HL Deb 25 January 1968 vol 288 cc473-555

4.55 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, before we return to the subject of the debate which was started by my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder, I should like to add one word to the references which have been made by noble Lords to the most serious damage which has occurred in Scotland. I was myself in Stirling a night or two ago, and I know very well the strong feeling that exists in many areas that the extent of the damage went far beyond the main cities. I cannot claim to be anything of an expert, except that, having spent ten years in the West Indies, I am an expert on hurricanes. I strongly support what was said by the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, and the noble Lord, Lord Dundonald, and the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, too. The essence of relief work is, of course, speed, and a combination of Government initiative and voluntary contribution. I have no doubt that this disaster will be dealt with in that way.

My Lords, in returning to our debate on the United Nations, let me at once express very sincere gratitude to my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder for moving the Motion. Some might suggest that after recent serious alarms and excursions, and with the many anxieties which now beset us nearer home, this is no time to turn to discuss Great Britain's role in the United Nations. On the contrary, I am sure that a review and reassessment of the contribution of this country to international affairs is not only opportune but urgently necessary. Now, more than ever, I suggest to your Lordships, we need to think of our national interest in the context of international co-operation.

I can escape only occasionally from the Parliamentary diplomacy in which I exist in New York in order to pay my respects to this ancient House. I do not need to be told of the frustrations and failures of international negotiation: I spend all day, and often most of the night, among them. So what a joy it was to listen this afternoon to the speech by my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder! I wholeheartedly agree with a great deal of what he said. As to his generous reference to me, I would only say that I regarded it as very right and natural that I should graduate from the school of colonial administration to the university of international affairs. To proceed from imperialism to isolation is to wither away, but to go from colonialism to internationalism is to live again.

We are all indebted to the noble Lord for the lead he gave us to-day. He certainly said some alarming things, but especially I think we should thank him because he spoke to us with confidence and hope for the future. Surely, at this time, more than anything else we need confidence and hope for the future. I would say that it was worth coming across the Atlantic to hear the speech of the noble Lord, and I shall return refreshed by his imaginative optimism.

I also listened with the closest attention to the wide-ranging speech of the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough. I thought that occasionally he was slightly grudging in his recognition of the part which the international Agencies are taking. But we shall, I hope, be able later to follow him into the number of most interesting and important subjects which he raised with us. I have wandered for nearly forty years in the adventure—I would not say the wilderness—of overseas service, and I think it was well that our debate should be started by two noble Lords who have travelled the world so extensively and therefore are able to bring the force and authority of their wide experience to our discussions. I should like, with your Lordships' permission, to endeavour later to reply to some of the points already made, and no doubt other questions will be raised later this afternoon.

I shall not attempt to comment now on the detailed points in the speeches which have been made, but perhaps I should answer at once one main criticism in the speech to which we have just listened. The noble Lord complained that on Rhodesia and Aden we should not have sought to co-operate with the United Nations or to allow the United Nations any part to play. Let me assure him that we have never denied or shirked our duty to deal with Rhodesia or Aden or any other territory under our responsibility. But there is, as he knows, intense interest not only in the United Nations but in the Commonwealth, and indeed everywhere in the world, in the few remaining colonial issues. There is even more intense interest—rightly so—in racial issues.

We have consequently in the United Nations stated and defended our policies and taken the initiative in seeking support for our aims. What were those aims? In South Arabia to hand over to a Government with the widest measure of public support and in Rhodesia to find a solution just to all the people of the terrritory. In pursuing these honourable purposes we have judged it best not to ignore or flout international opinion but rather to influence and enlist it in our support. While, as I have said, we do not deny or shirk our responsibilities, we recognise that both in Arabia and Africa it is better in the long run to work for agreement and co-operation than to contest and oppose the views of the rest of the world.

The speeches to which we have already listened have shown us an obvious difficulty we face to-day. It is a difficulty which must arise whenever an attempt is made to discuss the United Nations. It is a difficulty which arises from the range and variety of United Nations activities. We who work in the British delegation to the United Nations must be constantly aware of the complexity and extent of those problems. Especially we are aware of them when the General Assembly and its seven main committees of the whole membership are in daily session, and when the Security Council may well be meeting at the same time. We face a resumed session of the Assembly soon on disarmament and perhaps on African and Middle East problems, too. Increasingly the activities of the United Nations are continuously in progress throughout the year.

The Security Council is meeting to-day to consider the question of the Pretoria trial of the South-West Africans. The Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme has been meeting this month in New York. The Disarmament Conference continues now in Geneva approaching, we confidently trust, agreement on a Non-Proliferation Treaty—the third effort towards disarmament following the success first of the Test Ban Treaty and then the Outer Space Treaty. Next month the second UNCTAD Conference is to take place in New Delhi to deal with the vital issues of international trade and aid. In March the important legal conference on the Law of Treaties will meet in Vienna. In April, this being Human Rights Year, the World Conference on Human Rights is to take place in Teheran.

Meanwhile the Secretary-General is endeavouring to use his good offices to make progress towards a settlement in and over Cyprus. Ambassador Gunnar Jarring, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, is embarked on his all-important task in the Middle East—one of the most exacting assignments ever undertaken, and no man is better qualified by experience and character and outstanding ability to attempt it. These are our immediate preoccupations.

But there is no major problem, no tension, no conflict in the world which is not also a matter of concern and debate and negotiation at the United Nations. I must consequently resist any temptation to try to cover too much ground. If I endeavoured to do so my comment would necessarily be superficial, and I should impose unreasonably on your Lordships' patience. So I shall not attempt to-day to speak in detail on the Specialised Agencies. Each one properly deserves a debate to itself.

On human rights we are privileged to be represented on the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Third Committee of the General Assembly, by my noble friend Lady Gaitskell. Her lively and vigorous eloquence is as well known in New York as it is here in your Lordships' House, and I very much look forward to hearing her speak to us presently. On questions of international economic development there is no one better qualified to speak to us than my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder himself, and I know that there are others with special knowledges and experience in such matters who are to speak to us later.

As I have said, I would hope, with your Lordships' permission, to reply before this debate is completed to some of the questions raised. What I would ask to do now is to attempt a very difficult task. I am anxious to make a very general comment on the function and future of the United Nations Organisation, and I wish to do so with special reference to the interests and the role of our country.

I am glad that my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder has emphasised the importance of the economic activity of the United Nations. It is little known in this country, I find, that more than 80 per cent. of the men and money employed by the United Nations is engaged not on political discussion but on economic and social undertakings. The international community has created a working machine for raising the standard of living of those who live, in the Secretary General's phrase, in the "progressive misery of half the world." The World Bank and its associates, the Regional Banks, the U.N. Development Programme, the U.N. Industrial Development Organisation, the World Food Programme, all supported and supplemented by the work of the battery of Specialised Agencies, together represent a machine capable of a major attack on the degradation of world poverty. This is a new thing in the world, based on a new conception of international responsibility. The creation of this machine for international economic development is perhaps the greatest single achievement of the United Nations in the first two decades of the existence of the Organisation. The resources so far allotted to economic development are clearly wholly inadequate. But the means, the machine, for developments are already created.

There is moreover a growing realisation that the affluent nations can best assist the rest by international effort, by multilateral development, rather than merely by bilateral aid. The time will come, so I trust and believe, when, drawing on the experience already gained and making use of the machine already created, there will be a new international effort—on a scale so far not dreamt of—to make prosperity not the privilege of the few but an opportunity to be shared by all. So far the advance has been much smaller than we should have wished. But the important thing is that a start has been made. Enough has been done to convince us that this is the way. Increasingly this is recognised, and if we want some evidence of that we can point to the fact that nearly forty countries have increased their voluntary contributions to the U.N. Development Programme for this year.

We welcome the efforts so far made in international economic development. We recognise its great potentiality. We are concerned to increase the efficiency of the machine. We look to a time when its resources and its impact on world poverty will be immensely increased. Meanwhile we admire the excellent contribution of the World Bank which was so early in the field, and also the pioneering work done by leaders like Mr. Paul Hoffman and Mr. David Owen of the U.N. Development Programme, and we support the Resident Representatives of the U.N. Development Programme with teams of experts already at work in a hundred nations of the world.

At the same time, we cannot fail to be constantly aware of how little has been done in comparison with the extent and the urgency of the need. The dangers of the world, so I would earnestly submit to your Lordships, are now so greet and growing so fast that we cannot hope to deal with them by the action of any one nation alone. They are so immense that it is only by concerted international action that we can hope to overcome them. This is the main contention I wish to put to your Lordships to-day. It is the argument which I tried to put forward in this House when I first spoke here three years ago. The contention is that the dangers of poverty and population and race are all one; that the greatest danger of all is that the division, the gulf, will grow between the overcrowded, discontented, hungry African and Asian people of the world—two-thirds of the population of the world—on the one hand, and the affluent, comfortable, complacement white people, on the other. This is surely the greatest danger of all, a danger which makes the religious or ideological differences of the past insignificant.

The consequent fear is that on these issues of poverty and population and race we of the white West will forfeit the respect and lose the leadership of the world; and if racial conflict starts in southern Africa, certainly all Africa will be inflamed and the whole world involved. These are the dangers which most surely cannot be dealt with by one nation acting alone. They will be met and overcome only if we can join in a new endeavour in international co-operation.

We should not weep for the end of imperial power: we should welcome the beginning of international authority. When we look back we shall recognise that our finest achievement was not in making an Empire, but in ending it. The conversion of a subject Empire into a free Commonwealth is surely Great Britain's main accomplishment. I am proud to be able to boast in the United Nations that in less than a quarter of a century we in the British Commonwealth have enfranchised and brought into the councils of international co-operation a quarter of the population of the whole world. Now we must not look back in sadness to imperial power. We must not live in the past, but go forward eagerly to create international authority. With that main purpose in mind, let me endeavour to report what progress we have made in the United Nations since I first spoke in this House three years ago.

I put the failures first. Vietnam must come top of the list. Although the Secretary-General has himself throughout courageously sought to find a way towards a negotiated peace, we, the members of the United Nations, have so far failed to take any effective action to stop the war. This is indeed a grave reproach. The fault and the failure lie, of course, not with the United Nations Organisation itself, not with the Charter nor with the Secretary-General. A great deal of the fault can, of course, be traced back to the attitude of the North Vietnamese, who have constantly denied that the United Nations has a role to play in the Vietnam dispute. But a large measure of responsibility must also lie with the members of the U.N., and especially with those who have opposed and blocked discussion in the Security Council.

It is worth repeating that there is nothing wrong with the United Nations except the members of it. The failure over Vietnam is due to two other failures. First, there has been the failure to carry the membership with us in our contention that we should do everything possible not to keep Communist China out of the United Nations, but to persuade the People's Republic of China to come in. This is not a Party issue; all Parties in this country agree about it. On that issue the vote in the U.N. has gone backwards in the past two years, and it is difficult or impossible, I am sorry to say, to see any hope of a better result while the Vietnam war continues.

The second main barrier to effective advance to international co-operation has been the continuation of the cold war between East and West. On that it is possible to make a more encouraging report. This year, for the first time, we had a President of the Assembly from an Eastern European country. Foreign Minister Manescu of Rumania filled this high and exposed office with distinction and admirable impartiality, and also with elegance and tact and good humour. This in itself, I suggest, is a welcome sign of better East-West relations. Moreover, in a wide range of issues effective, practical co-operation between East and West is now taken for granted. The co-operative work in Geneva towards a Non-Proliferation Treaty is matched by our work in New York. The Outer Space Treaty which entered into force last October was a notable achievement in itself, and in these matters in the disarmament field East and West are now often working together. In the last few days of the session which ended last month agreement governing rescue and return of astronauts and space vehicles was speedily and unanimously accepted by the General Assembly. Efforts are now being made to arrange a tripartite signature ceremony in London, Moscow and Washington during the next few days.

I have good reason to be grateful to Mr. Kutsnetsov, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, who has just spent three months in New York, for close and friendly co-operation with us on a number of important matters, including particularly the Middle East. It was the Russian decision to withdraw their resolution and vote for ours which enabled Ambassador Gunnar Jarring to go to the Middle East backed by the authority of a unanimous resolution. A few years ago we assumed that there would always be a monolithic Eastern Communist opposition to our proposals in the United Nations. I now find that in discussion of many subjects with representatives of Eastern Communist States there is a wide range of ready agreement. I do not suggest that the main purposes of Soviet policy have changed. We should be careful not to jump to hasty conclusions about future Soviet intentions. But these facts that I report are, I suggest, encouraging indications at least of improvement. I am far more concerned, as is my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder, about the division between North and South on the combined issues of poverty and population and race than I am about the old-fashioned ideological differences of East and West.

My Lords, I said when I spoke here three years ago that no representative of this country had gone to the United Nations with a better mandate than mine. We have no reason to be ashamed of our record at the United Nations in the past three years. We have taken our full part, often a leading part, as a Permanent Member of the Security Council in the discussions of the Council—on Kashmir, on the Congo, on Cyprus, on Rhodesia and on the Middle East. We have defended our proud record of decolonisation. When we have been subjected to unreasonable attack we have stood our ground and vigorously replied. We have paid everything we owe. We have supported every United Nations' initiative, not least in contributing to the relief of the sufferings of the Arab refugees. We have pledged ourselves to provide logistic support for up to six battalions of United Nations troops. We have provided the largest military contingent to the United Nations force in Cyprus, and met the full costs of that contingent, and have, moreover, contributed at the rate of 4 million dollars a year to the cost of the whole force. And we are still continuing to make our contribution at that level.

We are firm believers in multilateral development aid, and among the first decisions of this Government were the decisions to increase our contributions to the United Nations development programme and to other United Nations Agencies, including, for instance, the High Commission for Refugees and the United Nations Children's Fund. Since then, in times of balance-of-payment difficulties we have maintained the general level of our contributions in the entire range of United Nations economic and social work.

I think the House will understand that it is not possible in present circumstances for me to give, here and now, positive undertakings about our future contributions. Certainly we shall not be able in the immediate future to give as much development aid as we would wish. But your Lordships will have noted that we are maintaining the basic aid programme at its previous cash level. Moreover, as my right honourable friend the Minister of Overseas Development made clear in another place on January 18, additional assistance for Malaysia and Singapore is to be provided, as well as some other assistance outside the basic aid programme.

We hope also to see the resources of the International Development Association renewed at the higher level most recently proposed by the President of the World Bank, Mr. George Woods, and we shall be prepared to make our contribution to that. We shall play our part in the forthcoming UNCTAD Conference, and although, of course, we must at this time have special regard to our present economic difficulties we shall, as we promised at the first UNCTAD Conference, aim to continue to provide 1 per cent. of national income in development aid and other capital flowing to the developing countries. And certainly it is our hope and our intention, by strengthening our own economy, to be able to do more in the future.

Moreover, we should not forget that when the United Nations faced grave financial problems owing to the refusal of the Russians and others to pay their share of the costs of the Congo operation, we, with the other good peacekeepers—especially the Canadians and the Nordic countries—came forward to pay our voluntary and unconditional contribution of 10 million dollars in order to help to rid the United Nations of its financial difficulties; and others have since followed that example.

Yes, my Lords, we have followed a positive policy at the United Nations. Our record is second to none. As the dangers increase, and as the days of imperialism give way, as they surely must, to international action, we need to redouble our efforts to make the United Nations an effective instrument for keeping the peace and for dynamic economic progress. An effective United Nations was desirable before; it is now essential.

What we see in the world and in the United Nations is, surely, a slow, hard, painful transition; a transition from the old days of power politics and the domination of the world by a few great Powers and the balance of terror; a transition from those bad old days to a new era of international understanding and international co-operation, and, in the end, international order and authority. It is slow; it is hard; it is painful, and it is frustrating, I give testimony: and it is only just beginning. But I am convinced—and I hope that your Lordships are, too—of one clear conclusion. There is no other way to go, no other road to travel, except by the way of constant and persistent search for common ground and agreement. That is our daily and persistent endeavour at the United Nations, which is both the forum and the centre of international co-operation. I am further convinced that in the process of replacing imperial power by international order no country in the world can make a greater contribution than ours. Certainly no country in the world has a greater direct interest than ours in raising the level of world prosperity and of world peace.

My Lords, I would say one final word. I come home once a year to speak in the schools and universities of this country about our work at the United Nations. I have been so engaged during the past few weeks, before going back to New York. I shall go back greatly encouraged. Among people of my generation I find much doubt, much misgiving and much disillusion, a turning away in apathy, and sometimes in antipathy, from the troubles of the world. But I scarcely need to assure your Lordships that there is a very different spirit in the youth of this country. They are not seeking to escape. They are not anxious to go back. They are anxious to learn about the wider world. They are eager to understand other peoples, and particularly the peoples of the new countries and the new nations. They are ready themselves to go in a spirit of adventurous service. And in that spirit, which is in accordance with our country's proud tradition of overseas initiative and enterprise, we can all rejoice.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, may I ask whether I am right in understanding that he will be answering some of the other questions I put to him, when, by leave, he speaks again, later on this evening?


My Lords, I shall seek the permission of the House to reply to a number of points which have been raised by the noble Earl and others which arise as the debate proceeds.

5.27 p.m.


My Lords, when the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, gave a memorable address to the local United Nations organisation in Norwich, he stressed more than once that the United Nations could achieve only what the member States and the citizens of those States would allow or expect it to achieve. I have once again listened to, and been greatly moved by, a speech from the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, this afternoon. I join with him in expressing sincere indebtedness to the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, for introducing this debate, and for the manner in which he has done so. I cannot imagine that any of your Lordships, or indeed any of the people of this country, would do other than wish to see the United Nations given every possible support to enable it to fulfil its purposes. And yet, although it would seem presumptuous of someone like myself to make an assessment, the United Nations does appear weaker today than it was. And so it is very heartening to learn from the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, of some of the recent achievements which have been made.

The right honourable George Thomson, then Minister of State at the Foreign Office, said in August last year to the Oslo Congress of World Federalists that the peak of United Nations peacekeeping was reached some years ago at the point the United Nations was engaged in the Congo and Cyprus as well as Kashmir and the Middle East. Since then there has been a decline. The practical prospects for action are now more limited than they were, when the concept was developed with such skill and foresight by the late Dag Hammarskjöld Any decline or any weakness in the power and effectiveness of the United Nations is a grave matter for mankind as a whole.

Last October U Thant published a report by 12 scientific experts in the field of nuclear physics (including Dr. Emilyanov of Russia, and Sir Solly Zuckerman) about the dangers of the present nuclear armaments race on which many Governments are engaged. It is the British Government's policy, faced with this sombre challenge to mankind's survival on this planet, to work with other Governments for a Non-Proliferation Treaty. Such a treaty, according to The Times, even if signed will not stop the great Powers embarking on new and costly phases of the arms race. It will not guarantee the non-nuclear Powers against nuclear threats. It will not be signed by China or France. It will not even provide any solid guarantees that signatories will keep the rules. Indeed, apparently all it would do, according to The Times, is to provide that extra hit of trust and understanding from which other things would flow. I would join wholeheartedly in saying that a Non-Proliferation Treaty is earnestly to be desired, and one may hope that, if it is secured, the consequences of such a treaty will prove more effective and less gloomy than The Times anticipates. But more than a non-proliferation treaty is needed if mankind is to be saved from U Thant's dossier on Death and Disaster.

In our present situation, the position of the United Nations, to which the right honourable George Thomson referred, is a matter of real urgency. If it is declining—and here again it is a matter of opinion—how is that to be arrested or reversed, or, to put it in a positive way, how is the United Nations to be strengthened in order to make it much more effective than it is at present? The United Nations Organisation would seem to have been considerably hampered in its effectiveness by certain features of its Charter, to which constant reference has been made—in particular, the present voting system, the requirement of unanimity among the five Permanent Members of the Security Council and the non-inclusion of the People's Republic of China. It is nothing short of tragic to learn that any attempt at a fundamental revision of the Charter at the present time would probably result in no Charter at all.

I should like to mention two particular ways in which I believe that a decline of the United Nations influence could be reversed. The first is by substituting a sense of world community for international understanding or, since this is really a matter of the meaning of words, by interpreting internationalism in terms of world community, which in fact I believe to be the objective of the United Nations. Many people believe that greater international understanding will keep the peace, but will it? International understanding so often teaches people to recognise the differences between national communities without necessarily going a further stage of indicating the common ground upon which these communities can recognise each other's worth. National systems of education still tend to do this.

Even in sport—the Olympic Games, the World Cup—are we so sure that they help to keep the world together? One is disposed to say, "Yes"; and in the case of the Olympic Games if the influence of the International Olympic Academy should grow one would say, "Yes" with greater confidence. But it is a moot and debatable point. The insistence that every individual on this planet must have some kind of national label, and presumably a behaviour pattern to match, even when doing the same things, is about as nationalistic as to pin attributes of British nationalism on to the Almighty.

The nationalism represented by many United Nations Governments desperately needs to be balanced by some kind of encouragement of conscious loyalty to the human race as a whole—the recognition of the spirit in every man; that is to say, by a sense of world community and world citizenship such as will stress the similarities between the different families of mankind, and not only call attention to their differences. Until there is throughout the world a greater movement of thought and feeling, encouraging us to think and feel and act as members one of the other in a world community, the United Nations and other political institutions will inevitably not make the progress that they should.

The work of UNESCO was originally designed precisely for this purpose; to construct the defences of peace in the minds of men. The success with which it can carry out this mandate depends, I would judge, in some large measure on the extent to which it helps people to look beyond their national loyalties and national differences to their common heritage as human beings. But there is a second way in which I believe that the authority and influence of the United Nations can be greatly enhanced. This lies in the proposition so powerfully advocated by the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder—the idea of the exploitation of the ocean floors for the benefit of mankind. And I should like to say something more in wholehearted support of what Lord Ritchie-Calder has said on this subject.

Now that the depths of the ocean floor beyond the limits of the Continental Shelf hitherto unexploited are becoming exploitable, there is the opportunity that this exploitation should not be parcelled out to the highest bidder or to the nation whose coasts are nearest, but utilised for the benefit of mankind. This is precisely what the men who have undertaken this deep-sea underwater exploration have themselves proposed. The World Underwater Federation, with a membership of 42 countries, and including Commandant Cousteau, Professor Picard and Professor Link, of the U.S.S.R., have claimed the ocean floor as trustees for mankind. They have, as it were, put an international flag at the bottom of the deep seas. This area of our planet, to which no country has as yet staked a claim, needs to be placed under international control. Otherwise the ocean floor could well provide a further incentive to national aggrandisement and to conflict, or could provide the opportunity for one nation's domination of the world.

There must indeed be some early international settlement about the resources of the ocean floor. The Parliamentary Group for World Government has recently set up a Committee to consider this matter which is of such urgent importance. One prerequisite would be a definition of the geographical limitations of the Continental Shelf, based on a geographical criteria and abolishing the loophole claims of the open-ended definition of the Continental Shelf in Article I of the Continental Shelf Convention 1958. This is a matter which will clearly cause some considerable difficulty, and I should like to read that first Article. It says: For the purpose of these Articles the term Continental Shelf' is used as referring

  1. (a) to the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the coast but outside the area of the territorial sea to a depth of 200 metres or beyond that limit to where the depth of the superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of the natural resources of the said areas;
  2. (b) to the seabed and subsoil of similar submarine areas adjacent to the islands of coasts."
The other requirements for such a treaty have been spelt out by the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, notably that exploitation of the ocean floor be regarded as a common heritage of mankind, that its exploitation be used for peaceful purposes only, and, as the Maltese Ambassador to the United Nations has proposed, that the needs of the poorer countries should receive consideration in connection with its resources.

If it be said that the achievement of such a treaty is quite beyond reasonable expectations, I would reply that the same argument might well have been used for the Antarctic a few years prior to 1959. After the war there was increasing tension over territorial claims in the Antarctic. As the noble Lord, Lord McNair, said when the Antarctic Treaty was debated in your Lordships' House: The genius of the document as I see it is that it has substituted the principle of the common peaceful user of the Antarctic for the older practice of scramble and grab in order to establish a proprietary title. But there was an even more sinister danger so far as the Antarctic was concerned; namely, of its being used to harbour secret arsenals or for nuclear experiments. The fact that this treaty happened at all, that it bound together what would then, and perhaps now, be regarded as improbable allies, that the treaty has been honoured and implemented, that the legal complexities over the treaty and the subsequent Antarctic Treaty Bill were resolved, is at least a good augury. As with the Antarctic, so with the ocean floors there is an urgency arising from the danger in the near future of military installations being established under water by super-Powers. The precedent of the Antarctic Treaty, however, cannot be carried too far, for the Antarctic has so far not been regarded as a likely source of mineral or other wealth, unlike the ocean floor. In the case of the Outer Space Treaty exploitation is permitted to anybody and this is precisely what a regime for the ocean floor could not permit. If, before the haphazard exploitation of the resources of the ocean floor develops deeply entrenched vested interests, it can be agreed to allocate these resources for the benefit of all mankind, this will not only remove a potential source of international danger but liberate resources which could establish the United Nations on a financially secure and independent footing. And I am not minimising the extremely complicated issues which would have to be faced in drafting such a treaty. It would need to provide terms for the ocean floor compatible with the differing conditions for the seas above it.

Since the whole discussion about the peace-keeping powers of the United Nations met with some opposition from the Governments of France and Russia, over the principles of payment for it, it is very possible they would now oppose anything that would give the United Nations greater financial independence. It is not certain that the other Powers, like Britain and the United States, would be willing to give the United Nations such a measure of independence either, since there have been lengthy delays in paying off our arrears, and there is still a balance to be paid. Our Government, I understand, have committed themselves to the principle of a permanent force, but always there seems to be attached the qualification" ultimately". I should be very grateful, when the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, replies to this debate, if he would comment on this point.

In December, 1965, the Prime Minister said: We range ourselves unequivocably on the side of those who say that the United Nations must move forward with set purpose towards becoming a world authority. If the United Nations can be built into a world authority, the policing role performed by this country during the last century, performed perhaps in a more faltering fashion by the Americans now, will for the first time in human history be put on a proper basis, a basis which should be more acceptable because more representative than any Pax Romana, Pax Britannica or Pax Americana previously provided. One recognises the natural reluctance of Governments to see the United Nations, or indeed any analogous extranational world agency, grow into a dominant authority. But unless all Governments are willing to surrender some elements of sovereignty in the interests of mankind as a whole, the, future destiny of mankind on this earth will be in jeopardy.

5.45 p.m.


My Lords, am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder for initiating this debate and for the very generous breadth of his Motion. Although the Human Rights Committee on which I have served for the last three years is not mentioned on the Order Paper, I think I shall not be, accused of "gate-crashing" on this debate, because the Third Committee deals continuously with items that come within the province of practically all of the Specialised Agencies. Incidentally, I do not know whether your Lordships are aware that we have in this House two distinguished predecessors on the Human Rights Committee, the noble Baroness, Lady Emmet of Amberley, and the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, who served on this Committee a good many years ago.

I will speak briefly of both my disappointments and my hopes on this Human Rights and Social Welfare Committee. Observers from the Specialised Agencies sit in the Committee. This huge Committee is a Parliament now of 122 countries: 122 delegates plus their advisers. Its daily business is the drafting of declarations and conventions to promote human rights. During the last three years I have watched this Committee encroach more and more on the items before other Committees, such as the Political and Legal Committees. In fact it has begun to act like an overflow meeting from various Committees and it often tries to deal with matters outside its competence. Its Rules of Procedure seem so flexible as to be stretched or bent in any political direction. When I first arrived at the United Nations, though I was not so naïve as to assume that human rights could be divorced from politics, I was not prepared for the way they were saturated by politics. I felt that no great progress could be made in that direction. But over the three years the Committee has become more, rather than less, political.

I have found one more disconcerting thing in the Committee, its great weakness for drawing up declarations—and here I must exclude the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which is a really inspired document. These declarations are simply shopping lists of aspirations, and it is a kind of United Nations language, which I have called "Aspiranto". It is true that these declarations give the developing nations an opportunity of listing their aims and goals and hopes, as well as the chance to blame the more developed nations for their colonialism and racialism, which they say has held them back over the years.

I had come to the United Nations believing it to be, when pared down to the bone, an organisation created to promote understanding between nations and for mutual aid. I had thought that the British role was to work in the Committees and in the Specialised Agencies, and by example and effort to help spread more human rights around the world. We had, after all, a good record on decolonisation and were dedicated to the final dissolution of the Empire. But the role we sought and the role we were assigned looked very different to me in the beginning. The explanation was soon at hand. The United Nations is obsessed with colonialism and racial discrimination, because of Rhodesia and South Africa. These are the only human rights issues that the Afro-Asian countries are concerned with, and when you have been there in the United Nations for three years you can really understand why.

They have absolutely no interest in the kind of human rights that we in this country cherish—such things as freedom of speech, freedom of movement, the right to leave one's country, or the right of fair trial. They ignore the lack of human rights in their own country. So it looks as if, so long as there is no change in Rhodesia or South Africa, our views will not be listened to on human rights in any Committee, and for the time being our role is a shrinking one. This does not apply, as we have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, in the Security Council. It applies simply in the Human Rights Committee. This attitude spills over to all the other Western countries though, in a maddening way, to my mind, the French are never attacked for past colonial misdemeanours.

The achievements of the Human Rights Committee have become progressively less over the last three years. In 1965, the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was concluded, and although it contained one irrelevant anti-colonial article, it had strong implementation machinery by United Nations standards. In 1966, the International Conferences for Civil and Political, and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were drawn up and, though they fell short of western goals, they did set a certain standard for developing and emergent countries. I thought that we were too critical of them not taking into consideration the many years it took us to achieve our own strong human rights and freedoms. This Western criticism only won us suspicion and hostility during the debates.

Last year, in 1967, the results of the three-month session were very poor. Every one of our debates, whether on refugees in Africa, on the War Crimes Convention, on the Convention against Religious Intolerance, or on the International Human Rights Conference which is going to take place in April in Teheran, was channelled into an attack on Israel. The aftermath of the Middle East war engendered unbounded bitterness among the Afro-Asians, and this feeling was fanned into hatred by the speeches of the Soviet Union and her satellites.

The only document to be completed was the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. We scarcely had a bite out of the Convention against Religious Intolerance, and there were many wasted hours countering what to me looked like a determined attempt on the part of the Soviets to try to get an atheist's charter, a non-believer's charter, out of this religious convention. The draft of a war crimes convention, originally contemplated to overcome any statutory limitation for the round-up of Nazi war criminals, was so drawn out to include apartheid and what the Afro-Asians called "crimes against humanity", that the resulting document is simply legally meaningless, and I do not believe that any Western country will sign it.

We wasted hours on the debate on religious intolerance by the acrimony induced by the misguided request from both Israel and the United States to include a specific reference to condemn anti-semitism among all forms of religious intolerance. This had been tried two years ago and had failed, and had produced even greater hostility this time. We would have done better if we had allocated the many hours spent in political acrimony by dealing in greater depth with an item called "The world social situation".

Of course, much of what I have described helps to bring the activities of the United Nations into disrepute, among people who do not know about it. But, as I say, this is due mainly to the lack of understanding between the richer and poorer countries of the moral relationships as well as the economic relationships. People do understand a little about the economic relationship between the "haves" and the "have nots"; but they do not seem to be aware of the main things which poison relationships between the countries of the world to-day.

There is Rhodesia, still a bastion of colonialism. There is South Africa, a strong bastion of racial discrimination. They account for the depth of feeling, for the fears of all the Afro-Asian countries to-day, the fears that are generated in half the world. Knowing this, I was somewhat surprised by the cavalier way in which the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, dismissed the ban on South African arms as unrealistic. I assure him that if he had spent three days in the United Nations he would have seen why it was quite unrealistic not to have banned arms for South Africa. I understand that the economic arguments are not simple, but are quite complicated. We trade, and should trade, with all kinds of governments.

All the same, this is a really terrible issue in the United Nations, and no one knows this better than the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union have nothing to lose, for they do not open their doors to immigrants. The Soviet Union do not have 20 million negroes in their country. They have gone all out to get the sympathy of half the world by just repeating a condemnation of colonialism and apartheid in every speech they make in the United Nations. They have won a complete propaganda victory from the West. They rant with moral indignation, and it costs them absolutely nothing.

To get back to Britain and the severe present limitations to our role in tire United Nations on human rights, as I have said this is quite different from the efforts and the successes we have had in the Security Council. Here, may I say that I do not think people, even here, realise the efforts that were made by our Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, in this issue. When they talk about our not having any influence in the United Nations, they have only to look to the latest British resolution, which was the first step towards the peace negotiations in the Middle East. However, it looks as if, in this century, the extent of a nation's civilisation is judged by the, way it treats its minorities and the way it rejects arty double standards in human dignity.

My noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder has spoken of aid. Like many others, I have for long thought that there must be a complete revolution in our thinking and attitude about aid to developing countries. I have recently read a remarkable speech made by Mr. George Woods, until recently President of the World Bank. This has completely reinforced my own thoughts on this matter. He said: Exceptional action on a sufficient scale has to be taken, otherwise 'stagnation, frustration, disappointed hopes, leaves the great majority of our fellow men hungry, restless and reduced to delinquent despair'. These words are not from some Left-Wing Socialist; they are from Mr. George Woods, who has just recently left the World Bank.

Arms spending has passed the 160 billion dollar mark, so no one can say that the developed countries are poor. Mr. George Woods also says that the stories of incompetence, waste and corruption in developing countries when given aid are absolutely false, and he adds: We are living through a time of disillusion and distaste for economic assistance. I believe that we could perhaps reverse the malaise we have reached in human rights by a more realistic look at aid in the world.

As for the argument which the Opposition sometimes makes, that now that we have relinquished an empire and have stopped policing the world we have shed all power and thus influence in the world, I utterly refute it. It merely illustrates ignorance of what the United Nations really stands for. It is not just a replica or a mirror of power politics in the world. Neither Russia nor America, the greatest Powers, exert the greatest influence—one has only to look at the British exertions in the last few months to see that. The United Nations is an organisation in which small countries have a voice, and sometimes a very great voice, particularly on the human rights side. Jamaica and Senegal are both very strong on human rights, and the delegates from the Philippines in my Committee made the most trenchant speech on aid. We ourselves have a great deal to contribute and a great role to play in the future. We are the most mature nation about government. At its best, our education is still the best in the world because it really trains men and women to have independent minds. If and when the problems of Rhodesia and South Africa are eased and settled, we shall get back our strong voice on human rights. Until then, we shall go on being accused of wanting such human rights for ourselves and not for others.

6.02 p.m.


My Lords, it is now some years since I was a delegate to the United Nations, and therefore I have some hesitation in addressing your Lordships to-day in the knowledge that there are many here who have had far more recent experience than my own. I listened with fascination to the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, and tried to follow him in the technical and scientific spheres, but I am afraid I must just sit at his feet and not go into that side of matters as I am incapable of doing so. When listening to the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, I almost felt myself back in the General Assembly watching it at work his picture was so vivid and I recalled it so well. With regard to the speech of the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Norwich, I cannot follow him to the depths of the sea; but when I listened to the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, I realised that the Third Committee had not really changed very much since I was there many years ago.

I should like to make one or two points based on general principles which, I feel, must always hold good and which I do not think have been touched upon in this debate so far. Unfortunately, the United Nations suffers from overenthusiastic supporters on the one hand and uninformed criticisms on the other. It seems to me to be the duty of those of us who have been there to try to preserve a happy medium. It is perhaps salutary to remind ourselves of the actual United Nations objectives by occasionally re-reading the introduction to the Charter, thereby recalling our goal and measuring soberly how far we have gone towards reaching it. With your Lordships' permission, I will read the first few paragraphs: We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm a faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law"— I want to stress that, as I shall be dealing with it— can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom". We must not be too disheartened if we feel that we have fallen far short of translating those words into reality.

I am not one of those people who think that by changing the original Charter everything immediately can be put right. In fact, I myself think that any attempt at changing it would take so many years and there would be so little consensus of opinion that we should get nowhere at all. The spirit which uplifted those nations who signed the Charter at San Francisco in 1945 has, I am afraid at the moment, vanished, at any rate for the time being. I do not think that any alterations in the Charter would be for the common good unless that spirit which inspired those nations came back and pervaded the nations who are now members.

The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, said—and I entirely agree with him—that there is nothing wrong with the United Nations except the members of it. I think that that is true. When I was at the United Nations there were only 60 members, and in those days they were still carried forward by the hopes of the Founding Fathers. Now there are some 122 nations, all clamouring to be heard in their own interests; and I think we must therefore assess what practical steps can be expected of the United Nations in the light of this development. It does not at the moment look so much an instrument of world government as an instrument of education in international relations. There is no doubt as to the usefulness of the ablest representatives of many nations coming together in New York to discuss matters in open forum.

May I say here, as a member of the Opposition, that one cannot always approve of appointments made by the present Government; nevertheless, they have chanced very lucky in this House, both in the appointment of our new Leader and in the appointment of our representative at the United Nations, Lady Gaitskell. The Government have also recognised a point which I have always stressed: that there is tremendous value in continuing representation at the United Nations, since personal contacts and relationships count for a great deal there. It is only in the second and third year that one can reap the benefit of the foundations one has laid in the first year. Personally, I am sorry that the custom of sending Parliamentary delegates out to the United Nations has been dropped and that, instead, short visits have been introduced. I believe that a strong political representation is essential if a country wishes to make an impression. I believe that foreign delegates listen more readily to Parliamentarians than they do to civil servants, however eminent; and I say this without, I hope, taking away from the immense services which some noble Lords in this House have given to the United Nations.

Though we may be depressed at the lack of success in any particular session—and from what we hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, the present one has not been very successful—we must not forget the good work which is going on in the various permanent branches all round the world, some of which have already been mentioned. I was glad that the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough, mentioned the expense which some of them, such as the F.A.O., run to unnecessarily. Indeed, I would say, in passing, that unless the finances of the United Nations are taken in hand shortly and firmly dealt with, there is a danger that the institution may crumble. We have learned that we cannot live on debts; neither can the United Nations. It may be that some of those countries which have not paid up as they should are Machiavellian in their hopes that in the end, the finances will crumble the United Nations.

Also, I have a feeling that there is a weakness in the staffing of the United Nations due to the too great regard for geographical distribution rather than to appointing the right man for the job. It may be that now that we have apparently decided to stop being one of the great Powers we shall have better luck in achieving more representation on the staff of the United Nations because there was always opposition to having too many great Power members on the staff.

But there is a special branch of the United Nations' work to which I want to draw your Lordships' attention. I think it is generally conceded—it is perhaps a platitude—that good government the world over is based on sensible laws accepted by general consent and properly enforced. Here lies the real weakness of the United Nations. We talk a lot about world government, but until we have good government the world over—or at least in the majority of nations—with respect for international law, we shall be crying for the moon and, indeed, we may even get the moon sooner. To my mind, world government at the present moment is the ideal of the escapist from his own home troubles.

It has always seemed to me that we have never made enough of, nor given its proper place to, the International Court at The Hague. That has not been mentioned so far this afternoon. We have twice had recourse to it. Once we lost and once we won, but each time we have cheerfully accepted its decision It is a great pity that other nations have not made more use of it; for instance Spain over Gibraltar. Perhaps she did not because she thought she did not have a very good case.

If we could strengthen international law—and I believe that this must come before world government—if we could persuade nations to argue their cases as interested parties, not on the rostrum of the General Assembly in New York but before carefully selected and elected eminent legal experts at The Hague, there would then be some sense in trying to establish an international observer and police corps. I do not believe in an international military force at this stage—it would be too dangerous—nor do I think it is realistic to think that the great Powers would agree.

Is it not an irony of fate that, now we have decided to quit as the world policeman and have been pressurised, too soon perhaps, from some of the regions of the world by certain nations who have only themselves to blame if they now find the world a more dangerous place, we are being pressed to stay? How fortunate it is that recently, at the time of the Sicilian earthquake tragedy, we still had a base in Malta from which to help. We immediately despatched the whole of our Mediterranean fleet—four ships—and the presence of the British sailors at a moment of terror for the population there was of the greatest possible comfort. I think one should congratulate the Admiral on his prompt assistance. Also, how about our fire brigade action at the moment in Mauritius?

I think it will be thousands of years before the influence of Great Britain will no longer be felt in the world. We do so underestimate ourselves. May I tell your Lordships of a personal experience? We were digging out the garden to make a tennis court, and we found a small Roman tear bottle. I have often asked myself whether that tear bottle belonged to a wife or mother of a Roman legionary who had been recalled to Rome and perhaps had died in some foreign parts. Then, when the Romans left us, our island split and fought for many years until finally it emerged as the United Kingdom.

It may well be that when we have relinquished our policing there will be splits and racial conflicts in the world. And one must say this: if only the United Nations had been ready now to step in, that might be avoided. However, as the Charter stands the United Nations can exercise a degree of control and mediation only with the consent of the nations involved. Indeed, a government can in the long-run rule successfully only with the consent of the ruled. This consenting attitude is what we must foster. But we must not put on the United Nations tasks which it cannot carry out. It is when we ask the impossible from immature institutions that we must inevitably be disappointed. As was said, the United Nations will only be as good as the representatives sent there.

To sum up, I should like to suggest that progress should really be on these lines. The moral principles which inspired the Charter must be restored at the United Nations. We must not hesitate to reprove the United Nations when she falls (I do not know whether it is a male or a female) below those standards. We must engender and strengthen the understanding of international law and demand that it be respected and used. Greater recourse must be had to the Court at The Hague. We must foster the setting up of an international police force which will ensure, if necessary, that the decisions of the Hague are carried out. There must be penalties for nations in breach of their commitments. By going forward on these lines, I can see a great future for the United Nations, and I should like to see our own contribution outstanding in its history.

6.18 p.m.


My Lords, I would join with those who have spoken previously in thanking my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder for putting down this Motion, and for the excellent speech he made. He and I have been connected with the United Nations over all the years, from the day in 1950 when I first went there with "Ernie" Bevin, when there were 33 nations, to the much more difficult and terrible days with 125 nations.

I am very glad to follow the two noble Baronesses both of whom, because I am there every year, I have seen at work in the Third Committee. Indeed, as my office is near the Third Committee meeting room, I see Lady Gaitskell sitting there every morning and afternoon, because at the United Nations, as anybody who works there knows, there is a tremendous habit of people turning up late. So I see Lady Gaitskell sitting there on time, as the British usually are, hoping the others will turn up so that they can get on with the work. Of course, I also see my noble friend Lord Caradon, who is now on the Front Bench, striding through the corridors and going to make speeches; and, perhaps even more important, at times sitting in an office drawing up some of his drafts which might help to bring a better purpose to the Organisation.

It is to pay a tribute to the Organisation, despite all its difficulties, that I rise. I know that there are newspapers which suggest that the existence of the United Nations should by now have produced a world of contentment and peace. That is a good dream, but the reality is a long way from being just around the corner. It really never could be that. The creation of this body in 1945 did not change the peoples of the world; it gave a new opportunity. One cannot judge the United Nations entirely by whether permanent treaties have been reached and whether war has been outlawed: it must be judged by the total picture.

We are always reading of the failure of the United Nations to do this or to do the other; and it is true that there are failures. But the United Nations family is like the rest of us, so far as publicity is concerned. If I were discovered in the bedroom of some strange lady, I might make front-page news. My happy marriage does not. It probably never will, except that perhaps in four years' time I might merit two lines in the list of golden weddings. That is the nature of things about publicity, and it is particularly true of the United Nations. The frustrations and failures catch the headlines of the world Press. We ourselves are all inclined to forget the smouldering which is there and which is stopped from being fanned into fire because it is quenched by the United Nations fire brigade. Rumours and possibilities of wars—wars which started small but which might have become general—have been averted by the United Nations Organisation, and the facts have hardly been realised by the average reader of the Press in this country.

I want to address your Lordships particularly for a few minutes on the United Nations Agencies and their particular funds, with special reference to the United Nations Development Programme, a programme designed to alleviate human suffering, because I am sure it is there that the fundamental job of laying the foundations of the more prosperous and secure world community of the years to come lies. I know that the work is not proceeding fast enough. The noble Lord on the Front Bench would not think it was; nor would anyone else. But it can only be geared to the resources that are made available to it; and, as the noble Baroness has said, the financial resources are running down. Some people do not make their contributions to the funds, and certainly many do not pay their fair share. We in this country, however poor we may think we are, bear our full share financially, and in human endeavour, in all the work of the United Nations and its Agencies.

There are many temptations to be sidetracked by disbelief and by frustration at what is not immediately achieved when one goes into committee, but patience and perseverance are essential; and those, I am sure we all agree, are two of the qualities brought by the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, to his job. The first essential, surely, is adhering firmly, without reservation and with good will, to the Charter, to which the noble Baroness referred. Too often, I am afraid (and that became clear from some of the things that the noble Baroness sitting next to me said), some nations fail to stick to the principles of the Charter. They see a way to an immediate thing of value to themselves, probably only propaganda-wise, and, imbued with their own selfish endeavour, they try to take short cuts. But there are no short cuts in a world where hunger, poverty, despair and illiteracy are still the dominant features—as they are in a large part of the world.

Hunger, starvation and malnutrition will remove from this world in the next few years many more people than the dropping of the largest atom bomb. We know nothing to-day of the spectre of hunger, and of seeing children die at a young age because of malnutrition. But the fact is that in many countries half the children born each day die before they reach six years of age. They die, not only because of lack of medical treatment but because, when they suffer what we should regard as ordinary childish ailments, such as measles, they have not the background stamina, having lived a life of undernourishment. As to those who do survive—what of them, my Lords? One in three of them will never know a life that has any reasonable hope; and when they grow into adult life they will be lucky if they reach 40 years of age; and they will get to that age with permanent chips on their shoulders.

It is conditions of this kind that we are breeding in the men and women of to-morrow—a dissatisfied, restless and probably ruthless population. The millions of children in the exploding population who survive will become the millions of adults of the world in the next few years. Therefore when we deal with children to-day we are dealing with those who are going to grow up, not only having suffered while they are young but permanently influenced by the way in which malnutrition has left their mental as well as their bodily condition. This same group of people who explode into the world in the population explosion could lead the world in an explosion of a different kind.

No one nation, no small number of nations, can hope to solve this kind of problem on their own, but I am proud to believe that our own country bears its own, very fair share and full part in the job we do. What is more, it has done so, whatever Government has been in power, since the Charter was adopted, for the United Nations work, it is true to say, knows no bounds of Party, of race or of creed. We in this country are the third largest contributor to the central resources of the United Nations fund to which I referred, the Development Programme. I am glad to say that when we look at our history we can see how we have stepped up, year after year, all that we have done. We started by giving 3 million dollars in 1959; it went up to 8 million dollars in the next three years and to 10 million dollars in the next two; and I am glad to see that we are now finding 11¾ million dollars.

At the same time, my Lords, let us not forget that we are one of the great recipients from this fund. The present programme earmarks 4½ million dollars for six projects in British non-self-governing territories; and since 1950 expert assistance and fellowship awards, amounting to another 4½ million dollars, have been given for British non-self-governing territories. So this is a great two-way traffic. The sum provided from 1950 to date by this programme for the experts amounts to no less than 71 million dollars; and during the last ten years equipment valued at over 3 million dollars was purchased in the United Kingdom for projects. Then, at the beginning of the year we had orders placed in this country amounting to 17 million dollars for projects to cover seventy-six countries and territories; and at that date we can proudly say that we had no fewer than twenty-three consulting firms in the United Kingdom engaged on thirty projects, again at a cost to the programme of over 3 million dollars.

My Lords, these are substantial figures of benefit to us, coming back to us as one of the big payers. What is more, I think we can be proud of the fact that we provide no fewer than 1,022 of the experts serving in these projects all over the world—projects covering matters of great variety, from animal husbandry to housing, water resources, electric power development and the like. I was glad that mention was made of David Owen when the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, spoke. He is a great British international civil servant who is in charge of this fund, and many of us are glad to claim him as a friend.

As recently as the 11th of this month there was a meeting of the Governing Council of the thirty-seven contributing nations—I think my noble friend Lord Caradon mentioned that—dealing, this time, with the assistance to seventy-one developing countries at a total cost of 228 million dollars. That means we have now 873 projects in all parts of the world with a total cost of 2,107 million dollars. But, of course, the programme needs more help; and particularly so as regards agriculture, food and education; and the programme itself must link up with the work of the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Whatever criticism there may be of some of it—and, incidentally, the gentleman to whom reference was made has now left the F.A.O.—the truth is that the F.A.O. has averted famine and alleviated malnutrition in several regions of the world.

Mention has been made already of the "exploding population." As time goes on, the world grows shorter and shorter of food; and, unfortunately, it is in the nations that are short of food that the population growth is greatest. The F.A.O. have been taking a look at grain—and this is one of many subjects—to see where we are going in the next few years. The developing nations needed 450 million tons in 1960. By 1980, they will need 750 million tons. That is an increase of 300 million tons—and 300 million tons is equal to the entire present production of grain in the whole of Europe and of North America. That is the kind of thing that this programme, and the others, will have to face in the course of the next year or two.

Grain harvest improvement is only one of the many things which the F.A.O. will do. Its own work must fit in with that of the World Health Organisation—and I have little doubt, since the noble Lord, Lord Cohen of Birkenhead, is down to speak, that he will be saying something about W.H.O., whose work in respect of disease in the same countries links up with that of the F.A.O. Before the night is out I hope someone will say something more about UNESCO. They come in for criticism too often. One thinks of the criticism that people offer of the big schemes to stop dams from being built because the water will cover up old monuments. But UNESCO'S work is much more important than that. They are dealing with the illiteracy which goes hand in hand with famine, scourge and disease. There must be regard to education.

My Lords, I did not want to say much more than that when I rose; but I am going to say one or two things about a subject which I did not know was to be raised. I knew nothing of the facts until I heard my noble friend Lord Ritchie Calder refer to the proposal to change the method of appointment to the Board of the W.H.O. This causes me to offer a comment as one who is elected, and has been for 17 years, by the General Assembly. I am astonished to hear of the proposal that any professional body of that kind should be appointed in the way that is suggested in this draft resolution. I am even more surprised to be told that one of its sponsors is the United Kingdom. I am going to withhold judgment until I have had the chance later on of hearing my noble friend Lord Caradon tell us what it is that has caused the Government suddenly to undertake this thing. For immediately people are appointed like this, the whole nature of a professional body changes. They are no longer the people the world has elected; they are the creatures of a Government. That is not only bad for the Board itself; it is bad for the staff. Staff of organisations of this kind ought to be dealing with people who are reaching human judgments based on professional standards. If every time one of the members of the Board goes to one of the staff to ask him to do a bit of work the member of the staff thinks that the Board member is coming in as a creature of a Government to "twist his arm", the whole morale of the organisation suffers, as does its efficiency. I will have none of it, unless I hear some very good explanation. I hope there is one; although I must say at the moment that I cannot think what it is.

My Lords, I have taken the risk of boring you by quoting a number of facts and figures. I did so deliberately because I think the time has arrived when the public and the Press should understand that there are these jobs to be done to get the world going towards its goal. Slow though it may be, it will be done irrespective of Party, race or creed. I make no apology for ending with a quotation which inspired me, although I am not a member of the Roman Catholic faith. It comes from a magnificent statement of Pope John XXIII in his encyclical Mater et Magistra. I think it is a relevant thought on which I could end to-day: The solidarity which binds all men, and makes them members of the same family, requires political communities enjoying an abundance of material goods not to remain indifferent to those political communities whose citizens suffer poverty, misery and hunger, and who lack even the elementary rights of the human person. This is particularly true, since, given the growing interdependence among the peoples of the earth, it is not possible to preserve lasting peace if glaring economic and social inequality among them persists. That is it, my Lords. Work without spectacular political agreement, work without anything which is good front-page news, is going on inside the United Nations, its Agencies and its programmes, all the time: a great and real job of work, trying to make the world better for some people to live in and to work in, in the hope that those people, when their environment has improved, will be better citizens, better able not only to enjoy life for themselves but to make a contribution that, in the end, will lead us to the kind of goal we have in the world.

6.37 p.m.


My Lords, I too should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, for introducing his Motion and for the very comprehensive way in which he did so. I hope your Lordships will forgive me if some of my remarks are no more than an echo of what he said. The noble Lord raised issues of profound international significance, the satisfactory resolution of which is fundamental to the eradication of the extremely serious discrepancies in material wellbeing which exist within the world community.

I am less intimately acquainted with the activities of the United Nations Organisation than several of the previous speakers and, therefore, my remarks will be of a rather more general kind, concerning the impact of the progress in science and technology on the developing countries, the kind of difficulties in which they find themselves and the kind of help which I believe we in this country must be willing to give in greater measure than we have yet done. It has not been mentioned earlier to-day, but I was greatly relieved that the Ministry of Overseas Development survived so well the economies in expenditure which were announced last week; although I hope that the Ministry will take advantage of this opportunity to re-assess sonic of their priorities.

I do not think any of your Lordships will wish to take issue with me when I say that we in this country are an extremely fortunate and privileged people. There are only about 55 million of us in a world population of over 3,500 million, and although difficult to quantify, I should not be wrong in saying that the income per capita in this country is at least ten times as large as that of the developing countries of Africa, Asia and South America. During my lifetime, my Lords, the standard of living, the conditions of employment and the availability of amenities for the general public have been transformed. I think that perhaps we have been among the most favoured beneficiaries from the progress of science and technology, and we may well say that this is justifiable because we have been a major contributor to this progress.

The history of our national contribution to scientific research has been outstanding by world standards. It was the native wit and inventiveness of our engineers which gave birth to the Industrial Revolution and sustained it over a long period. But now, regrettably, we have cause to be anxious lest we may be lagging behind some other industrial countries in our ability to exploit technologically and economically the potentialities of recent scientific progress. I hope, on the initiative of the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough, your Lordships' House will be discussing this matter later in the Session.

In my opinion, the justification for this anxiety is to be found less in a possible adverse effect on our own standard of living (which I, and I am sure your Lordships, would wish to avoid) than on our ability to increase the help we are giving to the developing countries; and, in this and other ways, to continue to exercise the broadminded influence in international affairs for which this country has a special responsibility and, I believe, a special talent. The problems to be faced (they were touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder) reflect in varying degrees the state of unbalance which characterises the world situation; unbalance in the kinds and abundance of fuel and mineral resources; in the availability of water for irrigation and power purposes; in climatic conditions and population density; in dependence on agriculture or degree of industrial development; in capital resources; in the state of educational development, and not least (and this I am sure lies at the root of many, if not most, of U.N.O.'s difficulties) in the restraints imposed on the developing countries—and indeed on ourselves—by the traditions, the institutions and the social order which has been inherited.

Every country, therefore, must evolve its own approach to the resolution of these problems; but to be optimistic the resulting diversity affords great opportunities for international collaboration in the resolution of problems which, as has been said often to-day, are becoming increasingly matters of common concern. It is not sufficiently appreciated by the general public in this country how readily the developing countries are being affected by scientific and technological progress; consequences to which their attention is being directed intimately through the world developments in telecommunications and air transport.

During a visit to Africa some years ago I was told, and I do not think that it was meant as a joke, that the transistor radio had replaced the umbrella as a status symbol in Central Africa. Whether or not this be true, the fact is that the native peoples of these developing countries are being brought into close contact with the conditions and standards of life in countries such as this, and in the way we behave, bad as well as good. As the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, said, they are being taken, within a few years, through evolutionary phases which have been a matter of gradual progress for us, and for which, generally speaking, they are educationally ill prepared. No wonder the powers of adaptation of the peoples of some of these countries are being overstrained. After centuries of marginal existence these peoples have learned that poverty is no longer a necessary attribute of life. Increasingly they are seeking the eradication of want and the fulfilment of individual capacity; and we particularly, but Western Europe as a whole, have been basically responsible for this evolutionary situation both by example and by sermon. It leaves us with a heavy responsibility.

My Lords, the burning question is, how to ensure the attainment of a better distribution of world wealth in face of the population explosion to which reference has been made. Surely the basic approach to the solution must be an educational one. I think that tribute should be paid this afternoon to the contribution which the United Nations Organisation and its Agencies have made to this problem outstandingly, I believe, though not exclusively, within primary and secondary schools.

In a speech which the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, made to the General Conference of UNESCO in 1960 when he was Minister of Education, he referred to the wide differences in the educational provisions throughout the world as the greatest and most dangerous of all the international inequalities. He said that it was quite useless to talk about making an unbalanced economy viable, or about making any nation capable of sustained progress when the foundations had not been laid in the primary and secondary schools. My personal experiences, about which I should like to speak a little, within the developing countries have not been at the level of the primary and secondary schools but at those of the universities and the technical institutes, with particular reference to the production of qualified scientists, technologists and engineers and their technical supporting staff—of the men needed to ensure the ability of these countries to take advantage of the aid being provided for them through U.N.O. and other agencies; men capable of interpreting, and then exploiting the technological achievements of more advanced countries and men hopeful of initiating new scientific and technological progress of their own.

I appreciate that the discussion to-day is about U.N.O. but I think that we ought not to ignore other agencies which also have been making substantial contributions in these fields. Based on advice from, for example, the Inter-University Council and the Advisory Council for Technical Education in Overseas Countries, the Ministry of Overseas Development has sponsored invaluable help to, for example, the Colombo Plan in these respects. This help has taken the form, not merely of finance for university and technical institute buildings and equipment but, more important perhaps, the provision of staff members to initiate teaching work and to sustain it while native staff was being educated up to the necessary level; and to sponsoring for education and training in this country carefully selected young people who are to establish the spearhead of the country's ability to exploit technological possibilities. Under the Colombo Plan (this is in supplementation of what was said a moment ago by the noble Lord, Lord Crook) over 600 experts have spent short and long periods in the Asian countries covered by this Plan and suitable training facilities in this country have been provided for over 5,500 men and women. In addition to this it is now standard practice where art individual firm in this country becomes responsible for a major project, such as building a new factory or an electricity generating station, for the contract to contain a requirement that the firm shall provide training facilities for a selected number of native people who will later become responsible for the operation of the project. Many hundreds of men and women must have been catered for in this way.

In addition, as many of your Lordships know there are at present over 70,000 young people following courses in our universities, technical colleges, colleges of advanced technology, teacher-training colleges and elsewhere, who are not supported by their respective Governments but are self-financing. They nevertheless are making claims upon our resources. I was one of those who deeply regretted the Government's decision of some months ago to increase the fees for this category of student. But I regard as more serious the difficulty which many of these young people are experiencing in supplementing their education by appropriate training, industrial or otherwise, in their special fields of interest. Being an engineer I have particularly in mind, of course, those who need training in industry or within public utilities.

The Ministry of Overseas Development and the Ministry of Labour quite recently issued a pamphlet entitled Industrial Training for Overseas Nationals. Regrettably, this scheme is limited to young people sponsored by their respective Governments, and there are large numbers within the 70,000 I mentioned who are not so sponsored and for whom it is proving extremely difficult to obtain satisfactory training facilities. The degree of disappointment, disillusionment and frustration of which I am aware is going a long way to destroying the good will to which I feel we are entitled as a result of the educational facilities which have been made available to them.

Some large industrial concerns, particularly in the electrical industry, have traditionally provided training facilities for quite large numbers of overseas students; and not only Commonwealth students. I think it is not unfair to say that over and above their desire to contribute to the national provision in this respect they have had the foresight to appreciate the possibility of advantageous returns in orders from overseas. Having spent much of my life in a large industrial company I have seen that many orders have their origins in these training schemes. Unfortunately a large number of our small and medium-sized undertakings, and our public utilities, have so far not been as willing as they should have been to provide comparable training facilities.

In my belief small firms and public utilities are probably much more relevant to the present situation in the developing countries than are the large manufacturing concerns. Unfortunately, this unwillingness or inability reflects the fact that they have not as yet provided adequate training for the young recruits from our own country. But obviously this will soon be corrected through the implementation of the Industrial Training Act. Regrettably, so I understand, the industrial training boards have not felt able to treat overseas trainees as qualifying for refund of grant to the sponsoring companies on the same basis as for home trainees. This means that there is no financial incentive to firms to cater for trainees from overseas unless they have a commercial interest or obligation in respect of them. I should like to appeal, if I may, in your Lordships' House to the small and medium-sized companies of this country, and to the public utilities, to take much more seriously than they have so far done their national obligation in this respect.

May I now move to another aspect of the overseas situation which is causing me considerable concern? This is the brain-drain of qualified manpower. I am particularly interested in scientists, technologists and engineers who go from the underdeveloped countries to the relatively highly developed ones. We shall be discussing this subject later on in the Session, again on the initiative of the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough. We have cause to be concerned about the brain-drain of qualified people from this country, notably to the United States, but taken in relation to their resources of qualified manpower and to national need for its services the developing countries find themselves in a much more serious position. Let us not be in any doubt that this country has been one of the major beneficiaries of the brain-drain from the developing countries.

In 1966, some 1,650 professionally qualified scientists, technologists and engineers from the Commonwealth, mainly from the developing countries, were granted immigration vouchers to work in this country. I believe the loss of these people to be extremely serious, and I do not think that the solution will be easy to find. Certainly a solution cannot be found by unilateral action. If, for example, this country were to impose severe restrictions on the entry of qualified people from overseas, while allowing a continuing and increasing drain of qualified manpower from this country to other parts of the world, notably to the United States, this could work only to our disadvantage.

I think that this reflects a world situation which, unless it is dealt with effectively, could lead to a serious situation within the developing countries and nullify the benefits which would otherwise derive to them. Therefore I was extremely pleased by the recent statement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations that international organisations should carry out basic research on the magnitude of the drain of highly qualified manpower from the developing countries, should study the countries and individuals concerned, and the motives for, and should examine the implications of the development of the drain and the remedial measures taken in some countries to deal with it.

In conclusion, my Lords, may I express the hope that in seeking to stimulate and strengthen our economy the present Government and their successors, of whatever Party, will make clear to the general public that a major purpose of this strengthening is the need for us to give increasing help to the developing countries, whether it be through the United Nations Organisation and its Agencies or through such plans as the Colombo Plan. Failing which, I think we shall make less than our essential contribution to the eradication of the imbalance in the standards of living to which my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder referred. I should like to think that the general public might want to do this for altruistic, humanitarian reasons; but probably this is too much to ask. In that case, they would be wise to do so on the ground of self-interest, and I would not mind if the Government presented it to them on this basis, for I am sure that it will profoundly affect the degree of our participation in world trade a decade or more from now.

In my recent Presidential Address to the British Association I made a few remarks which perhaps I may be allowed to read and with which I hope your Lordships will be in reasonable agreement. As I mentioned earlier, my special interest is in the field of science and technology. I said: Our scientists and technologists have become not only the guardians and guarantors of our national economy, but also the agents of a new diplomacy in which much more than an expanding export trade is at stake. They will have an increasing part to play as advisers and teachers in the progress of the developing countries, and must not only carry conviction as experts in their respective scientific and technological specialities, but must also gain respect as ambassadors of broad and sympathetic vision, sound judgment and unassailable integrity". Having expressed the hope that this country will find it possible to give increasing financial help and, even more important, to provide ample qualified helpers I should not be content to finish without stressing the importance of ensuring, through our advisers to UNESCO and other similar bodies, that the projects which are initiated are well conceived and well enough conducted to ensure effective progress to the objectives that we have been talking about this afternoon, because I think the history of some of these Agencies contains examples which have not been ideally directed to these purposes.

7.2 p.m.


My Lords, in introducing this long and comprehensive debate my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder indicated that this was the moment of truth, and further, more explicitly, the moment of truth inasmuch as the juxtaposition of this debate happens immediately after the long debate on the cuts yesterday and the day before. I think he felt that it was almost providential. I believe that if this is so—and I am inclined to believe that there is a precise and particular moment, which is now—then in no particular field is this more apposite than in the field to which very little reference has so far been made, but about which I will venture to talk for a little while, ignoring all the other fields. I refer to the field of disarmament.

But before I embark upon that, I should like, quite briefly, to say, "Thank you" to my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder for the breadth and sweep of his vision, and the comprehensiveness of his own position. If I, faintly pursuing, was not able to follow and appreciate the subtlety of some of his innuendos and allusions I assure him that I shall read and appreciate his speech with the greater alacrity in Hansard, and I shall speak with considerable circumspection in the knowledge of how much more he knows about the topic than I do.

I should also like to thank most heartily my noble friend Lord Caradon for the hope which he engendered; and it will not be necessary for me to say to a fellow Methodist that hope is not only a pleasurable enjoyment, but also a peremptory moral duty. But I shall also speak with considerable circumspection in his presence, because if I refer to some of the affairs which have to do with disarmament, I do so as one who is not expert in this field. And perhaps that is not a disadvantage when I would proffer two, to me, quite satisfactory reasons for selecting this particular field in such a debate as has been going on in your Lordships' House to-day.

In the summer of 1959, in the General Assembly of the United Nations there was passed by unanimous consent the proposition that the most important of all the matters with which it had to deal was the question of general and complete disarmament. I believe that is exactly true. Of all the other things that occupy the United Nations, the issue of disarmament is more contingent to our welfare and more ultimately important than any other.

The second reason is that, so far as I am aware, when the matter of the United Nations is discussed, particularly among young people, if they associate it at all with anything relevant they tend to associate it with the problem of peace and the issue of disarmament, rather than with the other matters upon which they may be—indeed, they are—intelligent. For them it is a simple proposition: what will it profit us in the modern world if we have a Welfare State, even with the warts or cuts, if we have an amplified system of education that is blown to pieces by nuclear weapons? If that happens, there is little advantage in all these various amenities. Though this is an oversimplification, I think it is a valid introduction to the question which for them is paramount: is the United Nations capable of offering real and substantial hope in the field of peace-making and, in particular, in the realm of disarmament?

Looking over the last few years, I tend to discern three or four peaks rising above the mists of non-success in this field, and I will advert to them. In 1963 I was much cheered, as I am sure your Lordships were, with the ban on testing which, though it was partial, was to a certain extent effective and gave hope of future and more effective bans. I regarded that as an achievement, and it filled me with a certain amount of hope that the way was not completely blocked.

Then, in 1965, the 18 Nations Disarmament Committee was particularly charged, as I understand it, with the preparation of a Non-Proliferation Treaty. By last year—in August, I think it was—there was a break-through, as I understand it, in that both the U.S.S.R. and the United States tabled identical resolutions (omitting Article III, to which I will briefly advert in a moment), indicating that they were in substantial agreement as to what this Non-Proliferation Treaty should be. And only a few days ago Article III was concerned with the difficulties of examining peaceful nuclear development so that it might not be later prostituted to the use of warfare. This particular problem, with the ancillary problem of whether Euratom or the 18 Nations Disarmament Committee should deal with it, has now been solved, and there is, as I see it, no bar to the expression in treaty form of non-proliferation. This, to me, is a great advance, if only it is going to be tabled, as I hope it will be.

Further, in February, 1967, there was a great advance, in Latin America at any rate, in the tabling of the Treaty for a nuclear free zone in that part of the world; and indeed it may occur. This country has been the first, as I understand it, to give its approval and to accept responsibilities under Clauses 2 and 3 of that tabled Treaty. This does not amount to the Kingdom of God in immediate proximity, but it does mean, it seems to me, a reasonable hope that in the matter of disarmament the United Nations has been, and is, tending to make genuine and effective progress. And I sincerely thank God for it, because, as I say, though I am not a youngster any more, I have ample evidence of the way in which young people are seized of the significant world in which they live—perhaps not all of them, but a great proportion, as I understand it. They are extremely afraid and extremely full of foreboding about what happens if, indeed, we make our progress to nuclear war, either by intention or, as my noble friend Lord Snow pointed out so cogently, by accident.

That is the hopeful side. I think it is necessary to face also the other side, and I, for one, am extremely disturbed at Mr. McNamara's speech, made, I think, in September, 1967, on the antiballistic missiles system which, at least in a limited degree, is in progress or in process in the United States. I wonder whether your Lordships would allow me, without impertinence, to remind myself and perhaps your Lordships of what it means, for it turns reason upside down and is a further process in the general programme of "Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad".

The inter-continental ballistic missile system, or the anti-ballistic missile system, is one in which enormous sums of money will be invested in the attempt to protect the great cities, both in the U.S.S.R. and in the United States of America, from bombing attacks of intercontinental ballistic missiles by a ring of anti-missile missiles. One could proliferate this particular argument. But the point is that as this defensive measure is taken by one side so it requires, in order to maintain the mutual deterrence of terror, an offensive measure to be taken by the other side; and inasmuch as the U.S.S.R. or the United States undertakes a defensive anti-missile system, so the other side will be compelled to undertake the production of missiles to counteract the effect of the antimissile system itself.

This, of course, is complete lunacy, and everybody outside a lunatic asylum would recognise it as lunacy. But it is part of the inevitable lunacy of the arms race, and I, for one, think—indeed, I am sure—it will have certain very deleterious effects. One of them is this. If indeed the United States embarks upon this new hideous adventure it will require to test the new weapons, and therefore the Test Ban Treaty—even a partial ban treaty—will be in jeopardy; and I take it that the same will apply over the other side of the world. Furthermore, it will put into considerable perturbation those countries which have looked at the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a measure of their own increasing security, because included in it (here I put myself under the direction, and maybe the correction, of my noble friend Lord Caradon) is the assumption, though it is not written into the Treaty, that as other countries are dissuaded from taking this hideous weapon, so those countries which have it will make representational, and sometimes quite definite, decreases in their arms capacity. It is precisely because this has not happened that in fact the Non-Proliferation Treaty, I think, will be in jeopardy. Therefore I find it impossible to balance these two sides of the triangle.

But I would now revert, if I may, for a moment or two, to what my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder has claimed to be "the moment of truth". I am very glad to be able to think—in fact to know—that Her Majesty's Government have already responded to the Non-Proliferation Treaty; have already indicated that they are prepared to accede to the propositions included in, I think, Clauses 2 and 3 of the Latin American Treaty; and therefore no one can blame them for lagging behind in their efforts to support these genuine processes of peace-making. But if there is to be any real contribution to peace-making in the light of the new and much more menacing antiballistic missile programme, it behoves some country to make such a declaration in fact of its intentions to reduce its armed forces, so as to persuade those not now in the "nuclear club" to accede to and to support the Non-Proliferation Treaty. I think it would be unreasonable—and I speak as a pacifist, and this is, if you like, a utilitarian argument but a sound one—at this moment to expect that either the U.S.S.R. or the United States of America would appreciably reduce their armed forces. But I think that some country—and I should like to think it will be our own—will do precisely this thing. I do not underrate the moral and psychological impact of such a unilateral experiment, and I only hope that it will be undertaken.

I am reminded, on the highest authority, my Lords, that if you are going to lose your soul it is very apposite that you secure the world in the process; for that is the obverse of the New Testament Gospel. What bothers me is that there are those who are so criminally negligent that they lose both at the same time. I do not think that that is an exact description of what is happening over the cuts in military expenditure in this country, but I am bound to say that, so far as I understand it, any exercise in war-time activities sooner or later is a pollution of the soul. And in our particular reduction of our armed forces we have not the credit which would accrue to us if we had done it simply for the reason that we were overwhelmingly desirous of supporting the purposes of peace throughout the world by fulfilling our obligations and setting a new standard. Though this may sound idealistic, I make no apology for that.

I wish that this country would at this time nail its particular defence cuts to the mast of peace-making—and constructive peace-making; for then I believe that those cuts would be a new order of competence and authority. If out of this particular debate it can be seen that this country has a new and a greater opportunity than before of registering in the new atmosphere of a nonproliferation world, and indeed a world where the possibilities of free nuclear zones are yet to be seen—if this country were prepared so to act, and so make a response, I, for one, should be very false to the cloth I wear if I felt that it would go unheeded either by those who practised it or by those who saw the influence of it.

7.17 p.m.


My Lords, only the other day the President of the United States had a meeting with his Commission on Civil Disorder, which is to report to him in July. I quote from Mr. Alistair Cooke's latest "Letter from America": The President let them talk and talk, all it seems to the point of crime and rebellion in the cities; and at the end of a couple of hours, when somebody said, 'Our main problem is …' the President said, 'Excuse me, our main problem is this: we have about thirty-two years to save this country and lots of others from being strangled by the human population, from the diseases and the pollution and the shortage of food and the hopeless overcrowding of cities that will stretch for two and three hundred miles. This is the main problem'. My Lords, I propose to confine my remarks to this problem, and to go on with a few background figures which I have taken from the U.N. Demographic Year Book. Say the world population today is 3,500 million, increasing now at the rate of 170,000 net per day—and this increase, of course, will snowball so that the world population in A.D. 2000 will be over 6,000 million. To-day 72 per cent. of the earth's inhabitants live in the underdeveloped countries; let us call them that. In these regions, the underdeveloped regions, 41 per cent. of the population are under the age of 15. The percentage of those aged under 15 in the developed countries is 20 per cent. The present birthrate in the underdeveloped countries is 40 per cent.—roughly double that of developed countries. At the present rate of growth the world population will double in 30 to 35 years; Europe's in 115 years; North America's in 45 years; the U.S.S.R's in 41 years; Oceania's in 33 years; Asia's in 31 years; Africa's in 30 years; Latin America's in 27 years; Central America's in 25 years. If these figures are broken down by countries, the following countries will double their population in 20 years: Ceylon, the Philippines, Jordon, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Venezuela, Chile and Mexico. It is estimated, at the present rates, that the United Kingdom population will double in 100 years.

To give an instance of what can be done in an Eastern country, Japan's figure is now 70 years, whereas Federal Germany's is a doubling in 60 years. To give any more figures than these in a speech I think would only be confusing and quite unnecessary when so many of your Lordships are well aware of the position. But I trust that your Lordships will agree that I have said enough to illustrate the justification for calling the population explosion a world crisis. Of course this position has been brought about by death control; the death control established by the medical, the pharmaceutical and the chemical advances of the last two or three decades.

I beg your Lordships to give the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, leave to address the House again. In the first place, I am looking forward to hearing the answers to some of the questions I am going to ask, but in any case it is such a pleasure to listen to him, whatever he says. He will be able to give the latest information from the United Nations as to what is being done. I must admit that I am not quite clear about it myself, nor are some of the authorities in this country, but I imagine that the chief channel through which the United Nations gives assistance is through its Special Trust Fund. Both the United States of America and Britain have said that they will support that Fund, but both of them have still to say how much they will give. Sweden has given 200,000 dollars, Denmark 100,000 dollars. But to turn to the opening words of Lord Ritchie-Calder's Motion, may I say what is Britain's role here and what it can do?

I feel that first of all a reference must be made to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which is now a massive organisation. This started in the U.S.A. some years ago, more or less on a shoestring. However, in recent years there have been striking financial developments. In my view these developments were "triggered off" by the Vatican Council's indication of a modification of Rome's approach to the subject of family planning. The U.S.A. and Sweden made, or promised, contributions to the Federation running into millions of dollars almost forthwith, and on top of this the Victor Fund, promoted under the will of the late Alexander Victor, now supports the Federation with very large sums.

The Federation has the support of the United Nations Organisation and of many of its branches, including the World Health Organisation and the F.A.O. It is worth quoting the words of the latter body's Director-General: The ever-mounting tidal wave of humanity now challenges us to control it or to be submerged, along with all our civilised values". The Director-General of the F.A.O. ought to know, because recent harvests have been disappointing and the recent population growth rate is already outstripping food production. The office of the I.P.P.F., as I will call the International Planned Parenthood Federation for brevity, is now established in Regent Street in London.

We can now come to the question I posed: what is Britain doing? Right at the beginning, when funds were short and when London was only a branch of the Federation, a successful appeal was made for £250,000 to put the effort on its feet. The noble Lord, Lord McCorquodale of Newton, who cannot be here to-day, much to his regret, was responsible for that, and it is as chairman of the Scottish offshoot of this organisation that I speak to-day, quite apart from my own personal concern for the very poor—"the suffering masses", to use the words which the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, quoted. The word which I like best is the Hindustani one, the Gharib-log. I personally have always had a passionate concern for them, and have some measure of experience in these matters in the East, besides which I am the fourth generation to have interests of this sort in the Orient.

The static income of the United Kingdom campaign now, thanks to this Fund and thanks to something like 230 covenants, is about £10,000 per annum. One-fifth of that goes to the British Family Planning Association and four-fifths is retained by the I.P.P.F. Of course, large sums have been contributed by individuals to make this up, and in 1965 Oxfam gave £11,600 to the campaign, and so on. Scotland has chosen to give what I might call "hardware". A mobile family planning clinic from Scotland has already gone to Ceylon, and a mobile cinematograph vehicle and equipment paid for entirely by the Aberdeen branch will shortly leave for India.

The completely changed circumstances of the I.P.P.F., which derive from sudden access to substantial funds, have brought about the change which is in the process of taking place in this country, and it may be that we shall have to change not only the Federation's role but possibly Britain's role in the matter. It may be that our energies should now be turned to the training of personnel rather than the contribution of funds or the supply of hardware. When I say that, I do not mean only the training of personnel in this country for service in the backward countries, or the training of personnel from the backward countries in this country, but probably a combination of them all. This may well be the role which will make the best contribution to a solution of the problem, although this remains to be worked out.

Some people are tempted to lose heart about the possibility of stemming this tide; others, like the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, and the noble Lord, Lord Caradon—and I myself am one—believe that with energy and skill the tide may yet be stemmed. Food, especially protein production, can be increased in supply. Waste can be reduced. The amount of waste in countries with termites and other vermin is too colossal to calculate. Communications can be improved. From my knowledge of India and Pakistan, I am a great believer in village communications. The simplest means of communication makes a large contribution to the ability to feed the people.

As for recent action, the big event of the I.P.P.F. in 1967 was the Eighth International Conference in Chile, of which the main effect has been the growing interest in family planning throughout Latin America. This has largely been caused by the fact that the Conference involved itself in the health aspects of family planning, particularly in view of the extremely high rate of illegal abortion which is prevalent throughout Latin America. It is worth noting that family planning is an essential part of health service, and as such it seems to be much more acceptable to politically conscious Roman Catholic Latin American countries, and more effective in promoting family planning than any ideas about population control.

Talking of family planning, the most dramatic advance in recent years has been "the pill", which now is used so much that it has quite passed its experimental stage, as I hope the noble Lord, Lord Cohen of Birkenhead, will say when he comes to speak of the W.H.O. But is it the pill that has started the downward turn in the birthrate in this country? Personally it was news to me when I read that: the differences between the Government actuary's 1965 predictions for the Department of Education and Science and the actual birth rates show just how easy it is to make a hash of baby forecasting. From 1965, instead of the expected increase, the birthrate has been falling at an increasing rate. Why and whether this means smaller, or simply deferred, families, or perhaps the result of the war years low birth rate a quarter of a century ago, these are matters of quite hideous complexity. But it requires no very profound calculation to work out from these figures how many children will be entering school five years later. From 1970 to 1972 at least each year's entry will be smaller than the one before. In 1972 there will be nearly 80,000 fewer five-year-olds than the Department would have expected. Some of the above, of course, will simply ease the pressure on over-busy primary teachers and over-crowded primary schools. But the rest will free resources that could be used, beginning now, to deal with some other deficiencies in the school system. I mention that in passing only because the situation in Scotland is the same; namely, that the trend in the birth rate in this developed country, this conscious country alive to the situation, is in the same direction.

My Lords, I have gone on long enough. The subject is such a vast one that I could go on and on—India, Pakistan, successful efforts, Japan, and so on. What, I ask, and what I feel we must ask ourselves, is to be Britain's role? Britain has signed, with the hand of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, the Declaration on Population Growth and Human Dignity and Welfare of the United Nations, in which occurs this paragraph: We believe that the population problem must be recognised as a principal element in long-range national planning if Governments are to achieve their economic goals and fulfil the aspirations of their people. I feel that the thanks of the whole House are due to the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder. This debate may lead to defining what Britain's role is to be in this particular respect; namely, that of supporting the international planned parenthood campaign. Of one thing I am sure: the dreadful menace of the population explosion must be appreciated by every man and woman in this country. How are we to ensure that they do know, that this is realised, that thinking in every line of life should be adjusted to recognise the problem that this presents? Only when the danger is fully grasped and boldly faced by the whole world can the success which I believe is assured be achieved.

7.34 p.m.


My Lords, may I, in a first sentence, say to the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, that I have listened to his speech with the greatest sympathy. He might be encouraged by the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, in his opening speech, indicated that the population problem was one of the most urgent in the consideration of the United Nations. If I may say so, I hope to end with a series of constructive proposals which will include the issue of population which the noble Lord has introduced.

I am going to try to be brief to-night, partly out of sympathy with your Lordships, who have had an exhausting week, partly from sympathy with the Officers of this House, partly from sympathy with the staff of this House and partly from sympathy with the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, who, at this moment, should be addressing another important meeting. I say that I will try to be brief, but my experience has always been that when a speaker begins by saying he will be brief he is very long indeed. But at least I have torn up half my notes and I hope that will assist.

I want particularly to look at the United Nations from the point of view of the change which has taken place within it, in its character and indeed in its functions, by the large number of the new emergent nations that have entered since it was formed. I think the United Nations has gone through three stages and is entering a fourth. The first stage was at the San Francisco Conference in 1945 at the end of the world war, when, as often at the end of wars, there were idealistic hopes as to what would be realised. There was then unity among all the nations which had taken part in the war against Fascism, and Governments which were sympathetic to them. There was the climate of new democracy in the world. In those circumstances we had two Declarations which I believe are immortal. One was the Charter of the United Nations itself and, secondly, and subsequently, there was the Declaration on Human Rights.

The second stage of the United Nations was a reaction to that, when division and disillusionment came. It was the period when the unity of sentiment at the end of the world war changed to that of the conflict between America and Soviet Russia, between East and West. And in that period the temper for common purpose by the United Nations for the benefit of the world became subordinated to the division of the two great power blocs. There was a third, very deep-rooted, change in the United Nations when the new emergent countries entered it. At the San Francisco Conference there were only three African Governments in the United Nations—Egypt, Ethiopia and Liberia. Since the world war we have had the colonial political revolution, beginning with the recognition by this country of the independence of India and Pakistan and Ceylon and Burma, spreading all over the Asian and African Continents and in the Caribbean, so that now the number of member-States of the United Nations—52 at the San Francisco Conference—has reached 125. That great development has been mostly by the entrance of the new nations.

Why do I say this has meant a difference, not only in the character but even in the function of the United Nations? It has had three very considerable effects. The first is subjective to the new nations themselves. They have won self-respect; they have won a sense of liberation in belonging as equals to an international community, and they have gained a sense of security. It was well expressed by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia: For us, the small, the weak, the underdeveloped, there is nowhere else to go. It we turn to one or the other of the major power groups we risk engorgement, that gradual process of assimilation which destroys identity and personality. We must look to the United Nations. The first factor is that the new nations gained a sense of identity and personality in the world in becoming members of the United Nations.

The second effect, which was tremendous, was that the big-Power domination of the United Nations ended. It had been the scene of the conflict between the two great giants, the United States of America and the Soviet Union; but, with the entrance of the new nations, the automatic domination by America in the United Nations ended, and that inevitably meant a great change in its altitude and in its decisions.

The third change that came from the entrance of the new nations to the United Nations is, I think, the deepest of all. It not only changed the psychology within the General Assembly, it changed the actual functions of the United Nations Quite naturally, the new nations cone centrated upon the demands for the extension of self-determination over the world, for national freedoms and racial equality. In urging this, they were at first strongly opposed; they were opposed on the ground that the United Nations Charter gave sovereignty to the Imperial Powers over their colonies, and that therefore questions like the struggle for national freedom and issues like racial relations were outside the sphere of the United Nations.

I was a Member of another place when those issues were being decided. I am wrong in saying that they have been decided; the speech which the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough, delivered to-day indicated that, in Conservative minds, they are not yet decided. We had ten years ago the conflict between the two paragraphs of the Charter of the United Nations, the first declaring for self-determination, national freedoms and racial equality, and the second declaring that the United Nations must not intervene in the sovereign affairs of member States; and that was regarded as applying to the empires which member States occupied. We have largely now won that victory. The United Nations appreciates that the right of peoples to their national freedom, the right of self-determination, the right of racial equality throughout the world, are absolutely fundamental to any international order, and that the United Nations has the right to intervene in those respects.

I believe we are now passing to a fourth stage in the functions of the United Nations. It has begun. It has begun by the United Nations itself taking responsibility for dealing in a concrete way with the problems of population, of poverty and of peace in the world. I am urging, in conclusion, that if the United Nations is to fulfill its functions to-day it must extend these small beginnings until the United Nations becomes the international authority in all these respects.

Let me begin with the problem of the population explosion, to which the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, has referred. It is quite true that it is absolutely decisive for the future of the world. If the population of the earth increases at the present rate, before the end of this century more people will die of starvation than if the hydrogen bomb fell. The difficulty here is that many of the countries which are Catholic would be opposed to the United Nations taking action for family planning. I think that even the Catholic view of this problem is now being reconsidered, but there may be Catholic countries in the world which will not accept United Nations' assistance not only in material aid but in technical personnel.

Like the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, I know India. I was born there, and have been there recently and I have seen the efforts which are being made to deal with the problem of family planning. Necessarily, however, they are very meagre in comparison with the need. In my view, while the United Nations may not be able to give help to those countries which are Catholic dominated, it should be giving the utmost possible aid to countries like India and many countries of Asia and of Africa which are seeking to deal with this problem. I want to see the United Nations itself participating in the solution of the problem.

The second problem in which I should like to see the United Nations functioning in a vastly bigger way than it is now doing is that of poverty. This is linked with the problem of population. As we look at the world to-day, there are two great areas for the production of food which could meet the danger of hunger, not merely the present problem of hunger but the greater problem of hunger in the coming years. Those two areas are the sea-bed, to which the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, referred, and the deserts of the earth. I say only this in respect of the proposals for the seabed. I hope that the United Nations will take direct responsibility for the ownership of the oceans which are outside territorial waters; that they will take direct responsibility for their development, and for the production from them of the mountains of food which lie there untouched. I should like to pay special tribute to the representative from Malta, one of the developing countries—Mr. Pardoe—who initiated this proposal before the United Nations.

The second area I want to mention is the deserts of the world, which comprise one-seventh of the area of the earth. Everybody knows that deserts can be made fruitful. Underneath them are lakes and rivers, and if this water is brought to the surface those areas can be made fruitful. I first really appreciated that fact when I read the book written by my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder, Men Against the Desert. They can be made fruitful now, and I want to urge that in this next stage of United Nations development—and this is much bigger than any of the proposals at present before the F.A.O.—the United Nations, representing the peoples of the earth who wish to see this problem solved, should become directly responsible for the development of the desert areas.

My third suggestion is this. Recent events have indicated that the United Nations should have a police force to keep peace in the world. I will not extend this point, but, as we have realised this week, the time has passed when Britain can be the policeman of the world. In fact, no one nation should attempt to police the world. If there is to be an international police force at all, then it should be under an international authority like the United Nations.

The final suggestion I would make is this. The United Nations should have the direct function of aiding a number of the smaller countries which, as they move towards self-government, are not in a position to establish a viable economy. There are scattered about the earth to-day 30 small islands whose populations are seeking self-government. Almost immediately Nauru, which has been administered by Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, will become independent. Its population is 3.000. Is it to become a member State of the United Nations? There is the more fantastic problem of Pitcairn Island, which also is moving towards independence. Its population is 88. What is to happen to these small islands, seeking the status of independence which obviously are so utterly unable to maintain themselves? Some of them may become federated; some are too isolated even to become federated.

Membership of the United Nations is not only a matter of privilege and of rights, but also involves obligations and duties which these very small populations could not be expected to fulfil. I want to suggest that these small islands—and there are nearly thirty of them still in the British colonial system—should come under the direct responsibility of the United Nations. We at one time had a trustee system, but they will not wish to be regarded as wards of a trustee council. Therefore I ask my noble friend Lord Caradon to consider the suggestion of establishing a Committee for the International Association of Self-governing Islands, so that they might be given technical aid, economic aid and advice about administration; so that they might have the sense of becoming self-governing and at the same time have some association with the authority of the United Nations. They may not be eligible to become member States of the United Nations, but I should like to see them participating in its Agencies in all their activities. If the United Nations will now pass to this fourth stage—that is to say, the stage of not merely being a debating forum and of intervening in a rather cautious way, but of becoming an international authority with direct responsibility for dealing with these problems—then the United Nations will move forward to much bigger and greater things even than the contribution which it has so far made.

7.57 p.m.


My Lords, at the outset I wish to joint with others in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, on a most remarkable, brilliant, fascinating and imaginative speech. I should like also to thank the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, for his distinguished speech, which gave us a sober assessment of the current status of the United Nations and its Special Agencies, and their potentialities for the future peace and welfare of the world One thing that struck me forcibly was that throughout all the speeches to-day there has been no element of controversy about the fact that it is in our own enlightened self-interest, despite our present difficult circumstances, to continue to support to the utmost the work of the United Nations and its Special Agencies.

My special interest, of course, is in the World Health Organisation. As the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough, told us, we are living in a shrinking world. The truth is that to-day no country is so far in time from another that it is not exposed to the diseases which may occur in those countries, Every plane that lands in this country, every ship that docks here, may bring with it a carrier of a grave infectious disease which might spread in epidemic form in this country. We have had experience in this country within recent years of smallpox, and cholera is even now close to the gates of Europe.

How do we protect ourselves, and what role does the World Health Organisation play? It plays the most important role by its international quarantine regulations, to which most Governments adhere; and if disease breaks out in a country, then the World Health Organisation immediately radios every country in the world telling them of the outbreak of infectious disease. It also immediately flies out to the affected area the specially skilled personnel, and the equipment and medicaments which may be necessary to control the disease. In addition, it publishes weekly an international epidemiological report, which gives us in every country the facts about what is occurring throughout the world. That is why we are often warned of the coming of an epidemic in this country of, for example, influenza. These International Sanitary Regulations are reviewed regularly—in fact they are at present being reviewed. But what the W.H.O. is trying to do is not simply to have quarantine at ports and airfields, but also now to have it on railways and on inland waterways, wherever there may be considerable movements of population.

But, of course, international quarantine is not the only measure which the W.H.O. takes; nor, indeed, is it anything more than a holding measure against severe infection. For lasting protection we must seek to eliminate disease at its source, and this means—and this is the W.H.O.'s main aim—the eradication of foci of infection in endemic areas. As time is passing rapidly, I shall quote only two examples. The first is smallpox. Despite the fact that we know how to control smallpox, there are still 100,000 cases of smallpox reported annually to the W.H.O. The disease is endemic in South-East Asia, in Africa and in South America, especially Brazil. Some countries have struggled successfully against smallpox. In 1962, Burma initiated a national campaign of vaccination so that by 1966 no cases of smallpox were recorded in Burma. But, of course, smallpox persists, and the W.H.O. has launched a world-wide campaign for its eradication.

One must recognise that there are, of course, difficulties. First, one must have an effective vaccine, which means that in the Tropics it must be stable, it must be freeze-dried and it must be of a sufficiently high calibre. Secondly, there are difficulties of transport; and there are great difficulties of surveillance in some tropical countries. But there are new tools: for example, there is a new method of administering vaccine by a jet instrument which can vaccinate 1,000 persons in one hour. This is now being used in Brazil and in Africa. Of course, the W.H.O. undertakes the emergency supply of vaccine and of skilled personnel to any country which may be threatened by an outbreak of smallpox in its neighbourhood.

Take, secondly, malaria. Vast sums of money are spent on controlling malaria, and as a result millions of lives are saved and millions of man-hours are retrieved. We know that malaria can be eliminated. After all, in this country malaria was very common in earlier centuries—indeed, until the 19th century. But it was virtually eliminated, except for an occasional sporadic case in this country, towards the latter end of the 19th century. In the United States thirty-five years ago there were thousands of cases of malaria. By 1946–47 the disease had been eradicated from that country.

In 1955 the W.H.O. undertook a worldwide eradication scheme and 12 years later in 1967, half the population of the world which had previously lived in malarial areas was now protected. Ninety per cent. of the population of India was protected. In some countries, such as Ceylon, malaria was completely eliminated. But it still persists in Africa, in South-East Asia and in South America, and the W.H.O. is endeavouring to eliminate this disease. It fights on because it knows that prevention costs less than cure. Perhaps I may just quote very briefly one example of this.

In Greece, before 1950, £500,000 was being spent each year to purchase quinine—the amount used was in fact one-fifth of the total world's production of quinine—for the treatment of malaria. In 1956 they instituted a campaign to control the malarial swamps; they destroyed the mosquitoes with D.D.T. and gammexane, with the result that within a few years malaria had been completely eliminated. Not only were there no deaths, but a great deal of fenland was reclaimed and the productivity of labour in Greece was doubled. Those are two examples of what the W.H.O. has achieved—not all that it wants, but still very successful in considerable measure.

But the Organisation still has major problems, and they fall under two heads. The first is to improve environmental health in developing countries. No-one who has seen the primitive sanitation and methods of sewage disposal in some of the developing countries can be surprised that one in four hospital beds throughout the world are occupied by those suffering from water-borne diseases—typhoid, cholera, dysentery and bilharzia. The W.H.O., of course, prefers clean water and proper sewage disposal to paying for medicines, and so it plans in many countries to build public health departments; to staff them at first with consultants from the United Kingdom and the U.S.A., but hoping later so to train the native personnel that they can take over. It sends out consultants for other purposes.

It also has fellowships which can be gained by natives of a country, so that they can travel to other countries and improve their knowledge of preventive medicine. Your Lordships may well have seen in this morning's Times, that the W.H.O. has given a large research grant to the University of Aberdeen for a world problem, which is to record and monitor the side-effects of drugs, so that we shall be freed from any recurrence of a hazard such as thalidomide.

The second problem is that health needs hands. We speak of a shortage of doctors in this country when we have one doctor to 1,000 of the population. But there are many areas in this world which have one doctor to 50,000 or more of the population; and they are even worse off for nurses and dentists. So the W.H.O. plans medical and nursing training, and for the purpose makes available consultant staff and equipment and other facilities; and here again the long-term aim is staffing by natives. This has happened in Makerere, Ibadan and elsewhere. If Governments cannot solve their own problems they can come to W.H.O. for the help of consultants in special fields. They will then undertake, with the resources of W.H.O., to try to solve the problem, or at any rate launch a demonstration which will help the natives of the country to solve it. And again, of course, it attempts to introduce the simple approaches and techniques which will solve the problem for them.

My Lords, I have mentioned only, say, half a dozen enterprises of W.H.O. Those of your Lordships who know the work of W.H.O. will know that in 1966 it supported over 1,200 enterprises, of which some 242 were directly concern ed with the United Kingdom or its Colonies or the Commonwealth. This leads me to one important point which I wish to make, and that is the financing of W.H.O.

As your Lordships know, like all other Special Agencies of the United Nations W.H.O. is an independent body, and it raises its own funds. It has four main sources for what is called its integrated international health programmes. The first is its budget, which it receives regularly by direct contributions from the member States. This is on an agreed percentage basis, and the total income under the regular budget is about £23½ million a year, of which this country donates about £1½ million and our Commonwealth another £1½ million, which is a fair proportion considering our size. The second source is technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and from the Pan-American Health Organisation. Together, they contribute about £11 million. The third source arises from joint venture; with UNICEF, the United Nations children's organisation, to the extent of about £7 million; and then there are some voluntary health contributions which amount to about £2.7 million. So the total budget is about £45 million.

In the 1968 programme and budget, which has just been printed, there are listed, in a small supplement to that budget, some 500 projects for which Governments have requested support, and these have been initialled by the regional officers of W.H.O. But, alas! there is no money for them. They would cost about £5 million. Therefore, W.H.O. is trying to improve its resources. It is not standing wringing its hands and asking, "What is Britain doing today?" it has decided to establish W.H.O. Foundations in major countries. They are established in the United States, in Canada, in Switzerland, in Ceylon, in Japan and in the United Kingdom, and I have the honour to be chairman of this latter one. These will work under a Federation of W.H.O. Foundations established in Geneva; and we have been given a most generous grant of some 400,000 dollars by the Kellogg Foundation to provide seed money for these W.H.O. Foundations for a period of three years.

There can, I think, be little doubt, certainly from my personal experience, that one of the major ambassadors for peace and good will in developing countries is providing them with the means, in personnel, in equipment and in medicaments, to relieve their suffering, to prevent disease and to promote health. So that, although this is a somewhat inauspicious time, the Foundations hope that they will attract generous gifts, for all of us stand to gain from the promotion of health overseas. Where health is concerned, no nation is an island unto itself.

8.16 p.m.


My Lords, I join with your Lordships in thanking my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder for initiating this debate, and I apologise to him for not being in my place when he opened it. I am sure he will understand the commitment that kept me away.

Within the United Nations family there is one Agency for which the trade unionists of the world have a great affection. We of course support the work of the United Nations, the mother Agency, and what is done by all the Agencies, but the I.L.O. is in special favour among the workpeople of this country and other countries, for reasons which I shall explain. I have a personal interest, because since 1960 I have had the honour of being an elected member of the governing body of the International Labour Organisation. Indeed, I have been going to Geneva for 14 years, at first as adviser to the British workers' delegate, my late friend Sir Alfred Roberts. Of course, I am very much involved in the work of the I.L.O. and am very sure of the importance of that work.

Perhaps for that very reason I am a little sensitive, but I feel that the work of the I.L.O. is not well known in this country or in the other countries of the world. I know, for instance, that most farmers, and indeed most people, know something about the Food and Agriculture Organisation. I know that most doctors are familiar with the World Health Organisation, and that most teachers could give you a lecture on UNESCO. But so far as the I.L.O. is concerned there seems to be a vacuum. This may be because most of us receive our information through the Press and the radio and television, and, to be quite honest, the I.L.O. does not always have the dramatic impact which the other members of the United Nations family have. An old and experienced trade union journalist friend of mine once described the I.L.O. as, "Worthy, but not newsworthy", and I think he was about right. For that reason, I am glad that this debate is taking place, as it allows me to say a few words about the I.L.O. I would mention, too, that in 1969 the I.L.O. reaches its fiftieth year of life, and extensive arrangements are being made to celebrate that anniversary, both in Geneva and throughout the world. I hope that we in this country shall play our full part when the time comes, and that this event will do much to increase knowledge about, and give publicity to, the work of the I.L.O.

The United Nations family contains a number of Agencies, but the I.L.O. is unique in two respects. First, it was established in association with the old League of Nations, and is the only Agency of the League which survived the Second World War. The second point of uniqueness is that among United Nations Agencies it is the only one which has a tripartite structure. I believe that this second fact explains in great part the first fact: that it has survived the Second World War because it is firmly based on this tripartite, democratic structure. For that reason it has always been healthy, since its discussions and deliberations are taken after full and uninhibited discussion by the representatives of Governments, employers and workers.

The trade union movement played a large part in bringing the I.L.O. into being. Both before and after the 1918 Armistice, organised labour pressed for the creation of permanent machinery for the adoption and enforcement of international labour legislation; and at an international allied trades union conference in 1916 a clear call was made that the Peace Treaty should contain labour guarantees proclaiming the national and international rights of labour. As a result, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 it was decided to set up a Commission on international labour legislation composed of Government representatives and of representatives of management and labour. From these beginnings the International Labour Organisation was born.

The Preamble to its Constitution clearly outlines its objectives, and a few words from that Preamble are worth reading. It says: Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice; and whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice, hardship and privation, to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled; and an improvement of those conditions is urgently required: as, for example, by the regulation of the hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working day and week, the regulation of the labour supply, the prevention of unemployment, the provision of an adequate living wage, the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment, the protection of children, young persons and women, provision for old age and injury, protection of the interests of the workers when employed in countries other than their own, recognition of the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value, recognition of the principle of freedom of association, the organisation of vocational and technical education and other measures; Whereas also the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries; The High Contracting Parties, moved by sentiments of justice and humanity as well as by the desire to secure the permanent peace of the world, and with a view to attaining the objectives set forth in this Preamble, agree to the following Constitution of the International Labour Organisation. The Constitution contains provisions for the tripartite conference of member-States once a year. The member-States send four delegates to the Conference: two Government representatives, one employers' representative drawn from the most important employers' organisations, and one workers' delegate. A number of advisers are also taken; and it is interesting to note that where a question concerning women is on the agenda it is a requirement that among the advisers there shall be at least one woman. The work of the I.L.O. is dictated by Conference, organised and controlled by the governing body. The governing body is comprised of 24 Government representatives, 10 of whom come from the States of the greatest industrial importance, 12 employers and 12 workers.

It is quite impossible to cover fully the work and achievements of the I.L.O in the time I can permit myself this evening. It would be unfair to the House. I can only briefly point out that largely the work falls into two categories: first, the traditional function of the I.L.O. for which it was established, the creation of international labour standards; and, second, addition to that important work which still continues, the assistance given, particularly to developing countries, in the field of technical affairs. The I.L.O. does a tremendous amount of work in this direction. I ought to say, I think, that a Convention is an international Instrument and it is fully debated by two meetings of the technical committee of the Conference and can only be confirmed by the Conference by a two-thirds majority.

Of course, this ensures that there is sufficient flexibility within a Convention to enable it to be ratified by a suitable number of States. There has to be this flexibility. It is a requirement, for instance, to take into account local climatic conditions, the degree of organisation of labour in the countries concerned, and so on. It is interesting to know that over 3,300 Conventions have been ratified since 1919. I think it is also interesting and a matter of some pride, to be able to say that the United Kingdom have ratified 65 Conventions. Only France, with 79, Belgium, with 66, and Italy, with 66, have exceeded the number of applications undertaken by this country. So the I.L.O. does give hope to the whole world, and to the developing people of the world in particular, because the fact that a Convention is there gives them a target to aim at, even if at the moment their country has not ratified it.

My Lords, I turn briefly now to the other side. The work in the field is of tremendous importance. I would say in this connection that the budget of the I.L.O. continues to increase because costs continue to rise and we want to expand our work. The total of the 1968 budget is 24,836,091 dollars. I have the job of leading for the workers' group on the financial committee of the I.L.O. I am going there on February 6 to what is called the budget session. I have to negotiate hard with the Governments in particular, but also with the employers; and I so often feel frustrated because of the difficulty of extracting enough money from Governments to enable us to expand our work as we would wish. I have been somewhat heartened by what I have heard this evening, but I hope it is understood—I know we have difficulties in this country, as they have in the U.S.A. and elsewhere—that I would plead with the Government of this country, as I plead with the Governments of others, to be generous in their attitude to the I.L.O. to enable it to complete its work.

My Lords, I apologise to my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder in the sense that I would have said much more if I had had the time and had it been courteous to do so. I realise that it is not. I have, I hope, been able to say a few words about the I.L.O. in which I and my colleagues believe so much. I would add one word. There is another important aspect of the I.L.O. It is the one place in the world where employers, workers and Governments sit down and negotiate together. It is a place, too, where we do not have to talk politics, we do not have to use the platform for propaganda purposes, wherever we come from in the world, whatever our political background. It is done—and I regret it—but, on the other hand, here we are dealing with practical matters of concern to the people of the world, things that are really outside this kind of ideologically political approach. Because it builds a bridge between nations and between people, I believe the I.L.O. to be one of the most important, if not the most important, place in the world. Certainly, it is a most important agency of the United Nations' family.

8.30 p.m.


My Lords, at this late hour, after three late nights, I propose to be very brief. I should like first to join in the congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, on the wonderfully impressive exposition, backed by his intellectual attitude, of his experience and the wonderful amount of knowledge which he brought to his views on this subject. I made one or two notes when the noble Lord was speaking, and one was that when we of the Colonial Service handed over the Flag, we did not hand it to the United Nations but to separate nascent nations; and I very much doubt whether they, having appreciated that freedom, would be prepared to surrender it completely to the United Nations, however attractive that organisation may be made.

The noble Lord referred to the need to re-write the Charter of the United Nations, which no doubt is quite true. He dismissed the authors as having legislated for a world that had passed away. That is very true, of course, but they were also people who thought it worth while to die for views which have now, perhaps unfortunately, passed away—or many of them have. Another thing which struck me was what the noble Lord said about the oath rejecting all loyalties except to mankind. My Lords, I could not accept that as a desirable thing. I believe that one's first loyalty, particularly if one is in a Government position, is to the people of the country concerned, and only secondly to mankind. There is a good deal of logic in that view, because if you do not look after your own people they will not be in a position to help mankind; you are merely qualifying them for the ultimately desirable thing.

My Lords, I was brought up on the principles of Lord Lugard, which were: in the case of a Governor, first the people of the country of which you are temporarily in charge, and then mankind. I have never lost the feeling that that is the right priority. I also believe in the motto: Grant I may need no aid from men, That I may aid such men as need. My Lords, I believe that an enlightened nationalism (though that also perhaps is not a very popular view to-day) is the greatest force for progress in the world, and I should regret seeing the United Nations' entering in any way into political power. The less they have to do with politics, the better.

I was much impressed with what the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, said about the proposal that the seabed and all the wealth hidden there should be reserved for the benefit of mankind. That is one of the many idealistic views which, if you bring them down to industrial facts, would require a great deal of expert management and capital expenditure, which I hope would not be the job of the United Nations. We talk a great deal, and there has been a great deal of talk to-night, about the future. I believe in taking care of the present, in which case the future is apt to look after itself.

I was glad to hear the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, say, among other things (and may I at this moment interrupt myself to say with what great pleasure I listened to him, as I have done for many years past, and the eloquence which becomes him so much whatever the subject with which he may be dealing), that 80 per cent. of the resources spent on the Special Agencies were for international economic development. I was delighted to hear that, and I can only say: Long may it be so! I happen to have strong views on the subject of the role of the United Nations in the world and the desirable limitation of any attempt to give the United Nations increasing powers as an embryo World Government, whatever that may mean.

At this moment I should like to mention (this is the one discordant note in the roans of praise poured out this evening, but it is just as well to get the balance straight) that the United Nations is not always right and not always very creditable in what it does. I would refer to the disgraceful treatment meted out by the United Nations to the South African Government over the question of South-West Africa. It was, I thought, particularly undesirable because the only hope of a happy future and better conditions of living for the people of that territory, the only hope they have ever had in all their history, is a continuation of South African government. The question also of the British Government's treatment of South Africa was dealt with last night, when a vote was taken; so there is no need to say any more about it.

I do not wish these views in any way to obscure my respect for the United Nations Special Agencies which in my opinion represent the most laudable activities, and about which I have no special contribution to make in this debate. To my mind, Her Majesty's Government should give all possible support to such activities which, after all, are aimed at making the world a better place in which to live. But this is a very different matter from the aspiration to build behind and above that barricade of good works a sort of infernal machine, with the ultimate power of a world dictatorship. I regard that as a dream which would rapidly develop into a nightmare, and my excuse for making even these few remarks in this debate is the ominous evidence already present of a desire to interfere in the domestic affairs of certain nations under the false plea that they are dealing with a threat, a menace, to world peace.

If I have interpreted their aims rightly, the Special Agencies are based on the willing consent and co-operation of the nations to whom their aid is extended, without any strings of political power attached. And the success of the activities of the Special Agencies can only be hampered by those who aspire to impose world rule upon reluctant mankind. It is not an inspiring sight, in my view, to contemplate men pontificating about human rights at the United Nations Headquarters: men who often represent nations in whose home countries there is such an absence of freedom of speech, thought and action as would be calculated to bring tears to the hard eyes of the Statue of Liberty. I wish the Special Agencies every possible success in their work.

There is another point which has not been mentioned to-night—that is, that all the real power of to-day surely rests outside the United Nations in the hands of the two super-Powers. Moreover, the voting organisation of the United Nations is, to say the least, a curious system. One man, one vote, may or may not be a good idea, but I think that one nation, one vote, makes very little sense outside a debating society.

The excursions of the United Nations into world affairs have up to date had a rather large proportion of failures. The most noticeable has been the Congo. The world has generally been governed in its various countries by small cliques, powerful well-knit groups at the centre of power. I can only say, Heaven forbid that we should deliberately try to create such conditions with a world background with no means of dismissing a group that we cannot control in these circumstances! In human affairs we ignore at our peril human nature. But human nature does not change. I remember some years ago talking to the late Sir Charles Darwin about the book he wrote, The Next Million Years. I asked him why he had called it The Next Million Years. He said, "I called it that because in no period less than a million years would any change in human nature be perceptible". I think that one cannot leave out human nature, however big an idealist one may be.

Originally the ideal democracy was a system whereby there was to be the least possible interference with local and individual liberty. We are doing away with that with our passion for centralising power and authority, but that can be limited under an electoral system. In my view, if we have a world government, we inevitably breed a dictatorship and a world of virtual slaves with it. Whether the United Nations will grow into a world order or collapse into chaos is open to anybody to express a view about. Prediction is perilous, but I see no enduring values which could make such an organisation beneficially develop into a government of mankind. Perhaps that is the feeling that makes some men want to conspire to break up the world and remould it nearer to their hearts desire. Of course, the trouble is that they may smash it, and there will be no rebuilding it. They would need a United Nations, but possibly it would not be there.

I have no doubt at all that outside the pressure groups in the United Nations there are idealists who are anxious to build this perfect organisation of government to maintain peace on earth. But I think that they ought to remember the story of the king who planned to build the most beautiful palace on earth, but who on digging the foundations found the ruins of a palace which had been built by a former king, on each stone of which was inscribed the lines: After me cometh a builder. Tell him, I, too, have known". It is very ambitious to think that we can build an organisation which will stand all the tests of time. No man can foresee what the United Nations may or may not develop into. I do not wish to deny that the United Nations has done a great deal of good, especially through its Special Agencies. What it can do in future to help in bringing peace, order and happiness to the world may be very great, but one thing I am sure it will not bring—it will not bring in a World Government.

8.46 p.m.


My Lords, the hour is late and it is difficult to attempt to comment on the wide range of speeches made. I have found them fascinating, and I am greatly tempted to pursue a number of matters which have been raised. I must resist that temptation, however, and I am sure that noble Lords will fully support me in that resistance.

I would say, first of all, that I was delighted to be able to hear the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, speak. He was one of the most distinguished colonial administrators of his generation, and I, in a humble way, followed him in a number of territories and sought to build on the solid foundations which he had established. I am sometimes a little surprised to hear and read his speeches in your Lordships' House, and I look back to the days when in a number of territories he introduced some very progressive Constitutions. When he eventually left our Colonial Service, full of honour and distinction, he was wise enough to join my Party. I am sorry that he is now on the other side of the House, and it seems to me that many of his observations dim somewhat the brilliance of a record which those of us who served after him so admiringly remember.

I shall not attempt to follow him into a number of the matters which he raised, but perhaps I may take one as an example. The noble Lord spoke of one country, one vote, but to suggest that the United Nations is based on one country, one vote, is a delusion. It is not based on reality. Power in the United Nations, as we know, rests not with the General Assembly, capable only of making recommendations. I would claim that every country, even a small country, has a right to be heard. Power is concentrated in the Security Council and is further concentrated in the hands of the four veto-carrying Powers. I would certainly say that the frustrations and failures of the United Nations are not due to the small nations' expressing their opinions by their speeches and their votes: they are due most certainly to the great Powers.

As I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with the United Nations except the members. Naturally we think that it is the members who do not agree with us, but I dare say that there are various views on that. I myself consider that the principle of the Charter, by which all nations shall have a right to speak and right to vote in the Assembly, whereas they have no power to make decisions in regard to world security, is sound, and I would defend that right. People who speak about weighted voting in the Assembly and about the variation of the Charter are first of all not going to achieve their purpose, because there is not going to be any major change in the Charter in the foreseeable future; and secondly, I think they would be misguided to attempt it.

I was greatly delighted that we could finish this long debate, which must touch on so many different subjects, with two authoritative statements from two noble Lords who are probably the best qualified men in the world to speak on their subjects. It is well that we should be brought back at the end of this debate, in which we have covered so much ground, to listen to the discussion which has been carried for us to-day by the noble Lord who speaks to us about the World Health Organisation and the noble Lord who speaks to us about the International Labour Organisation. I think that at the end of the day we wanted a reminder that the family of the United Nations is engaged on practical, essential and progressive work. We could not have listened to two better speeches in this stage of our proceedings. I greatly appreciate what the two noble Lords said.

I think all I can do at this stage is to take maybe the headings that stand in my mind and say a sentence or two on each. But there is one subject on which I feel an obligation to reply possibly at slightly greater length, because several noble Lords have spoken with great passion on it. It is a subject of which I will admit I was ignorant when I heard them speak, but I should like them to listen to the explanation which is provided, and I should like them at least to think it over. I would not expect them to accept immediately what I say, but I would ask them to think about it and we will discuss it at some subsequent time.

I refer to the question of the World Health Organisation Board. Your Lordships may remember that my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder dealt with this, followed strongly by others, including my noble friend Lord Crook. I must say that it is a great delight to me to see my noble friend Lord Crook here. We have certain people who are, I might say, monuments in the United Nations, who we feel are part of the Organisation, and we should expect the noble Lord to come to New York as he goes to Geneva regularly doing the work for which he is greatly respected throughout the whole organisation, because we know him to be a man of absolute integrity and absolute fact. He supported, too, the case put to us on the World Health Organisation Board.

It is perfectly true that the United Kingdom are among the sponsors of a resolution. I look, first of all, to see whether our company was respectable, at the other members of the sponsoring group, and I am bound to say that they do not seem to me particularly reactionary or misguided: Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Argentina and the United States of America. If we are wrong, there are several others who are wrong with us.

The resolution makes a proposition. I should explain that the existing provisions of the World Health Organisation constitution, whereby members of the Executive Board must be persons "technically qualified in the field of health", remains absolutely unchanged. The Board's qualifications to take decisions on medical matters on technical grounds will therefore not be impaired in the slightest. The Board's constitutional duties remain completely untouched. The sole change proposed is to add the privilege that the members of the Board represent the Governments by whom they are designated. In practice, the members of the Executive Board, who are senior civil servants, and sometimes Ministers, already reflect their Government's views when political, administrative or financial considerations are at issue. By the way, the United Kingdom is not a member of the Board. We hope that it may be very soon restored to the Board, and we shall be represented when that happens in exactly the same way as we were before, and by the same man, Sir George Godber, the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health.

The point of the Amendment is that it strengthens the authority of the Board when dealing with such matters, and brings the World Health Organisation constitution into line with the other major Specialised Agencies, whose Executive Boards or Governing Councils are composed of Government representatives. This is appropriate, since the Boards have increasingly to deal with matters relating to financial and administrative practices and the programme of co-ordination. At the same time, the World Health Organisation will be changing over to the more efficient and economical system of biennial instead of annual budgets. This is the right moment, therefore, to make clear in the constitution that the Executive Board remains available as the continuing organ in which Government views can be made known between Assemblies.

We do not see why the proposed change should lead to greater national or sectional pressure being put on the Director-General than hitherto. Moreover, the system whereby members of Executive Boards or Governing Bodies are Government representatives exists in the other main Specialised Agencies and has not destroyed the integrity of their international stance. I trust, therefore, that noble Lords, who obviously feel very strongly about this matter, and who are cerainly free to raise the matter with me again if they wish, will realise that the change proposed is to bring the World Health Organisation, for reasons which on the face of them seem to me to be sound, into line with the practice in other Specialised Agencies. I do not think it would be regarded as a disgraceful act, or that it would justify perhaps the strong language that I have heard from behind me in the course of this debate.

I will turn to deal more shortly with the question raised by the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough, on the Food and Agriculture Organisation. I would seek to summarise the situation which I do know, unlike the particular matter of the representation on the World Health Organisation Board, which was not familiar to me before it was raised. On the question of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Dr. Sen, one of the great men I would say of our generation, who has been in charge of this organisation for a long period, has rendered magnificent service. But I think that we in this country remember him particularly perhaps for the "Freedom from Hunger" campaign which he inaugurated and in which our country took a leading part in the world. We all respect Dr. Sen.

But there came a time—it often happens in organisations—when, after the first twenty years it was necessary to look again at the whole structure of the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The task was wisely undertaken, I think, by an independent board, of which Sir John Fletcher-Cooke was the deputy chairman. A very thorough job was done. It is perhaps not altogether surprising that Dr. Sen, at the end of his period of office, disagreed with some of the proposals which were put by the board. What is the sensible thing to do? To allow the new Director-General, Dr. Boman, of the Netherlands, who is to carry responsibility in future years, to work with the special committee established which is to report in October of this year. And the changes will not be introduced until next year. I think therefore there is nothing very revolutionary or surprising about this. At the end of an era led by, as I say, a man of outstanding ability it was necessary to review. The review was carried out to make the changes. They are not being made in a hurry. Our own policy is fully reflected in the decisions so taken, and our own representative has played a leading part.

I must say here something about the most fascinating subject of the deep-sea bed. I dare say that if this debate is remembered at all it will be remembered as the seabed debate, and I thank my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder most warmly again for having brought this subject to our notice. I am not going to comment on it in detail now. As your Lordships know there was established in the last Assembly a Commission to undertake a review of all aspects of this question. This country is represented on that body, and we will play our full part, most certainly, bearing in mind the considerations that have been mentioned here in this debate.

We sometimes hear sneering reference—not here, of course, but elsewhere—to the smaller nations of the world, and the suggestion that it is only the great nations that can make contributions in matters of great consequence. I like to go back in my mind to the remarkable enterprise and initiative shown by Ambassador Pardoe of Malta in the last Assembly—one of the most striking things that has been achieved since the United Nations was established. He had a small delegation of probably not more than three senior officers in the New York office, without the backing of a great Government and opportunities of research behind him. He brought up a subject which was not popular. There were various considerations. People were not altogether happy that it should be brought forward. The Ambassador of Malta insisted that it should, and then with great skill and persuasion he convinced all concerned, including the Soviet Union—which is not easy—to go with him on the definition of the terms of reference of the body he wanted us to set up. He carried it through, and in the end obtained a unanimous vote, 99 to nil, in the General Assembly. That is a magnificent example of what can be done, and it may well be that in bringing this matter to the notice of the international community and insisting it should be carried through—it does not go through merely by insisting; you have to work for it—and getting a unanimous vote, one man of a small country has been able to alter the whole prospect of the world. I make no further comment, except again to express my admiration for a small country and a brilliant Ambassador.

We can spend a lot of time talking about population, and on this subject I listened to what was said by many noble Lords, including, particularly, the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier. I agree with him. I myself went to the Population Conference in Chile, and indeed made the opening address. It was a breakthrough, as the noble Lord suggested, because this was the first time that such a conference had been held, or could be held, in Latin America. It was much to the credit of President Frey that he should be prepared, with a certain amount of attack directed at him, to allow this world-wide conference to meet in his capital. I would not attempt to say more about the whole problem, which has been very well brought before us this evening.

I would just say this. I had the privilege on Human Rights Day, December 10, to speak for 17 nations in the Economic Council of the United Nations. Those 17 nations were that day signing the Population Declaration. Your Lordships will remember that on Human Rights Day last year 12 nations, not the most powerful in the world—India and Yugoslavia, I remember, were among them—signed a Population Declaration. I think it is one of the historic documents of the world. They pledged themselves and their Governments to work for the purposes of an amazing document, not yet sufficiently known. The following year 17 Heads of State on Human Rights Day, December 10 last, including our Prime Minister, came forward to sign the Declaration. I was privileged to speak for the 17 nations, including the United States of America. Now, therefore, there are 29 signatories, representing a third of the population of the world, who have pledged themselves to a Declaration which I believe will be famous in history. So we have made some progress. I have no time to go into detail, but I believe that all the machinery of the United Nations and its Agencies is gradually being brought into operation to have an effect on this which, I agree, is certainly one of the most urgent problems, if not the most urgent problem, in the world.

I will say one word on organisation. Several matters were raised about reorganisation of the United Nations Secretariat. A major reorganisation is just being undertaken. The Secretary-General found that having 23 or 24 under-secretaries, all with direct access to him, does not work—naturally, it does not. He is now providing that there shall be 11 under-secretaries, who will have the senior positions, and then there will be the second rank of under-secretaries. It is a new organisation, fully approved at the last Assembly and now being put into effect. I am glad to be able to tell my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder that the article which he read in this morning's Guardian is not accurate. I will not accept the fact that in the senior hierarchy of the United Nations there should not be a British representative; and I have no reason to think there will not be.

There is one other point I must make to correct a misapprehension. The noble Baroness, Lady Emmet of Amberley, in a speech which to all of us who work in the United Nations was full of wisdom and the knowledge that comes from having served there, said we had dropped the process of Parliamentary representation in our delegation. That is not so. I am glad to be able to assure her that, on the contrary, far from dropping Parliamentary representation, we now have a stronger Parliamentary representation than we have ever had before, including myself as Resident Minister, and the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell. We have had also the very great benefit of a Member of the other place who has been carrying the great load of the Fourth Committee on colonial questions through the last Assembly, and to whom I owe a great debt. He has done a very fine job for us. He is a Member of Parliament who has been prepared to go for three months, without a break, to New York, which is not easy, as many of your Lordships will know. So, on the contrary, we are very anxious to maintain our Parliamentary representation and, if possible, to increase it.

I should also like to say that it is not actually true that all the recruitment is delayed and prejudiced by geographical distribution. In, for instance, the United Nations Development Programme, which is, I think, the biggest single effort of the whole U.N., the selection of experts is made on the basis of merit and not on the basis of nationality. Incidentally, I would say that our country provides for the expert assistance of the United Nations a greater number, a greater proportion, than any other country in the world.


My Lords, I was thinking of the central staff.


I think in the United Nations Central Secretariat it is so. But, as I say, it is not so otherwise, to my certain knowledge, because I served under the United Nations Development Programme. I also say to the noble Baroness, Lady Emmet of Amberley, that the reform of the United Nations Charter will not happen. The Russians are perfectly frank about it. They say that we were lucky to get it in 1945 and we probably should not get it now, and we had better make the best of it. I do not complain about the Charter. We can make the Charter work, of course. If there is the will to co-operate, almost anything can be made to work, but if there is no will then nothing will work. It is unreal to think of abolishing the veto. If we do that, no super-Powers will be in the Security Council, willing to hand over their powers to a committee, when they have a vote of one. This is an essential part of their contract and it will be maintained, and all we can do about it is to work day by day to try to get a better understanding. I think there is now a better understanding between East and West and, God willing, we shall one day have a better understanding between North and South.

I must also make some reference to Lord Ritchie-Calder's terrifying picture of the aid going to the tapeworm and not to the developing countries. The noble Lord knows very well, but I should like to say to your Lordships, that the main reform we have made in the past two or three years in our overseas development aid from this country is that the greater part of our loans are now made interest free. I am glad we can claim to lead the world in giving our aid interest free so that we do not have to ensure that our money is not going to feed the tapeworm.

I was struck by the speech made by the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell. Although we work together day by day and see each other every day in New York, unfortunately I never hear her speak because we work in different places. I am happy to have personal confirmation of the high opinions I have heard from everyone else about her speeches. When she got halfway through her speech I was concerned—was she attacking the whole concept of the United Nations? Of course she was doing nothing of the kind. What she was doing was to show us that if we are unable to deal effectively with the problems of race they will poison everything else, and if we cannot deal with that problem I do not believe there are any other problems in the same category. Indeed, they are all wrapped up with the problems of population and of poverty.

Regarding the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Soper, I will merely say, on disarmament, that in the United Nations disarmament can proceed only step by step, from the Test Ban to the Outer Space Treaty, to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to the Latin American Nuclear Ban. That is the way to proceed. If there were no progress I should be alarmed, but there has been progress, and we hope it will not be long before the Non-Proliferation Treaty is a fact.

I was asked especially to say something about Gibraltar and the deplorable resolution passed in the Assembly. The reasons for that vote were various and many of them were quite irrelevant to the issue of Gibraltar, but it was some comfort to us that a number of Commonwealth countries stood boldly with us. In close consultation with the peoples of Gibraltar, we did not hesitate to condemn the resolution in forthright terms. In all our policies we have sought to be guided by the sound principles of the Charter: that the interests of all the people should be paramount. That is the principle which guides us, and with more than 750 million of the people in the Commonwealth now in independent countries the principle has been tested and tried and found to be sure and true. It is a principle which we have declared and which we have sought to carry out without discrimination, as much in Rhodesia as in Gibraltar, as much as in any other country for which we have had a colonial responsibility to discharge.

I should like to make one reference to the subject of the new nations, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. I was interested in what he said and, in passing, on the question of what the Secretary-General calls the "micro-States". We do not want to see smaller countries enter the United Nations. I believe there is to be, as the noble Lord suggested, some new thinking, as to how we can deal with these 30 to 40 small territories round the world which maybe do not wish to become members of the United Nations. The island of Naura does not wish to come to the United Nations, although they are now independent. This is a separate problem. I am glad the noble Lord has drawn attention to it. We are pursuing consideration of it. I would say, in passing, that I think the whole United Nations system draws its strength and value from the fact that the great Powers now no longer can have it all their own way; they have to consider and win the support of the general membership. That is an important development. That is the part to be played by the new nations. Although I say the power of veto lies with the four Permanent Members, no Permanent Member can get any positive proposal approved unless he carries the Afro-Asians, Canadians and Danes, the other members of the Council.

Finally I would say this. I like controversy. I do not think we should be afraid of making this a matter of Party controversy if necessary, but I do not believe there is any great need for it. The noble Earl, Lord Bessborough, quoted Sir Alec Douglas-Home and what he has said from time to time. I worked with him when he was Foreign Secretary and often sat through long meetings of the General Assembly at his side, and there is no one for whom I have a higher personal respect. Sometimes I think he adopts a somewhat belligerent tone which is misleading as to his intention. I read his speech in Oxford the other day and I could find little to object to. He made a speech at Berwick which was interpreted as an attack on the United Nations. I do not think he intended it to be. As we work in New York in a delegation led by Members of this side of the House, I should hope we can feel we carry the support not only of one Party but of this noble House.

9.16 p.m.


My Lords, I am not going to detain your Lordships. I want to say "Thank you" to everyone who has made this debate a very remarkable occasion. We have covered an enormous amount of ground, as one could have foreseen from the scope provided by the Motion. I should not like to think that I should end this debate with the one discordant note I have ever struck with the noble Lord, Lord Caradon. I still do not accept the retreat from the principle. I am going to leave the last word in this debate with a man for whom I have the most profound respect, one of the greatest international civil servants who ever lived, Dr. Brock Chisholm, the first Director-General of the World Health Organisation. The World Health Organisation has been uniquely fortunate in all its Directors-General. This is what he said—what I call his "farewell to the old guard", his valedictory to the organisation: The Executive Board, to be able to fulfil its highly important role as technical adviser to, and executive organ of, the Assembly, is composed of members responsible to the Assembly alone, not to Governments or to any other bodies. In most instances the Board has lived up to its responsibilities. Many members have scrupulously honoured them, occasionally even in the face of heavy pressure of religious and political groups. Others"— meaning members of the Board— on the other hand have on occasions clearly represented special interests, regional, national or other—and a very few have appeared to be acting under instructions or external pressures. Any such failure of members of the Executive Board to recognise their exclusive responsibility to the Assembly represents the greatest possible threat to the integrity of the organisation". This I endorse, with the kind of enthusiasm with which the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, was apparently reproaching it. It is absolutely essential that the Assembly should be able to feel complete confidence that the advice which it receives from the Executive Board is based on technical considerations and entirely free from national or group interest of any kind of degree. Nothing short of complete world-mindedness is acceptable in any member of the Executive Board. Those are Dr. Brock Chisholm's views, and I leave the last word with him. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.