§ 2.37 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON rose to call attention to the International Situation; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. It has been our custom for some years to have a foreign affairs debate just prior to the Summer Recess. On this occasion the debate has a rather special significance, as it will in all probability be the last debate on foreign affairs in either House before the end of this Parliament. It is taking place to-day in the aftermath of three important gatherings: the Conference of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London, the African Summit Conference in Cairo, and the Republican National Convention in San Francisco. There will be an opportunity next week to review the results of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, and I only want to say at this stage how useful it was for the Commonwealth African Prime Ministers to have the opportunity of meeting together in London and of considering with their colleagues some of the main issues with which they would be faced at the Summit Conference of 32 Heads of African States now meeting in Cairo. It was extraordinary to be reminded that President Nkrumah had not met Mr. Jomo Kenyatta for 18 640 years until they sat around the Conference table at Marlborough House.
§ The review of the situation in Southern Rhodesia and South Africa which took place during the Conference last week may have enabled the African Prime Ministers to take both a more constructive and a realistic view of what can be done by other countries in Africa. The breadth of agreement and the increased mutual understanding lead one to hope that a more effective use may be made of opportunities for consultations between Commonwealth countries during the sessions of the United Nations Assembly and other United Nations organs.
§ My Lords, the third gathering was not a conference of Heads of State and Prime Ministers, as the other two were; it was a political Party convention. It resulted in the selection of Senator Barry Goldwater as the Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States and the adoption of the platform of policies on which he will conduct his campaign. It is only natural that there should be a world-wide interest in the American Presidential Elections, but the fact is that the choice is America's own affair and it has yet to be made. I do not intend, therefore, in this debate, to indulge in any comments or to speculate on hypothetical possibilities or implications arising out of the results of the San Francisco Convention. I believe it not to be in the best interests of the Anglo-American partnership for either country to get involved in the controversial issues of the other's election campaign.
§ I do not think that any noble Lord will disagree when I say that this country is firmly committed to the policy of interdependence of the Western Alliance, to the policy of détente with the Communist world, to the policy of loyal support for the United Nations, to the policy of racial equality and to the policy of general and complete disarmament. These are keystones in the edifice of British foreign policy, and I do not believe that even in the turmoil of the coming General Election the general acceptance of them will be called in question. I say that with some confidence because, apart from the first point, all the others were mentioned in the Commonwealth Conference communiqué as matters on which there was agreement.
§ It is, I think, extremely encouraging that President Johnson has reached the 641 conclusion that the maintenance of the present improved relations with the Soviet Union should be continued during these months leading up to the United States Presidential Election. It is equally encouraging that Mr. Khrushchev, facing the challenge of extremists in the Communist camp, is showing no signs of being deterred from maintaining discussions concerning possible agreements. The visit of the British Foreign Secretary to Moscow next month fits into this context. I do not suggest that results are in the offing, but I do believe it to be of great importance that Ministerial and diplomatic contacts should not be put into cold storage for the next few months. They should be kept going, both to insulate, as far as possible, current favourable negotiation prospects from any temporary adverse impact by the national election campaigns, and to continue efforts to prepare the ground for new progress after the British and the American elections are over.
§ We all realise that there are vital issues in the field of disarmament on which there is common interest in working for agreement. This was recognised by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, whose communiqué mentioned, in particular, the need for an agreement to prohibit the further dissemination of nuclear weapons and of knowledge relating to their manufacture and uses. Then there are areas of tension and conflict, such as South-East Asia, where common interest should lead to cooperation to contain present dangers and to restore peace and stability.
§ I believe there is an improvement in the chances of some progress in disarmament. There are three points that I would make as an illustration of the present mood reflected in the discussions at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. President Johnson, in his message to the Conference in January, proposed that there should be "a bonfire of bombers"—the agreed destruction by both sides of obsolescent nuclear bombers, such as the American B.47 and the Soviet TU16. The Russian reaction was at first a negative one. "All bombers should be destroyed", they said. "It would not be real disarmament to destroy only the vehicles which you did not need". The idea seemed to have been turned down at first, yet Mr. Zorin 642 returned to the Disarmament Conference last month and straightway said that the Soviet Union would now take a more open position, and were prepared to discuss the proposal in detail. This is an encouraging sign, for even though the Soviet objective may be to see the destruction of all bombers, the American plan has the merit that obsolescent bombers will not become available for sale to other countries. The opportunity for negotiation in Geneva may enable us to put forward the idea or broadening the "bonfire" to include some of the missile-delivery vehicles and other weapons which could be defined as offensive rather than defensive—heavy tanks, for example. The important thing is that full advantage should be taken of the Soviet Union's expressed willingness to discuss President Johnson's proposal in detail.
§ An even more important initiative by President Johnson has been his proposal for a freeze on the number and characteristics of strategic nuclear vehicles. This is an historic proposal. It should be obvious to all of us that if we are to start cutting down on nuclear delivery systems we must first of all call a halt to the present build-up. But the Russian response, as expressed in the statement made by Mr. Gromyko in Izvestia, in March, was a totally negative one. Some of the Russian arguments against the proposal have some weight. A decision now would freeze the situation at a moment of substantial American nuclear superiority. They also felt that it was an American trick so to define the range of delivery vehicles as to freeze the Russian I.R.B.M.s but to ignore the American Pershings. They also opposed the American idea on the ground that, although the characteristics and numbers of delivery systems would be frozen, the idea of one-for-one replacement would enable the Americans constantly to increase the effectiveness of their existing nuclear delivery system. They were also suspicious of the inspection system proposed by President Johnson, which they felt would give far too much freedom for roving inspection teams. They claimed that the Americans were asking for a degree of inspection applicable not to a freeze but to total disarmament.
§ During his visit to Moscow in June, Mr. Harold Wilson, the Leader of the 643 Labour Party, had long discussions with the Soviet leaders on this proposal by President Johnson. He argued the obvious necessity for stopping the production of delivery systems before beginning the process of run-down, and the tremendous implication of a freeze at this stage in the massive programme of missile build-up both in the United States and in Soviet Russia. He also argued that it would be difficult for an American Congress to accept the drastic proposal to move down to a position of a minimum mutual deterrence—the umbrella proposed by Mr. Gromyko—unless there was a Russian acceptance that, first of all, the build-up must stop. I gather that he used General Burns's argument in Geneva: that there was much sense in stopping a forward-moving car before actually throwing the gears into reverse.
§ I understand the Soviet Delegation in Geneva is now, at least informally, exchanging views on this freeze plan, and I hope the Minister who is going to reply may have some information for us on this matter. I only wish the Western Powers, for their part, would take a more constructive approach to the Polish proposal for a freeze on nuclear weapons in Central Europe. The so-called Gomulka Plan is a considerable modification of the former Rapacki Plan and ought now to be taken as a basis for discussion. It is clear from the report of the discussions which Mr. Patrick Gordon Walker had in Poland that the Polish leaders are prepared to meet a number of Western doubts concerning this plan. They appear to agree, for instance, that the freeze could be on delivery systems as well as warheads and that the initial area could be wider than first proposed; that it might include areas other than West Germany, among the NATO countries, and areas other than Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany in the Warsaw Pact countries. I hope that the Foreign Secretary, when he goes to Moscow, will take a more constructive view of this Polish plan than has been taken in the past. It should, at least, be thoroughly discussed with Mr. Khrushchev.
§ My Lords, in the field of disarmament and peace-keeping there is a third area 644 in which there must be the possibility of progress. The Labour Party, both in your Lordships' House and in another place, has for a long time urged that the United Nations should have a more organised method of meeting the sort of calls which it has had to face in the Suez crisis, the Congo and in Cyprus. In each case a United Nations force had been constructed from scratch. In the General Assembly last year, the Scandinavian countries, Canada and the Netherlands proposed a more practical way of improving the United Nations ability to cope with military emergencies. They offered to earmark volunteer trained units of their national forces for immediate dispatch as and when approved by the national Governments and by the United Nations, and they have taken practical steps to implement this offer. The Scandinavian countries plan a stand-by force of 3,800 men, and Canada offers a stand-by volunteer battalion for United Nations service.
§ It has for long been our view that more countries should offer trained contingents to the United Nations and that the basis of the force should be developed to include Asian, African and South American States, as well as one or more of the Communist countries, such as Poland and Yugoslavia. This also was a point made by Mr. Wilson on his visit to Moscow. It is therefore most encouraging that the Soviet Union has submitted its memorandum on peace-keeping operations. In spite of its opposition to the United Nations peace-keeping forces in the Middle East and the Congo, and its hesitation over Cyprus, the Soviet Union has now recognised the value in United Nations peacekeeping forces, and has suggested that there should be some Communist participation though not by drawing on troops from the Soviet Union itself. It would also exclude troops from the other four great Powers.
§ We may think that their insistence that any such force must be instructed by the Security Council, and therefore be subject to the Veto and thus avoid the General Assembly, is a too limited and rigid approach, but at least the new Soviet position is a step forward. We hope that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, during his coming visit to Mr. Khrushchev, will use his persuasive powers to get the Soviet leader 645 to be more flexible in his attitude, and that Mr. Butler will take a similar line. It would be a great achievement if the Soviet Union and the Western Powers could agree on the main principles of such a scheme and then co-operate in securing its adoption by the next General Assembly. It is to be hoped also that the coming discussions to which I have referred may lead to a solution of the problem of the Soviet Union's outstanding financial contributions to the United Nations.
§ There are therefore three important issues on which discussions are now proceeding between East and West. But there are also three areas of acute danger to which I want to refer. The first is South-East Asia, where a very serious situation exists in both Laos and Viet-Nam. There is no need to burden your Lordships with the events of the last ten years since the Geneva Conference of 1954 worked out a plan to maintain peace and neutrality in the whole of Indo-China. It was a notable achievement, in that it brought together all the great Powers, including the United States and China, as well as those countries involved in the area itself. But we must now frankly admit that both in Laos and in Viet-Nam the agreements of 1954 and 1962 have broken down.
§ In Laos, Pathet Lao have occupied territory beyond the limits agreed in 1962, and the coherence of the neutralist Government of Souvannah Phouma has been undermined by both sides. The International Control Commission has been unable properly to fulfil its mission, and this has led to the undertaking of reconnaissance flights and even aerial action by United States planes at the request of the neutralist Prime Minister. It has been urged that the 1962 agreement should be reaffirmed; that the Government of Souvana Phouma should be strengthened; and that the International Control Commission should be enabled to fulfil its work in order to avoid the dangers of increasing American involvement. On this point, therefore, we are strongly in favour of the re-convening of the 1962 Conference; but, as a first step, we urge that no time should be wasted in bringing together the more limited conference suggested by the Polish Govern- 646 ment. Britain, as co-chairman with the Soviet Union of both the 1954 and the 1962 conferences has a clear responsibility, and it is important that a new peace initiative should be undertaken.
§ As for Viet-Nam, where we have a similar responsibility, the situation is, if anything, more grave. Increasing pressure from North Viet-Nam and the growing success of the campaign of the Viet-Cong have led to increased American involvement to strengthen the determination and resistance of the forces of South Viet-Nam. The North Vietnamese and their Chinese backers cannot possibly expect the Americans, who are determined to see that the balance of power in South East Asia is not turned in China's favour, to pull back and thus to see the total overthrow of the Government of South Viet-Nam. If the Communists disregard that consideration, they will, I believe, be making a serious miscalculation. On the other hand, a situation in which an increasing number of American troops are committed to South Viet-Nam and in which the possibility is still held out of pin-point bombing on strategic positions in North Viet-Nam, is clearly one of great danger.
§ The Indian and Canadian members of the International Control Commission as long ago as June, 1962, ruled that the fundamental provisions of the Geneva Agreement had been violated both by North and by South Viet-Nam. It is therefore, in our view, extremely important that the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, both of whom have an interest in seeing that the balance of power is maintained and in securing improved relations between China and the United States of America, should use their utmost influence to bring the contestants round the conference table. I do not believe that either China or the United States wants to see an extension of the conflict. What is needed is a cease-fire and a resort to diplomatic negotiation. The time may now have come for a re-convening of the old 1954 Conference. It will have to come sooner or later, and the sooner the better, if the risk of a greater flare-up is to be avoided.
§ Now I come to Malaysia. It must have been a considerable encouragement to the Prime Minister of Malaysia to have 647 gained general support of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers for his determination to maintain the integrity and independence of the newly established State of Malaysia. It was a notable strengthening for his position that the leading non-aligned nations, like Ghana and Ceylon, have been prepared to be associated witih a solid Commonwealth position, and this must have its influence, we hope, on President Soekarno. It is also of great importance that the ANZUS countries—the United States, Australia and New Zealand—have promised assistance to Malaysia in the event of her territorial integrity being violated by Indonesia.
§ There seems little doubt that Malaysia is to be faced with renewed Indonesian attacks and that the Indonesian regular army is being committed to act on a much larger scale. This is the view of Major General W. C. Walker, Director of the Borneo Operation, as reported by The Times defence correspondent on Monday. The reports he conveyed regarding the inadequacy of air resources, and especially of carrier helicopters, made very disturbing reading. The Indonesians, for their part, have announced that more guided missiles and rocket-equipped warships will soon arrive there from the Soviet Union, and that 58 anti-submarine helicopters would also arrive this year from France and the Soviet Union.
§ Perhaps the Minister may be able to say something about this official Indonesian announcement. If it is true, it is a serious development. It is to be hoped that both in Washington, where the Tungku is now, and in London, where he has been and to which I believe he is returning, the vital needs of defence resources for Malaysia will be fully appreciated and will be met as fully and as quickly as possible. I hope that the Minister will be able to say something about this urgent matter.
§ At the same time, it is very much to be hoped that the Tungku will now take the case of Indonesian aggression to the United Nations. It was, after all, a United Nations mission which recognised that the established State of Malaysia was in accordance with the expressed view of the people of Malaysia and it would strengthen the Tungku's position in trying to secure the recognition of Malaysia by Indonesia if it were to achieve the 648 backing and support of the United Nations. In any case, the good offices of United Nations may be necessary to secure a peaceful settlement, now that the result of the Tokyo conference seems to be completely abortive. In default of an early settlement, it would seem that the Indonesian campaign of aggression will drag on indefinitely.
§ Before concluding, I want to say a word about South Africa. There is a close parallel between the discussions at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference and the recent discussions in the United Nations Security Council. Both strongly condemned South Africa's policy of apartheid and both were divided on the issue of applying economic sanctions. As has been made perfectly clear, the Labour Party is not in favour of unilaterally imposed economic sanctions. On the other hand, we know that almost all the Commonwealth countries now stand by the Security Council's decision to end all arms supplies to South Africa.
§ Yet, in face of the most disturbing events in South Africa and of the rising tide of public opinion, Britain continues to supply her with arms. Where this was done in fulfilment of the Simonstown Agreement, it would not be questioned. That was an obligation. But where it is being done under Article 51 of the Charter, we are doing something that we are not obligated to do. It is something that we choose to do. And it is not surprising that some of those abroad who criticise British actions are pointing out that the main supplier of arms to South Africa is her main investor and her main trading partner.
The Government seem quite unwilling to recognise that there is something special about the trade in arms, as opposed to trade in fruit or machinery or other goods. In our view, there is a very sharp difference, and for us it is a matter of principle. When the Foreign Secretary stated in another place,
We do not supply South Africa with arms for the purpose of the enforcement of apartheid".
did he mean that he has a guarantee that they will never be used for that purpose? I cannot believe that the South African Government would give any such guarantee. The real point is: could any of these arms supplied be employed for police purposes internally? I think that the answer must be, "Yes, they could".
I deeply regret that the Government continue to act contrary to the decision of the Security Council. Their action can only bring help and encouragement to those leaders in South Africa who are almost isolated in the world and who seem determined to forge ahead with their ruthless measures to stamp out the last vestiges of freedom in that unhappy country. I do not believe that that is the intention of the Government's policy, but I think that it is an inevitable consequence. Their continuing to supply arms will go far to cancel out the value of Britain's moral and political condemnation of the policy of apartheid and of the repressive laws which are designed and enforced to sustain it. We urge the Government to think again and act differently. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.9 p.m.
My Lords, it is a curious phenomenon, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has pointed out, that, as we disperse for the Summer Recess, we seem to have established an annual tradition of debating Foreign Affairs, quite irrespective of the relevance or urgency of that subject. For myself I make no complaint, since the international situation in these uneasy modern times unfortunately gives us no relief and little relaxation from a sense of urgency and anxiety. Therefore I think it is to the credit of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that he should so regularly give us his comprehensive lead in initiating these important and necessary debates, and to-day we are again grateful to him. The range of details which this debate could cover is so great that no speaker could hope to review them all, and in my short remarks I am going to confine myself to the climate of opinion, as I see it, in its international aspects. I think that, within that bracket what I say will apply to all the many places, which the noble Lord mentioned, and which others are likely to mention, where trouble is occurring
I suggest, that the whole world is now at the end of a 200 years' era at the beginning of which men of wisdom and imagination realised that the master-element and the servant-element could no longer exist in isolation and largely in mutual hostility. In plainer words the philosophy of "averaging up", in the standards of living and of intellectual 650 enjoyment, was established, with the result, which we see to-day, that many millions have emerged from darkness into (or towards) a large degree of equal responsibility with the older civilised nations, but without the stability and the sense of proportion which are the heritage of a long history. In order to meet on common ground, the "averaging-up" has inevitably involved "averaging-down", in the sense that sacrifices not only of privileges but also of ideals and philosophies have had to be made, to the sorrow and dismay of those who did not clearly envisage the devaluations which must accompany evolution, and who, it seems, had vaguely hoped for a developing Utopia on an ever-upward course with no downward dips.
We seem now to have come to the point where the pattern of the emergence of the hitherto under-privileged has taken a recognised process of development—sometimes with bloodshed and strife, and sometimes with good will and amity—but always on the basic theory of achieving more liberty for more people. Having arrived at this principle, after two centuries of indecision on the part of the less liberal-minded elements, we now face a new stage, not of making, but of guiding this new and established force: an old era has ended and a new era has begun. As a nation, our responsibilities in the past have been great, and we have played well our leading part in them. In the future our status will be different: neither we nor any other nation is likely to be predominant unless some vast catastrophe occurs; and this fact in itself (the fact that predominance now means catastrophe) undelines our necessity to become more and more internationally minded, and less and less nationalistic (as indeed all countries were in the past), if we are to keep our place among the leaders of world thought and world policies.
I think it will be agreed that our Party labels and Party rivalries should not seriously divide us in our national approach to foreign policy: the adjective "liberal" (with a small "1") can certainly be applied with honour to many achievements of both the Conservative and Socialist Parties; and indeed we of the Liberal Party concede that the adoption of many Liberal themes by both the main Parties—sometimes tardily and 651 sometimes reluctantly—has not only maintained our international influence, but also sustained both those Parties in the power, popularity and position which they now enjoy.
It is, as recent history has proved, the struggle between liberalism and illiberalism which is likely to decide the fate of civilisation. We have, in the past week or so, seen two striking examples of each of these forces at work. The Commonwealth Conference of Prime Ministers in London, meeting in conditions of tension and crisis and divergent views, achieved a surprising and most admirable degree of accord and constructiveness by the exercise of nationalistic restraint, of a sense of responsibility and of proportion, and, above all, by a forward-looking approach which triumphed over individual interests. And all this happened under the leadership of a Conservative Prime Minister whose liberal-mindedness and broad outlook at that Conference brought about a success which has given new heart and new hope to those of us who believe that the Commonwealth has a moral basis far more valuable in internationalism than being merely a closed shop for the trade and commerce of certain English-speaking peoples.
But the Conference was not a Conservative victory; it was not a British victory: it was a victory of "liberal-mindedness", and an occasion on which the liberal approach was, for once, in time to anticipate and avoid possible disaster, instead of coming in too late, as it too often has done in the past, trying to save something from some wreck caused by short-sighted nationalistic selfishness. Whichever Party may be in power in our next Parliament, I urge them to press forward more actively and more wholeheartedly than either of them has yet done, with that liberal element (I still mean "liberal" with a small "1") which exists somewhere in their make-up, shining like a small star in the reactionary policies to which they cling. The Tory Party must encourage a new and reviving internationalism, and the Labour Party, I suggest, must adopt one.
The other example—that of illiberalism—which we have recently seen is, as 652 the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, the result of the nomination of the Republican Candidate for the Presidency of the United States. I also do not want to say much on this subject, for I do not think that we in this country—or, indeed, those in any other country—are in a position to assess the implications of this unexpected turn of events; nor can we yet know the force or the significance of what we cannot help hoping is merely a symptom of sectional hysteria or frustration. But in the Goldwater concept we have an unmistakable example of illiberalism and prejudice in one of its most sinister forms, comparable basically with Hitlerism and Communism; where prejudice sponsors total intolerance and the philosophies of decency are set aside, ostensibly for a limited period but ultimately with a heavy setback towards barbarity and with generations of leeway to be made up.
It is for this reason, among others, that we view with horror the possibility of the threatened, what I may call potential suicide of America as a civilised Power—for that, I think, would be the result of American adoption of the insular and illiberal intolerance which has been put so regrettably into our imagination in the last week or so. The tragedy to Americans would be shattering; but even greater would be the loss to the civilised world, and the would-be civilised world, of the abstraction from our midst of a great nation to whom we have confidently looked to promote and stand by the ideals of Abraham Lincoln.
Meanwhile, I consider it premature, as the noble Lord suggested, to calculate, and immoral to make British Party capital out of, a hypothetical American situation. Those of us who think (but with sincere appreciation of the contrary point of view) that our independent deterrent is neither independent nor deterrent are reinforced in our view that if one single Western Nation gives signs of "going it alone", the only safeguard to peace is to pursue international disarmament more strongly than ever, and to press on to the first stage of placing the control of nuclear force in a joint Western responsibility, avoiding the nationalistic temptations which the proliferation of nuclear status would inevitably bring about.
653 Finally, despite the reservations and criticisms which are part of our Parliamentary politics, I feel certain that all three Parties are totally at one in wishing entire success in the field of world peace and world prosperity to whatever Party may have the grave responsibility of Government.
§ 3.19 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD CARRINGTON)
My Lords, I would at once join with the noble Lord, Lord Rea, and say how grateful we are to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for having once again given us the opportunity of debating Foreign Affairs. I do not know how many times he has introduced Motions of this sort in your Lordships' House. I only hope that he will do so for many years to come, and from the position which he now occupies in your Lordships' House. While I am almost certain that this will be the case, I am absolutely certain that it will be the case with the noble Lord, Lord Rea. This, of course, does not make his contributions any the less valuable, and I think your Lordships will have been interested in the analysis he has made as to why we are where we are, and what we ought to do about it. If I may say so, I thought at one moment that he appeared to think he was running a sort of political Moss Bros. and I beg leave to doubt that the only reason there is any virtue in noble Lords opposite, or on these Benches, is that we have stolen the noble Lord's clothes. I think we are even better dressed than he is.
I hope your Lordships will forgive me if I do not follow in detail everything the noble Lords, Lord Henderson and Lord Rea, have said, because it would be covering too wide a field. But I shall be touching on a number of things they spoke about. In any event, my noble friend Lord Dundee will be winding up at the end, and will deal with the points with which I have not dealt. I think it will come as no surprise to your Lordships to learn that the questions which have been most preoccupying us are the same as those to which I referred in your Lordships' last debate on Foreign Affairs, in February. I am afraid that this is inevitable, and I only wish that I were in a position to report progress in all these problems. 654 But, unfortunately I cannot. In at least two parts of the world (one of which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson), Malaysia and Cyprus, to which our efforts and money have been devoted in recent months, the situation now is more serious than when I last spoke to your Lordships.
Your Lordships will expect me to say something about the situation in Cyprus, but you will be well aware of the history of the dispute, and I do not intend to go into that aspect. But it would be idle to deny that to-day, seven months after the outbreak of violence in Cyprus, we are just as far from a solution, the situation is just as dangerous and potentially explosive, and the problem just as intractable. In these last months Her Majesty's Government have had only one object in view: to make it possible for a just settlement, acceptable to all the parties concerned, to be reached in Cyprus and, in particular, to preserve the NATO Alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean, on which the friendship of Greece and Turkey so greatly depends.
Your Lordships will have seen from the communiqué issued last night after our talks with M. Papandreou, that the Greek Government also attach great importance to the maintenance of NATO. Everything we have done has been designed to that end from the moment that, at the request of the Cyprus Government and the other guarantor Powers, we sent British troops to help keep the peace to our support of the United Nations Force and the resolutions which have been moved and passed in the Security Council. We have accepted this responsibility, and accepted it willingly, although on occasion those we have been trying to help seem to have misunderstood our actions and have imputed to us motives so far-fetched which, if true, would have been so dishonourable that they have caused some considerable resentment in this country.
Recently, we have been greatly alarmed to learn of the military build-up in Cyprus, and we have drawn the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to this issue and to the dangers inherent in this development. As your Lordships know, the United Nations mediator, Mr. Tuomioja has been engaged for the last few months in trying to find a solution to the problem and, as well as meeting both communities in 655 Cyprus and the Greeks and the Turks, we have also had conversations with him. He is at this moment in Geneva, where he is holding meetings with representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments, and where Mr. Dean Acheson is available for consultation, as is Lord Hood, from the Foreign Office.
We have also in the last few weeks had conversations with the Turkish Prime Minister and with Mr. Papandreou, the Greek Prime Minister. We have not considered it right to put forward a particular solution ourselves, since we have felt this to be the task of the mediator, together with the three parties most closely involved. We have always considered that any solution which is acceptable to those three parties would be acceptable to everyone. We have therefore urged on all the parties concerned the need for a lasting settlement. since a continuation of the dispute could lead to armed conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean and all the incalculable consequences that that could bring. We have made it quite clear that, in our opinion, there must be negotiation between those principally involved.
My Lords, in spite of the difficulties, the expense, the misunderstandings which our involvement in this crisis has caused us, we shall naturally continue to do everything we can to help our friends reach a settlement. In return, we can surely appeal to them to negotiate in a spirit of reasonableness and compromise, for a failure to do so will benefit no one but those who seek to destroy the Western World.
We regard our present position in Arabia as a major factor in preserving stability, and naturally British interests and those of the West lie in its progress and stability. It preserves peace in the Persian Gulf, and gives the various states the chance to develop their potential with the minimum of outside interference and distraction. The Base at Aden is part of our contribution to this stability, as well as having strategic importance in other respects and in other areas. Our enjoyment of its facilities is entirely compatible with progress to independence for South Arabia, and we were glad to find that at the recent Conference in London leaders of all 656 shades of opinion appreciated the need for the Base, on economic as well as military grounds.
The Report of the Conference, for which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies should take great credit, shows clearly to the world our intention to lead the Federation as rapidly as possible to sovereign independence. But we must recognise that one of the main hindrances to the establishment in the Federation of the stable conditions necessary for economic, social and political progress has been the continued offensive and hostile activity from across the Federation border. The subversion of South Arabian tribesmen has been made worse by the provision of special training in guerrilla activity, and the large-scale supply of sophisticated equipment for the use of dissidents.
This increased effort is, I regret to say, directly connected with the Egyptian presence in the Yemen. It is true that there has been a decrease in direct attacks on Federal territory from the Yemen, on the ground and from the air, but this seems due more to our defensive measures than to better intent on the other side. There is also a continuous stream of hostile radio propaganda inciting people in the Federation to acts of subversion and terrorism, coming both from Radio Cairo and from Radio San'a. It is against this background that we have to judge the suggestion of United Arab Republic leaders, and, for that matter, Yemeni Republican leaders, that they are seeking some degree of rapprochement with this country, and are particularly anxious that we should accord recognition to the Republican Government.
We are, of course, interested in any proposal which might lead to peace and stability in this area, and our efforts, through the Security Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to reduce tension on the border between the Yemen and South Arabia are ample evidence of this. Cairo and San'a both now say that they want to see self-determination in South Arabia—a shelving of the claim that the Federation is part of the Yemen. We would find Cairo and San'a more convincing if their words were accompanied by tangible steps to 657 comply with the Security Council Resolution of April, 9, which called for both sidesto exercise the maximum restraint in order to avoid further incidents and to restore peace in the area.But they continue to encourage violence, destruction and subversion: by vicious radio propaganda, by supplying arms and equipment for sabotage, and by paying and training dissident tribesmen from the Federation to use this equipment. This is not the language of rapprochement as we understand it.
We, for our part, have our main responsibility in South Arabia. The Report of the recent Constitutional Conference shows how we are proposing to discharge it. In Aden State elections will be held in October on a new franchise enacted by the State Legislature. The other constituent States of the Federation will be doing all they can to advance democratic electoral processes so that a truly representative National Assembly for the Federation can be elected.
My Lords, we should note the contrast. While the United Arab Republic speaks of self-determination for the South, but pursues the incompatible policy of stirring up violence, the Federation's leaders and we are taking positive steps to provide for that self-determination. The declared aim is independence not later than 1968, and before that point the Federation intends to negotiate with us arrangements about British Base facilities in Aden. Of course, there are difficulties, notably resolving the problem of harmonising the systems of the politically more advanced Aden State and of the other States of the Federation. This is principally a matter for the people of Aden and the other States to negotiate for themselves, and there is provision for that. The essential thing is that we are doing all we can to provide self-determination for the people of the Federation, and the economic development and stability which are necessary to enable them to enjoy their independence. If the leaders of the United Arab Republic and the Yemeni Republican authorities are really sincere in their recent statements, as I hope they are, about self-determination for South Arabia, the best contribution they could make would be to put an end to their 658 continual efforts to impede and disrupt this process.
For our part we have followed a policy of non-involvement in the internal conflict in the Yemen, and we have exercised considerable restraint in the face of provocation. We shall do what we can to keep the temperature down. We stand by our offers of demarcation and demilitarisation of the frontier, and to accept United Nations observers along it. In that connection I should like to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations for his efforts to promote reduction of tension and to express our hope that he may succeed.
As I have said, our position in Aden is relevant to our obligations in the Persian Gulf. We have historic ties with the States of the Persian Gulf and a special interest in the stability of the area, owing to the production from British oil companies in the region. We are on terms of special friendship with the Rulers of Bahrein and Qatar and the Trucial States, and have responsibilities towards them in the fields of foreign affairs and defence. We also enjoy the friendliest of relations with the State of Kuwait, which became a member of the United Nations in 1963. In an Exchange of Letters in July, 1961, we undertook to go to her assistance if she so requested us. We intend to stand by our obligations in the Gulf and to do whatever is possible to maintain the stability of the area. Just recently we have been happy to welcome the Ruler of Bahrein to this country as the guest of Her Majesty's Government. If he enjoyed himself as much as we enjoyed having him, then the visit was mutually satisfactory to both of us.
My Lords, South-East Asia, about which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, spoke has always been rich in problems. The two major issues in that region to-day are those created by Communist designs on Indo-China and by Indonesian designs on Malayasia. In each case there is an expansionist force seeking to extend its rule over peoples who want only to be left in peace to settle their own affairs. In each case, Her Majesty's Government have long been committed to seek a negotiated settlement, but we believe that in Indo-China, as in Malaysia, agreement will be forthcoming only if they can continue to show their determination 659 to resist the imposition by force of one-sided solutions.
It is a peculiarly, perhaps a painfully, appropriate occasion for your Lordships to consider the problems of Indo-China since, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, reminded us, it was ten years ago yesterday that Her Majesty's Government joined with other Governments in adhering to the Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference on Indo-China. We hoped that this Agreement, the result of long and difficult negotiations, would inaugurate a new era of peaceful progress in Cambodia, Laos and Viet-Nam. In fact, those hopes have been fulfilled only in Cambodia, and even that country, though far more fortunate than Laos and Viet-Nam, has recently had its fair share of troubles.
This is not the moment to catalogue this unhappy history of the last decade in Laos and Viet-Nam. Instead, I should like to remind your Lordships, very briefly, of the latest developments and to explain where we now stand. In Laos, the Communist Pathet Lao still retain the territory they seized from the Neutralists in their offensive of mid-May. This was a deliberate violation of the 1962 Geneva Settlement. It is also a standing provocation to further fighting—fighting that might be very difficult to confine within the borders of Laos. That is why Her Majesty's Government have been doing their best to initiate negotiations to restore the Geneva Settlement. Last month's consultations between diplomatic representatives in Vientiane were one step in this direction. We have also spent many weeks discussing the valuable Polish proposal for a meeting of representatives of the Laotian factions, of the two Co-chairmen and of the three Commission Powers. Many unforeseen difficulties have occurred during these discussions, but if this proposal is accepted it will enable us to negotiate the indispensable conditions for the re-convening of the 1962 Geneva Conference on the settlement of the Laotian question.
In Viet-Nam, on the other hand, there is no immediate prospect of negotiation. Last April I spent a few days in Saigon, and no one who has been there can fail to have sympathy with the people of that tragic country, who have been at war, in one way or another, for over twenty years. But the Communist insurrection 660 in the South continues to be fomented and assisted from the North and the efforts of the legitimate Government in Saigon continued to be assisted, with our support, by the United States. There have been many suggestions that this conflict might be ended by yet another Geneva Conference. Unfortunately, the Communists have made it clear that they would not be prepared to negotiate seriously at such a Conference. Their demands are the neutralisation of South, but not of North, Viet-Nam, and the withdrawal of American aid to South Viet-Nam but not of Chinese aid to North Viet-Nam. This hopelessly one-sided approach offers no hope that a new Conference could negotiate an acceptable settlement likely to be honoured by its signatories.
My Lords, whether we look at Laos, Viet-Nam or Malaysia, the problem is essentially the same: in each case aggression has occurred in violation of earlier agreements. In Malaysia, as your Lordships will recall, President Soekarno undertook, in writing, to welcome the formation of Malaysia if the Secretary-General of the United Nations—the President's own choice of umpire—confirmed that this was what the inhabitants wanted. U Thant did just this; but President Soekarno broke his word, and has gone on breaking it ever since. His latest excuse is to attack the integrity of the United Nations investigators. At the time, however the leader of the Indonesian observer team told the official Indonesian news agency that he was convinced of the impartiality of the United Nation's team's work. Moreover, President Soekarno has now made it clear that he is not prepared to welcome Malaysia on any terms. On July 9 he declared that Malaysia must be split up into its five component States, which could then federate with Indonesia. This really is neo-imperialism, naked and unadorned.
Her Majesty's Government have made it abundantly clear that we intend to go on assisting in the defence of Malaysia as long as Indonesian aggression makes this necessary. It is for Indonesia to make negotiation possible by the withdrawal of her soldiers that have invaded Malaysian territory. And I agree very much 661 with what the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said: that the passage about Malaysia in the Communiqué of the Prime Ministers' Conference must have been greatly welcomed by Tungku Abdul Rahman.
My Lords, whenever fighting breaks out, and for whatever reason, a ceasefire and the disengagement and return to their own territory of the opposing forces are the obvious preliminaries to negotiation. Those who will not agree to such conditions, whether it be in Laos, in Viet-Nam or in Malaysia, cannot expect reasonable men to put much faith in the sincerity of their proposals for Conferences and Summit Meetings.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, referred to a report from Djakarta, mentioned in The Times of July 21, which quoted Rear Admiral Martadinate as claiming that 58 anti-submarine helicopters would arrivethis year, from France and the Soviet Union".On July 21 the French Government denied that any such helicopters would be supplied, adding thatFrance does not supply arms to Indonesia".The Soviet Union has supplied helicopters in the past, and a communiqué published after the recent visit to Moscow of Dr. Subandrio stated thatquestions of further deliveries of military equipment…were discussed".I should like, if I may, now to turn to a few more positive elements in the present international situation, and first, since we have not discussed this for some little time, to say a few words about the multilateral force which has been the subject of a good deal of speculation in the newspapers recently. As your Lordships know, the Government agreed, under the terms of the Statement, issued from 10 Downing Street on October 1, 1963, to take part in an objective examination of the project in all its aspects and possible variations. Examination of the seaborne project and of the political arrangements surrounding it has proceeded since that date in the Working Group in Paris, consisting of the permanent NATO Representatives of the countries concerned; that is, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Greece and Turkey. A review of the military aspects 662 of the U.S. proposals was also made by the Military Sub-Group of the Working Group, meeting in Washington. There have also been a number of other subgroups to discuss in detail such things as the administration, financial and legal aspects.
As your Lordships will understand, the idea of a mixed-manned Multilateral Force is a new concept in international co-operation on both the political and military levels, and it is therefore necessary to give full consideration to all the details, some of which raise quite new points of international law. The Government have all along recognised the essentially political motives behind this proposal. If I may put them briefly, I think they are, first, to find ways and means of associating the non-nuclear members of NATO with the main nuclear deterrent of the Alliance, in a way which will adequately reflect their status within the Alliance without infringing the principles of the non-dissemination of nuclear weapons, and to do this in such a way as to enable the Alliance to feel that the non-nuclear powers are making a tangible contribution. The second political purpose is to give a new outward expression to the objective of European integration within the framework of an Atlantic partnership, which represents the view of Europe which we share with the U.S. Government and the majority of our European Allies.
It is no secret that, while recognising the strength of these political motives, the Government have had some doubts about the military way in which they should be fulfilled. In particular we have doubted whether a force of 25 ships carrying 200 Polaris missiles is the best or indeed the only way of giving effect to the idea. We have wondered whether an addition of this size to the existing strategic force is necessary, or indeed whether a mixed-manned element, which would be an integral part of the main nuclear deterrent of the Alliance, needs to be of such a size and shape as to be a viable and credible deterrent on its own. This of course is quite separate from our natural concern about the financial and manpower implications of the matter.
It is against this background that we have recently proposed to our Allies that 663 consideration should be given to the possibility of including other nuclear weapons in a M.L.F. on a mixed-manned basis. Specifically, we have been thinking of the use for this purpose of tactical strike aircraft and certain land-based missiles now deployed or planned to be deployed in support of the land formations. We have made it clear that we are putting these ideas forward on the same basis as the existing discussions of the seaborne project. That is to say, the discussion of them will be without commitment on anyone's part, and they will be discussed in parallel with the discussion of the seaborne proposal. This proposal has been accepted by our Allies and the Military Sub-Group will shortly reconvene in London for discussion of our ideas on this basis.
Of course, many of the arrangements under discussion would be common to a seaborne element or to land-based weapons. This applies, for example, to questions such as administration, finance and the legal implications, and perhaps above all to the political control of the use of any force which may come into being. It is too early to give any categoric statements about the arrangements which will be made on these important issues, but I can certainly assure your Lordships that we ourselves—and in this I feel sure we speak for everyone else—are determined that any M.L.F. which comes into being shall be fully in accordance with the principles of the non-dissemination of nuclear weapons.
All those concerned, and I may say in passing no one more than the present Government of Germany, are convinced that this proposal should be used to prevent the spread of national nuclear forces by producing something which makes national nuclear forces unwanted and unnecessary. Indeed, as has repeatedly been said on behalf of the Government, there will in fact be more fingers on the safety catch of these nuclear weapons, and not more fingers on the trigger. This should be an added factor of stability in Europe and in East-West relations, and I cannot think why anybody should conceive it to be in the interests of the existing nuclear Powers to disseminate nuclear weapons to the national control of other countries. We shall continue, in conjunction with 664 our Allies, to try to convince the Russians and their Eastern European associates that the facts and our intentions are as I have just stated them.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, before the noble Lord leaves this point, may I ask this?—if it is difficult to answer I do not wish to press it. Could he say whether the new British proposal is seen by the Government as a supplement to the seaborne proposal or as a substitute for it?
§ LORD CARRINGTON
The proposal they are discussing is of course to be worked in conjunction with the other, not as a substitute but to be worked in with it. Perhaps the noble Lord will allow me to get on. I do not want to get into too much detail on the M.L.F. The Military Sub-Group will be discussing this in London, and I think it would be better if we left it until we had a report about other aspects of this matter.
Finally, I wanted to say a few words about international peace-keeping, which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, mentioned. The recent Soviet memorandum is still under study by the Government. We welcome the concern shown in the memorandum that the capacity of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security should be strengthened and that greater use should be made of the procedures for conciliation contained in the United Nations Charter. At first sight, however, the Soviet memorandum contains no new proposals. It also has one important omission: it makes no reference to the question of the payment of arrears for United Nations peace-keeping operations. As is well known, the non-payment of arrears is having a very serious effect on the financial situation of the United Nations. A number of Governments have put forward proposals in recent months in the field of these peace-keeping operations. We ourselves have put a number of proposals to the Soviet Government which might help things, and certainly we hope that, in consultation with other interested Governments and in the light of our own exchanges with the Soviet Government, it may prove possible to make further progress towards strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to keep the peace. No doubt this and other related matters will be discussed by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary when he goes to Moscow next Monday.
665 My Lords, this is the last Foreign Affairs' debate in the last fortnight of the last Session of this Parliament, and when your Lordships return you will be confronted with a new Government. Despite what may be said in the intervening weeks, I do not think that, even at the worst (if noble Lords opposite will forgive me for the expression) there would be any profound change in the policies and general attitude of a new Government in the field of foreign affairs. But although the situation may be much the same, I think the new Government will find themselves confronted by an intensification of two trends which have already become apparent.
The first of these is the growing discrepancy between the fortunes of the "haves" and the "have-nots". Not the least of the achievements of the recent Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference was their decision, recorded in the Communiqué, to take several practical steps for doing something about this. No doubt your Lordships, and possibly I myself, will have something more to say about this during next week's debate on Commonwealth affairs. But quite apart from the human aspects of this question, the problem posed by the tendency, to use the current cliché, of the rich to grow richer and the poor to grow poorer will inevitably claim a large share of the new Government's attention, if we are not to be faced with even greater threats than exist at present to the general peace and stability of the world. To combat these trends we look also to the continuing work of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development which recently took a most important first step towards the creation of a common prosperity—an achievement to which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Industry made a notable contribution.
The other related question that will, I believe, increasingly engross our attention arises from the Sino-Soviet quarrel. There seems little doubt that the division in the Communist world is leading to increasing competition between the two principal Communist Powers for political, economic and cultural influence in the uncommitted countries. There are growing signs that both the Chinese and the Russians are attempting to involve them in the Sino-Soviet quarrel; 666 and that these countries resent attempts to make them take sides in a dispute which seems to be irrelevant to their needs and their interests.
Our position is happier than that of the Communist Powers; we fully recognise the right of uncommitted countries to pursue, if they so wish, a policy of non-alignment and we do not try to put pressure upon them to change that policy. The growing Sino-Soviet rivalry adds another dimension to the problem of the "haves" and "have-nots". It will be up to the new Government to do all it can to play a constructive rôle and our help will continue to be important, and we should go on taking as the basis for our help a careful assessment of the wishes and needs of those countries.
My Lords, to sum up, we have difficulties and problems—serious problems all over the world: Cyprus, Malaysia, Viet-Nam, Laos, the Yemen, British Guiana, Southern Rhodesia, and we should not underestimate their gravity. But, at the same time, there can have been few periods in recent times when the threat of nuclear world war was less likely. And there have been welcome indications of the realisation by the Russians of the madness of a nuclear war. This is the major prize, and it is a measure of the success of Western policy that we are in this situation. As for the rest, we must continue to try to solve the problems. Intractable and intransigent as they may seem, they can be solved. We shall certainly do our best.
§ 3.54 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, I am sure that all noble Lords will have welcomed the speech of the noble Lord who has just spoken. I must say that I preferred it to the speech he delivered in a fairly recent Defence debate. I can only say that we shall certainly look forward to hearing him when he is seated in the seat now occupied by my noble friend Lord Henderson.
It is a point that my opening remarks were almost identical with those of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. I also hope that the present situation is a measure of the success of the broad policies followed by this country and the West, and we certainly take note of the imperceptible way—it has been rather imperceptible, but it is now obvious to us—in which a degree of unfreezing, a 667 partial thaw, has taken place between East and West. This, of course, is clearly a justification—I would agree wholeheartedly with the noble Lord here—of the firm policies followed by the West, and should of course suggest, not that we should change these policies, but that we should still maintain the power of the West in the present situation.
But we can take note of many changes. There is at the moment meeting in London an International Geographical Congress. We are welcoming many distinguished Russian geographers, and, indeed, of particular interest to me, a certain number of distinguished Polar explorers, because we know that at least in the Antarctic there have been friendly and warm relations with the Iron Curtain countries. There is, of course, a danger in this "unfreezing" process, that if it becomes too fluid one can see a collapse of an established framework, and while we look forward with hope to the easing and relaxation of policies in the Eastern bloc we must not expect or encourage too rapid a development of independent nationalisms.
We have heard talk of the stress in the COMECON countries. It certainly will be too late to put the clock back on the freedom that has come in this respect, and we must acknowledge not only the resolution of Western leaders, but the degree of courage that has been shown by Eastern leaders, and by Mr. Khrushchev in particular, in facing the hazards of breaking up this monolithic Eastern bloc.
It is remarkable that at the moment there should have been an East German peace treaty, and yet no anxiety is filling our minds; the Press is not now filled with concern about Berlin—indeed, it is almost dropped from public anxiety. And, when we look back, we can see that this is a much greater advance than that original advance when Tito defected from the monolithic bloc. At that time there was an immediate effect on Greece. The Communist rebellion in Greece under General Markos, sustained from Yugoslavia, quite soon collapsed and was brought under control.
This is not the time, of course, to discuss our military attitudes. I was most interested in what the noble Lord 668 had to say about the multilateral force, and I certainly welcome, as we all must, that there is a strong determination which must be sustained, to resist any tendency towards weakening the anti-proliferation attitude on nuclear weapons. I think this is the first debate on Foregin Affairs for some while in which we have not had a discussion on the merits of independent deterrents. I welcome this. If the noble Lord had chosen to follow a path followed in another place, I was prepared to meet this; but in view of his wise restraint in the present situation, I, too, will keep off this subject.
I appreciate that the noble Lord did not have much time to cover it, but I regret that he was not able to devote more time to dealing with China. It may be that the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, is saving it up for his final remarks. I hope not. It is a pity that we have not had an opportunity, and the noble Lord did not have time, to go more into the problem of China. I expect that we shall get some first-hand information from the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein. But it is striking that, apart from him, really nobody knows anything about China—and we are not entirely inclined to accept those views which he expressed on a previous occasion. But I agree that whatever short-term advantage there may be, the long-term danger of the continued isolation of China is immense.
A country which by the end of the century will have 1,500 million people, a country which is dedicated both to Communism and at the same time to nationalism, can be the most tremendous menace to the world if that country is not brought back into the comity of nations. It is too simple just to dismiss China as a country which is still following the pure stream of revolutionary Communism. There is a strong element of nationalism. If one talks to Chinese, whether they be Kuomintang Chinese or British Chinese in Hong Kong, one finds there is a fairly strong sympathy for the stand which the Chinese Communist Government has taken against Russia. On the one hand, the Russian technicians find the Chinese intolerable to work with in matters of engineering and planning; and, on the other hand, the Chinese, conscious of their long civilisation, are 669 inclined to write off the Russians as barbarians. Every effort must be made—and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will continue their efforts—to bring China into the United Nations.
It is worth noting that much of the noble Lord's speech was concerned with problems and struggles not concerned with Communist subversion but activity of a more old-fashioned kind; and I am sure that your Lordships will welcome his forthright remarks about Malaysia and Indonesia. This perhaps is the most worrying in the short term of all the situations that confront us. I believe, as do most people, and certainly people who are active in the political Parties of this country, that we have an absolute moral commitment; but we must realise what that commitment may involve. If there is a stepping-up of pressure in relation to the employment of Regular forces, we must realise that Indonesia has a very large air force and it is a matter of real concern that in the conditions which exist on the frontier there should be a shortage of helicopters.
The noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, like myself knows something about the conditions on the borders of Sarawak and Indonesia. It is possible to travel along rivers and possibly to travel without much difficulty through the primary forests at low levels, but once one gets into the mountains at over 4,000 feet one gets into moss forest conditions which are almost impenetrable. It is possible for a man to cut his way through; it is possible to create paths; but in many areas it is not possible to create roads because the land itself disappears under dead forest and under moss. Therefore it is vital that there should be adequate air support. The country will not stand for supporting this commitment unless our troops and those of our Malaysian allies are adequately supplied with aircraft. I am sure the Government accept this, for it is recognised that this may become a serious and painful commitment.
I should like to support the suggestion of my noble friend Lord Henderson that the United Nations, should, as far as possible, be brought in to help on this matter. There may have been good reasons why the Tungku was unwilling to refer the matter to the Security Council, but we have a bitter experience of 670 delay in regard to these matters. We do not want at a very late stage to find ourselves confronted, as we were in Cyprus, with a problem too heavy for us to bear. This also should strengthen the position of Malaysia, because their position, however justified I believe it to be, is morally weakened by the continued accusation that they are allowing ex-Colonial Powers still to retain a military presence. Although we are so rightly there at the invitation of Malaysia, none the less the association of other countries and the United Nations would be of real value.
I wish that I were as optimistic as the noble Lord about the South Arabian Federation. He suggested that the agreement which was recently negotiated in London freely brings into agreement representatives of all political parties. I should like to ask the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, when he comes to reply, whether he could give us a further explanation of the new enlarged franchise. We may be confronted with a situation, particularly in Aden, where the political leaders will be those whom not so long ago we imprisoned, and indeed flogged. We have to rely a great deal on the forgiveness of those who have opposed our rule in the past. Although we have been fortunate in counting on this, nothing, not even the maintenance of the base, will be worth the hostility of a people who are opposed to our presence So I hope that the Government are doing what is necessary and that we shall hear a little more as to whether this new Constitution is of a kind which will satisfy the people of South Arabia and of Aden.
I should like to make a few remarks on South Africa. Many noble Lords are going to take part in this debate who have a wider knowledge of that country than I have. Such information as I have comes from close members of my family who have been there and friends—and I may say impartial friends neither of the Right nor of the Left. My noble friend Lord Henderson referred to the military embargo. Here, of course, the Government are committed. We wish that they would enforce their commitment. They told the Security Council in 1963 that no arms should be exported to South Africa which would enable the policy of apartheid to be enforced. Yet 671 we know perfectly well that the views of the South African Defence Ministry are that many of these arms will be used for internal purposes. I have quotations from the Ministers of Defence which make this clear, but I will not take up the time of the House in quoting them. But we cannot sustain this position when 64 countries have agreed to put a ban on arms and when the United States has lost orders every bit as large as the orders we have got for our Buccaneers and our Wasps. It is weakening our position and the possibility of our giving a lead and achieving restraint in this area if we continue to export arms.
I would make the plea that there should be a really coherent strategy in regard to South Africa. It is a terrifying situation; it is the most terrifying situation in the long run. On the one hand, we see a country with a largely stable society—and let us give credit to the creation of modern South Africa, where there has been a great deal of social progress, where there is a considerable African middle class and where white South Africans have led to a great deal of progress. In the atmosphere of hate that goes on all the time in this matter I do not regard them as wicked men. They are men who are caught in a terrifying situation. My Lords, I do not believe that the white South Africans are bloodthirsty. There has been a great deal of police brutality. Sharpeville was a tragic and ghastly mistake, but we know that the black Africans are forgiving people. But I think we do wrong to overestimate the monolithic nature of the South African Republic. I think we do wrong to think that they are not susceptible to public opinion. Many of them have prickly and anxious consciences. This may not be the right moment to introduce an economic boycott. I am told by intelligent observers that even that little boycott in Aberdeen which people laughed off in this country had a profound effect.
If we are to go on criticising South Africa, I think we must put forward a clear strategy, marked out line by line, as to what we think they ought to do. I do not believe at the moment that without world intervention, in which I hope this country will give 672 something of a lead, we shall solve the South African problem. I do not know myself what the solution can be, but I believe there are only two possible solutions. One is partition, and this will be tragic, but it may well be the only solution, with the Europeans retiring to the Cape Province and a White State being created there. We have had to face transfers of populations in the past, without considering whose right it was to be there and who was there first. The second solution is that increasing pressure will be brought to bear to achieve a multiracial society.
I do not think that the South African Government or the South African people are immune to world public opinion, but world opinion needs to be made clear, and in my view, a time limit needs to be attached to it. It may be that we shall need to threaten economic sanctions, but we do not want to pull down a stable economy at great loss to many people; and I do not doubt that, for a long while to come, the South Africans would be able to survive economically. But what must be made clear is that the world is convinced that the only end to the present policies that are practised in South Africa is disaster and a bloodbath for all concerned. The remarks I am making are an appeal, and I am asking that there should be a lead from Britain and America before it is too late. We should make our opinions absolutely clear and detail the sort of policy that we expect to see. It may be suggested that this involves dictation from outside, but what is the alternative? The alternative, as I say, is disaster to both black and white people.
I think there is still time to solve this problem, but it will not be solved by a sort of weak-kneed approach on arms. It will be for this country and, possibly, the Commonwealth to give a definite lead. I think there is a chance, for instance, that the South West African problem will be solved. I think there is a prospect that Dr. Verwoerd may give in. He is already backing down on the Odendaal report for South West Africa. If Britain and America and no doubt other countries, such as France and the other African countries—and there are still moderate African leaders in Africa—make our position clear, there is still hope that a solution will 673 be found. Mandela was not executed, Luthuli is still there. It would be possible for them to be brought out to help work a compromise. I would only say, knowing that many have much greater knowledge than I have of South Africa, that unless some lead is taken we shall perhaps see some of the worst tragedies and the worst slaughters that the world has seen.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN
My Lords, it is clear from the list of speakers that this debate is going to range over a very wide field. The noble Lord who introduced the Motion mentioned South Africa, and it has been mentioned again by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton. I should like to speak on only one subject, and that is the place of South Africa in Western defence, leaving aside all political matters. I saw the South Africans at Delville Wood in 1916, and they served under my command at Alamein. South Africa has taken part in two World Wars on the side of the West, and I would suggest to your Lordships that we owe them a very great deal. But to-day we see a growing campaign of abuse against the Republic of South Africa and this disturbs me purely from the defence angle. To me, as a soldier, the question is: where do Britain and the whole Free World stand in all this turbulence? From the purely defence point of view the answer is to me clear: it concerns sea power.
I served from 1948 to 1958 in the Western Defence Organisation. I was Deputy to four Supreme Commanders in NATO and during that time our nuclear strength and defence was built up. During those ten years I studied future war, and the more I studied future war the more I reached the conclusion that in all-out nuclear war movement of any degree—and I would underline "of any degree"—would be possible only in the air and on the sea. Movement by air is very well understood, and it has to be used more and more to increase the strategic mobility of armed forces generally. It is not so well understood that if ever East and West should come to blows—and I would very much emphasise the word "if": I do not say "when"—surface movement on any scale will be possible only on the sea.
674 If one looks at a global map one sees at once the enormous value conferred on the side which has freedom of movement across the water areas of the world. Furthermore, on the seas the effect of "fall-out" is not a serious factor and will not prevent movement. I reached the conclusion in my ten years' study that without the free use of the water areas of the world reconstruction will be very difficult after a war in which nuclear weapons have been extensively used.
We British have always understood the value of sea power. We know very well that, of the three routes between East and West, two—the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal—can be closed without difficulty in war, and even at the whim of a dictator in peace. The third route lies via the Cape of Good Hope. During the Suez crisis in 1956, when the Suez Canal was closed by President Nasser, over 300 ships rounded the Cape daily, and bunkering facilities were available for those ships in all South African ports. Without those bunkering facilities the value of the Cape route would have become stultified, with the most serious consequences to the West in general and to our own country in particular. Clearly, therefore, the ports of the Republic must be protected in war time, together with the seas which surround the southern tip of Africa.
Nelson was always very well aware of the importance of the Cape route to our country, and some years after his death a Royal Naval base was established at Simonstown in South Africa. That brings me to the Simonstown Agreement. In June, 1955—that is, nine years ago—a pact was entered into between the British and South African Governments by which the Simonstown naval base was handed over to South Africa. The pact was known as the Simonstown Agreement. That Agreement guaranteed the unfettered use of the naval base by Britain and her Allies in the event of war, irrespective of whether the Union, now the Republic, was involved or was neutral.
A strategic zone of 5 million square miles of ocean was demarcated to be patrolled by the South African Navy, responsibility for that area, those 5 million square miles of sea, resting with the South African Naval Chief of Staff, and 675 a Joint Maritime Planning Committee of both Navies was agreed and set up. In peace time, the British Admiralty maintains a radio station and an establishment in the base. Under the Agreement, South Africa agreed to buy British arms for her Navy, her Army and her Air Force, and to keep the base in being. Finally, Britain will take operational command of all South African naval forces in the event of war, including maritime air forces, her naval forces coming under the command of the British Commander-in-Chief South Atlantic, who has his headquarters in the Republic in peace time.
My Lords, the Simonstown Agreement outlined above by me is still in being, and the Republic has made it clear that she has no intention of abrogating that Agreement. I believe that it is clear from the Agreement that South Africa considers, as do all sensible people, that she belongs to the West; and her geographical situation gives her a strategic position which is vital to the Western Powers. Another point is that her territory is ideal for missile-tracking stations from Western nuclear Powers. Indeed, the United States of America already has one such station in the Republic, and France is about to ask permission to establish another. Quite apart from the Western World, it seems to me that Britain and South Africa must not drift apart. We need each other, strategically and militarily; and it is therefore essential to study the military importance of the Republic objectively, and not to allow sentimentality and emotional reaction to her racial policies to cloud the defence issue.
The naval advantages which accrue from the Simonstown Agreement are eminently satisfactory to the West, but do not let us forget that if South Africa fell into black hands the naval base at Simonstown would go the same way as has the British base in Kenya—and recent events in Tanganyika and Zanzibar have highlighted that danger. The centre of gravity of turbulence in the East-West conflict has shifted from Europe to East of Suez, and our country, Britain, is committed to fight against Indonesia to protect the integrity of Malaysia. My Lords, if Britain ever had to fulfil her promise to give military aid to Malaysia on any great scale, 676 Nasser would most certainly close the Suez Canal, thereby proving the vital need of the Cape route. Finally, my Lords, we British have retreated on many fronts in recent years, possibly in some cases of necessity; but to abandon South Africa would be, from the defence angle, a calamity of the first magnitude and when other nations press us to do so, I would suggest that we must say quite definitely, "No".
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, your Lordships will forgive me if I do not follow the noble and gallant Viscount, who has just sat down, on the subject of the conduct of the next war. I myself have not studied for ten years, as he has, the possible development of such a war: I am a complete layman. But, as a complete layman, I must say it strikes me that if there really is an all-out nuclear war between the Soviet Union, shall we say, and the West, involving this country, there will be not much movement on land, on sea or in the air. So far as this country is concerned, there will be very little movement—I should say no movement at all—either in or out, for the simple reason that this country will probably have ceased to exist. That, I must say, as a layman, colours my thinking on this matter, but I do not intend to pursue it at the present time.
My own theme—and your Lordships will forgive me for pursuing it, but I am the President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, and the thing dearest to my heart is therefore the Alliance of the West—is the Western World. As I see it, one of the main reasons for the recent success of Senator Goldwater (whose remarkable success, whether we like it or not, broods over our debate this afternoon) was the failure a year and a half ago of the negotiations for the entry of this country into the Common Market. I will try to explain to your Lordships why I believe that is so, and, if it is so, what conclusions should reasonably be drawn; and I should like the noble Earl who is to wind up for the Government to say, even if he does not agree with my argument, whether, broadly speaking, he accepts my conclusions.
These negotiations for our entry into the Common Market failed, I think, basically, because the French Government was not prepared at that time to 677 see Britain associated with France as an equal in a confederal and, it must be confessed, rather inward-looking Europe (as the phrase goes) of which France herself would be, or could be, the obvious leader. I myself believe that if we had gone in we should have been far more ready to play the Community game, so to speak, than the French. This, I think, may possibly have been an additional reason for the veto; though it is true, of course, that there was much opposition in this country to our doing or suggesting anything of the kind. But on both sides of the Channel the truth was that nationalism had a large say in the failure of the negotiations.
Now although nationalism may be, and indeed is, up to a point, very good for any individual nation, it is hardly, in this age of the thermo-nuclear bomb, less dangerous than the bomb itself. In our modern international community, with science bringing us closer and closer together every day, nationalism is also highly contagious. There is no reason why inspired leaders, with less real genius perhaps than de Gaulle, but, nevertheless, intent on placing, above all, the interests of their own country first, should not appear in many other countries. There is indeed every reason to suppose, that if we go on as we are, they will. Even here, in this ancient democracy, we are not necessarily immune. I am told that what is called British Gaullism is making considerable progress. It might be defined as "going it alone", on the basis of our Commonwealth and our independent deterrent, and not taking much notice of the views of foreigners. I believe our Gaullists are only waiting for a patriotic leader of real talent who knows how to formulate and give eloquent expression to our frustrations and our subconscious desires. Who knows!, the British leader of the future may perhaps be in your Lordships' House this afternoon—although I dare say he might equally be found in another place. But the point I am making is that it is nationalism which is primarily responsible for our exclusion from the Common Market; that nationalism is undoubtedly catching; and that it may well spread in the Western World.
Even if your Lordships think I am letting my imagination run away with 678 itself, let us consider something which is still more alarming; that is, the effect of recent events on the other side of the Atlantic. Until January 14, 1963, the American nation, under the guidance of its youthful and dynamic President, knew, broadly speaking, where it was going and what its continuing rôle of leadership in the Western world was going to be. President Kennedy, with his brilliant team of advisers, had worked it out. Europe, including Britain, was to be encouraged to unite; and after Britain applied for membership of E.E.C. in August, 1961, it looked, indeed, as if Europe would be united, when the Alliance would rest more and more on the famous two "pillars" and gradually over the years we should build up as a sort of arch, or bridge, the Atlantic Community of our dreams.
It was, perhaps, a gamble for America to pursue this policy, because there was admittedly no certainty that Europe, once united, would not develop an "inward-looking" tendency and become in the long run a kind of "third force". But the reasonable hope was that, once the United Kingdom was in the E.E.C., negotiations could safely be undertaken for the general encouragement of world trade and that, in the vast prosperity which it was thought would follow, there would be no occasion for Europe and North America to develop in rivalry, and still less for one to be considered dependent on the other, since both would benefit so much by co-operation. I know this, broadly speaking, was the American conception, because President Kennedy told me so himself in a long conversation I had with him in March, 1962.
This was more than a genial brain wave; it was a whole political philosophy and, indeed, the only one which made, and I think still makes, intellectual sense, whether regarded from the American or from the European viewpoint. It was to the great credit of the present Government, and notably of Mr. Harold Macmillan, that they understood and accepted it, even if tardily; and I have no doubt they would have been successful in carrying it out had it not been for events on both sides of the Channel over which they had not complete control. Everybody knows that the immediate effect on this country of those events has not been economically disastrous. I 679 have never thought myself, and I have certainly never said, that it would be disastrous. What I predicted for Britain if we were for long excluded from the E.E.C., was slow decline; and that is a prediction which I maintain.
In the Community itself the effects of our exclusion have, of course, not been disastrous either; but even there they have been the reverse of happy, and the disadvantages, perhaps even the impossibility, of gradually forming a genuine European economic and political entity without Britain are becoming increasingly clear. Nobody can say for certain that the progress towards European political unity will not be held up or even reversed by the wave of new nationalism which the breakdown of the Brussels talks undoubtedly encouraged. Should anything now happen to discourage world trade, which is, after all, quite possible, the future of our small and exposed peninsula will be perilous indeed.
All these things must be apparent to the Americans, and, as we of the Common Market campaign were the first to point out, the blow struck on January 14, 1963, was even more dangerous for the Alliance than it was for European unity. It is here that we are in very serious trouble if we do not look out. Let us try to regard the whole thing from the American point of view. The grand design of President Kennedy was, broadly speaking, accepted by a nation which, since the war, has expended no less than £30,000 million in organising and supporting what it was told, and what it believed, were the forces of freedom, with no very great sign of gratitude on the part of those who absorbed the cash and no very great evidence that such forces were being notably strengthened as a result. This huge sum represented aid, military and economic, to such countries as were prepared to stand up to militant Communism, which, after all, and at any rate until the death of Stalin, made direct or indirect efforts to place neighbouring countries and eventually the world under its sole control. Even the genial Mr. Khrushchev, though he seems happily to have abandoned the direct method, is still, as we know, pursuing the indirect one; and I have no doubt he still, as he says, has high hopes of burying us all.
In any case, to induce the American 680 taxpayer to part with all this money, the United States Government had first of all to persuade him that the menace existed and, secondly, that the subsidising of the Allies was the best way to avert it. The task was undertaken with great efficiency by all the American Administrations since the war; and the last example was the great success of the excellent President Johnson in getting the latest Foreign Aid Bill through Congress. But there is no doubt that the collapse of the Grand Design—and this is the point—has left the Administration in a weak position, for the simple reason that since January 14, 1963, there has been no generally acceptable counter philosophy in existence—acceptable, that is to say, both to the United States and to her European Allies—which makes sense to the average American taxpayer. Hence clearly the increasing attraction of extremist solutions, whether they may be of those of "Fortress America" (American isolation) or, more likely perhaps, the pursuit of a tough policy towards the Communist States based on the great nuclear strength, or superiority if you like, of America, and regardless whether the Allies approve of this or not, or possibly a mixture of both.
Both are equally alarming from the European point of view because if it is the one, the United States nuclear umbrella is withdrawn and we are at the mercy of the Soviet Union, and if it is the other, we shall all presumably disappear into thin air if by any chance the Senator's ultimatum fails to work. But there is nothing surprising, I think, in the emergence of such extremist polices in the United States. They are, I regret to say, the predictable outcome of the unhappy events of January, 1963. The chances certainly are that they will not be accepted by the American people next November, but what is possible is that under the stress of the electoral campaign the present Administration may feel obliged to make more concessions to extremist views than would otherwise be the case.
I think that much will depend on whether the Democratic Administration, supposing it is returned to power, will conclude that the whole conception of the Grand Design is now finally dead. If it concludes that it is finally dead it will have to devise, and indeed may have to impose, some counter-project 681 for keeping the Alliance together, in the circumstances of the "thaw", which has some prospect of being accepted both by the American people and by all the European Allies, unless perhaps, which is unlikely and I should have thought myself undesirable, it is a scheme which may somehow be applied without the consent of the Government of France. Any new solution will no doubt contain proposals for a multilateral force, and I was glad to hear the wise words of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, on that subject. Of course, the moment has not come to discuss this project in any detail because the details are not yet worked out, but I suggest there is one possible weak point from our point of view in the project, and that is that if we come into it, and at the same time remain outside the European Economic Community, it looks as if Germany may gradually become the main pivot of the Alliance from the American point of view. Of course, if we do not come into the M.L.F. and still are debarred from coming into Europe, there is no doubt whatever that Germany will be the main pivot of the Alliance from the American point of view.
There may also be suggestions for reinforcing various Atlantic organs so as to arrive at a rather more unquestioned American leadership. If Europe is not working properly, and more especially if Britain stays out of the E.E.C. for one reason or another, that would indeed be a logical, if not a necessary, development. I remember saying in this House three and a half years ago that if for any reason we could not, or would not, join Western Europe something on the lines of "Union Now" with America was the only likely alternative for us. The famous "Anglo-Saxon bloc" of the General's imagination would then really come into being! But whether we could form some kind of Atlantic Federation embracing the States of the European mainland as well is I think much more open to doubt. If the European Economic Community persists and goes on, obviously we could not do it. If it collapses, owing to the disruptive effects of nationalism, then I feel that only Mr. Khrushchev will benefit in the end.
The point I am making here is that, after the elections, America, as still by far the largest and most important 682 member of the Alliance, will have to come out with a new plan for making the Alliance work, and that will not necessarily be a plan which will be altogether agreeable to this country. We all know that these great issues will not, in all probability, present themselves before the end of the year when our two Elections are over. No doubt Mr. Khrushchev will do his best to see to that. But that they will come out fairly shortly after our Elections few can doubt. What then, in two words, are the likely choices which will probably face Her Majesty's Government, whether it is Conservative or Labour, early next year, and how should we best confront them?
It must be clear—to my mind, at any rate—that it would be fatal for the new Government, whatever its political complexion, to suggest to our friends (and, after all, they are our friends) on the Continent that it has abandoned the European idea and is no longer prepared, as it was prepared in 1961, to accept the economic and political obligations and implications of the Treaty of Rome. Equally, I should hope that it will not be tempted to regard the Commonwealth as in any way an alternative to the European idea. Everybody is delighted by the success, under the splendid leadership of the Prime Minister, of the recent Commonwealth Conference. But that Conference in itself revealed both the possibilities and the limitations of the whole Commonwealth conception. There never was any real conflict between that conception and our joining the European Economic Community.
Such economic difficulties as there were—and they were real enough—chiefly concerned measures necessary to protect certain Commonwealth interests during a shorter or longer period of adjustment. These difficulties may well diminish with the passage of time. Japan is likely to absorb more and more of the primary products of the Antipodes. Nigeria and other Commonwealth countries will probably make their own deals with the Common Market: they are negotiating them now. Our own system of deficiency payments to our farmers may be gradually modified, anyhow. Times change, and we change with them. Maybe it will not be physically possible to get closer to Europe for a time; but you never know. The atmosphere on the 683 other side of the Channel may at any moment be changed. We must be prepared for such a change and disposed to profit by it when it comes, as it will come.
To the Americans, I think it would be important to say that, whatever plans they may have for reorganising the Alliance, we ourselves should prefer to regard them as temporary measures which, however necessary, should at least not conflict with the accomplishment, when that becomes possible, of the Grand Design—namely, the construction of a Union of Western Europe, including Britain, which will be neither a third force nor an appendage of America, but a strong and willing ally in the preservation of those freedoms without which darkness will descend on the West, and possibly on all mankind. We live in dangerous times, and our present prosperity tends to obscure the clouds on the horizon. It was not, I think, just summer lightning which struck the other day in San Francisco: it was the rumbling of a storm which, if we and our American and European friends are not clever, may overturn our whole way of life. The first and elementary precaution is for all the Western Europeans to get together and then for them to form a workable partnership with America. Let us hope that this fundamental truth will soon be recognised, on both sides of the Channel, before it is too late.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, I want to talk mainly about China, but before I do so I should like to say a word of two about South Africa, which has been referred to already and no doubt will be referred to again. The noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, said, if I heard him aright, that the South African Government believed that they belonged to the West, and that so did all sensible people. I must claim, therefore, to be very unsensible. It seems to me that any such idea entirely forgets what the West is about—namely, freedom and justice—and that to accept the friendship, alliance and even help of those who are scoring less on freedom and justice than the adversaries against whom our Alliance was constructed, would be a very foolish course.
Just a word about race. I think any man of breadth of view can feel no sym- 684 pathy for those who live in the countries where they have these terrible racial problems—I am thinking primarily of South Africa, but also of the Southern States of the United States—and say they are insoluble and the trouble is bound to come, because they have never been to the countries in the world where these problems have been solved—and I refer to Brazil and Hawaii. First of all, in Brazil there are three separate races—the white Portuguese, the Amerindians and the black African former slave people—living in perfect harmony. In Hawaii there are four or five distinguishable racial stocks—the white American, the brown Hawaiian, the yellow Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and the black former African American—all living in perfect harmony, which they have been doing for many decades. In fact, in Brazil they have been doing it for 400 years. It seems to me that anybody who claims to speak or hold a policy on racial matters without having examined these solutions is not worthy of sympathy. I think the House knows what the solution is, and I will not detain your Lordships by describing it.
To come to my main point of China, I want to start with some words of that great and good man, our former colleague the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on June 17, because I believe that in the language he used he was reflecting a true feeling in the country, and this feeling is misinformed and I should like to say why. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 696 (No. 123), col. 1308]:…the Russian leaders have a new knowledge of what nuclear war means… The Chinese still refuse to admit this… Mao Tse-tung still believes that he can threaten with nuclear weapons, but the Russians know better.He went on to say:I believe that they"—that is, the Chinese—in turn, will come to recognise, and recognise before it is too late, that the sole result of a nuclear strike by any nuclear Power is immediate annihiliation by the second strike of another.I think this is the generally accepted view in Britain, in America and in Europe. We all think that the Chinese are absolutely wild about nuclear weapons; that they are just itching to build one and to drop it any old where, and that this constitutes a great danger for all of us.
685 Let us look into this in more detail and see what actual developments there have been in China on this front over the last five or six years. The history starts really with the orbiting of the first Russian Sputnik in 1957, which was greeted in China with an outburst of applause, delight, even adoration. Nothing could ever touch Communist China again. Mao Tse-tung spoke ofthe steadily growing possibility of preventing imperialism from launching a new war.Then, for reasons which we do not know, but at which we can guess, there came the dramatic and secret development between April and June, 1958, when the Russians back-tracked on their agreement to supply nuclear weapons know-how, and even nuclear weapons, to China. The immediate reaction was a complete switch in what the Chinese were saying from, "The Russians should teach us. We are protected by their advanced technology. They will keep us safe". They began to say, in the relevant publications, that it is despicable to accept the help of foreigners; that foreign experts patrolling the country constitute a danger of dogmatism; that men count more than weapons and things, and that Chinese senior officers are in error to neglect the possibilities of guerrilla war as the wise Mao Tse-tung proclaimed it. In other words, they were making the best of being deserted by their powerful ally.
During the next year or so, there was the off-shore island crisis when the Chinese were reminded forcibly of the continued presence of an American fleet carrying nuclear weapons patrolling a few miles off their shore, and during that crisis the Russians ostentatiously refrained from rattling their rockets in favour of the Chinese. They must have been extremely scared at that point. In 1959 the Russians cut back on their delivery of aircraft to China, and in 1960 they totally withdrew all their military advisers. It is hard to think of a more naked situation in which any country could find itself.
It so happens that there have recently been published and made available to students some secret military papers in use in China during the first half of 1961; I refer to the Bulletin of Activities of the General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army, which is what the Chinese call 686 their army. These have been analysed in the West; the results have been published, and they show that in these secret papers the Chinese Army were discussing solely defensive plans for fighting on the soil of China. They show a complete realism about the poverty of military material in the Chinese forces. They show an almost pathetic interest in hand-to-hand fighting, close combat, the kind of fighting you have to do when you have no weapons at all. They show a complete realism about the vulnerability of Chinese targets and especially of their air defences. They spoke again, with what appears complete realism to the Western reader, about the fearful destructive power of nuclear weapons and their inability to do anything about it if they were subjected to a nuclear attack. They spoke in a very worried manner about the possibilities of chemical and biological attack by the Americans on them. This was their view of the world three years ago.
Things got even worse for them with the signing of the Test Ban Treaty last year. This was an achievement which was greeted with such universal rejoicing in the West, in the Soviet Union, in the closer part of the East, and in the neutral countries, that we tend to pay no more than passing attention to the Chinese reaction, as though it were no more than a routine propaganda statement that they did not like it. It was a great deal sharper than the French reaction, which was a similar one, largely for the same reasons. The Chinese had repeated demonstrations, public marches, song and dance demonstrations in the streets of their cities for weeks against this Test Ban. A weak country like China cannot get its people to demonstrate for warlike policies. You can get them to demonstrate against what appear to be threatening policies from other people. I think the extent of these demonstrations is probably an indication of their basic attitude in this whole matter.
They pressed ahead yet harder with the development of their own nuclear weapons. You have the famous remark made by Chou En-lai to some Japanese journalists that although Khrushchev had said they would have no trousers if they went on at this rate building 687 nuclear weapons, that did not worry him; they would have the weapons at the expense of the trousers. Throughout all these developments an increasing threat had appeared to the Chinese to be levelled against them from both sides, America and Russia. There were increasing hostility, fear and anger with the outside world.
But there were not pronouncements of the kind that the Prime Minister was implying in his statement in another place. The clearest official Chinese pronouncement on this matter is something which I should like to read to your Lordships. It is an article which appeared in a Chinese periodical last November—and I should remind the House that China is a country in which there are no unofficial publications. If a thing is published, it is Government policy. The relevant parts went like this:The leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union claim that by advocating support for people's wars of national liberation and revolutionary civil wars the Chinese Communist Party wants to provoke a nuclear world war. This is a curious lie.The Chinese Communist Party has always held that socialist countries must not use nuclear weapons to support people's wars of national liberation and revolutionary civil wars, and have no need to do so.… We consistently hold that in the hands of a socialist country, nuclear weapons must always be defensive weapons for resisting imperialist nuclear threats.Here we come to the real point:A socialist country absolutely must not be the first to use nuclear weapons, nor should it in any circumstances play with them or engage in nuclear blackmail and nuclear gambling.I draw the attention of the House to this wording:absolutely must not be the first to use nuclear weapons.This is a pronouncement which has been made by China and by the Soviet Union. It is not, unfortunately, a pronouncement which has been made by the United States or this country. I think I have said enough to show that the contention that the Chinese—
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, would the noble Lord allow me to intervene? Is it not the case that the main reproach of the Chinese Government to the Soviet Government in the last year or two has been that the Soviet Government has 688 been unwilling to run the risk of nuclear war in support of revolutions throughout the world—in other words, that it should assist such revolutions regardless of whether assistance would be likely to result in nuclear war or not? This attitude hardly seems to be covered by the quoted statement of the Chinese Prime Minister.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, as I understand the Chinese position—and it is hard enough to see clearly through the fog of ignorance and misrepresentation—they have indeed charged the Soviet Government with being backward in supporting wars of national liberation, but they have not charged that the Soviet Government has been unwilling to go far enough towards nuclear war in this respect. I do not know that they have ever made this point.
Let me come on to what it seems in point of fact is what the Chinese really believe. It is important that we should know, because only thus can we construct a workable policy towards them. The Chinese attack on India looms enormously large in all our memories. It seemed terrible at the time, and still is when you look back on it. But I have noticed that the further people study the history of that matter, and the more they know about the difficulties of drawing frontiers in the Himalayas, the less inclined they are to put all the blame on one side. One should also remember that there is no other neighbour of China, and that includes ourselves in our capacity as the Colonial Government in Hong Kong, which has been unable to come to a peaceful settlement with them. The Burmese have done it, the Thais have done it, and the other countries have been willing to discuss this matter with the Chinese. This is what differentiates Indo-Chinese relations from Burma-Chinese relations, and even Anglo-Chinese relations, if you wish to carry it that far.
There is in China a pretty alarming state of insulation. It has already been pointed out that they believe they have everything. They have the oldest culture in the world, and they think they can cope alone with any challenge which may be offered them. It was planned to have two productions of Shakespeare in China this year, in Shakespeare's 689 Anniversary Year. That plan was cancelled by a Government decision that Socialist education must come first. This is an indication of the degree of "-cut-offness" from the rest of the world in which they live.
They really believe—and this we have to accept and decide what to do about it—that Lenin was absolutely right when he said that the capitalist world was living on the wealth extorted from its Colonies. Their insistence on national liberation and getting into Asia and African countries is not simply motivated by a wish to conduct a policy favourable to themselves in those countries. It is based on a genuine belief that if they can get Communist Governments installed in those countries there are going to be Communist revolutions in the capitalist States; not only Britain, France, and the United States, but countries like Sweden and New Zealand. Every capitalist country is going to go that way automatically if it is deprived of the economic underpinning of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
How can they know better? Forty-five years ago Marshal Chen Yi worked for a few months in an automobile factory in Paris. The picture of capitalist society one got from a factory bench in a Parisian motor factory in 1921 is not valid to-day. Chou En-lai himself has actually been to England—he spent one night at Muswell Hill in 1919. The Chinese diplomats abroad are not in a position to do very much to dispel the fog of misconception that the Chinese rulers have about us. One may assume that if they question the dogma, they do not last long. They are too scared to go out and look at our countries, and we hardly tend to seek them out and ask them to our houses. One can hope for little rectification of the errors from that quarter.
I wonder whether it would not be possible to have some invitations to the Chinese rulers—the top 10, 20 or 30 men, or even the top one or two—to come and look for themselves at the capitalist world and to leave them unguarded, unprotected and unguided, to see the best as well as the worst. I understand that Chen Yi, when he came to Geneva for the Laos Conference, was astonished that Switzerland should have a higher stan- 690 dard of living than China, and was appalled at the length of time China was going to take to reach the Swiss level. Perhaps he attributed it to Switzerland's wise policy of neutralism, and believes that poverty and discontent prevail in the NATO countries as they did in the days of Marx. One must remember the last they heard about Western economies was in Marx's own writings. These were based on British Blue Books of the 1850s and 1860s. A good thing, I think, would be to get these people to come and see what really happens; they might then recast their view of the world. Chinese policy might, thereafter, be a little recast. This would enable us to recast our policy towards them, and we might get away from the present endless vista of a division between the white, technologically advanced people, under American and Russian leadership, and, on the other hand, all the non-white, technologically backward people in hot climates, the leadership of whom the Chinese, if we go on as we are now, would be only too prepared to accept.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
My Lords, I should particularly like to debate—because it seemed to me very far-fetched—the lengthily argued thesis of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, that what has happened in the United States in recent days has its origin in the repulse given by de Gaulle to Britain when we attempted to join the Common Market eighteen months ago. But as I am only the eighth in a formidable list of speakers, and having regard to the sensibilities of your Lordships in the declining days of this Parliament, I will desist and come straight to what I have to say. In a way, like the utterance of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, though from a wholly different and, I am certain, much lower cast of mind, it reflects on some of the changing relationships of the great Powers as we look around the world to-day.
The greatest mistake, an almost epochal error, it seems to me, that we and the Americans made at the end of the war was to misinterpret the violence of Soviet polemics in the Press and on the radio, and the presence of 30 Russian divisions in the satellite countries as a major threat to world peace. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, a moment ago, I thought, was telling your Lordships the 691 same thing about China. But, of course, as he himself admitted, we know very little about the unfolding of the great Chinese scene, and I say what I do about Russia only because it seems to me that we have had months, and even years, of increasing experience of what was behind their opinions at the end of the last war.
The violence of Soviet polemics and the presence of those divisions were, as is now beginning to be seen, part of a vast defensive operation on the part of the Soviet Union against two things: first a quick befriending of Western Germany by the Allies; and, secondly, a repetition of the expeditionary force that had been mobilised against Russia in the early stages of their Revolution in 1918, but this time with the atomic potential used against Japan in 1945. When the Americans exploded their first experimental hydrogen bomb on Enewitok Atoll in 1954 Mr. Molotov shouted over the ether: "We will have it too."—and the Russians got it eighteen months later, in November, 1955. From that moment on, the dark predictions of Sir Winston Churchill on the future of Europe were falsified. The violent diatribes on Press and radio, the shrieking about Fascist hyenas, and all the rest of it, began to cease. Russia has become, ever since that date, a steady, responsible and established Power. Undoubtedly the hydrogen bomb gave them the confidence they had previously lacked and, so far from making them more menacing, it made them less so.
I believe it is quite wrong to regard Cuba as the high point of change. The change took place in 1956. Hungary was the last exercise, the last despairing throw of the old Stalinists. The Russian presence in Cuba two years ago was, like their presence at Suez in 1956, a gamble in a power-vacuum from which, if pressed, they were prepared to withdraw. And President Kennedy did not have to be any firmer about requiring them to withdraw than Lord Avon had to be at Suez. The actions of both those statesmen removed the Russian presence from the scene.
So much, my Lords—and one has in these debates to skate over enormous topics—for the timing of the change of policy in Eastern Europe. Now, what 692 about Western Europe? It is my belief that the high noon of the Western Liberals (and I may say in passing that I fundamentally disagree with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Rea, for reasons which I think he will duly note) was reached as late as last year, when President Kennedy went on to a rostrum against the Wall erected by the East Germans and said: "Ich bin ein Berliner". The world thought that that was a marvellous utterance; but may I say, that as a Conservative Englishman I found the phrase almost as shocking as Senator Goldwater's proposal to defoliate the forests of North Viet-Nam with small nuclear bombs. Kennedy produced no military threats, but he set the stage diplomatically for a further American advance into Europe; and that, as I conceive it, is the very last thing anybody in Western Europe wants to see happen.
World liberators, whether they are Hitlerian or Stalinist, are the greatest possible nuisances to mankind, and that goes also for dynamic American leaders, whether of a Liberal or Conservative persuasion. The nations to-day are still exhausted by two appalling wars and are longing for quiet, internal, indigenous recuperation. They are not looking for continental expeditions, whether ideological or military. I believe that the policies of Mr. Khrushchev have completely changed the European picture, and they have left the Americans nearly ten years behind the Russians is coming to their senses on world problems. President Johnson, of course, is doing his utmost to bring his countrymen round, but the United States is a vast society to manoeuvre, and since he has only a short time in which to do it, he may well fail. If he does, then I am quite sure that his successor, Senator Goldwater, will succeed.
Senator Goldwater's home policy has much sense in it—sometimes I wish we could put some of it into practice in our own country here—and his foreign policy frightens us only because radical British newspaper correspondents have taken it from catch-phrases which have not yet been fully rationalised. The Times' Washington correspondent's articles in the last three or four days have been written in an extraordinarily censorious form. They alarm me more than anything I have seen of 693 Senator Goldwater on television in the last few weeks. Then there have been other statements in the newspapers; there have been the B.B.C.'s correspondents' utterances from San Francisco; and, finally, and worst of all, there has been Canon Collins's malevolent sermon in St. Paul's on Sunday. One would expect such sentiments as these, and we got them yesterday, from Russian and Polish statesmen gathered in Warsaw. But when we get them from British sources it only shows how emotionally unbalanced some sections of our society have become since the end of the war.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl to ask him whether he is suggesting that Senator Goldwater's own policy, that is, the Republican platform itself, has not been adequately published in Britain? I think it was in all the newspapers.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
The actual Republican Convention platform speech was certainly reproduced in English newspapers. What I am speaking about is English newspaper correspondents' interpretation in the terms of their own ideas, according to their own natures, of certain catch-phrases which they got from Senator Goldwater's speech.
§ LORD KENNET
The noble Earl said that we knew of Goldwater's policy only from the correspondents' interpretation.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
I take back the word "only". For my part, I am absolutely sure that either President Johnson or President Goldwater will succeed in bringing the great American people rapidly up to date. As I say, I conceive that they are eight or nine years behind world events.
My Lords, if Europe is to be regenerated, it is best regenerated in restful national terms, and that means an end to the cold war; it means, in due course, an end to NATO and the Warsaw Pact; to the Mixed-Manned Polaris fleet—and I was sorry to hear the new development of thinking of Her Majesty's Government to-day on that; I should have thought that it would have been better to experiment with what has been given to us to experiment with by America, rather than produce counter-designs by the British Government which add to it. It means an end to all that and to all other 694 supra-national schemes which derive from the tide of war, of occupation and counter-occupation, from "Old, unhappy, far off things, and battles long ago".
The emancipating Liberal era organised by the so-called Washington "whiz kids "and sustained by large communities of self-expelled emigrés from Europe must come to an end. World-conquering Marxist-Leninism must also come to an end. We in Western Europe and in Scandinavia must now, it seems to me, go in for nothing less than a gigantic rescue operation, not of belligerency but of appeasement; not of purpose, but of ease. A third force, if you like, but a rock and not a juggernaut. It is really no less a thing than positively making peace.
In this great undertaking the British and the French alone can point the way. It is madness to be quarrelling at this time with General de Gaulle. We and the French are the only two nations which, while retaining our ties of association with the territories we have liberated, avoid transplanting into them a compulsive ideology. We are the only true heirs of Edmund Burke, who, among so many wise sayings, said this, which holds the memory:As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, your colonies will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply the more friends you will have, the more ardently they love liberty the more perfect will be their obedience.It is no accident that all the other world alliances which are informed by ruthless or hubristic doctrines of Right or Left are slipping and changing their patterns. It is no accident, either, that the British Commonwealth of Nations and the French community are the only concourses of States now holding their former subject peoples together. It is done by peace-making in a climate of freedom. Cannot we transplant our success in the Commonwealth, and cannot the French transplant their success in their community, on a world-wide scale? The Prime Minister, in exercising summitry of the highest order, proved all this to be true of the British only last week.
The United States is also a vast federation, or confederation, and I am sure 695 that the great American people are basically of our mind in this. If Senator. Goldwater's victory shows, as I believe it does, that Americans are tired of being world saviours, then let them tire. It is better that they should follow Khrushchev and take a rest from the appalling pres-nightmare.
In Britain we are nervous of American isolationism only because it brought America late into the second German war. There will be no third German war: God-given science has seen to that. I therefore believe that your Lordships' House and Parliament and our leaders of opinion up and down the country ought to take their courage in both hands these days, realising that the sheltered, dutiful but largely ineffective rôle which Britain has played since the end of the war is about to vanish, like the cold war itself, into the forgotten mists of time. Once again I believe that we shall be able to gain for ourselves, for the Commonwealth and Empire and for Western Europe, a place in the sun of history and to deploy our happy society and our strength in the way of magnanimity and peace.
§ 5.25 p.m.
My Lords, there have been a number of references this afternoon to South Africa, and I propose to confine my attention to that country and not follow the noble Earl who has just spoken on global matters. South Africa is a country to-day where millions suffer. That most are black-skinned is, to my mind, secondary: they are human beings like ourselves. But we have a situation where 3 million whites try to dominate 9 million non-whites, and try to maintain apartheid by force. I consider apartheid to be wrong. At best, it aims at separate but equal facilities. This you had, or still have, in the United States before integration. But instead of having separate but equal facilities you have separate and inferior facilities for the non-whites. And it is black resistance to inferiority that has forced the Nationalist to be increasingly tyrannical.
I would submit to your Lordships that in discussing South Africa there are four questions to be faced. First, are we morally entitled to intervene when we do not allow others to intervene in our own internal affairs, or even into the affairs of 696 other Commonwealth countries? If we consider that we are entitled to intervene, what methods do we suggest? And whatever methods we adopt, are they likely to be effective? If they are not effective, or if we do not intervene, what will happen to South Africa? I have twice been to South Africa, and I actually taught at the University of Johannesburg some years ago. The situation since then has worsened, and I must confess to your Lordships that I was horrified not only by what I saw but by the fact that it was regarded as normal, by both white and black.
I would cite just two small incidents which will illustrate what I mean. The first relates to the diamond mines at Kimberley, the source of so much South African wealth. You have there white miners and black miners. The black miners go there voluntarily, but once they are there they live in a compound surrounded by a wire fence. Once they are in they may not leave for six months, until the end of their contract, for fear they may smuggle out precious diamonds. No women are allowed in the compounds. Native dancing is encouraged, to enable them to "let off steam"; and visitors go and watch them, as I did. I was also taken to a dog show. They were very fine dogs, but I was not told (I subsequently discovered this) that the purpose of those dogs is to patrol the wire fence to prevent escapes and to prevent diamonds from being thrown over to confederates outside. At the end of the contract, when the miners go home, the fear of smuggling is so great that every precaution is taken to prevent black miners from swallowing diamonds. So they are given a large dose of castor oil and are then allowed to go home. To work under such conditions of indignity is, to my mind, intolerable. Nevertheless, they come from hundreds of miles away; they get good wages; and everybody considers this system natural.
The second incident was in Johannesburg itself, where there are buses for whites and buses for blacks. Incidentally, the black buses have white drivers and white conductors, because these are skilled jobs which have to be given to whites. It is a criminal offence for a black to travel on a white bus, or for a white to travel on a black bus. By mistake, I got on to a black bus, and 697 was told that if I did not get off instantly I should be arrested. But there is one exception. White postmen in South Africa are the only kind of postmen who are allowed to deliver letters; but it is undignified for them to carry a mail bag. In general, in South Africa you are not expected to carry anything: I was not supposed to carry even my own brief case. Behind the white postman walks a black carrier carrying the post bag. When they get on to the bus, they can get on together; the white postman sits down and the black postman with the bag has to stand on the step. In those conditions he travels. He is considered to be under the control of a white man and is allowed on a white bus.
Europeans in South Africa regard this as quite natural. I consider it an affront to human dignity. The first time I experienced this I was horrified; but as the months went on, I found that I began to tolerate it. One soon realises that life in South Africa for anybody with any sensitivity is a constant compromise with one's conscience. Incidentally, since then life has become far worse.
I discussed the reasons for these sharp distinctions with Afrikaner nationalist leaders, with politicians, with academics, with theoretical writers. I gradually realised that we were talking quite a different language, and that they were completely obsessed with one single idea, the maintenance of white supremacy. The problem of white supremacy in Africa increases with the proportion of whites over blacks. The transfer of power to Africans is easiest where that proportion is low. Nyasaland, now Malawi, has only three whites per 1,000. In Tanganyika, where there are 23 per 1,000, and in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, with 30 per 1,000, the transfer could still be smooth. But in Southern Rhodesia with a quarter of a million Europeans, 68 per 1,000, it becomes a difficult thing. In Kenya, with 90 per 1, 000 we had the Mau Mau rebellion, transfer of power was delayed, and there is still the problem of the future of white farmers. But in South Africa, with three million persons of European stock, with 192 whites per 1,000, the situation is quite impossible. It is not considered likely that there can be any easy transfer of power, nor, in fact, any trans- 698 fer of power at all, if nationalists continue to be in control.
The Europeans have built up a powerful empire in South Africa over the centuriesߞwith white brains, Dutch and British, and black labour. The whites do not want to lose that empire, and they are prepared to fight to the last ditch. They correctly say that the black is unprepared to take over and to run South Africa. Quite true. They have not been prepared for this. There are some educated Africans, but no more are trained than the minimum. Black workers are not allowed to be members of white unions, or to form unions of their own; they can acquire no democratic experience. They are excluded from Parliament, and can get no political experience. Even if transfer were peaceable to-day, the risk would be that South Africa would end up as a second Congo. The whites would be forced out, and where would they go?
The English-speaking South Africans are in a different position from the Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. Some of the English-speaking South Africans have gone to Australia and to other countries. Some have not liked it there and have returned to South Africa. But the Afrikaners have nowhere to go. Although of Dutch origin, many families have been there for 300 years, and they feel cut off, with their backs to the wall. They are prepared to fight for the right to their own way of life—and not for the first time. The first rebellion against Western ideas was ended by the Battle of Majuba in 1881. There was the Boer War at the end of the last century. There can be another war, for the third time, if necessary against all-comers, against the so-called native population, or South Africa, against Pan-Africans in Central Africa, and anybody who is allied with them.
Many Afrikaners do not want to use force. If they can preserve their empire by liberal methods they will do so. And I share the view of my noble friend Lord Shackleton, that the Afrikaner as a whole is a civilised, God-fearing man of European stock, quite different from the thugs and criminals who came to the top in Germany under Hitler. But if liberal methods are impossible, the Afrikaner will use force, and more and more force, for, in his view, white 699 control must be preserved. In the eyes of the Afrikaner this is a holy mission. Most Afrikaner nationalists are strict Dutch Calvinists. Many farmers who live isolated lives on the veldt, believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God, that the black man is predestined to be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, and that any idea of equal citizenship is heresy. The whole structure of their society is built on this fallacy, as was Hitler's.
That structure itself is full of contradiction. The whites depend on black labour. They are in daily contact, in mines, in factories and farms; but the blacks are segregated so far as possible, economically, politically and socially. For example, there are separate post offices so that blacks should not contaminate whites, but white children are brought up by black nannies. No white farmer can exist without black labour. In fact, many Afrikaner farmers look with envy at the Israeli Kibbutz and the "Do-it-yourself" methods there. The Afrikaner farmers have to hire blacks; they even hire convicts. And there is no equal treatment as between black and white. If a black kills his master it means death; if a master kills a black the crime is much less serious.
Now, you may ask, what about the English-speaking whites? They are the people who have big business interests there. Why do they not do something about this? Well, a few accept Nationalist policy, but most support the United Party. It had its chance but it did not take it. It is now ineffective, and liberal ideas are really sponsored by a lone Progressive Party woman. The Afrikaners are now in the majority. Most accept Dutch Calvinist philosophy. They have obstinate minds. They are humourless, they are strictly logical, and they have got themselves into an impossible position—apartheid.
They are now trying to force Africans into Bantustans, with inadequate land and mineral resources and little chance of economic development, and not even free self-government in those areas. They have set up separate universities for Africans with fine buildings; but the products of these universities can work only for blacks, as Jews were allowed in Germany under Hitler to work only for other Jews.
700 This is the exact opposite of the Welfare State. The Government there are not trying to narrow the gap between the classes, which in South Africa are white and black, but to widen the gap. They do not want to bring the black up to the white level because that would be a challenge. The result is a low level of taxation on the white taxpayer, which is ideal for the employer. He also gets cheap labour and the housewives get lots of servants. The white is superior; the black is inferior for ever.
When Africans object to this inequality and lack of opportunity, what happens? They are deprived of their civil rights and are forced to carry passes; they are imprisoned without trial; their passports are withdrawn. There is the pall of heavy censorship over the whole country. Even British newspapers are examined before being released to the bookshops. Anybody who opposes is declared to be a Communist. He is isolated to prevent a united front, and South Africa has already become a police state. The police are tough; there is no Parliamentary safety valve. If Africans demonstrate they are shot down, as at Sharpeville. The result is that the only method of expressing one's discontent is by sabotage, and the answer to that is treason trials. The South African Government have built up a very good army and a police force and behind them, but less publicised, are the white commandos. Every village has its own local volunteer force of white farmers, who are heavily armed; and air commandos are now being started as a last-ditch reserve.
Can Britain stand aside and watch the South African Government treat the majority of its citizens so disgracefully? I say, No. We have at least one right, and that is to say what we think—not that it will change the situation, and it infuriates the Nationalists. There is little more we can do to help. It is no use trying to advise African leaders. It is difficult to get into contact with them, and the point has long been passed when they will accept white advice. We can refuse to sit with South Africans at international conferences; that is not a very effective measure. We can try to disrupt South African airlines, but this is rather difficult to do. If we impose a boycott on goods going to South 701 Africa, South Africa merely produces them herself and is at the moment in process of having a boom. If we refuse arms for internal use, it is extremely difficult to draw the line between what is internal and what is not.
The noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, has rightly said that the question of South African bases as an outpost against Communist subversion of the whole of South-East Asia is extremely important. It is doubtful whether in long-term policy we should be well-advised to interfere with the present arrangements at Simonstown. We could participate in United Nations sanctions, or in Commonwealth African sanctions, or sanctions by African countries outside the Commonwealth. We have gone along with the African Commonwealth countries to such an extent that South Africa has left the Commonwealth. But the African countries are out for direct action, as one has seen from the recent meeting in Cairo. Pan-African training of saboteurs is in full force, and I am quite sure that later there will be attempts to invade South Africa with regular forces. When I was in East Africa I saw some of the places—I will not say where—where Africans were being trained for work in South Africa, slipping across the frontier.
The central African countries are not yet ready to invade South Africa, which is largely shielded by Portuguese territory. But their activities put Britain into a cleft stick. If we do not support African liberation movements we shall lose the friendship of many African countries. If we do support them we shall be dragged far too far. Hence my suggestion to your Lordships is that Britain must stay out of all action against Africa by the use of force and leave that to the African countries; it is an African problem. But we should give no help or comfort to white South Africa.
The white Nationalists cannot understand this policy. They think they should be admired because they are vigorous and have been successful in preserving their white empire. Money is flowing in and white settlers are being attracted to South Africa from Kenya, from Rhodesia, from the United Kingdom, even from the Continent. Every man who goes strengthens the white hold on South Africa, and in my opinion this is wrong.
702 Before such a situation we stand helpless. We are watching a Greek tragedy, the descent of a pigheaded people down to disaster. Let us not fool ourselves: it is too late to-day for peaceful change in South Africa. There is no white political Party that can unseat the Nationalist Government. There is no alternative white Government for South Africa. Even if the Nationalists were convinced that they must liberalise their régime, the whole country would boil over at once. South Africa is a fine country, but it has gone beyond the point of no return. Its future will be massacre and destruction.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, in my young days at the Foreign Office such admirable speeches as those made by the noble Lord who initiated this debate—and once again we are indebted to him—and my noble friend the Leader of the House were known as tours d'horizon. That is what they were again to-day. Yet always there are some peaks which remain unsealed, some vistas unexplored. I should like to touch on two of these this afternoon. The first is the effect of the political detente of the past few months on Communist subversion in the overseas territories. The second, to which I shall refer later, is the Spanish frigates.
The question to which I should like first to address myself is: to what extent has the policy of detente been accompanied by any diminution of the aggressive and subversive Communist activities overseas, and, above all, in former Western European colonial empires? The answer is, not at all. In fact, if past experience proves anything, it must be accepted that the easing of relations between Moscow and the West will generally lead to an intensification of Soviet efforts not only to destroy the remaining colonial régimes but, even more important, to subvert the newly independent countries in Africa and those old-established countries of Latin-America. Then again, as is evidenced by South Fast Asia, the Chinese Communist assault is continuing quite openly at maximum tempo. Indeed, they have now become the major factor in the spread of Communism South of the Sahara. I should like to try to illustrate this argument from the growth of Communism in Africa, because it is in Africa that the establishment of Communism would present the greatest possible threat and danger to 703 Europe. After all, it was Mikoyan who said that Europe without Africa is like a chicken plucked and ready for the pot.
One of the startling things about Communist penetration of Africa is that it is of such recent growth. It can, in fact, be said to date from 1958 which, curiously enough, is also the year when some of the great American experts on African affairs claim that they, too, had discovered Africa. Up till the 1950s the African peoples had been generally lumped together by Communist thinkers with the American Negroes, as a poor and downtrodden group of peoples who, like others of the proletariat masses, would one day rise against their capitalist oppressors.
So it was that the action of the British and French Governments and other former colonial Powers in granting independence to their territories, was looked upon by the Communist leaders with sheer astonishment; it was regarded by them as a sort of imperialist swindle. Here were these much abused colonial Powers freely handing over their territories to self-government and independence, not to a revolutionary proletariat but to bourgeois, and even feudalist, leaders, with no interest at all in Communism.
Something had to be done about it, and the man who undertook this task there was Ivan Potekhin, a most remarkable character, who I think it can be fairly said has been almost entirely responsible for building up the Communist African network, both in Africa and in the Soviet Union, and the European Soviet satellites, since 1954.
The fashion in Communist circles in those days was to attack both the British Government's motives and the motives of such leaders as Dr. Nkrumah and their policies of evolving a democratic system. But once Ghana became independent this whole position changed very radically. The political views and the background of the African leaders were condoned or ignored. No direct effort was made to build up Communist parties, and the general emphasis was switched to financial aid, friendship societies, propaganda and education. The previous hostility to pan-Africanism was dropped like a hot cake.
704 Potekhin and his colleagues saw that pan-Africanism could, in fact, be used as a most valuable weapon against the West, not merely as a factor in political alignment, but also in such fields as trade unionism, journalism, women's movements, youth movements and so on. As a result, Soviet-African friendship societies and solidarity groups were founded all over Africa. Loans were given to the newly independent countries of West Africa, often accompanied by large numbers of Soviet and other Communist technicians. Many hours of broadcasting in English, French and Portuguese, as well as in native languages, were devoted to propaganda. And in some cases—as, for example, in Guinea—military or air missions were provided. Then there was an intensive drive to attract African students to the Soviet Union and its European satellites. With the overwhelming passion for education which is one of the outstanding features of African nationalism, it was not surprising that students from all over Africa flocked behind the Iron Curtain in their thousands. And to-day these fully indoctrinated young people are just beginning to return to Africa to play their appointed rôle.
I would emphasise that, initially, Soviet efforts were concentrated on the West Coast, on Guinea, Mali and Ghana. It is perhaps surprising that they were not more successful, and I believe that to be due largely to the very deep African suspicion of all external influences. So, however much some of these countries may have since departed from the democratic and Parliamentary ideals laid down for them in Westminster, Paris or Brussels, and although Communist methods may have been used to build up dictatorial régimes in certain places, the fact remains that none of these countries can so far be described as a Communist State. Yet, my Lords, these Communist efforts are going on as strongly as ever, quite undiminished by the political detente between the Soviet and the West.
Here I would suggest that, although Soviet and now Chinese policy may be largely concerned with the spread of Communism as such, it is perfectly clear that a great deal of their thinking is concerned with the material benefits of 705 the success of their efforts. I am not now speaking of the strategic importance of Africa, to which the noble and gallant Field Marshal made reference this afternoon, although I entirely agree with what he said. The material prizes, however, are so great that they alone would warrant the all-out effort which Soviet and Chinese Communism is now employing in Africa.
One has only to think of the copper deposits in Northern Rhodesia and Katanga, the diamonds in Kasai, Sierra Leone, Angola and South Africa, the gold mines of Southern Rhodesia and the vast gold mine; of South Africa, to realise what a shattering blow it would be to the economies of Europe, and even of the United States, if these and other resources were denied to them. These are great prizes, and so it is not surprising that the main Communist militant efforts should have been directed towards the Congo, Angola, East Africa, the Rhodesias and South Africa; and I would venture to think that it is also no coincidence that of these territories three are still largely under white rule.
I should like to say one word about the part which has been played by the Chinese Communists. Although after the Bandung Conference of 1955 they established diplomatic relations with African countries, up till 1962, only two years ago, there was virtually no Chinese activity or effort in Africa except in Cameroun. Now within these short two years it is the Chinese who are leading the attack; and I think that Chou En-lai's recent visit has highlighted this fact. The philosophy of the Chinese Communists and their approach is an entirely different one from that of the Soviet and the European satellites. The Chinese are far more reckless and insistent on violent revolution on the Algerian model, as being the only means of attaining their objectives.
Their idea is to secure an immediate break with the established authorities accompanied by insurrection. They put themselves forward as non-white, as Afro-Asians, undeveloped and former victims of the colonial Powers. They emphasise their common background with the Africans, their common enemy and their common ambitions. They have for some time been engaged in running courses in China for Africans, in 706 sabotage and guerrilla warfare and in political subversion. We know all about these things. They have accepted many recruits for training from Nigeria, the former British East African territories, Nyasaland, Rhodesia and the Portuguese territories. We are now beginning to see the fruits of their efforts—that is to say, the efforts both of Chinese and of Soviet Communists in Africa.
In the Congo, where their original support of Lumumba ended in failure, the policy of the United Nations, dictated by the Afro-Asian bloc and backed by the United States, led first to the destruction of Tshombe and Katanga, and then, through the refusal to set up a strong federal system, to the breakdown of authority in many parts of the Congo. To-day the United States' policy over the Congo, and indeed that of the United Nations, lies in ruins. There are outbreaks of Chinese-inspired and financed Communist insurrections in Kwilu, Kivu, Northern Katanga and in other places. So with the last United Nations soldier departed, and the Congolese National Army demoralised and ill-equipped, Moise Tshombe, now appointed Prime Minister, remains the only hope. It is really ironical that this man, who at the cost of millions of dollars was thrown out by the United Nations, should now be brought in to carry out the task of national reconciliation. We must all, I feel, send him our best wishes for success.
In Angola the rebel movement led by Holden Roberto is now seen clearly for what it always was—a Communist inspired movement which unfortunately earned the support of the United States. Now it is seen quite clearly to be Chinese Communist financed. It is hoped that the presence of Mr. Tshombe as Prime Minister in the Congo, where they have their headquarters, will lead to some improvement in the position.
We ourselves are naturally deeply concerned with the events in East Africa. Although, fortunately, all three of the East African Governments survived the attempted mutinies earlier this year without too much damage to their authority, it is no secret that there are men in powerful positions in all three countries, some of them receiving Communist finance, who are seeking to subvert the existing Governments. In Zanzibar, 707 where large consignments of Russian and probably also Chinese arms have been landed, the position since the establishment of the union with Tanganyika is still very far from clear.
In my judgment, in all these matters we must assure the established African Governments of our complete support and give them all the help we can in their resistance to what is, in fact, a wholly non-African form of régime—this Chinese and Soviet penetration of Africa. I was unfortunately not able to be present at the debate on the Zambia Independence Bill on Monday. Had I been here, while wishing the new Government all success in the changed circumstances which have arisen as a result of the dissolution of the Federation, I should have uttered a warning to them as to the great danger with which they are inevitably faced—by the ambitions of the Chinese Communists or the Soviet, or both, to lay their hands on the great copper deposits of Northern Rhodesia. In these matters we must always hope for the best, but with the confusing situation which we see before us it is not impossible to conceive of developments which would lead to a great Communist swathe being cut right across the centre of Africa, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic.
My Lords, in these circumstances, what should we in the West, and particularly in Europe, be doing about it? In the first place, I think that we and our peoples need to recognise the problem. In the second, we should not, I think, in our reactions to it, be in any way deterred by considerations of the existence of a policy of détente, in the absence of any similar move by the Russians or Chinese. Our own interests, as well as those of the peoples of Africa, are in mortal peril. Thirdly, I believe that this is a danger which our Governments should face together with a coherent policy and plan, in collaboration with the United States and with such countries as Federal Germany, which were never, or not in recent years, colonial Powers. Even now, the aid and activities of our respective Governments in Africa all seem to be carried out independently, without consultation and often in contradiction to one another. We must, I feel sure, work together, and even be prepared to take 708 local risks in order to avoid a catastrophe taking place.
Now I should like to turn briefly to our relations with Spain. I have just come back from a visit to Madrid, when the furore over the cancellation of the frigates negotiations was at its height. The effect had been calamitous. Every Spaniard, from an air-line official at the airport to leading intellectuals, not by any means all of them supporters of the Spanish Government, was unanimous in condemning the speech of the Leader of the Opposition which led to the breakdown. This view was shared by members of the British business community.
Now, why was this feeling so strong? It was because, in a few short sentences, Mr. Wilson managed to say everything that was most insulting to Spain. He described Spain as Fascist, which it is not and which in Spain is considered an insult, as indeed it is over here. He included in his remarks an offensive reference to General Franco himself, which everyone I spoke to considered to be contrary to all accepted standards of international law and behaviour among civilised people when referring to a foreign Head of State. He was also unwise enough to raise the issue of Gibraltar, which had become a friendly dialogue, at a time when the matter had been put on their agenda by the so-called De-colonisation Committee of 24 of the United Nations. It had been scheduled to come up for discussion in New York that very week, but, by a piece of good fortune, had been put off until September. However, instead of what would probably have been a tacit agreement by Britain and Spain not to press the matter before the Committee, it is now clear from a Madrid Press report of July 12 that, as a result of Mr. Wilson's remarks, the Spaniards feel bound to make the most of this issue at the United Nations.
It is all particularly unfortunate because, after years of patient work, the frigates deal had become the symbol of a new era in Anglo-Spanish commercial relations in a rapidly developing market. We were in a fortunate position in this respect because, following our exclusion from the Common Market, Spain had also found herself out in the cold and had turned to Britain as the natural out- 709 let. So, in spite of strong American, French and German competition, we really were "going places". The British Trade Fair in Barcelona this year had been an outstanding success; the Royal Fusiliers Band had beaten retreat in the streets of the town; three British warships in the harbour, lit up at night, had received thousands of visitors; and the Festival Ballet had been a triumph. Now all this appears to have been frustrated by an irresponsible action on the part of the Leader of the Opposition.
Nor was it simply the loss of a valuable contract for the frigate blueprints—which, incidentally, involved no long-term credits. It was a question of modernising the whole Spanish Navy; and whoever got the contract would find great opportunities in the re-equipment of the Navy and in the training of personnel over a period of 20 or 30 years. Then again, the close relations between the men of our Navies would, to my mind, have brought an entirely new relationship between our two countries which could not have failed to be beneficial. There was also a great deal of technical equipment involved. Spain is backward in electronics, and whoever got this contract would at once have got in on the inside of future development. The whole electronics industry in Spain would have tended to become geared to British industry. And so it was with many other technical items.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, would the noble Lord allow me to interrupt? The difficulty I have had over all this business is in finding out exactly what was involved. He has referred to an electronics contract and he has referred to frigates, mentioning one. Could the noble Lord tell us exactly what was the business that was on the point of being obtained, and how far the negotiations had got?
§ LORD COLYTON
I shall be coming to that a little later on, my Lords. There was also the prospect of very large orders in the military field, and also in training aircraft. I understand that orders to the tune of over £100 million are to be placed abroad for the re-equipment of the Spanish Army. We were well in the running for a number of items of equipment, including a large order for armoured cars. That I heard in Madrid. Now these orders, too, will apparently be lost. Many Spaniards 710 asked me why Mr. Wilson had said what he did. They asked: Did he mean it? If so, they said, they considered it a very serious attempt to destroy friendly relations between two countries; and, if not, they said, he had displayed an ignorance of Spanish feelings which was almost incomprehensible.
§ LORD MILFORD
My Lords, may I interrupt for a moment? Could I ask the noble Lord whether he realises that several of us who were against the rise of Fascism in 1930 are gravely upset and hurt at the idea of the British Government now selling arms to Spain?
§ LORD COLYTON
I know what a great many people feel on that subject, but it was 25 years ago, and we have got to look ahead.
My Lords, I did not presume to answer that question which was put to me so often in Madrid. While I was there, one British paper published a report of a speech by an honourable Member in another place, Colonel Lipton, suggesting that the whole thing was a put-up job by the Spaniards, and that they had already decided to buy the frigate designs and equipment elsewhere. I think the answer to that was the statement by the Spanish Minister of Marine, Admiral Nieto Antunez, when he said that, while he hoped to be able to maintain cordial collaboration with the British Admiralty—and here. I quote—political prudence makes it advisable to cut short a transaction that has been the cause of such uncalled-for and unjustifiable interference on the part of the above-mentioned Mr. Wilson".In short, my Lords, the financial terms were right the technical designs were right; and the agreement virtually awaited only signature. Of course, it is not by any means the only example of—
EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, could the noble Lord tell us any more about how the news was broken, how the leak occurred, and how far the leak was true or untrue? A good deal of the political atmosphere about this matter has arisen from the failure of the Government to keep Parliament informed on a proper basis.
§ LORD COLYTON
I do not think that any leak that occurred affected matters in any way at all, as I understood it from my conversations in Madrid.
I was going on to say that this is not the only example of statements by Leaders of the Opposition in another place which have cost this country millions of pounds in orders. In June, 1961, the sale of two Bay class destroyers for our NATO ally Portugal was strongly criticised by Mr. George Brown and Mr. Denis Healey on the grounds that it would give offence to the Afro-Asian bloc. Now we learn for the first time that the Portuguese Navy has placed orders for four frigates and two submarines in France, to be followed by two more frigates and two more submarines. The total value of this order is said to be £47 million. In the past, the Portuguese Navy have always bought their ships in this country. I made some inquiries, and there can, I am afraid, be no doubt that their decision to go elsewhere on this occasion was dictated by fear of what British Government policy might be in the event of a change of Government here at the next Election.
The same thing applies, though I understand with certain commercial qualifications, to the purchase of large numbers of Willys jeeps in Canada and Brazil instead of Land Rovers from this country which hitherto have been the standard equipment of the Portuguese Army. I submit to your Lordships that it is tragic that what can only be regarded as emotional remarks on the part of Opposition Leaders, based, in the case of Spain, on the ideological struggles of a world of 25 years ago, should be allowed to influence so seriously the economic interests of this country and our relations with these two friendly foreign Powers. I only hope that Her Majesty's Government and our British industrialists and shipbuilders will not allow themselves to be deterred by their bitter disappointment over these developments and will continue their efforts to "sell British" in the Iberian Peninsula and build up good relations with these two Governments.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, the noble Lord who has just sat down is a great authority on Africa, and he has also given us the benefit of his recent 712 first-hand experience in Spain. I know nothing about either; and therefore I am not going to follow him, and I hope he will forgive me if I do not do so. I am going to embark, for a brief period, upon other fields about which I think I know a little bit more. But I would say this about Spain. I can never forget that in 1940 Franco refused to allow Hitler entry into Spain, and refused to embark on a joint enterprise with Hitler to capture the fortress of Gibraltar. I do not know to what extent that service to us can be estimated; but I should imagine that at that particular moment of time—and the noble Earl who leads the Opposition and who was then First Lord of the Admiralty will, I am sure, know a great deal more about it than I do—it was of very great service to this country.
EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, I have the two recollections in my mind on this particular point—I have no hesitation. I happened to be in the United States in 1936 after a conference in regard to the Pacific Ocean. While I was there Franco had invited both Hitler and Mussolini to bring their forces in to set up his new Fascist State. Nor have I forgotten not so long after the date mentioned—the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, mentioned 1940—Franco arranged for his Blue Division to go into Russia in order to support Hitler against that country.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, that may be; I do not know. But I know this: after the meeting between Hitler and Franco at Hendaye in 1940, when Hitler was demanding to go through Spain and to capture Gibraltar and from there to go across to Africa; when it was all over (and I gather it was a long meeting), Hitler said—and this is on the record—that he would rather have six teeth extracted than ever speak to Franco again. For anybody who could arouse those sentiments in Hitler, I must say I have a certain regard. We also know that from that moment onward the name of Franco was never allowed to be mentioned in Hitler's presence for the remainder of the war. I do not think we should altogether forget it. I am not particularly supporting Franco, though I think the régime has been enormously modified, but for my part, I 713 cannot forget it. I think he did us a service.
My Lords, I now come to the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich. As usual, I find myself in total agreement with half of it and in total disagreement with the other half. But the speech itself moves me to make one last, urgent, personal plea to him across the Floor of this House. That is, that before it is too late he should reverse his crazy decision to leave this place. He still has great service to render the country in the House of Lords, even though he may think it is a deplorable institution. Personally, I think it is much better than I expected it to be when I came. But, anyway he ought not to leave us. It is a great forum. We need him here; the country needs to hear his voice, and it is sad to see him trekking round from one constituency to another in this gloomy Tory machine business—and we all know what that means—when he has a safe seat in Parliament for the rest of his life and need never be elected again. Thank God, I am in the same position; I am not worried about next October; and he need not be. I should like to make this one last urgent appeal for him to go home and sleep on it; think it over, and then withdraw this lunatic decision to go away, while there is still time to do so.
My Lords, I am not going to delay you with a long speech but events move fast in the modern world, and again and again since the war, instead of anticipating them and turning them into good channels, we have allowed ourselves to be overtaken by them. I am quoting the words of Mr. Louis Halle of the United States, who is a well-known American writer when he said of his own Government:Our Government and public alike are the prisoners of the past. They are psychologically committed to the basic conceptions on which they have been acting for fifteen years, so that it hardly occurs to them that those conceptions themselves, not just the tactics based on them, should be the subject of reconsideration.My Lords, that goes for this country just as much as it goes for the United States of America. We are all prisoners of the last fifteen years. What we have to realise is that events have changed to such an extent since the Armistice was signed in 1945 that the world we 714 now inhabit is totally different. When the Russian and American armies met at Torgau in April, 1945, amid the total collapse of the pre-war European system, the Western Allies found themselves without settled convictions and without positive policies of any kind. America and Britain—not Russia—had demanded unconditional surrender as the only acceptable terms; but they had made no plans to deal with the situation which would arise when they got it. They had worked out no plan to deal with the situation which arose when the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, signed the Armistice at Luneville Heath—
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, I beg your pardon—at Luneburg Heath. They did not know what to do after that.
There were four phases in post-war Western policy through which I should like to take your Lordships in a few sentences. First there was what I would call the Roosevelt dream. What he dreamed up in the last year of the war was a world in which, through the Security Council of the United Nations, the three victorious Powers, America, Russia and Britain, would exercise a benevolent directorate over the post-war world. It was for this reason that President Roosevelt thwarted Churchill's desire to limit the advance of the Russian troops in Europe; and I think that the noble and gallant Viscount was probably against that, too. He wanted to push on a bit further, but he was stopped, by orders from General Eisenhower, who had himself received orders from President Roosevelt, not only that the American advance was to be checked, but that in certain sectors and parts of the front it was to be substantially withdrawn.
§ VISCOUNT MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN
My Lords, my recollection is that General Eisenhower never received any political guidance at all. It was left to him. That is what I believed. He never received any political guidance from his political chiefs, and the political chiefs allowed the war to get out of hand.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, that makes it in some ways worse, because in fact General Eisenhower did order not 715 only the advance to be halted in 1945 but also substantial withdrawals. He ordered his troops not to occupy Prague. He ordered them back.
§ VISCOUNT MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN
That was not ordered by Roosevelt: General Eisenhower did it himself.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
All I can say is that that makes it worse. Better let it go at that; but, anyway, my facts are not wrong.
There was only one voice raised at that time publicly against it.Mr. Roosevelt's conception,"—said General de Gaulle—was disquieting for Europe and for France, because it was a permanent system of intervention that he intended to institute by international law.In fact the dream—whether it was General Eisenhower's dream or President Roosevelt's dream I am not bothered about now: but somebody had the idea—never became a reality. Stalin saw to that by seizing half of Europe, and by imposing a Veto in the Security Council of the United Nations which virtually wrecked it.
The second phase was the setting up of the Council of Europe in 1948. I am not going to bore your Lordships on this subject again, because I have bored you enough in the past. But this was the moment when we could and should have taken the undisputed leadership of a united Western Europe. We were the only country which had been neither defeated nor occupied, and our prestige was as high as it had ever been. They all wanted our leadership, and in the Council of Europe we had an instrument which could have led to a European Confederation.
We had a Committee of Ministers and an Assembly, which could have been a sort of embryo Parliament, and we could have built on that foundation. We killed it. We turned down Robert Schuman's Coal and Steel Community. We turned down the European Defence Community. We would have nothing to do with it; and both Parties are in this, because the Labour Party turned down the Coal and Steel Community and the Conservative Party turned down the European Defence Community. And 716 the only reason for this was that Dean Acheson had insisted on the rearmament of Germany, and at that time France was not unnaturally anxious and apprehensive, and thought that we ought to be in it. The Council of Europe has now been reduced to what the noble and gallant Field-Marshal once described in my presence, and to my great indignation, as "a talking-shop". Furthermore, it is a talking-shop to which no one pays the faintest attention. One can search the Press of every country in the world and never find a reference to anything that happens in the Council of Europe. With imagination and enthusiasm, it could have been made something great. It has now ceased to mean anything at all. And the blame and responsibility for that is primarily ours.
I come to the third phase, and that is NATO, about which the noble and gallant Field-Marshal knows a great deal more than anybody else who sits in this House. NATO successfully fulfilled its two primary purposes—first, the containment of Soviet power, and secondly the economic reconstruction of Europe. But these were only primary objectives, designed to meet a given emergency which was brought about by the seizure of Czechoslovakia and the blockade of Berlin. These are the two things that brought NATO into existence.
I was present at the signing of the Treaty in Washington, and I remember well that when President Truman and Mr. Ernest Bevin marched on to the stage, accompanied by all the other Foreign Secretaries, to sign the Treaty, the band of the American Marines struck up a tune. I was there as a humble journalist, and another humble American journalist who was sitting next to me suddenly seized me by the arm and said: "For God's sake, what do you think they are playing?" I said, "I seem to remember the tune. What's it called?" The answer was, "It ain't necessarily so". That was the tune selected by the Government of the United States to play in the NATO Treaty.
EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, the noble Lord has given an interesting account of the initiation of NATO but his vital facts are all wrong. I am not denying the general 717 position with regard to the seizure of Czechoslovakia and the agreement that was come to on that. But in fact the beginning of NATO was the talks in the British Labour Government at the beginning of December, 1946, as the result of the failure of the Paris Peace Conference, and from that moment onwards, until a few months later, when we promised National Service and through it got the Treaty of Dunkirk, signed by myself and Ernest Bevin in 1947. The noble Lord's dating of the beginning of NATO is out. If it had not been for the initiative of the Labour Government at the end of 1946 and the beginning of 1947, NATO would not have been in history to talk about now.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
I am perfectly prepared to concede that the existence of NATO is entirely due to the brilliant prescience and foresight of the noble Earl who sits on the Opposition Front Bench.
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
That is a most unfair remark. I said the Labour Government and Ernest Bevin and the signing of the Dunkirk Treaty. It is no use talking to me about NATO starting in 1949, which was the end of about 3½ years' get-together.
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I think that if we had less leakage at the time of valuable and important matters, we should be given the credit of doing better than the present Government.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
I hope that the noble Earl has not been revealing Cabinet secrets when he ought not to have done so, but as a mere humble layman, as a man-in-the-street, I never heard of these tremendous designs for NATO in 1947. I heard of them only when the Secretary of State and President Truman made the proposals in public for the first time. They certainly did not emanate from the British Government. But NATO was organised, and eventually we all signed up; and that was right and splendid.
EARL. ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, I have never written large numbers of articles for 718 publication in the Press, or scripts for broadcasting and television, but I am bound to tell the noble Lord that the real basic fact that started the negotiations on NATO was the signing of the Dunkirk Treaty in 1947.
§ Loan BOOTHBY
Well, that is a staggering revelation to me. But I am certainly not prepared to deprive the noble Earl of the credit he wants. He and Ernest Bevin made NATO. The Americans had nothing to do with it. It was all done in secret by the Labour Government of that time. Beyond that the noble Earl can hardly ask me to go. The objectives I was referring to were only primary objectives. The ultimate objective was an Atlantic Union or Confederation. This has not happened; and, as a result, President Kennedy's "Grand Design" remains to-day only a Grand Design.
NATO was founded—and no one can deny this—on the basis of overwhelming American atomic power and of total European military weakness. That was the basis of NATO; and that basis has now gone. What we ought to have done—and I am not blaming any particular Government about this—was to create a single nuclear deterrent for the West, to balance the one Mr. Khrushchev successfully established in the East; and then to devise within NATO political machinery which would have given both ourselves and France a real say in determining the policies that would govern the use of that force. We never did it. There never has been in NATO a central organ of political decision. The NATO Council means nothing, and has never meant anything. Cuba, of course, was the proof of that.
Now the situation has completely changed, because the Soviet Union have reached nuclear parity with the United States, and the monopoly of American nuclear power in the West has ceased to exist. I have referred to Cuba. The confrontation there was brilliantly successful. The fact remains that Western Europe was led to the brink of nuclear war by the President of the United States, without consultation. That was, to many Europeans at any rate, a situation that could not be allowed to be repeated; and it has certainly provided a powerful argument for those on the Continent of Europe who now seek an escape from 719 total dependence on the United States of America.
At this moment of time—as of this moment, as the Americans say—the NATO Alliance is disintegrating; and it will continue to do so unless and until some kind of political confederation is achieved, by which I mean an effective Political Council which will be able to govern policy. Whether that will happen or not, I cannot tell. I only know that, so far, no progress in this direction has been made. There is at this moment no longer any agreement on how NATO should be organised, where it is going, or, indeed, what its immediate purposes are. To many European eyes—and I have just come back from the Continent of Europe—it is an alliance that freezes the present division of Europe, and the American troops on the Continent are nothing more than political hostages to a bankrupt NATO strategy. These are rough words, but I think it is necessary to say them.
This is not to deny for one moment that the peace of the world depends, somewhat less precariously than it did, upon the balance of nuclear deterrent power between the United States and the Soviet Union. As Mr. Couve de Murville himself said the other day, the alliance remains a necessity. But it must be radically transformed to meet the entirely new conditions that have now arisen. Confederal aims need not be ruled out as an ultimate objective, but I think the phrase coined by Professor Catlin, "organic consultation", is, in the existing situation, more realistic and appropriate.
What are the great changes that have taken place in the past ten years, to which I have referred and to which we have paid almost no attention? First of all, the economic recovery of Western Europe is an extremely important factor. Western Europe is now a force to be reckoned with. Secondly, we have the direct confrontation of tactical atomic weapons on the Continent of Europe, the use of which would almost certainly escalate into a full-scale nuclear holocaust at the cost of turning Western Europe into a radioactive proving ground. That is what we now have in Western Europe: two forces facing each other, only a few miles apart, both armed 720 with tactical atomic weapons; and, in my submission, there is no real distinction to be drawn between tactical atomic weapons and nuclear weapons. It is a terrifying situation; and no attempt of any sort has been made to withdraw or disengage. Thirdly, we have now the existence not only of one, but of several, iron curtains, of varying heights. Finally, we have what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, referred to, the Sino-Soviet dispute, which is of the utmost importance and significance.
The last phase, the Common Market, I will not go back on that. We refused to go to Messina; we refused to go to Brussels. We did not believe it could happen. But there was one fateful meeting between Mr. Harold Macmillan and General de Gaulle at Rambouillet in December, 1962. If they had been able to come to terms then about nuclear arms; if we had been able to say to the French that we were willing to play along with them on this matter, I have no doubt whatsoever that the doors of Brussels subsequently would have been wide open to us. But it was never mentioned; it was apparently never raised. Mr. Macmillan went off to Nassau. I do not know what he thought he was doing. I do not know whether he was clear in his own mind of the possible effects. But, in fact, Skybolt was then pulled from under his feet. The Nassau Agreement for the supply of Polaris submarines by the United States convinced General de Gaulle that Mr. Macmillan had sold out to the United States; that the "Anglo-Saxons", as he called them, were against Europe, and when we finally got to Brussels the door was shut against us
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
My Lords, do I understand the noble Lord to say that the Nassau Agreement is finished? If so, it is a very serious statement.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
I have read it in various American publications. I have read it in several newspapers. They simply said that the Nassau Agreement, as such, although it stands so far as Polaris submarines are concerned, is a dead letter; because without American agreement we cannot arm the submarines with warheads that will do the job.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, I hesitate to interrupt the noble Lord, but 721 he is quite wrong about this. We are proceeding to build the submarines under the letter of the Nassau Agreement. Far from being dead, it is very much alive.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
I am glad to hear that. I read in the New York Times or the New York Herald that the Nassau Agreement was in effect a dead letter. I am glad to have the assurance of the noble Lord that this, at least, is still going strong. But I still stick to my major joint, which is that the Nassau Agreement was the main cause of the breakdown of our entry into the Common Market, because General de Gaulle would not "wear it". In August, 1949, I remarked to the Council of Europe at Strasbourg that insistence on absolute State sovereignty was a primary cause of the evils of the modern world and that the only solution lay in some merging or pooling of national sovereignty. I still believe this to be true, and in saying so I find myself in complete agreement with my noble friend Lord Gladwyn.
I will now conclude. We have thrown away too many chances during the last twenty years, since the war, and I dare-say we are now in for a period of comparative isolation and perhaps even solitude. It is the penalty we have to pay for successive mistakes and follies. But I am not frightened of this. After all, we were alone in 1940 in circumstances which were much more difficult than those which prevail to-day, and we survived. I am quite clear in my own mind as to what we ought to do now—and that is almost certainly a decisive reason why we shall not do it. First of all, we have to face the facts. The first fact we have to face is, as I have already said, that the world situation has been entirely transformed during the past decade; and we are still living prior to that.
722 Secondly, we have to face the fact that the key to the problem of German reunification, which I think is important, lies in Moscow and nowhere else. The Russians will not allow a reunified Germany as a member of the NATO Alliance armed with nuclear bombs; and in that they will have the wholehearted and passionate support of every single one of the so-called "satellite" Powers. There is no doubt about that. Sooner or later, the Germans will be driven to recognise that fact, as I think General de Gaulle does recognise it; and I think he might play a considerable part in bringing about a satisfactory solution. It is no good our thinking, or the Americans thinking, that we can impose a solution of the problem of German reunification. The key here lies in an accommodation between the Germans and the Soviet Union.
Thirdly:America and Soviet Russia are able to strike one another and no doubt reciprocally able to destroy one another. It is not certain that they will risk it. No one to-day can know when, or how, or why one or the other of these great atomic Powers will use its nuclear arsenal…all is brought into questionThese words are not mine. They are those of President de Gaulle, much abused in many quarters these days but not such a fool as he is sometimes made out. I think he has vision; and I would not disagree with those words, which were made at his famous Press conference in 1962.
I think we should concentrate now on two things: first of all, the expansion of East-West trade, particularly with Russia and what used to be called, but which are becoming no longer, the satellite countries in Eastern Europe—and accompanying the extension of that trade cultural relations and every other kind of relations, so that we get closer together. We have nothing to gain from making war on the standard of living in the Communist countries of Eastern Europe. The more prosperous they are, the less the danger will become. We are not alone in this. The French are going ahead, and the Germans, who never stop prating of the dangers of East-West trade and of Communism and everything else, are in fact doing by far the biggest trade with the countries of Eastern Europe—a billion dollars a year, of which one half is done with a country that they claim 723 does not exist, which is Eastern Germany. They have a major part, about 70 per cent., of this trade in their hands, so they have no cause for complaint if we join the party.
Finally, I think—and I hope this will not startle your Lordships unduly—our main hope to-day lies in a policy we have pursued not wholly unsuccessfully for the last 60 years, indeed for nearly a century, and that is in a revival of the Anglo-French Entente; a restoration of good relations between this country and France. Here I am wholly on the side of the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich. Not with the object of trying to get into the Common Market again (that is over; that is past; things move too fast; one cannot do that) but with the object of laying the foundations of a wider European political union on a confederal basis, which is what General de Gaulle has always claimed he wants. He genuinely believes that we do not want to have any part in Europe, but he thinks that in the end we shall have to do it.
I am in no hurry. This will take time. Fortunately, we have the time. For the first time in this ghastly century we have been given a breather, and if it is an obscene breather, in the sense that it is really owed to the nuclear weapons on both sides, at least it exists. We have the breather, and I do not think we should be in a hurry. But one of our principal aims must be the restoration of good relations with France and a revival of what used to be called the Entente Cordiale. In the meantime, even though we may be a little isolated, even though we may be a little alone, we remain an essential link and linch-pin, not only between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean but between the East and the West.
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I should like to say, as a Parliamentary delegate with NATO for ten years, that NATO is still a very fine military organisation and I think it does know where it is going.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, I did not get that impression from General Norstad's speech which he made recently.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, may I ask him whether he contemplates the dissolution of the European Economic Community and its transformation into a loose con- 724 federation? Does he therefore think it would be acceptable to the other members of the Community?
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, if I may answer in one sentence, I would say that the other members of the Community are so anxious to have us in that they would be quite ready to agree to a looser confederation than exists at present in the Common Market in order to have us there.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ LORD LINDSAY OF BIRKER
My Lords, I venture to take up some of your time in this very crowded debate because this will be the last opportunity I shall have for some years to suggest what I might call some rather radical ideas about foreign policy. I am deliberately using the word "radical", because what I want to suggest is that there may be much more optimism about the international situation if people were prepared to reexamine some of their basic assumptions.
The noble Lord, Lord Boothby, has stated very well the real danger of the present international situation, that our present breathing space simply depends upon the atomic deterrent. If you ever start to think about it, it is rather an intolerable situation that it should be possible for a small group of men in Russia to make a decision which, within a matter of minutes, would kill about half the people in this country, and that the only reason one can have for believing that this decision is not likely to be taken is that, if it were, a Western counter-atack would kill as many people in Russia. Quite apart from this being an intolerable situation in itself, I think we ought to realise that it is this atomic confrontation between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers which is the crucial point of the whole international situation. All the other trouble spots in the world are only really dangerous because we were afraid that any local hostilities would escalate into a general nuclear war. Also, the other trouble spots very largely arise because this confrontation has made it possible for irresponsible local Governments to play 725 off the Communist powers against the Western Powers, and to get supplies of armaments which they would never have been able to get if they had had to pay for them from their own resources.
If I am thinking as an Australian—as I can in one sense—in the long run I can feel rather worried about China. But, certainly for the next five or ten years, China is not going to be in a position on her own to start anything more than a limited conventional war on the scale of the Korean war. What makes this situation in its way so frightening and frustrating is that, if you once start to think about it, you realise it is really completely irrational. We certainly have no reason for wanting to kill large numbers of Russians; and the Russian people certainly have no reason for wanting to kill us. I think it is perfectly clear that, if people would behave sensibly, the only reasonable settlement would be that which Communists like to talk about—a competitive co-existence. It is said, "We may disagree about our social systems, but let us try them and see which works best" What is frustrating is that here is a thoroughly intolerable and dangerous situation produced by human action and, therefore potentially soluble by human action, and yet no one seems to know quite how to get out of it.
What I find a little alarming about discussion of foreign policy is that you find so many people trying to avoid thinking about this really intolerable situation. The noble Lord, Lord Boothby, made clear the unpleasantness of the nuclear situation. But in a great deal of the discussion, both here and in another place, and in the Press, you find people considering how to organise the deterrent—whether this country should have its own deterrent and all kinds of questions of detail. I feel that very few people say to themselves, "This is all very important as a matter of meanwhile policy, but we ought to say that our long-term policy objectives are very clearly to get to a situation where we simply do not need an atomic deterrent" I think this was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, but only in passing. Even from the point of view of home politics, my feeling is that it is a dangerous situation. After all, there is the traditional fable of the 726 Sword of Damocles. The whole point was that all the ordinary pleasures of life lose their savour if one is living in a situation where imminent death is suspended over one's head by a thread.
I think the ordinary public would be prepared to accept what one might call a Sword of Damocles situation as a temporary expedient if they had confidence that their leaders had some kind of feasible plan for dismantling the apparatus of mutual suicide between ourselves and the Russians. But my feeling is that if the leaders simply say, "Oh, yes, you have to put up with it even though it is very unpleasant" there will come a point at which the people will start to say, "This is intolerable" and they will turn to any leadership which promises to get them out of the intolerable situation, perhaps whether the promises are good or not. My feeling is that this to an extent explains the American swing of opinion to Goldwater. Here you have had feeling that official opinion has talked about an indefinite continuation of the cold war, and at last someone is saying, "Yes, I will get you out of it". Even though his method is pretty dangerous, a good many people are prepared to back it.
The other thing which worries me is that many of the people who see that a situation of nuclear deterrence is intolerable behave in a sense even more irrationally. A great many people say "Yes, we ought to do something about it" and then completely assume away all the real difficulties of getting to a better situation. I think that even more alarming is the attitude of people who simply rationalise the natural tendency to run away from danger, whose reaction to anything is to say, "Do make concessions to prevent this situation from blowing up into a possible nuclear war" I think that in the long run that is likely to be the most dangerous course of all. It really amounts to an advocacy of surrender, though very few people are courageous enough to say that openly.
I think that the real fallacy in the slogan "Better Red than dead" lies in the fact that only in the very short run are these alternatives mutually exclusive. There is no reason whatever to suppose that a Communist ruled world would be a peaceful world. So I suggest that the real options open to us are these. 727 The first is to accept an appreciable risk of war in the short term which gives us at least the opportunity for working out some more generally acceptable system, removing the nuclear deterrent and reducing the long-term risk of war to something very small. The alternative policy is to make the short-term risk of nuclear war neglible by surrender, at the expense of an extremely high and continuing risk of nuclear war in the long-term future. I think that for anyone who values his children's lives as well as his own the policy of surrender is simply not an acceptable alternative.
What then is the rational response to the situation? It seems to me, when you have this kind of situation with an obviously desirable objective but with no one quite seeing how to get to it, that what you need to do is to re-think some of your basic assumptions. I think it is a perfectly general principle that action can be effective only when it is based on a correct analysis of the situation. If people act in terms of an incorrect or inadequate theory they are certain to obtain results different from those intended and perhaps even contrary to them. I think a very good illustration of this was the great depression of the early 1930s where we had the same kind of irrationally frustrating situation. We had unemployed men and unemployed resources and a great demand for the goods they could produce, yet no one seemed to know how to get them together. We now know that the basic fault was inadequate economic theory. So I think we should examine some of our basic assumptions about international politics.
What I want to argue is that the basic assumption which has confused foreign policy in both the 1930s and the modern period is that national policy always results from the pursuit of national interest by comparatively reasonable rulers. It follows from that that international conflicts result from a real conflict of interests. The alternative, and I think the correct, view was very simply put by someone who described the 1930s as a period in which several major Powers were experimenting in government by the insane. I think that if we look at the past we see this theory fits the facts very much better than the 728 national interest theory. After all, having lost all the objectives which national policy had been striving for before 1945, and even territories which they possessed in the 'twenties, the Japanese, Germans and Italians are now far more prosperous than ever before, which is very clear evidence that the pre-1945 objectives were not essential for national interests in any material sense.
In the case of Japan, about which I know something, there is clear evidence that the policy did not result from any reasoned consensus about national interests. Policies were usually initiated by extremists in the Army, often with the disapproval of the Foreign Office and against the wishes of the Emperor; and the thinking of these Army extremists, which can be gained from a lot of literature, was extraordinarily confused and their basic motivation was a belief in the divine mission of Japan to rule the world. I think that in some ways they were pretty near the borderline of insanity.
The thesis I am trying to argue is that the overriding problem of foreign policy in the past thirty or forty years has been how to deal with Governments controlled by political extremists who are to some extent insane—I believe that paraphrenia is the correct medical term. And I believe that this is a problem which most people in the rather more rational Governments of the West have consistently refused to face.
If your Lordships will turn to the present confrontation of the Communist Powers, you will find, if you look at most expressed opinions, a wide disagreement about the Communist leaders. What one might call the Right-wing view considers them to be rational but wicked, determined to pursue a policy of world conquest and making extremely skilful use of peace propaganda to weaken and confuse their opponents. What one might call the Left-wing view considers them to be rational and benevolent, ready to accept competitive co-existence with the Western Powers, if only the Western leaders would respond to their overtures for peace and respect their reasonable interests. Either view can be maintained only by ignoring part of the evidence, and what I contend is that the only hypothesis which fits the evidence is that 729 the Communist leaders suffer from an intellectual and psychological confusion which leads them to combine inconsistent beliefs.
I might point out that the present Soviet leaders themselves admit that Stalin had become partially insane by the mid-1930s. I think we would all agree that Mr. Khrushchev is considerably more sane than was Mr. Stalin, but this by no means implies that he is completely rational. My feeling is that when Mr. Khrushchev talks about wanting peace, in one sense of that word he is quite sincere. But the problem is that he has a number of psychological blocks in his thinking which prevent him from facing some of the implications of really wanting peace.
I think I can illustrate this very clearly by the basic problem of competitive co-existence. I think it would be right to say that most people in the West would genuinely accept this. We have very good reason for believing that our type of society is, on balance, a good deal more attractive than the Communist type of society, but we would be prepared to admit that this might possibly change. If we had a situation in which a Communist Government won power in some country through a genuinely free election, and still more so if it retained power by subsequent genuinely tree elections, I think that even in the United States there would be very few people who would say that this ought to be opposed. That is to say, we are in fact prepared to play the game of competitive co-existence, but you can only play a game if you admit there is a possibility you might lose.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, I think it is a little unfair of him to pin insanity entirely on the Russians. Nobody is completely rational. We are all more or less mad.
§ LORD LINDSAY OF BIRKER
I am coming on to this point. I did say "comparatively", and I will say more about it later. It seems to me that the difficulty about this competitive coexistence is that Mr. Khrushchev really makes perfectly clear that he is prepared to play it only on terms of, "Heads I win; tails does not count." 730 He says it is entirely wrong for the Western Powers to oppose any national liberation by which a Communist Government would come into power; but when you have a situation, as you did in both Hungary and East Germany, where the masses tried to turn out a Communist Government, he automatically says, "No. This is not the people at all; this is a foreign[...] instigated plot which I have the right to suppress." I think it is a very good illustration of the psychological block in Mr. Khrushchev's thinking. It is axiomatic that the Communist Party represents the masses and any evidence which could possibly contradict that axiom must somehow be explained away.
I think that in some ways we find even more confusion in the present Chinese leaders. Just to take one point which several noble Lords have mentioned, the desirability of having closer contacts with China, I think we all agree it is desirable. What we have to face is the problem that in their present state of mind the Chinese leaders find contact with intelligent and well-informed people from outside extremely awkward.
I remember in 1954 when the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and some other members of this Party had an interview with Mao Tse-tung. In the course of three hours—some of it taken up by translation, so it was not a long interview—there were no less than two occasions when Mao Tse-tung found himself completely nonplussed. He had put forward the standard line of Communist propaganda. Lord Attlee or some other member of the Party made the obvious argument to show that this was indefensible. And Mao could say nothing and hastily changed the subject. So I think it is perfectly clear that, until the Chinese leaders are prepared to go revisionist, which is now the worst heresy, until they are prepared to modify some of their opinions if they prove to be indefensible, they will be perfectly willing to give long interviews to people like Felix Greene or Edgar Snow, who ask only questions which can be answered by a paraphrase of the official line, but they are unlikely to enter into free conversations with people who ask genuine questions about policy.
The next very important point I wish to make is that to say that Communist leaders and other political extremists are 731 to some extent insane does not imply that their behaviour cannot be understood. Their thinking is not chaotic. But it is distorted, and I think one can trace the influences which distort it. Last week I think all of us were very deeply impressed by the plea from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, for greater knowledge as the first [...]equisite to take more effective action ire regard to crime. I would say I think it is equally true that one of the first requisites for more effective action on foreign policy is more knowledge about the influences which make the leaders of some countries incapable of co-operating to secure a peaceful world based on reason and justice. I believe that a great deal of this knowledge is in fact already available, only it is in scattered patches which need to be brought together, some bits from political theory, a good deal from psychology and some from the philosophy of science.
Obviously it would take me all night even to begin to outline the kind of theory one can develop, but I might suggest what I think is the main point of such a theory. I think in a sense what really makes the Communist behaviour irrational is that they find themselves in a false position. Imagine yourself in the position, say, of a Chinese Communist leader. You have perhaps for thirty years or more accepted a life of considerable danger and hardship in the belief that if only you can get into power and apply this Marxist—Leninist theory, in which you have an almost religious faith, you can then produce a wonderful new society. I think part of their confusion is that they say Marxist—Leninism is scientific, and because they are completely confused about the philosophy of science they believe that scientific theories give certain knowledge. That is in parenthesis.
When they come into power they then apply the theories in which they believe. They find they may improve society a little. Actually in some countries I think they make it worse. What can they do? Either they have to admit that the faith to which they have devoted their life is rather inadequate and needs considerable revision, or else they somehow have to distort their thinking to justify their continuance in power, and somehow be able to argue, "If only we can stay in 732 power a little longer we then really will arrive at the new society." That is only one aspect, perhaps the most important aspect, and you can explain most of the other irrational features of the Communist system on lines of the same sort—political theory plus psychology plus a certain amount of theory of scientific method.
Here I would come to the point which was made by the noble Lord, Lord Boothby. I think one reason why people are rather reluctant to think out this kind of theory is that, if we start doing it, it shows that our own comparative sanity is not very secure. I was very impressed last week when the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, stressed the importance of standards. If we ask why our society is able to work to a large extent through discussion and reasonable compromise and voluntary co-operation, we find it depends on accepting standards of honesty and respect for truth and a tradition of public spirit which, between them, constitute a sort of social capital, which can quite easily be dissipated. And I think it is very frightening to see how easily people from our kind of society can develop a totalitarian type of behaviour in the right sort of situation. I think the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, has shown us very convincingly how it has happened in South Africa, and I think we can see it in much simpler cases.
From my own experience I feel that I learned a good deal about totalitarian societies from my experience at the Australian National University. Here was a Western institution in a Western community which had developed almost all of the features which make it extremely difficult to reach any agreement with leaders of totalitarian societies. There was absolute refusal to engage in reasonable discussion; criticism was always met by evasion or silence when they could not suppress the critic. There was the same quite explicit claim that people in authority had a right to repudiate any promise whenever they no longer considered it expedient to keep it. People did not follow explicity the theorists of totalitarianism in saying that truth is what those in authority consider expedient, but they were prepared to practise this principle and to make statements they knew perfectly well to be untrue. From 733 my experience there I can perfectly easily understand how, through the same processes carried further, people in the Chinese Communist Party, whom I knew quite well and for whom I had very high respect, could since then have become involved in completely indefensible policies. I think other noble Lords can probably think of similar instances to show that the rationality of our society has not got too firm foundations. Under certain stresses it will break down unless we keep up the social capital of standards.
What follows from all this is an argument for a quite new approach in foreign policy. What I advocate is not so much a change of foreign policy but a change of attitude. Traditional diplomacy was a very effective thing for arriving at agreement or compromise between basically reasonable people. What you have to realise it that, to a large extent, you are dealing with people who are not basically reasonable. The problem, to some extent, is really psychiatry, rather than diplomacy. If we want to improve the international situation we must either find some way of correcting the distortions and psychological blocks which make it impossible for Communist leaders or other extremists to reach any reasonable agreement in our obvious mutual interests, or else we must be prepared to go over their heads by discrediting those extremists who prove to be incurable, and appealing to the more rational members of their societies at home.
I think one obvious requirement is to attack the unresolved contradictions on which the irrational position depends. If they can get away with their contradictions and maintain their "doublethink" they can then feel satisfied and act effectively. If you attack these positions, they obviously find it painful, and if they broke down they would have to behave reasonably. Let us take a few examples. It has always puzzled me that when the Soviet Government has proposed a non-aggression pact between the Warsaw Pact countries and the NATO Powers no one has ever asked, "Would you please explain how your new proposed Pact differs from the nonaggression Pacts which the Soviet Government concluded in the 1930s with Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and 734 Poland?". I think this would be a perfectly genuine question. If Mr. Khrushchev replied, "Yes, I agree that the Soviet Union under Stalin was an aggressive Power, and I want to behave differently", there would be some reason to believe him, because he would be repudiating a line which Soviet publicity has consistently taken right up to the present. He would really be making a break, an even more decisive break with the Stalinist elements in his Party. If he refuses to answer, you then have a clear and sound argument for saying that this aggression Pact is not proposed in good faith.
There is a nice quotation from the preface to the first Russian edition of Lenin's Imperialism in which Lenin quite explicitly says that Russia was an imperial Power in Poland, Courland and Bokhara, and Khiva. Here, again, I feel that Her Majesty's Government have been far too docile in allowing themselves to be attacked as imperialists by a Government which is, in fact, the greatest imperialist Power in the modern world. Again, when you are dealing with China you can point out to them that the constitution of the Chinese-Soviet Republic in the 'thirties quite explicitly gave Tibet the right of secession.
I can go on to give a whole lot of other instances—for example, a Government which relies on secret police terrorism thereby proves that it does not represent the people—but I want to make clear what this adds up to. Basically, you are saying, "If you are willing to accept the rules of a reasonable system, to reach and observe reasonable agreements, to accept demonstrable facts and to co-operate in a system of competitive co-existence, we shall be only too glad to co-operate". On the other hand, you say, "If you insist on behaving unreasonably, insist on maintaining things which are clearly false, and insist on holding inconsistent positions, then we are prepared to show you up and to make you ridiculous". I think being made ridiculous is far the most effective weapon, because hate from what they call an "imperialist Power" is something which they expect; being laughed at is something which they really fear. I think you can put them in a situation where they either 735 have to behave more reasonably, or else be made ridiculous, which will weaken their influence both in the uncommitted countries and at home.
Finally, I think that there is this appeal over the heads of the Government to the people. We have heard several remarks about the thaw in the Soviet Government which I agree has improved the situation, though I think it is a little premature to put too much trust in it, because the thaw is violently attacked by the Chinese, and clearly one of the things that makes the Sino-Soviet dispute so bitter is the fact that the Soviet Union has sympathisers in China, and China has sympathisers in the Soviet Union, so that it is also an internal conflict which the opponents of the thaw might win.
Reading the debate in another place I saw some references to a fat Communist being preferable to a thin one. I think there is something in that. But I cannot feel happy with the idea of a Soviet Union in which the privileged ruling class is thinking only of maintaining its privileged position. This might be better than a set of political fanatics, but not so much better. The people you ought to appeal to are the younger generation in Russia and China. I think there is clear evidence that in spite of all the indoctrination there is a desire for truth and justice. A desire for a genuinely better society has persisted and reappears whenever official pressure is relaxed. I think we ought to be able to say to these people, "We will show you what are the requirements of a better society: and we will show you what are the real criticisms which you can make of your existing society".
People say there is not enough contact for this to have any effect. I think what people fail to realise is that it is much easier to put over a true belief than to put over a false one. If you want to put over a false belief you have to keep up continual pressure. When, however, you are trying to put over a belief which people can see for themselves fits their own experience and explains their experiences, if you once get this theory into a society, even a closed society, then it starts to spread. So my feeling is that with the right kind of strategy, of which I have been able to sketch only a few points, we might really change the inter- 736 national situation within perhaps the next five or ten years.
Finally, I think I did refer to the Goldwater movement as a reaction to a situation of frustration. Talking to Goldwater supporters, I feel they have some real grounds for complaint against what they call the "no win strategy" which has dominated Washington. The strategy I am suggesting is psychological warfare, not nuclear or even conventional warfare. I think it is a strategy which, if it won, would offer a victory, not a national victory, but a victory of the people in all countries who want truth and justice and a better society against the unreasonable, slightly crazy and fanatical extremists in all countries.
§ 7.18 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, may I add my plea to the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, to consider what Lord Boothby said? I am sure he has many friends in another place, of whom Lord Boothby and I were two; and he has many in this House, and many admirers in the country who know that he is an awkward sort of a chap but who still feel that he would do better for his country to stay in this House than to go out into the wilderness.
I hope that the noble Lord who has just sat down will discharge me from any lack of courtesy if I do not follow him. I want to follow some other noble Lords who spoke earlier, and time forbids my wandering over more ground than I must. I should like first to offer a welcome to His Excellency, Dr. de Wet, the South African Ambassador, who has been in this country only a few months, and to wish him the best of good luck in his difficult mission. I should like to say a word of appreciation, if I may, to my noble and gallant friend Field Marshal Lord Montgomery of Alamein. I thought his was one of those short, expert speeches on a technical subject, which we are accustomed to look for in this House, but seldom get so well done.
The noble Lords, Lord Henderson and Lord Shackleton, and the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, all spoke about South Africa. If I may say so, I thought that Lord Shackleton and Lord Samuel were to be congratulated on speeches over which they had obviously taken a good deal of trouble and to which they 737 had given thought—speeches which in a sense were constructive speeches. Too many people in the world and in this country talk about South Africa with a kind of flourish, because it is easy to get a cheer by abusing somebody who is 6, 000 miles away and cannot answer back. But Lord Samuel and Lord Shackleton did not do that. They both gave us thoughtful speeches. I am bound to say that I thought they were both wrong in their diagnosis of the trouble in South Africa. And it follows that if they were wrong in their diagnosis they were also wrong in the treatment which they recommended for that country.
Lord Shackleton said that he despaired of a solution short of a bloodbath. Lord Samuel said that South Africa had reached the point of no return. I hope to show, if noble Lords will allow me, that I take an exactly opposite view. I take a hopeful view. I take the view that South Africa is set on a purposeful course which, given good fortune and given time, and provided there is not too much interference from outside, can solve her problems. We have had the Prime Ministers' Conference, and in passing I should like to praise the Prime Minister of this country for his exceedingly statesmanlike chairmanship of that conference. It is to be noted that some of the Prime Ministers who were there joined together in asking for positive action by way of sanctions or boycotts against South Africa. Others did not think it was the time to do it; and yet others did not think it was right to do it. We do not know who took which view, for that is not vouchsafed to us but perhaps if we read the results of the Cairo Conference which followed shortly afterwards we can guess what views were taken by some of the members.
I think that the Prime Ministers who went to the Conference are equally wrong in their diagnosis, and therefore are equally wrong in the treatment which they recommend for South Africa. In a long political life I have learned that no man always supports everything that a Government does, even if it is a Government of his own Party and I by no means support all the things which are done by the South African Government, any more than I support all the things that are done by Her Majesty's Government. But one has to make choices in 738 this world, and I believe that at this moment the South African Government are doing the best thing that can be done in South Africa, and that it would be better—and we should certainly move more quickly to attain the object a great many noble Lords seem to have in mind in South Africa—if we were to give the South African Government encouragement in some of their activities. I believe that, if we understood them, that is what we would do. That is why I ask leave to take up a little time to explain one or two things.
There are, of course, reasons why Governments behave as they do. One reason is that they have extremists. We have them here in England, in the Conservative party; we have them in the Labour Party, and from time to time they influence, and from time to time embarrass, their Governments. In South Africa we have what in Afrikaans we should call "Die man met die groot bek", which, translated, means "The man with the big mouth". He causes just as much trouble in South Africa as the similar type does here. We also have the man who runs away. I personally admire the man who is prepared to die for his country or to go to prison for his principles but for the man who declares his principles in loud speeches and then runs away from the country and tries to make a campaign for himself, whether it be from a pulpit or from a platform, I cannot say that I have any admiration whatever. I think he is both a nuisance and a trouble to all of us. Unfortunately there are some who come back from South Africa.
Let me just allow figures to speak now, instead of my arguing a case. Last year, in 1963, 7,000 persons left South Africa, some to come back to England, some to go to other parts of the world. In that same year 40, 000 persons went to South Africa, a quarter of them from Britain. Of those who go to South Africa only one per cent. leave, and almost always because they have proved to be bad settlers. But that is not what they say when they come back. They tell the newspapers, without giving them the real reason why they came away, that they could not stick this policy or that policy, or that they had been persecuted by the police. We do not hear the other side of the story. However, I think those figures, which show that 40,000 people 739 went to South Africa last year, speak for themselves.
It is argued by some that we should cease to talk to South Africans, cease to trade with South Africa, cease to regard her as being in the comity of nations; that we should turn her out of this and that international committee, because this would be a way of getting her to alter her policy. South Africans are no more likely to alter their policy because they are put under pressure or blackmail than are the English. They have their pride, and perhaps I can say this as a Scot: trade is not a bad and evil thing, bartering with men's lives, or a pursuit which is to the detriment of humanity. I believe, on the contrary, that trade is an exceedingly good thing, and that talking with men, working with them, trading with them, is the best way to get them to talk sense and not quite so much nonsense. I think it is right, both economically and ethically, for Britain to trade with as large a part of the world as possible.
Some people wholeheartedly support British trade with Cuba but say that we must not trade with South Africa; others, such as the Americans, say that they will trade with Russia but not with China. I believe that there is a great deal of hypocrisy and nonsense talked about this. It is surely better to trade with all mankind, because trade brings civilisation along and also understanding. I am delighted to know that the leaders of our two great parties, the Prime Minister and Mr. Wilson, have both said that they do not think it is a good idea to impose sanctions upon South Africa. That, at least, is a good declaration made by those two leaders.
One of the criticisms of South Africa concerns what is commonly called "job reservation". Job reservation means the delimitation of certain jobs to certain people, and the exclusion of others from the same jobs. It is quite indefensible; it has no economic value and it is unethical. In my opinion it ought not to exist anywhere. But saying that, my Lords, does not cause it to cease to exist. It exists here in England. The craft unions take extreme care to see that only members of their union may undertake certain jobs. It does not matter how skilful some other man may be at the job; he must not do the job unless he belongs to the union. Within 740 a union certain men may do certain tasks, and certain other men may do certain other tasks; but they must not overlap. They do not mind if the business is disrupted and orders are lost. They still must not tread upon each other's corns. It is quite ridiculous, but saying so does not alter it. It is quite unethical, it is uneconomic and quite absurd.
How can we change this practice? We might pass a law in Parliament to say that job reservation in Britain was not to be allowed. They might do that in South Africa. But if we did that it would have no effect, because the trade unions would see to it that there were ways of avoiding its consequences. There are things you cannot do, although, of course, you can make big speeches about the matter, open the mouth wide and that is all—which really does not do any good. In South Africa, in fact, job reservation is wearing out in the only way it can wear out; that is, by the effluxion of time and by the natural processes.
One of the processes which is helping it to wear out is that there is in South Africa a very high degree of prosperity and a limited amount of skill. The consequence is that the African is being more and more brought into higher and better-paid skilled jobs. If one goes into the country districts away from the centre of authority, one will find Africans managing small enterprises, or being foremen of small gangs in quite superior positions and getting quite superior money. This process is going on now, and will continue and, in time, will become current ordinary practice. This is the way in which job reservation will work itself out.
May I turn now, my Lords, to the policy, as it is called, of apartheid, or partition or separate development, as some people call it? This is not the best way of life. Indeed, no attitude of men towards each other which involves class distinction or racial discrimination is the best way of life. But mankind has lived with it for a very long time, and we have had to resort to it from time to time. We could not solve the Irish problem without partition; we could not solve the Indian problem in the time of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, without partition; and the same thing applied in Palestine where there was partition. It 741 may be that we shall not solve the problem in Cyprus without partition, or apartheid or separate development or separate living.
Why is this? It is because certain persons of different races, or sometimes of different classes, dislike each other so much, or have such different ways of life, or are at such different stages of development, that they cannot or do not live comfortably together. It is better then, in the end, to separate them than to continue with the difficulties which arise and which sometimes become intolerable. That, at any rate, was found to be the case in the three countries I have mentioned; and very likely it will have to be the case in Cyprus.
One can deplore that situation, of course. Racialism is to be deplored; apartheid is to be deplored; partition is to be deplored. But, my Lords, what practical good does it do to deplore it? The noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, having spent thirty minutes deploring this, that and the other, ended up by saying that he did not think any of his deploring was any good—I think those were his words. He said that it was quite useless to deplore these things—and I agree with him, though I have already said that I admired his speech very much.
What can we do to change it? First of all, may I deal with the subject which seems to be so much tied up in people's minds with apartheid—namely, the question of votes? Votes for all seems to be the key to happiness for mankind; "Votes for all!" is the cry which precedes independence; votes for all is the practice which continues after independence, and a good many people in this country, perhaps, feel that votes for all in South Africa is the only solution. Have your Lordships noticed, in one after another of the countries in Africa where they have been given votes for all, that the votes are negatived as regards their power and influence by the establishment of one Party or one list of candidates? So chat once you have the very thing which seemed so well worth while going forward to get—votes for all—you find that Nkrumah and the whole rigmarole all around Africa have taken it from you. It just does not exist as the precious thing it was expected to be, because it has been negatived and 742 the Opposition has either been locked up or frustrated, or a one-Party list is presented.
We should think seriously, my Lords, whether we might not be wrong in taking the view so strongly, as some of us do, that "votes for all" is the right course. But if it is; and if the world thinks it is right to try it, it is to be hoped that the Africans will learn to use it and appreciate what Opposition means. May I say, nevertheless, that it is very difficult to learn what is meant by "the Opposition", when one has been accustomed to cracking the Opposition over the head or locking them up. Even in colonial times opposition was not exactly encouraged. I do not blame African leaders for creating the one-Party State as soon as they get power, which is what they do. I do not blame them, but it is worth considering whether we should go on paying quite so much attention to this "One man, one vote" principle, because that is not what they get after a year or two.
Nevertheless, if the world and Britain think that, "One man, one vote" is the right course to follow, I would call your Lordships' attention to the fact that this is precisely what South Africa is doing for large numbers of its Bantu people; and it has made a very good start. I refer, of course, to the Transkei, which it might be said, is very like Basutoland. In fact the Government which has now been set up in the Transkei is almost an exact replica of the Government we have had in Basutoland—formerly a British Colony—for the last five years.
In the Transkei you find the Xhosa, the man who has a vote and can become a Prime Minister or a judge, a Member of Parliament or the head of a Department. He has every right of a citizen to do whatever he likes in his own country, to do whatever his abilities and his education will allow him to do; and large sums of money are being spent in developing both the institution of government in this territory and the amenities—hospitals, and other things. More ought to be spent, and more will be spent, just as more ought to be spent in Basutoland. My Lords, Basutoland will very soon go a stage further, but at the moment the Administration of the Transkei and that of Basutoland are the same. I am bound to say I think both of them are a good idea, and I can see 743 no logical reason why we British should praise what we have done in Basutoland and criticise the South Africans for what they have done in the Transkei, because the two things are identical.
I would go further and say that I would encourage all my friends in Basutoland, all my friends in South Africa, whether they be white, black, coloured or Indians, to give moral support and encouragement to the Bantustan idea. Because, if the Bantustan idea is carried forward to a successful conclusion, as I think it can be and will be, and if it is a successful experiment right under the eyes of the South Africans, where they cannot escape noticing it and seeing it brought into existence and being successful, then it will be the greatest possible lesson to them. It will show them that the native or the African, can, in fact, govern himself reasonably well; and, more important than that, that he can live in amity with his neighbour. It may be that if these Bantustans are a success, as I think they will be, and if they are proliferated and many more come into existence, as I also think they will, then some kind of a Federation or Commonwealth embracing these various territories in South Africa might come together, and it might be found that the great majority of the Bantu have votes.
So, if the vote is all that important—I have shown already that I am not at all sure it is, but if it is—let us praise South Africa for having started this process, because it is a genuine attempt and, in my opinion, a viable attempt. May I just add that the Xhosa, the man who lives in the Transkei, also has a vote in the rest of South Africa, wherever he lives, and that the Zulu, when Zululand gets a similar constitution, and the Swazi and the Basuto, will each have a vote in his own homeland. It is very important to remember this, if you are going to attach great importance to the vote.
May I take your Lordships back, for the briefest moment, to 1909? That was when a Liberal Government, supported by the Labour Party, placed the power in South Africa, in the ex-Colonies, as they were then, into the hands of the white men in that country. They could do nothing else, because those people were the only persons who were 744 capable of forming the Union of South Africa and of making it a viable, economic and fruitful unit. It followed logically from this, when the Great War was over and the League of Nations was set up and when mandates were given to various countries, that the mandate for South-West Africa should be given to South Africa, because by 1919 or 1920 South Africa was a viable country, an established country, a well-recognised country and, as the noble and gallant Field Marshall told us, a country which we were proud to stand by and to have standing by us during the First War. So they were given a mandate for South-West Africa; and, following the rules laid down for the conduct of mandates, they conducted the mandate in just the same way as they would have conducted the government of their own people. Objection may be taken to it now, but there was then no other course open to mankind; and I am not so sure that what was done was not sensible, both then and now.
May I remind your Lordships that some years ago Russia took into her orbit the Baltic territories and brought under her suzerainty the Balkan States, and that all these once-free, independent, little countries which were going to manage themselves and have self-determination are now all part of the Russian orbit? It does not occur to any of us to suggest that we should go to The Hague to ask whether this is right, or to New York to ask the United Nations to do something about it. Why not? It is because it is a matter of history. History is full of these anomalies and conquests, if you like. In the case of South Africa, I think the same thing applies. It is fifty years now since the mandate was given to South Africa. It has been well managed, and there is no other country that could have managed it. The United Nations find the utmost difficulty in getting two or three men together to do a job anywhere in the world, and they are very nearly broke. South Africa is not broke, my Lords.
So do not let us assume that all the things we hear about South Africa are necessarily true. Do not let us assume that the Afrikaans-speaking people and the English-speaking people are separate groups, as they were thought to be in earlier times, and used to be in earlier 745 times. Events in Africa, among other things, and the developments, some of which I have mentioned, have led to a situation in which I think I can say now, truthfully, that I do not think there is more than 4 or 5 per cent. of the English-speaking people in the Republic of South Africa who would urge the policy of votes for all on the Common Roll. I do not believe that even the Indians and the coloured people would do so. Why not? It is because the English, the Dutch, the Indians, the coloured people, are all minorities, and they know perfectly well that if votes were given to all they would be swamped. Now they do not intend to be swamped, partly for their own good but partly, also, because they believe they have a sense of trusteeship for the 11 million other people, the Africans, who look to them for guidance and leadership, and they intend to go on with it.
Multiracialism is thought to be a sort of panacea. It is said, "If only we could have multiracialism, how different everything would be! "It has not worked anywhere in the world, my Lords, except in one or two islands in the Caribbean. It has not worked anywhere else; and even the genuine attempt of the British and the Rhodesians in Southern Rhodesia to try to make it work in Southern Rhodesia has not succeeded, either. There is no place where it has worked. What hay come in its place is black nationalism, not multiracialism; and the freedom, or so-called freedom, of the Africans is no greater—perhaps it is even less—than it used to be under colonial administration. This is the regrettable truth, I am afraid, but there it is.
My Lords, there is one aspect of South African policy which comes in for a great deal of criticism and I shall devote a few minutes to it. That is the aspect called the "Ninety-days rule". It probably is the reason for some of the strong remarks made on the other side about the police and about South Africa. The ninety-days rule is a rule under an Act passed in 1963 whereby the Minister of Justice can apprehend a man, cause him to be locked up for ninety days, and then can repeat the locking up after ninety days for another ninety days without trial. Before judging this matter, may I ask your Lordships to allow me to talk about it for a minute or two? There are many countries in the world that have used, 746 and still use, the method of holding a man without trial. The reason they do it is nearly always that they cannot get witnesses. I have myself known of cases in South Africa and in other territories nearby, and in Basutoland, where witnesses cannot be obtained because of the fear that they themselves or their wives and families will be beaten up or their houses burned down. If there is subversion, if there is sabotage, if persons are suspected, what course is open to the Minister of Justice or the police but to apprehend the persons who are suspected? If witnesses cannot be obtained, what course is then open to him?
Your Lordships would appreciate it if two or three or six of us were members of a Cabinet in South Africa—not necessarily the present Cabinet, but of any Cabinet—and we were responsible for law and order. Would we then let go the men whom we were fairly sure were guilty or would we hold them for questioning? Which would we do? Would we be responsible or not if, having let them go, further sabotage and loss of life occurred? I think we should. Therefore there is justification. It seems to me that there is a duty to see that subversion and sabotage are stopped. That is a requirement which is placed upon a Government; a duty it has to undertake. I have expressed my own views to Mr. Vorster, Minister of Justice in South Africa, about the harshness of the ninety-days rule, and especially about the fact that it can be repeated for a second dose. I have asked him to consider modifying it, and to consider introducing a committee to which a person who is apprehended, a detainee, might go on appeal. This would mini-mise injustice. I would remind the House that the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, the Labour member of the war-time Cabinet, as Home Secretary, operated detention without trial during the war. He also had a committee to which appeal could be made. Many people have done it in various circumstances.
You may say that there is no war on and that the situation is quite different now. My Lords, there is a war in South Africa—a cold war—going on between ambitious men who want to take power away from those who have it, from those to whom our Gov- 747 ernment gave it in 1909; and vicious men are now making a cold war in that country by means of sabotage, subversion and sedition. The great mass of the native population are by no means influenced in this matter. They have no more idea about politics than most of our people had 50 or 100 years ago. But powerful, big-mouthed, clever leaders, ambitious for power, are behind this subversion. So there is a war going on in South Africa, a battle for power; and the South Africans believe it is better to nip this trouble in the bud than to wait until it has developed into the kind of trouble which Her Majesty's Government is now trying to deal with in British Guiana. And we have had the same trouble in Cyprus, too.
My Lords, I have an interest in South Africa and an interest in Basutoland and some of the other territories, and I hereby declare it. It is not only a commercial interest, but an interest that touches my heart because my family has been associated with the country for ninety years. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori; but perhaps it is even better if one can live for one's country and help one's country to live. It is for that reason I desperately hope I may be able to persuade some of my friends on all sides in this Parliament, in your Lordships' House and in the other place that the South African story is a very much better and a very much more agreeable and understandable one than they imagine. I beg them to come out and see for themselves instead of making speeches from 6,000 miles distant.
The Basutos, under the guidance of Her Majesty's Government, are going through a phase of self-government and are approaching independence. Within a year or two, if the plan is followed, if they have their election, if the Parliament, once elected, wishes it, they will go forward to independence. Only within the last few weeks a representative gathering of all Basuto leaders of the Basuto Parties came over here with the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, and the right honourable gentleman, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies, to discuss this new Constitution they are to have. They themselves wrote a Constitutional Report asking for what they wanted before they 748 left Basutoland. In this report the Basutos themselves said unanimously that the Basuto people are willing and ready to trade in friendliness with their neighbours. The neighbours are, of course, South Africa, because they are an enclave of South Africa. They then went on to say that it is the desire of the Basutos to live and let live. It might be a very good idea if those of us who are responsible for the government of Basutoland, or for any element of public opinion, or for persuading people what to do or say about South Africa, were to take a leaf out of the Basutos' book and to live and let live.
Your Lordships may think that Basutoland is a multi-racial country. So it is. But there are 850,000 Africans living there and 2,000 whites. They live in peace together—not because they have votes. Nor is the white man's usefulness there assessed by the votes he has or in any way related to them. It is because he renders a useful service to that country and because he is friendly, and because he is in such a small minority. It is generally where the numbers of races are more or less equal that there is trouble, not where there are overwhelming majorities over minorities.
I am far from taking the view, which the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, took, that South Africa has reached the point from which there is now no return, and from using the phrase "blood-bath" which the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, used. I think that they are wrong. I think that this country is approaching a viable means of giving large elements of its native population self-government, leading up to independence. I believe that that can grow and prosper, if we give it a chance, and that this country, one of the richest countries in the world, can be a suitable and agreeable home for all the people of different races and ethnic groups that live there, if only we give it our encouragement and do not interfere with it too much.
I can give your Lordships a hundred reasons why the Republic should prosper, but time will not allow. I will mention only two or three. South Africa's present gold and foreign exchange reserves exceed £250 million. South Africa and Britain are trading partners and we are among each other's best customers. Trading last year was £82 749 million in favour of Britain. The Europeans came first to the Cape before the Bantu, and at this moment a million foreign Bantu—that is to say, Africans from Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Swaziland, the Portuguese Territory, what was called Nyasaland, and Northern Rhodesia—live and work in South Africa, because they get better money there, better welfare, better hospitals and better conditions than in the territories for which Britain was so recently responsible. This is something to be proud of, if you are a South African, as I am.
I beg all my friends, of whatever colour or Party, to think twice before they address themselves to speaking about South Africa in terms of obloquy and criticism. As I said just now, let them go and see the country that they, six thousand miles away and in ignorance, are talking about.
§ 8.3 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, it is a pleasure to take part again in a debate started by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and a particular pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, whose eloquence enables me to reduce my speech considerably to give five "shopping items". I have always heard that, if you wish for something badly and have to ask for it at the end of a long debate, just ask for it straight. I see on the Front Bench the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, who has refused me on previous occasions. I hope that he will be more conciliatory to-night.
First of all, I should like to adjust my speech so as to reverse the order. When the Emperor Haile Selassi was invited by the late Lord Buxton to abolish slavery, he asked for twenty years in which to do so. In this case I would follow the judgment of the President of the Congo, who when, jointly with Mr. Lumumba, he asked the Belgians for freedom, asked for it in thirty years—although Mr. Lumumba asked for it immediately. I think that this error of timing in the more sophisticated areas of Africa will produce widespread ruin, unless the time is greatly extended, so my first request to South Africa is for thirty years. I must say that I regard apartheid as a type of slavery, to be abolished in due course. In this connection I would quote The Times of a few days ago: 750A prominent Kenya African said here to-day that the newly independent African States were in the grip of Fascist dictatorships which were worse than that in South Africa. The difference was that the dictatorships in the new States were more inefficiently run by black men than those run by the whites of South AfricaAll my information about the new States confirms that this is so, and that the pace is too fast. That is all on South Africa.
I have been receiving information since January of this year, culminating in President Nyerere's speech to the O.A.U. in Cairo, that "Freedom Fighters", intended for subversive activities, are being armed and trained in Tanganyika. The headquarters of the liberation committees are in that country. Their intention is first to subvert and then to invade by overt armed force the Portuguese territory of Mozambique. If the Government do have not the same evidence as I have, I will send it to them at some other time. I ask now merely for some assurance that the Portuguese in Mozambique are not going to suffer the same fate as those in Goa and that Her Majesty's Government will not do nothing while they are overrun. That is my request on behalf of the Portuguese, whose system of colonial government is superior to any other and results in a type of multiracial society not to be found anywhere else. To class their colonial government with apartheid is simply ignorance.
My third request is an old chestnut. I noted that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, was indignant about our being somewhat unfairly treated in the Yemen. Her Majesty's Government were very unfair last year on the other side of the Straits, as I pointed out in a number of speeches, and I am hoping that they are coming round to see that an amende honorable is due to Somalia and that they should refrain from sustaining the black colonialism of Kenya against them. I communicated with the President of Somalia and asked whether I could do anything to help, and he duly replied:The Prime Minister dispatched special letter this morning. We all appreciate your excellent endeavour to help Somalia. Please let me hear on receiptA fortnight has passed and the letter has not arrived, due to delay in the post. I should like to ask Her Majesty's Gov- 751 ernment whether they have in mind some approach to the Somali Government, which would in effect be some amende for the injustices of last year.
Then I have two small items. Last year I travelled in India as a guest of the Indian Government, at a time when they were recovering from the shock of the invasion from the Chinese People's Republic and were intensely grateful for the help they were receiving from Her Majesty's Government in arms and equipment of all sorts. It seemed to me, from many discussions, that Pakistan and India must hang together, as we used to say, lest they hang separately. The problem of Kashmir seemed to be on the point of being settled. But then Nehru died. A letter I received on his death from my contact said that it was a pity he did not live another six months, for then he might have settled the Kashmir problem.
I want to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they agree with this observation, which I have received from the President of Pakistan:The President very much appreciates your concern over Kashmir. Furthermore, he fully agrees with your views that the wishes of the people of Kashmir should be ascertained and the principle of self-determination applied, as laid down in the United Nations' CharterI ask that question of the Government because when I last asked they had no such principle, and I was assured that they did not mind what happened so long as the two parties, Pakistan and India, agreed. I believe there has been a change. Are they in favour of discovering what the people want, and supporting that it should be done?
I have one more item, and that is with regard to Cyprus. It so happens that I travelled this year to Cyprus as a guest of the Greek Government. With Greeks I have a long historic family association and other associations. Nevertheless, at the end of my brief there was a remark which seemed to me to prejudice a fair solution, at least to some extent, of the Cyprus issue. There are two kinds of partition. One possible partition is to group the Turks and Greeks in different parts of the same island, and surrendering each part to its Mother Country, which I understand to be double Enosis. That would be one fair way of settling the problem. Another form of partition is 752 the same grouping, but an independent State, something of the sort that we have now, with a modified Constitution. That also would be partition on the ground.
These two partitions seem to me to be fair systems which, as such, should not be excluded from consideration. Yet at the end of the brief that I had going to Greece there was a note to the effect that the Prime Minister was opposed to partition. I do not know whether that is the considered view of Her Majesty's Government. It seems to me that it is not prescribing a particular remedy, but tending to pour cold water perhaps on two of the only three methods that are really fair to both sides. That is my fifth request. Are the Government open-minded as to one or other of these forms of partition? I have finished my speech, and I have asked for five separate things.
§ 8.13 p.m.
§ LORD ROBERTSON OF OAKRIDGE
My Lords, I think I am the sixth speaker during this debate to focus attention on South Africa. That must seem a little incongruous in a debate on foreign affairs, but I welcome it, because I have felt that a debate on South African affairs is very long overdue in your Lordships' House, and there has been no other opportunity than this. There are two alternatives only in front of us for the future of South Africa. There is alternative (1), which is separate development or apartheid; and there is alternative (2), which is described in the report of the experts to the Security Council of the United Nations asthe application of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms to all inhabitants of the territory as a whole, regardless of race".Put shortly, that is, one man, one vote, now, and no nonsense about it.
I would invite your Lordships, quite briefly, to look at those two alternatives. Separate development is the solution adopted by the South African Government. The two races are to live side by side, but be separate. The country is to be divided into black African homelands and white African homelands. The Bantu races are to have full political rights in the black African homelands, and political rights up to municipal level in the white African homelands; and for the white race the converse is to apply. That is apartheid. It has been condemned as morally unjustifiable and 753 spiritually wicked; and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers have just reaffirmed their condemnation of it.
I should like to say here that I, personally, agree with what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, in a letter to The Times a few weeks ago: namely, that it is not possible to say that apartheid or separate development is wicked in principle. All men are equal in the sight of God, but all men are not the same. I know of no authority, Biblical or otherwise, which says that they must all live together and under the same government. I notice that the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, made this point to-day, and both he and the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, said that one should be careful about it, because it might even prove, in the end, that some form of separateness was the only key to a solution. I think that is right. But whereas apartheid may not be described as wicked in principle, in practice, as applied by the South African Government at the present time, there are certain things grievously wrong about it.
Let me take, for example, the so-called black African homelands. They do not represent a share of the national assets than one can possibly regard as in any way fair in relation to the numbers and importance of the Bantu people. They not only do not represent it now, but they are not planned to represent it in the future. They are, moreover, islands not well endowed with natural resources, in a sea of white domination. Therefore, they can never be free or independent; and the South African Government knows this very well.
The second thing that is wrong about the practice of apartheid is that it has led the South African Government to adopt measures of repression which deeply offend the consciences of their best friends, and in some measure justify the criticisms of their detractors. I think on these two scores alone separate development, as practised at this time by the Government of South Africa, must be condemned as wrong.
Of course South Africa is an important customer of ours, and I entirely agree that we should do everything to build up our trade with her. But I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, would, 754 if he were here, agree with me that that would not justify British businessmen if they attempted to excuse what is inexcusable on that account. The noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, reminded us of the strategic importance of South Africa; and I entirely agree with him. Moreover, I agree with him entirely when he says that South Africa and Great Britain must not drift apart. But that, again, is not a reason, is it, for defending what is wrong as right? It is also true enough that worse injustices go on in other countries. But that, it seems to me, does not excuse them in South Africa.
It may also be true that the black man is better off materially in South Africa than he is in any other country on the continent of Africa. But that is no compensation for the indignity of the pass laws; it is no compensation for the unfairness of job reservation, which, as the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, said, is indefensible. I was sorry that the noble Lord seemed to go on almost to defend it, because it is indefensible. And it is no compensation for the 90-day Detention Act. I was glad to hear the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, emphasise that, too; and I am sure that if, indeed, he did speak to the Minister of Justice in South Africa and asked him to think about it again, he did South Africa a great service.
I personally think, though I daresay others will not agree with me, that as a cover plan the Communist bogy has been much overplayed. I think it is far better to be plain and simple about these matters. Apartheid, as practised in South Africa at the moment, is wrong. Another thing is that it will not succeed in the long run, although, of course, it can succeed for the time being. I have South African friends who have said to me: "If you people would only leave us alone, we can take care of the situation. Our internal security is now very good." I dare say, but that misses the point. History shows us that a policy like this, which can be sustained only by the use of Draconian repressive measures, will never bring a lasting solution. As the old saying goes, "You can do a lot with bayonets, but you cannot sit on them".
Of course, all this has been said before, and said with great relish by those who are the protagonists of the alternative 755 solution. And what is the alternative solution?—"One man one vote", and get on with it. That would result, as we know, in virtually an all-black Government and probably in a one-Party Government. The white population of South Africa say that that is intolerable and that they will not accept it. Are they wrong? I personally find it very difficult to argue that they are. To be frank, if I still lived in South Africa and I was told that universal suffrage was to be applied immediately, I should pack my bags and go. That would be all right for me, because I should have somewhere to go to. But, as the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, has pointed out, there are many people in South Africa who do not have anywhere to go to because South Africa is indeed their homeland. That is where they belong. In a sense it does not make much difference whether the white population of South Africa is right over this thing or wrong: the fact is they will not accept it. They cannot be persuaded to accept it by argument at this time, and they are, as has been said, a very stubborn people. As to other means of persuasion, it is as well to remember that they are a very brave people. If they were subjected to an effective blockade—if such a thing indeed could be done—they would resist it to the end, and your Lordships' consciences would rebel against it before they gave way. As to more forcible measures such as have been threatened, I think the people who threatened them would be well advised to think again, because they would only take a good hiding.
I think we can sum this second alternative up quite simply by saying that it is not acceptable by the white population of South Africa, and that it is not feasible, even if it were justifiable, to shove it down their throats. So there we are. The South African Government floods us with propaganda on their alternative, and the United Nations, led by the Afro-Asian bloc, fulminate away about their alternative, but neither is any good, because they will neither of them work.
What then is to be done? We have heard some excellent speeches this afternoon on South Africa, but there was one speech which impressed me enormously, which was the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel. I thought it was an exceptionally well-informed speech, that 756 it was a very powerful speech in most convincing language, and I am glad to have heard it. But I find it rather a terrible speech, because at the end it said: "It is too late; the cataclysm is going to come". That is a conclusion I do not accept, and I will not accept. I will go further and say that I think it is our duty not to accept it. Until the cataclysm is there, we should go on trying to stop it from happening.
As to how it can be prevented, that is a different matter. But if all concerned would come to realise that their present ideas do not work, it would at least clear the decks. What we need is new ideas. Where are they to come from? Not, I am afraid, from the United Nations. The Security Council of the United Nations has before it a report from its experts which one can only regard as completely one-sided and completely impracticable. By such thinking, they forfeit any chance they might have of making a useful contribution to this difficult problem.
The major contribution to a re-thinking will have to come from the South African Government. I have not forgotten that I said they are a stubborn people; I have not contradicted the words which the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, used about them. But it seems to me that there is some evidence that the leaders of the South African Government are not entirely happy about the final outcome of this matter. I know that a number in South Africa think that the preservation of white domination is a holy mission entrusted to them, but I believe some South African leaders do not share that view or, at least, have serious doubts about it.
Another thing I would point out is that there are some men, whom we know to be men of intellect and of liberal views, who have recently been appointed to high positions, including the South African Cabinet. In that connection, I should like to join with the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, in welcoming the Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Dr. Carl de Wet who has already gone a long distance to win our respect for the dignity and friendly way in which he represents his country among us. A contribution will also have to be made by the leaders of the Bantu people. There, as has been pointed out, is a big difficulty, because there are no immediately available and generally recognised 757 leaders of the Bantu people. Such as there are are mostly in gaol or in exile. But some leaders will certainly have to be found, because there will be no lasting solution to this problem unless it is supported by men who can carry the Bantu people with them. These are the people who have to do the rethinking, and at some point of time they will have to think together.
I am not, needless to say, suggesting a national convention as recommended by the report recently given by the Security Council. That seems to me to be a fruitless recommendation. It could end only in wind, and exacerbate an already difficult situation. Long before any such formal discussions took place, a lot of quiet, patient work has to go on in the background, and some new ideas have to be produced. I personally have a feeling that the two parties to the dispute are not able of themselves alone to find a solution to their problem. I think they will need help, and they will need the help of friends. It is one of the sad things about this sad business that some South African leaders have reserved their hardest words for the people who can best befriend them. Great Britain, I believe, understands their problem, and has a great deal of sympathy for them in their difficulty. Great Britain certainly remembers and admires South African gallantry in war, South African sportsmanship in peace, and South African hospitality at all times. There is a great fund of good will for South Africa here.
We in this country also sympathise with and understand the aspirations of the coloured people. I think we have given evidence of that. It is my view, in short, that the best, and maybe the only, chance of finding a way out of the difficulty, is that the two sides out there should reach the conclusion that their present ideas will not work, and that they will have to think up some new ideas; and that in doing so they would do well to seek some help from those who are ready to help them in a disinterested and sympathetic manner.
I fear that in saying this some noble Lords perhaps, like the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, will say that this is a weak-kneed approach—I think those were his words. He asked that there should be clear strategy marked out, line by line. 758 I certainly do not feel able to produce that at this time. I feel that quick, cut-and-dried solutions are not to be had in a difficult case like this; that you have to work your way quietly. The important thing is to get the dialogue started; and that is what we should aim for.
My Lords, I will end by briefly summarising what I feel our point of view in this matter should be. I think we should be quite frank with both sides. We should firmly refuse to pretend that right is wrong or that the unattainable is practicable. Secondly, we should do everything we can to ensure that this extremely difficult situation is not made more difficult either by things that happen or are said in this country or by things which are said or done by other nations, in so far as we are able to influence them. Thirdly, and finally, we should be ready at all times with our sympathy, our advice, our practical help; and also with leadership, which is what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, asked for, and I agree with him. But it must be the kind of leadership that wise parents give to their sons when they are attaining manhood; that is to say, the sort of leadership in which those who are being led do not realise that they are being led.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ LORD MILFORD
My Lords, we are on the eve of two great and very important Elections, one in this country and one in America. Naturally I shall welcome a Labour Government in this country, and, aside from that, I hope it will be for me one of the last opportunities for using this Chamber, because I hope the Labour Party will keep to its original Socialist principles and abolish your Lordships' Chamber, a wish I expressed so vehemently in my maiden speech in this House.
The Labour Party promises great and good things for Britain and the British people after it is returned to power, but unfortunately foreign policy is the key to all possibilities of home policy. I am afraid I shall have to disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in just dismissing the Goldwater affair as something to do with the Americans only, because I think it is a terrible warning to us all. In the 1930s the foreign policy of this country was based, at the core, against Socialism and against Russia. In those days Russia was alone; Hitler 759 emerged and was not taken seriously; it was said that it could not happen, the German people were far too sensible; that it was nothing to do with us.
We on the Left in those days made a great mistake. We never took full account of the huge industrial monopolies who were behind Hitler, who put him into the Chancellory, and who kept him there so that he could work against all the organisations and movements of the German working-class and against any vestige of Socialism anywhere. In Britain, in our Government and in influential places we had people who welcomed Hitler in this job; and to-day we have Government leaders who were Munichites, who were appeasers and have written in the newspapers trying to justify their appeasement.
Goldwater is on the horizon. He may not become President but there are the same influences, the same big people behind Goldwater as were behind Hitler in the 'twenties and 'thirties. Over two million dollars have been spent on Goldwater's election to date by these powerful industrialists, and this business which has been going on in America shows that there is a huge force of dark reaction and racialists in America. My only fear is that the Democrats, in trying to trim their sails to what is happening in America, may move more to the Right.
A very short time ago a liberal, progressive, forward-looking President was shot. The commentator Walter Lippmann—no Socialist—has written:Goldwater has sounded the trumpet for a global crusade to be carried on by a very wide-ranging military intervention, possibly nuclearAgainst whom? First of all, against the Soviet Union and against all Socialist countries, and I think we on the Left in politics must take note that Goldwater will think that all America's Allies who are Socialist are arch-enemies also. The Washington Post has declared that the Goldwater policy, now the official programme of the Republican Party, constitutes a commitment to war for the United States and is a platform that any rational man must read as an expression of political leaders who are willing to threaten the use of military power to achieve a national and 760 ideological objective, even at the risk of the nation's destruction in nuclear war. In other words, in America there is no nuclear stalemate on the Republican side, and to the Republicans the Russian bomb is no deterrent whatever.
My Lords, I am concerned that the Labour and Tory foreign policy ties us absolutely hand and foot to American policy through the Alliance and NATO. The Tories say that we must have the independent bomb alongside the American one. The Labour Party says: "Let our own nuclear weapons run down and rely completely on American, on the American umbrella." Neither of these policies means a free, powerful and independent Britain. The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, seemed to me this afternoon to be rattling the sabre when he talked about the mixed-manned ships with all these bombs to be carried. If you rattle the sabre and talk with pride of all things like this, how are we to go forward to disarmament with the Soviet Union? It is asking for stalemate.
The Prime Minister says that we must have powerful weapons, that we must have the nuclear bomb so that we may have more respect in the world, so that we can argue from strength. My Lords, I think this is an absolutely archaic argument, especially for us in Britain. This idea of brandishing a big stick to cause respect and to strengthen any argument, I suspect is a hangover from his public school days, when certain society people walked arm-in-arm in the streets with canes to impose respect from that class of fags.
§ LORD MILFORD
I beg your pardon, but I was not. For Britain to go forward economically, socially and with real prestige in the world, if we are to give a new vista to mankind which is so badly needed in this world to-day, I think we must break with this deadlock in conceptions of strength from bombs. I think we have to break completely with a lot of what we have been hearing in your Lordships' House to-day and give a real new perspective to the young people, the young nation. It is a young world growing up all around us: of new nations, new peoples, new Socialist countries. And to 761 go on wielding the big stick to get prestige is completely out of date. We have to start again.
Perhaps I have sounded too much in despair about Goldwater and the American situation. I honestly do not feel it, because things are very different to-day from what they were in the 'twenties and the 'thirties. The best way to stop fire is to prevent it. And to-day there is a tremendous force for peace in the world. There are many countries, and many former British Colonies, that are out for peace at any price. In the days of the rise of Hitler there was only one Socialist country; to-day there are many. Many of us who were in the Labour Movement in the early 'thirties know that Hitler could have been stopped if we had all united together to save peace, if we had fought on a real united front against all those backing and helping the Fascists to power.
My Lords, I hope that we do not make the same mistake again. The peace forces are in the majority in the world, and I hope that we shall all stand behind them and swell their ranks. The foreign policy of this country I think—and the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and others agree; and I welcome it—must primarily be based on co-existence and the easing of tension, leading to nuclear disarmament and, later, total disarmament. But we shall not get this if we go on talking about, boasting about, and increasing our nuclear forces. Every day in the Press we read about more bombers, bigger bombers, more multilateral submarines.
I believe that we should rid this country of foreign bases, to which a large section of the public has always been opposed. After all, these bases are a springboard for a foreign Power. And they could be used to cause us to be annihilated with hydrogen bombs in a war which we did not start, or make us a target for nuclear attack, even if we were not at war. Particularly is this the case with the Polaris bases. Incidentally, my Lords of the Labour Party, what has happened to that resolution at the Labour Party Conference on the question of Polaris bases? I think we should categorically declare that in no circumstances will we take part in this multilateral force.
762 However much people argue about the "safety catch" and all that, anybody who goes out shooting knows that the safety catch is damn near to the trigger; and sooner or later it will give the trigger to the Germans. In the 'twenties the Germans started by being given (I think it was) submarines, and then something else and then something else; and in the end they were fully armed. This is the beginning. I say that we should categorically come out against the whole idea. It will also spread nuclear arms to other countries. How can you expect the Soviet Union to come to the table and talk about complete nuclear disarmament, complete disarmament, when we are going to continue with this nuclear force? Mr. Wilson and others who have been to Moscow have found this out for themselves. And yet here we are boasting about this force and committing ourselves and admitting we are going into it. Where is the danger of attack to-day? I think the danger of attack to-day can come only if a man like Goldwater, and those hotheads behind him in the Republican Party, do what they are boasting about, and also from the revengists in Western Germany. If the two get together, God help the world!
I think we should withdraw from NATO. We have heard about NATO today. What is NATO for? It is an Alliance against the Soviet Union, and does anybody honestly believe to-day that the Soviet Union want to attack this country? If we get rid of alliances on our side, I am absolutely certain that alliances on the other side will also melt away, and we shall have a world free from any military alliances whatsoever. The Test Ban Treaty was a very good first step towards easing tension. Now let us go forward to the next, always having as the target total disarmament. Instead of this talk to-day about arms, let us talk far, far more, and put our vision to the world, of total disarmament. That should be our great ideological aim and that is the picture we want to give to the young people to-day. If we did that, we should not have half the trouble, half the cynicism, we are having now.
It would be tragic, I think, if the next Labour Government found itself having to spend even more on armaments than 763 is being spent to-day. If this country could get rid of this colossal arms bill, if we could cut our arms bill by half, get rid of the foreign bases and renounce nuclear arms, it would be a tremendous step forward for peace, and as I have said before I am sure it would help to break down other alliances which we think are threatening us. But, above all, if we cut the arms expenditure we could have the houses we so badly need; we could have more and better social services; and more scientists would be released for peaceful use. The Labour Government could easily achieve the vision it offers to the British people to-day, and Britain as a whole would gain an enormous admiration and respect and would have a tremendous voice in the arguments for peace and disarmament. I am sure we should be far more respected in the world if we did these things rather than, as we boast, the archaic thing that we do by waving our strength with the bomb.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, the speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, and the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, as well as the late hour, have enabled me to cut down a good deal of what I should have liked to say in this debate. It is a subject on which I happen to have spent many years of close study and I have felt, as the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, said just now, that mention in this House of South Africa and its position in the world as misrepresented generally, was overdue.
I think that before one expresses any view on South Africa one ought really to make quite sure that one understands what the policy of apartheid is, and that one is not merely criticising some of the methods of its application which have no intrinsic reference to the policy itself. The policy, as defined by the Government, is just this—and perhaps I ought to emphasise first of all that it is against this background that the claim, and I think it is a correct claim, is that this is not a racial question, but a national question. Mr. Macmillan in his famous speech in Cape Town referred to the South African Republic as the "first nationalism in Africa". That is the basis of their position. They have no 764 colonial background. They have no parallel elsewhere in Africa. Their position is that of a white nation occupying their own land, which they started occupying 300 years ago when it was virtually empty, and with the Bantu coming in from the North at a rather later date. The basis of their policy is that, owing to differences of language and tradition, and general outlook on life, it is not possible to share an Administration with the Bantu; and they may easily point to the rest of Africa to-day where the idea of multi-racialism lies in ruins all over that Continent.
The basic principle of apartheid is to safeguard the future of the white nation in those parts of South Africa which the European immigrants settled as their homelands over the past 300 years; to lead the Bantu nations to effective self-government in those parts of South Africa which the Bantu immigrants settled as their homelands during the same period of history; to give the European-descended and the Bantu peoples alike the opportunity to maintain the social and political organisations best suited to the expression of their distinctive characteristics and aspirations; to enable all people, wherever they may work and live in South Africa, to be intimately associated with the cultural and political life of their own nation; and to raise living standards in white and Bantu homelands alike.
One has to keep that as the background, and also to remember that it is not a case of 3 million white people on one side and 11 million black people on the other. It is a matter of three or four nations living within that area: the 3 million white nation, the 3½ million Xhosas, the 3 million Zulus and so on. The idea behind apartheid is ultimately to have three or four Bantustans.
The manner in which South Africa proposes, and is endeavouring, to discharge its guardianship is governed, as they have said publicly, by three considerations: that a nation cannot be free in the modern world unless its citizens are literate; that successful self-government depends on the existence of a political system which has grown up from the people and is able to enlist their enthusiasm and support; and that political independence must be supported by economic advancement. Those 765 three considerations form the pattern envisaged for the Bantu people.
I should like just to mention the question which the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, mentioned—namely, that every Bantu, no matter where he lives, will automatically qualify for the vote and a voice in the Government of his own national homeland or State. If he lives in the white State he will have legal political rights at municipal level in Bantu townships and villages, as in many places he has to-day, but he will continue to have his political rights at a national level as a citizen of his own State. Similarly, white South Africans will have no political rights in the Bantu homelands or States, and, should the white man decide to reside or work, there, he will be subject to the Bantu Government concerned. The example is in the Transkei—which is the first of the Bantu homelands now endowed with a Government of its own and which will be independent within a few years—where there are, I believe, 14,500 people of European origin living and, in accordance with the system, they will have there no political vote at all. Their political vote will be in Cape Town or Pretoria as the case may be.
If one looks at what the South African Government have done to carry out these principles which I have just enunciated, one finds that in education South Africa has the highest degree of literacy in Africa. Recent figures show that four out of every five Bantu children are at school. This compares with the rest of negroid Africa, where four out of five children are illiterate. One can go on for quite some time giving figures of that sort. There are 29,000 Bantu teachers in South Africa. There are 48 Bantu training colleges, with a current enrolment of more than 4,000 student teachers. So one could go on.
I want to emphasise that the South African Government are not introducing a plan which is distasteful to the African outlook, but are endeavouring to give the African what he has, from one end of Africa to the other, declared he wants, which is to be an African and not a pseudo-European. Last year 49 educational experts from 28 African countries met in Madagascar under the auspices of UNESCO, and they decided that 766 it was necessary to reconsider the type of education of which the aim had been, in many African countries, the assimilation of young Africans into the cultures of the metropolitan countries. They said that this European-orientated education would no longer do. The conference decided that the old syllabuses should be revised with due regard to political and cultural emancipation. This entailed—I quote,The rediscovery of Africa and bringing it to the youth in secondary schools.It is, as I have said, precisely this attitude of mind, the craving to be themselves, which the policy of apartheid is endeavouring to give. I could give your Lordships a number of figures. There has been £111 million voted for Bantu education by the South African Government from 1948 to 1961.
In regard to the social services—I mention these things because we have not only heard a good deal about an atmosphere of oppression and suppression in speeches here but read it constantly in the Press—in the last ten years the South African Government have spent £100 million on urban development for the Bantu. That has entailed the construction of the equivalent of a dozen cities of 100,000 people each. These cities, largely around Johannesburg, have modern amenities such as sports grounds, swimming baths and that sort of thing. Incidentally, £20 million a year is spent to provide hospital and health services, and so on, for Bantus alone.
We have heard a good deal this evening from one or two speakers about what ought to be done by those who apparently disapprove of apartheid for largely mistaken reasons. One of them is the matter of the imposition of sanctions. I sincerely hope that the British Government will maintain their stand that imposing sanctions is no way of settling a question of this kind, and that it would largely hurt the people whom one is going out to benefit. It is estimated that to impose sanctions on South Africa would immediately result in some half a million of the coloured population in South Africa, and many scores of thousands of people in Scotland and in this country, becoming unemployed. This does not seem to be a sensible way of approaching a difficult problem.
It was mentioned by my noble friend Lord Fraser of Lonsdale that South 767 Africa is one of the best trading partners of this country and that last year there was a trade balance in our favour of £81 million. It is also estimated that British investment in South Africa is about £1,000 million. All of those things go to prove that the methods of force suggested would be lamentable, ineffective and inefficient. I notice that at the Commonwealth Conference one of the Commonwealth Ministers spoke rather disparagingly of this country and said that we thought more of our investments than of our principles. But if we did not think about our trade and investments we should not have all these large sums of money with which to help underdeveloped countries. For a trading nation to be told that it should neglect its investments does not really make much sense.
I want in conclusion to ask: what is the alternative to apartheid? Those who do not like apartheid must shoulder the burden of saying what they would put in its place. Enthusiasts want to do away with racialism, white supremacy and oppression, and in their stead wish to create a non-racial society in which all men will walk in freedom, regardless of race or colour. These are wonderful phrases when uttered 6,000 miles away from that country and away from the experience there. But is such a solution at any time likely to be feasible? Where in Africa is there such a Utopia—or where, indeed, in the world is there such a place? These are the questions we have to answer. It is all very well to wish for a solution of this kind or to talk impressively in glib shibboleths when you are 6,000 miles from the problem, but what matters is the concrete evidence produced by events in the African continent itself. It shows quite conclusively that there is no such thing as multi-racialism in Africa. It shows that wherever the African and European personalities have been forced to find expression in one and the same political system the one has inevitably dominated the other. South Africa knows this, and, after all, unlike many of her critics, she is part of Africa and has had some experience of the country.
Would it not be fair to say that in the policy of apartheid South Africa is turning her back on the idea of white 768 supremacy, as also on the idea of black supremacy, and is saying that human dignity of both white and black would best be ensured by allowing each to rule themselves and to join together politically as independent States but economically interdependent? The noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, said that these Bantustans can never be really independent. What country, it does not matter whether it is Bantustan or Swaziland or Basutoland, is independent to-day? Their geographical position tells them they will always be economically interdependent on South Africa, whoever manages them and however independent they may be politically.
There is evidence—and I know people deny this—that large numbers of the Bantu have accepted the guiding hand of the South African Government and are working for the advancement of their own national groups and the Republic as a whole. It is nonsense to talk of South Africa as being a danger to world peace. In my view, the only way in which South Africa can be a danger to world peace is if the sort of bigoted, largely ignorant, sometimes well-meaning and sometimes malicious, interference from outside multiplies until it induces the United Nations perhaps to try what has never in the history of the world been tried before; and that is interference on a large scale with the internal management of a wealthy and powerful country. My Lords, I feel that it has been a good thing that South Africa has been mentioned so frequently in this debate, because it was high time that the other side of the picture was shown.
§ 9.9 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, there is at least one point on which I can agree with the noble Lord who has just sat down. I feel, with him, that it is a good thing that South Africa has been mentioned so much in this debate. It was right that it should be, following upon some remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, in his, if I may say so, very balanced and reasonable speech taking us to so many parts of the world. Your Lordships who listened to it will remember that he finished up by reminding us, as others, including the Prime Minister, have done before, that one of the major problems confronting the world at the present time is the disparity 769 and tension between the rich nations and the poor.
What he did not remind us of, though I am sure that he himself is well aware of it, as are your Lordships, was that the rich nations, as it happens, are, by and large, the white nations, and the poor nations are, by and large, the coloured nations—coloured in the wide sense of the word. It is in the Continent of Africa that we have this agglomeration of coloured people, black people, living to a very large extent in very considerable poverty not only with the tensions created by that, but with their rich white neighbours in the North across the Mediterranean and their rich white neighbours in the South, in South. Africa.
We have heard from the noble and gallant Field Marshal his views on the importance of South Africa for defence in case of war. Far be it from me to disagree in any way with the noble and gallant Field Marshal in his views on defence, though I certainly might on other matters. But I would point out to him, and to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who also mentioned this matter, that it is no good looking on defence, and South Africa's rôle in defence, in isolation. What is the good of having a friendly South Africa, with bases at Simonstown, or wherever it may be, if the whole of the rest of the African Continent is against us; if it is on the other side, in the event of war with the Communist Powers, which is what the noble and gallant Field Marshal was talking about?
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, made, I thought, in the first part of his remarks, a very fine speech. I will make no comment on the second part of it. In the first part he dealt with the African Continent and the problems affecting it, and with a very large part of what he said I agreed. I think his diagnosis of the problems there and the tensions there was absolutely right. But where, in my opinion, he went entirely wrong was in the conclusions he drew from that diagnosis. My Lords, if we have these problems arising (some have already arisen in the Congo, and others undoubtedly will a rise in the future) where there are tensions, where there is this struggle between the East and the West, between Communism—and to an increasing extent Chinese Communism, 770 as opposed to the Communism of the Soviet Union—on the one hand, and the Western Powers, on the other, fighting for our respective ways of life, how are we best to counter, to win that fight?
I suggest that one of the ways—there are many ways, and I certainly will not go into them tonight—in which we can gain ourselves friends in the rest of Africa, excluding the Republic of South Africa, is by making it abundantly clear to all the people of Africa that we oppose apartheid in every way. The surest way of allowing the other side, of allowing the Chinese Communists, with or without their money, to gain the upper hand, is by letting it appear that we in this country have aligned ourselves with the white men of South Africa, and that we are sticking to our blood brothers and turning our backs on the Africans of Africa. That is the conclusion I draw from the diagnosis which I think the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, so ably made for us earlier this afternoon.
Therefore, my Lords, I believe that, if only for the sake of our defence, if only for the sake of the security of our own country and our own way of life, we must take a stand about what is happening in South Africa to-day in such a way that there can be no doubt in the mind of anybody. We must remember that there are many people who are not so well intentioned towards us as they might be; many people who are very ready to misrepresent us if we give them half a chance. We must therefore make it clear, in spite of those misrepresentations, that we do believe in the equality of men, and that we do not believe that any man should be penalised simply because of his birth, his race, his religion or his colour. My Lords, our record in that is not above reproach. It is a mixed record. We have said good things. Sir Patrick Dean, our own representative at the United Nations, said less than a year ago:The rulers of South Africa are, by their inadmissible racial policy, carrying their countrymen, of whatever race, to certain tragedy".Those were brave words, my Lords, for a representative of Her Majesty's Government, and I, for one, am glad he spoke out in that way. But the effect of such a statement is to a very large extent vitiated when you realise that, in spite of those words, we are still supplying 771 to the Republic of South Africa a whole series of armaments which the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, himself, on another occasion, admitted can well be put to use against the people of South Africa itself, and which my noble friend Lord Shackleton pointed out, by actual quotations from speeches by Ministers of Defence in the Republic, are intended for use, if necessary, against the Africans of South Africa. It is that double facet that we present to the world at large—fine words at the United Nations but very different actions when it comes to selling arms—that is doing us so much damage in the eyes of the poor people of the world and, in particular, in the eyes of the African people, who, as I say, if for no higher reason than that of our own self-interest, we must make sure come out on top if, in the struggle which is going on in that great Continent between Communist China, and perhaps Communist Russia, on the one hand, and ourselves, on the other, we are to come out the victors.
But, my Lords, I hope that we have some higher motives for taking this action, and I was very happy indeed to listen to the courageous words of the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, speaking on this matter—because, say what you will about it, my Lords, apartheid is evil. It is a policy based on the innate belief that men are different because they have different skins, and that is something to which, in my submission, no decent-minded man or woman in this country, whether he calls himself a Christian or not, can possibly subscribe.
My Lords, we have heard from two noble Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, and the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, an apologia for apartheid. I do not for a moment suggest that either of them is anything other than honest in the view he holds; I do not for a moment suggest that they are, as some people are, hypocritical in the views they put forward: but I do suggest, my Lords, that they show the most remarkable insensitivity to human dignity and human suffering if they are capable of getting up and saying the things that we have heard them say in this Chamber this afternoon. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, towards the end of his speech, said we must not talk glibly from 6,000 miles away about the problems of this country, but should 772 go and look for ourselves. I hope he has looked for himself, but I doubt if he has looked in the right places, because he would not have said the things he has said had he looked in those places, had he gone with me a few months ago to the suburb of Alexandria in Johannesburg and seen the way Africans were being used and were being housed and had he even gone to the newer suburbs—those places about which he was boasting to us, on which so many millions of pounds have been spent—with their barbed wire enclosures for the labour, as my noble friend Lord Samuel told us, and all the other horrors and indignities—not physical horrors but mental horrors—which go on in that country.
He reminded me, as did the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, of the sort of things which might have been said, possibly in this Chamber, I suppose, 120 years ago when slavery was being abolished. People got up then and said: "What is wrong with slavery? Look how much better these slaves are. They are well looked after by the plantation owners. It is better than rotting in the jungles of the Congo, fighting each other and dying of disease. Surely it is better for them to be here." Physically, perhaps, it may be so; but that did not stop slavery from being abolished; and the words the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, and the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, used will not stop the abolition, eventually, of apartheid. I know that there are some people who say there is nothing we can do about it; that it will work itself out; that the economic prosperity of the Republic is such that job discrimination will have to go. The noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, said that. He said it is going already, and that other things will follow. But it is not just a question of jobs. There are so many other things, too.
If we are seriously wondering whether this situation is going to get better over the years, let us look at what has happened in the course of the last three years. Has the situation got so much better? In 1961, three years ago, the General Law Amendment Act introduced the twelve-day detention clause, under which the Attorney-General might direct that a person arrested should not be released on bail for twelve days. In 773 1962, because that was not enough, the offence of sabotage was created, providing penalties as for treason—which may include the death penalty—and stipulating that any sentence of imprisonment imposed must be for at least five years. House arrest was introduced at the same time. In 1963 (and remember that we are told that things are getting better the whole time; that the policies will work themselves out if we do nothing), it was found that twelve-day detention was not enough; so 90-day detention was brought in. The noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, was gracious enough to say that he did not like it; that he had tried to get the Minister of Justice to alter it. I wish he had succeeded. He did not succeed, and I doubt whether he or anyone else will succeed. But he went on, having said he disapproved of it, to ask: "What would you do if you were a member of the Cabinet? You have to maintain law and order. There is no other way."
My Lords, when we talk about the maintenance of law and order it is so often order we are thinking about, and not law. The law of this country, of which we are so proud, holds that a man is innocent until he is proved guilty and that a man must be brought to trial within the least possible time. He cannot be held, incommunicado or otherwise, without trial, without coming before a magistrate. That is the sort of law that we believe should be upheld; but the 90-day detention Act, although it may achieve maintenance of order in the short run, is striking at the very foundations of the law and destroying the law that it sets itself up to protect.
There are many points I could take up, and should like to take up, in the speeches which have been made in the attempt to defend apartheid; but it is too late to do so at any length. But I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, who I am sorry to see is not in his place, that when he tries to draw an analogy of partition as in Ireland with what is going on in the Transkei and in Bantustan, there is no analogy of any kind. In Ireland there is no division on the ground of race, and, what is more important, nothing whatever to stop—and there never has been—a Northern Irelander, if he so wishes, from travelling 774 into Southern Ireland, setting up residence there, going to college there and mixing with the people as a free citizen. Conversely, there is nothing to stop a Southern Irelander from going into Northern Ireland. So, as I say, one cannot draw an analogy there. There is no need for me to labour the point.
Then the noble Lord said, as did the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, who I am sorry to see is not in his place either, that multiracialism never worked. Of course it has worked. If we go back far enough, we in this country are a multiracial society. We had Picts, Scots, Saxons, Latins and Jews all mixed up over generations, and we are proud of the result, because we have never believed in apartheid in the past. If we come nearer the present time, there are multiracial societies in Singapore and in Jamaica, on the other side of the world. We see it even in Kenya: it is struggling, but it is there. The Cabinet there is composed mainly of Africans, but there is one European who is a prominent member of the Cabinet. So one cannot say, with any honesty and knowledge of the facts, that multiracialism has never worked. It will work, given a chance. The trouble is that in South Africa it is not being given a chance.
The worst of anything that is happening in South Africa to-day—worse than the pass laws and the detentions—is that the present Government have decided that black and white may not be educated together, not only in the primary schools, but also in the seats of what are so ironically called in that country the "liberal arts." There have been in the University of Witwatersrand some Africans and white people working together, but by edict of the Government Africans will no longer be allowed in that University. That is not the sort of progress which enables those of us who look at this problem with an honest and clear view to say that we must leave it alone, and that things will work out all right if we do not interfere.
What are we to do? I confess that my brain tells me that my noble friend Lord Samuel is right, and that the point of no return has been passed. But my heart leads me to side with the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, and not to give up hope. I still believe that there is a faint glimmer of a possibility 775 that this final cataclysm may not fall upon that wonderful country, whose people, black and white, nave such fine qualities and among whom there is so much good.
We can do little. At this stage, we cannot interfere in the internal policy of another country. We cannot say that there must be one man, one vote. Speaking personally, I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge, that if that were to come within the next twelve months, it would be disastrous for both the black and white in South Africa. But we must do what we can to show our utter abhorrence and condemnation of what is going on in that country; to give such encouragement as we can to those good people who are fighting against it. We must hope and help in any way we can for some alleviation of the present oppressive legislation and for some relaxation, if only in the field of education, to enable black people to feel that at least there is a chance for them to move up and become as their white neighbours are. These are things I hope we can do, and I hope the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, when he comes to reply, will give us his support and the support of the Government for them.
I hope, too—because here is something we can do and, for the reasons I have mentioned, must do—that we shall at once prohibit the exportation from this country to South Africa of all forms of armaments. We have fulfilled our obligations under the Simonstown Treaty. We have no more arms that we are obliged to send under that Treaty. We hope that we shall not be blackmailed by the South African Government into sending more arms, or succumb to such blackmail. We must follow the lead of our American friends and other countries—It is a pity we did not start it—and at this stage say that there will be no more arms from the United Kingdom for the Republic of South Africa. If we do these things, although, as I said, my brain still tells me that my noble friend Lord Samuel is right, my heart will go with the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, in hoping that the cataclysm may still be averted.
§ 9.31 p.m.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
My Lords, when the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, 776 opened the debate this afternoon he mentioned five points on which he expected there would be unanimity. In the course of this debate, I think it is fair to say that there has been no difference with that view and the extent and measure of the bipartisan policy which exists. Indeed, I would say that the debate has been characterised, in such divisions of opinion as exist, by an endeavour on both sides to try to understand and meet the policies of the Government. I would exclude from that the noble Lord, Lord Milford, who would be insulted if he were said to agree with anybody. But, beyond that, I think there was an effort on both sides of the House to find agreement.
I must say that I deplore what was said from the Cross Benches, that NATO was disintegrating; that the American troops on the Continent were hostages; and that we should have our fuller and former position in the use of the American deterrent. That I should never expect the Americans to concede in any form. I think all those propositions are not true. NATO is a healthy organisation. And the measure in which General de Gaulle allows himself liberty is, I think, the obverse of the assurance he has of American support. I very much doubt whether he would have allowed himself the liberty he has if he were not as assured as he is that the Americans are supporting the Western Alliance.
I would regard the breathing space which has been mentioned to-day as being (shall I say?) the end of a chapter which started with Sir Winston Churchill's speech at Fulton: that speech in which he drew attention to the fact that alone among the Powers which had won the war the Soviet Republic had not disarmed. That was the basis of the Fulton speech, which has come up to the end of a chapter, when we now have a breathing space, and we now have a steadier balance in Europe. I think we may claim credit because much of the difficulty—may I call it the log-jam?—in our relations with Russia was eased by Mr. Harold Macmillan, which enabled Mr. Kennedy subsequently to do the work he did. I am fully confident that the Prime Minister to-day will carry on the task of those who went before him.
777 If I may refer to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, he said that nationalism was hardly less dangerous than the bomb. I profoundly agree with him. But it is no good pretending that nationalism does not exist. I am a little surprised that there has not been more comment on the fact that this world has to-day something over 120 foreign States.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
I readily accept the correction. They are all engaged, and particularly the new ones, in a rather exciting adventure. They are full of life, and in many cases wild revolutionary theories, and believe that the solution to human life lies in political action. In most cases, these 130 countries are engaged in a bitter struggle with some opposition or other, often of a racial character.
I believe it has been assumed to-day that racial problems exist only in Africa. That just is not so. I doubt whether any country has behaved more abominably to people of another race than the Indonesians have to the Chinese. The difference there is that they do not write their laws at all, whereas I believe the South Africans do at least write them. Indeed, not very far behind them is the way the Burmese treat the Indians. In each case the Prime Minister is dealing with a bitter struggle. In many cases life is in danger, and in most cases he is quite convinced that he is doing the most difficult job in the world—and he probably has plausible reasons for thinking so. He is in charge of what is a sovereign State which, by definition, means a State which is hounded only by what the people will stand, whether that be the process of democracy or the kind of process which ends in dictatorship or rule by the army. They are not influenced by convention nor, indeed, by public opinion. Moreover, they have little experience of international relations.
I must say that think this is a most complex and dangerous situation and, frankly, I do not believe it can continue indefinitely. We sec already a number of centres of disturbance: Cyprus, Southern Arabia, Laos, South Viet-Nam and Indonesia. We must reckon that 778 such places are likely to extend rather than to diminish. I am sorry to be depressing, but I think it is the natural deduction to be made from the situation in which we find ourselves. The basis which is common to nearly all of them, if not all, is due to inferior and weak forms of Government, assisted by the overall fear of escalation. In other words, the very fact of the atomic bomb means a greater danger at a lower level.
What can we do? We turn our thoughts first of all, naturally, to the United Nations. Frankly, from what I have heard, the United Nations represents the most difficult point of meeting of all these 130-odd States. They are probably in a more cantankerous mood there than anywhere else. What disturbs me is that the very presence of the United Nations does not command more respect than it does. I should have expected that when the United Nations troops, under the authority and direction of the Secretary-General, appeared in Cyprus, they would have been greeted with a high measure of respect. Far from that being the case, it seems to be the object of some of these indigenous people actually to fool the United Nations. I think this is a most deplorable situation.
On our part, I think the greatest danger is in interference in the internal affairs of these countries. We have, of course, attracted a certain amount of attention with our past history of colonialism, and are an easy object of suspicion. But I believe that to-day the nature and dangers of Communist colonialism are increasingly recognised in the minds of many people. The dangers are particularly strong in India and Malaya. We talk a great deal about aid—and I am sure that it is welcome—about economic and cultural association, and about trade. As a trading nation we can, of course, do a tremendous amount. I am sure that in practically no case should we impose a trade embargo, whether it be in Cuba, Spain, South Africa, China or Indonesia. Such a step would be extremely undesirable, for trade in itself has a civilising influence. In the majority of cases it is to the advantage of both sides who enter into that trade.
In this we are, of course, carrying out our task in the Commonwealth. I believe this to be extremely important, 779 because to-day the Commonwealth is not a meeting of like-minded people; it is a meeting of unlike-minded people, who can talk freely and frankly. This is a tremendous advantage, and I believe that it will help all. I must say that I think that in this complicated world we should deal very much better with one Department instead of two Departments. I do not know, for instance, when we come to a quarrel between China and India, whether it is dealt with by the Foreign Office or by the Commonwealth Relations Office, nor indeed in relations with Malaysia or Indonesia where the action is taken. But I am sure that it could be dealt with more simply by one, rather than two, Departments.
There is one side of this question to which attention has been drawn by Kissinger in a recent article on foreign affairs. In this world the distinction between allies and neutrals is likely to diminish, because the neutrals get the same protection and the allies want to be equally free. I think there is a great truth in this, and very consider-able danger. We, of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said, do not force anyone to be aligned. But let us be quite frank: we do want friends, and neutrality is an unreal concept in this world to-day. It is nice to think of one as being equal, but it is a completely impractical policy.
Here I would, if I may, say a word about Malaysia. Here is a country which in every way has played the game. It is a good United Nations member; it works on adult universal suffrage; its law courts are a model of what law courts ought to be; it works in close co-operation in a country where racial disputes could be extremely easy. The difference in temperament and psychology between a Malay, a Chinese and an Indian is very sharp, as anybody knows. I very much regret to hear that there was a riot in Singapore the day before yesterday which is, so far as I recall, the first riot for eight years. When I was in Singapore I read of riots in Trafalgar Square, so it does go both ways. But this danger is always present in that country.
They have been attacked by unprovoked aggression. The Indonesians have said that they will crush them, and, let us be quite frank about it, Indonesia is being treated, if I may say so, like a 780 Teddy-boy with diplomatic immunity. This world cannot go on with people being treated in this way at the present time. I saw in the Guardian a suggestion that the President of the United States should speak to the Prime Minister of Malaysia along the following lines. First, he should say: "Resist confrontation, but avoid anything which would lead to escalation. You must always be open to diplomatic approaches whenever they are made, and you must gain the sympathy of the Afro-Asian world "If those were the instructions issued by the President of America to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, I think it would suit President Soekarno down to the ground. First of all, the Indonesians want to fight something, just as Orwell told us in 1984; just as Hitler wanted to fight Czechoslovakia. They have to be opposed. They do not want escalation any more than anybody else, because they know they would suffer very heavily if it came. They are ready to keep the door open to diplomatic movements.
President Soekarno has no reason for going to Tokyo other than to draw the world's attention to himself and his policy. Moreover, the Indonesian's propaganda is quite superior to the Malaysian propaganda. It surprises me, the readiness with which everyone, even the B.B.C., in this country is prepared to quote from Antara, which is a pure propaganda instrument under the control of the Foreign Office in Jakarta.
I will add one point, because time is getting on. The most serious situation to-day is in South Viet-Nam. There we have a big common interest with the United States, which is the most powerful force there, and there our relations are least easy. We must regret, of course, the difference of attitude which we take, but we think United States is only halfhearted in supporting Malaysia, and I have no doubt that they think we are less than enthusiastic about supporting them in Viet-Nam. I would emphasise the paramount importance of seeking to keep in close step with them in this very difficult part of the world.
I am fully aware how difficult the Chinese position is. But China has said they will not allow war to spread to the border and they will not countenance aggression against North Viet-Nam. 781 I must say that the Chinese generally mean what they say, and I have no doubt that they are genuinely frightened that the United States are seeking nearer bases to their own country. Equally, the United States do not trust China, who have said they are prepared to enter into what they call a just war, which is, of course, any war in which they happen personally to be engaged. They are the most xenophobic people in the world, as I believe the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker, would agree. They have the greatest contempt for foreigners of any country I have been near to. I have not actually been there. I suggest that in this most difficult area, which is of the utmost importance, we should keep in close contact with the United States of America.
§ 9.45 p.m.
EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, we are coming at last to the end of a very long debate, which has taxed many of us in fulfilling the difficult task of really listening to all the speeches. In fact it has been quite impossible with me, although I have heard most. I should like to say, before I forget, having just listened to the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, that what he said in the winding-up of his speech is vastly important. We recognised, de jure, the new state in China almost as soon as they became so organised as to be recognised. This country did so. We were in office as the Labour Government at the time. And I think if the British Government at the present time could bring pressure to bear to see that the Chinese are recognised in the United Nations, so that these matters can be really fought out in their presence, we should probably get an easier road to the solution of some of the difficulties. I appreciated his story of the general position in Malaysia and the neighbouring countries. I see exactly what he means by the possibility of fears by the Chinese as to what the United States have in mind.
However, I do not want to be drawn into that, because I want to stick to the point laid down for us advisedly by my noble friend Lord Henderson in that remarkable survey which he gave on foreign affairs at the opening of the debate. I agree with the speaker who 782 said that perhaps the majority of the House, at any rate, could agree with my noble friend's statement that five of his main propositions were such that he hoped all the House would agree with them. In the years since I have been here, at any rate since 1950, we have grown to accept that as far as possible our debates on foreign affairs should be objective and non-Party, and I should have liked to think, after the speech of my noble friend, that the intervention of the Leader of the Opposition could have been—and I think it could be—upon the same basis of trying to make a survey of the situation so far as he could see it, and not to have to resort to what I call hard-hitting political opposition. But the debate has not turned out like that. I could find nothing in the speech of the noble Lord, the Leader of the House, which could lead us to be violently opposed to the particular matters with which he was dealing. Sometimes in foreign affairs I disagree here and there with what the Government may say, but very often I much prefer to put my points in private, where I think I can help my country by submitting them to the appropriate Department concerned in the particular foreign issue. I think it would be a very good thing if we could maintain, so far as possible, that kind of thing.
If I may say so, the noble Lord, Lord Milford—I am not going to reply in detail to his speech—made some good points and I think some poor ones. But there is one thing we cannot stand for in a great democracy: to call anything else a democracy is to play with words. We cannot stand for a one-Party State with one list of candidates and no other freedom.
EARL ALEXANDER or HILLS-BOROUGH
Well, I always thought that the people whom the noble Lord was clearly supporting in his speech certainly claim to be democrats. But we cannot accept a one-Party system as being a democracy, so we have to disagree, except on one point which is essential and which I believe has been accepted by successive Conservative Prime Ministers during the 783 last few years—namely, that if there can be reasonable discussions towards the final objective of the maintenance of peace, then we would work among the different opinions in the world for the greatest amount of co-existence that can possibly be obtained. I think it is important that I should make that quite clear.
We have had speeches on various matters which dealt not so much with foreign affairs in general as with particular objectives upon which in the country there has already been political diversity and political activity which perhaps is not always to be admired. However, it seemed to me, when I listened to the survey that my noble friend gave in such an excellent way, that probably the most controversial matter he left outside his special points was the reference made to South Africa. Perhaps I might say one or two things on that, first of all. I have never been in South Africa itself, but for the whole of my life, and especially during my fifty-six years of married life, I have been in touch, as my wife has, with relations who are good South Africans. One of them was married to the second holder of the Victoria Cross in this last war, Colonel Norton. I have a great affection for a large number of South Africans. I had the great honour of being presented with the freedom of the City of Sheffield on the same day as that great South African Jan Smuts, with whom I had a long acquaintance and a deep friendship.
We as a Labour Party have nothing against South Africa as South Africa. What we have against them is that they are departing from all the real pledges they made with us when we joined the United Nations. The policy which is laid down first, and then the consequences that follow after it, in regard to apartheid are quite contrary to the Charter which we all signed when we agreed in the United Nations Organisation. My noble friend Lord Walston made it perfectly clear just now—I hope the Government will pay special attention to this in their reply, because it is a matter that requires clearing up—that we have no desire to interfere with the development of South Africa in any possible way. Again, as was clearly emphasised by my noble friend, we are against any economic 784 sanctions being applied. But we are certainly against the supply of arms by the British Government to South Africa, which in fact contravenes two things. It contravenes what is understood by Article 51 of the United Nations Charter: that the supply of arms ought to be confined to that which is necessary for the particular country to resist outside armed aggression. That is the first point. The second is that, long after that was established, only recently, the Security Council voted firmly upon this matter and there was no veto upon it. At present, therefore, unless the Government can explain otherwise, they are contravening the position in that respect.
Let me say this in general about the insinuations which have been made—because of course we are approaching a General Election. What is the Labour Party's true position on these matters? When I listened to the attack made by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who has had ministerial experience in colonial and Commonwealth matters, I was amazed that he used a Foreign Affairs debate of this kind to amplify from his point of view the charges, whether true or false, which have been circulating in the country and in the European Press against the Labour Party and its leadership over the matter of the Spanish frigates. The more I have looked into this the more astonished I am at the use which has been made of it.
Let us look at the facts in detail. The figure published in the Press first of all was that the intervention of the Leader of the Labour Party in another place, Mr. Harold Wilson, had led to a loss of trade of £14 million. That was the first charge. But it went up and up until it became a figure of up to £60 million, and in one or two cases higher sums than that—millions of pounds worth of trade was said to be lost by that intervention by the Leader of the Labour Party on what for years had been known to be our policy in that matter.
Our policy has not been against the development of trade with countries, whatever their character in politics, whatever their general political philosophy. All the way through we have not been against trade with Spain. Indeed, any advice which has been given in the last few years from a Conservative 785 Government, in regard to either export or import trade or the development of the tourist industry in Spain, has been entirely due to the monetary treaty which Mr. Harold Wilson made when he was President of the Board of Trade, a treaty which established on a firm basis the development of trade with Spain. When I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, talking about a loss of trade I was shocked, in view of the origins of the whole thing.
Let us now look at something else. I have had a long connection with Defence and the practice in Defence Departments, but in my long experience as a Service Minister, which altogether, including the Defence Ministry, runs into nearly twelve years, I never once experienced a case where a British Government were prepared, not for purposes of trade or for the building of a ship in this country, to sell the outline, and in some cases the inside secrets, of British defence construction, for it to be manufactured in another country. We found, when we came to examine the figures, that the figure—rembering first the £14 million, then the £60 million, then plus this and plus the other—came down eventually to £11 million, and £2,300,000 of that was to be paid for the design of the Leander frigate. What advantage was that to labour in this country? It was said that £8 or £9 million were to be spent in other directions in this country. On what?
Let us see what the features were in the case of the Leander frigate. They would have had the full outline and the up-to-date construction, propulsion, armament of the well-known post-war established "Leander" frigate. But they would also have had what we had added at a later time—the addition of the missile, the Seacat. Is that not so? Where could they have got the Seacat except in this country? Nowhere. The other part of the £8 million-odd which was to be spent, was to be spent mainly on electronics, so far as I can find out. It is no good saying that that was diverted, because if the Spaniards were going to make the contract they would not have got them anywhere else but here.
Is it not true that Spain was negotiating for two or three years, not only with us but with the United States, with France and with Holland? No agreement has 786 yet been made with any of them. I understood this afternoon that the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, had some inside information that the contract was going to the French, and it was followed by a story about a large contract—
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
Then I misunderstood. But certainly we have been told recently that the French have got the contract. For what? For a sale by them to Spain of their secret information, for something to be built in Spain, for the supply of something equivalent to the Seacat which would probably have been supplied with the "Leander" frigate? Or would the contract be dependent upon the acquisition from the United States of the Tartar or the Terrier, which the United States are using with the larger escort type of ship?
My word! When you come to look into this, you see what a botched-up case has been put, to try to have a big political influence in the coming Election. I do not mind whether I have to debate this matter here or on any platform or on television. The Government cannot make this case. Indeed, the whole way in which the facts were finally presented to the British public, as if the contract had already been signed—which was admitted by Mr. Butler, admitted by Mr. Thorneycroft, to have been a leak which they did not know was going to be made—makes it quite clear to me that it was a leak which it was felt it was desirable to secure at this time, in the political circumstances of the nation approaching a possible Election.
The more I look into the facts about the ships concerned and the equipment concerned, giving away details to a foreign country, not for building in this country but for building in Spain by Spanish labour, and the way that is put up as a grave loss, the more I feel that it was partly a betrayal of our great defence traditions in relation to the way we handled our defence production in the past. I leave that there for the moment, but I may have to come back to it again presently, for certain reasons.
The other day I had to make a comment upon the Prime Minister's attack upon my Party. It was a dreadful attack, 787 with language of a kind which is not used nowadays. It is true that, in the course of the General Strike in 1926, Mr. Churchill said that Labour was unfit to govern. He was very anxious to get us all in in 1940, and we enjoyed great co-operation from him. We had great faith in him, and he in us. But the Prime Minister now says that we are too dangerous to be allowed to form a Government. What an insult that is to the 12 million, 13 million or maybe, this time, 14 million voters who will vote for the Labour Party in this country, and who have never let their country down when they have been up against it—never!
Anyway, who are the Conservatives, who were in office from 1931 until 1940, to comment on such a thing as this? Who was the danger then? Was it the Labour Party? The danger was in the complete incapacity of the Conservatives to use the taxable power of the nation to prepare for the inevitable in Europe. They had it in their hands to do this, as well as being able to provide work for the unemployed with that power, but they did not do it. There was no real organisation of manpower until April, 1939—and even then it was for six months' training. If we are to have these attacks upon us, we have got to reply, and that is the position in that regard. The Prime Minister himself was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Mr. Neville Chamberlain when Mr. Chamberlain made his three visits to Germany and came back with his "piece of paper" from Munich. If we are to have this sort of attack made upon the Labour Party before the Election, you must have the answer. Who were the dangerous people in such circumstances as those?
Let me say, with regard to the policy of the Labour Party in relation to the supply of arms and of trade, not only in the case of the one country I have mentioned, Spain, but with all foreign countries and with the Commonwealth, that we were at all times constantly at work as a Party—and we shall be when we come back as the Government—to promote trade with anybody. The Government themselves showed that to be right when they said to the Americans, "We are going to trade with Cuba". We have always said, "Trade with the Communist countries. Why shouldn't you?" I do not know that 788 the Conservatives have always done that. I simply remember that, from 1952 until 1959, they refused again and again to supply merchant ships to Communist Russia at a time when our shipyards were beginning to slide in output. We have memories, you know!
We have always promoted trade with any country in the interests of our own people and of their prosperity. But when it comes to the supply of arms, we are not prepared to go beyond the general purposes of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter—and we do not always go as far as that. If I may quote words which Mr. Butler, used recently in another place, he said:In such cases we examine the political, the economic and the strategic positions—all of them—in regard to the delivery of arms.How much examination was given to the political position in Spain when these negotiations were entered into by the Government? When I suggested quietly, or somebody did, that Spain was a Fascist Government, the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said, "No, a change has been made. You can see what things are like." But the prisons in Spain to-day are filled with political prisoners, many of them not sentenced but just detained. There are exiles still outside because they hold certain political opinions; they are not allowed to be in their own country. It has taken up to this year for Spain at last to grant complete religious freedom to the small number of 30, 000 Protestants in Spain. If you look at all the combinations of this you can see you have a Fascist Spain.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, perhaps had forgotten what I said in the course of an interruption of somebody else concerning what happened in the last war with regard to Spain. Not only had they already previously tried out the aircraft, the men and the weapons of the Fascist States of Italy and Germany in their own civil war, but later on, through Hitler's Ambassador, the head of the State in Spain was awarded the Golden Eagle of Hitler, with his tremendous thanks for the three years' fighting that the Spanish Blue Division did in the U.S.S.R. on behalf of Hitler. And what was the reply of the head of the State in Spain when he came to accept this great honour—as it was to him—this gift of the Golden Eagle from Hitler for all these services?
789 How much has the political situation of citizenship within Spain altered since then. Who has the vote? It is a Fascist State. And if we feel in our position that we ought not to supply a dictatorship of any sort, whether Communist or Fascist, with arms apart from the terms of Article 51, I should have thought this Government would have taken exactly the same view. I hope I have said enough about the Spanish position to make our case completely clear, but I am quite prepared to go on further on future occasions if you want me to do so.
Now I come to the general questions raised by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn. He is an old friend of mine because he was with me and Hector McNeil during well over three months of the consideration of foreign matters then, as they affected Europe, in the Paris Peace Conference in 1946. He was there all the time. He knows what went on. He knows pretty well how things have changed from time to time since. When he referred to the relationship of the declaration of the Republican candidate Senator Goldwater, I thought that he was not going perhaps quite so far as he might have gone in that respect; but I should have thought it was much better to listen first, as he did, to my noble friend when he put what ought to be our position in relation to the Election in America. And that is that it is a matter for America. And although I admit that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, did not put up any special case for Senator Goldwater's candidature, we want to keep away on both sides in this country, from a mixing-up of the politics of the United States and ourselves in the Elections that will take place this Fall within three weeks of each other. That is the position. As regards his optimism about the position of the Common Market, I wonder whether he agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, that it is dead and we should not talk about the Common Market. I suppose he did not agree with that.
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I should say myself that, in fact, the best deal that could possibly be made there was to 790 avoid being drawn in at that time. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, probably feels strongly that, if it had not been for General de Gaulle, an agreement would have been made. Maybe so. As I see from the publication of the organisation for which he works, the noble Lord has argued that the rôle of the British Government in such a case was to work for special concessions from the Common Market to the Commonwealth nations. But, in fact, we have done little in the last three years, compared to what might have been done, to arrest the decline of trade of this country with the Commonwealth countries, because of things being held back here. The terms of trade within the Commonwealth could have been in a much better position than they are now, if this question of the Common Market had not been raised. That is my view and I am sure the noble Lord will accept it, coming from me.
I turn to the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, and NATO. The noble Lord seemed to think that the foundation of NATO sprang from the initiative of the Americans in 1949. In my intervention, I said that that was far from the case. When the Paris Conference broke up in October, 1946, it was hoped that there might still be a chance of an agreement with the Communist front, which we had been up against, because Russia went to Paris with a new empire behind her, and with troops in every country in that empire and she made it perfectly clear that she was not going to do this, that or the other.
We started right away to set up, through the Treaty of Dunkirk and the Treaty of Brussels, a military stocktaking in this country, and in 1948 we got military observers and highly qualified staff from Washington and Ottawa and then proceeded with the final negotiations to bring America into NATO. Up to twelve months before that, America was demobilising, hand over fist and not on an agreed basis, such as Mr. Churchill (as he then was) had agreed with Ernest Bevin for our own well-organised demobilisation. Thus we should have been put into a position of real current weakness, if we had adopted no alternative. But out of it came NATO, and from that day on the existence of that organisation has prevented the Communist blackmail and propaganda 791 from changing the whole face of Europe—and without having to fire a shot. And it has been a large factor in the continued defence of the peace ever since.
We have had more difficulties of late. I am not going to attack the position of France at the present time. What we have to do is to get around the NATO table and do the best we possibly can to see that it is properly run, with proper contributions made by those able to make them to the general defence, and to make quite sure that, when we are dealing with military strength in these matters, our first objective will be, not to see how soon we shall fight, but always how we can maintain the peace. I believe, from what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said this afternoon, that he would be in agreement with me on that point. But that we should go without collective strength for the Free World would be, to my mind, an intolerable state of affairs.
I must apologise for speaking so long. I have spoken a little longer than I intended, and I am sure that I have missed out many points that I ought to have dealt with. I thank all my noble friends who have helped me in the debate this afternoon. I think especially of the scholarly yet humanist speech of my noble friend Lord Samuel, and of the contributions of my noble friend (I nearly said "Eddie") Lord Shackleton, and my noble friend Lord Walston, with his wide knowledge from his travels of the colour problem. Let me say that when we on this side talk about the colour problem, I am sure that this country, whatever Party is in office, has every reason to be proud of its record since the changes in the composition and Government set-ups of the different territories which used to be just a part of the British Empire but have now achieved independence.
There is nobody else in the whole world who has given such a free position, as being against the colour bar in all its development, as has taken place in the Commonwealth. I am proud of the fact, as I am sure noble Lords opposite are, that we have never attempted during those years to use anything like the colour bar, and I hope we never shall. Now let us hope for 792 peace. I pray for peace, and I am sure that all my friends, in all Parties in the House to-day—Independent, Conservative and Liberal—will have the same desire.
I cannot leave out of mention, however, that the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, in his speech this afternoon dealt with the strategical point with regard to the South African position. I noted with interest what the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, interpolated at the time: that there could be little movement in the air, on land or on sea in the case of a major nuclear war. That is as may be. I think, however, that you may easily get positions in which operations might break out in a part of the world in which the Simonstown Agreement would be very useful to us, because most of the nations who understand the position will not risk being the first to cast the nuclear weapon.
From that point of view, I have a good deal of sympathy with what the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, said. But other occasions arise—I have studied this a good deal as a Minister in connection with Defence services—and we might well be glad of the opportunities that we should afford to each other, South Africa to us and we to South Africa, in such circumstances. When people talk about the possibility of this leading to circumstances in which South Africa would deny the Simonstown Agreement, I say that she has as much to gain out of that Agreement as we have. There is no reason why South Africa should abandon the Agreement.
I am grateful to your Lordships for listening to me. I apologise for keeping you so late at night, but, of course, mine has not been the only contribution in keeping you this late. I hope that, whichever Party comes into power during the autumn—I am pretty confident my Party will form the Government at the time—we shall never lose one habit of the British people: that when they are in trouble they stick; when freedom is in danger, they defend it; when rights are in jeopardy abroad, we defend them—although we do not always defend them at home as we ought to. I hope that we shall pull together for peace and happiness.
§ 10.25 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF DUNDEE)
My Lords, I cannot tell your Lordships how much pleasure I have had in listening to twenty speeches in the last eight hours. I am the twenty-first speaker, and I am certain it would not give your Lordships so much pleasure—in fact, it would give you no pleasure at all—if I were to reply to all the twenty speeches to which I have listened with so much delight. I think your Lordships' House works a good deal harder now than it did seven or eight years ago, which is a most excellent thing. I sometimes think it is a pity that the pressure of our other Business makes it difficult for us to have these broad general debates in conditions of greater leisure and less congestion of time, because there is so much knowledge and experience contributed to our debates on these occasions.
I am going to be short in reply. The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, did his best to put ideas in my head when he said he thought I might be reserving the subject of British nuclear policy until the end. But I am not going to do that. Not because it is not important—indeed, it is a question which will have to be thoroughly discussed and debated within the next three months. It is of vital importance to this country. But we have discussed it already in this House. My noble friend discussed it in the debate on Defence, and I discussed it in our last Foreign Affairs debate in reply to the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, so I will say no more about it now.
I am going to make only brief references to the speech of the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition, and to the subject in which most of your Lordships have shown most interest, the question of South Africa. May I first allude to the one point which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, particularly asked about in his opening speech and which my noble friend did not have time to reply to? That is the Gomulka Plan. He suggested that the Western Powers have not taken a sufficiently constructive attitude to it, but I do not think that that is quite so, because although the proposals are perhaps unacceptable as they stand, we have made it clear to the Polish Government that we are willing to examine very carefully any 794 further proposals they may care to make. We have indicated to them our willingness to discuss with them the problems involved in measures of this kind. I think the noble Lord will agree that problems of nuclear armaments are more likely to be solved if they are tackled on a wider basis. As regards the noble Lord's remarks about President Johnson's proposals, the "freezing" of strategic nuclear vehicles, I fully agree that this is a measure of great importance, and it enjoys our full support. The United States and the Soviet co-chairmen at Geneva have discussed this, and I hope that the conference will get down to detailed negotiations on this promising measure.
I see that my noble friend Lord Gladwyn is one of the few of the twenty speakers who have survived until the end. My noble friend sent me a note about his speech in which he asked me to say whether or not the Government think that his conclusions were, broadly speaking, acceptable. I think the answer depends on how broadly one can speak.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, I realise that the noble Earl cannot speak broadly until after the Election.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
When I am asked this kind of question I always think of the American businessman who was asked by his friend: "Is it not true that you made 100,000 dollars in cotton on the New York Exchange last week?". He said, "Yes, broadly speaking, it is true. Only it was not last week, it was the week before; and it was not in New York, it was in Chicago; and it was not in cotton, it was in wheat; and it was not 100,000 dollars, it was 10,000 dollars; and I did not make them, I lost them."
I am not going to say anything about my noble friend's theory on the subject of Mr. Goldwater's nomination. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that we must leave the internal affairs of America to the Americans. With regard to the observation about the Atlantic arch, I would say what I have often told your Lordships before, that I believe the veto of our application to join the Common Market in 1963 was the greatest service that has been rendered to world Communism in this century. I have said that before, and I say it again.
795 I think the Government would certainly agree with my noble friend in supporting Atlantic interdependence, which means interdependence strategically, economically and politically. There is not much we can do at the moment commercially. We want to make the best we can of the Kennedy Round and we also want to progress, as we are progressing, with our EFTA tariff reductions. Strategically, my noble friend has already dealt with the question of the multilateral force, and I have nothing else to add to that. Politically, the position is a negative one. All we can do is in the Western European Union. Our attitude there is that proposals for European political integration ought not to proceed without our participation.
I should like now to say a word about the speech of the noble Earl the leader of the Opposition, and I should like to say how much I admire the way he is able, at his venerable age, to come here and sit up half the night and make a speech of such very great vigour and enthusiasm. We all enjoyed listening to him. It is really a matter of deep regret to me that I must make one criticism of it. I regretted that he should have spent so much of the time in making what I think was not a very well-informed attack upon the Government's policy of creating better diplomatic and better commercial relations with Spain, which we have been doing over the last twelve years and which, I think, is very much in the interests of this country.
I must frankly say two things. First, the proposed arms deal was based on exactly the same principles as we follow with every other country except those in the COCOM group—for Spain as for every other country in the world which is not in the Communist bloc, to which we promised not to send arms. The other thing I want to say is this. It is no use the Labour Party criticising us because our economy is not expanding fast enough if they are going to sabotage our exports and balance of payments necessary to our economic expansion and growth; and this is what they have done in this matter.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
You will have sabotaged not only the immediate contract with Spain, which would have been a valuable one itself, but the further development of commercial relations with Spain; and we cannot afford to throw away chances of expanding our exports. We cannot afford to do it. We must try to trade with countries all over the world and try to expand our exports wherever we can. And if people are going to stop us from expanding our exports because of old-fashioned, out-of-date political prejudices which have no meaning in the nineteen-sixties, then it is not for them to criticise us on account of slowness of our economic growth.
EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, I am so sorry to interrupt, but I am quite sure the noble Earl desires to be fair. I have put a case, which the noble Earl has not answered, that the contract, which was said to be lost as a result of what the Opposition had said, was first of all for the delivery of secret and private designs worth £2,300,000, and that the only things covered by the rest of the contract were Seacats, made by Short Brothers & Harland, and electronics: and all would certainly have been made in this country. So I do not see where we have interfered with your exports.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
There is no more secrecy about any of these designs than about a great many other designs which we have exported to numerous countries all over the world, including South America. I really do not think it would hold water to suggest that we have not lost a very valuable commercial position, which a country in our economic circumstances must always make it its business to try to secure.
On the South African question, there are of course two parts of it. One I think we are all agreed on, although other nations are not: that is the question of sanctions or blockade. The other we are not agreed on, and that is the question of sending arms to South Africa. I will say as little as I possibly can. The Government's position since last December is that we do not export arms to South Africa if we think they are the kind of arms which are likely to be used for civil repression. The noble Earl suggested that in sending other arms to South 797 Africa we were acting contrary to the United Nations Resolution. But of course it is not a mandatory Resolution. When we abstained from voting on it we did not veto it, but our Representative made it perfectly plain that we did not regard it as mandatory and that we proposed to go on supplying to South Africa such arms as we thought were necessary for strategic purposes.
I think the noble and gallant Field Marshal Lord Montgomery of Alamein this afternoon made a very valuable contribution to this question in his short and carefully arranged speech. As he said, it is of very great importance to our whole strategic position that we should be able to use the South African ports, where a British admiral is in command of the South Atlantic forces of NATO. It is not just a question of supplying particular articles that were stipulated for under the Simonstown Agreement. If we want the Agreement to go on, we must enable South Africa to be able to defend herself in the event of attack from the Communist Powers. As the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, said, it is difficult to draw an exact line between weapons necessary for strategic defence and weapons which could be used in civil repression. He referred to the South African Minister of Defence. I have not been able to find the exact speech, but I think I have heard of a speech by the South African Minister of Defence in which he did say that Buccaneers, which we are supplying, could be used for civil repression; but he went on to say they would not be, because the South Africans have plenty of small arms and ammunition, and it is perfectly ridiculous to think that any Government would buy expensive things like fast fighter naval aircraft, intended for use against bombers, in order to suppress a riot, though it is not inconceivable they could be diverted to that purpose on occasion. But we do intend to continue to supply weapons which we think are necessary to the South Africans to fulfil their obligations under the Simonstown Agreement.
The other question is this. Fortunately, it is not one on which we here are in any disagreement, but it is one on which, as your Lordships know, there is very strong feeling among some of our own Commonwealth and at the United Nations. But, here again, I think our 798 position is quite plain. We did not veto the Resolution to set up a committee of the Security Council to examine the whole of this question. The noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, I believe referred to a report of a committee of experts on which the researches of this Security Council committee are to be based. The fact that we agreed to take part in the Security Council committee does not mean that we approve of everything in that report. I was not sure whether the noble Lord was actually quoting it. However, I think that parts of the report, particularly those parts dealing with the question of sanctions, were extremely superficial, and indeed disingenuous. But one reason why I think it is a good thing that we should take part in the study is in order to put the case against foolish proposals of this kind.
We are willing to take part in the work of the committee. We think, too, that it is a good thing that everybody in South Africa should be consulted in regard to their future. But in agreeing to take part, we made it absolutely clear that we do not consider that the situation in South Africa constitutes a threat to the peace, nor—and this is the important phrase which Sir Patrick Dean used in his statement—did we agree that coercive measures are the right way of dealing with this problem; and we have explained that we are not committed now or at any time in the future.
As a matter of general principle, we have always taken the line that it is a good thing to trade with all countries. We have incurred a certain amount of opprobrium from many of our Allies, not only in the United Nations, but the United States and Germany, on account of our policy in trading with Cuba and with the Iron Curtain countries, particularly in the matter of giving long-term credits. We believe that that policy is a good thing, that it is better for the future of the world that we should have as much trading as we can with Iron Curtain countries. We certainly take the same view in regard to South Africa.
It seems to us, as I think both Lord Samuel and Lord Shackleton implied, that if you are going to make economic sanctions really effectual and make sure that they are finally effectual, that will become indistinguishable from war, and you may not be able to make them 799 finally effectual without declaring a state of war. It appears to us that sanctions without complete war would probably be ineffective, and their only result would be to make the Afrikaners more bitter, more obstinate and more determined to resist the opinion of the rest of the world.
Like many of your Lordships, I was impressed and moved by the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel. I thought he made a brilliant historical analysis of the factors which have led up to this tragic situation. I thought he also spoke with understanding of the feelings of all Parties there, and I think he was right in saying that on the military question the bases were important. He said that we must stay out of all action involving the use of force. Then he concluded by saying, which may be true but which we hope is not true, that it is too late for peaceful change, that things have got beyond the point of no return, that the future will be one of massacre and destruction. I am sorry that the noble Viscount has been unable to stay; I wish he could have been here. I think that perhaps his conclusion is a prophecy of despair which may prove to be unwarranted.
I should like to conclude by referring to a letter which was published in The Times a couple of months ago by four Africans. They are not themselves victims of apartheid, because they do not live in South Africa; but they are in Basutoland and are therefore closely affected by events there. The letter is signed by the President of the Basuto National Party, a member of the Executive Council for Agriculture, the leader of the Marema Tlou Freedom Party, and one other. The opinions which they give are, as it happens, almost identical with my own. The reason why I refer to them instead of giving my own opinions here is that it seems to be so much more convincing when they are the written opinions of Africans, who are so greatly affected by what is going on and who are unlikely to be prejudiced in the matter. They said:The Basuto people hate apartheid and believe that it will kill itself, but they will not fight it in a stupid or evil way…it should be obvious that an attempt to fight apartheid by economic sanctions would probably mean the end of the High Commission Territories and especially the end of Basutoland800 Then they said:The advocates of sanctions seem to us to make two fatal mistakes. They assume that economic sanctions against South Africa could bring South Africa to her knees in a short time, that the effect would be quick and decisive. But such evidence as we have does not confirm this. Sanctions would probably be a long-drawn-out business, inconclusive against strong South Africa, but meanwhile fatal to the small and comparatively weak High Commission TerritoriesWe repeat that we Africans in Basutoland hate racialism and apartheid, but we will not be stampeded into stupid and ineffective ways of fighting it. We have lived with whites and had our differences with them for more than a hundred years. We have survived and intend to survive. We will not commit suicide.So they are evidently not looking forward to a future of destruction.
The way I look at it is this. We try to increase our trade (sometimes in spite of the criticism of our friends) with Communist countries, because we believe that the result of greater trade and more cultural relations will make it more likely that the Communists in time will come to recognise the value of human liberty. May we not also believe and hope that in South Africa, where the Afrikaners are people of our European race and culture, they too may come to see that those principles of human liberty must also be applied to the relationship between black men and white men in Africa?
§ 10.46 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I am sure we all recognise and admire the physical stamina of the noble Earl, who has sat right through this debate and shown unusual vigour in the delivery of his reply. There are two or three answers with which we are dissatisfied—on arms to South Africa, and the frigates to Spain question—but these matters have been threshed out pretty well today and I do not think that at this hour noble Lords will appreciate it if I express any comments. I think that I should be risking whatever good will I have in your Lordships' House if I made the twenty-second speech of the debate. Therefore, with the permission of the House, I ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.