, are menaces to the peace of the world. I suggest that those who advocate boycotting those countries, with economic blockade and sanctions against States whose insistence on law and order offend this particular brand of belief, are the real disturbers of peace. They should be more catholic in the application of their distaste, and should also outlaw many of the member States, in which at home their Governments are misgoverning their people while we stand idly by talking of the rights of self-expression.
In many African countries we are dealing with groups of men, often supported by Communist funds, whose chief incentive is a lust for power to enjoy and dissipate the reserve assets of progress, peace and prosperity. We are urged to ban the supply of arms to Governments who are endeavouring to maintain law and order, and nothing is done to stop arms pouring into Africa from Chinese and Russian sources to support rebel movements. Nothing is done to condemn countries which give asylum and welcome and training facilities to those who are planning armed intervention in other States.
I do not understand this discrimination over arms. I could understand the theory of a complete ban on the supply of arms to any country in Africa. But in any case, the United Nations, as in much else, 865 is quite powerless to compel world unanimity in a ban on arms supply, and, if one thinks for a moment about it, any ban, partial or complete, would always be to the disadvantage of those who are responsible for law and order.
Again, my Lords, there is the fiction or the fallacy or the myth—call it what you will—of "One man, one vote." May I quote an eminent European on this subject? He said:… it is alleged that there can be no lawful administration or government unless it is founded on the principle of one man, one vote. In the abstract, no objection can be raised to this principle, but it should at once be pointed out that in real life there exist no circumstances or societies where this principle has been wholly observed. When one establishes the principle of ' one man, one vote', one presupposes the perfect human community, as if it were produced and worked out in a laboratory, and where all the problems normally facing a human community had been solved. The claim that to each man there is, in practice and in effect, a corresponding vote, takes it for granted that the problems of education, of transport, of administration, of economic, industrial and agricultural development, are held to have been solved; that all public services have been set up and are functioning; and, finally, that every man in the life of the community has the same interest, the same capacities, possesses equal title to intervene, and is equally competent and anxious to participate at the various levels of administration, from local government up to national government. Well, everyone knows, even the authors and upholders of this principle, that in the realities of life in society, the political phenomenon is completely different, whether one is dealing with a highly developed country or a recently created one.Those words were uttered by Dr. Franco Nogueira, the Portuguese Foreign Minister, in a speech which he made in Luanda last September.
My Lords, if we were to carry this system of "one man, one vote" to its limit, and draw all the logical conclusions, we should have to alter the international representation of countries and completely change the structure of the United Nations itself. If, in fact, we start from this principle of "one man, one vote", it does not explain why the Asiatic continent, with over 1,000 million inhabitants, should be represented by 14 or 15 votes in the United Nations; why 320 million inhabitants of North and South America should have 22 votes, and 350 million Europeans 18 votes; and why the African continent, with 220 million inhabitants, should have 35 votes—in other words, more votes than Europe and Asia put together.
866 My Lords, we have recent experience of what a lack of confidence does in financial matters, and I suggest that what matters in politics is a lack of faith, which is the foundation of success. I suggest that we ourselves face a phenomenon of faith: faith in the past and in our qualities; faith in the present and in the means at our disposal; and faith in the future and in our objectives. Stand up for principles, my Lords, yes. But do not let us drift into the position that the only principle we will stand up for is that of giving violence, ignorance and inexperience a free rein.
We talk of a racial and colour problem; but colour is only an element, though an important one, in an evolving and economic process. For instance, the situations in Portuguese territories, in Rhodesia and Africa, fundamentally different as they are from each other, have this much in common. In each it holds healthy elements of fluidity, and it is vital that it be allowed to remain fluid. To this end, it is essential to avoid the danger of inducing an overall rigidity and inflexibility through malicious, foolish or short-sighted action from outside.
My Lords, you cannot hurry history; nor can you, in South Africa, hammer 3½ million whites into willing acceptance of a shared democracy—which, incidentally, is not what the dissatisfied portion of the non-whites really wants. I suggest that the proper policy is to try to preserve and foster the capacity for change. Methods suggested by the United Nations would be likely to sink beyond redemption any hope of such ultimate peaceful development. The United Nations badly needs a reminder of the Biblical enjoinder to remove first the beam in your own eye before fussing unduly about the mote in your neighbour's eye. Apart from conditions where law and order has broken down, or where the existing Government has invited help, I think that unsolicited international interference with existing Governments trying to solve their own problems should be limited to advice suggesting constructive alternatives in a friendly spirit, and not exalted into a provocative attitude of almost Papal infallibility.
In my view, one of the chief dangers to the peace of the world is the growing desire of the United Nations Organisation to get political power. One should 867 perhaps remember what was put up on the monument in Ghana—and this seems to be the principle which appeals to-day:Seek ye first political power, and all else will be given unto you".That, my Lords, is what has bitten so many African self-appointed leaders today. It may yet break up the United Nations and ruin the good work that all its welfare branches and its aid branches of various kinds have been doing, and I feel that we should set our face against contributing in any way to the growth of this political power in the United Nations Organisation.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, after having heard, in the last two days, about 25 speakers, it is, of course, extremely difficult to find anything new to say in this debate; but I should first of all like to congratulate heartily my noble friend Lord Nathan, whom I have known for many years, on his extremely able maiden speech. In this House we remember his father extremely well, and the fine speeches he used to make to us; and I am sure we have a very worthy successor in his son. I cannot let the occasion pass without also congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, on his speech. I have met the noble Lord before at one or two dinner parties, although perhaps he does not recognise me. I think his was an extremely forceful speech; and, if I may say so, it was brilliantly delivered. I should also like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, on his maiden speech. Unfortunately, I was not here to hear him, but I am sure it was an extremely able speech.
My Lords, I would first say just a word about the nuclear deterrent, because there is here, I think, a misconception which I have not heard refuted in this House. I believe one noble Lord said that our atomic power, our nuclear arm, was only 5 or 6 per cent. of the strength of America's—and, of course, the inference is that, being only 5 or 6 per cent., it is of no account. But we have to remember that the atomic power, the nuclear arm, of America is so vast that I understand it could probably blow the world up 100 times; therefore our own 5 or 6 per cent. nuclear arm is really 868 a terrifying weapon. You need to blow the world up only once: you do not need to blow it up 100 times. I just wish to make that point.
The other point I should like to make, although the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has covered it, concerns what was said when, in another place, the Prime Minister dropped a bombshell by throwing doubt on our ability to supply all the fissile materials for the Polaris warheads after 1968—and, of course, the inference is that they are therefore not truly independent. My Lords, I think it is completely unlikely—I would say quite impossible—that there is some fissile material that we shall not be able to manufacture in this country. I cannot believe that there is. In time, I am sure we could manufacture anything that the Americans can. But, even if that were not so, we in this country must have—and I understand that we do have—an ample supply of plutonium 239 and uranium 235 to make our own warheads. This rather follows on what I have just said about the power of our own deterrent. Even if the fissile materials I have just mentioned do not have quite the explosive capacity of whatever the Prime Minister had in mind, which I suppose was plutonium 241, we have surely now reached a pitch in the preparation for atomic warfare where there is really no object in having any greater explosive force because we have reached saturation in explosive force. Therefore, I feel that the Prime Minister's remark had no point; I feel he rather over-stated his case there.
My Lords, I also want to speak about Africa; but before I do so I should like to refer to a point made by the Minister of Defence for the Royal Air Force, the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton. He stated that the real difference between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party was that the Labour Party believed in collective security while the Conservative Party believed in independent security for this country. Of course, that is not really so. One has only to look at the record of our Alliances. But in this age, when the whole world scene is changing so quickly, though I believe in collective security, while we have our far-flung Commonwealth and our world-wide commitments I feel that if we do irrevocably commit our nuclear arm to an Alliance it is dangerous: because—who knows?—there 869 could arise a situation of the nuclear blackmail of Australia. Indonesia one day may have the bomb; or Australia might be so blackmailed by China.
I feel the arrangements that the Conservative Government entered into with NATO were far more satisfactory, namely, that NATO should have a nuclear arm, but in the event—and I agree it is an unlikely event—of our being blackmailed when other European countries in the Alliance might not feel they were threatened, we could withdraw our deterrent. But I feel it is dangerous to enter into these alliances where we cannot, if the real test comes, withdraw our deterrent. Of course, it all depends on what is meant by "irrevocable". Presumably, if you break the alliance the word "irrevocable" would not apply; but I hold that it is a great mistake to break alliances. However, I should like also to congratulate the Prime Minister. He is obviously anxious to defend this country, and it appears to me that in defence he is embarking on a largely Conservative policy. The only bone of contention between us is this word "irrevocable".
If I may now turn to Africa for a moment (and I will be as brief as I can), I must say that I cannot agree with the noble Lord, Lord Alport, whom I understood to say that he did not really think that Africa was of such vast importance in the world scene. I cannot agree with that. In all the speeches I have made on Foreign Affairs in your Lordships' House I have always stressed the extreme importance of Africa and the subversion of that continent by the Communists. It is quite certain that Africa has now become the cockpit of the world.
My Lords, I understand that the Prime Minister in another place has given expression to the view—and he is quite right here—that our world influence, and our image to foreign and Commonwealth countries, rest entirely on our fighting oppression and racialism. I agree with' that. We cannot maintain our position in the world solely by nuclear strength or by conventional force strength. But, while I agree that we must fight oppression and racialism, I am extremely distressed—and I am afraid I have to a certain extent to blame the Conservative Government for this—that we have not been doing this. For instance, did we 870 fight oppression in Zanzibar? I understood that at one time 2,000 Arabs were being murdered each week there—though I have no means of verifying this. I also understood that the Goverment there were even cutting the hands off children. That seems extraordinary; but I have heard it. We did nothing about it. That is not fighting oppression. And then we had the case in Ruanda of the Watutsi. I understand that at one time 30, 000 of them were being murdered a week. This was an example of the most appalling racialism; and there were United Nations observers there! What did we do about it? What did the United Nations do about it? They did nothing about it. There were just empty words. It really makes one's blood boil.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE EARL OF LONGFORD)
My Lords, I am sorry but I missed some part of the noble Lord's speech, and therefore I may not be quite in line with his thoughts. But what did he think these observers ought to have done about it?
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
These observers ought to have reported back—as they presumably did—to the United Nations; and the United Nations should have taken steps to stop this.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
By force, by appealing to Britain, to America or to France to send in troops to stop it. But if a country has once been a colonial Power, apparently it is "not done" to be engaged by the United Nations to keep order. There are also some of our own former Colonies which have been given independence and in which the Opposition has been completely crushed. They are ruled by dictatorships. But we do nothing about it. I do not call that obeying the Prime Minister's words about fighting oppression.
We hear a lot of propaganda about the emerging African nations, but the majority of them are not emerging—that is complete nonsense; they are decaying. They are going back to the anarchy and disease and starvation from which we rescued them. This is a tragedy. Of course, it admirably suits the Communist Powers, but what are we doing about it? We are pouring money 871 in, but that is not enough. We must have stronger action.
The only prosperous areas of Africa are those where the white man still has control. There is a tremendous boom in South Africa at the moment. But we appear to be doing our best to subjugate those few remaining prosperous areas to the same anarchy that has spread over other areas of Africa. We hear a great deal about racial equality. It is extremely difficult to get, but we must try by every means we can to have it. But do some of the African leaders really want racial equality? I do not think so. I think they want black domination, in order to exploit their fellow men, and do not want racial equality at all. Perhaps some people would say that I ought not to say this but keep my head in the sand, like an ostrich; but it is time these things were said. It is probably easier to say them in this House than in another place.
What do we do about it? We are helping the underdeveloped areas of the world to the tune of about £150 million that we can ill afford with our balance of payments. I understand that, per capita, we are helping the underdeveloped countries far more than is any other country in the world. I understood the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, to say that we were rather selfish and did not help enough, but I fail to see how, in our present economic position, we can help any more, no matter how much we may want to do so. We are paying the piper, but I should like us to call the tune a bit more. Our own nationals are ill-treated, but we never do anything about it. We are frequently abused by people in countries into which the British taxpayer's money is going, but we do not seem to worry. The Press is telling us that arms are going through Tanzania to the Congolese rebels. Why do we not say to the Tanzanian Government, "Stop this—and if you do not stop it, no more cash"? I honestly cannot understand the reason.
A great many Africans are anxious to co-operate with us. What have we done for Mr. Tshombe, for instance? We have done very little for him. I presume that one of the reasons is that in the Assembly of the United Nations, the Afro-Asians have now the majority of votes. I, personally, think it is a very irrational system of voting, but the point is that they have 872 a majority, and I suppose we are frightened of offending them. I feel that we sometimes make ourselves a laughing stock in the world. The truth is that we are afraid of offending the African countries who are aligned with the forces of evil. That is the road to ruin.
We have seen what has happened in the Congo. We could have been far more forceful about that. The Bible tells us that out of strength came forth sweetness, out of a lion. But we have shown weakness; and you never get anything out of weakness. The Prime Minister has issued this call to fight oppression. I ask Her Majesty's Government to fight it and not to be inhibited by any out-of-date doctrinaire political ideologies. The trouble in the world to-day is that there are wolves stalking the world, dressed in sheep's clothing. We are beset by fellow travellers. As I have said before, it is not the known Communists who are most dangerous, but the people in sheep's clothing. I am convinced that if we do not take a strong line in Africa we shall lose the East-West war. Take the Eastern flank of NATO: as I said in our last foreign affairs debate, the troubles in Cyprus were fomented by Communist propaganda to destroy our Eastern Mediterranean flank. Turkey and Greece are now rather estranged from us, and if Africa goes we shall be outflanked in the South and in the East.
Before I conclude I should like to appeal to Her Majesty's Government to do nothing hasty in the field of foreign affairs, because the whole scene is changing so quickly. For heaven's sake preserve us from 100 dynamic days in foreign affairs! I am sure that Her Majesty's Government are placing the defence of this country first and foremost in their minds, and I wish them luck in this endeavour.
§ 6.50 p.m.
LORD ST. JUST
My Lords, I have a self-imposed rule, having spoken in your Lordships' House a good many times, that I never speak for more than ten minutes. So your Lordships may take heart, because I will cover the ground in that time. There are only two areas that I want to deal with, and during the course of the debate to-day both have been touched on by various noble Lords. The first is the question of Portugal and her African possessions; 873 and the other is South Africa herself. I have visited both areas and know them fairly well.
I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can give us any information about the situation in Angola, and what the latest news is. I know that this may be bowling rather a "fast one", and I shall quite understand if it is impossible for anything to be produced. However, I think it is of great interest, because in the whole context of Africa in Angola and Mozambique we see a situation that very much ties up with the question of South Africa and also with what may happen to Southern Rhodesia. I think this is something that we must keep very much in the forefront of our minds.
Will Southern Rhodesia join South Africa? She may easily do so. Should that happen, the boundaries of the defence of the Union will not be on the Limpopo, but will go to the Zambesi. I know that we may, and often do, criticise Portugal—after all, it is a dictatorship. But I personally have a certain softness towards Salazar ever since I was out in Portugal and heard a very nice story about him. It concerned an incident when the first military junta came to him after he had been in power for only a short time and tried to impose strong restrictions on him. He said: "After all I am a professor from Coimbra University. There are always fast trains back to Coimbra." I think that Angola and Mozambique are really the balance and internal part of the whole structure of Portugal and what is left of her empire. She will not, I am certain, give these up easily. Salazar has tried to do, and he has done, enormous things in Portugal. He has improved the postal services, roads and railways; and, what I think is important, has produced a very stable middle class in the country. This must not be forgotten because this is the structure for which he has been working. But we know that he has poured a great many troops in Angola, and it would be interesting to hear what the latest news is.
I now turn for a moment to the question of the Republic of South Africa, and I will detain your Lordships for only a few moments on this subject. I very much support the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, in what he said about South 874 Africa and about allowing things to work themselves out in the best way they can. We must never forget that in the Republic of South Africa, as it now is, it is not just a question of white supremacy or African supremacy. There are the Indians and the Zulus, who hate each other just as much as, very often, the Afrikaners and the English people do in South Africa. This is a problem that must take a long time to solve.
I am sure that everybody dislikes the present attitude of the South African Government; it is bad in many ways. But they have at least, at the moment, some form of policy which is holding that end of Africa together. I know that it is not right, and that what is going on is hateful. All the same, I think that many of the Afrikaners (and, after all, this is mainly an Afrikaner Government"), these Dutchmen, really like the African basically. They always have done; they get on with them, and they understand them. I know that at the moment they are being harsh, but I believe there is a chance that this problem may slowly solve itself, as they get the African more educated and the tribal system probably, in a way, broken down. But it is necessary to do away with witchcraft and these other great complications before it will be possible to get a completely united South Africa.
My Lords, with those few remarks concerning the Portuguese territories in Africa and South Africa itself, I now hand over to the noble Earl. Lord Jellicoe.
§ 6.59 p.m.
My Lords, we have had a long and full two days. We have had a fine bag of speakers, including some of our "bigger fish". As a number of noble Lords have said, we have had a fine quartet of maidens, and I feel that I must add my congratulations to the many which have already been given to them. I, for one, admired the wise words of my noble friend Lord Oakshott; I admired the notable speech of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon; I myself liked the moving and sincere words which we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Brockway—and, as an old Wykehamist, may I say how glad I am to welcome the latest of our "old Etonians" to your Lordships' House—and I should also like 875 to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, for his, I thought, very penetrating remarks. Of course, all this has been leavened by four Ministers—a fine illustration of the Government's wealth in Ministers, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
In winding up from this side, I will not stress a great deal the matters on which we find ourselves in agreement. Like others, I believe that there are a great many such matters. There is a wide measure of agreement in this House on our world rôle. There is agreement about support for Malaysia, and I am glad to welcome at my first opportunity the policy which the present Government are pursuing in support of that Commonwealth country. There is the underlying support for our alliances.
There is, underlying that, the importance clearly attached to our relations with the United States of America. There are the hopes, I think shared by all of us, for a detente in East-West relations, and there is the vast importance attached by, I think, all of us, to somehow mitigating and resolving the tensions and problems of the North-South question. There is not least a wide measure of agreement to-day, and in our debate last week, on disarmament and arms control. Not least, my Lords, I think there is a fairly wide measure of agreement and support for the United Nations, or on many aspects of the work of the United Nations—a wider measure, if I may be allowed to say so, than I felt the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, was allowing for in his speech. If, therefore, in these brief remarks I stress where there is division of opinion or certain scepticism on our part, I hope your Lordships will take as read much of what I have not time to say at this hour. I will therefore concentrate these concluding remarks on three subjects: on our relations with Europe; on certain aspects of Defence and foreign policy and their inter-action; and on the proposals for an Atlantic Nuclear Force.
I should like for a moment to revert to the question of our relations with Europe, if only because we have some interest in what has already been said in the last two days by my noble leader, 876 Lord Carrington, the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and, not least, by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn. I hope Lord Gladwyn will not feel it presumptuous of me to say that it was one of the most interesting, powerful and eloquent speeches of which he has given your Lordships the benefit.
I think it is undeniable that the present Government—and I doubt whether they would wish to deny it—got off to a poor start in their relations with Western Europe (I do not propose to go into all that again) with regard to the surcharge and, above all, the brusque and boorish manner of its imposition. I am much more concerned now about the future; and I am particularly concerned about this question of our political relations with Europe and the part we should play in the coming talks on political union, to which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, addressed himself. My noble friend Lord Gladwyn mentioned the famous victory which the French won only the other day at Brussels, only a few miles from Waterloo—their important victory on cereal prices. I feel fairly well convinced that my noble friend was right in saying that for this, and for other reasons, the negotiations for political union in Europe may soon gather momentum. In speaking of this, my noble friend urged the need for some clear indication of the Government's policy: what their aims are; what their objectives are in this field; and the sort of political shape which we, as Europeans, should like Europe to take.
The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, urged that there was a large spectrum at which we should aim, but that we should certainly aim at not less than a genuine political union. I personally agree with those words. If I may say so with respect, I was disappointed at what the noble Lord, Lord Walston, had to say on this subject, and I hope that the noble Earl, when he replies, may be able to add to that.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl, simply for elucidation? When he says he is aiming at a genuine political union, is he speaking for the Conservative Party?
I was speaking personally here, and I thought I was making that clear. I personally would endorse 877 the words which the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, said in that respect. Here I am speaking for my Party, and I would say this. I thought it was a pity that the noble Lord, Lord Walston, confined himself merely to an expression of our desire to take part in any talks on political integration and union which may take place. He absolved himself by the formula that we cannot say precisely what we demand and what we insist on. With respect again, I feel that that was a poor argument. Of course we should not say what we demand. Of course we should not say what we insist on. But we can surely say what we want, and what we should like to see, just as we have over our proposals for the Atlantic Nuclear Force. The Government have no compunction there about saying what they would like to see.
Of course, you cannot say what you want until you have decided yourself what you want; therefore, from these Benches I should like to endorse what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said. I hope that the Government, if they have not already done so, will give some really fundamental thought to this problem. In any event, from these Benches we will continue to press for something more platitudinous, remarks which the noble Lord, Lord Walston, had to make on this subject. We shall press, in his words, for co-operative deeds, and for at least a glimpse of what the Government may have in mind in this sphere. That is all I have to say on this area, the area of our relations with Europe.
Could I now turn just for a moment to certain aspects of defence where they impinge upon our general foreign policy? I realise, of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, quite rightly remarked yesterday, that this is not a Defence debate; and I also realise that we shall be having a number of opportunities soon to discuss Defence issues. Yet much of this discussion has, in a way, revolved around our commitments abroad, our global commitments, our world rôle, our ability to discharge that rô le; and a number of question!;, not all of which have been answered, have been asked by noble Lords.
I would agree with something which the Prime Minister said in the debate last week in another place. I agree that we 878 cannot, as a nation, sustain our world rôle (and I am glad that this global rôle has been discovered by the Government) by military strength alone. Our ability to do so depends, of course, on the health and strength of this country—on our economic strength and our political strength and, not least, on our moral health. Yet I would suggest that military strength is an essential ingredient here. I would agree, too, on the need for economy— £2, 000 million a year is a vast amount by any standard. A certain amount of play has been made, mostly in another place, on the fact that this is likely to rise, unless there is retrenchment, to £2, 400 million a year in five years; again a vast amount. In passing, I would remark that if we achieve our 4 per cent. growth rate over the next five years that £2, 400 million would not represent a higher proportion of our gross national product than our present expenditure—at least according to my calculations, which may well be wrong.
Yet clearly we should economise if we possibly can. Where I am puzzled is about what the Government feel here. I was puzzled when I read the Prime Minister's speech in another place. I am still puzzled, having listened to the Government's clear reaffirmation of our three main military rôles at present. They have confirmed that this country, perhaps not independently, will continue to exercise its nuclear rô le—and I would agree here with what the noble Lord, Lord Sherfield, had to say in this respect—but, if that is so, I can see no diminution in our expenditure in this field unless, of course, the Government propose to cut the proposed Polaris force. We have a lot of Press speculation these days and I have seen speculation in the Press that that may be cut to three or four submarines. If there is any reassurance that the noble Earl can give me on that matter I shall be glad to have it.
That is the first rôle. Then there is the NATO rô le. The drift of the Prime Minister's argument in another place, as I read it, is that while we should sustain and honour our NATO obligations, and our obligation to keep troops in NATO, there may well be economies to be won here. This is a natural and understandable argument to employ, bearing in mind the shift Eastwards in the centre of military gravity which we see to-day. I 879 have some sympathy with what my noble friend Lord Teynham and the noble Lord, Lord Sherfield, had to say in this respect, but I would ask noble Lords opposite, if they are contemplating this, to remember, as we are sure they will, that nothing is immutable in the world position; the centre of gravity may switch back. In any event—and this seems to me to be of vital importance—if they do wish to reduce our commitments in Western Europe, and I could understand their desire to do so, I would urge that no reduction should be made until we have had full consultation, and by that I mean real consultation with our European Allies. I would suggest, and this comes back to what I was saying on the first area in relations with Europe, that the better Europeans we prove ourselves to be, the more likely are any such negotiations to be successful.
The third rôle is, of course, the rôle outside NATO. There we have heard that there will be no reduction, as I understand it, in our commitments. Indeed, I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, yesterday evening who suggested that there might in certain respects be some increases. So there are no economies, as I see it, to be won there, at least by cutting the commitments. So where do we go from there?
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? I said that there would be increased emphasis; I did not say there would be an increase in the number of commitments.
I am not quite certain what that particular gloss means. I should like to think about it
§ LORD SHACKLETON
May I just help the noble Lord on this matter, as I think it is important? There will be increased emphasis in our defence policy in regard to these commitments; not an increase in the number of commitments.
The noble Lord has tried to help me, but I find he has given me rather a broken crutch. However, I will do my homework and look at these words very carefully over the Christmas Recess. I am sure there is some meaning in them which at the moment escapes me.
880 However, as I see it, if we are not going to reduce our commitments, then the economies must come from better housekeeping, and new brooms always think they can keep house better than old brooms. Possibly we may make minor economies here. Or they will have to be made at the expense of new weapons systems. Again, I would merely repeat the argument made by a number of noble Lords, particularly by my noble friend Lord Selkirk, about the dangers of equipping our Forces, even in the most conventional of rôles, with anything save absolutely first-rate equipment.
With regard to the Atlantic Nuclear Force, I am sure that many of your Lord-ships are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, for the way in which he introduced us last night to the Government's proposals for an Atlantic Nuclear Force. He went over the course at a pretty fair gallop and left some of us rather breathless. Nevertheless, some aspects of this are a little clearer, at least to me. It is clear that these negotiations have only just begun. We are obviously in for a period of very hard bargaining. It is clear that the Government are not going to scrap either the V-bombers or the Polaris submarines. Above all, it is clear—and this is the irony of the situation—that it is those very nuclear weapons which the previous Government developed and which the present Government, or some members of it, denounced when in Opposition which now form the whole basis of the Prime Minister's negotiating position. But a lot still needs clarifying.
First and most important in my mind is the interpretation to be put on these proposals. Are they, in fact, really new or are they merely a re-hash of existing arrangements and proposals? There is, of course, quite a lot to be said for this school of thought, to which I think that famous and forward-looking Socialist thinker Mr. Woodrow Wyatt belongs. After all, the V-bombers, the British Polaris force and the U.S. submarines were already assigned or were to be assigned to NATO. Clearly the past Government, like the present Government, would have welcomed a similar French contribution. And we had made proposals for a land-based, mixed-manned force which were very close, at least 881 as I understand things, to those which the Government now have in mind. So the components of this marvellous new creation were already there, or there in embryo.
But the noble Lord argues, in his own words, that what is new about this force is that these national elements would be committed indefinitely, or as long as NATO continues to exist. It is here that doubt creeps in, at least in my mind. The noble Lord argued last night that for the Government the commitment would be indefinite. If so, why write in this qualification about the life of the Alliance? Who, in a crisis, is to judge whether the Alliance is effectively in existence? Might it not be the individual Governments concerned? If so, and if national elements of the force were nationally manned, if their communications were nationally controlled—as we are told ours are going to be—and if there are to be no electronic locks placed upon their missiles (and here the position is less clear) would not those individual Governments be able in the last resort to act upon their individual judgments? In that case, is this not Article 9 all over again, but by the back door? That is one possible interpretation, my Lords. The other—and this is the interpretation which finds favour in the Left wing of the Party opposite—is that, as and when we commit our V-bombers and our Polaris submarines, we renounce once and for all our independent nuclear option. If that is the correct interpretation, then I, along with most of my noble friends and most noble Lords, can only deplore the fact that the Government are now proposing to make this supreme act of national renunciation. It is a sacrifice which will fall only on us. It is not, at least so far as I know, a sacrifice which any other nuclear Government is contemplating. And here again I would say how much I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Sherfield, had to say on that particular point. Surely, if we are being asked to forgo this option, if we are being asked to pay that heavy price, it is reasonable to ask what we shall be getting in return. The objectives behind the Government's proposals, as the noble Lord outlined them yesterday evening—improving the unity of the Alliance, promoting non-dissemination, and so on—are perfectly unexception- 882 able. But will the proposals advance these objectives? The noble Lord has still to convince me that they will.
First, there is the little but not unimportant matter of credibility. We do not, of course, dispute the fact that the American veto should cover this force. But what about all the other possible proposed vetoes. With all those fingers on the safety catch (I dislike reverting to this jargon, and I apologise for doing so) would anyone, in a crunch, be able to pull the trigger of the A.N.F.? More important, would the other side believe that they would? Second, there is the Government's desire—and I am sure it is a genuine desire—to promote the strength and unity of the Atlantic Alliance. We are at one with them in that objective. The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, spoke rather optimistically last night about the reception these proposals have so far received. Here again I must admit to slightly more scepticism. From the Americans (the noble Earl will correct me if I am wrong) I believe we have received, at most, a cautious "Go ahead". Perhaps they might be prepared to take a really serious look at these proposals if we could sell them to our Allies in Europe. But the question is, can we? These are delicate negotiations, and neither I nor any of my noble friends would wish to embarrass the Government in mid-stream, as it were, whatever reservations we may have on this plan. But can the noble Earl, when he replies, give us any further indication of the views of the two European Governments whose support for this scheme is, in my view, absolutely cardinal? Up till now, the Federal German Government have been in Europe the keenest proponents of the M.L.F. The Prime Minister has described this scheme as nonsensical. Can the noble Earl tell us whether the Government would be prepared to consider participation in this "nonsensical" scheme, if only on a modest scale, if this was the price for German support for the proposals as a whole? What can the noble Earl tell us about the French position? Many noble Lords have dwelt on the importance of France in this matter, and I agree. Like them, I believe that France is essential to the Alliance, as the Alliance is to France. Can he tell us 883 anything about the reception these proposals have had with the French in Paris?
As an aspect of unity there is control. I confess that, for all the noble Lord's lucidity, I still find the control arrangements for the A.N.F. extraordinarily hard to follow. I still find it hard to see how, if by any chance these proposals go through, we shall not, in fact, be creating that Alliance within an Alliance which noble Lords opposite seek to avoid. May I cite one example of what worries me? The Government tell us that the proposed control of policy for the A.N.F. would consult and discuss possible contingencies throughout the world which might give rise to the possible use of nuclear weapons. This is a very important concept. I, for one, favour this extension of NATO's writ or semi-writ in this sort of way, if the other members of the Alliance can be brought to go along with it. But should not this function, and indeed many other functions, be entrusted to the NATO Council itself? The Government have spoken of certain difficulties in this respect. What difficulties? They have spoken of the special reasons for setting up this special authority. What are the special reasons? In another place the Prime Minister said that he was not dogmatic on this point, and that it could be open to further debate. But until we know what is in the Government's mind here, it is very difficult to debate intelligently this particular aspect of their proposals.
Linked with this aspect is the position of the Supreme Commander in Europe. I do not wish to dogmatise on this, on whether it should be SACEUR or some new command. But one thing we should be clear about, as the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, put it—I am putting it slightly differently—is what the new or old Commander will, in fact, be commanding. Will he be commanding any tactical nuclear units? Here there is a conflict, as I read their remarks, between what was said in another place by the Prime Minister and what was said by the Secretary of State for Defence. Can the noble Earl enlighten us upon this? There is also the aspect of non-dissemination. The noble Lord stressed this as justification for their "new look" force. But we must remember that the biggest immediate 884 danger of dissemination lies outside NATO, in Asia, and, as I see it, the A.N.F. would, of itself, do nothing to meet these risks.
So I come, I hope more or less logically, to the threats to world stability—the threat to India, the threat of proliferation—posed, and illustrated, by the Chinese explosion of a nuclear device. From all appearances, the Government are giving, in my view rightly, a very high priority to the containment of this threat. I was intrigued by what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, had to say yesterday. He seemed to envisage some sort of Pacific Nuclear Force. But I was also puzzled by what he had to say on the subject of our retention of certain V-bombers. He stated that this does not mean that we shall be preserving our independent nuclear deterrent. If it does not mean this, could the noble Earl explain what it does mean? My Lords, I have asked enough questions. I hope that we shall have some answers. I hope also that I have said enough to indicate a certain scepticism (I will not at this hour put it higher) about the Government's proposals. Having said that, I would add two further comments. The first is that I hope noble Lords opposite will not feel that we here underrate the difficulties and complexities of this problem. It trenches on the sovereignty—whoever was approaching it and however it was being approached—of old, great and jealous (I use the word in the best sense) nations. It is not an easy matter and we do not "kid" ourselves that it is.
Secondly, there was one thing—there may have been more but certainly one thing above all—which the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, said, and which was also evident in the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Walston, yesterday, that I welcomed. That was that, despite all this talk of a hundred days of dynamism, it was the evident determination of the Government to preserve something of an open mind on these matters; not to rush their fences over the Atlantic Nuclear Force and to show themselves responsive (here I am giving them the benefit of the doubt) to opinion on this matter, both at home and abroad. If I am right in my reading of their mind on this point, I certainly welcome that attitude. We believe that this is a subject 885 much more susceptible to a 1,000-days Marathon—if the Government are vouchsafed 1,000 days—than to a 100-days sprint.
§ Finally, we had yesterday from my noble friend Lord Carrington a clear statement on some technical aspects of the independence of the British deterrent which the Prime Minister called in question at the end of last week's debate in another place As Minister of Defence for the Royal Navy, I had until a certain sad event some two months ago a certain direct responsibility in these matters. Given that recent responsibility, I wish to associate myself with what my noble friend said on these three points. The noble Earl the Leader of the House may, like his noble friend yesterday evening, seek to persuade us that both those wise and truthful men, the Prime Minister and my noble friend, are right about this.
§ THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE FOR THE ROYAL AIR FORCE (LORD SHACKLETON)
Only the Prime Minister.
But I think that the noble Earl, for all his dexterity, will find this impossible. Alternatively, he may seek to show that my noble friend is wrong. I think he will find this hard. I personally regret that the Prime Minister opened these particular matters to Parliamentary debate; but, this having been done, I trust that when the noble Earl winds up in a moment he will fee] able to confirm that what my noble friend said on this matter is in substance correct.
To conclude, I have stressed certain areas of policy where we are puzzled or sceptical or downright disquieted. But I should not wish to end these remarks on that unseasonal note. I believe, as I said at the start, that there are a number of great issues on which this country is broadly united. Above all, I believe—here I must be cautious and will say that I am speaking personally, so that the noble Earl will be under no misapprehension—that there is a considerable consensus of informed opinion, at one in believing that there is a lot to be commended in the long-range strategy, the grand design, which the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, sketched out to us yesterday.
I would remind your Lordships of the three stages. They may need to follow one another, but they could be worked 886 at to some extent simultaneously. First, there is the formation of a genuinely and fully united Europe in which Britain will be playing its full, due and proud part; second, the evolution towards a real Atlantic Community embracing the two great, free, co-equal groupings of Western Europe and North America; and third, and of course longer range, that Federation of the World to which practical idealists like the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, so ardently aspire. That is a programme of action, very broad and long range, admittedly, but one which calls for, in fact demands, much short-term action, much urgent spade work. It is a programme which, in conclusion, I should like to commend to your Lordships and which I believe is likely to command widespread support in this country.
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am sure that all on this side, and all in the House, will respond to the spirit of the last words that fell from the noble Earl, who, if I may say so without seeming to be patronising, is making a fine reputation as one of the young statesmen in this House—if to be a young statesman is not a contradiction in terms. I am never quite sure whether a man is a statesman unless he has attained the seniority of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee; but I would certainly pay tribute to the potential statesmanship of the noble Earl.
I was only annoyed by one remark, which he said he made in passing, but, if I may say so, in a slightly and somewhat irritating way. That was when he said that we got off to a poor start. Of course he ranged fairly far within this Foreign Affairs debate, as other speakers have done, and to point out to him what a terrible mess we were in when we started would be to carry us outside this debate. But I must put that on the Record, if we are going to be told that we made this poor start; and, if he will allow me, I will come back later to some of his main points.
It would, of course, have been impossible for me even to try to reply, as the saving goes, to a two-day debate, contributed to by so many distinguished speakers, if the main task had not already been performed—and most effectively, as one knew it would be—by my three 887 ministerial colleagues: by the noble Lords, Lord Walston and Lord Shackleton, yesterday, and, in a notable speech to-day, even among many notable speeches, by my noble friend Lord Caradon. I am sorry that the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, is not here because I thought his tribute was particularly spontaneous when he said that the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, had thrilled the House. It takes a lot in my experience—and I am sure some of the old hands like the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, will agree—to thrill this particular Chamber. But I think we were fairly and squarely thrilled by the noble Lord, Lord Caradon.
Of course there are a number of speakers to whom I must fail to make any or adequate reference. I think I have heard all the speeches, or at any rate part of most of the speeches, except that of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, which I will read most carefully tomorrow. Maybe for once I shall agree with him entirely, or it may be that I shall not. T think I will leave it until Christmas Day, when I shall feel in an even greater spirit of amity than I otherwise should, before I study it. But I think I have heard all the other speakers.
The noble Lord, Lord Sherfield, is one of the outstanding Government servants of our time. I hope that he will forgive me if I do not attempt to produce a considered reply to his most careful observations. To give something of a reply on the earlier points of the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, both he and the noble Lord, Lord Sherfield, will be aware that there is to be a fundamental review of our entire Defence arrangements, and what the noble Lord, Lord Sherfield, and the noble Earl have said on that part of the matter will be studied with particular attention.
The noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, if he will forgive me for saying so, said a number of things which I am afraid seemed to me to be unreal, and, I am bound to say, somewhat repellent. But it is a free country, and why should he not repel me as well as I repel him? This is the give-and-take of our debates. But he did say one thing which I felt was perhaps answered by the noble Lord, Lord Caradon. He said that we were a kind of laughing-stock in the world because we were trying to help 888 people and to help the underdeveloped countries. The noble Viscount will recollect what the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, said on this matter. But I think that anybody who listened to the noble Viscount will feel that the nations of the world, and particularly those who up till now have not had much of a chance, are deeply grateful to us; and, whether or not they always behave exactly as we should like, we are tremendously respected for what we have done in freeing them and trying to help. So I do not in any way accept the view that now, in 1964, we are being considered a laughing-stock through being kind to the underdeveloped countries.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, may I intervene just to say that I certainly did not mean that at all? I was referring particularly to Zanzibar. I do not think that I said that we were a laughing-stock because we tried to help the underdeveloped countries. But I think we become a laughing-stock if we allow oppression to exist in our own Commonwealth and do not try to prevent it. That is what I was driving at.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
Then, my Lords, I misunderstood the noble Viscount on that point. But I think that when he looks at his remarks he will see that his description of our rather absurd rôle, as he thought, was pretty wide. He described what we were doing in the world and how we were regarded. But I hope that he will study carefully what was said by my noble friend Lord Caradon.
The noble Lord, Lord St. Just, will not expect any of us in this House to sympathise with his qualified defence of many things that are being done by the South African Government. I know that he said that in some respects their policy was horrible. He used stronger words, but then he went on to say that we ought to understand them better than we do; that they really like the African, and that in one way or other we are not sufficiently generous in our attitude towards them. I am sorry that on this side—I certainly speak for myself and I think for most people in this country—we cannot go any distance there with the noble Lord. What is so terrible, so tragic, in South Africa is not that here you have a people whom the Boers cut off, if you 889 like, from advanced ideas, but who are nevertheless gradually moving towards them. What you have here is a people who are going backwards, and going backwards fast, in a manner which I am afraid we must regard as totally evil.
LORD ST. JUST
My Lords, what I was trying to get across was, of course, that one does not approve of any of this policy, but it is a question of a steppingstone while all these races and the differrent peoples in South Africa have a chance to be able to work out the future.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
Again, I am glad the noble Lord has been able to put that on record. I think that when he sees his original remarks he will be glad that I have given him the opportunity to say what he has just said.
I must also, on behalf of the whole House, congratulate all the maiden speakers. I have already alluded to the Minister. The noble Lord, Lord Oakshott, established himself very much as a Member of the House of Lords straight away and very soon we shall not remember at all that he was so recently a maiden speaker. The noble Lord, Lord Nathan, recalled to many of us his father. As he was speaking one could almost feel his father, who was such a dear friend of so many of us. I am sure that it would have given his father special pleasure that the noble Lord chose South-East Asia as his subject. Soon after the war the then Mr. Attlee and Mr. Ernest Bevin asked Lord Nathan's father to undertake vital work in that sphere, where he made a big contribution. I know that we shall all be anxious to hear the noble Lord again.
I will come near the end to the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. We have listened to many speeches remarkable in their way. Those of the noble Lords, Lord Strang and Lord Alport, made a particular impression on me. If Lord Strang will forgive me, I would say that I was not surprised to find him, as a distinguished Government servant, completely free of Party ties, speaking, as he did, on the need for a more united outlook in foreign policy. And, coming from him, the words have a lot of weight. I felt that the noble Lord, Lord Alport, was perhaps taking his life in his hands more daringly in saying what he said, and anybody who does that in public life should always receive particular respect.
890 I hope that I shall meet with the requirements of the noble Lords, Lord Strang and Lord Alport, and that I shall not strike any partisan notes. If I am correspondingly dull, I shall afterwards blame Lord Strang and Lord Alport because it is much more fun if one is allowed to "bang about".
Those who have studied British foreign policy, including those who have written well-known books about it, like Lord Strang, have concluded that over the years, and if you go far enough back over the centuries, a marked continuity has been a distinguishing feature of our foreign policy and a main source of its strength. There have been occasions—and in Christmas mood and in view of the instruction from the noble Lords, Lord Strang and Lord Alport, I will not mention them—when this feature has been sharply departed from, not so many years from now, and the consequences have been painful and serious. But, in general, this country, under whichever Government, has followed what to outside observers has seemed to be a continuous line of development in its foreign policy.
I notice that various newspapers, the Conservative papers on the whole, but it may be true also of other newspapers—papers like the Sunday Telegraph, and to an extent the Sunday Times—have hailed the Prime Minister's achievements in Washington as continuing the policy of his predecessors. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, spent a little time, in quite a good-humoured way, discussing the question whether he had done anything new. I am not going to spend time on that tonight. I always think it is wise, if you can persuade your predecessors to accept your policy, to give them the credit, so I am not going to become involved in an argument on that subject. I notice that the Sunday Telegraph described Mr. Wilson as "breaking the nuclear log-jam". Whether he broke it on the same lines as some noble Lords imagined they would have done had a certain "unhappy occurrence," to which the noble Earl referred, not happened two months ago, or whether on new lines, becomes partly a question of words. I will not spend much time on the semantic question of whether at this moment our deterrent can fairly be described as independent or whether that is an improper term. I am much more 891 concerned to make sure that the broad aims of the Government are understood and appreciated.
It is fair to point out that two, at least, of the most distinguished public foreign servants in the country, the noble Lords, Lord Strang and Lord Gladwyn (who has never been heard to better advantage than yesterday), on the whole took the view that the initiative of the Government in Washington was promising and that the principles which we appeared to be following in these new plans deserved their support. That guarded and yet, as I thought, genuine tribute from Lord Strang was all the more notable when he said that he had himself up to now felt it necessary to think in terms of an independent nuclear deterrent but this new initiative seemed to have superseded his old point of view.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
Well, it struck me that the noble Lord was going to wait in a fairly hopeful mood and expected to see something quite good or better than he had seen lately. I felt that it was an encouraging commentary.
Before I come to any details, and I will not detain the House too long, I must restate our own fundamental point of view. The fact that it is now thirteen years since I was a Service Minister, and then for only a few months, enables me to state these principles perhaps even more briefly than if I was a technical expert full of recent knowledge like noble Lords opposite or my colleague, Lord Shackleton. May I put them as a layman and yet as a member of the Cabinet carrying a full and heavy responsibility? We are determined with every atom of our strength to support the Atlantic Alliance and to make it an ever more effective reality. We see the Atlantic Alliance, as noble Lords opposite see it, as the main bulwark of the defence of the Free World. But we also believe—and I hope we carry noble Lords with us, as I feel we probably do—with just as much conviction, that the spread of nuclear weapons, their proliferation, to use the fashionable word, is far the greatest danger that confronts the whole world to-day. I hope therefore that the double policy of strengthening the Atlantic Alliance and of preventing the 892 proliferation of nuclear weapons will command the support of everybody in the House. If I sound just a little unsure about the attitude of noble Lords opposite, it is because the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, said that these and one or two other objectives which had been stated were unexceptionable. In other words, he did not express any very great enthusiasm.
My Lords, I feel that I must put a gloss on what the noble Earl has said. If he cares to read what I had to say last week in the debate on Disarmament (it is a most boring speech, and I will not inflict it on him, save perhaps on Christmas Day), he will see that I fully endorse the Government's views on non-dissemination.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My noble friend Lord Shackleton confirms that. He said that the noble Earl was much better last week. I will say, in the Christmas spirit, that he was even better last week. But, at any rate, I entirely accept the words of the noble Earl which must be added to what he said to-night.
But we are, therefore, in complete agreement on the Front Benches, as I expect we are about the double policy—the policy of strengthening the Alliance and preventing this proliferation. And the second purpose is not just something which must be added as a desirable supplement: the whole fate of the world depends on it. The noble Earl had the advantage over me of being able to speak for himself whenever he felt like it. I cannot do much of that, but I will at least say one thing for myself—I cannot commit my colleagues to this, though I think many of them would share the same view. I learned it originally from my noble friend Lord Attlee, and I have said it in past times: that if, in fact, nuclear weapons were to spread very far, the chances of world annihilation would be extremely great. So we are not talking here only of some frill or supplement of foreign policy.
It may be argued that the particular scheme which has been worked out, the A.N.F., is a basis for negotiation; and the noble Earl himself appreciated that there was a great deal of negotiation to be done. We recognise that this is elaborate, and may get more elaborate, though I should hope that it might get less elaborate. But, at any rate, it 893 raises a good many problems. That is perfectly clear. I would only submit respectfully to the noble Earl, and to other noble Lords, that any scheme that was effectively going to achieve this double purpose of strengthening the Alliance and preventing proliferation in the modern world—and I need not underline the position of particular countries in this matter—would be bound to be very complicated. So I do not make an apology for that.
But we have to pool our resources in some way that induces those nations which do not yet possess nuclear weapons to forgo their claim to independent possession of them. I do not want to mention particular countries, because that is so easily misunderstood, but that is one of the main objectives. We hope, by pooling our resources—by making, if noble Lords like the term, a sacrifice—to achieve a very much greater good. But if we followed the other course and decided to "go it alone", I myself could see little hope of avoiding proliferation or the world tragedy that might occur. I repeat that these are very complicated matters, but I hope that the House will feel—and I am inclined to think that the House does feel—that here is a lofty conception if only we can give it life. But it will mean a great deal of very hard work and negotiation.
I think that all of us on this side of the House respected the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk. He raised a number of points, one or two of which were reinforced by the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, and some of which were dealt with by the noble Lord, Lord Caradon. Perhaps I could just reply to one or two of his points to-night, and we can follow up the others in some other way. The noble Earl raised the question of the military value of the Atlantic Nuclear Force, and I think it should be repeated again that it is not part of the British proposal that the total nuclear power of the West should be increased by the creation of an Atlantic Nuclear Force. Our view is that ample nuclear power already exists, and in that sense (and I think the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, fully appreciated this) there is no military reason for the A.N.F.—because we are not going to add to the total military force. But the 894 creation of a unified control system for the nuclear weapons available for the Alliance would be of military as well as political value. So in that sense an Atlantic Nuclear Force could be justified, and should be justified, on military grounds, although it is not adding to the total nuclear force.
The noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, raised another point in that connection about the British advantage to be gained from the A.N.F. The major purpose of the proposal, as has been said, is to strengthen the NATO Alliance. This itself is a major British interest. So that is an obvious answer to the noble Earl. But, secondly, as a major contributor to the Atlantic Nuclear Force, by means, first, of the V-bombers, and then of our Polaris submarine fleet, we should have a degree of influence which we should not otherwise achieve in this most important aspect of the affairs of the Alliance. So we do reckon that we should have more influence in this way than we should otherwise possess.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
By making this pooled contribution, yes. I should like to deal with one or two of the noble Earl's points, but that will have to wait for another debate. One point which is fairly easy to answer is whether SACEUR's tactical weapons would be affected by our proposals. The answer was given by my right honourable friend the Minister of Defence. He said elsewhere on December 17 that tactical nuclear weapons will remain under the control of SACEUR as they are at present. So that is a definite answer to that.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I should find it very difficult to believe that, if the noble Earl had not said so, of course. But, at any rate, this is the latest news, and I can assure the noble Earl that this answer holds the field. I am not going to accept the view that the Prime Minister differed from the Minister of Defence.
I am sorry, but column 434 of Hansard [Commons] for December 16 contains the statement.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
All I can say is that on December 17 the Secretary of State gave this answer, which has been approved in the highest quarters.
I shall deal with one aspect of these questions, which I am rather sorry to have to deal with at all—not that anyone has been in the least offensive to anybody else, but it represents an argument between respected public men; and I know we are, in a sense, all of us, including those concerned, anxious to look at the wider issues. If the House agrees, I do not propose to discuss in full the letter from Mr. Thorneycroft which is published in to-day's Daily Telegraph, but I should like to make one particular comment.
We are dependent on the United States for co-operation in our Polaris programme in many essential ways, such as design, components and materials, including materials for the warheads. While I have every confidence that we shall continue to receive all the help we need, the fact remains that the last Government decided, for reasons of cost and time, that we should rely on American help in these matters. That is really the essence, or, at any rate, one crucial part, of my reply.
If we were thrust back on our resources, either now or after 1968, we should unquestionably have to reappraise the whole situation, and we should incur further very considerable costs. I would repeat the question put by the Prime Minister to the Opposition elsewhere:I should like the Leader of the Opposition to tell … whether he is now satisfied that Britain"—I am quoting from the Prime Minister; all these words are rather essential, although I am trying to summarise what he said—can, from its own resources, without long delays wrecking the whole programme, supply every essential component for the Polaris programme without dependence on the Americans."—[Official Report, Commons, Vol. 704 (No. 36), col. 701, December 17, 1964.]That was the question put by the Prime Minister, and your Lordships can imagine the answer given to it.
On the subject of testing the warheads, all I can add to what the Prime Minister said is that we are dependent on the United States for carrying out such tests as are still permitted under the Test ban 896 Treaty. Of course, I know what the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition said yesterday. While we are fully confident about our design, we have to recognise that we shall not be able to test the whole warhead in the atmosphere. I do not propose to-night, my Lords, to say any more on this subject. If the Leaders of the Opposition want to go into this more fully, may I venture to say respectfully that they may feel able to accept the offer of the Prime Minister, which, incidentally, fits in very well with the point of view expressed by the noble Lords, Lord Strang and Lord Alport, about national unity.
Your Lordships will remember that the Prime Minister suggested elsewhere, that there should be joint talks between the Government and the Opposition on the nation's defence and on security, not only of Britain but of our Allies, in the hope that Defence could be put above politics. The Prime Minister went on to say, à propos of secret information, that he saw no reason why the Opposition should not continue to be taken fully into the Government's confidence on these matters. My Lords, I realise, as he realises, that there are difficulties, but I hope that the noble Lord and his colleagues will think long and carefully before they fail to take advantage of these suggestions.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl the Leader of the House for just one moment? Of course, that invitation has gone to my right honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition, and it is for him to decide whether or not to take advantage of it, with all the advantages it may bring and the possible disadvantages. But, with regard to what the noble Earl has said about the issue that we were discussing yesterday, I must say that I think what the noble Earl has now said is a very different thing from what the Prime Minister said in the debate last week, and I should like to say this to him—I said it yesterday, and I repeat it. We certainly are satisfied that if these agreements that we have with the United States were not extended, we could make the materials ourselves, and there would be no gap.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I do not think I shall attempt to add to a very careful statement. I think the public must 897 read all that we have all had to say about it, and form their own conclusions.
My Lords, I must not keep noble Lords very much longer, but I must certainly say something about Europe. Here, I was a little unfair, perhaps, to the noble Earl in asking him, when he spoke about Europe, whether he was speaking for himself. It seems that he was speaking for himself, and he undoubtedly stated a wholehearted European view. I myself, in past times, was very active in what was, I suppose, the European movement, under the leadership of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and I am not prepared to admit that I was wrong: but, of course, the situation to-day is very much more difficult than it was then. One cannot talk as though nothing has altered. One is bound to admit that the attitude of President de Gaulle has caused profound disappointment. One must be very careful, certainly speaking as a Minister, in saying anything about so old and valued a friend and Ally as France, but I am bound to say that it never crossed my mind, when I was a Minister before, that we should ever reach a point when relations with France were so difficult, in spite of all the very great personal friendship which exists between so many thousands of French people and people here.
I feel that one must never assume in any dispute, certainly in a dispute with an old and valued friend, that all right is on one's own side; but, in this matter, I cannot blame the last Government and I do not blame this Government. Yet everybody in this country must redouble his efforts in the way suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn—who made, I thought, a profound and, to me, very original analysis of the situation—to see that, somehow or other, this phase is worked through and that we resume our old official relations with France. Our personal relationships, of course, have never varied.
As regards Europe, I stand admonished by the noble Earl, the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and my noble friend and colleague, Lord Listowel. I realise that it is lamentable, in a debate of this kind, if nothing is said about Europe; but if something is said, as by the noble Lord, Lord Walston, then we are accused of uttering platitudes. I am afraid some of these remarks may be called platitudinous; but I want to emphasise that 898 we are most anxious to participate from the outset in any discussions among the Six on closer political co-operation. We certainly do not want to give the false impression that we are trying to exercise a veto on any advance, or to obstruct talks. The political unity of Europe is of wider concern. We are a major European Power, and it would not serve the purpose of European and Atlantic co-operation if important decisions affecting the political future of Europe were taken without us.
I think that in the end, in this country, we shall find that a new opportunity will occur of resuming an official relationship with Europe. It may not be just yet; but certainly I do not know anybody in my own Party—and there are many varying views on Europe in my own Party—who does not regret certain difficulties that have arisen through no fault of ours. I would just add the thought that if the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, is right—I do not say he is, but he may be right—it may be that we ought to be acquiring more original ideas; that we ought to be more inventive than we are showing ourselves. I can only express the hope to the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and to other noble Lords, wherever they sit, that if they have any ideas about how a closer relationship could be secured with Europe, compatible with existing policies and, of course, above all, with the Atlantic Alliance, then we shall be glad to listen to them.
My Lords, before I close I should like to say just one thing about the speech, so profoundly moving, of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. I have always felt—and I hope that other noble Lords have felt this, too—that in this House, in times when there has been very strong and conscientious objection in this country (though never in anything like a majority sense) among many men and women of great earnestness and elevation of outlook to the whole idea of nuclear weapons, it is a pity that we have seldom, if ever, listened to speeches in favour of nuclear disarmament. Now that the noble Lord is with us, we may have that opportunity in future.
For myself, if anybody asks me how, as a Christian, however inadequate a Christian, one can justify the actual use of a nuclear weapon—if the noble Lord, 899 Lord Brockway, the child and grandchild of missionaries, or anyone else, asks how one can justify its use—I certainly find it remarkably difficult to give an adequate answer. Yet, believing as we do that we have this tremendous responsibility in this country, not only for the lives of our own people—and that is our first responsibility—but for the part that we can play in the world as well, to throw away our defences seems to me a course of greater evil. Therefore, one has to choose. But it is a dilemma of a kind which I cannot believe mankind is going to sustain indefinitely. In other words—I have said it before now, and I say it again—unless we can pass on beyond an era in which this conflict occurs, then I think we may face a catastrophe too horrible to mention.
So we must press on, as so many noble Lords in this House have demanded for so long, and as my own Party demanded in the Election—I think the Liberal Party, too; and I know many Conseratives agree—to full World Government. And, with that in mind, we must try to build up now an international police force which will take over the task of defending countries and make these nuclear weapons unnecessary in the hands of individual countries. The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, who has done so much more for the United Nations than myself, or than almost anybody, pointed to the terrible difficulties of maintaining even the small international police forces that we have seen. Therefore, one must not strike too optimistic a note. Yet there is progress in various ways, and I myself believe that along that route lies the great hope—along the route of building a small international police force, finally leading to a force which can take on the protection of all countries. That is undoubtedly some way off.
Before I close, my Lords, may I say, in the clearest way, that I am not a pessimist about the influence this country is going to be able to exert in the years ahead. Some people are rather depressed about the younger generation. I do not share that outlook—and I have enjoyed their company and suffered from them as much as most. I was reading a book the other day on the Olympic Games in which the author, a gentleman 900 called Mr. Brasher, informed us that we in this country—and, of course, he was talking of the young athletes, the young men and women—are regarded as the only people to-day who will run ourselves out, habitually, to the point of exhaustion.
We are looked upon in the gathering of nations as possessing this peculiar quality of "guts". You may ask, why have we not won more in the past? Perhaps we have not concentrated enough or taken such things with sufficient seriousness; and that may be wise or foolish. But to-day I would say that our young people for the first time—and I am not talking of any one section—are being fed adequately, clothed adequately and are beginning to be educated adequately. We have never seen a generation so fine as the present one that is now growing up. The question arises of how the older ones should harness all these energies. I believe that is our responsibility: to give effect to the enormously increased energy of our young people and to make sure that it is used not just for the sake of Britain but for the sake of the whole world.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down, may I ask him whether he would give consideration to the suggestion I put forward of offering to President Tshombe British or American helicopters to try to find and relieve some of the hostages still behind the rebel lines or who may now be in hiding?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, certainly any suggestion from the noble Lord will be conveyed to the proper quarters, and conveyed promptly. I can say no more than that.
§ 8.11 p.m.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, you will be delighted to hear that, having made a long speech yesterday, I do not intend to make another to-day; nor do I intend, in the elegant words of the noble Earl, to "bang about". I rise only to do four things: first, to thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate and to congratulate so comparatively many for staying until the bitter end; secondly, to congratulate also the four maiden speakers for the excellent speeches that they made; thirdly, although I find it impossible to 901 wish the Government politically good fortune, I find no difficulty at all in wishing noble Lord opposite a happy Christmas and New Year; and, fourthly, to beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.