§ 2.47 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
rose to call attention to the vital importance of the United Nations Development Decade and in particular to the United Nations International Conference on Trade and Development at Geneva; 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. I am sure that noble Lords will have realised that we are dealing to-day with great human issues. During the past decade the supreme task of world statesmanship has been to remove the danger of nuclear war. That danger, if not entirely removed, has been largely 195 contained. To-day, world statesmanship is faced with another supreme task: to remove the intolerable conditions of poverty which engulf two-thirds of the world's population.
The urgency of this task was realised by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1961 when it designated the 1960s as the United Nations Development Decade. This decision was an expression of international concern with the urgent necessity of raising the standard of living in the developing countries. Much had been done in the 1950s to assist them; but the rate of economic and social progress was still far from adequate. These efforts needed to be intensified and supported by new measures—and to this matter I will come back later. First, however, I want to say something about the economic and social conditions in the developing countries.
More people in the world are suffering from hunger and want to-day than ever before—and this at a time, as U Thant has stated, when affluence is beginning to be the condition, or at least the potential condition, of whole countries and regions. The facts of the world's economic and social situation have been gathered and presented over the years by the United Nations and its specialised Agencies. Governments and peoples owe a great debt of gratitude to the United Nations family for their great international service in this respect. Their surveys and reports are of the highest practical value. I would refer, in particular, to reports on The World Social Situation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation Report on The State of Food and Agriculture, and especially The United Nations Development Decade: Proposals for Action presented by the Secretary General in 1962, which summarises the situation and shows the way forward. No one can read these and other United Nations documents without being deeply impressed by the gravity and urgency of the problem of the widening gulf between the developed and the underdeveloped countries.
The dominating facts which the United Nations reports disclose are becoming increasingly understood, though still far too slowly. The industrialised third of 196 the world has an average per capita income ten times greater than that of the other two-thirds. What is more, this gap is steadily widening. Half the world's population is underfed or undernourished. Half is illiterate. It is estimated that 1,000 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America are homeless or living in housing which is a health hazard and an affront to human dignity. The major cities in these areas have hovel settlements in which as many as 20 or 30 per cent. of the citizens may live in rudimentary shelters, with no water, sewers or other community facilities. Rural areas are even more deficient in these services and facilities.
In virtually all the developing countries, conditions are distressingly low. One of the most serious problems is increasing under-employment and unemployment. To make matters worse, it is estimated that over 200 million new inhabitants will crowd into the cities and villages of Asia, Africa and Latin America during the present decade. A world in which half the people are ill-fed, ill-housed, illiterate and a prey to ill-health, and in increasing revolt against their conditions, cannot be a peaceful one. The world is fast developing towards an international community and daily becoming more aware of the vast inequalities in living standards which divide it. No community can tolerate indefinitely a situation in which four-fifths of the income goes to less than one-third of the people, while more than two-thirds of the people have barely one-fifth between them.
Such a situation calls for urgent amendment on the largest possible scale. But it is made infinitely more difficult by the unprecedentedly rapid increase in population. It is estimated that world population will have doubled by the end of the current century—that is, in less than half a lifetime world population will have increased by more than the total increase since man began to multiply on the earth. Into a world, which to-day fails to provide the minima of decent living conditions for more than half its people, a further 3,000 million will come pouring in, in less than forty years; and by far the greater part of this increase will occur in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. 197 In the 'sixties the population of Latin America is expected to increase by 29 per cent., that of the Middle East by 27 per cent., and that of South-East Asia by 22 per cent. That is the increase in population in the decade of which we are talking. These are startling facts. In the 'fifties the picture in the developing countries was this. On an average, the national incomes went up by about 3 per cent. and the average population went up by 2 per cent, so that income had only a 1 per cent. lead per year. The peoples of the developing countries are not only very poor; they are in a high degree also very young. For example, in Latin America, in all but three of the republics, over 40 per cent. of the population is under 15, and in Malaysia, half the population is under 17. This tremendous surge of new young lives is rising like a tide and will make itself felt increasingly in the demand for far better conditions of life.
Dr. Prebisch, the Secretary-General of the recent Trade and Development Conference at Geneva, has warned us that:The pressure exerted by the masses for real improvements in their levels of living has never been as strong as it is now, and in the years to come it will become a growing source of internal and world-wide tension, if it is not met by a vigorous policy of economic and social development in which international cooperation must play a decisive rôle.We have to remember that the human rights and freedoms which we enjoy and take almost for granted are a comparatively recent end-product of centuries of development. We did not have them when we began industrialisation. To-day, in some of the developing countries, human rights are being set aside as a luxury which they cannot afford, as a hindrance to the sacrifices that must be made and the disciplines that must be accepted, if the plans for economic and social development are to go forward.
World poverty faces us, therefore, with the challenge of whether our Western standards and value s and our democratic way of life have any meaning for the developing countries. We have fought two wars in this century to make the world safe for democracy. The challenge to-day is whether we can make democracy rapidly relevant to the needs and demands of two-thirds of the world's people. It is a challenge to all we stand for and profess to believe. At 198 its profoundest level, as U Thant has said, it is a moral challenge. It is obvious, therefore, that we must make it one of the priorities of our policies to help the poorer countries to help themselves. We must do it for reasons of self-interest, as well as for moral reasons. That applies equally to the other developed countries.
In 1961, as I have said, the General Assembly designated the 1960s as the United Nations Development Decade. This was a historic decision. It represented the first attempt of the world's nations to organise and carry out a concerted programme of international economic and social co-operation with a specific objective. The main economic objective is so to stimulate the processes of wealth creation in the developing countries that their aggregate national incomes will be increasing at a minimum rate of 5 per cent. annually by 1970, with continuing momentum thereafter. The basis of the programme consisted of the national targets set by the developing countries. The developed countries undertook to pursue policies aimed at assisting them to achieve these targets.
We are now in the fifth year of the decade and it is already plain that the programme is in serious difficulties. The General Assembly, when it launched the decade in 1961, recognised that international trade is the primary instrument of economic development. Trade was recognised as the only means which can give to the developing countries external resources which are of a permanent character. You can help people over a period when they are building up by giving them goods and money. But if they are to reach a situation where they are genuinely independent, in the sense of being able to stand on their own feet, they must be able to sell their goods and services, to purchase what they require in the way of imports that are essential to achieving their development plans.
The developing countries, by definition, are countries which, during the difficult building-up process, need to import far more than they can pay for by their export earnings. Dr. Prebisch, to whom I have already referred, has estimated that, if the developing two-thirds of the world is to achieve the 5 per cent. minimum of annual income growth, it must 199 import by 1970 approximately 20,000 million dollars over and above their export proceeds—that is, assuming trends of the past decade continue. How to cover this vast gap is the present problem which has been confronting the 122 nations represented at the Conference.
One of the suggestions of the General Assembly in 1961 was that developed countries should raise and maintain their assistance to the underdeveloped countries at a level of 1 per cent. of their national income. Many of us were under the impression that there had been a very substantial increase in the amount of aid allocated to the developing countries, particularly in the last five years. That is true. But it is not the complete story. Dr. Prebisch has recalled that, whereas by 1950 the developed countries taken together made available barely 0.3 per cent. of their total income for capital transfers to the developing countries, by 1962 this had risen to 0.7 per cent.; that is, more than double. But, as he goes on to point out, the whole of this proportionate increase has been wiped out by the deterioration in the terms of trade, so that in 1962 it remained at the same as 1950—namely, 0.3 per cent. These are the figures which he gives.
In 1962 capital transfers to the developing countries amounted to 6,600 million dollars. The loss of income awing to the deterioration in the terms of trade in 1962, as compared with 1950, was 3,600 million dollars. From this balance, 2,600 million dollars, representing interest and dividends paid abroad, must be deducted, leaving a net balance of only 400 million dollars. This is an extremely serious matter. The beneficial effect of the policy of increasing aid to the developing countries was largely lost.
The main answers to this problem are well known and are to be found in an expansion of international trade. This fact is generally accepted. The difficulty is to get that acceptance translated into effective policies of international cooperation that measure up to the urgency and realities of the world's economic and social needs. The greatest single service the developed countries can render is to provide expanding markets for the products—primary, manufactured and semi-processed—of the developing 200 countries, at stable and remunerative prices, thus enabling them increasingly to pay for their essential imports. Aid through trade is the most healthy way to proceed. The result will be a steady expansion of self-balancing trade, which will strengthen the economies of the developed countries as well as of the developing countries and produce a more economic division of labour.
My Lords, easier access to markets of the products of the developing countries may have some adverse effect upon particular British industries, though it will, at the same time, benefit capital goods exporting industries. It is necessary, therefore, that the Government should plan to meet such adverse effects. They must accept responsibility for assisting readjustment and redeployment of services adversely affected. This is part of a national policy of great importance in Britain's economic life, as well as for helping to solve the problem of world poverty.
This brings me to the Trade and Development Conference. In the developing countries the United Nations Trade and Development Conference, just concluded after sitting continuously for over three months at Geneva, created hopes, perhaps undue hopes, that speedy and worthwhile results would emerge. It was a unique Conference. As I have stated, it was composed of representatives from 122 countries—free and Communist, rich and poor, developed and developing. A distinctive feature was that 75 (later, 77) developing countries worked together to advance their common interests in expanding trade and accelerated development. A "third force" has entered the field of international trade and economic development. We may be certain that their united influence will also be felt in other international assemblies. They know only too well how much the future economic growth and social advancement in their countries depend on building up their economies by expanding their share of increasing world trade and increasing their export earnings; and we may be sure that their combined pressure will continue to be directed to getting trade policy decisions and adjustments that are vital to the achievement of their national and regional development plans. 201 I think we all welcome the fact that, despite certain dismal predictions, the Conference did not break down; that there was no open breach between the 77 and the rest; and that agreement was found on machinery for continuing the work of the Conference. To what extent the Conference was successful in terms of practical steps forward, we are unable to assess. I had hoped that it would be possible for us to study the Final Report on the results of the Conference before this debate took place. Unfortunately, it is not yet available. But perhaps the Minister may be able to tell the House something about the achievements of the Conference.
The Secretary-General of the Conference, in his opening speech, proposed a series of six measures to assist in achieving the obtainable minimum of 5 per cent. annual growth for the developing countries by 1970. He regarded his proposals as modest. Mr. Heath, in his first speech at the Conference, set out ten key points which he said should receive the particular attention of the Conference. There was much in common between these two sets of proposals.
It may be for the convenience of the House if I recall the ten points. The first was: a standstill on new barriers to trade with less developed countries in products which have been identified as being of particular importance to them. The second: that quantitative restrictions adversely affecting the trade of developing countries should be ended. The third: the removal of duties on tropical products. The fourth: the removal of duties on primary products from developing countries. The fifth: reduction of tariffs on semi-processed and processed products from developing countries. The sixth: ending of internal taxes and revenue duties applying specifically to products wholly or mainly produced in developing countries. The seventh: the granting of preference to developing countries. The eighth: exchange of preferences among developing countries. The ninth: stabilisation of commodity prices; and the tenth: supplementary financial assistance. Noble Lords will realise that all these were important points and were designed to assist the developing countries to expand their exports and to increase their earnings. What was done about these constructive points will provide a 202 useful yardstick by which to judge the success and value of the Conference.
At the time of Mr. Heath's preliminary statement on the Conference, which he made last week and which was repeated by the Minister who is to reply to the debate in this House, such indications of progress as it contained were welcomed. But it will be noted that Mr. Heath referred to an agreement on "recommendations", and to reaffirmation of "principles". Recommendations and principles are, of course, important; but their real value lies in effective implementation, and it is important that the developing countries should speedily start getting the benefit of such measures as were agreed. I hope, therefore, that the Minister may be able to give us further information, not only on the ten points to which I have referred but also, perhaps, on other important matters that were before the Conference. It would seem, however, that the immediate benefits will be limited and modest, and that actual concessions for narrowing the gap will be a task for the new machinery that is to be set up—namely, the United Nations Trade and Development Board and its subordinate committees.
Apart from any immediate or deferred action resulting from the Trade and Development Conference, it is clear that there is need to increase aid in its various forms, especially through the multilateral programmes of the United Nations family. At the Conference, the developed nations undertook to provide at least—and I underline the words "at least"—1 per cent. of their national income to this end. Noble Lords will be aware that this figure was the national target proposed four years ago by the General Assembly. Reaffirmation of that target is good: fulfilment will be better.
The noble Viscount, Lord Blakenham, in reply to a Question last week, said that the United Kingdom's contribution from State sources for the current financial year is £175 million. As our national income exceeds £26,000 million, 1 per cent. would be about £260 million. In the White Paper entitled Aid for the Developing Countries (Cmnd. 2147), we are told that the best estimate we can make is that in 1963–64 the total of our aid expenditure will be in the range 203 of £180 million to £220 million. In fact, it is £175 million. There is, in addition, of course, British private investment, which runs to something like £150 million. This is a valuable aid to developing countries, and private investment has a great part to play in helping the developing parts of the world.
But, my Lords, France is doing much better than we are. For 1962, the latest period for which figures are available, at any rate to me, France gave £370 million from State sources, or 1.4 per cent. of her national income, whereas for this country the comparable figures were £160 million and 0.66 per cent. of our national income. Thus, France has been giving more than twice our annual contribution, and more than twice our percentage of national income. It is no compliment to this country that it should fall so far behind France in overseas aid. We ought to be able to do much better.
Naturally, the vast bulk of our aid is going to independent Commonwealth countries and colonial territories, where we have special obligations to help which it is only right that we should fulfil. We are increasing our bilateral aid to foreign countries. The smallest share of our aid goes for multilateral efforts through the United Nations. There are good reasons for increasing our contribution of aid through international organs. To do this would not be at the expense of our aid to Commonwealth countries and colonial territories: that will go on rising. But we can, and should, increase the amount of our aid channelled through the United Nations. Mr. Heath has already indicated certain decisions and intentions in this direction, and we welcome them. But if this is to he done on a large enough scale, it must mean an increase in our annual provision for all forms of overseas aid. I want to urge upon the Government, therefore, that they should progressively increase the present 0.7 per cent. from State resources to at least the full 1 per cent. by 1970. This would also set an example and give a lead to other industrial countries whose contributions are equally essential to the success of the Development Decade but do not yet reach the 1 per cent. target.
204 My Lords, let me say, finally, that there are many aspects of this formidable and urgent problem of world poverty, and the means of solving it, that cannot be dealt with in a single speech. I am sure that other speakers who are to follow will deal with some of the important aspects which I have been compelled to omit. But it is of supreme importance to the world's future that the Development Decade should succeed. The growing gap between the rich nations and the poor nations is too serious a threat to the unity of mankind and the peace of the world not to be tackled vigorously and effectively. If more aid is needed—and there can be no doubt that it is needed—we must give it. And we must be sure that we are co-ordinating with other donor countries, and giving in the right sort of way. That is why I think we should seek to strengthen and work more through the United Nations and its aid and development organs than we have been doing in the past.
I hope that by this debate we may succeed in persuading the Government to be more generous in British support for the vital purposes of the Development Decade. By reason of her history and experience, Britain has it in her power to give the world the kind of leadership that is needed to raise the whole morale and tempo of the international war against poverty. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.20 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD DRUMALBYN)
My Lords, I am sure we must all be grateful to the noble Lord for initiating this debate on the United Nations Development Decade and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. This is one of the most important issues of our times, and, as he said, it is a very great human problem. As the Secretary of State said in the Statement which I read to the House on June 16, the recent Conference has been the largest and perhaps the most important ever held on international economic relations. It is the first, but by no means the last, of its kind. The economic needs of the developing countries are likely to play an increasingly dominant part in international discussions in years to come. 205 As standards of living advance in the developed countries, the disparity between these standards and those in less fortunate countries becomes, as the noble Lord said, more marked. Prosperity is increasing in these countries but not as rapidly as in the developed countries. We must not regard this question as a confrontation of the rich countries by the poor. The rich and poor countries have a common interest in world prosperity. Economic growth in Britain and other industrialised countries helps the developing countries in two ways. First, it provides a larger market for their products. Secondly, it increases the ability to provide resources to assist their development. Conversely, the developed countries have much to gain from greater prosperity in the developing countries. The developed countries need new markets for their exports. In short, the developed and the developing countries depend on one another.
In recent years increasing concern has been expressed in the United Nations about the widening gap between standards of living in the economically advanced countries and in countries at an earlier stage of economic development. It was from this concern that the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to declare the 1960s a Development Decade originated. As the noble Lord said, in the Decade the declared objective was that each developing country should reach an annual rate of growth of aggregate national income of 5 per cent. by the end of the Decade.
The holding of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was a natural consequence of the increased emphasis placed by the United Nations on the problems of developing countries. In the case of the poorer countries of the world, the link between trade and development is of particular significance. Many of them have embarked on programmes of industrial and agricultural development; for these programmes they need capital equipment and supplies of various kinds which for the most part they must necessarily import from the advanced countries. However, they have found great difficulties in earning enough foreign exchange through their exports to pay for the capital goods they need, and this is one of the gaps to which Dr. Prebisch has referred.
206 Many of these countries are heavily dependent on earnings from a few primary commodities. For them, therefore, conditions in world commodity markets, the level and stability of prices, are of critical importance. Other developing countries, which have advanced further on the path of economic development, have already established considerable manufacturing industries (and are planning more). For these countries the critical issue in the international trade field is their ability to sell their products in world markets, the extent to which the wealthier developed countries are prepared to admit their goods.
My Lords, it is against this background that the Conference which completed its work last week was held. The Conference was an immense experiment in international co-operation. More than 120 delegations took part; among more than 2,000 delegates there was a formidable concentration of expertise on every economic subject. The Conference worked hard, very hard, for twelve weeks. It examined thoroughly an extraordinarily wide range of subjects, including trade issues such as commodity prices, tariff preferences, matters relating to development aid, shipping, insurance, patents and many other matters. For a task of this magnitude and complexity the time was all too short, but, as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State said in his Statement on June 16, the Conference ended successfully. I think that is a much more positive statement than the noble Lord's statement that "the Conference did not break down". Of course, it did not reach unanimous agreement on everything, but it did reach broad agreement on many issues.
I can justly claim that the United Kingdom delegation at the Conference played an honourable and constructive part, as, indeed, the United Kingdom has been playing before the Conference, in aid to overseas countries. The efforts made by the United Kingdom delegation, and particularly by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State, in the closing phases of the Conference were generally judged to have been extremely valuable and to have contributed much to the success which the Conference achieved. 207 Your Lordships will expect me to give an account in more detail of the course of the Conference and the conclusions it reached on a number of important points. The Conference worked through five main committees. The first committee dealt with primary commodities, in particular with international commodity arrangements, with the price of commodities and with barriers obstructing access to the markets of developed countries for primary products. The second committee dealt with manufactured and semi-manufactured products, and particularly with barriers obstructing their access to the markets of developed countries and with the question of the grant of preferences by developed countries to developing countries in relation to these products.
Committee III dealt with questions of finance and development, particularly compensatory (or supplementary) finance, with the question of aid and growth targets, and with a wide range of questions relating to invisible trade, including shipping and insurance. Committee IV dealt with institutional arrangements, including in particular the arrangements for continuing the work of the Conference and proposals to set up an International Trade Organisation. Committee V dealt mainly with the principles of international trade and with questions relating to regional economic groupings. The results of the Conference on the matters considered by the Committees are contained in the Final Act, which was signed, in advance of the text, by the United Kingdom on June 17, subject to verification of the text.
Here may I say that there is an explanation which I owe to the House and which I should like to make now. When on June 16 I read to the House the Statement which the Secretary of State for Industry made in another place on the subject of the Conference, I said, in reply to an enquiry from the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that the texts of the resolutions of the Conference would be available to the House before the debate to-day. I have learned since then that, contrary to our original expectations, it will not be until June 29, at the earliest, that the Secretariat of the Conference will have available an authentic text of the Final Act containing the recommendations in their final form. I am sorry that they could not be made available in time for 208 the debate. We intend, however, to present them to Parliament in a White Paper in due course. Annexed to the Final Act will be observations and reservations made by individual delegations, including those of the United Kingdom on certain recommendations. Copies of the documents issued to date by the Conference have been placed in the Library, including recommendations adopted in the five committees of the Conference. These recommendations are, of course, different in the most important cases from those adopted, after much further negotiation, in the final stages of the Conference. The recommendations of the Conference are to be considered by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations at its meeting in July. They will then be submitted by the Council to the 19th Assembly of the United Nations, which is to meet from November, 1964, to February, 1965.
I hope it will be convenient for your Lordships if I now indicate the main features of the Conference. First of all, as to institutions, the Conference is to be established as a permanent organisation of the United Nations General Assembly and is to meet at least once every three years, beginning in 1966. A Trade and Development Board, consisting of 55 members elected by the Conference, is to be set up within the United Nations to carry out the functions of the Conference in between sessions. The Board will set up subordinate commissions in the fields of commodities, manufactures, invisibles and finance. A special committee is to be appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to prepare proposals designed to ensure that recommendations of the Board and the Conference command general support rather than be merely the expression of the views of a numerical majority.
I turn to the question of supplementary finance. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has been invited by the Conference to try to work out a series of principles for a possible scheme for supplementary financial assistance which might command general acceptance. The idea is that the scheme should be administered by the International Development Association and financed in the main by the industrialised countries. This proposal was initiated by the United 209 Kingdom and eventually won the support of the other Western countries. Of all the measures recommended by the Conference it offers the most positive prospect of tangible benefit. The scheme would normally apply only when a developing country had suffered a substantial adverse movement in its export proceeds as a whole and had already had recourse to the I.M.F. facilities.
I turn to Aid Targets. Developed countries have agreed to endeavour to contribute a minimum of 1 per cent. of national income from public funds and private investment to developing countries. I think there was perhaps some misunderstanding in the noble Lord's speech on this point; I am not sure. In two respects the recommendation is an advance on earlier United Nations resolutions which this country had supported. First, the 1 per cent. target is a target for each developed country, and not a global target for the developed countries as a whole; and, second, in calculating progress toward achievement of the target of 1 per cent. repayments of capital of earlier aid loans are to be disregarded. In recent years this country has provided, each year, about 1 per cent. of national income in the form of aid and private investment for the developing countries. This is on the basis proposed in the Geneva recommendation—that is, net of capital repayments on aid loans. In some years the flow has been a little more, and in some a little less, but 1 per cent. is a fair average.
For 1963 we do not yet have the figures of private investment in developing countries, but, so far as we can tell at present, the total flow was about 1 per cent. in that year. Your Lordships will recall the comprehensive White Paper entitled Aid to the Developing Countries (Cmnd. 2147), to which the noble Lord referred, which was laid before Parliament last September and in which the Government reviewed the British aid effort in recent years. The broad picture is that our aid from public funds has doubled over the last six years, and together with the substantial contribution made by the British private sector it constitutes a massive flow of financial resources to the developing countries.
I turn now to trade in primary commodities. A composite recommendation 210 was adopted dealing with the objectives of international commodity arrangements and with removing barriers to trade in primary products which are of particular interest to developing countries. The recommendations call for specific provisions under both headings to be considered by Governments and for steps to be taken to implement them wherever practicable. In this field much of the discussion at the Conference related to policy regarding international commodity arrangements and commodity prices. We are already parties to the existing international commodity arrangements. We made it clear that we were prepared to look at each case commodity by commodity, and wherever practicable to co-operate in international commodity arrangements designed not only to stabilise prices at levels which would encourage the development of new markets and the growth of consumption, but also to prevent prices from falling to levels which would disrupt the economic development of developing countries.
Naturally, as the largest and most open market for imports of primary commodities, we have to think of our balance of payments and of the interests of consumers. We could not, therefore. subscribe to ideas that were put forward for the organisation of markets which would raise prices to artificially high levels and which were related to temperate agricultural products as well as tropical products. Moreover, we do not consider such ideas are practicable. We do not think that they would in the long run help the producing countries. Among other things, they would encourage overproduction and in some cases cause consumers and users to switch their purchases to other products.
May I now say a word about trade and manufactured goods? The Conference reached no agreement on preferences, but it recommended that the Secretary-General of the United Nations should set up a committee to consider the principle of the grant of preferences by developed to developing countries and to work out the best method of implementation. The Conference also adopted a recommendation setting out guidelines for trade policies in relation to manufactures and dealing mainly with the removal of trade barriers. As I have no doubt that your Lordships will wish 211 to discuss this important issue in the course of this debate, I shall, if I may, deal with it in closing, if your Lordships will permit.
On the principles of international trade, the developing countries at the Conference formulated a set of fourteen general principles governing international trade relations and trade policies conducive to development. It was not possible to reach agreement on the texts of most of these principles, since Western countries, including Britain, had important reservations of substance on them. The principles were voted through in the plenary session of the Conference, and the future new institutions are charged with the task of producing a generally acceptable set of principles.
Apart from the recommendations I have already summarised, important discussions took place during the Conference on shipping and insurance issues. The discussion on shipping was a difficult one. Eventually it produced a document setting out a "Common Measure of Understanding" which first of all recognised the value of liner conferences and suggested the establishment of consultative machinery between shippers and conferences; secondly, stated that priority should be given to port improvements; and, thirdly, welcomed the development of merchant fleets in developing countries where they were established on an economic basis. A recommendation was also adopted to the effect that appropriate inter-Governmental procedures should be established under the United Nations system or as part of the institutional system which might be set up under U.N.C.T.A.D. (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) to promote understanding and co-operation in the field of shipping and to report on economic aspects of shipping.
On insurance, the United Kingdom delegation explained in the plenary session of the Conference that Her Majesty's Government remained convinced that the most successful method of developing an insurance market in any country was by recognising that insurance and reinsurance were largely international in character and should be free from any restrictions or controls other than those required for the protection of policy 212 holders. An observation to this effect will appear in the Final Act on behalf of the United Kingdom, in relation to the recommendation on insurance and reinsurance adopted by the Conference.
I hope noble Lords will find useful this short account I have given, by way of introduction, of the results of the Conference. In conclusion, I would repeat that Her Majesty's Government attach the highest importance to the Conference, and indeed to the Development Decade, as the steps outlined in the White Paper on Aid to Developing Countries have already made clear. We shall co-operate fully in seeking to secure solutions to the problems of the developing countries, and to make further progress in improving the standards of living of their peoples.
§ 3.42 p.m.
§ LORD HOWICK OF GLENDALE
My Lords, I rise to make my maiden speech, and hope that your Lordships will give the consideration you always do to the words of an inexperienced speaker. We have heard, in two eloquent speeches today, a good deal about the volume of help given to the less developed countries of the world. I hope to say a few words less about volume than about the nature of the help given, because these countries need from the more developed countries a number of things. They need what we may call grant money for social services, such as education and health; they need the assistance of skilled and experienced individuals; and then they also need the investment of money in that economic development. It is on the third matter that I hope to speak this afternoon.
Last year at the annual meeting in Rome of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Mr. Nyerere, the President of Tanganyika, laid strong emphasis, in a most striking passage, on the widening gap—he mentioned the word "widening"—between the "have-not" and the "have" nations of the world. I share the view of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that we in Britain should give the United Nations and the international Agencies generally, including the World Bank and its offshoots, such as the International Finance Corporation, the greatest possible help in narrowing that gap.
I have two other hopes as well. I hope that, in being the friend and the helper 213 of the United Nations in this extremely important task, we shall at times be, as President Nyerere himself was in his speech, a somewhat critical, but I hope a constructively critical, friend. The second hope—the two go together—is that we shall never feel that, because we help the United Nations in this task, because we may increase greatly, perhaps, the volume of our help, we are in any way absolved from that other need which is, as a country, as Britain, to give Britain's help as well.
I venture to speak of some mistakes that are now being made by international organisations in the help they give to the underdeveloped countries. Of course we all make mistakes—the British, the Americans, the French, all of us. But this particular type of mistake was well underlined by President Nyerere in his most interesting speech at Rome. He said:From our"—that is, Tanganyika's—point of view, the main difficulty about F.A.O. help in our drive for increased output is that the Organisation does not, or will not, realise the low level from which we start, so that there frequently remains a big gap between its proffered help and our ability [in Tanganyika] to benefit from it.Those were true words. They apply to a great deal of Africa certainly, and in remedying this trouble—because it can be remedied; it is not a great one—I believe that we in Britain, with our great experience in Asia and in Africa, can do a great deal quite apart from the money that we provide.
Looked at from the point of view of the developed, the advanced and the manufacturing countries, I know that the underdeveloped countries appear at times most difficult to help. At one moment they cry out for foreign investment, and at another they seem to pass legislation apparently calculated to prevent that investment from coming in. At any moment they are liable to ask for assistance for some prestige project with no hope of economic success—a steelworks far inland and yet dependent on imported scrap is a stock example of this type of request. But, all the same, as your Lordships will appreciate if you imagine what we ourselves look like from their point of view and through their spectacles, we do not appear entirely admirable, either.
214 Much is often heard in these countries nowadays about the evils of colonialism. Some of this is nonsense, and much of it is not entirely believed by the speakers themselves. Nevertheless, there is another type of criticism which I think is truer and a more sincere criticism. It is one that is often made by the most practical, the most far-seeing and the most effective among the leaders of newly independent countries. Dr. Okpara, the Regional Premier of Eastern Nigeria is an example. These people say that the British, in the time of their power over the Colonies, did a great deal, but they did not do enough to help in the economic development and the raising of the standard of living of the general mass of the people. There is a certain amount to be said for this point of view.
We kept the peace. We provided social services, such as health services; we educated the young, we built roads and harbours and railways, and started great electricity schemes and irrigation schemes. Then we sat back and we waited always for private enterprise to come in and build upon the foundations laid; that is to say, to start the plantation or the factory. Sometimes that was all right. A great deal of private investment from Britain has gone in and has done this in India between 1947 and the present day. A great deal of this was done over a period of years in former colonial countries with great natural resources, such as Malaya. But when the country had no great natural resources, and particularly when its area was small—Fiji is one example, and the smaller West Indian Islands are another—then there was economic stagnation.
Nowadays, Britain has been replaced by the conception of the West as a whole, and the main agencies for helping these countries are international agencies. Yet to many Africans and many Asians, as President Nyerere's words show, there is a feeling that the same old mistakes are still being made, though not by exactly the same people. I suggest to your Lordships that the conclusion to be drawn is that good will on the part of the West is not enough. In this task of helping the underdeveloped countries the West must show skill. It must show skill in two ways, I think, or two types of skill. 215 One type of skill is in diagnosing their needs and the priorities between their different needs. The other is in finding an acceptable way of meeting those needs. It is no good our imagining that Governments in newly independent countries can accept help if it comes in a form that will immediately lead them, if they accept it, into being the victims of violent, strong and effective political criticism in their own countries.
May I repeat, we all make mistakes. Our mistakes are not all the same. The Americans nowadays centralise far too much in Washington. They emphasise far too much exclusive reliance on private investment. They imagine, I think, they can develop a money market and wide investment by local people in rather risky development enterprises in countries that are far away from this. We ourselves tend to be expensive in the aid we give; and we were criticised, justly, in my view, at Geneva for the high interest rates that we charge to the new countries. The French have given a great deal of help, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has said; but they impose high tariffs around the countries now associated with them, and it seems to me that they always have their eyes turned inwards, and they make a sort of ring fence around the Six and the associated overseas territories. The international organisations themselves, such as the World Bank and their associates, have had in the past, anyway, far too many rigidities in their admirable schemes for economic development which they have started all over the world, when flexibility is a great need—in fact one of the primary needs—in this type of work.
Nevertheless, even if we are all making mistakes, there are signs that a change is coming. In the second half of last year Mr. George Woods, the new President of the World Bank, who recently succeeded Mr. Eugene Black, made two speeches, one at the United Nations and the other which I heard at the annual meeting of the World Bank in Washington. It was an admirable speech with a simple theme. The theme was that the World Bank has now, by 1964, built up very great reserves; it has quite rightly followed a policy of developing public utilities as the founda- 216 tion on which other developments can come; it has done a good deal for the development also of certain industries.
Yet",he went on to say,in a great many of our less developed member countries agriculture employs four-fifths of the population.He said that most of the people so employed would continue in the foreseeable future to be farmers. At the time of that speech agricultural investment was very small, and his conclusion was that the World Bank should step into the sphere of agricultural investment in the Asian, African and South American countries in which it operates. I believe it was a very sound conclusion.
Therefore I suggest to your Lordships that economic development should follow three lines—the three lines I have mentioned. It must start with the development of what the Americans call the "infrastructure", but which I prefer to call the public utilities, which are the foundation of development. A great deal has been done in this respect. There should also be the development of secondary industries, and certainly of agriculture. I wish to speak to-day mostly about agriculture. That is not because I think for one moment that we should give our aid exclusively to agriculture, for that would be a fatal error. Both the international agencies and ourselves must continue the task of trying to develop secondary industries in the new countries, most of which are unbalanced because they depend too much on agriculture and mining. If we do not do that, we shall be suspected by them, and rightly so, of holding them back, in the interests of our own manufacturing exports, as primary producers for ever. And, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has rightly emphasised, they will feel that particularly strongly now, because in recent years the terms of trade have been against the primary producing countries.
At the moment, however, if one takes the picture of the help given by the advanced countries in the West as a whole, one finds there is another lack of balance. That lack of balance is, as Mr. Woods said, that too little has been done about agriculture and that agriculture is, so to speak, "the forgotten man". It is difficult to help 217 very small farmers. One can see evidence of this in the story over the last 15 to 20 years of Soviet Russia, where there is a great contrast between the advance of the Soviet Government in developing industries in their towns and their relative failure in agricultural development in the country; and Russia, after all, like Asia and most of Africa is—or was—a country of small farmers. When I speak of small farmers, I do not mean the type of English smallholder with 60 or 70 acres. Most of the African or Asian small farmers have only six or seven acres.
It is therefore not surprising that the aim of nearly all newly independent countries and of their Governments is both to develop secondary industries and to establish a large number of small farmers with a reasonably good income. If I may give an example, the Government which has seen this point most clearly and has acted the most effectively is what used to be the Malayan Government, before the formation of Malaysia. They had had the lesson of the formidable terrorist movement. Their answer to the infiltration of Chinese and Chinese ideas from Red China was to follow, as their first priority, a policy of covering Malaya with a large number of small farmers, each with about ten acres, of which eight were of rubber plantations. When the rubber trees are in tapping these men, at present prices, get about £200 a year, which is a good income for an Oriental peasant. A system of this nature is a wise system, and a programme for economic development on the lines of encouraging the development of small farmers in the countryside and of house-owners in the towns is, I believe, a wise programme of economic development as well.
It will do several things. It will produce a climate of stability, and that climate should, in turn, lead to the development of other, more sophisticated and more ambitious, forms of development. It will also, we hope, stop or check the collapse of law and order such as took place in the Congo, or dangerous developments such as we have recently seen in Zanzibar. All the same, one may well think it is easy to say that this sort of policy should be followed, but it is not easy to do. That is true. Small farmers may be important in these 218 countries, but they are not easy to help. The social system of small farmers requires organisation. Fortunately, there are a number of British men and women who know a good deal about this organisation.
These very small farmers require credit, and they require also help in processing and marketing their crops, so that they do not always have to sell everything every year at the moment of harvest. Finally, and most important and most difficult of all, they usually require help in their actual farming. Yet if help of this nature can be given, and especially if it can be given without too many conditions and without the money spent being too completely tied to purchases in the country giving the money, it is the most acceptable and most effective form of help the advanced countries can give to the backward countries, such as Tanganyika, whose President I ventured to quote.
Put another way, this is the problem of marrying up the recent scientific advances in tropical agriculture with the social system of small farmers. We have heard a great deal of such scientific advances. To give your Lordships two examples, it is now possible in what used to be called the Far East, let us say Malaysia, to double the yield of palm oil from an acre of oil palm trees compared with 15 years ago. The development of budded or grafted trees has made it possible for the growers of natural rubber to compete with the greatly improved products of the synthetic rubber factories. How can we make available the results of scientific advance to very small farmers? This is one of the great world problems, and if the United Nations, the World Bank, the international agencies, and we, and particularly the other countries which used to have Colonies, such as the French, take a step in this direction, we shall be taking a very important step.
This may be difficult to do, but it is not impossible to marry up these two things—scientific large-scale farming and small farmers. We did it before the war. Probably the first people who ever did this were British people in the Sudan at the time of the great Gezira scheme, in which long staple Egyptian cotton was grown on the waters of the Blue Nile. That scheme was a partnership between 219 the Sudan Government, a mass of small farmers, and a private company that managed the whole thing. Therefore, it stood, in a way, between the Malaya of the past, a country of rather large plantations, and the Sarawak of the past, a country where everybody was a smallholder. If there were nothing but small farmers, nobody would take the risk of taking on a new idea. I think that the system one should try to develop in the countryside of these new countries is a mass of small farmers and a few larger ones who will try out new ideas.
After all, the small African or Asian farmer is not very different from a very much larger British farmer. He will imitate a second farmer much more readily than he is going to imitate Government experimental stations. If this has been done in the past, with great success, by Great Britain in Gazira, efforts should now be made in the present to marry up these two things. One of these efforts is what may be called the nucleus plantation or farm scheme. The first of these was in the State of Johore in Southern Malaya. There, through British enterprise, in the first stage a 5,000 acre oil palm plantation was established, with a factory. It was run as if it were a commercial enterprise with great success and it made, and still makes, a good profit. In the second stage the agency of the Malayan Government, called the Federal Land Development Authority, established several thousand small farmers, each with twelve acres, ten acres being oil palms, round this estate and the whole project was run together. The large central estate helped the little men all round. It held them in several ways. First of all, it took their fruit into its factory and gave them co-operative shares in the factory company. Secondly, on a commercially run plantation it trained some sixteen Malayans—they are there now—for use in other settlements of this nature.
Thirdly, and most important of all, it helped the little men in their actual farming. Oil palms, rubber, cocoa, tea and many tropical products are tree crops. Many noble Lords who know a great deal more about trees than I do, know that the essential point about growing any tree is how you plant it out in the field from the nursery. That was done 220 for the small men by the large organisation in the middle, and if it had not been done it would not have been possible for them to gain the advantage of the scientific advance that has doubled the yield of palm oil. As it is, they have gained that advantage. The reason—and it is a basic agricultural fact—is that, unless the planting out is done correctly, then the new type ot tree that gives the high yield will not grow. It is this type of basic agricultural fact that makes the whole difference between an agriculturist in the Far East or in Africa living on the margin of existence or getting about £200 a year. If we can do this, then we may be able to check the advance in the Fast East of Communism which we see going on in Vietnam, where so much money is poured in, but all this aid goes over the head of the peasant who is working in the ricefield.
A very similar nucleus rubber plantation scheme is also about to be developed jointly by a British institution and the Eastern Nigeria Government, in Eastern Nigeria. A similar scheme—though not with a tree crop but with annual crops—is being developed in Swaziland, the British territory that lies between South Africa and Portuguese East Africa. There is a big irrigation scheme there on which oranges, sugar and rice are grown, and again a good profit is shown. On the edge of that scheme, again as a second stage, a number of Swazi farmers have been established, each at first with 8 acres of irrigated land, 4 acres being sugar. From these farms they now get an income of about £180 a year. That should increase, and they obtain greatly increased yields of food crops, such as maize and rice, quite apart from the cash crop. Both of these examples, one with a tree crop, and one with an annual crop, that I have given your Lordships of what small farmers can do concern countries where there is new land which can be settled newly.
There is also, of course, the very serious problem of what to do with already overcrowded areas. All the same, in some of these already overcrowded areas some part of this same technique can be used. It has been used by the Kenya Government. Kenya was the first country in which smallholder tea was ever established, and the new Kenya independent Government took 221 over the scheme with skill and enthusiasm. Now there is a crop which gives quite a good money yield to what used to be very poor Africans in the high acid land on the edge of the mountain forests of Kenya. A mission from the World Bank, which recently reported on Kenya, made as its main recommendation a big extension of this scheme of smallholder tea. That recommendation has been accepted, and it is hoped that in the future there will be 14,000 acres grown by men, each with an acre or slightly less, so covering a large number of families. The money for this will come partly from the World Bank, partly from British institutions and partly from Kenya itself.
The tea factories (and tea factories are rather complicated things) will he managed by British companies, with experience not only in East Africa but, also, in Ceylon and in India. In fact, we have here a good example of two types of association—the association of experienced management with a private company, with investment and a public motive in view; and, also, the association of an international Agency with British firms and British agencies; the British particularly producing, I think, the human knowledge as well as the money. As anyone can see, there is a tactical technique of the right and the wrong way to grow tea; but there is also a human technique of the right and the wrong way to deal with very small farmers, who are not used to these things and who are naturally suspicious. That technique has been acquired, and very well acquired, by a number of British people, and I hope that it will be possible to make use of that knowledge in the future. It is very much welcomed at the moment by all the Commonwealth countries that I myself have visited.
More generally, I think, there is also a technique in finding acceptable help for underdeveloped countries. There is a right way to do it, and there is a wrong way to do it. As I have ventured to remark already, the World Bank has come to the conclusion that there are too many rigidities in the help it gives. I think one of the first right techniques in helping these countries is to be thoroughly flexible, both in the type of scheme and in the method of investment. One must be thoroughly flexible in the economic development schemes 222 that are made. I think, also, that all countries should grasp the fact that tied aid—that is to say, aid in which the money must be spent on the goods produced by the country giving aid—though it may be necessary, is regarded always with considerable suspicion and, therefore, should be reduced to the minimum. It is also generally true—and this is very important—that assistance should be given quietly. Let me give your Lordships two examples. In East Africa to-day there is a large organisation for the American AID. A great deal of publicity is given to this, and it is not very popular. There are also a number of Americans from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who sit in East African ministries and, without any publicity at all, give advice to East African Ministers. They are widely welcomed and that scheme has been highly successful. It is a very good example from our American friends of how not to do it and how to do it.
My Lords, may I repeat that I hope (and I am sure that this is true, from listening to the two noble Lords who spoke first) that we do not feel in Britain that, because of the great political changes that have taken place in the last few years, we can become disengaged from these Commonwealth countries. Disengagement is a rather fashionable word these days, but in this context it is a perfectly fatal word. However, the statement recently made in this House on the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and what we have heard just now from the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, are very encouraging. Much will, naturally, depend on how the broad principles that have been laid down are worked out in practice. I am sure (and I hope the Western countries will remember the words that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, used) that it is no good encouraging production in these countries if we are not prepared to buy their products. The Prime Minister of Malaya once rather aptly remarked that it was quite useless to pour money into Malaya, with its primarily rubber economy, if money was equally going to be poured into the encouragement of factories that produce synthetic rubber in other countries.
I believe that the approach to the economic development of the "have-not" countries should then be by a form 223 of combination—or, perhaps, by two forms of combination—the first, a combination between international Agencies, on the one hand, and firms or corporations of national countries, on the other. I believe that each has a good deal to learn from the other one. We, for example, are more experienced than international Agencies. But they have far greater resources and, of course, the prestige of being international. The second form of combination is by a blend of public and private enterprise, often in partnership since for this task of economic development, notably in the less developed countries, both the private and the public enterprise is needed.
At the moment I believe, as I have said, that the side of development which requires emphasis is agriculture, and particularly smallholder farming. Financially, investment in this is bound to be risky. Those who undertake it must never say to themselves: "Well, we hope that we shall soon be able proudly to claim that we have never made a loss." That is a hopeless attitude. They must, on the other hand, have the attitude that they hope that their successes will exceed their failures. If that is so, then they can feel that they are taking part in what is perhaps, one of the most important tasks in the world, the one that affects almost more people than any other one.
Before I sit down let me give your Lordships one quotation. Mr. Graham Greene wrote a book some years ago called The Heart of the Matter. If it is in any way possible for the United Nations, the World Bank or ourselves, or any of us together, probably again by a mixture of public and private enterprise, to turn some of our great expertise and knowledge, and some of our money, to the raising of the standard of living of the mass of the rural people (because this is where the real poverty is among these people: it is a rural poverty), then, indeed, we shall have done something to the heart of the matter.
§ 4.10 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
My Lords, it is my privilege to welcome and to acknowledge, with very great appreciation, the first speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, in this 224 House. I do not know what he himself expected. I cannot myself think of any more happy occasion for him to make his maiden speech among us than one dealing with the whole, wide aspect of world need, with a great part of which his own career has made him so familiar. He has spoken to us in a most practical way, and with directness. He has drawn upon a wide field of knowledge and experience of his own, which we should certainly expect from his own distinguished service in the Commonwealth. In the name of the House, I should like to congratulate him and to say how much we have appreciated what he has said, and how much we look forward to his addressing us on many occasions from his own wealth of knowledge.
I hope, my Lords, that within this great, expanding field—very technical, very deep—which has been opened to us by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and others, it will not seem very mean or disparaging if I confine my own remarks primarily to the part which can be played within this whole Decade programme, by the voluntary effort of non-governmental bodies. It is, of course, even when you add it up, a very small part of the total: yet fresh prominence has been given to this contribution by the General Assembly's resolution of last December calling upon all these non-governmental bodies to extend their own enthusiasm and energy into the whole field covered by the human side of this Development Decade, and for Governments to give them such facilities for their purposes as they will need. I am glad to know that this resolution, which received such a welcome, was due to the initiative of the representative from Great Britain, and I am sure he was right to press home the importance of the part which the voluntary organisations can play. It is, I believe, quite out of all proportion to the actual figures in terms of resources or of human service which they can contribute.
If I may for a moment speak of the development of one or two of these particular bodies to illustrate the amazing change that has come upon the scene, I suppose one of the most familiar and best-known in this country is the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, OXFAM, which began 21 years ago with the very limited objective of helping starving children in Greece. As late as 225 the middle of the last decade its primary function was still to be a clothes distribution agency to places of need; but within the last few years it has been quite transformed. It is now an institution raising and expending, in this last year, over £2 million to help 400 projects in 70 different countries. The whole idea of relief has gone from it. It is now basing its policy on the belief that if men are to be helped to a means of survival, they must above all be helped to help themselves; and much of the money which it raises is, in an increasing degree, used to support the training projects in the United Nations Freedom From Hunger Campaign. This involves extremely intricate work—surveys in fields of malnutrition and poverty, and efforts to find particular places where a project is needed which will not be dealt with by a particular country itself. All this is a long way from the extremely limited objective with which the Oxford Committee started over twenty years ago.
It is in a similar way that (if I may quote an organisation which covers and draws growing support from within the Christian community in England) Inter-Church Aid, which last year raised £¼million after only ten years of real life and is intending to increase that by at least 20 per cent. this year, has had a rather striking rise. The germ of it was a very limited scheme for Christian reconstruction in Europe; that is to say, its objective was to repair some of the immediate damage to Church life on the Continent sustained during the war. From that, it was inevitably drawn into the service of refugees and emergency measures which still crop up throughout the world; and now this part of the operation has been drawn into the whole orbit of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. In fact, it is now planning its own constructive share in the campaign against hunger, disease and ignorance which is being integrated into the second half of the Development Decade.
The experience of these bodies and of other bodies like them is, of course, at first, a steady increase in support, but still more the need continually to raise their sights from the notion of pure relief to projects of development and progressive change. It is no longer, as I well know, due to the enthusiasm or the compassion of the few. This undertaking has become 226 incorporated into the normal life of the Christian community and is recognised as having just as much a rightful claim upon the regular support of ordinary Christians as, for instance, Christian missions, which had to win their way against a great deal of scepticism and indifference in the past generation.
All this, I believe, illustrates certain important aspects about the voluntary side of the Development Decade. It has, above all, been a process of steady education of an increasing number of people into the world's needs. We can hardly underestimate the importance of that. The situation in which we find ourselves, in which the gap between nations geographically is closing, and the gap between them economically and materially is increasing, constitutes, I suppose, the greatest challenge to us in our century, and we cannot do too much to save ourselves from the complacency or the indifference into which our own rather more favoured position might lead us. This process of education is not easily done by official bodies. Voluntary organisations, relying greatly on local initiative and local effort, can play a very big part, and a striking amount of imagination is being brought to bear upon every aspect of this need in the desire to kindle interest, personal and local, everywhere.
People will always be daunted by mere statistics, and the bigger the figures the less they will react to them—that, perhaps, is part of our danger in this whole field—but these voluntary bodies have been able to identify local giving with specific projects and so kindle a sense of personal responsibility in individuals which, of course, is vital to the whole undertaking. I have myself been very struck by the depth to which the appeal of world need has penetrated in so many local communities. All kinds of organisations, societies, youth clubs and the like, as well as innumerable individual people, have now been stirred in the past few years to feel that they are themselves involved in this whole undertaking and have their own part to play. It has brought together in a process of cooperation all kinds of people who would never otherwise have been able either to see where they come in or to give their services. All this seems extremely important if this is to be a movement, as it is intended to be, not merely from 227 Government to Government but from people to people.
I suppose also it ought to be said that these voluntary bodies are often better placed for giving particular kinds of assistance. They are more neutral sometimes and, therefore, sometimes less suspect in their operations. They can act very often internationally. Little Inter-Church Aid groups in this country can form together a big stream. I am thinking, for example, of a large project for a farm training school in Burma to cost over a quarter of a million pounds. This is quite beyond the resources of any national Christian group; but under the direction and encouragement of the World Council of Churches it has effective support to which we are contributing.
My Lords, there are many ways in which a world-wide community, such as the Church, can deploy its efforts more effectively than anything with a national label. The quality, as well as the quantity, of aid is important. We all recognise that the objective of all aid is to promote independence and equality rather than dependence on charity which can pauperise and irritate people. Behind the whole Development Decade is the conception of a family of nations growing up into responsible partnership rather than the division of the world into receiving and giving nations. An advance towards this will depend not only on what is done, but on how it is done. And the Churches have very particular experience to draw on here. They are finding ways to-day different from the kind of spiritual colonialism of the past, in which they can accept mutual responsibility for one another on the basis of equality and which gives them a sensitiveness to the opportunities of applying aid in a way that will encourage maturer partnership.
I do not wish to dwell especially on this theme. The growth of voluntary effort is encouraging when you come to realise that it is made by so many individuals working and giving over a large area; but I am sure that its value lies in the growing impact it is making upon men's awareness of the world situation and of their readiness to accept a form of liability which twenty years ago we should have thought quite unthinkable. However at the same time, we are very 228 much aware how little all this amounts to in terms of the whole problem and how little can be achieved by voluntary means. It would be tragic if the encouragement given to voluntary effort and the impetus given by the United Nations were thought in any degree to be a substitute for the only real answer: effective and consistent action on the part of Governments. There is, however, this rising tide of good will, and we seek for ways in which it can be encouraged and channelled and directed. Mr. Keith Unwin, in proposing the resolution to which I referred, reasoned that the experience of World Refugee Year and the Freedom from Hunger Campaign shows how special campaigns like these can step up and keep up the volume of voluntary response. I think it was his hope, by gearing this to the Decade itself, that the voluntary bodies might find their efforts raised to a higher degree still.
I am sure that that is true, but the organisations concerned have a right to ask some questions about the overall policy behind the campaign and to claim support from their Governments in a number of ways, as indeed was part of the resolution which our representative proposed. Who will be responsible for that large and growing array of different efforts which are to be stimulated now through these bodies? How will they be properly co-ordinated? It seems that there will be such a proliferation of agencies at work that without effective co-ordinating machinery much might be given and done quite wastefully. This is, of course, largely a United Nations responsibility, and the Secretary-General has been asked to examine ways in which the co-operation between the United Nations Agencies and these bodies can be made effective; but it is also a national problem. Is there not a need for some national association which could bring together in consultation and advice the many voluntary organisations which are supporting this campaign?
We have in this country a great genius for promoting a combination between voluntary enterprise and statutory bodies; and not least in this field. I do not know what form this coordinating body ought to take. It ought to be in a position to ensure that there 229 is no overlapping and that there are no gaps; it ought to be able to promote the recruitment and training of volunteers; it ought to have powers of much greater publicity and education; it ought, above all, without having the insensitiveness of some Civil Service approaches, to be able to claim resources in order to provide the means by which these bodies could operate.
So far as the general public is concerned, the need for informing them about this is very pressing, because there is a great deal of confusion. The many different campaigns which are going on —the appeals for refugees, the campaigns for food, for children, for help in the provision of teachers and so on—leave people a little perplexed; and there may even be a danger in special short or long term campaigns, or ten-year plans and the like. I remember that the ancient Greeks used to limit their peace treaties to a certain length of time only, perhaps with the realistic idea that they could not keep the peace longer than that. But campaigns for a certain period only may mislead people into thinking that this is a short-term operation, and it may be that the ten-year Development Decade consulted more the charms of alliteration than those of intelligibility.
My Lords, this is something that is so long term that we know we are only at the beginning of it. The voluntary bodies, left to themselves to rouse support and interest, may be tempted to build too much on emotional appeals or special efforts which, though temporarily productive, may blunt people's mind to the longer issue and lead them to expect quick results over which they may be disappointed. All this means that behind the voluntary effort, which has been called for and which I know the organisations are gilding themselves up to give, there must be some strong national directive based upon a fully-considered national policy which the Government of the day is prepared to endorse with all the force it can. The voluntary organisations must know that their own efforts are being integrated not only with one another but also with the national contribution and that there would be some guarantee of coherence and permanence about what they are doing. It is a little puzzling to read, at a time when we want more official 230 status and consultation given to some national agencies, that even the technical service furnished by the Community Development Clearing House is coming to an end for the lack of what seems to be the miserable pittance of £5,000 a year.
I think this contribution of ours from the voluntary bodies applies particularly to the country's relation in its own efforts to the plan of the United Nations. Obviously there is so much we are doing and should do regionally or bilaterally. As the noble Lord has just said, we do not want in any sense to disengage from our friends and partners, countries with which history has bound us so closely. After all, the whole strength of this operation is that it is being tackled by the nations together, and we must surely strengthen the initiative of the United Nations just here. The air of controversy which surrounds some of its deliberations need not spread into this field. The provision of aid for developing countries can be most effectively given through multilateral action, where the suspicion of sectional interests or of more selfish motives need not arise. I am sure that the organisations of which I have been speaking this afternoon tend themselves to think internationally, rather than nationally, and therefore look to the Government for a generous lead in the contribution that it proposes to make to the United Nations Agencies.
As the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has said, in the particular funds which minister to this campaign—the Expansion Programme and the Special Fund—the situation is not entirely reassuring. U Thant himself had already suggested, two years ago, that if we were not only to cope with what was before us, but also were to be ready for what will arise out of the immediate projects, we must not be content even with the target of 150 million dollars then fixed and asked other countries to increase substantially their own contributions, until, by the end of the decade, it was doubled. We are now in the fourth year of the decade, and I understand that even the target agreed at the outset has not yet been reached, let alone the expansion U Thant called for.
I should like to ask the Government where they stand in this. In the White Paper they have made clear some of 231 their contributions to these funds. In the field of specialised services and individual trained help, we stand extremely high. In the field of financial support, it is rather more difficult to place us. In 1963 an increase has been given on our own original contribution, and a further increase has been promised by Mr. Heath in another place and is to be announced shortly. But what kind of increase will it be? On what kind of scale will the Government calculate these operations? How do we calculate what is our due? Do we base it on the 1 per cent. already referred to, or on the official statutory quota within the normal United Nations budget? What is the method by which we assess, with our great interests and our great resources, what we ought to give?
This is something for which I believe the bodies working very effectively on their own local levels are anxiously seeking encouragement from the Government. They are at work to raise money for quite simple special projects, and still more to rouse that steady flow of interest in the world and its needs, without which this target will not ever be achieved. But they do want recognition by this country, and the only way this can be really effective is by the publicly acknowledged readiness of our own Government both to plan and coordinate their work with its own, and to contribute on the kind of scale which our own prosperous society and our own world attitude and vision ought to make it possible and right for us to accept.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ LORD LINDSAY OF BIRKER
My Lords, I am afraid that I have taken on a rather difficult task to-day. On reading this Report, The United Nations Development Decade: Proposals for Action, my first reaction was that it was all very sensible and very reasonable. Then, on reading it over again, I felt much less happy, because it seemed to me that it was making the assumption that the problems of the underdeveloped countries could be handled simply in terms of economics and technique. I felt that on a great many points of detail this meant that it had left out some of the most important factors, the political factors and, even more important, the psychological and cultural 232 factors. May I give an illustration of a point which is very important? If your Lordships read the pages which deal with taxation, you will find that, on the whole, these give extremely good suggestions for a taxation system, but almost no hint of how it should be made to work. In a great many countries—and this applies not only to underdeveloped countries — the basic problem in any taxation system is tax evasion.
An extremely good illustration of this occurred in China nearly thirty years ago. The Government decided to make one county into a model area, and appointed a very competent official and gave him fairly effective backing. This man was able to triple the revenue from the land tax without any change in the rates of tax. He was able to do it simply because he took measures to ensure that what the public paid reached the Government and did not stay in the hands of intermediaries and collectors, and because he took steps to ensure that lands which people, by various underhand means, had removed from the register, were put back on the register. This may be an extreme case, but I am sure, from what I hear of many countries, that this is the basic problem of taxation—how to get a system in which the revenue officers can deal with people who try to use their local power or high-up political connections to evade taxes. If once this fundamental problem is dealt with, then everything this Report has to say becomes extremely relevant and important. But the Report does not mention this problem.
I could give a good many other illustrations of points of detail, but what I should like to refer to is what seems to me a much more basic question—namely, that economic development depends to an extraordinary extent on people developing the attitudes of mind which are needed to work an industrial society. The importance of this can be seen by looking at the record of economic successes and failures. Economic development is only partly related to external aid and to favourable economic conditions. Obviously, the extreme model of successful economic development is Japan. Here is a country which a hundred years ago was clearly a backward and underdeveloped country, and now has attained a per capita income 233 higher than that of a good many European countries. Their initial stage of economic development took place entirely without external aid. The Meiji statesmen sent large numbers of students to study abroad and engaged a suitable number of foreign advisers, but they deliberately refrained from accepting financial aid to any appreciable amount, in order to avoid any dependence. When we look at Japanese history, we find a period of set-back, during the domination of Japanese politics by the military; but since 1945 the rate of advance has been resumed and has become extremely rapid.
If we take a good look at a list of the underdeveloped countries, we can see fairly clearly a number of countries which seem to be set for a period of progress. If you project the present trend of development you see that in the next ten or fifteen years there is a fairly good chance that these countries will achieve the economic take-off and become prosperous societies. There are other countries, in some cases with equally favourable basic conditions and equally large amo nits of foreign aid, which seem to stagnate. If I am asked what is the cause of this, my answer is that I think it depends on whether or not people have developed the kind of attitude of mind needed to run an industrialised society. Briefly I think we need to realise what, in a sense, a rather strange and unique thing an industrialised society is.
After all, in historical perspective we have records of about 4,000 years of human civilisations, but industrial societies have existed for less than 200 years, and affluent societies for less than 50 years. We do not have to go gack very far in history before we find a period when on the whole, it was Europe that was the backward area and Asia an advanced area. To give an example, the production of iron in China in the 1 1 th century was at a level which the whole of Europe did not pass until the end of the 18th century. Right up to the 18th century, on the whole, people from Europe were inclined to feel that the countries of the Far East were ahead of them in material progress. Equally, there have been some interesting demographic studies which show that up to the beginning of the 18th century a good deal of Europe was in the Malthusian situation, 234 showing that as soon as there was even a slight crop failure the immediate result was a rising death rate. In the early 18th century a great deal of the population of Western Europe was living at the same kind of level as is now found in the more depressed parts of Asia and Africa. This curious change that has occurred in the West over the last 200 years is one to which it is hard for us to adjust ourselves, and I think we have also to recognise that our adjustment to it has by no means been perfect.
But one of the difficulties which the people in underdeveloped countries face is that people in the West are not nearly clear enough in telling them what industrialised societies work because of and what industrialised societies work in spite of. This is something on which I believe a great deal more thought is needed. It seems to me that people ought to be able to say, much more than they can now, to the people of underdeveloped countries: "If you want to become an affluent society, these are the things in our society which you will have to follow "; and equally to say to them: "If you want to make the greatest progress, here are certain things in our society which you had better avoid".
I have tried to make a list of some of the ideas which it is necessary to get across. Perhaps the first requirement for developing into an industrial society is a general scientific attitude, a readiness to try experiments and to try something new. Here again, there are extraordinary contrasts in the underdeveloped countries. May I take two cases of which I heard not long ago? One concerned a rather primitive tribal society in Africa. People found that there were serious deficiencies in diet. They made a study and found that these deficiencies could fairly easily be remedied by new crops for which the soil and the climate were suitable. They then sent a man round to try to give the people instruction on how to improve their standard of living. The tribesmen listened with great interest, and then said, "This sounds wonderful". The man then said: "Here are some seeds: you try sowing them. "But they said" No. This is not the way we do things. We are interested to hear that people have developed these wonderful 235 crops, but you cannot expect us to do anything new."
In contrast, there was a village in Thailand where there was a great deal of land which could not be cultivated by existing methods: the land became flooded too soon and the season was not long enough. Then some people found that by getting tractors they could cultivate quickly enough to get crops. As a result, within a few years the whole economy of that village was transformed. There was a huge increase of production, and, from being a backward society, the people began to show all kinds of interest in mechanisation.
The other important point to remember is that this potential for developing new ideas is very easily discouraged. I think that over a great deal of the Far East this unwillingness to change has not been innate but has been based on hopelessness. A farmer has the feeling that if he produces more the chances are that he will have to pay it out in extra rent or taxes, and the result is that he takes no interest. Here again one can see the change in Japan and in Taiwan. The pre-war Japanese peasant was notorious for being not interested in anything but cultivating rice by traditional methods, simply because, on the whole, he was very much the underdog in Japanese society. But as soon as land reform occurred under the American occupation, when he was given his land and a real incentive, he developed a tremendous interest in new methods and new techniques. The result has been a great increase in the productivity of agriculture.
I can give an example of this change in mentality from Taiwan of the real spread of mechanical ingenuity among the population. The American Army had some surplus jeeps which they thought might be useful to local farmers as animal-drawn carts, and they sold these vehicles, with the engines, steering and brakes removed. The Taiwanese farmers got the idea that they could rig up an engine from an irrigation pump, with a belt drive to the back axle, new steering with bamboo rods, four passengers with long poles to act as brakes and proceeded to go about on the road. I am not saying that this is a desirable development; but 236 it shows that a man who has that kind of mechanical ingenuity will also be ready to take on any idea of new crops or new methods.
The other key thing which needs to be got across is the whole concept of what is needed for a modern Government. Here what struck me was that this United Nations Report seems to take it for granted that the Governments would be public-spirited. This is an assumption which in many cases simply is not true. Shortly before I left Washington I talked to someone who had been showing round the Minister for Agriculture from one of the more backward underdeveloped countries. He had taken him to see the Department of Agriculture's scheme for improving rice growing in Louisiana. The man said: "Yes; but why should the Government be interested in helping the farmers to grow more rice?" He then showed him the 4H Club, the young farmers' organisation. Again the Minister for Agriculture asked: "But why should the farmers be interested in training younger people to be better farmers?" His guide said to me: "If you have that attitude in the Ministry of Agriculture, it is perfectly understandable that this country is not making any progress."
There is another point: in the old-style peasant economy, basically all relations were personal relations, face-to-face relations. But the whole requirement for an industrial society is division of labour among people who are widely separated. I think your Lordships can see in these cases that this involves a very big change in attitude, if a large-scale organisation is to be made to work. It then becomes extremely important that people should follow rules. You get the whole argument developed by these people who have studied industrial organisation—this idea that the requisite for efficiency is de-personalisation of authority; the idea of action according to the law of the total situation—that everyone in the organisation should understand what is needed and should be trying to do it.
You also find (I think this again is important in Government organisation) the idea of loyalty to the organisation, as opposed to loyalty to your family or loyalty to your tribe. This, again, I think I can illustrate very well by 237 Chinese examples. At one time there was a Chinese Finance Minister (and people who knew him have told me that basically he was a very decent man) who quite genuinely believed that his first obligation was to his family, his second to his personal followers, and only third priority was given to the obligations of his position as Minister. They said he was a decent man because if by his standards he recognised he had an obligation to you, he would go to very considerable personal trouble and personal sacrifice to carry it out. But so long as you have this attitude, it is hopeless to expect an effective Government.
The other thing which I think shows very clearly in many of these countries is that you may get very great problems if you have a Government in which the rulers have vested interests which would be clearly upset by economic progress. I have heard this discussed in several cases. There have been some interesting studies of the Indonesian Government, showing that what has happened there is that, on the whole, the requirement for being in power is to have taken part in the action against the Dutch. There are quite a number of technically competent people who, if they were given control, could improve the economic situation very greatly, but it is perfectly clear that if the competent people were allowed more power, the rulers, whose qualification derives simply from their revolutionary past, would lose power.
I think in this situation you have to face the fact that you might have a situation in which, until you change the rulers, you cannot get anywhere. I think the other rather important need for change relates to this whole idea of the superiority of clerical work. This is very strong in some of the Far Eastern traditions and also, I think, in some other areas. Until you have the idea that a person who is prepared to get down and work with his hands may be as good as the man who sits in an office and uses a pen, you cannot make progress. I think one can see also interesting developments in the way in which you get into difficulties if you start to have impossibly high standards. I can illustrate this again by a Chinese example. At one time they had some 238 extremely good medical schools turning out very highly trained doctors. The complaint during the war was that these doctors were no good in the country. If they went into the country, they would throw up their hands in horror and say," We have no apparatus; we cannot do anything." This is one of the things in which the present Peking Government have acted very sensibly. At one time they said to themselves," We know that in the countryside about three-quarters or more of all deaths from disease are from about four pretty common diseases. Therefore, we will simply train people in the diagnosis and treatment of those four most common diseases and send them out." Admittedly, these people were not good doctors, but from the point of view of the ordinary Chinese peasants their choice was between having a man who could treat the diseases they were likely to get, and having no medical treatment available at all. It seems to me that this is the kind of problem that has to be faced.
The final point I should like to make is that, if we look at the reaction in underdeveloped countries, I think we see a curious dichotomy between some countries which are facing their problems and taking rational action, and other countries where problems arise from what might be called a neurotic reaction. An extreme example of this occurs in the New Guinea area, where there is the phenomenon known as" cargo cults" . These very backward, almost Stone Age natives, start with the idea that manufactured goods cannot possibly be of human origin; they are too wonderful for any man to make; they are gifts from the gods. They say," Yes, the white man has some kind of monopoly of contact with the gods. If we do the proper religious ceremonies, then the gods will start sending manufactured goods to us. Ships will turn up with cargoes of all the wonderful things the white man now monopolises." It seems obvious, so long as people believe that—they might quite genuinely want development but, so long as they think they can get development by carrying out ceremonies to get cargoes of manufactured goods of divine origin, their procedures are bound to be futile.
This is an extreme case, but I feel that a good many countries are in rather this 239 kind of state. They hold the view that economic development is something which ought to happen, and if it is not happening this means they are being exploited. There is this immense emphasis on prestige industries, and I think what we have to face is that this may end in an extremely dangerous kind of blind alley, because the kind of development which is apt to take place in this case brings about a situation in which the official class becomes the new privileged ruling group which very strongly resists any measures which would destroy its powers. Here I think one of the things which need to be made clear is that an essential condition, certainly for democracy, and, I think, also for efficiency, is that there should be some kind of freedom of criticism of the Government; officials should be forced to give a rational explanation for their actions to an informed public.
I found this kind of thing was recognised by the founders of Communism. I found a very interesting quotation in a letter from Engels to Bebel in which he criticises the Gotha programme of the German Social Democratic Party because it did not include what he called the first condition of all freedom, that all functionaries should be responsible for all their official acts to every citizen before the ordinary courts and according to the common law. I think we can see very clearly how badly things can go wrong if you once get a situation in which officials are not responsive to popular control.
I remember one very interesting instance of this. The Chinese Government produced a new marriage Act which was basically a very sound law. One provision of this Act forbade marriages arranged by the parents against the wishes of the parties concerned. After the Act had been in force for about a year, they sent round an investigating commission to see how it was working. They found that in some areas the local officials had interpreted this retroactively, though in many cases marriages arranged by the parents had turned out quite happily. But the local officials had said to them," Your marriage was arranged by your parents. You must get divorced". This was not intended, and the people at the top never dreamt of this happening. But simply because the situation was such that the ordinary citizen could not say to an an official, 240 "You are acting ultra vires; I refuse to obey you", things could go hopelessly wrong.
It seems to me that what we can do in all this is to say that there are a number of questions which we have to ask about the situations in any of these countries. Do the Government allow and encourage initiative? Secondly, are there vested interests which must be overcome before development is possible and, if so, what is being done to overcome them? Thirdly, do the Government's plans add up to something possible, or are they bound to end in frustration? Do the Government allow discussion and criticism? Is there something equivalent to the rule of law? Is the right kind of training being given to technical personnel? One could add a number of other similar questions. If the answer to most of these questions is in the affirmative, one would then say," Here is a country which has real potentiality of development, and, given the right economic aid and assistance, it is really going to get somewhere". If the answer to most of these questions is negative, as indeed it is with some countries, one would then have to say," Here, unfortunately, is a country in which, until there is some change in the attitude of mind of the rulers, no amount of aid will help" . My feeling is that until people get down to this kind of, in a sense, sociological or cultural question, a great deal of the attempt to solve the problem of underdeveloped countries by purely economic and technical means will result in wasted effort.
§ 5.0 p.m.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
My Lords, it is my privilege, on your Lordships' behalf, to congratulate warmly the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker, on his maiden speech. I do so with the more pleasure because I held his father in very great regard from the time when he told me what he thought of me for making too much noise in the quadrangle, to the time some years later when he told me what he thought of the Socialist Government after the war.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
We welcome the noble Lord also for himself. 241 He speaks from wide experience of service in the academic field in Washington and Australia, and not only in the academic but also in the military field in China. The breadth and wisdom of his remarks to-day will, I am sure, make us all hope that he will come frequently to our House and speak to us on many occasions in the future.
My Lords, we are always indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for raising these broad subjects of foreign affairs, but I think if we add together, step-by-step, the statistics which the noble Lord gave at one time we shall find they produce almost so depressing a picture that one thinks one is facing something impossible. Therefore, I was the more glad to hear the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, who speaks with such great authority, saying—and I cordially agree with him—that this is not a subject from which we can disengage. We have far too much at stake and we have too close an association with many parts of the world. But even if one did feel inclined to disengage, one would find, I believe, the basic report on which the Geneva Conference proceeded towards a new trade policy in development, an extremely encouraging one.
It is a very remarkable achievement of the United Nations officials to put together a document which may be said broadly to cover the aspirations and problems of so many different countries of the world. Indeed, I think it is very good for us, who spend a great deal of our time criticising our own economy, to look at this book and see how relatively small are our problems here compared with those which are faced on the much wider canvas outside. We can take a good deal of pleasure from the relative pavan of praise which is expressed for our economic system, not only the one which we ran here at the time when we were said to be the dynamic centre of the world, the element of free trade enabling us to trade with lesser developed parts of the world, but the one of the present day when we are still buying more manufacture from developing countries than the whole of the European Economic Community. So I think we can take some satisfaction from that.
My Lords, if I may say what the problem is to-day relatively in one sentence, it is that the world we live in is a world of nations and nationalism, and the prob- 242 lem is how to get a broad policy of international co-operation in trade, finance and technology in such a world. With all respect to the right reverend Prelate, I do not think it is any good asking people just to think internationally. As the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker, said, people to-day have not even begun to think nationally; they are still thinking in terms of their family, their tribe and their locality. Most political leaders are anxious to-day to try to get the people of their country thinking nationally. That is the stage they are trying to reach. It is no use pretending the world should be run by something else. The national organisation of the world as a political basis of a territorial administration is bound to continue. Our task must be to try to make national organisations begin to think in terms of international co-operation.
I enjoyed very much the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, with which I entirely agree. I hope we do not look at this problem too narrowly in terms of cash and the supply of money. I do not underestimate its importance; it is an essential element of demand in every part of the world. Indeed, I should particularly like to comment on two bodies which I found extremely useful; the International Bank, which has already been referred to, and the C.D.C., with which the noble Lord is very closely associated. Both play a special part in South-East Asia, particularly with the British territories with which it was concerned. First of all, they made competent surveys and, thereafter, managed the organisations properly; and, secondly, they imposed an economic discipline which is not always very readily accepted by inexperienced countries. Indeed it is sometimes felt that economics is a science developed by Europeans in order to continue their supremacy. But these bodies, I think, succeeded in obtaining a large measure of confidence because they were not in any sense capitalist organisations—and every country suffers from time to time from the sort of troubles we have had in the recent Rootes-Chrysler agreement, because every country is exceedingly sensitive at the idea that its assets are being sold to a foreign interest.
There are two spheres I should like to mention where I believe we can make 243 a very special contribution. The first is that of stability in those parts of the world where we have special responsibility. If I may take an example to the contrary, one of the biggest schemes undertaken by the United Nations is the control of the waters of the Mekong River, that tremendous and beautiful river running right up into China through troubled Vietnam and Laos on the way. The development of that scheme has already been held up and will continue to be held up until some peace and quiet is brought into the area.
We have certain areas where we carry similar responsibility. Some are called, erroneously, British bases. I do not think they are British bases any longer; they are merely areas where we are undertaking certain responsibilities with the people who live there. Malaysia is a splendid example of just that. Here is a country whose Government is based on universal adult suffrage, with a steadily developing economy, probably the highest standard of living in Asia, who willingly sent a brigade to take part in the operations in the Congo. I would add Singapore to that, a country which, without any indigenous resources, has shown what a vigorous people, whether Asian or European, can do in an atmosphere and framework of free trade. All this accords exactly with what the Development Decade intends; yet the neighbouring Government of Indonesia has declared its intention to crush this very development, an action which is wholly contrary to the principles of Bandung, of Pansheila, as developed in India, the principles of the United Nations or, indeed, anything under the Colombo Plan. I think that this is a sphere where we have the clearest possible duty in full accord with the Development Decade principles.
I have a further point. May I refer to page 25 of the United Nations Development Decade book, which says that:Educated and trained people are always the chief, and in the longer run, the only, agents of development.I believe that this is a sphere in which we can do more. I am fully aware—we have heard the subject discussed in this House on more than one occasion—of the shortage of teachers in this country 244 and of the grossly over-sized classes which we have here. I believe that a teacher abroad in many cases can make a bigger contribution than he can in this country. There is in almost all countries of the world, not least in countries of the Commonwealth, a crying demand for English teachers. Indeed, if we do not send sufficient teachers, I think we may get a generation who will have learnt English from those hardly able to speak the language. It may develop into something like Creole in its relation to the French language. I think that we should leave nothing undone which could help towards making English the universal or world medium of communication.
May I give one example to show how this stands? There are to-day, I believe, in the University of Singapore some six or seven vacancies in the law faculty alone, of which one at least is a professorship. I consider it is a reflection on the legal profession that these appointments cannot be filled. Here we have, I believe, a graduate of Harvard teaching English law. I have no doubt he is doing it very competently, but I think it is regrettable.
I should like to see a much closer link between teaching in this country and teaching abroad. What are the problems? The first problem is that if you take an appointment abroad you have difficulty in getting back. Secondly, you lose seniority, and thirdly, there is the problem of no pension fund. I believe it would not be asking too much of the educational authorities in this country to try to overcome these difficulties; because this is an essential element. If we are going to make progress it must be balanced progress, and if it is not balanced progress I do not believe it will last. I would add this, too: I believe that teachers who had been overseas for a period would come back much richer and more competent to carry out their duties in this country.
The United Nations calls the schemes put forward here an act of faith. I would put them much higher than that; I would say they are a necessity. Just as we have been able to advance from that stage described by Disraeli as two nations, so I am quite certain that in the next decade or the next century we must move from two worlds to something approximating one world. This is the 245 only way in which this can evolve broadly on a basis acceptable to people who think in the way we do.
§ 5.12 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I am happy to be the first from these Benches to have the privilege of congratulating very sincerely the two noble Lords who have made their maiden speeches. We have had to wait a very long time for both of them: I think something like five years for my noble friend Lord Lindsay of Birker, and four years for the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, but they have certainly been worth waiting for. It has made us realise how much we have missed because they have not seen fit to speak before this. It has been—I will not say refreshing, because it is not unusual, but extremely gratifying to listen to two speeches coming from noble Lords who have such very wide and extensive personal experience of these problems and have given them so much thought of a very original and constructive kind.
Throughout this debate, which has been an extremely interesting one, the accent has been, as it rightly should be, on what can be done, what should be done, for the poor countries of the world. What it adds up to, in fact, is that the people in the rich countries—that is, ourselves among others—must help financially and must help with manpower in one way or another. That must entail some form of sacrifice; we must give up something which otherwise we should be enjoying ourselves. I think it is worth while just to underline some of the reasons, not exhaustively, why people in this country should make this sacrifice, however great or however small it may eventually turn out to be. First of all (my noble friend Lord Henderson touched on this in his very admirable speech), one reason, perhaps the basic reason, why we should do this is simply the reason of fear. If we allow the rich countries to continue to get richer and the poor countries, if not to get poorer at any rate not to become richer faster, if we allow the gap between the rich and poor countries to go on widening instead of narrowing rapidly, such tension will be generated that it will be impossible to preserve world peace.
Some 150 years ago, or rather more, people in Europe, in France, realised 246 the effects of allowing great discrepancies between poverty and riches to exist side by side and it culminated in the French Revolution. During the years which followed that outburst people in the other countries came to realise the danger that they were running. Disraeli in his Two Nations drew our attention to it, as did many others. And, as a result of this, steps were taken to close the gap between rich and poor in this country, and to some extent we have succeeded. But to-day the distances between Africa and Asia, on the one hand, and Europe and North America, on the other, are no greater than were the distances between the rich living in their parks and their chateaux and the poor living in their hamlets and slums, and the danger to-day is just as great.
May I give just one figure to bring this home to people? The average income per head per annum of the people of Tanganyika and Pakistan is in the neighbourhood of £20. The average income per head per annum in this country is £500; in the United States it is £1,000. As long as these discrepancies exist we cannot expect to live in a permanently peaceful and secure world. Hungry people are dangerous people, and it is up to us, if only for self-interest, to see that this present state of affairs is made better.
Then there is a second reason why it is in our interests to make things better, and that is a purely business reason. Poor people are not good customers; rich people are good customers. If we want to find growing markets for our own factories, the thing to do is to help the great mass of the world which to-day wants to buy the things our factories produce but cannot do so because they have not the means to get the money. Let me bring this point home in a small way, but in a more or less personal way, by quoting some figures from one of the Windward Islands, the Island of St. Lucia, which between 1952 and 1960, owing largely to a very great expansion in the banana industry in that one small island with less than 100,000 people in it, increased its exports from banana, sugar and copra, the three main exports, from under £400,000 to £1,125,000—an increase of very nearly 300 per cent. During that same period the purchases in this island went up: motor cars went 247 up from £25,000 to £136,000; fertilisers from £11,000 to £135,000; boots and shoes from £33,000 to £75,000; beer and whisky from £13,000 to £100,000. So where there is an assured market, increased production, increased trade, it is not only to the benefit of the countries that are increasing their production; it is very directly to the benefit of our own manufacturers of motor cars, boots and shoes, fertilisers, beer and whisky and all the rest. That is the second reason why it is in the interest of people in this country to increase the wealth of the poorer countries.
Then there is the third and greatest reason, that of sheer humanity—just because it cannot be right for us, living in our relative affluence, to allow, without our taking any action, hundreds of millions of people in other parts of the world to live in dire poverty. It is difficult to realise what this means in terms of human happiness and suffering when one talks in global figures. But it is worth remembering, perhaps, that anybody who is born to-day in Burma has an expectancy of life of 34 years; that anybody who is born to-day in the United Kingdom has an expectancy of life of 71 years. The infant mortality in British Borneo at the present time is 253 per 1,000; in Pakistan it is 200 per 1,000: in other words, out of every 1,000 children born in those two countries something over 200 are going to die during their infancy. Compare that with this country, where only 26 are going to die. Those are facts of the sort which I believe must be widely known by people in the rich countries of the world, and specifically in this country, if they are to be asked, as they must be asked, by the Government of the country to respond to the need for help.
What are the things we should do? What are we asking people to do to put it right? Many noble Lords have made their suggestions, and admirable they are. I think that, briefly, one can divide those suggestions into three headings. First of all, there is cash. They must have more money. We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, and others, what this country has done, and what it has undertaken to do. I should like to make just one point, and one point only, on this matter. When we talk of the aid that this country is 248 giving to the developing countries of the world, let us be quite sure what we mean, and do not let us give ourselves credit for what we call aid when it is, in fact, nothing more than a commercial transaction.
I am delighted when money is invested by private industry from the United Kingdom in the developing countries. It is good for them; it is good for us. But do not let us call that "aid". After all, if I invest £100 in Imperial Chemical Industries, I may be helping I.C.I., but I cannot pat myself on the back as being a charitable person who is giving £100 to somebody else. I am making a business investment. When private industry in this country invests in overseas countries it is a good thing for both parties, but it is not aid in the normally accepted sense of the word.
My noble friend Lord Henderson referred to some of the figures which the noble Viscount, Lord Blakenham, gave in answer to a Question the other day. The amount of aid now totals £175 million, or approximately two-thirds of 1 per cent. of our total gross national product. I am indebted to the noble Viscount, Lord Blakenham, for providing me with a breakdown of this figure, and from the information which he has kindly given me I see that of that £175 million £89 million, or rather over half, has been given in the form of actual grant, absolutely genuine aid; £6 million has been given at loans at below commercial rates of interest, and therefore there is also an element of aid: and £80 million, or nearly. but not quite half, has been given at commercial rates of interest.
I want to make it quite clear that I am delighted that we are doing anything of this sort, but I think it should be understood by all concerned that that form of assistance is, in fact, not costing us anything, because we are lending money at a commercial rate of interest to a certain group of countries which otherwise we should lend elsewhere at the same rate of interest. So there is no element of charity or aid; it is sound, sensible business. So cash is one of the things which is essential in this whole operation.
Secondly, as I think the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, mentioned in his speech, 249 there are people. Other noble Lords also mentioned this subject. We must send from this country people who know how to teach the crafts and the professions which are so badly needed in the developing countries. This is possibly one of the greatest sacrifices that this country will have to make because, as the noble Earl so rightly said, we are short of teachers and we are short of doctors here. In fact, over half the doctors that we have outside the Metropolitan area came from overseas to help us. We are short of them. But we must realise how great is the need for people from this country, and we must encourage the sending of them overseas.
We must, above all—I bear out strongly what the noble Earl said in this context—ensure that people who go from this country, whether as teachers or as doctors or as young business men, or whatever it may be, do not in any way jeopardise their future careers; that when they come home the extra value which they have acquired through seeing other countries is, in fact, recognised by their employers here, and their promotion is, if anything, quicker because of the service that they have given overseas, instead of being retarded because they have been out of the "rat race" in this country.
But do not let us forget, when we talk of the need for Professional people, teachers, doctors and so on, how great also is the need for craftsmen. In many cases it is far more important to have skilled mechanics, plumbers and electricians, than to have skilled lawyers or even, perhaps, skilled doctors. Without these skilled technicians and craftsmen down on the ground there can be none of the economic, and particularly agricultural, progress for which there is so much need.
Here I should like to emphasise one of the most important points that the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, made in his speech—the importance of agriculture in these countries, and the enormous increase in production which can be made if agriculture is properly organised. In his modesty, the noble Lord did not mention that the schemes which he outlined to us in Johore, Swaziland, Nigeria e nd Kenya were, to a large extent, initiated by the Common- 250 wealth Development Corporation of which he is Chairman. A lot of credit should go to him and to the Corporation for their admirable work.
I should like to bring to your Lordships' notice the effect of having the right sort of people in one quite small scheme which I recently saw in Kenya, the Mwea Valley Irrigation Scheme. There is an area which has already been established, of some 5,000 acres, with a potential, in fact, of 23,000 acres, and already something like 1,300 people have been settled on that scheme. When they started there, the bulk of the settlers were producing under 20 bags of rice a year from their holdings, and only a small fraction were producing over 40 bags. Now there are none whose yields are so low as twenty bags, and approximately 20 per cent. of them are producing well over 40 bags. That improvement has conic about simply because a small nucleus of trained European agriculturists and technicians has made it possible. If that can be done there, what are the possibilities throughout the whole of the underdeveloped countries of the world?
The third point I should like to come to, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, and particularly part of the discussions recently concluded in Geneva, is the need for security of prices and markets for primary products coming from developing areas. Unless the countries which are producing these primary products are assured of markets—and profitable markets—there will be no possibility whatsoever of their improving either their absolute or their relative position. Let us remember that in the previous decade, 1950 to 1960, the price of exports of primary commodities from these developing countries dropped by 15 per cent., so that they would have had to export 15 per cent. more to stay where they were. But even if they had done so, they would not have succeeded, because the price of what they were importing in the form of manufactured goods had risen by 11 per cent.
Therefore it is not simply a question of keeping their prices level. It is a question of the relationship between the price of primary commodities which they export and the manufactured commodities which they import. Simply to keep their prices level, while allowing manufactured goods prices to rise, will continue to accentuate the gap between rich and poor countries. 251 In any commodity arrangements or agreements into which we enter—and I sincerely hope we shall enter into them—this is something that must be borne closely in mind.
The noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, gave a warning when talking about commodity agreements. He said that, much as we might like to pay higher prices for some of these primary products, we must always keep an eye on our own cost of living; that if we were to increase by too much the prices we pay for those primary products from the developing countries, our own cost of living would rise too high. In general terms that is true, but if one looks more carefully at the figures one sees that the danger is not very great. The total amount of aid which we gave last year can be represented as 10 per cent. of our total imports from the developing countries. Therefore, if we were to pay 10 per cent. more for the commodities coming from the developing countries we should be doubling our aid, or doubling the amount of money they receive.
What would be the effect if we were to pay 10 per cent. more? It would not mean, in regard to what is sold in the shops in this country, that our cost of living would rise by 10 per cent.—far from it! A cotton shirt which sells in the shops here for 39s. 11d., or £2, contains half a lb. of raw cotton. The price received by the grower of that raw cotton is 2s. 11d. per 1b., or ls. 6d. per half lb. In other words if the price of the cotton were doubled it would add Is. 6d. to the cost of a £2 shirt. It would add less than 2d. to the price of the shirt if the price of the cotton were increased by 10 per cent. Surely 2d. on a £2 shirt cannot be regarded as a significant factor in the cost of living.
As another example let us take cocoa —a very important commodity for many of the developing countries. A bar of milk chocolate costing 4s. contains less than one ounce of cocoa, for which the grower in Ghana receives ld. per ounce. Therefore, if the price of Ghanaian Cocoa were increased by 10 per cent. the increase in the price of the 4s. bar of chocolate in the shops would be less than a farthing. That is the sort of figure which we must bear in mind when 252 we talk about the effect on the cost of living of having somewhat higher, and stable, prices for the producers of commodities from the developing areas.
My Lords, this has been a valuable and important debate, and the three months' Conference at Geneva has also been valuable and important. But, frankly, I am disturbed both by the tenor of the Minister's speech and by what has come out of Geneva, because throughout there seems to have been far too much smugness about this pressing and urgent problem. These are not things which can be dealt with slowly over the years by resolutions and by expressions of good will and intention. We have seen it happening at the beginning of the Development Decade; we have heard to-day how those expressions of good will have failed, and we are now seeing the gap between rich and poor countries growing wider. We need far more than this self-congratulatory attitude of having come away from the Conference with everybody in agreement. What we must now do—and time is running out—is to put into effect ourselves, where we have freedom of action (and there are many spheres where we still do have such freedom) the things which have been mentioned to-day, so that at least we in this country can say that we are doing all in our power to remove from this world the threat to world peace, the threat to economic progress, and, above all, an affront to decent humanity.
§ 5.37 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLE1GH
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Walston, on his researches into the question of the price of shirts and the effect upon the cotton growers' economy. It is perhaps rather more significant to record that I am wearing, and long have worn, a shirt of artificial fibre. There lies a more significant menace to the prosperity of the developing countries. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, also spoke about chocolate. Well, I would willingly pay a few pence more for my bar of chocolate. Let me remind the noble Lord that two scientists devoted months of arduous labour to discovering why fudge has its own peculiar and delicious taste, and after long efforts they isolated the molecule responsible for that delight. Alas! this is a world problem, 253 as we acknowledge, and it may not be a very long step between that discovery and the production of an artificial molecule of chocolate. That is the real menace to the primary producer, and it is a menace to which we have not, so far, found any answer.
I suppose there is no House of Parliament in the world which could have listened to two such speeches as we have heard from the noble Lords, Lord Howick of Glendale, and the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker. I do not know what opinion the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker, may hold of the hereditary principle, but at least his speech makes us very glad that that principle exists, and. we hope that it will long be maintained. The noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, has practically exhausted the subject of agriculture, so far as Asia and Africa are concerned, and it is natural for us in Europe to think of the underdeveloped countries primarily in terms of those continents. It is, however, desirable that we should also bear in mind the problem of underdevelopment in South America; and here different conditions exist. In Africa and Asia a wise and progressive conservatism is require with regard to the agricultural social system. In parts of South America a very radical measure of land reform is a prerequisite to any emergence into prosperity. I am glad to say that the United Nations in 1961 adopted the following resolutionMeasures for assisting the developing countries at their request to establish well-conceived and integrated country plans, including where appropriate land reforms, should have the approval of the Assembly.In Africa and Asia it will require great firmness of mind to carry out the principles of social stability, which the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, outlined. Socially efficient farming does not necessarily coincide with highest possible productivity. I see real danger in those appeals that are constantly addressed to us about the under-nourishment and high mortality rates in the developing countries. I do not dispute for a moment the distressing facts. It is good that we should be reminded of them from time to time. But those facts must not make us too impatient in our demand for higher productivity, at the expense of the welfare of the agricultural classes.
254 In this country we have had two agricultural revolutions; one in the fifteenth century with the introduction of large-scale sheep farming; the other in the eighteenth century with the Enclosure Acts. Both of those reforms immensely increased the wealth of the country and the efficiency of farming, regarded from a purely economic point of view. Both of those reforms resulted in appalling distress to the agricultural worker. Your Lordships will remember the words of Sir Thomas More when he reviewed the results of sheep farming in his time, and said:Sheep are eating men.Your Lordships need not be reminded of Goldsmith's words:Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.The subject of industry has perhaps received less attention. The Conference has put forward some exceedingly valuable suggestions for the development of industry in the developing countries, which need to be worked out in very great detail. It is obvious that preferential tariffs—preferential tariffs for ten years were suggested by the Secretary-General, Mr. Prebisch—will need to be harmonised with the discussions that are going on in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, will be able to go into any greater detail than he has done regarding the relationship, described as possibly a father-and-son relationship, between GATT and U.N.C.T.A.D., the new United Nations development organisation, but that will require a great deal of thought.
Then we have the great question of what industries can be established in the developing countries, and on what principles we shall act in deciding what industries to support; whether by means of surrender of patents, which has been requested and which seems to me a necessity if industries are to be there at all, or by tariffs or by any other means. The suggestion has been made that the underdeveloped countries should be enabled to set up bicycle factories. One wonders how the interests of Coventry and Birmingham can be reconciled with such a suggestion. On the other hand, it may be that the type 255 of bicycle which the African or Asiatic labourer can afford to buy is widely different from the highly developed and expensive products of our own factories. It may be that such a proposal for manufactures in the developing countries will meet with more objection from the Japanese than from the British.
However, if we are to provide the developing countries with something in the nature of a ready-made industrial revolution, we are surely bound to warn them of what the industrial revolution meant to the workers of this country—fifty years or more of degredation and misery; fifty years or more before there was even a beginning of adequate labour legislation, or before the development of trade unions enabled the workers to protect themselves from exploitation. God forbid, that those conditions should ever be reproduced in Asia or Africa, or for that matter in South America! With that in mind I ask Her Majesty's Government whether consideration has been given to proper liaison between the Trade and Development organisation and the International Labour Organisation? We must surely satisfy ourselves, and satisfy the rulers of the underdeveloped countries also, that their programme of social legislation and their power to enforce that legislation will allow them to undertake industrialisation with due regard to the welfare of their peoples.
I would say a word about the specific United Nations projects, and I would begin by agreeing with the noble Lord, Lord Walston, that it is difficult to be quite satisfied that Her Majesty's Government are really living up to their promise of providing 1 per cent. of the national income. It is a subject on which one requires a good deal more detail and a good many more reassurances. In the past, projects have been largely financed by either America or Russia. Egypt got her great Aswan Dam, at which we all rejoice, by negotiating simultaneously with the two Powers and accepting the prompter Russian offer. But I think that the days in which the capitalist countries and the Communist countries could be played off against one another, are ending. Russian resources are not quite so unlimited as the world would like to believe; and the task of getting appropriations through the Congress of the 256 United States is getting more difficult every year.
The noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, has spoken of the Mekong River project, which is the very type of modern-style development project which could have been undertaken only by the United Nations. Is it not a remarkable fact that Thailand and Cambodia, two States that are engaged in a bitter boundary dispute and, I believe, do not accord diplomatic recognition to each ()other; Laos (whose situation we a[...]il know), and South Vietnam, with all her troubles, are still able to co-operate with the United Nations in planning the Mekong River project? And should it not be a great source of satisfaction to us that the United Nations is now making a survey of the Gambia River bank, providing, perhaps, an economic solution to our great and difficult problem of making Gambia independent and viable, and perhaps contributing to the difficult question of Gambia's relations with the surrounding, former-French territory of Senegal?
Finally, on personal service, I do not know whether Her Majesty's Government care to give us any figures of the number of English people serving in the Voluntary Service Overseas organisation, but I trust that the words of the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, about teachers will receive great attention from the Ministry of Education. In this connection, we might do well to remember what M. Couve de Murville has told us: that next year some 46,000 Frenchmen will be working overseas, of whom three-quarters—that is to say, more than 33,000— will be teachers. That represents no small sacrifice on the part of the educational system of France, which is much in need, as we are, of a larger teaching supply. In view of that sacrifice, we must be careful how we describe France and the other members of the Six as inward-looking or selfish
My Lords, though I have pointed to many of the difficulties in the projects that lie before us, I would not be thought lacking in zeal for the cause which unites us to-day; and I would end by quoting from the late Pope John XXIII in his Encyclical entitled, The Mother and Teacher:Necessity, therefore, and Justice demand that all such technical and financial aid be 257 given in a sincere spirit of political disinterestedness. It must be given for the sole purpose of helping the underdeveloped nations to achieve their own economic and social growth. If this car be achieved, then a precious contribution will have been made to the formation of a world community, in which each individual nation, conscious of its rights and duties, can work on terms of equality with the rest for the attainment of universal prosperity.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ LORD SANDYS
My Lords, I should like to express our debt of gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for putting down this Motion that we have before us this afternoon, and in particular for persevering with it, if I may say so, for very many months until today. This long period of gestation (if I may call it that) has had its advantages, judging by the two very notable maiden speeches by the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, and the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker. It is a very significant feature of this House that, alongside these two very great experts, such a layman as myself is permitted to speak. I count that a great privilege.
The purpose of labelling the 'sixties as a Development Decade is often misunderstood, I think, in the public mind. We have perhaps had too many crusades: World Refugee Year, the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, and next year is to be International Co-operation Year. It would be misleading to say these are fund-raising campaigns, in the sense that the last one, International Co-operation Year, has not, as far as I know, a specific fund-raising activity. Each of the campaigns has led from one to another, and from our fight against famine we shall emerge to redouble our efforts against the complete poverty cycle of hunger, ignorance and disease for the rest of the Development Decade.
I should like to emphasise the part which the Commonwealth is playing in this great endeavour. It is easy, of course, for a layman to hold before you three especially interesting and very dramatic developments which have taken place during the 'sixties: the opening of the St. Lawrence Sea way by Her Majesty the Queen; the closing (perhaps that is the right word) of the great Kariba Dam by Her Majesty the Queen Mother; and, more recently, the inauguration of COMPAC, the Commonwealth Pacific Cable by which Commonwealth communications will be so very much 258 improved. But, in a sense, these are all inward-looking developments, and for that reason I should like to draw your Lordships' attention to the enormous success of the Colombo Plan. As is very well known, when the Plan was set up in 1950 the Commonwealth formed a basis with which the majority of countries in South-East Asia have since become associated.
Phrases such as "technical co-operation" are apt to be rather glib and fall easily from the tongue. What does this mean in relation to the Colombo Plan? For example, the Government of Australia has awarded over 4,270 scholarships, and has enabled 15,000 others under private arrangements to take place in the field of education, in communications, in veterinary science and in very many professions. The Colombo Plan makes it possible for a Filipino to study printing in New Zealand, a Malaysian girl to train as a nurse in Australia or for an Indian student to become an engineer in Canada. These are only a very few examples. At the same time, the Commonwealth Development Corporation, in which the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, has played a great part, itself has an increasingly important part in financing the development of Commonwealth resources and in enabling the economy to stand on its own feet. There are many beneficial side effects, particularly in the field of employment. Over and over again we refer back to the very simple phrase in U Thant's Report on the Development Decade when he said:Development is not just economic growth: it is growth plus change.Growth, of course, takes place naturally of its own accord; but change must be carefully planned.
I feel at this juncture that it might be helpful if we look a little further afield to the Communist countries to see what has been taking place and where planning has taken on the nightmare quality of George Orwell's dream in Animal Farm. Here the regimentation of Sino-Soviet agriculture has fallen down. Politicians thought that the farm workers would exercise a great deal of zeal for the benefit of the collective State farms. However, now they know better; they have introduced a greater latitude and material 259 incentives. But the biggest blunder of Soviet policy in the agricultural field has been the virgin land fiasco where a vast area of some 600,000 square kilometres was cleared for grain production. Between 1956 and 1963 there was a short-lived success, but now the whole project has been abandoned. Both Russia and China last year were obliged to purchase grain from North America. Those countries who rely on Soviet technical assistance would be well advised to feel some uncertainty.
The noble Earl, Lord Iddesleigh, referred in particular to the joy that we should feel at the success of the Aswan high dam. With great respect, I would not share his joy over that because I read recently an article in the New Scientist, by Professor L. Dudley Stamp, in which he writes:It is scarcely too much to suggest that the Aswan high dam is a tragedy, not because of the monuments of the past doomed to be covered by water but because it is out of date before it is begun. Much of the water brought by the Nile is already lost by evaporation: more will be lost by the huge reservoir—perhaps 50–60 per cent. It should have been brought by pipe-line from the source mountains:The article then goes on to say that in that case the loss by evaporation would be negligible and at the same time there would be perfect control. The high dam has, of course, become a symbol in Africa; but the image, in my humble estimation, is far in excess of its practical value because the marvellous red mud with its very fertile property which has for thousands of years during the Nile flood season flowed over the valley and banks will now be trapped behind an immense wall. It will choke the reservoir and will perform no useful activity whatsoever.
Finally, I should like in this context to recall the words of Sir John Russell who devoted his whole life to improvement of food production and soil fertility and was a director of the Rothamstead Research Centre some years ago. He said at a conference which began at the outset of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign:We are often accused of exploitation, of colonialism and divers other evils and, lacking the Russian gift for propaganda, we get little credit for our very considerable efforts. But we must not be deterred. We believe ours is the right way and it is our duty to follow it.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ BARONESS GAITSKELL
My Lords, I have been struck in this debate by the amount of agreement on both sides, and though this is very welcome on a subject like this it obviously makes things a little difficult for someone who speaks rather late in the debate; and I hope that I shall not just repeat all the ideas already put forward.
The significant thing about the United Nations development proposals for the Decade is that they concentrate on the targets for 1970, and when we examine these targets we find that they are really minimal for any progress. Setting a target is merely flying a kite; it is not the same as running up a flag when you have reached a goal. The experience of India in the last fifteen years makes this only too clear. India has more people than Africa and Latin America put together. It receives more aid than any other country from both East and West. Yet its third Five Year Plan almost floundered because of the runaway inflation of population and the defence costs it had. If Indian efforts for economic growth and social change collapse, the world fight against poverty is half lost.
Nevertheless, stated targets are important for spreading the gospel of international co-operation. I think that problems of developing countries should now be part of the curriculum of our schools and universities, so that we become aware of the urgency of these problems early in life. This applies also to the developing nations, because ultimately they have to exercise discipline and make sacrifices for their own advancement, and it is not easy for them to accept austerity on top of poverty without understanding the reasons for it. It is important to get public understanding, support and enthusiasm built up in preparation for action.
My Lords, for too long aid has been equated with charity; but to-day more people are beginning to realise that world stability will continue to be threatened so long as world prosperity is so lopsided. There are hundreds of organisations in Britain which provide facilities, of one kind or another, for development activities. Some are Government-sponsored; some have Government 261 grants and some are private and commercial. They do valuable work in order to speed development; but it is still the case that not enough research and planning are undertaken to get the best results from cur aid. Money is not the only answer. We have come to a point when we have to give what we ourselves are short of: teachers, technicians, engineers. And all the "know-how" of the highly industrialised society is now necessary for export. The whole conception of aid has become so far-reaching that many of us will agree with the Leader of the Opposition, who in another place on February 6 called for a full-scale Ministry of Overseas Development, under a Minister of Cabinet rank, to take full responsibility in the United Nations and to work with the voluntary organisations in this country.
Aid has been wasted and misused for lack of research into the needs of the poorer countries, each at a different stage of development. Political emancipation does not usually coincide with economic emancipation. I think that this is what people usually mean, when they say that a country is not ready for independence. So we find that there is no real forward movement in the African standard of living in the first third of the Development Decade and, in spite of the high-sounding Latin America Alliance for Progress, progress is not very evident there. Moreover, in this campaign against world poverty the longer the campaign, the greater the chance of losing the battle. To economise on aid in the short run may prove disastrous in the long run. The richer countries, however, cannot meet all the needs of the developing nations, because a century's progress has to be compressed into a decade. It is a vicious circle. Aid without trade is unsatisfactory, but trade without aid is often not possible. When we learn that exports from the developing countries represented four or five times as much as all the forms of aid they receive, we can see how vital it is to promote trade. It is in this context that a little Government mistake of £300 million lost on missiles, started and not completed, seems tragic. In fact, a further breakthrough in all-round disarmament would go a long way to solve the many problems of aid.
Britain is a major donor of aid. In 1962–63 we gave £148 million—and this 262 total does not include technical knowledge, skills, educations and training. Total assistance to-day is up to £175 million. But an item of information I received this morning from the Overseas Development Institute points to one disquieting factor in these figures: they show a strong rise in the total of loans at commercial rates of interest, but a fall in financial grants. These loans often fall hard on the newly independent Commonwealth countries. We used to help the Commonwealth countries mainly by grant-aids, and these better reflected their needs. Many harsh things have been said about our colonialism, but it has left us with a tradition of service overseas which is still of great value. Britain is not at the top of the list of donors of aid, but we are lavish with educational facilities for overseas students—8 per cent. of university and 9 per cent. of technical college places go to them. Yet the 0.6 per cent. of our gross national product that we contribute could be stepped up. When we remember that in Africa and Asia over 80 per cent. of the population over the age of fifteen is illiterate, we realise that the £25 million which we give for education has to go a very long way.
The World Conference on Trade and Development has just ended at Geneva. We all welcome its outcome. Mr. Heath, the Secretary of State, has commented:This has been the largest and most important conference held on international economic relations. Its outcome will influence the course of world affairs, political as well as economic, for a long time.These are large claims—or perhaps the Secretary of State is back to his usual dazzling, optimistic form. At any rate, some of us will be forgiven if we take his remarks with a modicum of reserve. The White Paper on the Conference has not yet been published and we can judge the results only from Press comments. These would not appear to be quite so rosy as the Secretary of State's remarks would imply. The achievements are listed, and among them are the promise by the richer countries to devote 1 per cent. of their gross national product for aid. This is becoming rather an ageing and familiar suggestion. Then there is a promise of more money to various United Nations finance organisations, but with no figure given; and a resolution was passed to study the debt 263 burdens of the poorer countries. None of these things, my Lords, sound to me like "action stations!".
But there were new aspects of this Conference which were very heartening and bode well for the future. There was a new unity among the poorer nations, so that they can present a solid front during negotiations. But the most encouraging thing was that the present delegations from the developing countries were at last a match for the best delegates from the industrialised countries. This will give them a chance to extract more imaginative aid policies, and also make them look at themselves and show a more realistic approach to their own problems. It is their contribution which seems to me to stand out from this Conference.
Finally, I want again to stress the importance of an informed public opinion, which can strengthen the will and moral obligation of the richer nations to help the poorer ones. To-day, we talk freely of such things as population explosions and nuclear explosions; but the greatest explosion of them all is the communication explosion. In 1937, few people in this country had heard of Czechoslovakia, and fewer people could spell it. To-day, television is a mine of general knowledge. The spear-throwing native of Central Africa is as familiar a figure on our television screens as the gun-carrying native of Dallas, in America. We get instant pictures of poverty in India and elsewhere. The imagination is not starved by ignorance; it is stimulated continuously. Every day we are shown the urgency of all the problems of the developing countries to obtain a greater share of world prosperity from the miracles that science can bring about to-day.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, we are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for the opportunity of debating this Motion to-day. The noble Lord's Motion has been amongst the "top Ten" for many weeks now, but we find ourselves discussing it opportunely at the end of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and on the eve of the meeting of Prime 264 Ministers from the Commonwealth, to which most of our aid efforts are very properly directed. We are discussing interdependence and partnership, and not, as the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, has reminded us, any sort of confrontation between the developed and the developing countries, nor, thank good-ness, any sort of disengagement from our Commonwealth responsibilities.
The terms "partnership" and "partnership development" are the words to describe the relationship between the industrialised countries of Europe and North America and the less developed countries of South-East Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the past, the relations between these two sets of countries were very different and took many different forms. We disregard this past history at our peril. These countries originally and historically have been for us fields of discovery and exploration; fields for military conquests and adventure; fields for commercial exploitation and enterprise; and also fields for missionary endeavour. This very chequered history in our relationship makes it all the more necessary for us now to be quite clear about our newest and, I would hope, better relationship, the relationship of partnership in development.
However, we do not want this new partnership in development to grow out of a muddle of all our past attitudes, but to be built up out of a clear policy, deliberately set out; a policy that is consistently applied, and one that is publicly supported. I do not believe at the moment that any of these three conditions really applies. We have not a clearly set out policy; our policy is not being consistently applied, and it is not being publicly supported as it could be. This is a point already made by the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester, and I hope it will be taken by Her Majesty's Government.
One essential element, as has been said already several times in this debate, in our partnership with the developing countries is that we should aid them financially. I must confess that I share the doubts already expressed by several noble Lords who feel that our financial aid towards development is insufficient. it is neither a match for our capacity nor a match for our duty. In the 265 Government's own popular report on Aid, issued earlier this year, our contribution is put in the terms of being £3 per head per annum. Using this same crude sort of figure for comparison and argument, I think it is true to say, as the noble Lord, Lord Walston, has already said, that our annual income per head per annum is of the order of £500. Of this, we contribute through taxes something rather over £3 per head; but, at the same time and in the same terms, we spend £20 to £25 per head per annum on cigarettes and tobacco. If that is so, can we possibly be satisfied that £3 per head per annum towards development in this Development Decade, this intense phase, is a worthy recognition of its vital importance? I know that there are difficulties, but I do not believe it is sufficient just to cite our balance-of-payments problem. I do not think that disposes of the possibility of increasing this £3 to £3½ per head per annum to something more worthy of us.
Like the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, I was interested to see in the Report issued yesterday by the Overseas Development Institute, and published in The Times this morning, an analysis of what is headlined as British aid reaching an all- record. According to that analysis, it is true that we have invested more overseas; we have provided more in technical assistance; and we have given more in terms of our support of multilateral schemes. But we have given less. Obscured in that overall figure of £175 million in aid, which is a good figure and increase, is the fact that we have actually given less in bilateral grants. If we go on like this we shall just shift these developing countries from independence into indebtedness. There was a time when we perhaps deserved to be called by Napoleon a nation of shopkeepers—and I do not mind that very much; but we must be careful not to deserve the charge of being called a nation of money-lenders.
I turn now from financial aid to what I think the French rather nicely call "intellectual aid". It is only France that has more people working and teaching in the developing countries than we have provided from this country; and I do not think any other country has so many students from the developing countries as we have receiving intellectual aid in our country. This is excellent. I 266 believe, also, that, despite occasional taunts from members of the Party opposite that the Conservative Party does not really take the United Nations seriously, it is true that Britain has more experts working in the field in United Nations schemes aiding development than any other country. As the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, said the proportion of places available for students in higher education in Great Braitain is something of the order of 10 per cent., and many times greater than the proportion of places made available for the purpose in the United States.
All this is, I think, excellent. But there is much more to it than meets the eye. I can illustrate this with a small example that came my way the other day. I was commending the care of overseas students in a sermon to a congregation in our parish church. Afterwards a Nigerian lady came up to me and introduced herself as a research student working at the plant pathology laboratories at Rothamstead Research Station. She said, "I was interested in your sermon. Thank you very much for it. But do you think the village church could provide a temporary foster mother for my baby?" Such are the demands of the Development Decade and the ramifications of technical assistance.
But the acquisition and the imparting of knowledge is not enough in this Decade. We have the duty to see that this knowledge, when it has been passed on, is applied. I would illustrate the problem here with another example. Due to the recent Freedom from Hunger Campaign my town is now linked with a diocese in Barrackpore, Bengal, where, as a result of that campaign, there are about 50 or 60 small separate development projects under way. There is one which requires the services of a single doctor in a small village hospital serving a wide village area. There is a young Indian doctor, a native of the area, fluent in the local language, a graduate of the local Christian mission school and qualified as a doctor, available to fill that post, but on grounds of social status his wife is reluctant for him to go and work there. So development on this particular project hinges upon overcoming a personal and social attitude, thus illustrating again what the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker, was saying about the 267 importance of understanding and dealing with these attitudes. Without that doctor in that position the intellectual aid which he has had will not be put to its best use, and the other development projects that are waiting to go ahead in the whole of that village area will be held back and, to some extent, frustrated by disease among people there which otherwise could be dealt with. So much for what I want to say about the intellectual side.
My right honourable friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation, in a recent White Paper, has stressed the need to transfer knowledge and understanding on a vast scale. But it is also necessary to apply it, and I believe he was quite right when he said in the White Paper (Cmnd. 2287), in February of this year:The greatest challenge is presented to us by the need to impart and apply the knowledge which we have in the field of peasant agriculture.I was only too glad to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, had to say, from his wide experience on this subject. But I should like to add one or two points about one particular aspect. It is not, of course, new that people have seen (as the noble Lord said President Nyerere had seen, or Dr. Sen, of the F.A.O. had seen) that it is in agriculture that the first foundations of development must be made. This has been seen for some time. In the 'twenties, when the Christian mission stations were leading in the field of education in developing countries overseas, there were many who were preaching the need to gear a great deal of the education in those countries to the practical needs of the peasant farmer and the rural community in which he lived. But that advice was not taken then; nor was it vigorously put into practice, though it was true to say that in the 'fifties the Churches, for instance, in South America, had more people in the field in this kind of work than had the American Government.
May I re-emphasise two of the points already cited this afternoon that we need to have in the back of our minds when considering the importance of agriculture? Three-quarters of the population in the developing countries are still engaged in farming, and of the whole population throughout the world 268 engaged in farming about four-fifths of their effort is still applied to their work through hand tools, or through tools drawn by animals. We are, as Mr. Nyerere is reported to have said, only too prone to forget how far back we must go in order to help many of these countries. The peasant agriculture is really peasant—hand tools, animal-drawn tools, and little farmers who on average farm something of the average of five to ten acres. It is facts like these which we must not lose sight of in helping in the development of these countries.
It is for this reason that I should like to commend the attention of your Lordships to work now being taken in hand by our own National Institute of Agricultural Engineering which is situated at Silsoe in Bedfordshire. Some of their work is reported on in one of the latest White Papers from the Department of Technical Co-operation, and among other things there has been the appointment of an overseas liaison unit from the Department of Technical Co-operation in charge of a man by the name of Mr. Noel Garrard. Mr. Garrard's gospel takes the form of simple, elementary, farming equipment, which has been specially designed for peasant farmers who have very little knowledge even of a wheel, let alone an internal combustion engine, and equipment which, when properly applied and employed, in the hands of peasant farmers has a fair chance of really redeeming their lives and the lives of their families.
This work is in a very early stage, but it is beyond the stage of being a dream. I am told that there are already over 400 midget threshing machines busy threshing rice in Malaya. There are at present about 70 tools designed to be drawn by animals which been proved in the Gambia and are now being standardised to a certain pattern for full application there. There is another hand-operated tool designed to transplant rice in those parts of the world where it is essential to get two crops off the same piece of ground which, when it has been constructed at the proper price, will enable work to be done by three people which previously took about thirty—the work of transplanting an acre of rice a day.
Strangely enough—and noble Lords will correct me if I am wrong on this— 269 it appears that, apart from a small amount of equipment designed by the French, and used chiefly in what were their Colonies in North Africa, there is very little else of this equipment being produced elsewhere for peasant farmers to use themselves. The intention at Silsoe is that this equipment should be so designed as to be within the purchasing power of an individual farmer. If and where they succeed—and they have succeeded in Malaya—in producing this equipment at a reasonable price, where it is used the demand for it will eventually be prodigious. But, by the nature of the problem, it is not sufficient to manufacture it in this country and then put it on the market in the ordinary way. It will have to be personally introduced to the people who are to use it and demonstrated to other farmers, and arrangements will have to be made for it to be assembled and eventually manufactured in the place where it is to be used.
The particular tool which has been proved in the Gambia is occupying the full-time attention of one of the National Institutes' six technical assistants. If the possibilities of this sort of machine are to be exploited, a considerable increase of manpower and technical skill will have to be arranged somehow. I should have thought it would be feasible to use, in an auxiliary capacity, the services of volunteers under the V.S.O. This does not require the graduate volunteer who, as the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, has said, is in such desperate need for teaching, but it does require men of strong practical ability, resource and initiative, who can go abroad with this equipment and with the technical expert needed to exploit it, and who can remain with it and see it put to proper use. This requires good craftsmen, men of the sort of calibre whom we do not see at the moment sufficiently in the ranks of V.S.O. I should have thought they would have a great deal to contribute in this particular rôle in this sphere of development of agriculture.
To get men for this sort of work overseas requires somebody to sow the seeds, to foster vocations of this sort of service in our schools at a fairly early stage; and here I find myself very much in agreement with the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell. I think it also requires a good deal of spadework 270 to ensure that, when the need for craftsmen of this kind has been stated from overseas, it is possible to release them from their apprenticeships or jobs in such a way that they have no fear of not being reinstated when they come home from their period of voluntary service.
This brings me to my last point, which is the need to engage more public support for this developing work. I think it is true to say, as the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester has already said, that the great majority of our people are favourably disposed towards helping developing countries. But if this is so—and I believe it to be so—it is chiefly to the credit of work by agencies outside the Government, by Freedom from Hunger Committees, Christian Aid Committees, Publicity Campaigns of OXFAM, the work of the United Nations Association and the like.
But, my Lords, as has already been said, to be favourably disposed towards helping the developing countries is simply not enough. There is need for far more people to be far more clear about the aims of the Development Decade, to be much more clear about the objectives which we have set ourselves in this country, to be more clear about the specific needs of certain parts of the developing world and much nearer to understanding what it is that they individually can do about it.
I do not believe that the occasional issue of White Papers from the Government does anything very much to widen the circle of public interest. These Papers are read by the people who are already interested. The issue a few weeks ago of a popular Report on aid may have helped a little, but something much more imaginative is certainly required; and I think we owe a debt of gratitude, for instance, to the Overseas Development Institute for the work they are doing to clarify and highlight some of the problems of this Decade. I think they would be very much helped if a more positive lead and rather clearer guidance could come from Her Majesty's Government.
On this business of encouraging public support I have a few suggestions to make, none of them very original or dramatic. I should like to see, as I think the right reverend Prelate, the 271 Lord Bishop of Chichester, has already said he does also, an extension of the system of linking or twinning towns in this country with towns or areas abroad, so that, for instance, a university in this country can feel a measure of responsibility for some area or district in Africa. This sort of thing has been done to achieve a reconciliation between this country and Germany following the war; all sorts of towns in this country link with towns in Germany. I do not see why this could not be done to foster development between the richer countries on the one hand and the poorer African, Asian and Latin-American countries on the other.
Would it be possible for the noble Lord who replies for the Government in this debate to say whether the Government have any scheme in mind for publicising the plans and the work of the Government in support of this Development Decade, in particular for fostering vocations for service overseas in our schools through, perhaps, the Youth Employment Offices? Could the Government do more to encourage the voluntary agencies like OXFAM and Christian Aid to spend more on education and publicity? They could do it quite easily by giving grants for this particular purpose. As it is, these charitable organisations are inhibited a little from doing this by their proper feeling that they ought to spend all the funds they raise in the field for which they raised them; but it does have the effect that the Development Decade is not getting sufficient publicity and the public in general is not being sufficiently educated as to its purposes.
It may be that we shall be told, for some very esoteric financial reasons which are beyond me, that we are at or near the limits of what we can do financially; but I am quite sure that we have hardly begun to deploy the manpower which we can afford to help the developing countries. Seven or eight years ago we had 300,000 men from this country on National Service. We maintained armed forces of around 700,000 compared with the present figure of around 400,000. Those forces were engaged on very necessary, but largely unproductive, duties all over the world. Armed forces on this scale were a very heavy burden on our economy, but 272 our economy bore it. National Service involved considerable sacrifice by the men concerned, but many of them were very much the better for it. Compared to those 300,000 men on National Service, we have something around 20,000 men serving overseas among the developing countries. It is a very fair number, and it is more than most countries have, but it is not as many as we can afford and it certainly is not as many as these countries need.
Every year some 200,000 of our young boys and girls are given their commission as Christians at Confirmation. The service includes these words spoken by the Bishop:Go out into the world in peace, strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak and help the afflicted.Surely this Development Decade gives us a chance and a duty to help a growing proportion of those 200,000 men and women to spend at least some part of their lives fulfilling that commission in service overseas as partners in development. What is being done at present is certainly not enough. It is not enough decisively to reverse the trend which still makes the rich countries richer and keeps the poor ones poor. Until that trend is decisively reversed the great issue facing mankind remains open. The issue is, as President Kennedy reminded and warned us: whether this generation of mankind is to be the best or the last.
§ 6.48 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, who has just spoken touched on the human element, and I should like to continue on this point. Two years ago a document was issued entitled Proposals for Action for the United Nations Development Decade, and in that document the following appears:The total number of trained people must be increased by 10 per cent. a year if the other objectives of the Decade are to be achieved.In other words, the number of trained people must be more than doubled in the next decade. How can this be achieved? In a phrase, by the development of technical skills. Part of that, of course, is done through the intensification of primary and secondary education, part by the intensification of training in technical skills. Both are largely a local effort, but outside assistance is required and is now being given in men, equip- 273 ment and money. I should like to deal shortly with the outside assistance given to technical skills in developing countries as part of technical co-operation.
I have seen it in operation in East Africa, in Thailand and in Israel. Part of it was provided by the United Nations, part by the United States and part by Britain. I have also had a little to do with this kind of work provided by Israel for Africa arid Asia. There is a special routine for technical co-operation. The first step is to send out an expert to devise a scheme. Sometimes it is very difficult to get these schemes carried out. We have all heard of the Parkinson Law; I venture to suggest the Samuel Law: that any developing country that asks for advice is, by definition, incapable of carrying it out; because, if it had been capable of carrying it out, it would not have needed to ask for advice in the first place. The only way in which one can get these schemes carried out is by the training of what is technically called a counterpart; that is, somebody who will be trained by the technical expert in the technique of carrying out the scheme—either a single person or a group of persons. And then the question comes up: where should this training in the technique of execution of schemes be carried out, on the site or abroad?
The difficulty of sending people from developing countries abroad to acquire the technical skills is that the wastage is extremely high. Some of those who go abroad from developing countries do not want to learn at all; they are just anxious to get the trip and they become playboys. Some want to learn but they are not capable of understanding what they are taught. Thirdly, there is a group of those who do learn but never go back. This is the brain drain from developing countries, and U Thant gives a warning of this in Proposals for Action. Some of those who understand and learn and go back are not able to apply what they have learned because the scale is so different. What they learn in the United States, or Britain, or France, or in any of the big countries, they cannot apply in their own countries because the scale there is tiny. Others can apply the scheme but they are not allowed to by their superiors; they suffer from frustration. 274 And the second Samuel Law, if you will allow me to quote it, is that, where there are two Ph.D.s in a developing country, one is head of state and the other is in exile.
The noble Lord, Lord Sandford, has spoken of the part that is played by the United Kingdom—and it has played a very great part. In 1962–63 there were 64,000 overseas students in this country, of whom 50,000 came from the developing countries themselves. Some came under their own steam by direct arrangements with universities: their fees and their expenses were paid either by their parents or their clan or by a whole village. I went the other evening to a guest night at the Middle Temple, and I saw serried rows of prospective lawyers, many of whom had come from Africa and Asia. The prestige of a United Kingdom qualification is still enormous. Others come on scholarships provided by the developing countries and the arrangements for them in Britain are made either by the Department of Technical Co-operation or the British Council. A third group come at the expense of the Department of Technical Co-operation, or of the British Council, through scholarships. And both the Department of Technical Co-operation and the British Council I consider are doing admirable work.
The training of men and women outside their own countries not only provides the new difficulties that I have already mentioned, the wastage and so on. In addition to those, there is first of all the cost of transportation to this country, or to another Western country, the cost of tuition, the cost of maintenance. There is the problem of lodging, the problem of diet, and unfortunately in this country the problem of climate. They suffer from homesickness; they suffer from bewilderment, and they have always the problem of language. We are apt to assume that men who come to Britain from developing countries have a perfect knowledge of English, but as a matter of fact very often English is their third language; it is not even their second language. Men in East Africa, for example, have a tribal language; then they learn Swahili, and English is their third language.
I have been training Africans in Israel now for several years in English and in 275 French and now in Hebrew, both individually and in groups. It requires an immense amount of patience even if the trainees know good English. At first I was very puzzled by the slow reaction of students to questions. Then I discovered there was a kind of computer at work in their minds answering three questions. First of all, is this question an insult to my colour? Secondly, is it infra dig. for me to admit I do not know the answer? And, thirdly, if I know the answer, how do I express it in correct English? And this computer did not work at 500,000 operations a second; it took several seconds for the answer to come up. They then came up with the right answer, and I found them men of great intelligence. But there was a crisis of self-confidence. One has to win the confidence of students coming to this country, but without familiarity, because the African and Asian place great stress on the importance of human dignity.
In order to overcome this crisis of confidence, this question of bewilderment and homesickness, I have come round to the conclusion that we must do as much training as possible in the developing country itself. Of course, independent students will still come to Britain because of the prestige of a British qualification in spite of the 10 per cent. freeze on foreign students. In addition, there is also control imposed by many of the developing countries on the number of students they will send abroad, for financial reasons. If expensive equipment is required, then of course the students have to go abroad to get their training. If very advanced training is required students cannot get it in their own countries, because many of the top professors in Britain will not go out to Asia and Africa, as the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, has pointed out. There is the competition of new British universities as well as the brain drain to the United States.
However, many do go out to developing countries, as the noble Earl, Lord Iddesleigh, has said. He has asked what the figure was, and I can quote it. At the present moment there are 19,000 men and women from this country training abroad, and 1,600 new persons a year go overseas. I think we should all be very proud of them and 276 very grateful to them. Some go out under the Overseas Service Aid scheme under which, as your Lordships will know, the Government pay part, or in some cases all, of the salary. Some go out under arrangements made by the United Nations special agencies. Others go out under the Colombo Plan. Others go out under bilateral teaching contracts.
Where do they go? Some go to institutions which have, in fact, been established by British help through the Colonial Welfare and Development grants before independence. I should like to quote a few examples. First of all, the Institute of Public Administration at Zaria in Northern Nigeria, now part of the Ahmadu Bello University. There is the Civil Service Training College for administrative cadets at Lusaka in Northern Rhodesia. I have myself seen the admirable work done at the training school for the civil service at Kabete in Kenya, when I visited it as an adviser two years ago. I was immensely impressed by the contribution made by Great Britain to the University of East Africa, with its constituent colleges in Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika, and the brilliant multiracial technical college in Nairobi I saw just before independence. But what interested me as much as anything else was an institution at Kampala in Uganda, set up by the American trade union movement, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., for training trade union leaders. It was open to all English-speaking Africans in East, West and Central Africa. That seems to me to be the model for the future—training men and women in their own climatic conditions, providing a hostel where they can stay with their own dietary. They do not suffer from bewilderment; they are not homesick; they can concentrate on their studies, and, what is more important, they do not get detached from Africa. Nevertheless, it is extremely important that Africans and Asians and Latin Americans should see something of the world; they should get a wider outlook and see what the task is. They cannot always understand, when they are told in the country where they are being taught about the problem of, say, traffic control in this country, without seeing the traffic.
I personally should like to see an addition to the present system of teaching—namely, that the instructor, if he is 277 British, having got to know his students after three or six months, should, when he has finished, bring a group of them to this country. That would not be more expensive than fellowships—in fact, it would be less expensive, because of the lower cost of maintenance. By that time the students know their instructor, they trust him and they will work hard in order to get on the tour. A group tour of Britain for two weeks, to see with their own eyes what they have been taught, would be much simpler than the elaborate arrangements that have to be made for individual training in this country. After the two weeks, the trainees would be sent home and the trainer could have a little leave, which I am sure would be most welcome to everybody. I suggest that such a scheme should be tried.
My last point is this problem of the Minister for Overseas Development of which my noble friend, Baroness Gaitskell, has spoken. I personally have reservations on this matter. I do not think we want more authorities; I think we want fewer. There is a certain proliferation going on in the world of aid. We have the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office, the Central African Office, and the Department of Technical Co-operation, which carries on where the Colonial Office left off. The Central African Office has now been merged in the Colonial Office, and next year, I understand, the Colonial Office is to merge in the Commonwealth Relations Office. But the pattern is rather untidy, and there are still too many authorities in this country dealing with technical co-operation, both official bodies and non-official bodies.
At the official level we have, as I have said, the Foreign Office, the C.R.O. and the D.T.C. Then we have a whole range of representatives of overseas bodies—the Crown Agents, the High Commissioners of Commonwealth territories and the Embassies of other countries. Then there is a valuable range of non-Government bodies; the British Council; the B.B.C., which is doing admirable work in teaching English; the Overseas Development Institute, which I consider an admirable body; the Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas, and the Council for Technical Education and Training for Overseas 278 Countries. There is the Overseas Visual Aids Centre. New bodies are springing up all the time. I visited last week the Centre for Educational Television Overseas. The use of television as an alternative to films in schools seems to me to be the method of the future, and a great deal of experimental research is being done. I gather that, apart from France, our people are leading in this field and are far more advanced than the United States. They are helping a large number of foreign countries, including Israel, which is introducing educational television shortly.
But there are still too many authorities and it is difficult to co-ordinate them. The span of control has its limitations. On the other hand, people say that we should maximise the number of people involved. That, of course, you can do through joint committees, both at ministerial and at official level—for example, the joint committee between the Department of Technical Cooperation and the British Council for the handling of students. But proliferation is dangerous, as the right reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of Chichester, has pointed out. In the United States it has been discovered that it is difficult to bring agencies under adequate political control, once they have been allowed a good deal of independence. They pursue their own policy, which is not always Government policy.
I myself do not favour a Minister of Overseas Development. Perhaps one day we may reach a Minister for Overseas Affairs. Meanwhile, the overlord system might well be introduced, as was done with the original Ministry of Defence. I should be reluctant to suggest the amalgamation at this stage of any of the existing Ministries—foreign affairs are almost too heavy a burden for any one man to carry. But I think there should be more co-ordination of overseas activities, including the general policy for overseas aid. Through that co-ordination, the total amount needed from Parliament and who should spend it should be worked out. Such a body should he the patron of all the non-Government institutions, large and small. I venture to end on this note: that we need overall planning for the future, to help Britain to continue to play an essential part in aid to developing countries as part of 279 the United Nations Development Decade.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ LORD DULVERTON
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for initiating this debate on a subject which is of such manifest importance to the world and, in a special way, to the United Kingdom. I feel that at this time of the evening I perhaps owe some apology to the House for detaining your Lordships longer. If I may do so, I would offer as an excuse an interest in this problem arising from the chairmanship of a foundation which deals with educational grants in Africa. At the present time I am acting as chairman of the OXFAM Relief African Grant Committee.
I shall try to be brief at this time of the evening, but there are one or two general sentiments and two particular points to which I should like to draw attention. What a complex problem it becomes when one really gets down to the practical ways and means of helping the new nations on the road to self-sufficiency! Yet it is one that has more far-reaching importance than any other, perhaps, which faces mankind to-day. It is one in which England's rôle is closely linked, both with the greatness of the past and with the future. We have not the massive resources of the United States, on whose generous aid the world to-day is leaning—sometimes more than the world itself knows. But we have many other things to offer besides the measure of pure finance, to which we already make our contribution: in experience, which is in a sense collective but which is also rich in individual talent, which is so badly needed in this field. We have, of course, also a special responsibility to many of the new countries.
One of the encouraging things that has been mentioned several times this afternoon, and has been happening in recent years, has been the stirring of awareness among people in this country of the condition of people overseas incomparably less well off than we are ourselves, and the awareness of a wish to do something about it. This is manifest in the support given to such movements as the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, and, of course, the volun- 280 tary societies. I am sure that a lot of people feel that here is something really positive to do in the world, and something which could, and should, be a part of the purpose of our own national growth effort. It could give added purpose and an ideal which I hope those who lead our nation will not ignore.
Unfortunately, it is easy to be cynical about this and to say that the motives for action in this direction stem from self-interest, combating the danger of Communism, building markets for ourselves for the future, and so on. The same thing can be said without cynicism, but if effort can be harnessed to the task from these motives, let it be harnessed. In the long run, it is for the good of both people overseas as well as at home. Let us not be blind to the fact that there is an enormous amount of good will, some of it active and articulate, but much of it as yet latent. I should like to say this to our leaders: "Please give us the task without cynicism, or sentimentality, or false hopes. Educate and lead us in the way of giving valuable and friendly help after the wind of change has blown".
It is no use denying that in this matter before us money is important. But an even more important contribution, which we have particular scope to help with in this country, is in manpower—a subject which has been touched on by several noble Lords to-day, and by the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell. I would simply pick on one particular angle of manpower, which we can provide in one useful direction, and that is in assistance to agriculture. I was glad indeed that the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, and my noble friend Lord Sandford said a good deal about the importance of the peasant level of agriculture all over the world, particularly in Africa. If besides setting up the important agriculture research centres and agricultural colleges, such as Egerton College in Kenya, we can put in a big effort to raise the peasant agriculture a notch or two, we are going to do a great deal.
We are not going to do that without agricultural teachers, demonstrators and researchers in the overseas countries. The awful tragedy of it is that the fine, élite corps of agricultural officers of the Colonial Service have already largely 281 been frittered away and disbanded and have become frustrated golf club secretaries—and the process is going on now. It is going on, I am told, even faster than it was a few months ago. I hope that Her Majesty's Government will make a careful study of the papers produced by the Overseas Development Institute, which has practical suggestions for arresting the drift of these experts and bringing them back into the field. I believe that there is no more important thing we can do in the whole of this Development Decade.
I should like to say a brief word about the voluntary agencies measured against the £175 million going to the Decade from the Government of this country and the £150 million of private investment. The £15 million which is estimated to be put up by the voluntary agencies seems small, but I am sure noble Lords will agree that the contribution from the voluntary agencies is not to be measured purely in terms of money and that they have particular attributes to offer which are extremely valuable.
I was going to say something in the debate on refugees which took place in this House a few weeks ago, when the matter of the difficulty which the voluntary societies had experienced with the Charity Commission was brought up; but I was so grateful to my noble friend Lord Dundee for the statement he made in this House at the time that I felt there was no object in my detaining the House on that occasion. But, while greatly welcoming Lord Dundee's statement and the subsequent statement by the Charity Commission, which had cleared up a good deal of the difficulty which has been put in the way of some of the voluntary societies (and there were many hundreds of thousands of pounds of grants in the pipe-line which had been arrested for a period of a year), there are still two small points about which the voluntary societies are not quite happy. I should welcome any statement of the Government on these two points.
The difficulty has arisen under what is called the fourth heading of the definition of "charity". The first three are medicine (and tied in with medicine is the relief of poverty), education and religion. The fourth heading is the category "For the good of the community", and the Charity Commission and their 282 legal advisers have decided that this fourth heading is not applicable outside the United Kingdom. It is this decision which has caused the trouble. Since Lord Dundee's statement the Charity Commission have said that they are happy about grants under such headings being given to Commonwealth countries provided that they are related to a defined community in which discernible poverty exists, thus tying it in with other definitions of charity. But the charity concerned must be careful not to undertake anything of a public works nature which should normally be considered the task of government in the country concerned. There are in these poor countries places where charity can do things of help to the community at large because the community at large are poor, and therefore charity can do a lot to help in development without there being accusations of saving the taxpayers' money in the country concerned and of doing the job the taxpayer ought to be doing.
The other point is that the Charity Commissioners said that work under the fourth heading of the definition of charity cannot be carried out at all in countries outside the Commonwealth. I feel that this, although very understandable, could be regrettable in relation to the voluntary societies' contribution to the Development Decade. I would conclude by saying again that I hope Her Majesty's Government will give us leadership in this whole task of helping the developing countries. I hope that they will increase the amount of overseas aid which they themselves give. I hope they give serious consideration to setting up a Commonwealth Service which will bring back and deploy in the field the services of the agricultural experts. I also hope that, as well as giving encouragement in general terms to the voluntary societies, the Government will be able to help us with these two small points which are still worrying us.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I cannot let the enunciation by my noble friend Lord Samuel of Samuel's Second Law pass altogether without comment. I would point out to him that when I was in Ghana I was a Ph.D., the Prime Minister was also a Ph.D., and we never even discussed together which of us 283 should go into exile. On the other hand, I am quite certain that my noble friend Lord Samuel would not have claimed that his law was a law of nature. It is just one of those general laws, I daresay, which are admitted exceptions.
My Lords, I have listened to the whole of this debate, and I must say that I have listened to a great many debates in your Lordships' House, but I have never listened to a more interesting and remarkable debate than the one we have heard this afternoon. It was interesting because of the subject matter, and it was remarkable because of the very high standard of all the speeches. We had two outstanding maiden speeches, and I use that word "outstanding" deliberately. It is not always that your Lordships' House is able to live up to its reputation of being able to provide an expert to speak on any important topic, who will throw a flood of light on the debate. We had that flood of light from the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, this afternoon with his extraordinary and exceptional knowledge of the subject that we have been debating. We also had a most interesting maiden speech from my noble friend Lord Lindsay of Birker. It was thoughtful and fluent and typical of the academic talent of his family; and, again, his first-hand knowledge of conditions overseas, in Asia particularly where he has lived for many years, was a special asset to him and to the House.
My noble friend Lord Henderson, in a typical speech, I am sure your Lordships will agree—extremely accurate, extremely objective—made, I think, two important assertions. He said that world poverty is a moral challenge. With that I wholeheartedly agree. I think it is the most important moral issue in the world to-day after world peace. I was very glad that the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester took part in our debate, and that we had two right reverend Prelates occupying the Episcopal Bench, because of course the public looks to a lead from the Church when we are discussing a moral issue of this kind. My noble friend also said—and I agree with this—that we ought to give more money in multilateral aid. I am not going to support this argument at length this evening—it would take me too long—but I do very strongly take 284 the view that every year we should increase the proportion of our total overseas aid payment from public funds which is for multilateral aid.
In this connection, I think it is fortunate that the Overseas Development Institute—to which a very well-deserved tribute was paid by the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, and it was also mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Dulverton—is next month convening a conference in London on multilateral aid provided by the United Nations, with distinguished figures from the specialised Agencies of the United Nations to address it. That, I am sure, will be a very useful stimulus to public opinion here.
With two of the propositions of the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, I cordially agree. The first was that the Trade Conference at Geneva ended successfully. The second was that the British Government played an honourable and constructive part in the proceedings of that Conference. I should like to say that at the outset, for fear that anything I say later on may be regarded as making a Party point. But I do think that the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, has been cast by the accident of debate in an unfortunate schizophrenic rôle this afternoon. He has really had to play the part of two Ministers. He started at the beginning of the debate with an admirable speech on behalf of the Ministry which he represents, the Board of Trade, and he will wind up, I hope, after I have finished speaking, but in this capacity he will also be answering the debate; and the debate has dwelt just as much on economic aid, both technical and financial, as it has on the development of world trade.
Why has the unfortunate Lord Drumalbyn been cast in this double role? It is surely because we lack a Minister for Overseas Development. This point was made by my noble friend Lady Gaitskell in her speech, and emphasised I thought very properly, and it was also referred to by other speakers. But if we had a proper, fully-fledged Minister for Overseas Development, who no doubt like all these grandees, or the great majority of these grandees, would sit in another place, we should have a Parliamentary Secretary dealing with aid sitting in your Lordships' House. Then when we had a debate—and we shall have many more 285 like this—dealing with trade and aid we should have two Ministers, one answering, I hope, with equal competence on trade, and the other answering the questions that had been put to Her Majesty's Government on the subject of aid. However, that is a complaint which I do not expect the noble Lord to be able to meet and which I am not asking him to meet. I am only saying that I think in the long-term that this is a matter that has to be very seriously considered by any Government in authority here.
I should like to ask the noble Lord whether he would like to answer one or two questions when he winds up. The first is about, the White Paper. He said that there will be a White Paper on the Geneva Conference, and I am very glad of that. May I ask him when it will be published? I think it is important that it should be published as soon as possible, so that if another place or a body of opinion here wishes to debate it that may be possible before the Recess. This debate is obviously not as thorough as it would have been if the White Paper had been published—I am not blaming the Government; it was impossible to do so—before it took place.
The second question I should like to ask the noble Lord is whether he can give us any idea of the increase in the amount of multilateral aid foreshadowed by the Secretary of State. It may not have been decided yet. If it has not been decided will it be decided before the Recess? Shall we have a chance of deciding whether this amount is a substantial increase, whether we regard it as sufficient from the point of view of what it has to do as a contribution to the work of the United Nation? Finally, I should like to accept the noble Lord's invitation when he said that, if we wanted it, he would make a further statement about access to markets in industrial countries for manufactured goods from developing countries. I think that would be very valuable. Did I understand the noble Lord correctly?
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, what I said was on the subject of preferences. I said that in reply to a question by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, earlier. I thought the debate might go on those lines, but it has not done so.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, we are always grateful for any information. One of the great problems of discussing these questions is the difficulty of getting information because, naturally, the Government have command over the major sources of information. But if the noble Lord can give us any more information about preferences—which of course are an obstacle, a barrier, to goods from developing countries—then I think we shall be very grateful for it.
May I pass on, quite briefly, to the main topics of the debate, aid and trade? I think that all of your Lordships will agree that if the United Nations' target is to be reached, of 5 per cent. growth rate for the developing countries by 1970, which my noble friend Lady Gaitskell described, I thought, very accurately indeed—and from this I am sure nobody will dissent—as minimal for any progress, there are two factors to be taken into account. It will depend on these two factors: an increase in aid and an increase in trade.
First of all, concerning the increase in aid, this means that the wealthy nations must contribute more in capital aid to the poor nations if they are to reach the target by 1970—and, of course, they again pledged themselves to give this 1 per cent. at the Trade Conference. This pledge has been made twice now; but they are still a very long way from reaching it. We are, in fact, nearly halfway through the Development Decade, but we certainly are not (I am speaking collectively, of course, of all the wealthy countries, all the donor countries) halfway towards this target. If the O.E.C.D. countries—and, of course, most of the wealthy countries belong to O.E.C.D.—had been giving 1 per cent. in 1962, they would have been spending 60 per cent. more on aid than they actually spent. That shows how far off we are from this target.
But, my Lords, can we be satisfied that we are going to get there in the near future? That is what we all want. I must say that to me, at the present rate of advancement, it looks doubtful. We must remember that the two largest contributors to overseas aid, the United States and France, are both likely to give less aid than they have done in the past. 287 General de Gaulle is almost certain to cut overseas aid in his next budget—I have heard this from many reliable sources—and I am afraid that, if it happens, it will be the first example of what the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, called "disengagement". This is something which is a very grave threat indeed. President Johnson has already asked Congress for a much smaller allocation of money for aid than did President Kennedy, so it looks as though the United States is not in a mood for an increased aid programme. Of course, it should not be forgotten—I am sure your Lordships do not forget—that the United States gives from public funds more than half the total amount of overseas aid from all the wealthy countries, the donor countries.
Surely this failure to date of the wealthy countries to realise the hopes of the United Nations should make us here examine all the more carefully our own aid contribution. Are we, in fact, giving as much as we should in relation to our national wealth and in relation to the aid contribution of other countries? Doubts on this head have been expressed by a number of speakers in this debate; and I was very glad to find not a single speaker who suggested that we should reduce the amount we are giving in aid. I do not think there was any speaker who was wholly satisfied, and there were certainly several noble Lords who said that we should be giving more aid than we are giving at the moment.
But I am afraid it will be very difficult to shake the complacency of the Government. I am not accusing the noble Lord himself of complacency, but I am quite certain that the Government for whom he speaks will have to say that they are really doing very well indeed. Of course, there was an improvement last year. There was an improvement from £148 million to £175 million, an improvement of £27 million, in overseas aid expenditure. But when you look at this you see that it was in fact a very small improvement. It represents an improvement of only £15 million over the last two years, and only an infinitesimal increase in the proportion of aid to our gross national income. The reason it is only a £15 million increase over the two years is that in 1962 there was a fall of £12 288 million in overseas aid expenditure as compared with the previous year. I think your Lordships will agree that this is really a very small increase over a couple of years; and it has been worked out at an increase of 06 per cent. in our contribution to aid out of our national income.
My Lords, I believe that we are the second biggest contributor in voluntary donations to aid, relief, refugees and similar humanitarian problems overseas. We are second to the United States. Naturally, we cannot give as much as the United States; but I should like to think that we were also second in the amount of aid we gave from public funds. Obviously, we cannot rival the United States—they will always come first—but we have, in fact, been giving less, when we compare our own contribution to that of other countries, than either France or Germany, which are both countries with a lower income per head of population than ours.
The figures for 1962 were that France was giving 996 million dollars in public aid; Germany, 427 million dollars—these figures are all in dollars—and the United Kingdom, 417 million dollars. That bears out what my noble friend Lord Henderson said when he pointed out that France is giving twice as much in aid as we are giving. It seems to me astonishing that, with our colonial responsibilities and our obligations to the Commonwealth, we have been giving less aid than Germany, which has no ties of this kind at all with the outside world and where action in this field of aid must be prompted by purely humanitarian motives.
After the size, the amount, of the figure, what I think is the next most disturbing feature about the aid figures for last year is that, in spite of a big increase in loans, there has been a falling, off in grants. I was very glad that my noble friend Lady Gaitskell drew attention to this falling off in grants; and it was also mentioned by my noble friend Lord Walston. The loans that we have been giving are mainly hard loans at commercial rates of interest, and, of course, are tied to the purchase of British goods. It is obvious to everyone that we are doing nothing for economic development when our aid is returned to us in the form of interest on 289 or capital repayment of borrowed money. Last year, £28 million came back to us in this way. I believe that is included in the figure of £175 million, but the noble Lord opposite will correct me if I am wrong. And, of course, there will be an enormous increase in this figure of debt repayment over the next few years.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, may I just correct the noble Earl on that? I said in the course of my speech that this was exclusive of capital repayment.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I am much obliged to the noble Lord. If it excludes capital repayment, then, clearly, even if it includes the repayment of interest on loans, it will be a very much smaller figure than the £28 million.
My Lords, I think the worst case of a developing country which is completely hamstrung by the loan policy of its creditors is that of India, because no less than 3 out of every 5 dollars that are given to India in aid conic back to the donor countries in the form of interest or capital repayment of the Indian Public Debt. That, surely is a preposterous situation. We give with one hand and we take back with the other even more than we are giving. Surely we in this country should set an example to other donor countries by changing our loans policy so as to increase the proportion of grants to loans, and by substituting soft, long-term loans at a low rate of interest for our present hard commercial loans.
What I think is particularly unfortunate and undesirable about the present policy of the Government is their discrimination between Colonies and independent Commonwealth countries. The Colonies get the bulk of their capital aid in grants, but the Commonwealth countries get it in hard loans. We still do not seem to have woken up to the fact that the financial needs of Commonwealth countries are much greater when they have become independent than they 290 are when they are still Colonies. The type of financial aid we give should surely be related to economic and financial need on the part of the recipients, and not to their constitutional status in the Commonwealth.
I hope that this matter will be dealt with at the Prime Ministers' Conference. Of course, I am not asking the noble Lord opposite whether it will be on the agenda, because that is a private matter. I would not ask that; but I hope the noble Lord will draw the attention of his colleagues to the view which we on this side of the House are expressing, that this question of loan policy to developing countries is a matter which should be the subject of consideration during the Conference.
Let me pass on for a few moments to the Geneva Conference. I agree with the noble Lord that it was a success, but I do not think he gave the reason for its success. I do not think the reason was simply that there was agreement: the reason was the nature of the agreement. The agreement was an agreement on the part of the wealthy countries to a claim by 75 poor countries to influence world trade. And for the first time in history—and that is the importance of this Conference—the poor countries have obliged the wealthy countries to accept and to recognise the drastic changes needed in the present system of world trade. The situation cannot go on as it is at the moment, with the sort of general free-for-all of world trade that impoverishes the poorer countries and makes the wealthier countries richer.
It was this successful stroke on the part of trade unionism in the international field that secured the appointment of the Trade and Development Board and the rest of the machinery described by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn. But of course this machinery, though most desirable, is only a piece of machinery; and whether it is used, as is the intention, to increase the trade of the poorer countries will depend on the policies of the wealthy countries. it cannot do more than make recommendations, but they must become decisions, and it is these decisions which will determine whether or not this elaborate machinery adds anything at 291 all to the volume or value of trade of the poorer countries of the world.
This is not a matter for our policy alone, although we can set an example by our endeavours to persuade other rich countries to adopt the same policy. What is needed is a common trade policy for all wealthy countries. The poorer countries have already managed to frame a common policy; they have staked out a common claim. But one of the most striking features of the Geneva Conference was the complete lack of common policy among the wealthy countries. The United States of America had one policy, France had another, and the United Kingdom had a quite different policy. It almost seemed as if they had not even discussed the Conference in advance. I do not want to rake up the past, so I am not asking questions; but it appeared that there had been no preliminary consultations, as is usually the case in important national conferences, before these separate policies were announced by the representatives of these countries in Geneva.
The important thing for the future is that these wealthy countries should work out a common trade policy if the poorer countries are to have a bigger and better share of world trade. What I should like to know is: do the Government (and this is a question that I can fairly address to the noble Lord) intend to discuss such matters as the liberalising of trade preferences, safeguarding these countries against sharp falls in commodity prices—what is called compensatory finance? Do the Government intend to deal with these questions in O.E.C.D.? Do the Government intend to try to find a common denominator of agreement before the next international trade conference takes place? Discussions already go on in O.E.C.D. about economic development and financial aid. Why should not this be also a forum for the discussion of trade policy?
I am quite sure that it is absolutely necessary that before the next world trade conference there should be agreement between the wealthy countries about the terms of a new trade deal for the poorer countries. We offered—and I said at the outset that I thought our 292 proposal was constructive and useful—to give preference to goods from all the developing countries if other countries, such as France and the United States of America, which give preference to countries related to them, were willing to do the same thing. Does that offer remain? Is it not something that we should take up with France and the United States of America, in order to try to persuade them to give free entry to goods from developing countries that are not associated with them? If we do not, then so far as I can see, the present exclusive preference tariff systems are bound to continue.
The question of compensatory finance is also of great importance. And here again I would ask the noble Lord whether he intends to take up this point with the other wealthy countries. Or does the noble Lord already know whether the United States and France agree in principle with compensatory finance? It is no good referring this matter, as it has been referred, to the World Bank for study unless there is agreement in principle about the desirability of giving compensatory financial aid to these poor countries when they get into serious balance-of-payments difficulties. I hope that agreement has already been obtained. Perhaps the noble Lord can tell us that that is so. If not, I should have thought that it is the thing that we should take up as soon as possible; otherwise an inquiry will not serve any useful purpose at all.
That, my Lords, is all I have to say, except that I should like to take up in my last sentence what the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, said about no disengagement. Of course, we must have no disengagement from our responsibility for improving living conditions in the outside world in colonial, Commonwealth and developing areas beyond. But we should go further than no disengagement. The plea I make to the Government—and it is a plea that has been made by every speaker in this debate—is that we should become more deeply engaged than we are at the present time in this crusade against world poverty.
§ 7.47 p.m.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, that we have had a most interesting and 293 stimulating debate to-day. My own experience of your Lordships' House is so very much less than his that it is not as easy for me to make comparisons with other debates, as he has been able to do. But what I would say is that the debate has reached what certainly seemed to me to be a very high standard indeed.
The noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, made a noteworthy contribution. His general approach seemed to be very much in line with that of the Government. I noted in particular the stress he placed on putting forward arrangements for assisting countries that would be acceptable to them. This seems to me to be extremely important, and in many ways one of the keys to the whole problem. The noble Lord spoke from such very great experience, and with such authority, that I almost wondered whether the United Nations itself would not make a take-over bid for his services after what he had to say. I would say, in reply to one point raised by the noble Lord—and I am sure the Douse would wish me to do so—that the United Kingdom very much welcomed and supported the proposals made by Mr. Woods, the President of the International Bank, that the International Bank should increase the scale of its help for agricultural development. We also support his parallel initiatives for more help for education and larger technical assistance programmes.
So far as our bilateral aid programme is concerned, we very much agree with the noble Lord's approach. We are already making a substantial contribution by way of capital aid and technical assistance, as is shown in paragraph 132 of the "Aid" White Paper, both directly and through the Commonwealth Development Corporation of which the noble Lord is the distinguished Chairman. We hope to do more in the years ahead on the lines he suggested. The suggestion is both as important and as difficult as he stated, particularly in Africa.
We then had an extremely interesting maiden speech from the noble Lord, Lord Lindsay of Birker. I thought that it was a fascinating speech, in which the noble Lord took us around the Far East and to many other countries as well. His main point was that the attitudes of mind requisite for industrial advance had to be carefully studied. His sociological approach was most interesting. My noble 294 friend Lord Selkirk has already said that we very much hope that we shall have the benefit of the noble Lord's interventions frequently in future.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, asked me a barrage of questions. He fired them off so quickly that I do not know whether I shall be able to deal with them all, but I will deal with as many of them as I can. He asked me what the increase in multilateral aid would be and whether it would be announced before Recess. May I remind him of what my right honourable friend said:We shall increase our contribution to the special fund and to E.P.T.A. The amount is not yet settled.I think that it is unlikely this will be done before Recess. My right honourable friend also said that we should contribute to the African Development Bank. Again, the amount is not settled. The bank is still in course of being established. My right honourable friend said that we shall assist the inter-American Development Bank. Again I am afraid that no date can be given for that. All these matters are subject to study by Governments. It is quite soon after the Conference has ended, and Governments must now study for themselves the course of action they should take following the Conference decision. My right honourable friend has said that we should be prepared to contribute towards the increased provision in the United Nations Budget for industrial development. This would depend on the level of the next United Nations Budget, and I am afraid that nothing of this will be known before Recess.
Perhaps it might be convenient if at this stage I were to say a word about the general level of our assistance. I share the noble Earl's pleasure that none of the criticism of our aid was that it was excessive, but there has been criticism that it is not enough. I am sorry that I misled the noble Earl by saying that the £175 million was the net figure. It is the gross figure. What I had in mind was that the 1 per cent. is the net figure.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, of course the 1 per cent. lumps together private investment and aid, and I was dealing only with aid from public funds.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am obliged to the noble Earl. That is so. There was criticism that the grants had been reduced, 295 but the figures I have before me show that in 1962–63, grants under technical assistance amounted to £25 million and other grants to £47.7 million, while in 1963–64 grants under technical assistance amounted to £29.1 million and other grants to £46.3 million. I think that those who were making the comparisons were comparing only the other grants, whereas if the totals are compared an increase is shown.
I do not want to go into the question of what other countries are doing. All I will say is that our aid through the United Nations is considerably greater than that of France and Germany, both in the budget and at the voluntary end. The Conference bore in mind that the ways in which countries arrive at the assistance they are giving overseas are not always on the same basis, and due allowance will be made for this in making comparisons and seeing that the burden (if it can be called a burden) is fairly shared between the developed countries. I believe that we have been playing our part in comparison with other countries.
Some play has been made with the question of loans, and the noble Lord, Lord Walston, went so far as to say that loans, being commercial accommodations, did not really amount to aid at all. That would be perfectly true, if the terms of the loan were commercial. But the terms are far from commercial. The noble Lord dealt only with interest rates, but if a loan is granted for thirty years and the interest for the first seven years is waived, then we arrive at a much lower level of interest over the total period. If noble Lords will look at the figures in paragraph 44 of the White Paper, they will see that some indication is given of this. Perhaps I may quote:Hitherto, we have given loans for a maximum of 25 years, with a grace period for the repayment of principal of up to seven years; for the future we shall be prepared in suitable cases to make loans for periods of up to 30 years, with grace periods of up to ten years.Perhaps it is worth observing here that one does not know what the value of money may be when the final repayment is made thirty years hence. The White Paper continues:Further, where the economic circumstances of the recipient country make it necessary, we 296 shall be prepared to grant a period of complete freedom from all service charges, by granting a waiver of interest, as well as the deferment of capital repayment, for seven years. This latter concession is a very substantial one. It would reduce from, say, 5½ per cent. to below 3 per cent. the effective rate of interest on a loan for 25 years.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his explanation, but I would put this point to him, in order to get the position completely clear. I understand that, out of the £175 million of what is called aid, £80 million has been described as being at a commercial rate of interest. Would it be right to say that on some of that £80 million the interest has been waived for a period of years? If so, on how much of that £80 million—because this is very important?
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, I think these figures would be difficult to analyse. I am not quite certain if it can be ferreted out amongst all the various terms of loan; but if it is available, I will let the noble Lord have the information for which he is asking. I am trying to make the point that it is not reasonable to make a straight comparison between the 5½ per cent., or whatever it may be, which is the normal rate at which the Exchequer can borrow money, with, say, the rate of interest of 3 per cent., which the Soviet Government might charge. At the Conference there was a resolution by the Soviet Government that rates of interest should not exceed 3 per cent. This was a recommendation that we could not accept. Does the noble Lord wish to intervene again?
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I should like to press the point a little further. If the noble Lord is saying, as I understand him to be, that we should take credit, as it were, for making loans at below the normal commercial rate of interest, and some of this £80 million, although nominally at a commercial rate of interest, is below because we waive it, surely it must have been possible for him to have found out how much of the £80 million is at a special concessionary rate. if any of it is.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
No; I have not found that out. I was quoting from the White Paper, which is my source of information on the subject.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, perhaps the noble Lord would be good enough—this is an important matter—to find out from the Treasury or the appropriate Department what the facts are, and let me, as well as my noble friend, know. It is an important matter, and I think it would interest a great many noble Lords to hear the outcome of the inquiry.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I have said that I will endeavour to find this out. But I would point out that the point being made in the White Paper is that new facilities are now being extended. So the facilities that have so far been extended are not really relevant from that point of view.
The noble Earl also referred to the extent of the success of the Conference. I think on this he was right in saying that this is a matter of both trade and aid. If I may say so, if I had any criticism of the debate to-day, it would be that it has concentrated perhaps too much on the aid side of matters and not enough on the trade side. After all one of the main purposes of this Conference—there was, of course, the gap to be filled by aid—was to stimulate the access for exports of the under-developed countries, and a considerable measure of agreement has been reached, at any rate, on steps to begin to see how that can be done. The noble Earl is quite right in saying that complete agreement on steps that will spring into effect straight away has not been reached, but it is important that we have the machinery set up for an examination of what can be done.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, the noble Lord has said that there has been more emphasis on aid than on trade; and that is true. But I think he will realise that we have not had before us the results of the Conference. He rather chided me for saying that the results were modest. All he is saying now is that things are going forward to be decided, and at this moment we do not know what decisions will be applied to trade; we have to wait for the White Paper. The noble Lord is, I think, making rather too much of the point about the emphasis of the discussion on trade, when even I had to speak in very general terms, and indeed put points on which he is 298 much better informed than I am, in order to try to draw from him something that we have not had.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I do not take exception to that at all; but it is just the fact that the debate has ranged more on aid than on trade. I agree that, because of the almost complete absence of any details that have been put before noble Lords, this was perhaps inevitable. I think it is worth while making the point, however, that this has perhaps tilted the debate in the direction of aid, whereas to maintain the balance we should have had more speakers on the point of trade. I cannot say exactly when the White Paper will be available. As I think I have indicated, we expect to have the resolutions available in Geneva on the 29th; they will have to come over, and then in due course the White Paper will be published.
I should like to refer to one aspect of the speech made by my noble friend Lord Sandford. I very much agree with his approach in saying that one of the things that came out from the Conference was the need for partnership. I said in the course of my opening remarks that I did not think we should regard this as a matter of confrontation between North and South. Really if we start thinking in terms—I say this with great respect to the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell—of one side extracting promises from the other, I do not think we shall get the right atmosphere for what we all want to see achieved.
As to the possibility of a Minister for Overseas Development, in my own schizophrenic approach to this debate it is difficult to prove that you are not schizophrenic, but all I can say is that dealing with trade and aid was one of the functions of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State who was at the Conference. The Conference dealt with them both, and I hope your Lordships will feel that my right honourable friend dealt with them very successfully at the Conference.
There is one matter that I think is well worth commenting on. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, and my noble friend Lord Sandford raised the question of the supply of skill. After all, so much of this aid is the supply of skill. The 299 whole point is that the developed countries have skills which are not available to the under-developed countries. Whether they are supplied in the form of persons being sent abroad to help; whether they are supplied in the form of goods which the underdeveloped countries cannot supply for themselves, or whether they are supplied in the form of giving training for the necessary skills in this country, it is all part of the same problem; and, to some extent, it is difficult to quantify all these various activities in monetary terms. But I very much agree with that part of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Walston, in which he drew attention to the need to send skilled people abroad. I am sure that in the future this will loom larger and larger. Noble Lords will see from the White Paper the way in which the numbers that are recruited for the various services are increasing all the time. And the White Paper says quite squarely that it must be expected that more and more of our skilled people will spend some part of their working lives abroad (though probably not as much as before, their whole working lives) helping underdeveloped countries.
The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester, who has been kind enough to remain in his seat throughout this long debate, spoke a good deal about the voluntary organisations. I may say that I was very pleased he did so. I am sure he is right in saying that they are doing a tremendous job in education in, as he put it, kindling interest and a sense of personal responsibility. The noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, would like to make it a compulsory subject at schools. I understood her to say that, but I see that she disagrees. At any rate, there is no doubt that the various ctivities—OXFAM and the rest—have been introduced in schools and have done a tremendous amount to educate children in their responsibilities. One may well wonder whether our children are not perhaps more informed about these matters than the older generation. That is one of the difficulties with which I think we are faced in getting the country as a whole to accept these responsibilities.
300 The right reverend Prelate asked how the work of the voluntary organisations would be co-ordinated. There is a great deal of co-ordination at the present time, and this is a point to which I can assure him that a great deal of thought is being given. He wanted to know how the voluntary organisations' work would be co-ordinated, both on the international and the national level. So far as the Freedom from Hunger Campaign is concerned, Her Majesty's Government made a special contribution in the early stages towards the initial administrative costs in connection with the campaign which were incurred by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, before there was provision for any such expenditure in the Organisation's regular budget. Now, of course, the contribution comes through the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the United Kingdom has been meeting about 10 per cent. of the administrative costs of that organisation.
The right reverend Prelate hoped to arouse a steady flow of interest outwards, just as we hope that there will be a steady flow of funds outwards, in order to help, and I am sure that this is the object of the whole House. My noble friend Lord Selkirk laid great stress on the need to do more in education. If I may draw his attention again to the White Paper, if he looks at paragraphs 114 to 118 he will see what is being done there, and in particular he will see that not only was the total number of fully-qualified teachers who left Britain in 1961–62 659, plus 87 non-university teachers, but since then the recruitment agencies have reported an increase in recruitment, largely as a result of improved publicity and recruiting techniques. We certainly have every intention of doing our best to ensure the best possible recruitment of teachers, and noble Lords will be aware of what we are doing in that respect.
The noble Lord, Lord Sandford, said that we ought to give more capital aid to developing countries. He referred to the analysis in The Times of the aid outturn of £175 million. There has been some reference to British aid loans being at commercial rates of interest, and I have dealt with that point. I hope I have covered the points that he raised in this matter, but if there are any further 301 points that he would like me to deal with I will gladly write to him or talk to him.
On the contributions to the expanded programme of technical assistance, to which the right reverend Prelate referred, I may say that our contributions to that, and to the special fund, are not based on our contribution to the United Nations' budget. These two are voluntary, and our contributions in 1963–64 were a little above the proportion of the budget which we paid. In 1964, it will he about the same, and next year we shall be making an increase. As the noble Earl said, we are the second largest contributors to the voluntary funds, and the third in the budgets. He asked how the level of contributions was settled. It was settled each year by Ministers after careful consideration in the light of all the relevant circumstances, and among those are the contributions being made and proposed by other donor countries, our own expenditure on bilateral programmes of technical assistance, and capital aid for the same period. All these matters have to be taken into account in considering the amounts that should be given.
My noble friend Lord Dulverton raised again a question which we dealt with in the House on May 6 in the debate on Refugees and Disasters. I am sorry to say that I cannot add to what my noble friend Lord Dundee said at that time, but I will certainly take note of what my noble friend said and do my best to see whether I can give him any further assistance.
I think I have covered most of the points. I see the noble Earl, Lord Iddesleigh, still in his place. He asked whether Her Majesty's Government were giving consideration to the need for close liaison between the Trade Conference and the I.L.O. The answer to that, I think, is that U.N.C.T.A.D., and the Trade and Development Board are United Nations bodies, the same as the specialist bodies such as the I.L.O. Of course, the Conference was in Geneva, and the I.L.O. normally meets in Geneva. Therefore I should not have thought there was any likelihood of any lack of co-ordination there. We take note of what he has said on the subject of Britons serving overseas under Voluntary Service conditions. If I may draw 302 his attention to the White Paper, he will find a great deal of information there on this subject. So far as the voluntary organisation is concerned, at present the level of school-leavers going abroad is 300, and the number of graduates is 500 The number of graduates— and, of course, I think one must bear in mind that the demand from overseas is mainly for qualified people—is to be doubled, and the contribution is to be raised for these purposes.
In conclusion, may I say that it is easy to underestimate the amount of assistance that is being given by British people working abroad at the present time. There are about 18,000 British officers serving in developing countries, and the British Government are meeting at least part of their emoluments. Here, again, I think it is difficult to make comparisons with what other countries are doing, because the way in which people happen to go abroad and assist various countries varies from one donor country to another.
I hope I have said enough to show that Her Majesty's Government are well aware of their responsibilities; that they are determined to play their full part in helping the underdeveloped countries to meet their programmes, so far as Her Majesty's Government possibly can. All in all, while we are in no way complacent about what we have done, we feel that, especially during the last two or three years, there has been a tremendous expansion of the kind of assistance that we are giving to the new emerging countries, as well as to our old Colonies; and this is an impetus which Her Majesty's Government are determined to maintain.
§ 8.18 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, the hour is quite late, and we are grateful to all those who have stayed to the end. I do not propose to make any comment on any of the points made by the Minister, either in his first speech or in the speech he has just made. Indeed, I should like, on a personal basis, to express our thanks to him. It is a long time since I remember a Minister having had such a week of hard work as the Minister in charge of the debate to-day has had. He had two days, Monday and Tuesday, on one Bill, and I think I am right in saying that he 303 has another awkward Bill tomorrow, and he has spent all day to-day on this subject. I think that is a very good week's work, and we are grateful to him for his participation in the debate to-day. Personally, I am particularly grateful to him for making his first speech. It was, as he realised and as I realise, a little difficult to conduct the debate without reference to the Conference, and it was not possible to get the results of the Conference. He gave us as much as was available, and has promised a White Paper.
I am very grateful to all the other speakers in the debate. I think it has been a very good one; there have been some very interesting, highly-informed speeches from people who spoke with great knowledge of the subjects with which they were dealing. On the whole, I think it has been a successful debate. I am glad that the Minister has said that the Government are fully alive to the importance of the Decade. If they were not when the debate began, they certainly should be now. I beg leave to move to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.