§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE (LORD BELSTEAD)
My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision for terminating and in part replacing the powers possessed by the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the Secretary of State for Wales under the Charities Act 1960 concurrently with the Charity Commissioners or under the Endowed Schools Acts 1869 to 1948, and enlarging certain other powers of modifying educational trusts, and for supplementing awards under Section 1 and restricting awards under Section 2 of the Education Act 1962, and for purposes connected therewith. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 1a—(Lord Belstead.)
§ On Question, Bill read 1a, and to be printed.
§ ADDRESS IN REPLY TO HER MAJESTY'S MOST GRACIOUS SPEECH
§ 2.38 p.m.
§ Debate resumed on the Motion moved yesterday by Lord Blake—namely, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."35
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, yesterday we had the pageantry and panoply of the Opening of Parliament by the Queen, followed in the afternoon by two outstanding speeches by the Mover and Seconder of the Address, compliments from the Leaders of the Parties, threats of debates and searching inquiries to come, sturdy reassurance from my noble friend the Leader of the House, knowing that four Bills were going to be introduced this afternoon, and a barbed shaft or two from the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, including the suggestion that my noble friend Lord Blake was the only intellectual on our side. Ah well!, we must do our best and content ourselves with the intellectual feasts provided by noble Lords opposite.
Now the preliminaries are over and we get down to business and, as your Lordships know, to-day we are going to debate Foreign Affairs and Defence. And so it is each year. Each year we come to this same position, and each year we ask the impossible of ourselves. For the world and its affairs is such a vast subject, and so fast-moving, that we cannot hope to contemplate it all. If we did, even these new and terrible electric clocks would fuse. So we must just concentrate on a few salient points—the headlands, as it were. I intend in the first part of what I have to say to look at the matter which must be to the forefront of all our minds—indeed, which was touched on yesterday by all the speakers—our decision to join the European Economic Community.
During the last session we saw the passage of the Act. Perhaps we in your Lordships' House missed, or avoided, rather a lot of the political excitement which has attended this momentous decision, but we did hear many encouraging words about the importance and the value to this country of entry into the European Community. Now, the die is cast, and we shall be joining the Community in almost exactly two months' time. But even before that, we have already witnessed, in the recent Summit meeting of leaders of the Community in Paris, an event which will have justified the hopes of many Members of your Lordships' House. The purpose of this meeting was to take stock of the position in which the enlarged 36 Community of Nine would find itself, to enunciate the principles for its future development, and to define the policies which it should follow. A wide measure of agreement was recorded, and the basis laid for a deepening and development of the Community, for the good of all regions and sections of society in the Community and for the benefit of the wide world. The text of the communiqué, together with the text of the Statement made in another place by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister have already appeared in the OFFICIAL REPORT, so I will not catalogue them; but I should like to concentrate on those aspects which most closely concern our debate to-day.
The Government have long held the view that enlargement of the European Community would lead to a two-way strengthening. On the one hand, it would provide this country with a secure economic and political base; on the other hand, it would heal the economic division of Western Europe. The contribution of our joint resources and our world-wide influence would enable the European Community to take its full place as a major world Power. But if we wish the Community to achieve this status in fact and to bring its influence to bear in specific situations and on specific issues we need to concert our approach to the major international questions of our day. Only in this way, it seems to me, can the enlarged Community, with Britain as a member, act decisively and effectively in the pursuit of peace, stability and progress.
We therefore believe that the European Community must maintain an outward-looking posture and face up to the world responsibilities which its predominant position as the world's largest trading group will entail. This is the direction in which we used our influence at the Summit and it was, and I think it will be to all your Lordships, a source of satisfaction that we found ourselves at the end of the day in such a wide measure of agreement with our partners.
The enlarged Community is, first of all, conscious of the problems of the developing world. It has expressed its determination to increase its aid and technical assistance to the developing countries and to respond even more than in the past to 37 their needs. The Community's leaders have laid down that decisions should be taken during 1973 on an overall policy of development co-operation which will include such elements as commodity agreements, the improvement of generalised preferences and improvements in the volume of official aid and the financial conditions governing it. The existing Community can already claim an aid record which is second to none. It has been expanding its imports from the developing world much faster than we in Britain have. The opportunities afforded by its enlargement must now be used to expand trade and so help raise the standard of living of the poorer countries of the world; and we welcome the Community's resolve in this respect.
But, my Lords, in our zeal to help tackle the problems of the division between rich and poor nations, we must not ignore our relations with the other developed, industrialised countries. The prosperity of the world to-day is a function of trade between the industrialised nations. Trading relations between the enlarged Community and other developed countries must be characterised by equality and liberalism. We want to see the Community developing a constructive trading dialogue with those countries and, as your Lordships will no doubt have noted, the decisions taken at the Summit have provided the framework for this. In particular they recognise the importance of the forthcoming multilateral negotiations within the GATT.
These two aspects of the Community's relations with the rest of the world—with the developed and the developing world—are of course closely connected with the common economic objectives of the Community. But as our co-operation widens and hopefully deepens, so it becomes more and more difficult, I think, to separate political and economic factors. The Summit communiqué, for instance, recognised that our trading relations with Eastern Europe can help the process of détente. Thus, it will clearly no longer be sufficient for the Community to speak with a united voice with the third countries on trade matters while failing to co-ordinate the conduct of its political relations with the same countries. That is why it was decided at the Summit that enlargement of the Community marked the right moment for an intensification 38 at all levels, of political consultations. We shall now attempt to reach common positions not only on matters of immediate interest, but also with regard to our medium and Long-term positions.
Through our partnership with the other members of the European Community we are aiming, in the words of the Prime Minister,to build something that will be greater than the sum of our individual effortsat a timewhen the structure of power in the world … is undergoing changes of historic importance".We have affirmed our intention of transforming the whole complex of our relations into a European Union by 1980 and a report on this subject will be drawn up by the end of 1975 for consideration at a new Summit Conference.
My Lords, for my part I see this as a logical objective arising from practical co-operation in an increasing number of fields and I shall, if I may, have more to say about this and its effect on the defence field in particular a little later on. We shall no doubt proceed towards unity in a sensible and pragmatic way, and the form and eventual date of the Union will depend on the progress we make within the guidelines which have already been laid down. This, I think, will have far-reaching implications not only for Europe, but for the Community's role in the world and the part that we can play in the world for moderation and for peace. This is particularly true of our links with Commonwealth countries. Through the process of close informal consultation, which has always been such an important mark of Commonwealth membership, we shall continue to remain closely informed of and closely concerned with the views and needs of our fellow members. Looking into the future we see Britain in an outward-looking Europe and Britain in the Commonwealth as mutually sustaining roles.
My Lords, before I leave this there is just one thing that I should like to say. We have now been talking in this country about the Community, the arguments for and against entering it, and the advantages and disadvantages for, I think, about fifteen years. And here we are to-day within two months of actual entry. The die is cast, but that is not the end. 39 Far from it, my Lords! We stand now at the threshold of a new phase in the political and economic development of this country. It is an exciting prospect and it will not be easy. The greatest mistake we could make now—and I think the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, said this yesterday—would be to sit back, expecting our entry to the Community to act as some sort of philosopher's stone, a universal panacea which will solve all our problems, turn all our sorrows into joy. I do not think I need emphasise to your Lordships that the good things of this world, the rising standard of living and all those things we want to see, can be achieved only by our hard work and our efforts. What faces us now is a challenge—a challenge to take our place and make our way to full partners in Europe—to establish our full share in the economic and political base which it affords. I hope that all of us, whatever our views, can now forget the differences which have split us on this issue in the past and look to the future, and seize the opportunity with our wholehearted national will and purpose.
At a time when major changes are taking place in the Community, opportunities for a new relationship with the Soviet Union and the other Eastern European countries are beginning to appear. There has been the Four Power Agreement on Berlin, the ratification of West Germany's treaties with Poland and the Soviet Union, and at the present time East and West Germany are working towards a treaty to regulate relations between them. On a wider scale we have seen the United States and the Soviet Union establish new relationships in SALT I and the promised Trade Agreements. Almost all the States of Europe, along with the United States and Canada, will shortly be meeting in Helsinki to participate in preparatory talks for a Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. Exploratory talks on mutual and balanced force reductions will also shortly be taking place and may in due course be followed by detailed negotiations on this very difficult question. These two sets of talks will provide the opportunity for a detailed examination of the major questions affecting the security of Europe and of what possibilities exist 40 for practical co-operation with the countries of Eastern Europe.
We, Britain, intend to play a constructive part in all this. We are well prepared, following close and detailed consultation with NATO and with our partners in the enlarged Community, and we have a good case to present. We seek agreement on practical measures of East-West co-operation, particularly in the economic and commercial fields. Noble Lords will perhaps have noticed the emphasis placed in the Summit communiqué on free movement of people and ideas. It is our belief that understanding and real security can only come to Europe if progress is made in lowering the barriers in this area; and we are sure that progress can be made.
The discussions on force reductions are bound to be complex and protracted. In the exploratory stage, we shall want to establish whether there is a basis on which to proceed to serious negotiations. The root cause of insecurity in Europe is the great—and growing—disparity in conventional forces enjoyed by the Warsaw Pact, and this is the major issue that will have to be faced in substantive negotiations. NATO must be on its guard against allowing the prospect of C.S.C.E. and M.B.F.R. negotiations to divert its attention from the hard but inescapable facts of military life. Our guiding principle must therefore be the maintenance of undiminished security. Above all, there must be no weakening in the North Atlantic Alliance.
My Lords, from there may I turn to what is, after all, my home ground of defence. Our commitment to the ideal of European defence is too well known to need lengthy repetition. I am convinced that as Western Europe gradually develops, and more particularly as we and our European partners advance towards the establishment of a common foreign policy, so we shall tend increasingly, and inevitably, to align our defence policies and rationalise the administrative arrangements that support them. I see this, though, as an essentially pragmatic process. We are not setting out to design some splendid new building that might be ready for occupation some time in the 1980s, because we have to live in this house while we build it up 41 and improve it: and it must keep out the rain or by 1985 we shall all be dead of pneumonia.
The kind of realities which will continue to govern European defence, whatever shape we try to impose on our defence arrangements, are, first and foremost, the need to maintain and foster the North Atlantic Alliance. There is no prospect, certainly in the foreseeable future, of sustaining a credible defence posture in Western Europe except in close co-operation with the United States. However our defence arrangements evolve, they must permit Europe to retain its partnership with North America within the general framework of NATO. Secondly, as I have said time and again during the past year, we in Europe cannot count on that co-operation unless we assume a greater share of the burden of defence. Britain, I think, is already doing her share, but the statistics which NATO produces show clearly enough where the extra effort is required. No one can seriously suppose that it is right to build communal defence on disproportionate contributions.
Thirdly, and again pointing to the need for more effort, there is the threat to Western Europe. The danger of direct military assault is perhaps now among the least of our worries. But harsh, even aggressive, political attitudes and policies, with the fact of overwhelming military superiority ever present in the background, are another matter. The vision of Europe leading the other super Powers to disarmament by unilateral example is one which I do not wish to contemplate. I firmly believe that a Europe which lacked adequate means of defence would be a permanent obstacle to world peace and security.
This brings me inevitably, my Lords, to the subject of nuclear forces, which causes so much concern to many people—particularly those like myself who are responsible at the present time for grappling with the problem. As I hope I made clear in the House last Thursday, no one would be more relieved than I should if there were a prospect of complete disarmament. But I see no sign of that, and meanwhile I shall continue to believe that Europe cannot afford to dispense with the nuclear capability which two of its members now possess. Who 42 knows what the future holds? The whole problem bristles with difficulties—not the least of which is that none of us has as yet a really clear idea of the context in which they will become ripe for consideration.
I was speaking just now of the need for a practical, down to earth approach to the task of developing a European defence. The activities of the Euro-group is a good example of what it I have in mind. The Eurogroup accepts the limitations within which it has to work. It concentrates on doing what is possible and does not waste time and effort striving after the impracticable. It even seeks to make a virtue of the fact that it lacks—alas!—the support of a bureaucracy. It rose to the first demands me de on it by President Nixon's statement that the United States would improve its support of NATO provided Europe did likewise. Its efforts in this direction must be maintained. It has shown signs during this year of providing valuable help and stimulus in the development and procurement of common defence equipments. This is an aspect of its activities to which I attach great importance and which I find very encouraging.
Our growing links with Europe will increase the scope for co-operative defence projects with our European allies who are faced with the same problem as we are of having to contain and reconcile rising manpower and equipment costs within relatively static defence budgets. I believe this co-operation is vital, on military as on economic and industrial grounds, and we, for our part, will continue to explore every suitable opportunity for it.
My Lords, before I leave Europe I ought to say a sentence or two about Iceland. We are continuing our efforts to resolve our dispute arising from the Icelandic Government's attempts to extend her fisheries jurisdiction over large areas of the high seas traditionally fished by British trawlermen. The Government deeply regret that this dispute has arisen: we are anxious to maintain good relations with such an old friend and close ally. We hope that the new round of talks, in which my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir will be taking part, which is now to take place and which we enter into in a spirit of great good will, will result in an interim arrangement satisfactory to both parties, 43 pending a definitive settlement. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy accepts a commitment to assist our trawlermen, and naval forces are available in case of need.
Nobody who looks at the world and at the vast speed of technological change, the shrinking of distance and the improvement of communications can suppose that any one country can live in isolation on its own and not have regard to what happens in other parts of the world. If, therefore, in what I have said I have concentrated on Europe, it is not because the Government feel that other parts of the world are not of vital importance to Europe's welfare and our welfare. It is perhaps arguable that the most significant developments over the past twelve months have been the emergence of China as a much greater factor in international affairs and the opening up of China to the visits of statesmen from all over the world. As your Lordships know, the Foreign Secretary is at this moment paying a visit there. We, of course, have always seen the importance of China. Indeed, I think it was in 1949 that Mr. Attlee's Government recognised China, making us the very first country to do so.
Nevertheless, it was the visit by President Nixon to China last February which not only has led to a change in the relationship between China and America but has established a complete transformation in the pattern of relations among the Pacific Powers. I believe that this is a development which should be welcomed, and certainly we intend, in so far as it is in our power, to improve our relations with China in trade, culture and mutual understanding. And if that is true of China, so indeed it is true of Japan, that country which has astonished us all by the rate of its economic growth and which is now an industrial giant in the world. We look forward particularly to the harmonious relations which must exist between Japan and the enlarged Community.
Finally, my Lords, I must just say one word about Uganda. The facts are well known. There is no need to cover the ground yet again. Our primary concern now is with the safety and welfare of our nationals, including the Asians who have still to leave. We are concerned, 44 too, with the Stateless Asians who are the responsibility of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. We shall hold President Amin to the solemn undertakings he has given that those who remain will not be maltreated. We shall, too, as the Foreign Secretary told the House of Commons, review the whole field of relations between our two countries. No one should be left under any illusion about the inhumanity of what has been done. And we shall give careful consideration to practical measures to bring home to the Ugandan Government the serious consequences of their actions.
My Lords, as I look round the world in a debate such as this, in terms of Foreign Affairs and Defence I do not find myself too gloomy. We have in the past year witnessed a movement which has on the whole been for the good. The SALT talks have been successful; there is talk of détente and of efforts to make it possible; Europe is becoming a reality; China is emerging from her shell. No doubt there are great problems which lie ahead, but I do not think that the signs are all unhopeful.
§ 3.5 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I must admit that yesterday part of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, came as a bit of a shock to me, because I found that I share something in common with noble Lords opposite, other than the noble Lord, Lord Blake. I also am not an intellectual and I must frankly admit that one of my favourite pastimes is watching television. My favourite programme is show jumping and I always admire the skill of the rider and of the horse as it takes on the major hazards of a course. Little did I think that I should have to face the major hazards of a debate and also to do it against the clock—because I see that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has excelled himself, in the sense that his speech lasted only 25 minutes. However, I should like to use one minute to add my congratulations to the two noble Lords opposite who moved and seconded the Address in reply to the gracious Speech. I think that all Oppositions have a degree of amazement and great admiration for successive Leaders who are able to find from within their ranks, and to do it with a degree of certainty, two 45 noble Lords who will rise and commend to the House the proposals of the Government. I suspect that the task this year, for the Leader, for the Mover and for the Seconder, was doubly hard.
The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said that events had moved very fast during the past twelve months. He is right. President Nixon has been to Moscow, to Peking and to Bucharest, and Her Majesty, despite her many visits overseas, has been to a Socialist country of Europe; namely, Yugoslavia. We have to-day our own Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec, in Peking. Here I should like to express great admiration for the right honourable gentleman. We know him to be sprightly despite his age, but to be able to go to the Forbidden City within a matter of hours after a very long flight from England to Peking is something that indicates not only his strength but his deep resolve and his very great interest in the task he has undertaken. I particularly recall the words that he used at a dinner, when he referred to the Chinese people as being a people "who are living at peace with themselves and the world". I think that is a factor we should not forget. As the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said, since China has emerged upon the world scene and in the United Nations, there has been a dramatic change in attitudes in Asia and, indeed, throughout the world. I should like to touch on that further in a few moments.
The war in India and Pakistan is over, and if my memory is right it was settled without the use of any outside organisation. We can all hope, I think, that the terrible and tragic war of Vietnam is coming to a close, and there will be one or two questions I shall want to put to the noble Baroness about this issue in a moment. The Middle East still remains a very great threat. Here again I think we shall need to spend a little time in considering what can be done there.
So far as foreign affairs are concerned, I think that Her Majesty the Queen's speech had more flexibility than the gracious Speech of 1970. Certainly I think that the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, to-day was in marked contrast to the one that he delivered in 1970, which, if my memory is right, held many of the overtones of the cold war. To-day, his concluding words were of hope, and I think this is of great significance 46 to this House and the country. But I must say that I find one thing strange in the gracious Speech: a complete absence of reference to Rhodesia. We have all accepted that the potential racial strife perhaps creates greater fear, greater peril, for world peace than any other factor, and Rhodesia is very much the key. I should have thought that the Government would have included—particularly bearing in mind the forthright statement made by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor about the Government maintaining the Five Principles in retaining sanctions—a reference to Rhodesia within the gracious Speech. We shall have an opportunity of discussing this on Thursday week.
On Uganda, we have already paid our compliments to the Government for their decision to admit British passport holders from Uganda into this country. The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, referred to the stateless. This, as I said on a previous occasion, is a matter for the United Nations; but we cannot absolve ourselves entirely from responsibility. Can the noble Baroness confirm that the British Government have offered £250,000 to the United Nations as an initial grant for the relief of the stateless Asians in Uganda, and that the total sum so far available to the United Nations is £800,000? Can the noble Baroness give any indication as to the extent those sums will be sufficient to meet the needs of the United Nations in dealing with the stateless?
I intend to leave defence to my noble friend Lord Winterbottom, but I must offer one congratulation to the noble Lord, Lord Carrigton, on the way he has dealt with the frigate purchased for President Nkrumah. We knew it as the Farouk Palace. I certainly tried to persuade the noble Lord's Department to take it on their books because it was quite clear that we could not sell it anywhere; it was always an embarrassment. I am glad that the Government have decided to bring this ship—not as a palace—within the Navy. I must admit that I would have selected a different name. I think that H.M.S. "Mermaid" has too close an association with what I think President Nkrumah had intended to use the frigate for.
The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, did not say anything about troops in Northern 47 Ireland. Our views are well known and I should not like this occasion to pass without saying how much our sympathy and support are with our soldiers in Northern Ireland. In regard to Vietnam, it would seem that, apart from the signature, peace is going to come to this very unhappy part of the world. I would ask the noble Baroness whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to approach our co-chairman, the Soviet Government, with the intention of reconvening the Geneva Conference; or is it likely that those who are signing the treaty would wish to have a new international body to supervise and ratify the agreement? Also, can the noble Baroness say whether, if the British Government are approached to provide personnel, whether military or civilian, for supervision during the period prior to the elections, they will be willing to provide them, or, if necessary, the logistics, because the cost is heavy as we know from the present Commission in South-East Asia. I hope that the noble Baroness will also say that the British Government will be willing to make a considerable sum available for the reconstruction of the whole of Vietnam.
In regard to South-East Asia, a new situation clearly arises. We shall need to look at the future of SEATO. SEATO is based upon the United States and it seems to me inconceivable that the United States, after all it has gone through in Vietnam, is likely to fight another war in Asia. Therefore we shall need to look not only to the future of SEATO, of which we are a member, but also at our role in Singapore and Malaysia. I have no doubt at all that the future stability of that part of the world must depend upon regional co-operation, particularly based upon consent and economic and social developments. I agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, when he felt that China and Japan—particularly Japan—could have an important role in this development. On Iceland, we shall await with interest what the noble Baroness is going to say later in the debate. We on this side of the House give the Government full support in sustaining our fishermen in the Icelandic waters. We will leave it at that and see what the noble Baroness has to say; but we are pleased that the two Governments are coming together and are to have discussions.
48 To me the most important part of the gracious Speech was not the reference to the E.E.C.—in a sense it is, but we have had many discussions and we have yet to see the development. The proof of the pudding will be in the first few months or the first year of our association. I have only one complaint about those who argue on either side of the issue on the E.E.C.: they both tend to exaggerate. One of the greatest disservices has been done by those who have supported entry and who have tended to make it appear that we are joining a club of good samaritans. We are joining one of the keenest and most competitive organisations the world has ever seen. I have no doubt at all that many of our industrial weaknesses will be exposed, and that there will be great hardship for those who work within those industries and companies. Therefore it falls to management as much as to Government to make ourselves as competitive as possible—and, as the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has said, let us kill for once and for all the idea that entry into the E.E.C. is some panacea for our economic difficulties.
I should like to turn to what I regard as the most important part of the gracious Speech, certainly one of great significance. That is the reference to the European Security Conference. In a Defence debate, the Prime Minister set out a series of criteria on which Britain could enter such a conference; and the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, spelt out some of them. The key was the Berlin Treaty. The Four-Power Treaty for Berlin has been signed, and we have the ratification of the treaties between the Federal Republic of Germany, the Soviet Union and Poland. The Federal Republic and the G.D.R. have now moved into negotiations on a basic treaty to involve some form of mutual recognition and, I have no doubt at all, for application by both to become members of the United Nations. Hopefully these agreements will be made before the German elections on November 19. True, a C.D.U. success might mean a possible attempt to renegotiate the general Treaty with the G.D.R., and failure to achieve agreement on recognition would certainly weaken the Federal German Government's bargaining position on recognition, as I have no doubt at all that other countries in Europe which have withheld 49 recognition will feel bound to offer bilateral recognition to the G.D.R. We must recognise that other Eastern European States such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia now want regular relations with Western Germany, for it would benefit all of them both economically and, I believe in the end, socially.
In the past year the United States and the U.S.S.R. have completed agreements on Stage 1 of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Although at the present moment the agreements involve only missiles on American and Russian territory, the second stage will most likely involve some missiles in Europe: the forward based missiles systems. The position of the Labour Party is that we have felt that the present British Government have tended to put a brake upon the road to détente, but I think some of that feeling will have disappeared as a consequence of what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has said this afternoon. I hope that we are moving now to a position of greater co-operation with other European and NATO allies in seeking an agreement with the Socialist countries of Europe. Britain must recognise that the Americans will eventually reduce their commitment in Europe, and the important point is to make sure that any American withdrawal should be part of a greater scheme for mutual and balanced force reductions.
Although the Soviet Union has been ambiguous about the concept of mutual and balanced force reductions, Mr. Brezhnev has made a public statement, in May, 1971, that the Soviet Government would be agreeable to discussions. I would agree with the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that there are considerable risks in these negotiations. They certainly will be complex. It is important that the West should not play the "numbers game". In other words, in certain areas the Warsaw Pact countries have a greater number of conventional forces than does the NATO Alliance. In the simple numbers game a tank is equivalent to a tank, and a battalion to a battalion. If we were to reduce on that basis, undoubtedly the West would become weaker as a consequence. Therefore, we should negotiate on a question of principle rather than on numbers. For instance, tanks might be withdrawn by one side as a balance for disbanding infantry regiments by the other; plans to expand 50 ground-to-air missiles may be abandoned in return for a promise not to Introduce a new or more sophisticated fighter bomber.
There is a second complication. Both the super Powers provide a nuclear guarantee for their alliances. But Russia is part of Europe and America is not. We cannot accept a form of control which requires armies to remain on their own soil, for it would mean that the Russian soldiers were pulled back less than 300 miles whereas the Americans would be pulled back some 3,000 miles This would be unacceptable. Another aspect of the geographical problems lies in the future of the forward base systems, the tactical nuclear weapons of the Alliance. Although the United States managed to keep negotiations on this subject out of SALT, the chances are very great that in the second stage of SALT they will be included. Russia has her own tactical nuclear weapons. Perhaps the two systems might be bargained against each other. Certainly, Britain has a part to play in making such bargains possible. If America even discussed the future of tactical nuclear weapons, there are some in Europe who would cry about America's willingness to sacrifice Europe. But I believe there needs to be some, give and take in order that we can seek and achieve some form of agreement.
On the Anglo-French nuclear deterrent. about which the noble Lord. Lord Carrington, has spoken, I think much of the difficulty arose from words in his speech at the Conservative Party Conference. It seems to me that the noble Lord is now playing down that speech; and I am very pleased that that is so. We on this side of the House would be opposed to any form of nuclear partnership. We believe that this would weaken our relationship with the United States. But there is one other aspect that needs to be considered in any development of nuclear forces in Europe. In SALT there has been agreement about the missile-launching submarines: it is tint the United States would have (I think it is) 44, and the Soviet Union would have 62, taking into account the fire power and strength of the varying submarines. But the Russians have made it clear hat if the launching submarines available to the NATO Alliance were to exceed 50 then they themselves would be free to build 51 further submarines. This then would prejudice their agreement with the United States. If you take the American strength and our own four Polaris submarines, the two that the French I think now have, and three more, clearly we should be in excess of that 50, and this would raise new doubts and give to the Soviet Union a reason for going further in ballistic development.
I have no doubt at all that we need a nuclear force, a credible force for Europe. We on this side of the House believe that it should be within NATO and not, as I think was suggested by Sir Alec Douglas-Home, complementary to NATO—in other words, a United Kingdom-French force alongside NATO. We believe that what force there is should be within NATO and that the voice of Europe should be stronger within NATO in this matter. In regard to China, I am certain that we shall all listen with great interest to what my noble friend Lord Chalfont has to say in the light of his recent visit to China.
My Lords, I conclude by saying only this. Whatever political solutions may be arrived at, I believe in the end the foundation of the cement for those agreements is the development of trade and the exchange of knowledge. It is a matter of regret that Britain, particularly in Europe, has seen her trade stagnate with the Soviet Union and other Eastern European blocs. It may be not a question of lack of venture. It may well be that the sizes of the contracts are so large that individual British companies are unable to participate. This may be so. Therefore, the Government, recognising the importance of trade, should devise ways and means by which consortia can be brought together so that the British are able to participate in some of the vast contracts that are available. We must all bear in mind the impact of Dr. Kissinger upon Moscow, and the consequences of Japanese infiltration. I believe that unless we ourselves make a very quick response, like South America we shall find ourselves out of this trade and development. I think the Government's £200 million credit should be supported, but I hope that the Government will find it possible to do more through the science and technology agreement which was signed in 1969. I 52 would ask whether they would not consider moving this particular field of international co-operation back into what I might call the "Ministry of Technology", and out of the vast Department of Trade and Industry, where I have a feeling that it is at present lost.
I conclude by applauding the last few words spoken by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that events are moving fast and that there is hope. I hope that the Government will have the tenacity to pursue all the avenues that clearly are now being opened in front of us and that they will not be too afraid of going out a little faster than perhaps some of their supporters would appreciate. We are at a moment of great opportunity: I hope we shall seize it.
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, I tend to share the doubt that I thought was implicit in the opening remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, as to the general utility of these debates on such a vast subject as Foreign Affairs and Defence. How can one, even in 25 minutes—and in my case much less—deal with anything except one or two outstanding points in this enormous field? I feel that we ought, if possible, to contemplate having a more serious debate on these great outstanding issues, and, so far as defence is concerned, to confine the debate to nuclear policy or the defence of Western Europe, or whatever it may be. It is to this subject that I intend largely to confine my remarks this afternoon. I agree with a great deal of what the noble Lord has said with regard to the objectives that we are now pursuing in Europe and in the world. I would certainly not dissent from the greater part of his speech.
I find myself also able to go along with the greater part of what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said in regard to Vietnam and South-East Asia, the Middle East, Rhodesia and Uganda, and I should like to associate myself with the questions which he put to the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, on those matters. I would even, I think, go along with the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, in his remarks in regard to Europe, which is surprising, because (if I may have his attention for a moment) I do not think he is enthusiastic for the European cause. 53 I entirely agree with him that it will be a competitive situation in which we find ourselves and that whether it is a success or not, from our point of view, will depend a great deal on our own efforts. There may well be disadvantages in the short run; but that I have never denied. The great objective is political, as I think the great majority of Europeans tend to think. On the question of the European Security Conference and the mutual balance in the reduction of forces, I also share to a large extent the views of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, except that I believe that here the essential thing is that we should not go into this all-important Conference in disarray in Western Europe. If we possibly can we must have some kind of Western European policy, and that will mean, if possible, making our own policy and that of the French and the Germans coincide. Our whole diplomacy in the coming year should be directed towards that end.
§ LORD GLADWYN
Having said that, I will now limit myself to three subjects namely, the European Summit, Western European defence and nuclear policy. As regards the first subject, I think I am right in interpreting the feeling of most Liberals as one of moderate satisfaction that the Heads of States and Governments were able to go as far as they did on such matters as regional and monetary policies, and more particularly, of course, with regard to the highly important deadlines—indeed, the deadlines they fixed were more important than anything else—coupled with regret at their total inability, for such it was, to indicate how their excellent objectives can ever be attained in practice: in other words, what the role of the various institutions should be in the construction of that democratic entity or union which they now say will be established in only eight years' time from now.
Here I find myself, rather surprisingly, in agreement with those redoubtable anti-Europeans, Professor Kaldor and Mr. Neil Marten, except that whereas they say, rightly, that it makes no sense to contemplate a monetary union unless you have the firm intention here and now to begin to construct a political union of a democratic nature—at the 54 same time, of course, implying that this is quite impossible—we Liberals would think that such construction is not only now inevitable, if there is to be any kind of monetary union, but that it is both possible and desirable also. It is indeed quite obvious, as I think everybody will be forced to admit, that one cannot have a monetary and economic union without a central authority of some kind which will take the necessary decisions, and that the only conceivable way in which such an authority can be democratic is to have some kind of European Parliament which, even if it does not itself constitute the authority, will at least be able to accept or reject its decisions in a general way. I repeat that is a principle which we must all admit if we are working towards any kind of democratic European Community.
But it is really not a question of setting up a federation in the usually accepted sense. The control of the European Parliament, for instance, might well be restricted to approval or rejection of the Community budget, which in a few years' time will be enormous—many thousands of millions of pounds. The Presidency of the Council might well continue to pass from one member to another. A system of weighted voting in the Council of Ministers, applicable in certain spheres only, to start off with, would still leave far greater powers in the hands of individual Governments, members of the Community, than are possessed at the moment by, for example, the American States. Regions, such as Scotland, might well have as much autonomy as the German Länder, and one cannot say that the German system of Lander in any way diminishes the personality or the individuality of the German Government. The armed forces of each member, though streamlined, one would hope would remain national armed forces, and so on. One must admit that it is not going to be a federation in the ordinarily accepted meaning of the word, but one thing is essential: if the Governments are serious in their intention to set up a monetary and economic union by 1980 some central authority must emerge and begin to assert itself, at any rate in certain spheres, without too much delay.
We can only hope that when our people get to Strasbourg and the new 55 Commission gets going under the impulsion of our own excellent and politically-minded Commissioners, and more particularly, perhaps, when the Parliamentary elections in Germany, Holland and, above all, France, are out of the way, enough uproar will be created as a result of the obvious non-functioning of the present system to induce the Ministers to contemplate the necessary reforms. I believe they will, and perhaps all this will come about rather sooner than we think.
I now propose to say a few words regarding foreign affairs and defence. Here, as a general remark, I would associate myself with what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, that the situation at the moment is not too gloomy. It is much less gloomy that we might have thought a few years ago. There are at least considerable reasons for hope that there will be an effort made now at the highest level to bring into existence some kind of world system in the next few years. It is arguable—I say only that it is arguable—that no great advance towards an economic and monetary union—which, as I have said, implies a political union—will or can be made until some kind of valid institution has been created to harmonise the foreign political and defence policies of the Western European democracies embodied in the European Economic Community. Again—and let us always be hopeful—it is possible that this will take place rather sooner than we think. A great many people say that it is the last thing that will happen—that it is the most difficult thing of all and will take years and years. I am not so sure. As we all know, efforts to form a suitable body for the consideration of foreign policy are held up at the moment because M. Pompidou insists that it should be located in Paris whereas all the other members prefer Brussels. That is the reason why it was not mentioned in the talks at the Summit and why no mention was made of it in the communiqué. But, the real division of opinion surely lies between those who want this new machine to be an actual part of the Community machine and those who think that it should be quite distinct from the Community, and 56 hence entirely non-supra-national in character. That is the divergence of view. I suggest, very humbly, that there is a possible middle way.
There exists at the moment a perfectly suitable body for co-ordinating the foreign and, indeed eventually, the defence policies of seven of the nine States involved even though this may be, and I believe would be, on an interim basis pending the formation of some body—or union, if you like—which would have to cover all the fields of economic, social, defence and foreign policy which will not be for several years. This existing organisation is called Western European Union and its Treaty obligations are far more precise, as we all know, than those of NATO as regards the famous cases foederis. It provides also for the non-manufacture by Germany of nuclear and other weapons (and it is extremely important to keep that obligation in being), to say nothing of the inspection of all allied forces on the Continent.
It has also a quite effective Parliamentary assembly which could, with good will, if so desired be merged with the European Parliament whenever it is decided that the European Parliament in its debates shall cover foreign affairs and defence. Seven members of the enlarged European Economic Community are already members of the W.E.U. Of the other two members of the enlarged Community, Ireland obviously could not join Western European Union or any equivalent of W.E.U. even if she wished to do so because she is neutral and Denmark, though a member of NATO, would certainly not wish to undertake any any additional defence responsibility at the present time: that is quite obvious. So why not link the existing W.E.U. machine with, doubtless, an improved secretariat and a proper Secretary General—that would be necessary—to the Brussels machinery as a sort of foreign, political and defence wing of the new union which we now say we want to contemplate in only eight years' time?
France, it is true, is no longer a member of NATO, nor is she likely to return to it, I regret to say. But she is still an active member of the North Atlantic Council and a part of the Alliance, and there is no logical reason why, for so long as the North Atlantic Treaty is in 57 existence and, as we may legitimately hope, at least some American troops remain on the Continent of Europe, the necessary streamlining of Western European defence should not take place under the general authority of the Atlantic Council. The only contentious question, therefore, would be how far the new machine would or could be associated with the European Economic Community machine itself and where it would be situated.
I may be wrong—I may too be optimistic; I do not know—but I believe that we should not despair, and certainly not despair after the next elections in France, of inducing the French Government to modify their present attitude, at any rate to the extent of admitting that a common defence cannot in practice be entirely divorced from the Brussels machine, if only because it is clearly impossible to organise common defence regardless of common economic and monetary policy. So, whatever body is established—whether we call it a secretariat or whether it is in fact a perpetuation of W.E.U.—it should clearly be in close touch with the Commission and the permanent representatives in Brussels. It might even be that the Secretary General would be a sort of honorary member of the European Commission and would constantly sit in with the permanent representatives as well. Why not? If it is thought that some physical separation should be made so as to prevent (as the French still continue to fear) the total absorption of the new European machine into NATO, well, the autoroute between Paris and Brussels will shortly be accomplished. So why not have it on that road, near the frontier, say one hour from Brussels and 1½ hours from the capital of France? Honour would thus be satisfied.
But why have it at all, I hear some of my European friends saying. and more particularly the more federalistically-minded of them? Why not let the existing European machine, namely, the Commission, gradually provide the means for harmonising the foreign and defence policy, thus avoiding any action that may break up the Community and prevent the achievement of full union in 1980? Many of my European friends say that. Alternatively, as many of my Atlantic friends will no doubt say, why have 58 any European defence policy or any European defence other than that which it is possible to organise within NATO itself, and notably, as the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said, in the famous "Eurogroup", which does not include France but does include Turkey'' I may be wrong but I think that the answer to both those criticisms is that no defence policy in Western Europe really makes much sense without the willing co-operation of France, and that for the next few years, at any rate, there seems to be no prospect of such co-operation other than in the kind of system which I have been outlining. Besides, far from breaking up the Community, I believe that such defence could only strengthen it, while if it were to be accomplished within the framework of the Alliance, that could only redound to the long-term interests of NATO too.
I know that the criticism is made that if you try to set this up as I have suggested you would leave out Turkey; indeed leave out the flanks. But, after all, after all Turkey is in NATO, and the only defence in Turkey, so far as I can see, is the continued presence of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and the guarantee given by the United States. It is not Western Europe, however, organised, which is really going to defend Turkey, supposing that the Americans, for any reason, substantially withdrew their forces in Western Europe. It would be tie Sixth Fleet. And yet—and this is my last point—there is one factor in the equation which is still quite uncertain, as noble Lords have already said, and or which the solution of any kind of European defence will eventually depend, and that is the future of the small nuclear deterrents of Britain and France. Probably nothing much can be done about this until France has made opetational—if that is the right term to apply to an unusable weapon—her forthcoming hydrogen bomb.
But when national honour is thus satisfied, it will, I suggest, probably dawn on those concerned that, whatever may be the case in theory. in practice no nuclear Power, however colossal its armoury, and still less a country which has only a very limited nuclear potential, will, whatever the circumstances, be prepared to use nuclear weapons, even tactical nuclear weapons, in a first strike against another 59 nuclear Power. That is the point. And if this is so, it must logically follow that the defence of Western Europe, pending some general disarmament which we hope for, or even balanced reduction of forces to a large extent, can be ensured only by building up a common conventional defence of a new type, not involving (I am sure this is possible) masses of men or even very great expense, which by itself would be capable of holding up any Eastern armoured thrust; that is to say, a thrust employing only conventional weapons. I know that this is a difficult matter to argue in two minutes, and I should like to argue it on another occasion, but I believe that that is a possibility to work for, and indeed the only logical possibility. I see the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont. is nodding his head. I do not know whether that is in agreement; I hope so.
Suffice it to say that I myself regard the present theory of defence known as flexible response, whereby, as I understand it, any such armoured thrust—of course it is extremely improbable; all these things are in all probability not going to happen, but it is the philosophy of the thing we are considering now—on the part of the East, if initially successful, could be contained only by recourse to tactical nuclears, thus inviting, obviously, an immediate Soviet response of the same order, as a highly dangerous philosophy.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, I think he really has misunderstood the whole purpose of the doctrine of the strategy of flexible response, which is that it should be flexible.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, I may have got it wrong, but as I understand it the flexible response strategy means that if the other side does something you respond with the same thing until the situation is somehow stabilised. But that brings in the moment in which tactical nuclears are employed, and my theory, rightly or wrongly, is that nobody is going to press the button, not even the Russians, for any nuclear weapon to be fired at all, because they know where it would lead to. I may be wrong, but that is what I suspect. So thinking of the worst, if you are going on the theory 60 of flexible response, the operation might well be successful but the patient would die. In any case, if such is the theory, why have any old-fashioned armoured divisions on our side at all? If the tactical nuclears are used, these formations will be useless. If it were only a question of conventional weapons, they would, in view of the present immense superiority of the Soviets in any kind of conventional weapon, just be rounded up. Our security seems to me, at any rate, at this moment to depend on the United States strategic deterrent and only that. But supposing that this NATO deterrent became rather incredible, too? I leave it at that.
I do not say that there is not a role of some sort for the British and French strategic nuclear deterrent; I think there is, if only to provide an answer in the almost inconceivable event of the Russians being prepared to use their own nuclear weapons of any kind on a first strike. I doubt, therefore—and I think I was encouraged by the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd—whether a Labour Government, when and if they returned to power, would be prepared to sink our nuclear submarines and missiles in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, any more than they were prepared in 1964, in spite of the fact that, as I seem to remember, the Labour Party Conference said that they should. The essential question, however, is what are we and the French and the Germans going to do about the conventional defence of our democracies, confronted, as we almost undoubtedly shall be, by the gradual withdrawal of American power?
My Lords, I hope that I have not kept you too long. When it comes to foreign affairs, I believe that we ought to have more specialised debates on these great issues, rather than ranging from the situation in Anguilla to the atomic policy of the Soviet Union and everything else. I hope that the noble Baroness, when she comes to reply, will be able to deal with some of the issues I have raised, but I very much doubt at the moment whether she will be able to do so!
§ 3.57 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SAINT EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICH
My Lords, in my maiden speech to your Lordships' House this afternoon I am 61 emboldened, first because of the references in the gracious Speech and now because of the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, to speak about Uganda. I have an interest in this matter because I was for 13 years Bishop and Archbishop of Uganda, and before that served for 15 years in India. I want to add my word of appreciation and admiration of the way in which the Government reacted to the expulsion order of the present President of Uganda. I believe that the way the Government have acted has won the respect of the whole world. Recently I have been in India, and I noticed with great pleasure and relief that some Indian papers, which in my day were bitterly critical of Great Britain, were now using our reaction to the Ugandan situation to say that their faith in the integrity and good will of this country had been restored. Although this may seem a small point, it is to me, with fairly long experience in India, a matter of very great satisfaction indeed.
We have fulfilled our legal responsibilities to the citizens of Uganda, at any rate those who had British passports, but I want to plead that we go a little further. I am not asking that we should go a second mile, although there is authority greater than mine for that suggestion; I am suggesting only that we ought to go about 20 or 30 yards further. I am aware that if the Government make any further concessions their action will be questioned politically, and I am very well aware that there is public alarm over large-scale immigration of coloured people. But I believe that the best interests of this country, within our own community and in the world community, demand the exercise of compassion and humanity beyond our purely legal obligations.
There are still in Uganda several groups of people who have entry permits to this country but who are not coming because they cannot leave dependent relatives who have no such permits. There are others who have young dependants engaged in full-time education over the age of 21 and who cannot bring them to this country because the boys or girls have Ugandan citizenship. The other day in the camp at Stradishall I met one or two families of women with their children whose husbands, now stateless, were still there in Uganda, and it seemed to me 62 that for such families there was very little prospect of their becoming economically self-supporting, and being a strength to this country rather than a liability, unless the man, who had the skills, was able to be with them and head his family. But he had not been allowed to come because, although his wife had a British passport, he had not. I should have thought that there was a very strong economic argument, apart from the human problem of which I was very conscious when I was trying to comfort them, in favour of allowing men in this position to come.
I understand that under existing immigration rules a wife with British citizenship who needs her husband, and can show that without him she is unable to manage, can call upon the services of an adjudicator, who will look into the matter and, I believe, has the authority to overrule the regulations in order to bring the husband. I believe that such permission has been given in some cases, but I am informed, in a communication which was sent from Kampala on October 25, that our High Commission is not allowing any such appeals or applications to go forward, at any rate at that end. If this is indeed the case, I plead that the regulations governing dependency status may be treated more flexibly.
This is a matter of extreme urgency. There is now one week to go before General Amin's deadline, and I have this morning received information about what is happening in the present activities of the Army, which is searching for illegal residents in Uganda. When that deadline is up (I do not wish to enlarge on this; I think it would be unwise), I have the gravest fears for anyone found in the country who is, in their own terms, "an illegal resident". I am told that the maximum number who might possibly come to this country if the dependency regulations were slightly more flexible would be 2,000, and that the number in fact is more likely to be 1,200. Your Lordships will remember that we feared there might be about 40,000 Uganda Asians coming to this country. The noble Baroness who is to reply will be able to correct me if I am wrong but I believe that the number is in fact something of the order of 25,000. Therefore, I believe that what I am asking is not 63 wholly unreasonable, in spite of the understandable fear in this country of being swamped by numbers of immigrants. I believe that such a relaxation of regulations would be humane and right.
My Lords, I thank you for the indulgence with which you have listened to this maiden speech, and I am embarrassed to ask a further indulgence. Unfortunately I have an important engagement in my own diocese in Suffolk, and I fear that I shall not be able to stay until the end of the debate. May I say that this implies no disrespect to this House, or to the noble Baroness who will answer the debate?
§ 4.4 p.m.
§ LORD BETHELL
My Lords, it gives me very great pleasure to congratulate the right reverend Prelate on his maiden speech. It is one of the characteristics of your Lordships' House that on most subjects it appears that we are able to come up with an expert. The right reverend Prelate has a most excellent first-hand knowledge of Uganda, having served as a priest in that country, and I think that one may safely say that we were fascinated to hear his remarks about the situation there. I am sure that the Government will take particular note of what he has said about Uganda.
I think that to-day's debate will be an optimistic one, more optimistic than that which took place a year ago. For the last quarter of a century we in this country have lived in the face of powerful countries, with powerful Governments of which we disapproved, and which we regarded as, to some extent, dangerous. In our foreign policy and defence policy we have been rightly concerned over the years and the decades to find some way of dealing with this potential danger, and somehow coming to terms with the fact that the danger exists and continues to exist year after year. But in the past year, I am glad to say, the danger has receded that little further; the danger of war and of some major conflict has lessened considerably, and to that extent we are more optimistic.
It is an axiom of foreign policy that, when faced with a dangerous country with a dangerous Government of which we disapprove, there are two ways of 64 dealing with the situation: either one gets rid of the Government—and this is what we eventually steeled ourselves to do in the case of Nazi Germany—or one tries to come to terms with the Government, to talk to that Government and, over the years, by reassuring it, nudging it, and speaking to it, hopefully to make it a Government and a country with which we can become more and more friendly, and which will therefore be less dangerous. It seems to me that in the past year we have finally come down absolutely and irrevocably on the side of the second course of action as regards the two Governments of which we particularly disapprove—those of the Soviet Union and China. Who could have thought a year ago that the President of the United States would visit the Great Wall of China? Who could have thought, even more so, that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary would be dining in Peking a day or two ago, and that the band of the People's Liberation Army would be playing the Eton Boating Song? This is a quite considerable change, and I must say that, even though the song is the Eton Boating Song, I regard it as an optimistic change, a favourable change.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, would the noble Lord not agree that the hand also played A Hundred Pipers, which is an even bigger threat?
§ LORD BETHELL
My Lords, it does not lessen, of course, the very great injustices that exist in the countries of which we disapprove. The Berlin Wall is not going to come down because peace is more secure; the restrictions on personal freedom in Russia and China are not going to be lifted—on the contrary, they will be consolidated; the occupation of Czechoslovakia, which we debated in this House four years ago and which we unanimously condemned, is not going to cease; the barbed wire that divides our Continent from North to South is not going to be cut; the minorities, and particularly the Jewish community in the Soviet Union, are not going to be substantially helped. I think that we must add a word of caution to the optimism that is our prevailing feeling over the consolidation of the status quo, and the realisation that peace is here and is unlikely to be broken in the foreseeable future.
65 We must surely face the fact, the very sad fact, that by accepting the status quo we are conniving at what must be called an injustice in certain countries of our Continent—particularly in Czechoslovakia, a country which is being culturally emasculated by a Government dominated by that of another country. This is a situation which is unlikely to be improved in the next few years. It is a terrible and miserable situation for a country only 600 or 700 miles away from where we are sitting, and we shall have to accept that as the status quo.
We shall have to accept the status quo in Poland and Hungary, two countries whose Governments—I do not think anyone will contradict me on this—are supported by only a small minority of the people, whose Governments will not relinquish power and who show little sign of changing in a way that would fall in at all closely with the way in which Governments in the west of Europe operate. By having a Security Conference and by consolidating peace, which is an admirable aim, we shall have to abandon these three countries, and in the foreseeable future they themselves will have to pay for our peace and freedom. They will have to pay the price. I am not saying that there is any solution to this situation, but I am saying that we should not forget that those three countries—I admit that there may be more—are paying the price so that we can live in peace and freedom.
It is ironical that this should happen at a time when our Continent is becoming more and more closely united, when the barriers in the West of Europe are coming down and when, in a few months' time, restrictions on movement in the West will be practically non-existent. It leaves me uneasy to think of this, and the only way out that I can suggest to your Lordships is one which was quoted by a former British Ambassador, Owen O'Malley, in a report on a grave injustice perpetrated by one of our allies during the war. He said that although we had to connive at what they were going to do, the solution lay in something being done inside our own hearts and minds where we are masters, for there, at any rate, we can make a compensatory contribution, a reaffirmation of our allegiance to truth and justice and compassion. This is an emotive argument, but one which 66 I think we can follow and understand and pursue.
On this same subject, I should like to make one practical point about our relations with Albania. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, mentioned East Germany and there may very well be developments in that direction soon, but I Lope that my noble friend will be able in the next few months to consider the case of Albania, which has for so many years been completely closed to us, without diplomatic relations, and which has only recently opened its doors to other countries in the West. Albania has always been a difficult country for foreigners to make an impact upon. Since the war the Russians have gone in and have left. The Chinese went in and it looks to me as if they will be leaving fairly shortly.
I suspect that there will be a vacuum of a sort in Albania in the next year or two. There will certainly be a trade vacuum, because with all the bade that will build up between China and the United States of America, and between China and other Western countries, it is hard to see that China will remain a leading trade partner of Albania. There will, I suspect, be a political vacuum if China withdraws, because who are Albania's allies now? I suspect that several countries are thinking about that, and I hope that we are one. There are signs that Albania is trying to reach a modus vivendi with this country—I do not talk about a restoration of diplomatic relations, because there is of course the grave dispute over the British ships that were mined in the Corfu Channel, and I am not sure that there is any easy way out of that dilemma. But other countries, also members of the European Economic Community—the Benelux countries, for instance, and Denmark—have been able to establish contacts with Albania, and I hope that we shall be able to build up contacts of some sort, if only informal contacts, quite soon.
One extra reason why this matter should be considered is that the situation in Yugoslavia is becoming mere fluid and potentially dangerous, with the conflict between the Serbs and the Croats apparently warming up and with the presidency of Tito presumably approaching its end in one way or other. I should 67 not like to prophesy what would happen if the President of Yugoslavia were to die or were to relinquish the presidency. Certainly, it would immediately put Yugoslavia in a state of flux. A future Government of Yugoslavia might, I fear, be forced to depend rather more on the Soviet Union than previous Governments have done since the break in 1948. A future Government of Yugoslavia might be persuaded to yield bases to the Soviet Fleet. If this were to happen—it is only a possibility and I am of course theorising—it would be particularly important for us to have a listening post in Albania.
While I am on this subject, I hope that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be able to look once again at the question of our broadcasting to Albania. A service in the Albanian language was discontinued in 1967 in order to save £15,000 a year; it could be restored at a cost to the Exchequer of £25,000 a year. Surely a European country is worth keeping within our earshot at the cost of such a paltry sum as £25,000 a year. There may even be a noble Lord in this House who is prepared to pay this sum out of his own pocket. I should have thought the Government would be able to afford it.
This debate will, I suspect, become more and more optimistic, in contrast perhaps to other debates on the gracious Speech that will follow. Peace is more secure and the major Powers are unlikely to fight each other in the foreseeable future. The hope of Ernest Bevin, that we may one day be able to travel without visas, without passports, seems far more likely to come to pass than it did a year ago; and this, after all, is surely the aim of our foreign policy and of our defence policy. I feel very grateful that since there has not been a major war in the last quarter-of-a-century I have not had to fight in any war; and I say this in the presence of a House most of whose Members presumably had to do that. It may not be realised how much younger people appreciate that they have not been called upon to make this sacrifice. It is certainly a great privilege that we have enjoyed, and it looks more and more likely that our children will enjoy that same privilege.
But we shall have to find some substitute for the catalyst of war, some aim 68 on which a young person can build to give him the outlet to express his aggressive instincts. This is a problem which our country will have to solve. In spite of what the cynics may say, material prosperity is an aim which must be pursued, because only when our material prosperity has been achieved shall we really be able to build a civilisation. The end of major war is a step towards this great civilisation, and material prosperity is surely a step along this road. This generation will have to come to terms with looking upon material prosperity as an aim which can be pursued, one which can be regarded with enthusiasm and excitement. This will be the problem, I suggest, of successive Governments and of successive citizens: to learn how to build instead of how to fight.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ LORD SHINWELL
My Lords, it is a tradition of your Lordships' House to congratulate the mover and seconder of the humble Address to Her Majesty. I join with other noble Lords in those congratulations. I do that all the more so, my Lords, because I am in almost violent disagreement with both noble Lords: or perhaps I ought to correct myself and say that I am only partly in agreement. I accept the facts which were embodied in both speeches, but I reject, almost violently, their interpretation of those facts. Let me, to begin with, furnish an example. Both noble Lords referred to the evil of inflation, but they have apparently overlooked the fact that the evil of inflation is not peculiar to the United Kingdom: it is world-wide. Almost every country, whether it is democratic or totalitarian, or whether it is neither fish nor fowl, or good red herring, suffers from the evil of inflation. So, my Lords, it would be erroneous to assume that inflation, which is the most important item in the gracious Speech, is a matter which is the concern of the people of only this country. It is not. Or, for that matter, that it is brought about by the machinations of Mr. Hugh Scanlon. My Lords, there are Hugh Scanlons in many other countries. We have them in Italy and in France and in parts of Germany. In fact, we have them all over the place.
The trouble with both noble Lords, the mover and the seconder, is just this: they are living in the past—in particular, the 69 noble Lord, Lord Blake, who is an historian and is naturally living in the past; but I expected something rather different from the noble Earl, Lord Dudley, who is a director of many companies and is involved in industrial development and the like. He, at least, can look to the future. But in point of fact the two noble Lords exhibited in their speeches, beyond disputation, that they are living in the past. They do not seem to understand that the world is changing. Of course, we have still got the "haves" and the "have-nots", but your Lordships will not be altogether surprised to learn that the "have-nots" are beginning to assert themselves—and it is just about time. No matter what your Lordships may say, no matter what is contained in the Speech of Her Majesty, no flatter what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government, the problems that confront us—industrial relations, inflation, the disparity between the rich and the poor, the fact that there are some who have too much and others who have far too little—will remain with us until we have a Government, and a public opinion asserting itself, deciding that this kind of thing must stop. We must not return to the past—to the Victorian era, to the Edwardian era or to the Macmillan era; or, for that matter, to the Wilson era. We have to go forward, and that means a vast change in our policy.
My Lords, I understand that the intention to-day is to discuss Defence; and it is a significant feature of this debate already that nobody, not even the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, the Minister of Defence, has mentioned the fact that this year the estimated expenditure imposed on the taxpayers of this country is £2,800 million. Furthermore, before long we shall have a Supplementary Estimate for expenditure concerned with the terrible happenings in Ulster; and we shall probably find that the bill will be rather more in the nature of £3,000 million than £2,800 million. What with inflation and the demands that will be made on us, either through NATO or in some other fashion, for increased military expenditure, it may rise to nearly £4,000 million by next year—and if ever there was inflation, that is an example of it. Nevertheless, I speak as one in favour of a measure of defence, the world being as it is. I regret it. When I listen to noble Lords like the noble Lord, Lord 70 Bethell, who has just spoken, I can understand a young man speaking in those terms, and I applaud his optimism. But as I listened to him telling us that conditions are not so gloomy as some of us maintain I recalled the various debates we have had over the years on disarmament, on cutting down this and that connected with military expenditure—and ending in what? In smoke, my Lords. In spite of all the efforts—the League of Nations and the present United Nations—and all the debates and discussions that we have had over the years, the world is still in a parlous condition.
Take, for example, what has been said to-day about China. There i5 euphoria about China. The Foreign Secretary has gone to China, and they have received him with acclamation. Why? Is this something to be optimistic about? Should this incline us to euphoria? May it not rather be that China dislikes Russia, that China is afraid of Russia, and that if China can help to build up some kind of, deterrent in Europe of which Russia might be afraid, it will suit China's book? Precisely! Perhaps I have a auspicious nature, and perhaps I ought not to look gift horses of this kind in the mouth. But when I reflect upon the attitude of China in the last 10 or 15 years and I read the language of the literature that I receive almost every morning from their Embassy, attacking the democracies and proclaming the virtues of the Viet Cong and those associated with the communist elements, I am suspicious about all this acclamation and this applause, about the bands playing, and even the Eton Boating Song being sung. This is all very fine, but what does it add up to? Precisely what I have said: China is afraid of Russia, and if we can build up in Europe, unitedly, a nuclear deterrent, together with massive conventional forces, that is precisely what China wants to offset the threat of Soviet Russia. Nevertheless, let us go on having these discussions with China or with Japan, or with anybody else. Incidentally, I observe that Japan is now adopting a military stance. For a long time, under the suzereignty of the United States, or conditions imposed upon Japan, we heard very little about militarism. Now there is talk about building up their military strength. That is a very bad omen indeed.
71 I am sorry to say that I do not share the optimism of some noble Lords who have spoken in the course of the debate this afternoon. Let us face the facts; let us be realistic; let us look at the situation in Europe. I begin in this fashion. On Thursday of last week I ventured to put a Question to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, about the conversations between Britain and France on a joint nuclear effort. His Answer was that if we wanted to discuss these matters in debate we could do so. Here we have the opportunity. And what has happened? The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said not a word about it; he never told us whether there had been discussions or, if there had been, what was their nature—not a word! If there were any secrets associated with conversations between a member of Her Majesty's Government and a member of the French Government relating to some joint effort in connection with a nuclear deterrent, we ought to be informed about that. We ought not to be asked to wait until something terrible happens: perhaps some action which might provoke the Soviet Union into taking premature action against us. We must be very cautious about these matters. Perhaps at the end of the debate the noble Baroness might let us into the secret of whether there were any conversations between Mr. Heath and M. Pompidou. Why should we not know about it? What of the nature of the conversations? Have they come to some agreement? Is there a secret treaty. We have had secret treaties before. The noble Baroness shakes her head. How does she know? Did Mr. Heath tell her whether we had had any conversations? Junior Ministers in the Government are not told about these things. I was not told when I was Minister of Defence that we had manufactured "the bomb"—it could not be worse than that. Therefore there is no use the noble Baroness shaking her head about this. I think that we ought to know what is going on.
My Lords, I leave that, because perhaps we may get an answer at the end of the debate, and come to the question of whether we should assist in the promotion of a European nuclear capability. It is a fair question. My answer is in the negative. Nothing could be more 72 dangerous. First, we could not rely on such a capability vis-àvis the strength of the Soviet Union. Nobody would deny that contention. In spite of the SALT talks between the United States and the Soviet Union, some reference to a reduction in ballistic missiles and the rest, there is no intention to promote complete disarmament; and the mere reduction in missiles, or reduction in conventional forces, leaving almost the same parity between the United States of America and the Soviet Union still constitutes a danger. War could result.
What is to take the place of a European nuclear capability? I shall tell your Lordships. This is something that I ventured to speak about in previous defence debates. My answer would be this. Build up the conventional forces. They would provide a deterrent much more effective than a nuclear deterrent of limited capability—and that is all that we have. If that is denied by anybody on the Government Front Benches, let us get the facts. What have we got in the way of a nuclear deterrent capability apart from four Polaris submarines, which in view of developments in the United States of America are already out-dated and out-moded and which may require modification to make them more effective? But who can tell? Apart from those, what have we? No doubt we have some bombs, some nuclear missiles; but we cannot tell. I am not asking for detailed information of such matters. As an ex-Minister of Defence. I should not expect to receive information of that kind from the Government. But before beginning to talk about these matters and before coming to some conclusion about them we ought to have some idea as to what we have at our disposal as an effective deterrent.
I do not believe that we have anything of this sort; in any case, nothing to compare with the Soviet Union. I deplore this. I do not like it. I wish it were otherwise; and I should feel more secure if it were; but I cannot say other than what I have said. Therefore we must build up conventional forces. How do we do this? What is the position of the United Kingdom? We have considerable manpower; but two-thirds of them—the noble Baroness will correct me if I am wrong—are held up in Ulster. 73 This is regrettable, but it is a fact. If trouble broke out in Europe at present, if there were some conflict of a minor character, or some trouble in Africa or any area of the world with which we are concerned diplomatically, politically, industrially or in any other fashion, we should not be able to deal with the matter effectively because a substantial number of our troops are held up in Ulster and are likely to be there for some considerable time. Therefore we must decide how to build up in Europe an effective conventional force which can act, even as a limited deterrent, against aggression either by the Soviet Union, by East Germany or by any other country.
My Lords, having said that, I want to add that it ought not to be left to the United Kingdom. The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, spoke about the contribution we have made—and how right he is! I think that our contribution compares more than favourably with that of any other country associated with the E.E.C. It certainly compares more favourably than the contribution by France. France has already contracted out of NATO. In the course of past debates it has been suggested that France one day will come back to NATO—and the sooner the better—as a matter of good faith. But I do not happen to trust the French very much—and I say this quite definitely and publicly, meaning what I say. I reflect upon the history of two great wars and also on what happened in the Versailles Treaty. That old humbug Clemenceau spoke as if France had won the First World War and, as a result, imposed his will on Woodrow Wilson and on Lloyd George in order to obtain a Treaty, a Treaty which led to the Second World War. I do not trust the French. As for the others, the West Germans have tried to make a contribution; they have a substantial number of men in their forces. Whether they are up to strength is a matter on which I cannot comment. The point I want to make is that if we are to have a substantial manpower force in Europe capable of manifesting itself as an effective deterrent against aggression of any kind, then the other countries in Europe must make their contribution—and so far they have not done so. I should like to know from the noble Baroness what attempt is 74 being made to force them to do so. We ought to have the facts presented to us.
My Lords, if I condemn the Cabinet policy for the future as reflected in the gracious Speech, it is on the ground that there is no condemnation of terrorism associated with the Middle East. It is all very well to pass an innocuous kind of resolution of a general character expressing our determination to deal with terrorism but offering no practical details of how it is to be done. I would rather the United Kingdom Government, in your Lordships' House and in another place, spoke publicly so that the whole world should hear, condemning the terrorism for which certain people associated with the Arab States have been responsible. So far we have had no such condemnation. On the other hand, we have had condemnation of the retaliation indulged in by the State of Israel against the Lebanon and Syria. I deplore retaliation of this sort, but the Government should try to understand the reason for it. Until we have condemnation of these acts of terrorism, hijacking and the rest of it (I shall not indulge in any details; they are familiar to every Member of your Lordships' House from reading the newspapers)—until that is done, I venture to assert that the Government's policy, even if there are any commissions in it, is at least responsible for very serious omissions; and that is one of them.
One would have thought that this was a debate on the European Community. The two noble Lords who moved and seconded the Address referred to the Community in terms of euphoria. I do not want to discuss it at length in fact, hardly at all—I leave them to their illusions—except to note that both noble Lords, and indeed also the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, the ardent devotee of the E.E.C., the high priest of European unity (although he does not expect unity ever to occur unless we go the whole hog), indulged in enthusiasm about what is going to happen. Everything in the garden will be lovely, not next week or a year from now, but in 1980 or 1985. or it may be at the end of the century. I am sorry, my Lords, I cannot afford to wait. I am not the only one in that situation. Let us get something practical. I leave them to their illusions; we shall 75 wait and see. Have your celebrations; have your fireworks and the rest of it; enjoy yourselves and pretend that everything will be fine and dandy. But just wait and see. I hope for the best, for the sake of our country. But I would much rather that we stood on our own feet, independent, with our sovereignty such as it is; with our democratic processes such as they are. How long they are going to last is difficult to say. I noticed that the noble Lord, Lord Blake, said yesterday that if inflation went too far it might be very ominous as regards the continuation of our democratic processes. The noble Lord may be right; but what steps are we taking in order to prevent anything as ominous as that? So far as I know, none at all.
Finally, my Lords, since a domestic matter has been raised to-day, namely, the Economic Community, I want to ask this question: what are the Government going to do about unemployment? I ask that question for this reason. What about housing? I wish we could have some kind of Government in the future, not a Government to introduce masses of legislation or bits and pieces of legislation, some of it worth while and some of it that ought to be put in the dustbin, but a Government who would say, "We are going to achieve something in the next four years; we are going to solve the housing problem. Never mind about anything else." I know that we cannot disregard everything else; there are things with which we must deal; but let us solve the housing problem and put our backs into it—the contractors, the municipal authorities, the architects, the designers, the work-people and the financiers; and with money provided by the Government, in order to solve the housing problem once and for all. My Lords, I would not go so far as to say that the Government could solve the unemployment problem in the next four years, but by solving the housing problem a considerable amount of employment would be provided. In that way we could provide a solution of the housing problem and a partial solution to the unemployment problem. Why cannot we have a Government who would do that? Obviously it will not be the present Government, which is a Government of bits and pieces; a Government of 76 promises. If we were able to depend on promissory notes, my Lords, we should not need to worry about the future at all. But the Government cannot implement them; that is obvious.
Therefore I would say this final word. Let us have defence. I am in favour of defence—unlike some of my colleagues who adopt the pacifist view. While I recognise their genuine convictions and their desire to prevent anything in the nature of hostilities, I believe that it is impossible for a country like ours to disband defence. We have to consider the possibilities, even the probabilities, in the world as it is. We must have some means of security, of defence. Therefore I make the proposal to the Government: build up our conventional defences, even though it would cost more than £3,000 million, but do not waste time talking about a nuclear capability. We cannot afford to do anything which is likely to prevent the Soviet Union from acting against us. I do not believe that the Soviet Union wants war. They can get what they want without war. But in order to provide a deterrent which is worth while, let us build up the conventional forces. That is my suggestion to the Government.
§ 4.46 p.m.
§ LORD TREVELYAN
My Lords, I should like to congratulate the right reverend Prelate, who has had to leave the Chamber, on his moving and restrained appeal on behalf of human beings in trouble. I am glad that your Lordships' House has been reinforced by the presence of a Prelate who has had personal experience of foreign affairs.
I propose to-day to confine my comments to two subjects, the Middle East and European security. First, I should like to say a word or two about China about which I shall not perhaps take exactly the same line as the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell. I was the first British Chargé d'Affaires recognised by the Chinese Government and I welcome the fact that after more than seventeen years relations have improved to the extent that we have been able to exchange Ambassadors, the first Ambassador having been with me in Peking in 1954. I hope that we can build on this in a realistic way politically and economically. I shall do my best in my small way as a member of the Britain-China Society. 77 There is one thing about the Chinese that I would mention; they have an uncomfortable habit of saying what they mean and I trust that the Government will adopt that assumption unless they have very good evidence to the contrary, because there are quite a number of people who have gone badly wrong in the last seventeen years by making the opposite assumption.
We must not forget the Middle East—we have not had much cause lately to forget it. It goes on in its dreary way. First, on the question of the Arab-Israeli question, I suggest that we should not lose sight of what the Foreign Secretary said in a couple of speeches, one in Harrogate and one later during the visit of the Egyptian Foreign Minister. He expounded the essentials of the Arab-Israeli problem, giving the best survey of these issues and what our attitude should be towards them that has appeared, at any rate for some time. He emphasised—I make no apology for recapitulating some of his points—that the fabric of a settlement could be produced which would be consistent with the Security Council's resolution of 1967 and which would be fair and workable. Such a statement should be based on two fundamental principles: the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area could live in security. It would mean that Israeli armed forces must withdraw from the territories occupied in the conflict of 1967 and that, on the other hand, the state of belligerency which has existed in the Middle East must be ended and the right of every State to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force must be recognised.
A formal state of peace should be established and all States should undertake an obligation to refrain from any act or threat of hostility and to do all in their power to prevent the planning or conduct of any such acts in their territory. The Foreign Secretary warned that if a settlement could not be reached, we might face another twenty years of tension and strife with the risk of confrontations between the major Powers. This was the price which he believed that none of us, whether Arab or Israeli, Russian or 78 American—and certainly not ourselves—should be prepared to pay. On the later occasion the Foreign Secretary was speaking after the killings at Munich. He emphasised that there must be collective action to outlaw terrorism, but we must at the same time get at the root cause of the cycle of violence and reprisals in the Middle East by trying to find a solution to the Middle Eastern problems which would remove the historic grievances and establish a durable peace. We must continue to work on the basis of the resolution of November, 1967. Both sides genuinely wanted peace; the tragedy was that neither side believed this of the other. The Arabs wanted withdrawal; the Israe is wanted security. Within the framework of the United Nations' resolution these two aims could be reconciled.
So much, my Lords, for the general principles. Now the immediate question is still how to arrive at a negotiation. The Arabs will not negotiate alone with the Israelis for reasons which seem to them to be good. Mr. Crossman, in The Times, urges that if an Arab statesman would declare his readiness to do so, Mrs. Meir's bluff would be called and the Israeli Government would be forced by its own public opinion to concede much more than they would otherwise give. Well, that may be so; but it does not help, since no Arab leader feels himself in a strong enough position to make such a statement. We seem to forget tie advantage which the Israeli Government has in not having to consider its relations with a lot of other Jewish Governments in the area. Moreover, by continuing to sit on the Canal, the Israelis keep Egypt dependent upon other Arab States which provide it with compensation for the loss of the Canal revenues. When I spoke to Nasser about direct negotiations he replied: "You cannot gamble with £115 million. "So the Israelis, with a much easier political problem than the Egyptians, in effect block Mr. Jarring's efforts to make progress through indirect negotiations in order to put pressure on to get the type of negotiation which they prefer—their opponents would say to prevent any negotiation at all. But at the same time, by sitting on the Canal they make it infinitely more difficult for the Egyptians to make a move towards a settlement, since the Egyptians, while 79 this situation lasts, are completely dependent on the subsidies from other Arab Governments making up for the Canal revenues which the Israelis are preventing them from receiving, and are correspondingly constricted in political initiative. If the Israelis really want peace—and I am sure that the majority of them do—they should surely be prepared to take some risks to get an interim settlement which would free the revenues of the Canal and thus put Egypt in a stronger position vis-àvis other Arab States. I cannot of course say that this would produce a final settlement—the issue is complex and difficult; the history is long and bitter—but it would loosen the situation from some of the shackles which now bind it.
Meanwhile, Mr. Crossman has done a service by telling us about the currents of Israeli opinion. It is good to know that there are people in Israel prepared to speak out about the dangers of allowing the status quo to continue indefinitely. The clouds of violence and counter-violence are thick, and the Middle East seems to be no further advanced than in the Biblical times of tribal rivalry; policy is reduced to "an eye for an eye". Mr. Jarring has been unable to make any progress, though at least there is a ceasefire still in operation. Terrorism must not only be condemned, it must be effectively shown not to pay; otherwise the atmosphere will continue to deteriorate. But it is not right to blame the Arab States in general for it. The terrorism of a small group of extremists is not in their interests, and they know it, even if they are not strong enough to say it, or even equivocate about it: and we cannot forget that there have been extremists and terrorism on both sides.
Politically there is a complete deadlock. A conference seems impossible to achieve. The only people who might be able to produce a settlement are the Americans, since they alone have the position to deal effectively with all the parties concerned, including the Russians. But this needs the kind of impetus from the top which has been given to the reconstitution of American-Chinese relations and to President Nixon's determined efforts to find a settlement of the obstinate problem of Vietnam. Cannot the new President, 80 whoever he may be, turn his serious attention to the Middle East after the Election? Can we press him to do as much for the Middle East as the President has done for the Far East? Mr. Rogers made a hopeful initiative two years ago, but it petered out. It should be renewed with greater vigour and determination, and with our strong support.
I turn now, my Lords, to European security. The gracious Speech rightly makes a positive improvement in East West relations one of our aims. The situation has been improved by the constructive and courageous initiative of Herr Brandt, which has brought the opportunity to create a more stable condition of balance in Central Europe. We are now embarked on the steps preliminary to a European Security Conference. In considering our aims it is particularly important to know what we mean by the words we use. It is dangerous to talk of European security or détente as if these words had a defined, clear and universal meaning. That is far from the case. They have different shades of meaning stemming from conflicting interests and political outlook, and the two sides are apt to use these words with different and conflicting overtones. Soviet interests are not the same as ours, even if the interests of the two sides overlap to some extent and the acute conflict of the cold war period is, as we hope, over. The task of a conference will be to see whether we can find a common denominator that will give Europe a chance of greater stability and of the kind of détente which does not leave Western Europe open to political disintegration or weaken our defence. The preliminary conference has to explore this, and if we are not then satisfied that the main conference can produce some good, the parties had better continue to meet at the preliminary level until they are satisfied that a conference can meet with some chance of doing some good.
We must seek to ensure that this conference, which has received so much publicity and which is an important part of Soviet policy, is not used merely as a forum for propaganda, nor as a means for mobilising public opinion with a view to undermining the political system of either side. It is illusory, in my opinion, to go so far as to assume, as some have recently, that there has been a basic 81 transformation in the world political scene or to suppose that one conference can transform the political scene in Europe. There are great changes in the world scene. The bi-polar world is gradually becoming multi-polar. Our policies have to be adapted to the new order of things, but the basic military balance and conflict of political forces remains. The Russians would agree with this assessment. If the conference leads to a little more confidence which is soundly based, we should be satisfied. If it leads to illusions of security which are not soundly based, it can only do harm. It is going to be a tricky operation. We should not go into it with the negative purpose of wrecking it; we should be cautious, but positive.
My Lords, I have three particular points, two of which are obvious; but in foreign affairs the important points generally are obvious. First, it is clearly important that the Western Allies should be firmly united in their aims and tactics, through careful preparation among themselves, before the preliminary conference. To go into a conference of this sort without common aims and a common assessment of the problems which face us would be insane. I am glad to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that we have already gone a good way towards achieving a common approach with our Allies. Secondly, I still believe, as I have said before, that one useful achievement of the conference would be if it decided to establish a European security organisation on a permanent basis—a proposal which has been endorsed in the past both by NATO and by the Warsaw Pact States. This organisation could deal as a matter of normal practice and without excessive publicity with any dangerous situation which might arise in Europe, and could gradually come to grips with such matters as precautions against surprise attacks (on which we were pressing the Russians in 1963), the balanced reduction of forces—a most difficult operation, which a single conference could not possibly settle—and other matters of similar import. Our hope must be that we are entering upon a period of permanent negotiations on two levels—continuing talks between the two super Powers on strategic arms limitation, and parallel continuing talks between NATO and the Warsaw Pact 82 States on all other questions affecting European security.
Lastly, we must also obviously not allow ourselves to be lulled into any false sense of security that will cause NATO to lower its guard. The Western European countries will have to bear a grater share of the burden of their own defence if they are to continue to receive willing support from the United States, which in any case will face particular problems in this field when the draft disappears. The Western Europeans must therefore contemplate and be prepared to face not a reduction but an increase in their expenditure on their own defence, which will continue to be an essential condition of their safety for as far as we can see ahead.
§ 5.1 p.m.
§ LORD CHALFONT
My Lords, may I begin by joining in the congratulations to the mover and the seconder of the humble Address and also in the congratulations to the right reverend Prelate on his brief and effective maiden speech. There is always a tendency in a debate on Foreign Affairs, as other noble Lords have said, to be lured into a tour d'horizon in which all the points are covered. I should, for example, have liked very much to follow the noble Lords, Lords Gladwyn and Shinwell, in what they said about nuclear weapons in Europe and the need for stronger conventional forces. All I have time to say at this particular moment is that I entirely agree with what they said on this particular subject. The noble Lord, Lord Bethell, was searching for a substitute for war in his very interesting speech and I was going to suggest to hint, had he been here, that he should have been at Llanelli yesterday. The captain of the Llanelli rugby football team, before going on the field to play against the All Blacks, said, "I'm going on the field ready to die, and I hope you all feel the same way". That might have been a slight exaggeration; but they very nearly did die, some of them. But it was all in a good cause.
However, more seriously, I should like to confine my few remarks in this debate to the subject of China. I have just paid a visit to China: I was fortunate enough to be the only representative of your Lordships' House in a Parliamentary delegation to Peking. Perhaps, at this 83 stage I might apologise publicly, as I have already done privately, to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that I was not here for his opening speech. I was unavoidably delayed, but my noble friends tell me that in a speech which was, as usual, lucid and constructive he was particularly encouraging and forthcoming about our relations with the People's Republic of China. This time last year, China was still to all intents and purposes isolated from the rest of the world, partly through her own fault but partly through the fault of other Powers in the world, who seemed to be making a deliberate policy of isolating the People's Republic and particularly of keeping her out of the United Nations.
Now all that has changed. The American policy towards China has changed; the British policy towards China has developed. But, above all, China's view of the world has changed dramatically, and now we have a situation in which China has diplomatic relations with most of the significant count-tries in the world, including full diplomatic relations with ourselves and the Americans. China has the seat to which she is entitled in the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. Perhaps the most dramatic development of all is the normalisation of relations with Japan after a long period of hostility between the two countries; and of course there is now, as there was not a year ago, a constant stream of political visitors going to exchange views with the People's Republic. Sir Alec Douglas-Home is there now: Mr. Healey has been there; the Foreign Minister of Canada has been; the Foreign Minister and ex-Prime Minister of France has been; and the Foreign Minister of Germany has been.
It is obvious that China has decided, for better or for worse, to come out into the world, and I think we must now ask ourselves just exactly what that is going to mean, not only for ourselves in the West, but for the Soviet Union, for the Third World and, above all perhaps, for the United Nations. What is this Far Eastern giant like? What is it capable of? How strong is it? What is its foreign policy likely to be? I think we can be certain of one thing, my Lords, and that is that the decision of China 84 to come out into the affairs of the world will change the world, possibly irreversibly, and I think we must ask ourselves how. I believe that we must ask ourselves a number of quite substantial and urgent questions. What is going on inside China? That is very important in trying to gauge its future strength. What is its military strength? How is China likely to use its strength?—in other words, what are the principles of its foreign policy likely to be? Finally, and perhaps more importantly, how should we in the West react to whatever conclusions we come to when answering those questions about China?
Inside China (I make no pretence of any studied judgment on a vast country after only a fortnight's visit), to a casual visitor—perhaps not all that casual, but to a visitor on a brief visit—it is an immensely impressive sight. There is a great sense of order, of purpose, of cleanliness, of self-reliance and pride, and indeed of contentment. They have, it seems, at least on the surface—although one can never be sure of these things—none of the problems associated with drugs and other problems of youth and the generation gap that we have in the West. There is little sign of some of the evils of our social life, such as vandalism and hooliganism. There seems to be among Chinese people—although I understand from people with longer experience than mine that this has been a characteristic of China for many years—a compulsive honesty in all their personal dealings. There is little concern with material possessions, except that most Chinese want to have a wrist watch and a bicycle—not particularly wild ambitions, one would have thought. But perhaps one of the reasons why there is no apparent desire for amassing a great number of material possessions is that in an economy like China's there is no advertising and therefore no appeal to the acquisitive instinct.
I could go on at great length about the enormous impression which this vital and muscular society made upon me in the short time I was there, but all I have time to say is that the Chinese seem, on the surface at any rate, and to a moderately perceptive observer, to have conquered many of the ills that affect Western society. But they have done it at enormous cost: the cost of individual 85 liberty, of which in China there is very little. The whole of the People's Republic seems to be one vast army of 800 million people, all marching towards one goal, all disciplined, regimented and obedient to the lines laid down for them by Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The educational system, from the nursery school to the university, is directed to political ends. Intellectual standards are rigidly subordinated to the ideology of the State. It may seem that this is a very high price to pay for an ordered society and for the elimination of many of the ills about which we complain so bitterly in the West.
They have done this inside China on a framework which I imagine is by now familiar to most of your Lordships. The agricultural communes are self-contained, highly disciplined, highly effective units of agricultural production, which have resulted in the virtual conquering of hunger and the food problem in China. The whole of China in fact has been turned into one gigantic and prolific farm. In the factories the same kind of highly organised and dedicated system applies. Most of the factories work on the dormitory system, so that the workers and their families eat, sleep, go to school or to nursery or to the medical centre, all on the factory premises or quite close to them. The whole of the Chinese industrial effort seems to be one vast factory working 24 hours a day. There are no holidays. When I asked a Chinese what annual holidays they received in the factories, he looked at me in astonishment. They get no holidays at all except the occasional public holiday. The women are allowed off their work in the factory for 56 days when having babies. Otherwise, they work, and work, and work. They have incidentally—I make this as a statement and not a value judgment—no trade unions.
There are weaknesses in this enormous and impressive operation. The agricultural and industrial machinery is old-fashioned, by our standards. But this is a deliberate policy of the Chinese, who believe that a too rapid technological innovation is not only bad for industrial production, but bad for the psychology of the people: it creates tensions, and particularly tensions between generations. The educational system, which I briefly 86 referred to, leads, on my brief analysis and observation of it, to a depressing lowering of intellectual standards. The insistence upon ideological purity in teaching, and the insistence upon sending intellectuals and academics back for periods of work on the farms and in the factories, seems both to depress intellectual standards and damage the Chinese plan of producing a highly technical and technically qualified society. They have an obsessive resistance to getting into debt in any way as a nation, which means that they will not accept long-term or short-term credit for things industrial plant which they very badly need. Instead they try to innovate in the factories on a do-it-yourself basis, which means that both in the agricultural communes and in the factories the machinery is of a kind that we should regard with astonishment as being something left over from the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.
But even with these weaknesses there is enormous enthusiasm, a great capacity for intelligent and meticulous planning; there is a great determination on the part of the whole of this huge people to secure the goals and fulfil the objectives that Chairman Mao has laid down for them. My own assessment is that is country has the capacity to be not only an agricultural country of complete self-sufficiency, but an industrial country of enormous economic power. It keeps its economy under strict central control. It will not allow, as I have just suggested, foreign trade to outstrip the development of its domestic economy. I believe from what I have seen that it is only a matter of time, and a comparatively short time at that, before the People'; Republic of China is not only one of the great economic Powers of the world, but probably one of the economic super-Powers of the world.
A great deal has been said and written about military strength, and there is not much need for me to dwell on it. China has the largest standing Army in the world—two and a half million ground soldiers out of a total armed force of three million. It has a militia (which means people trained in one form of military activity or another) of 300 million. This is an astonishing figure but a true one, because every child, from school age onwards, is trained in the use 87 of weapons. So there are 300 million Chinese in addition to the Army who have been trained in the use of weapons. Many of them are armed and train regularly with the People's Liberation Army. There is a nuclear programme which has had a quite remarkable degree of success.
There is one point which needs to be made about the whole military apparatus of the People's Republic, and it cannot be made too emphatically. I claim here to have been looking at things with a somewhat more expert eye than perhaps I was able to bring to bear on economic problems. In the whole of the Chinese military establishment, in their training doctrine, in their equipment, in their deployment, and in their military philosophy generally, they are entirely defensive. There is nothing in the way that their Army is disposed, nothing about their equipment, and nothing about their tactical and training doctrine which suggests for one moment that they could, now or in the immediate future, operate successfully outside their own borders. There seems to be no hint or element of this in anything to do with the Chinese military establishment. I believe that to be a very important point to make and to be borne in mind in deciding how we need to react to the emergence of China on to the world stage.
We must try to ask ourselves what China is likely to do with this enormous potential strength. It seems to me, from the talks I had with Chinese officials, that a number of principles guide the formulation of Chinese foreign policy. One cannot go any further than that without risking the kind of crystal-gazing and forecasting which almost always comes to grief in foreign affairs. There seem to be some clearly identifiable principles. The first is a mistrust and suspicion, amounting to almost hatred, of the super Powers—the Soviet Union and the United States. This is particularly now directed towards the Soviet Union, as my noble friend Lord Shinwell hinted. Although they are still violently opposed to the American political system and to American foreign policy in most of its aspects, China does not regard them with the bitter feeling of mistrust and hostility that it has for the Soviet Union, whom it regards and refers to constantly as the new Imperialists, the world's bullies and 88 the betrayers of the true spirit of the Communist revolution.
The second great principle is a feeling of sympathy and identification with what we call the Third World—the developing countries. I believe that China is the first and only country to have at the same time the potential of a super-Power and the psychology of a developing country. I believe that this is going to be a very important factor in our dealings with China in the future. What the Chinese want to do, and what their foreign policy seems determined to do, is to break up what they regard as the super-Power dominance of the world. They say they see no reason why the two Great Powers, because they have a vast panoply of nuclear weapons, should be able to bully and kick the rest of the world around. They say that that must stop, and they see it stopping in the creation of what the noble Lord, Lord Trevelyan, called a multipolar world; that is to say, a world in which there are many centres of power and not just two.
The Chinese see themselves—and possibly their new links with Japan—as being one element in this emerging structure. They see a China-Japan—not quite axis, but sympathy and understanding, as being one way of counter-balancing the influence and pressure of the super powers in the Far East. The other element in this they see as Western Europe. They want to see the emergence of a strong, economically powerful Western Europe: not necessarily (and I must make this point, as it was made many times to me) a militarily powerful Europe, and certainly not a nuclear powerful Europe, but an economically and politically powerful Europe. They would like to see that emerge to counterbalance the European pressures and influence of the United States and the Soviet Union.
This is a brief and necessarily oversimplified view and distillation of many hours of conversation with their Foreign Office and other officials. I have time now only to ask the final question: how should we in the West react to the appearance of this giant on the world stage? I suggest first that we must avoid the terrible syndrome of the "yellow peril"—the idea that, because this country of China is enormous and powerful, it therefore has some desire, some aspiration, to 89 dominate the rest of the world. I do not believe that to be so. The Chinese have on their own showing a revulsion against the super-Power theory of world affairs. They show, as I have said, in their military preparations and military establishments no sign of wanting to conduct military operations outside their own boundaries, although they will conduct them very efficiently if anybody wants to conduct them inside Chinese frontiers. They are of course—this is perhaps too often overlooked—the only nuclear country who have publicly declared that they will never be the first to use nuclear weapons, which is a significant point in their pronounced foreign policy.
I believe that we should avoid, as I say, the "yellow peril" syndrome; that we should see in this country, for example, that our policy in the United Nations and elsewhere is not one dominated by the great super-Powers. We should not necessarily follow slavishly the policies and the desires of one or other of the great super-Powers, even when it might on the surface suit us to do so. We should examine more radical and imaginative policies towards matters such as disarmament and aid to developing countries. But, most of all at the moment, in the short term we should be considering in great detail our attitude to China itself. What China needs now, and what I believe she deserves, is help and sympathy and communication. There is a desperate need now among the Chinese to understand what is going on in the outside world. There is not so much desire for the outside world to understand what goes on in China. They very largely believe this to be their own business. They say: "What is your business is our foreign policy, and what is our business is your foreign policy. What goes on inside our countries is our own." This may be a somewhat simplistic view of international affairs, but clearly we must try to communicate better with the Chinese than we have in the past.
There was an old joke, certainly in the Foreign Service and perhaps elsewhere, that optimists learnt to speak Russian and pessimists learnt to speak Chinese. That may now well be reversed, because at the present time China seems to me to be the country of great optimism in regard to the development of world 90 affairs. When I say that, I do not mean that we should necessarily be optimistic about the development of China, but that in everything the Chinese say about foreign affairs they express a great optimism. They believe that the world will be a stable and peaceful world if we will all learn to behave intelligently, and particularly if we stop being pushed around by the great nuclear Powers. We should seek to establish and maintain in Peking diplomatic representation of the very highest quality. It seems to me that Peking should now become, as, Washington and Moscow and Paris have been in the past: one of the plum jobs of the diplomatic service. There is a great need for distinctive, distinguished and effective diplomatic representation in that country.
Finally, my Lords, it is difficult for someone who has made a brief, and necessarily rather controlled, visit to the People's Republic of China to be objective about it. The achievements are great; they are enormous. This is, as I have said, a spare, pared-down-to-the-bone, proud, self-reliant society, and it presents a startling contrast with the spiritual and moral decay of much of Western civilisation. But there is this desperate lack of freedom to make individual choices. That may be for most of us too high a price to pay for order. But we must not, I suggest, judge China by irrelevant standards, and many of our standards are irrelevant to them. They regard individual freedom with as much reservation as we have about regimentation.
Whatever we think about this, Mao Tse-tung has in a quarter of a century raised China from poverty, misery and oppression to a new and altogether startling level of prosperity, pride and self-reliance. He still has a long way to go, or China has a long way to go; and we may not always like the way it will go. But I suggest that, whoever your Lordships agree with, whatever side you may be on, one thing is clear: that we in the West can never again afford to ignore or to isolate the People's Republic of China. By the end of the century she is going to be, in my view, one of the great super-Powers of the word; and I suggest that in all our international relations from now on we must bear that fact in mind.
§ 5.26 p.m.
My Lords, it has already been said that the subjects upon which we shall be speaking this afternoon cover such a wide range that it is practically impossible to deal with anything other than the kind of subject with which one is most conversant. I propose to adopt that line in the first instance, and to say this. In reading the gracious Speech, I am grateful, as others will be, for the fact that we are beginning to realise the importance of cutting down crimes of violence, national and international.
Before I come to that particular question, I should like to say to your Lordships that I cannot understand why the world has not yet acknowledged the great situation of Israel. That country set out its Declaration of Independence, which I happen to have recently had in my hands again, in which she expressed her policy and spoke about pursuing the profound intentions and directives as were envisaged by the Prophets of Israel and to keep every section of its community on an equal standard and to deal (I am paraphrasing the Declaration) with all concerned with freedom and justice. Has not Israel fulfilled that? Where else in the whole world is there a State which has done more in order to establish principles we all stand for here and want to see established than the State of Israel? Is there such a place? Israel is a country surrounded by enemies who have expressed themselves in no uncertain terms that their object was the destruction of Israel. But, in spite of everything, Israel is building universities; has taken in 750,000 Jews from Arab countries who have been compelled to leave their own States and has given the Arab population the opportunity of having equal status and equal wages. Israel has practically eliminated the abnormal Arab rate of infant and maternal mortality, whereas in Arab countries infant mortality and maternal mortality is high. At this present time Israel is carrying on her cultural work and developing a country, not for the purpose of war but for the purpose of peace and as an example of what human beings should do for each other.
I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Trevelyan, introduced a rather different note. When are he and others who hold 92 his views going to stand up and say openly that if they visit Israel and learn about Israel they find it is a fascinating experiment for human life which should be followed by practically every country in the world? Beset by enemies, Israel nevertheless has, time after time, offered to come to the negotiating table with the Egyptians or with any other attacking forces. When, in the history of war, has this been denied to contending parties when a settlement has to be made without the two contending parties coming together? When has such a victorious party, against who masses of armoury had been brought to destroy it, when it had vanquished the enemy who had set out to attack it—when has such a people been denied the right to sit down with their enemies and make a settlement? And what right has anybody to enforce any other settlement upon them than the one which at least would give them security from the kind of attack that has been made upon them time after time? Every war has been initiated by the Arabs; every war in which, thank God! Israel has succeeded; because if they had not succeeded it would have meant disaster for the Arabs themselves. They would have had nobody else then at whom to point as a scapegoat in respect of their internal differences.
I am sorry if I speak perhaps with more emotion than I should in your Lordships' House, but I cannot help it. I have followed the whole position, year in and year out. I have seen the Arabs in Israel; I have spoken to them and they are a contented people. The only fear that they have is that they may be attacked. Attacked by whom? By their own kinsmen—and by what kind of kinsmen? By those who are used as pawns; by the Egyptians in such places as Gaza. Year in and year out there has been a constant stream of refugees. One of the most terrible things that a nation can do is to try to indoctrinate children with the kind of hatred and bitterness which has resulted at the present time in those people who claim to be the liberators of the Palestinian nation.
I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Trevelyan, knows the whole history of the matter; the Palestinians have never had a State of their own. There has been a South Syrian State but there has 93 certainly been a Jewish State, and as a matter of fact if it had not been for the bravery of the Jewish State the Palestinians might have been living in a pagan State. It so happens that we are on the verge of the anniversary of one of the greatest efforts that have been made to preserve religion for the world. In a few weeks' time in the Jewish community we shall be celebrating the victory of the Maccabees, and I should like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that if the Maccabees had not been victorious there would have been a Roman pagan State in Israel. Not an Arab State by any means, but a pagan state.
I am sorry that we are not having a specific debate on this matter because there is a great deal that could be said but I do not want to weary the House by continuing for too long on the lines upon which I have spoken. But I hope that in the civilised world it is recognised that the majority of Israel's inhabitants are part of a people who brought civilisation to the world thousands of years ago; who have withstood all kinds of attacks; people who have suffered murderous attacks when millions of them were massacred. Israel are prepared, and have shown that they are prepared, to deal fairly and properly with all the inhabitants of their State. It is a pity that at this stage it cannot be pointed out to the enemies of Israel that if only they would come to the conference table with them a settlement could be reached which would be of immense advantage to the Arab States throughout the Middle East as well as to the world as a whole.
I should now like to turn for a moment to the question that is occupying the minds of many people at the present time. We are to-day facing what I think is a challenge to civilisation. I put it as high as that. I think the idea that the world cannot cope, or is not prepared to cope, with piracy in the air is something which may lead the world to disaster. It is not a question of the policy of the pirates. Everybody knows that nearly all of those who are carrying out the hijacking are hired assassins who have been trained to murder. There may be a few who think that they are doing something in a spirit of idealism, but when Spain said to the hijackers, "It is no good your going any further because nobody in the world will 94 have you"—and that is what it really amounted to—they came off the aircraft. But what is happening with regard to the case, for example, which occurred some days ago, when the hijacking of an aircraft resulted in the West German Government, literally without any attempt so far as anybody could see to negotiate, handing over murderers of the basest type who even utilised a sporting event in which all nations were all supposed to be participating, who bound sportsmen and then shot them in cold blood and ran for safety. Let nobody mistake the position: these assassins who carry out hijackings are certainly not brave people. On every occasion they ran, and when they were overcome it was when they were leaving the planes in which they were supposed to be prepared to kill themselves as well as the other people.
I think we also ought to face up to another situation. No threat to blow up the passengers in any aircraft has yet been carried into effect. That is interesting. How are we going to cope with these people? I appreciate what the Government propose to do. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, has a good, sympathetic understanding of the horrible situation that has been created and I have the highest regard for her. We have worked together in another place and I am sure that she will have heard before some of the arguments that I have used this afternoon. What can we do about it? Can we afford to sit still, or can we afford to rely on the treaties which have been made so far? I would point out to the noble Baroness that even the Montreal agreement is taking some time to be ratified. It should have been ratified at once, of course; there is no question about that. But there it is. There is now, however, an intention to do it. But if one reads these conventions one still does not find oneself in a position to be able to impose sanctions on the countries in which the murderers ate trained—and do not let us misunderstand the position; this is piracy, the piracy of modern times which is just as violent as the piracy of old on the seas. The peoples of the world then had to realise that whatever the pirates were up to, wherever they were going and in whoever's interest they were acting they had to be stopped.
95 With the greatest respect, the present agreements still do not deal with the situation in an effective manner. While nations are prepared to finance, to harbour or to allow murderers to be trained in their territories, and while hijackers can be taken and hailed as heroes, as they are to-day in Libya; while this kind of thing goes on, no one knows what may happen to us. It has been said that Gaddafi is in sympathy with the I.R.A. We ought to start thinking about these things. Hijacking to-day is the most vicious instrument by which murderers and assassins can carry their blackmailing into effect. So, what have we got to do? We are told that there will be meetings of pilots' associations and others with a view to "blacking" the planes from Arab countries. They are 100 per cent. right. If only we have the sense in the international sphere to say that whatever other consequences may result, we will not give any air services to any country that hires or allows assassins to be trained or to remain in their land. We can counter that blackmail only by a firm hand. Probably there are some of my legal friends here who will know exactly what advice to give to any one who is blackmailed. Once you take a firm stand against a blackmailer he is finished. And these countries are blackmailers.
May I respectfully suggest to the noble Baroness that although a statement has been made that action may be considered in this direction: do not leave it too long; it may be too late unless we take this matter in hand at once. Let us be bold about it. Let us take a stand. You will find that America and Canada are behind you. We have not yet gone as far as they have been prepared to go. You will find many civilised countries, in fact all civilised countries, prepared to say categorically that they will not risk the lives of their pilots or passengers by allowing them to be hijacked and by allowing the hijackers to get away because some other nation is prepared to finance and support them.
I could say very much more, but I do not want to tire your Lordships. Let us face up to the fact that hijacking leads to other criminal offences. Can we believe in this age that an envoy, a diplomat, should carry guns and explosive 96 envelopes with him and get away with it? Nothing has been done about it. Have any of my noble friends in the House heard that anything has been done about this person? He was a member of the Al Fatah and the Al Fatah is part and parcel of the P.L.O. Your Lordships must forgive me for continuing to emphasise this point: it is certainly not a bee in my bonnet; it is a fact, and the position is clear. Al Fatah and the Black September Group are in liaison with each other and in this country (although I know that this is not within the sphere of the noble Baroness) for heaven's sake! how can we allow assassins of that nature to open offices anywhere? Surely we must bring in legislation to stop that kind of thing.
Therefore, the whole position revolves around civilised people, among whom I am happy to count ourselves—I am sure we are—not sitting still but acting in a civilised way even if it is a case—let me say this quite plainly—where another civilised country like Israel is involved. We have no right to let Israel down. We created Israel. With Balfour and Lloyd George we created the Jewish national home. It was created quite categorically for the purpose of a State being developed as a Jewish national home. Have we the right—we who had the mandate entrusted to us—to stand by? I think not.
Leaving that aside, for our own particular ends, our own purposes, we cannot and must not allow this hijacking to go on. We must take a stand and I believe that the only stand is to see to it that we do not endanger our pilots and our passengers by giving services to countries who are behind the hijackers, who are accessories before the fact, who are accessories after the fact and who are accessories in the fact. I know it has been stated that the Government will consider this, but I hope that the noble Baroness will not only consider this but, for heaven's sake! take this stand quickly because the danger is extremely great.
§ 5.48 p.m.
My Lords, though I think neither of them is in the Chamber at the moment, I should like to start my remarks by congratulating the two noble Lords who moved and seconded the Motion yesterday afternoon.
Will the noble Lord forgive me? I must offer my apologies to the noble Baroness. I have a very longstanding domestic appointment which I am bound to keep and I have already indicated to the noble Baroness that I should not be able to stay till the end of the debate.
I enjoyed both their speeches, as I am sure all of your Lordships did, and I am full of admiration and indeed envy both for their content and for their very remarkable delivery.
My Lords, I want, if I may, to address your Lordships for a few moments on an important aspect of Soviet maritime strategy. As is well known, over the last ten years the Russian fleet has expanded out of all recognition. It is now second only in size to the American Fleet. Its ships are, on the whole, the most modern and their main weight is, of course, based in Northern waters. In former years the Russian fleet was expected to be employed mainly on coast defence work and in supporting the flanks of the Soviet land forces. That, of course, is no longer the case; Russia's 350 submarines are surely enough to indicate all too clearly, the offensive purpose of her maritime power. If that is not enough, some two sentences in the textbook entitled Military Strategy and published on the authority of a distinguished Russian officer are surely convincing. They read:One of the Navy's main tasks in a future war will be to sever the enemy's ocean and sea transport routes …".And in another place it says:Operations against enemy lines of communication should be developed on a large scale from the very beginning of the war by destroying convoys and transports at sea.The Russians have in fact certainly learned the main lesson of the two World Wars, and with that lesson in mind they have built a powerful fleet in a remarkably short time.
There is, however, an important limitation on Russia's offensive maritime strategy, and a glance at the map shows clearly how far her forces will have to go to operate against our North Atlantic shipping. Not only have they a long way to go, but they have to pass comparatively close to our naval and air bases in 98 Scotland and the off-lying Orkneys and Shetlands, so well placed from our point of view on the flank of Russia's route from her Northern bases to the Atlantic.
At this point I may be told that I am talking in terms of the last two wars, but I doubt whether this is to, for as recently as September the large scale NATO exercise code-named "Strong Express" included convoy attack and defence in the North Atlantic, and such a setting would scarcely have been included if our NATO commanders had not been convinced that it was a likely setting in a future war. And further, according to Press reports, the main task of our new through-deck cruisers—that awful class name again—is the traditional one of protecting our merchant ships against all forms of attack. For myself, I believe that the opening phases of another war may well not include nuclear weapons, and, even if they do, these weapons may very well be limited to use at sea, where their direct effect will not immediately be felt by civilian populations. It will, after all, be very much to Russia's advantage if she can exert her great marine power without destroying or severely damaging Western Europe's productive capacity and communications; and the cutting of our Atlantic sea lanes by her powerful submarine fleet would surely go a long way to achieving this end.
In this connection do not let us be misled into thinking that our valuable source of North Sea oil is going to solve or even partially reduce our dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. Consumption of oil may well be doubled by the end of this decade, and if this estimate is correct we shall want as much oil as ever we did from the Persian Gulf, and our Cape route traffic will therefore still require effective protection by cur maritime forces.
But to return to Northern wavers, as I have already said, Russian bases are a long way from the North Atlantic, and it is clear that it would be greatly to Russia's benefit if she could make use of harbours and airfields closer to our lifeline to North America. And another glance at the map will show at once that Iceland would fill the bill admirably. It was of immense importance to us in the last war, and if we do not take the appropriate steps it may well be greatly to 99 Russia's benefit in a future war. Quite recently Iceland, though still a member of NATO, has indicated that she would like to review and probably bring to an end her military agreement with the United States. If this happens, it might well lead to a filling of the gap by a maritime agreement with the Russians; and this would, in my view, be a matter of greatest concern to NATO. And even if a maritime agreement with Russia could not be reached, I doubt if it would be beyond the power of Russian forces to occupy the South-Western corner of Iceland, which of course includes Keflavik airfield. From this it surely follows that we and our NATO partners should do everything possible to reassure Iceland that it will be greatly to her advantage to allow a NATO presence to be continued, and indeed even perhaps extended, and that on no account should Russia be permitted to establish an air or naval base there.
What if Iceland chooses to disregard our advice, or even if she follows it and the Russians choose to occupy the island or the South-West corner of it. I believe that NATO would find it very difficult indeed to counter. Could we be sure, for instance, that a substantial force sailing from North Russia was anything more than another large-scale maritime exercise? No doubt our reconnaissance forces and our intelligence would keep us well informed of the position of such a force. But it would be very difficult to take offensive action against it until it had itself committed a clearly hostile act or until it was positively committed to a landing operation. And in any case have we and our NATO allies got sufficient maritime forces in the area to destroy an enemy landing force? Could they in fact get to the assault area in time? Some of the Press reports on exercise "Strong Express" last month remarked on the weakness of our position in the Arctic and indicated that there were serious doubts as to our ability to resist Russian offensive action in the area. Bearing in mind Russia's great submarine fleet, which could and would be at sea and in the critical area of the assault at the critical time, I would certainly agree.
One remedy, or partial remedy, may be for us to put a larger proportion of 100 our defence effort into our maritime forces, at the expense, if necessary, of our forces ashore on the continent of Europe, where the NATO countries on the mainland have a paramount interest. We are, after all, well fitted, with our long maritime background, our ideal geographical position and our vital interest in seaborne trade, to take a lead in maritime defence. In this highly important matter, I very much doubt whether time is on our side. Russia may now be nearing a peak in the strength of her fleet, while we are perhaps just about at an all-time low. The time for Russia may in fact be getting ripe. To have any hope of catching up we must get busy and build up a fleet of ships and aircraft that are comparatively easy to design and quick to produce. We want numbers, numbers to deal with 350 enemy submarines. We want high speed to outpace nuclear submarines, and we want good sea-keeping qualities to battle with Atlantic and Arctic gales. That is all I have to say, my Lords: first, be quite sure that we keep Iceland on our side; and secondly, build up our maritime forces, if necessary at the expense of our forces ashore on the Continent of Europe.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Ashbourne, will excuse me if I do not follow him in detail. It is one of the difficulties of this broad debate on foreign affairs that we depart from subject to subject—China, Israel, hijacking, and now the Soviet maritime forces. But in my remarks the noble Lord will find that I do make a broad comment on the general attitude which he has expressed. My Lords, may I begin by asking the noble Baroness who will conclude this debate to accept an apology from me. I think it just possible that I may not be present for her concluding speech. That will be a great disappointment to me because although we often disagree I appreciate not only her ability but the way in which she expresses it. But to-night I have a rather unusual personal engagement which I think I must fulfil.
One cannot begin to speak about foreign affairs without saying how much one welcomes the prospect of peace in Vietnam. One may be a little cynical that it has arisen just at the time of the 101 Presidential Election; one may deplore the fact that four years ago, when the same conditions could have been obtained, they were not pursued then; one can say that if the United States of America had accepted the Geneva Agreements, of which Sir Anthony Eden, now Lord Avon, was the architect, this war might never have occurred. But when you have said all that, the feeling of relief which there must be throughout the world that there is now the prospect that this terrible war will come to an end is deeper than those considerations.
I hope that the ceasefire will not long be delayed. Every day that passes there are more killed, there is more devastation, and I just want to ask the noble Baroness whether she will indicate in her reply—and I am sorry if I may not be able to hear it—whether the British Government will agree to participate in the renewal of the Geneva Conference which is proposed in the terms of agreement between Washington and Hanoi. The British and Russian Governments were co-Chairmen of that Conference, and I think it is now clear that Russia would be more sympathetic towards recalling such a conference. Even if a ceasefire is obtained at the end of it, the greatest problems will remain: the relationship of Saigon to what are termed the "Vietcong forces"; the futures of Laos and of Cambodia; and the tremendous problem of the reconstruction of the destroyed areas of Vietnam. I very much hope that Her Majesty's Government will co-operate, and indeed take the initiative for some international dealing with that problem.
I had intended to-night to look at the world situation, at what is dangerous in it and what is hopeful in it. I do not propose to do so for reasons of brevity, and I will be very telegraphic in my references to what appear to me to be the dangers on the one side and the hopes on the other. The dangers include the continued expenditure on arms growth in the world; the nuclear stockpiles, and the potential nuclear powers of new nations; the almost intractable problem in the Middle East; the resurgence of racialism in the world; the growing poverty gap between two-thirds of the earth and onethird—all of these are distressing and discouraging. However, I believe that on the other side the causes of hope are 102 greater than even those discouraging circumstances. There is the détente between the United States of America and the U.S.S.R.; the visit of President Nixon to Moscow; the SALT talks; the trade agreements; the extraordinary happening, the significance of which we have not yet begun to realise, of the Ostopolitik of Chancellor Willy Brandt; and the complete change of psychology of the Soviet Union towards West Germany. May I pay a tribute here, which I am sure every Member of this House would wish to echo, to the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, for his illuminating speech this evening about China; a speech we shall have to read and a speech about which we shall have to think very deeply if we are going to consider the future. The change from the intransigent isolation of China to membership of the United Nations, to the visit of President Nixon, to the visit now of out Foreign Secretary, is one of the great hopes towards peace in the world.
May I just refer to other parts of Asia. There is not only the beginning of negotiations between Pakistan and India, the indication that Pakistan will soon recognise Bangladesh, but something more startling—indeed, absolutely startling—the negotiations which are now proceeding between North and South Korea for union, and the similar negotiations for the union of North and South Yemen. On the one side, Communist countries; on the other side, countries deeply committed to the West. This is quite extraordinary. If one adds to all those hopes the hopes of disarmament, the decisions reached about the limitation of nuclear tests, the ending of stockpiling of biological weapons, the limitation of arms on the sea-bed—all these developments give a hope for peace now which there has not been since the end of the World War.
I believe that there is now a psychological and a political opportunity for a policy of great conciliation in the world, in which we ought to take the initiative. I think that it is recognised that the most divisive and dangerous confrontation remains between the East and the West. That confrontation is centred in Europe. It is centred in NATO, on the one hand, and the Warsaw Pact Alliance on the other, which are the instruments of West 103 and East. I believe that a breakthrough of this confrontation is now possible. It is now possible in the proposal for a European Conference for Security and Co-operation. If I may say so, I have just heard with delight speeches which have been delivered to-day welcoming for the first time a reference in the gracious Speech from the Throne to the possibility of a European Conference for Security and Co-operation. I say that because for nearly six years in this House I was a lone voice in urging it; urging it both upon the Labour Government, when it was in office, and afterwards upon the Conservative Government. I recognise that in the first instance, six years ago, when the Communist nations first put forward this policy, there was reason to be suspicious and cautious. The proposal was first made with an introduction which was a severe attack upon America, and it did not appear that the proposal was serious in that kind of atmosphere. But over the years, and, if I may say so, in answer to a series of Questions that I have put to both Governments, the objections to this Conference have steadily been met.
The first objection was that the Communist countries had perhaps too detailed an agenda. They withdrew it. They suggested that the agenda should be only recognition of present frontiers and an agreement not to use force. The Government said that that agenda was too vague. The Soviet Government with its allies, then proposed that there should be discussion on both sides as to what the agenda should be. Our Government then said, "This Conference will not do, because the United States of America and Canada will be excluded." The Communist countries immediately met that objection by saying, "We will welcome the United States and Canada to the Conference." The British Government then said that there must be thorough preparation. That point, too, was met by the other side and, as we know, there was a proposal for the Ambassadors' meeting on November 22 to be followed by the Foreign Ministers' meeting next year and only after that the full Conference. The Government then said that there can be no Conference unless there is a mutual and balanced reduction of forces. Again that 104 objection was met, and negotiations on a mutual and balanced reduction of forces are taking place. So over six years we have now passed to the point where Her Majesty's Government have accepted the proposal for this Conference, but I do not believe we have yet accepted the possibilities for the transformation of the world situation if this proposal is followed through.
I hope that we shall not begin to think in terms of one Conference. I hope we shall not say that we have had too many. The Conference will be of no value unless it is followed up by structural arrangements which will enable all the deep issues between East and West to be discussed. I hope that the noble Baroness will be able to say in her reply that it is not true that the British Government are lukewarm about the proposal that the Conference should be followed by a series of commissions, dealing with all the issues that will arise. I ask your Lordships to see the possibilities if the Conference is followed by commissions dealing with the real problems between East and West.
The first commission would deal with security and the implementation of any agreement about mutual and balanced reductions; with the proposal for nuclear-free zones, of which Sir Anthony Eden was one of the first authors many years ago, which was afterwards endorsed by Rapacki, of Poland, and by Mr. Hugh Gaitskell, of this country; with the authority of the security administration group being finally substituted for the powers of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, which now divide Europe. Secondly, there would be a commission dealing with economic co-operation, with the production and distribution of energy and power all over Europe, with the development of trade over the two sides of what has been the Iron Curtain, leading eventually, I hope, to free trade between them and with the development and co-ordination of international transport, which is so stupidly blocked to-day when one is seeking to travel between East and West.
The third commission would deal with pollution, with the implementation of the recommendations of the Conference now being held in London at which, I am glad to say, the Soviet Union is to be represented, adding to the consideration 105 of neighbouring seas the inter-Continental rivers and the air. A fourth commission would deal with cultural cooperation between East and West, our literature, art, music and Russian ballet. I believe that one effect of this would be to secure in Communist countries the liberalisation that we all desire. That commission might easily deal also with the free movement of peoples. Finally, there could be a fifth commission, about which I am particularly keen. The European Conference, which would seek to bring unity between the East and West of Europe, should have a commission dealing with the rest of the world. This is tremendously important, not only to relations with China, of which the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, has spoken—I believe it could be a bridge towards China—but also to the Third World. The committed Third World will not cooperate with a group which is allied to the West or to the East, but it will cooperate with an alliance which bridges East and West, and a commission dealing with that problem would have a new hope and a new opportunity in the world.
It is sometimes suggested that proposals of this kind would cut across the United Nations. I was present at the great People's Conference in Brussels, representing all the peoples of Europe, to which the Secretary-General of the United Nations sent a letter endorsing the idea that that effort to bring unity between East and West should be followed up, and stating that the fullest United Nations' support should be given to it. I conclude with a very earnest appeal to Her Majesty's Government to understand the significance and the opportunities which not just this Conference but a continuing structure might realise for the people of the world. I also address my appeal to the Labour Opposition. The Labour Party has now endorsed in conference the statement of its working committee, of which I was a member, in favour of this proposal. The Trades Union Congress has not only endorsed the proposal; it has asked that a great campaign should be carried out in favour of this opportunity for peace. I appeal to the public media to allow the British people to understand the opportunity for peace which is now before us. This can be made the great breakthrough 106 in these coming years, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government, with others, will seize this opportunity.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ LORD BOURNE
My Lords, first I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Blake, and the noble Earl, Lord Dudley, for proposing and seconding the humble Address in reply to the gracious Speech yesterday. I agreed with everything they said. I would also congratulate the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, who made such an eloquent and very short appeal earlier this afternoon on a subject about which he really knew—the Uganda Asians. I thought his speech quite splendid. I am sorry to introduce a note of pessimism into the general tenor of optimism (and here I agreed with a great deal of what the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said; it is not often I agree with him, but I did with a great deal of what he said to-day), but it is impossible to be optimistic about the two points that I propose to raise—Indo-China and Northern Ireland.
First of all, Indo-China. Of course, we all pray for peace in Indo-China, and particularly in South Vietnam. It is good for us to know that peace is at hand, and is very close indeed. The U.S.A. are justifiably tired of the war, and want to get out. They no longer have their heart in it. But before we all get very pleased about the fact that the war is ending, I think we ought to remember the original objective the Americans had when they went into the war. I could not find it actually laid down, so I must paraphrase it, but their object at that time (I think it was in 1965) was to support South Vietnam, which was being invaded by North Vietnam and by the Viet Cong (and there are still 250,000 enemy troops in the country), so that they could hold free elections and choose a Government of their own choice. That was the object of the Americans and we all supported it. Incidentally, they saved Saigon by a matter of weeks only.
Now the question arises whether the Americans have achieved that object or not, and whether they have be en able to negotiate peace with honour. My own opinion is that they have not, and the reason President Thieu is refusing to sign the peace terms at the present time 107 is that Saigon—we ought to remind ourselves of this—has already once had Communism. She has suffered under a Communist Government once, and does not want to do so again—any more than West Berlin does. If you ask any of the people in West Berlin whether they want Communism again, the answer will be a categoric, "No." I do not personally think that free elections will be possible in South Vietnam. They may be supervised by those countries who ale parties to the Geneva Convention of 1954, or by the United Nations. That may be so; but I do not believe that free elections will be possible with 250,000 enemy troops still in the country—and that is why President Thieu is hanging back. I also feel that, for once, the Government in Hanoi are in a hurry to sign the peace terms. This is the first time for many years that they have been in a hurry. In the past, it was we who were in a hurry. I personally think that now we should seize the opportunity and keep them waiting. Therefore I hope that any influence which the British Government have will be used to ensure that the original objectives of the Americans are secured. And the only question I have is to ask the Government to tell us, through the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, whether that is so or not.
My Lords, I come to Northern Ireland. We are quite accustomed to the words:My Ministers … are resolved that terrorism and violence shall be brought to an end".Exactly the same was said in the gracious Speech a year ago. I do not myself think—I never have thought, and I have said so in your Lordships' House—that the British Army will in fact bring terrorism and violence to an end. I do not believe it will. It is on the defensive and not on the offensive, which of course it would dearly like to be. But for very good reasons it is on the defensive, and I believe that it is unlikely to stop violence. Therefore, negotiations have to proceed concurrently; and we have the glossy Whitelaw Paper to show how it is intended they should proceed. Yesterday's tributes to the patience and the coolness of the Army were fully justified—and to their efficiency, also. I went to Northern Ireland in July, and when I went to Londonderry I was shown around by a gunner regiment. I saw all the 108 danger points and the exciting places. I saw everything. I could not help noting that they knew a very great deal about things, and about what was going on in front of them. They said, in reply, "We ought to know: after all, we arrived yesterday, and took over yesterday". To my mind that is a measure of the efficiency of the Army. I should have received the same answer from many other units, I am sure.
Now I come to the White Paper. I hope the political Parties in Northern Ireland and their leaders—and I will not bore your Lordships by recounting them—realise that this will be their last chance to achieve a solution by reconciliation. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, when he said not very long ago that Mr. Whitelaw and his team, who have been, and still are, working night and day on this intractable problem, should not continue after March 31 next year—1973. We all pray for a solution by then; but if it does not come, if it is not apparent, I believe that we shall have to dictate a solution. In fact, we shall have no alternative but to dictate a solution. By then, there will have been nearly four years of violence, and we cannot continue with units doing five or even six tours of duty in Northern Ireland. A solution may perhaps be found on the lines of the plan I put forward during the debate in your Lordships' House just over a year ago, in September, 1971. At the same time, I should like to add one thing. I believe it will be necessary, if such a solution comes about, to appoint a modern Templar, with full powers to carry it out.
There is one consequential point on this, which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell. It is that at the present time the infantry, and the gunners in an infantry role, both in this country and in Germany, are fully stretched. In my opinion, if this emergency in Northern Ireland goes on, the Army cannot, without diminishing B.A.O.R. even further take part in any operation outside Europe, in any other part of the world. The Royal Navy and the R.A.F. can, but not the Army. I should like to be told that I am wrong about this, but I have a suspicion, observing that we are scraping the barrel now, that I am not.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I think I should start by assuring the noble 109 Baroness that I shall be here to hear her winding-up speech to which I look forward with interest. I do not envy her her task, because this has been an extraordinarily wide-ranging debate and it must be difficult for her to find any cohesion in it. As so many subjects have already been dealt with, some with great authority, by other noble Lords, I propose to confine my own brief, I trust, remarks—the time machine does not seem to have had much influence, as yet—to two sentences in the gracious Speech. First:My Ministers … will continue to sustain the Commonwealth association.and, secondly:My Government seek a positive improvement in East-West relations.…I hope very much that the sentence,My Ministers … will continue to sustain the Commonwealth associationis not an empty one; because those of us who have been concerned for many years with Commonwealth affairs and relations have been a little depressed by the deflection of limited resources in certain fields towards Europe—we suspect possibly wrongly; and I shall be grateful if the noble Baroness will correct me if I am wrong—at the cost of some of the work which we would wish to see enhanced and enlarged within the Commonwealth sphere.
I am well aware that a number of people are of the opinion that now we are going into Europe we can virtually write off Commonwealth connections. I am sure that the noble Baroness does not share such a view. She has always taken a close interest in Commonwealth matters and, if I may respectfully say so, she is married into a family (I would think into two families) with Commonwealth connections. I am sure that she herself is by no means indifferent to this: but a considerable number of people in this country take the view that because we are now going to be Europeans the Commonwealth is of less importance and British connections with the Commonwealth are possibly less valuable than they were hitherto. This attitude was, I thought, conclusively refuted not long ago by Mr. Arnold Smith, the Commonwealth Secretary-General. If I may, I will quote from an article that he wrote not long ago in a reputable paper, Crossbow. He said: 110Relationships between Commonwealth countries and an enlarged E.E.C. can provide opportunities of mutual advantage. Those who believe in European influence in the world will take the Commonwealth seriously in the future because of the unrivalled network of links and corresponding opportunities for dialogue and co-operation that it represents.This seems to me to be an extremely important factor in our position because we are the link between Europe and the Commonwealth countries.
If I may, I will mention some of these links. I believe I am right in saying that more than 250 non-Governmental Commonwealth organisations are functioning to-day, apart from the various official organisations sustained by Commonwealth Governments, of which the most important is, of course, the Commonwealth Secretariat itself. But these fine sentiments are not in themselves sufficient. I should like to ask the noble Baroness whether she can give me any reassurance as to the amount of money we are spending in fostering Commonwealth relations, including those with non-Governmental agencies, as compared to the quite vast sums that Her Majesty's Government are now spending on selling ourselves to Europe.
Information was given in another place by Mr. Geoffrey Rippon about the really immense sums in relation to the kind of activities to which I am referring that the Government are making available for every kind of cultural and social link with organisations in Europe. I am not speaking of the artistic festivities with which we are to be regaled in this country; but, for example, I am told that British Council activities in Europe will be expanded at an additional cost of about £3½ million over the next four years. No one could be a greater admirer than I of the activities of the British Council but this sum, in relation to their budget, is quite substantial. When we look at the extremely important field of youth exchange, I understand that we spend on Commonwealth youth exchange about £20,000 a year. We are proposing to spend on Western European youth exchange not £20,000, but £320,000 a year. This is within the programme for the next four years. But it is easier and cheaper to get to and from Europe than to get to and from most parts of the Commonwealth; and the European 111 countries with which we are being linked are among the more affluent countries of the world, countries from where many people can afford to make the short journey across the Channel. They can find their accommodation here by family exchange or by other means with greater ease than can young people from most parts of the Commonwealth. It seems to me that we are getting this out of proportion and not doing what we ought to be doing in relation to the Commonwealth.
May I give one other example? I am told that the Women's Group on Public Welfare in this country, which is an excellent organisation, is being given the sum of £10,000 for exchanges between women's organisations in Europe. Whenever has Her Maejsty's Government given £10,000 to any women's organisation for exchanges in the Commonwealth? It is this which worries some of us; and this is why I ask whether this phrase in the gracious Speech is anything more than a mere gloss; because if we are really concerned about our relationships and with sustaining and deepening them with our Commonwealth partners we ought to be doing something similar in the Commonwealth to what is proposed in Europe.
I do not want to weary the House but there is also, for instance, the matter of "town-twinning". I understand that some £10,000 is going to be made available for town-twinning between this country and various towns and cities in Europe. Again I ask, when did we give anything like that sum for town-twinning in the Commonwealth? Another £10,000 is going to the Federal Trust for Education and Research for a programme of European conferences. Grants in aid to the European Movement for the purpose of visits have been increased to £20,000. I could go on. Considerable sums are going to be spent on interchange with people nearer to us and who have more resources than have the people in the Commonwealth countries who, on the whole, are poorer and much farther away.
This is where I should like to have some reassurance from the noble Baroness that in our great enthusiasm for Europe—and I am not necessarily complaining about that—we are not being stingy over 112 our work in the Commonwealth countries. I have reason to suppose that we are. I do not know whether the noble Baroness has personal responsibilities in her Department which extend to our information services. If she does, she no doubt knows the answer; and if not, I should be greatly obliged if she were to consult whichever Minister is responsible, for I am given to understand that in one of the Department's economy drives in the information services, to which we are accustomed from time to time, economies are being made in information services in Commonwealth countries. I do not think there is necessarily a direct connection between the rather lavish expenditure on these European exchanges and the economies in Canada and other Commonwealth countries, but I have recent information, about Canada for example, that there are those parings, here and there, in the information services.
Also, I am told that we are far less forthcoming in helping other Commonwealth countries—I am thinking of the smaller and poorer ones—in services which could be of some use to them. Many of these countries cannot afford to have extensive representation in the Commonwealth; they look to the United Kingdom to help them where they do not have their own direct representation. I am thinking of some of the smaller countries like Malawi. Botswana and so on, who cannot afford to keep posts in other Commonwealth countries except one or two in which they have special interests. I am told that we are now reluctant to carry literature affecting such countries at our own information posts. We say that they are independent now and that they can do it for themselves. This seems to me a petty sort of attitude. If my information on this subject is correct, again I hope that the noble Baroness may feel able to look into it to make sure that our continuing interest and concern for the Commonwealth, which is for our mutual advantage, is not being in any way neglected. I say this because I am not against what we are doing in Europe, broadly speaking, though I have some apprehensions, but feel very strongly that it should not be the expense of the Commonwealth.
I should like to turn now, my Lords, to quite a different subject—to the other 113 sentence in the gracious Speech to which I said I would refer—and that is the matter of East/West relations. I do not want to go into the matter in detail, partly because other noble Lords, and particularly the noble Lord, Lord Trevelyan, dealt with it with such great authority, but within the last 15 months or so I have been twice to the Soviet Union, to Poland and to Hungary and therefore I can speak at least from some first-hand acquaintance concerning our relationships with those countries. I am of course in favour of the proposed conference on European security. I have perhaps a little less faith in Commissions than has my noble friend Lord Brockway, but I entirely agree that we cannot solve all these problems at one conference. I am a little concerned that one should not pitch one's hopes too high and that one should be quite realistic about it. A propaganda exercise, which very largely is what has been sustained in some other parts of the world, is not what we, at least, are seeking.
I know there are extremely complex problems particularly on matters such as mutual, balanced force reductions. I have spoken on the subject of European security at conferences in Moscow and Warsaw and I tried to make as clear as I could that we in this country are in favour of the positive improvement in East/West relations which we hope will ensue from such a conference, but that we do not feel that great popular demonstrations are the best way to secure peace in the world. Some of us are old enough to remember the Kellogg Pact, for example, and the great wave of emotion which accompanied that, but we learned the sad lesson from it that emotion by itself is not enough. I am sure that so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned they are doing their utmost, on a realistic basis, to make such a conference a success in the true sense of that term.
I also was concerned with other areas of relationship between East and West. I found, particularly in Poland and Hungary, that there are apprehensions that our connection with the European Community may mean some diminution in our trade with them. I was very glad to learn that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Mr. John Davies, 114 has recently been to Poland. I am sure that this visit can do nothing but good, if only to make certain that there is full understanding on both sides of our position and of our intention, because I found a degree of suspicion, rather more perhaps in Poland than in Hungary, that we might to some extent be writing off our interest in trade with them. Needless to say, in Poland they were very much concerned about bacon. They pointed out that their pig-breeding industry was geared to the British breakfast table—no other country in the world eats bacon for breakfast—and they were afraid that in future our bacon supplies would be obtained exclusively from Denmark and Ireland. I think it would be a great pity if that were so. Surely it is in our general interest to sustain countries in Eastern Europe through trade, even if they are politically subservient to the Soviet Union. I do not think there is any doubt that they are and these countries do not pretend otherwise. On the economic side they retain a fairly considerable degree of independence, but they can do so only if their trade with the West is developed at the same time as their trade with the COMECON countries. So it seems to me extremely important that in our arrangements with Europe nit only should we not neglect our Commonwealth partners, but also that we should very much take into account the effect of anything we may do on the position of countries such as I have mentioned and others in the Eastern bloc. I should be grateful for some assurance from the noble Lady on that point, if possible.
My Lords, there is only one other matter to which I wish to refer. I am sorry that the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, has been obliged to leave the Chamber, because I should like to say how much I appreciated his speech. I had, of course, known him in East Africa as a most devoted father of his flock there, and I think everyone in your Lordships' House was impressed by the way in which he spoke so sincerely and directly on a subject of which he has such close knowledge. Before I knew that the right reverend Prelate was going to speak I had received some representations from the British Council of Churches on the point which he made; namely, their great concern at the way in which our authorities 115 in Uganda are interpreting the regulations concerning dependants. I can fully appreciate that this is a difficult matter, but where there is any area of discretion I hope that our representatives are asked to use that discretion sympathetically and intelligently in respect of families. I have been in close touch with the camp for Uganda Asians in mid-Wales which is only about twenty miles from where I live. I was talking last week-end to some of those who are at the camp and I saw a girl who was with her parents. She came to me because she was taking O-levels in a fortnight and needed a French dictionary, which I was able to provide for her. When I asked about her family I found that she and her parents had been able to come but her brother had been left behind at Kampala because he is just 21, and the family has had to be broken up. Naturally enough they were distressed at having to leave the son behind although they were able to bring the daughter and to come themselves.
There are other examples of people who do not fully qualify, but if they are not allowed into this country it means that the members of families are dispersed, which causes great distress, and socially it is thoroughly undesirable. The phrase used to me by the representatives of the British Council of Churches, who have had correspondence this week from Kampala, was that the hard line is being taken and that the full discretionary powers do not seem to be being used. I very much endorse what the right reverend Prelate said, and I would ask the noble Baroness to look at this sympathetically. Time is running out. I think we are doing very well, and the Government have received praise from all directions. We hope that they will not weary in well-doing, but will use some flexibility where otherwise it means that families are being broken up.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
My Lords, I will confine myself to one item in the gracious Speech which I think is of importance and in which Her Majesty's Ministers are pledged to support the United Nations discussions on the law of the sea negotiations. The next paragraph in the gracious Speech, and Lord Carrington's reference to Iceland in his opening speech to-day, gives a topical emphasis 116 and stresses what is only one relevant aspect of this great problem: that it is not too much to say that there is no universal law of the sea. The 1958 U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea did not constitute a legal régime, because the four Conventions, including the one on the Continental Shelf, only bind the parties who sign the Conventions. For the rest, as in the case of Iceland with its 50 miles offshore limit and the Latin American Governments with their 200-miles offshore limit, a coastal State can merely announce its intention and be prepared to defy the Royal Navy if need be. I would point out that the Americans pay the fines for vessels fishing in the 200-mile zone. Here is a case where a radical change is needed. Here is where we need an ocean régime to define and regulate the acquisitiveness of Governments, and to ensure that oceans in all their aspects can be administered for the benefit of all mankind and safeguarded for posterity. I therefore hope that Her Majesty's Government are going forward to the next U.N. Law of the Sea Conference with more imagination and more enlightenment than has happened so far in the discussions in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Ocean Bed.
As a great maritime Power, as a country which commissioned the Challenger Expedition a century ago—the first systematic survey of the beds of the oceans; and which, incidentally, disclosed 100 years ago, although we did not recognise it, the mineral wealth at the bottom of the sea—I hope that we shall play our proper role in what some of us regard as mankind's second chance; that is to say, a second chance to evolve institutions and relations which will recognise the global society, which cannot function through the old-fashioned activities of Governments grabbing what they can or resisting the claims of others to share what they have got. Already I see ominous signs of the Law of the Sea Conference becoming another Conference of Berlin, where 90 years ago the Powers carved up Africa and created the present-day problems which fill us all with dismay and anxiety.
My Lords, the need for an ocean régime has been argued with great eloquence and knowledge in debates in your Lordships' House. It is urgent, and must not be fouled up by the stacking 117 up of another incongruous pile of expediencies as we had in the 1958 Law of the Sea Convention. But I am afraid that that is what will happen unless Britain and others take vigorous and active steps to see that an imaginatively constructed régime, a régime designed for the future and not based on the past, will emerge. It is true that Britain did not do too badly in grabbing the spoils in the 1958 Conference: the Continental Shelf Convention made the shareout of the North Sea gas and oil possible. Such aggregation of wealth is a bad example for the next round of negotiations. As your Lordships know, beyond the present limits of national jurisdiction, and beyond the Continental Shelf, which was recognised as an extension of the coastal State under the sea—beyond all that there are in the deeps of the sea other sources of great wealth in the form of metallic ores and metal rich hot brine. And beyond those limits of national jurisdiction we in the Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy Committee all agreed that the depths of the sea have been declared the common heritage of all mankind; that they do not belong by any stretch of imagination or reference to the coastal States, the great Powers, or the technological Powers capable of exploiting their wealth, but to all mankind, including the landlocked States and the poorer countries of the world. Unfortunately, in our activities in discussing this we have alerted all the countries around the oceans of the world, including our own, I can say, judging by some of our attitudes in certain matters, and we have encouraged the whole business of creeping jurisdiction.
We have just had the claims of Chile, Equador and Peru to exclusive fishing rights to a 200 miles limit. In fact, they have in this case expropriated the breadth, if not the length, of the Humboldt Current. This claim has taken a different form in recent weeks, emerging from the Santo Domingo Declaration of June of this year, which adopted the concept of the Patrimonial Sea (and I want to underscore that term, because it is going to be with us, and another one to which I will come in a moment), an economic jurisdiction extending 200 miles from the baseline of the territorial sea. This is the Peruvian or, if you like, the 118 Chilean and Equadorian claims in another form; but it has a great speciousness. I realised on a straw vote that I was taking recently in the U.N. that this is going to have very substantial support and is most plausible. A coastal State has sovereign rights over the I renewable, as in fishing, and the nonrenewable, natural resources, which are found in the waters, in the sea bed, in the subsoil of an area adjacent to the territorial sea: and this is what is going to be called the Patrimonial Sea. A coastal State can regulate or stop scientific research within that Patrimonial Sea. The delimitation of this zone between two or more States shall be carried out in accordance with the peaceful procedures stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations. In this zone ships and aircraft of all States, whether coastal or not, should enjoy the right of freedom of navigation and over-flight. All we have in this is an agreement of right of passage; the rest is being expropriated in effect by the coastal States exercising through the Patrimonial Sea. This last weekend I have been taking part in discussions at Kingston in Jamaica, where they have now arrived at the Matrimonial Sea. The Matrimonial Sea is appropriately so called, because it is where they all agree they will join together and claim their Patrimonial Sea, get father out of the way, and then put it all in mother's lap and call it the Matrimonial Sea. They made all their 200-mile claims, and if your Lordships look at the Caribbean within the are of the archipelago and link it with the mainland you will realise that under these terms it becomes a closed sea, and that in this closed sea they would exercise their jurisdiction over the fishing rights, the mineral rights and so on. I cart assure your Lordships that within the Caribbean there is not left one inch of common heritage of that kind.
If we are prepared to consider things of this kind, which it may be important to consider—that is, how, if you get a reasonable agreement of this kind, if you get consideration, as was exercised here, whereby the countries look at the problems that they themselves created in the shape of the 200-miles limit, and if you get them to think of themselves as a nation-related group, then you begin to 119 find some interesting questions raised, and some interesting answers, as we have done over the weekend. But this again means that we are running ahead of the process, when we need a world or global régime. Everybody said emphatically that this would be part of a world régime, but meanwhile they would get together and see how they could work out a territorial régime in which they, the Caribs, as it were, were going to be the common inheritors. I think we might even begin to consider that in terms of this situation, because they are themselves underdeveloped countries, and the main concern as regards the sea is that these extra-national resources shall be used for the benefit of all mankind, but primarily for the benefit of those who need them, in terms of development or means toward development. I urge Her Majesty's Government to recognise that the law of the sea is very definitely going to be a very serious matter for the future of the world and of mankind—because what we are talking about, my Lords, is our last resource.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH
My Lords, I should like to join in all the congratulations that have been extended to the Mover and the Seconder of the Address in reply to the gracious Speech and to the right reverend Prelate, on his maiden speech this afternoon. Since leaving Oxford (and I mention the name of that academy of learning in view of the somewhat inferiority complex symptoms shown yesterday by Members from that junior place in the Eastern counties) I have always been a soldier, whether regular, irregular, part-time, full-time or, as now, honorary. Perhaps I may therefore be excused for riding that particular hobbyhorse.
My Lords, looking back on these debates over the years I am sure that I, together with many of your Lordships, miss the late Lord Thurlow. When he was in charge of the Army interests on the Conservative Benches, he always had the kindness to ask me and my noble friend Lord Bourne to his meetings, and he continued to do so even after I had slanged his Party on one or two occasions in public. I think I am right in saying that we all miss his annual contributions.
120 The previous Government abolished almost completely our Reserve Army, as well as 14 infantry battalions. I fancy that if the Labour Party had listened to their own members such as the noble Lords, Lord Wigg, Lord Shinwell or Lord Leatherland, we should not be in so bad a position as we are in to-day so far as men on the ground are concerned—unable to keep up with Northern Ireland and our NATO commitments. To my mind, it was also somewhat negligent to abolish the Civil Defence organisation. Only last week I drove past the old Civil Defence Staff College, of which I am a graduate, to note that its functions have now changed to that of training civil servants. I will refrain from further comment, other than to say that to abolish training for coping with catastrophes and replace it with the training of the causes of so many of our catastrophes is perhaps not a process to be continued.
The present Government have reinstated four infantry battalons and turned the eight-man T. & A. V. R. III cadres into company/squadron-sized units. The varied success of the latter, in my experience, depended to a large extent on whether it was able to carry over the regimental tradition or whether, as in my neck of the woods, the T. & A. V. R. III cadre was all that was left of a dozen major or minor units. If we had had that extra 14 infantry battalions, we should not now have units lining up for their fourth or fifth tour in Ulster, and perhaps Wyvern Barracks in Exeter would be retained to give the Regular Army a last "teeth-arm" hold in the South-West. I remind myself of the story told by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, about the Member for Wogga-Wogga, in the Australian Parliament, who interrupted a very serious debate on foreign affairs to get in a word about the contribution he had made to the local sewerage system. If I might apply that to the present interjection, I must remember to send a copy of to-day's Hansard to the Colonel of the Devon and Dorset Regiment.
The biggest drain on our Services is, of course, Northern Ireland. My views here are somewhat unpopular, but less so than when I first set them forth. Most of what I have to say on this subject I 121 will keep until the later debate we have been promised, but I should like to make one or two points now, rather following the line taken by my noble friend Lord Bourne. As I have said before, the two tribes whose vocabularies lack the words "compromise" or "moderation" are two tribes who live in the prejudices of 300 years ago and extract from the Government of this country millions and millions of pounds. This is not a sensible situation, as I see it. I personally do not think it is worth the life of one British soldier killed, let alone the numbers, now running into hundreds, who have been killed or wounded.
Recently, I had a foreign diplomat staying with me, and after listening to the arguments that had been going on he was asked what friendly countries like his would think if we left the Irish to "stew their own thing", if I may put it in that way. He replied that they would say that Britain was at last coming to her senses and that the friends of this country were hoping and praying we should not allow ourselves to get bogged down into a Vietnam position. Since the initiative, as it is called, Mr. Whitelaw and his team, for whose efforts and objects I have the greatest admiration—and I am particularly pleased to be able to put on record my gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, who, knowing my interest in that part of the world, has gone out of his way (and he is a busy man) to keep me in touch with these matters from time to time—have fallen over backwards to make concessions: concessions, as it seems to some, to lawlessness. And where has it got us? How many converts have been made and how many thousands extra are there who are prepared to stand up and be counted?
From the outside, looking in, it seems that the result is that the unfortunate British soldier is now being shot at by both sides at once. I am convinced that there is only one hope for us to get any political sense into the blockheads of both extremists and both tribes and that is (rather as the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, suggested, as also did the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, on an earlier occasion) to say that on such-and-such a date, at such-and-such a time, we will withdraw our troops and our money unless both tribes reach an agreement. That is the only thing, it seems to me. 122 that would knock some sense into their heads. Of course, it would be useful to get Dublin in on the talks, but we all know that to mention that would bring a somewhat bloody reaction from the Orange tribe.
Perhaps we could do a sort of "General Amin" in reverse and devote the £500 million that we are now spending there in a year to rehousing, those who, for example, did not wane to live in a United Ireland. By exporting back to the Republic the Kilburn battalion and those who do not want to owe allegiance to this country we could, I am sure, find accommodation and jobs and subsidise them for this purpose. Then we could let Ireland be what the majority have said they always wanted it to be—foreign, with no dependence upon us at all. As an Australian passport holder I find it increasingly irritating when arriving at Heathrow to have to go through the second-class entrance while the latest plane load from Dublin gets the V.I.P. treatment. On the last occasion I was quizzed by an Indian as to whether I had any right to live here. I noticed that one of the Sunday papers had a cartoon to that effect last Sunday. So long as successive Governments go on the basis that everybody born in a Stable is a horse I suppose I shall have to bear with it. Why should a possible I.R.A. recruit get these advantages?
The country is convinced that the soldier is being asked to do his job with at least one hand tied behind his back. Those of us who have had experience of this sort of thing know that there are at times factors which are not apparent to the Press and public. May I give your Lordships an example? As president of the Devon branch of the Royal British Legion, I was sent by my chairman, for information, various motions coming up at our annual general meeting on Saturday week. One motion has attached to it that photograph of an I.R.A. funeral with chaps in uniform with their armalite rifles, and all the rest of it, firing off in the open streets. I am quite convinced that the average member of the British public is very mud of the opinion that our troops are not taking advantage of arresting these gunmen. I am informed that at another funeral—not this one, which was the funeral of Quigley—a British soldier was wounded 123 by an I.R.A. gunman while protecting that funeral because the people were fearing a Protestant backlash. If that is not having your cake and eating it, I do not know what is.
Again, to be blunt, the public want to know why these people are not shot or arrested on the spot. In a small village not far from me—it has only about 150 population—they never pay much attention to the news of the ouside world, but a private soldier from the Devon and Dorset Regiment came back from duty in Northern Ireland, and the thing that had the whole population hopping mad was the story he told of what happened to him when he bent down to pick up a ball for a five-year-old child. He was spat in the face for his efforts. It ought to be explained to the British public how difficult it is for the soldiers in the circumstances. There may be very good reasons why the troops should not beat the living daylights out of the urchin, or arrest the odd gunman sauntering past their posts; but I do not think it is obvious to the public who think that we have been soft for too long.
Mr. Whitelaw said on television the Sunday before last that, because of his service in Palestine after the last war, he understood the feeling against the politicians. If that is the case (and I am glad to hear it, because I was there, too), it is just as well that people should remember that the Irgum Zvai Leumi and the Stern Gang set the pattern for postwar violence and terrorism. People are apt to forget the name of Lord Moyne. I say that because I had a reaction to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Janner, this afternoon. I know that two wrongs do not make a right, but one ought to bear the historic aspect of it in mind and keep it in perspective. I suggest that Mr. Whitelaw should now get a move on, and be seen to be getting a move on, because that is what the public I have come across in this country feel about the situation in Northern Ireland.
With units now facing up to their fifth tour in Northern Ireland, does the Minister, or the noble Baroness, if she is to reply, think that the discipline and the morale will be the same when these units are approaching their tenth tour? One particular point which I am sure the 124 noble Baroness will realise is the influence of the wives of young soldiers on these units (which I know from my own information are going there for the third or fourth time) to get the soldiers to leave the Army and to discourage recruiting in the future, which is a very serious matter. As an old soldier I recall that in my time we had a pre-war and postwar Palestine, Malaya, the Mau-Mau, and, before the war, the annual Hindu-Muslim situation to cope with. One may be forgiven, I hope, for letting one's hackles rise when there is an instance of what in the Army we used to think of as political interference. I will leave more on that subject to the main debate that we have been promised.
Again, there is the matter of a referendum. We all know which way the Orange tribe will vote and which way the Fenian tribe will vote. I cannot see the use of a referendum. The decent people in Ulster are those who joined the Civil Rights Movement but left when they saw that it was taken over by the Marxist-Maoists. They and the Alliance should have been supported by all the political subterfuge at our disposal. It is too late now. I suggested to your Lordships' House three years ago, on my return from Rhodesia, that what we should have done then was to get all of the political skulduggery at our command to back the anti-Smith Centre Party. Had we done so, we might have achieved our objective that way, without the expense and stupidity of sanctions and blockades. Now the Rhodesians have only to turn to General Amin's operation and say, "Did you expect us to fall for that one?" I think that shibboleths, like "illegal régimes" and an "integral part of the United Kingdom", do not get us anywhere. If the Government are going on with this charade in Northern Ireland, which is expensive in life and money, then for heaven's sake! do, as my noble friend Lord Bourne suggested, appoint a "Templer"—do the job properly or get out.
Before leaving, thankfully, Ulster, I should like to point out to the noble Earl, Lord Arran (although he is not in his place now) who, your Lordships probably read in the papers, has received threatening letters purporting to come from the I.R.A., that I also received them, 125 and they have gone to the usual receptacle. Where I am "one up" on the noble Earl is that I have had one from the other side as well. I have had the additional honour of being accused of being the I.R.A.'s representative in Devon by the Monday Club's biggest bore in the South-West.
My Lords, if one comes from Devon, the home of the greatest of British sailors, one cannot be immune to the problems of the Navy. In September I went aboard "Intrepid" on her visit to Torbay. With my boat conveniently moored alongside, I toured the ship, which is one of the biggest now left in the Navy, a ship designed for assisting in landings. I heard that rumour had it that she might be scrapped, as the Army had decided that future assaults could be mounted from the air. I have a simple question to ask the Minister and the Government: what guarantee have they that there will always be land sufficiently close at hand, with adequately protected aerodromes to cover the hundred and one possible actions which the forces of this country can be expected to have to cope with in compliance with our international agreements and our moral obligations to our friends and relations? Will this magnificent and, as yet, unknown aircraft have the sophisticated communications for a brigade or landing group headquarters; and how could it possibly operate from the air? Surely if carriers are to be abolished, it can be done only if an effective Navy version of the Harrier is installed on our frigates or equivalent sized ships. The helicopter is a sitting duck unless we already have air superiority. Can the Government give us any assurances on the future air cover for the Navy? I have always believed that the Navy should control all aircraft to do with war at sea. By the same account, the Army should control all aircraft to do with war on land. As all strategic bombing in future should be by rocketry, this would eliminate the need for a separate air force. In other words, I am advocating something like the American system. I suggest that the overheads saving would be considerable. But in case I am accused of being anti-R.A.F., I would ask those concerned to read the articles, and later the book, by Wing Commander Allen, R.A.F.
126 Finally, my Lords, may I ask whether the Government would consider the recruiting of a national riot police? If one had been available I think that even the Northern Ireland situation could well have been nipped in the bud. The Army need not have been called in. By the same account, such a force could be used to combat the violence engendered by the roving extremists as employed in the dock strike and the recent building troubles. If not, you had better train the Army for the job, which is not the Army's proper role. If, as seems possible, we are to be plagued by violence in future industrial disputes, the calling in of the Army is apt to make matters worse as it is an emotive issue in some quarters. I should like that suggestion to be considered.
§ 7.22 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I am tempted to follow many of the issues raised by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, not always with agreement for what he has said, but I shall confine myself to just one point, where he said that all the best sailors came from Devonshire. It is my recollection that Nelson was in fact an East Anglian. Possibly the noble Lord does not consider hi m a very good sailor. I shall, though, deny myself the pleasure, and save your Lordships tedium, of following the noble Lord's points, and confine myself solely to the second sentence of the gracious Speech:My Government will play a full and constructive part in the enlarged European Communities.I am delighted that this is the intention of Her Majesty's Government.
It is a major task to ensure that the institutions of the Community really work, work efficiently, and, in addition to working efficiently, work in a democratic manner. During the many and long debates that we have had during the past year on the Community we have heard a great deal about the bureaucracy that existed in Brussels, and how we were giving up our democratic way of life to place ourselves under a bureaucratic regime. I am certainly not going to reopen all those arguments. For better or for worse—and, your Lordships may know, in my opinion for better—we shall from the beginning of next year he full members of the Community. What we 127 must do is to ensure that the undoubted bureaucracy that exists in Brussels to-day is transformed as rapidly as possible into something approaching the form of democracy that we always like to think exists in this country and which we certainly want to see exist in the enlarged Community.
It is worth saying, in passing, that our own democratic institutions are far from perfect. We talk considerably about them, but we in fact live increasingly in a bureaucratic country ourselves. Increasingly decisions are taken, not by the democratically elected representatives of the people; but, either because of situations which have arisen many years ago and over which no politician to-day can possibly have any control, or because of the complexity of the problem, they are taken to a very large extent by the experts, the specialists who have studied the matter for years—in other words, the officials—and who must know a great deal more about it than a transient Minister. I would go so far as to say that it is only a very strong-minded or a very "bloody-minded" Minister who can impose himself, unless he is in office for a very long time indeed, upon his officials. So do not let us run away with the idea that here we live in a magnificent democracy but from January 1 we are going into a faceless bureaucracy. For all that, we do want to ensure that the Brussels organisation is as democratic as possible.
I would suggest to your Lordships that in order to have a really effective democracy the lines of communication between those who actually decide on the policy, make the decisions, and those who are elected by the people are as short as possible. Ideally, of course, they ought to be the same people, but, given the complexity of most of the problems with which we are faced to-day, that is a counsel of perfection. All we can achieve is to ensure that the Members of Parliament, the democratic representatives of the people, are in as close and as constant a touch with the decision-makers as is possible.
In Brussels the decision-makers are basically the Commission, so it is worth looking to see what the lines of communication 128 are between the Commission and the Parliament of Europe. Unfortunately, they are very long, very tenuous and hardly trodden at all. Just to give your Lordships briefly an example of how decisions are taken, first of all let us remember, as your Lordships know well, that both the Council of Ministers and the European Commission are the two bodies specifically charged with decision-making. Neither of them has unlimited power, but it is the Commission that actually formulates the policy and the Council of Ministers that in theory passes judgment upon it. Before the Commission actually formulates its policy it, very reasonably, consults with various other bodies. It has continual and regular contact with national Governments through their civil servants—not through their Members of Parliament, but through their officials. Also, it has continuous contact with various pressure groups from among the Community: in the case of agriculture, for instance, with the organised farmers and farmers' unions who are a recognised and effective pressure group; but not Parliament.
Following on with agriculture, I would remind your Lordships that there is the Director General for Agriculture within the Commission. In order to help it in arriving at its decisions, the Commission invites people of its own choosing—not democratically elected people—who are usually experts in the national Governments. When it eventually produces a draft proposal, there is what is called public discussion, which means that the Commission will seek the views of the farmers' organisations and various other advisory bodies in order to help it to come to the right decision. Again, there is no consultation with the elected members of the European Parliament. In addition, any draft that it is proposing goes to the Economic and Social Committee, which, as your Lordships know, is a Community institution drawn from trade unions, employers and professional organisations and general-interest representatives—people who are selected and appointed by Government, but who are not elected. So, through all this great paraphernalia of consultation, which is of value, there is up to this point no 129 contact whatsoever with any democratically elected person from any of the member countries.
In the little booklet I have in my hand, from which I have largely been quoting, and which is prepared by the Commission of the European Communities, the text goes on to say:It may also go to the Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament".In other words, rather thrown in at the end, these matters of vital interest in agriculture, in this case—but it is the same for any other function—can also go to the Agricultural Committee of Parliament, but do not necessarily have to. There are, in addition—I will not weary your Lordships with them—various other Committees which have been set up to advise and to help to revise, but ail of them consist of appointed, selected members and none of them consists of elected members.
I suggest to your Lordships that this is an intolerable situation for anybody who believes in democratic government. Of course the Commission should use all the experts that it wants to use, but its main dealings must be with the elected representatives: in other words, a European Parliament, however that may be selected. I would suggest to your Lordships that both the Commissioners and the Council of Ministers must be responsible to the European Parliament or to its Committees. They must attend whenever they are summoned by Parliament. They must explain their policies, they must defend their policies and they must listen to the views of the European Parliament, or probably its own expert Committees comprised of people who understand the problem as Parliamentarians but not as experts in one particular field. If, at the end of that form of consultation, no agreement has been reached, then of course the battle can be, and should be, continued in the national Parliaments in each country, with the Ministers concerned—our own representatives on the Council of Ministers—taking part and either defending the position of the Commission or, if they see fit, going back to Brussels and attacking the position of the Commission.
At the moment, the ultimate sanction for the European Parliament is no more than the dismissal of the whole of the Commission, which of course is such an 130 enormous action that it is most unlikely that it will ever be used. What is needed is that there should be sanctions much smaller matters of disagreement so that they can be influenced bit by bit, as they are progressing, or at an intermediate stage the sanction of the dismissal of one particular Commissioner rather than the whole body of Commissioners. This, surely, is one of the first tasks that this country and our representatives in the European Parliament can do and must do from January 1 onwards. From my contacts with European Parliamentarians in Strasbourg in the Council of Europe I am well aware of the fact, as I think are most of your Lordships, that the advent of British Parliamentarians is eagerly awaited by all our European colleagues. They have high hopes of the people whom we are going to se Id from here, and indeed I hope that those hopes are not too high.
Finally, I should like to make an appeal to my noble friends on this side of the House and also to my friends outside the House. Whatever the next Labour Government may do in the way of renegotiating, let us use this period in Opposition to gain experience of European institutions and to contribute the very great knowledge that we have in this country of Parliamentary democracy so as to make the European Parliament a centre of power and influence and not just a gathering place for talkative but completely ineffectual Parliamentarians.
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
My Lords, before I launch into my speech, which I hope will be as short and pungent as that of the Secretary of State, may I pay a few courtesies. I regret that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich cannot be in his place, but I am certain that his short though moving speech on the plight of the Uganda Asians indicates the value which your Lordships' House will gain from his future contributions. Perhaps it will not be too parochial if I mention that the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, who is also absent from his place, is in fact to-day celebrating his 84th birthday. Not only that, but our old friend Philip Noel-Baker is celebrating his 83rd birthday. Whether or not the astrologers can say that being born on November 1 is a qualification for being a peacemaker I do 131 not know, but I am certain that future generations will be grateful to these two men for their persistent and rational pursuit of the cause of peace.
As the Secretary of State has said, we are to-day trying to perform an impossible function. In a period of about five hours we are trying to debate the whole field of defence and foreign policy, and of course these two subjects, for reasons understood by our business managers, are always lumped together like Fortnum and Mason. We always discuss them together. There is in fact within them one common factor, and that is the factor of power. I hope your Lordships will forgive me if I indulge in a little homespun philosophy. It is obvious that this is a basic common factor to both, but it is so obvious that it is frequently forgotten. "Power" is to some people a dirty word, but of course it is neutral, like every other form of energy. One may use it well, one may use it badly or indeed one may not use it at all; but from power springs the ability to create policies, and if you do not have power you do not have a policy.
As has been said in various interesting speeches to-day—and this seems to be almost a common theme among people speaking in the area of foreign affairs—the whole balance of world power is shifting fast. As the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, pointed out, America is troubled; two vanquished nations are resurgent—Germany and Japan are regaining their confidence and playing a part in the world which their economic strength entitles them to do: the giant China is awakening, and I think the strength of that giant has been admirably depicted by the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, in a speech which I found extremely interesting. Finally, as we all know, Europe is expanding from six to nine members. Perhaps your Lordships will allow me to say a few words on the significance of this expansion if I promise not to re-fight the "Battle of Brussels". As your Lordships may have noted, I have been a deserter from the draft on this matter and I feel rather guilty about it. As Dr. Johnson said on a similar occasion,Any man thinks the worst of himself for not having been a soldier".132 I think the worst of myself for not having taken part in this engagement, but I do believe that the growth and expansion of Europe with Britain within it gives this country at last a chance to exercise power and to influence our own present and our own future.
This is a situation which has been denied to us for some time. I think many of us choose to forget Dean Acheson's dictum that:England has lost an Empire and not yet found a role".I think that this lack of a role is the cause of a great deal of malaise in this country. Until now we have been unable to see how we can influence our environment, and pressures are brought to bear on us in the world because we have not had the power to do so. As a result, many of our people have been living for to-day and not for the future. It is the strength of some countries, like China, that they are willing to forget to-day and to think of the next generation or the next decade. Now we have a new perspective, and because this is so important I regret that we have been arguing so intensely about the details that the prospect before us has been forgotten. We may not see the possibilities that now lie in our hands, but others do; and I think that if we take the Russian and the Chinese attitudes towards the enlarged Common Market and compare them we can see exactly what this means. The Russians are naturally against it, and, of course, because the Russians do not like to see Europe growing in strength and cohesion, the faithful Parties within the Communist movement have followed the Party line, and wherever they can influence a Power they are opposed to any unification of Europe. Russia thinks exclusively in terms of economic and military power, and an increase in Europe's absolute power reduces her influence relatively.
The Chinese, on the other hand, as has been said by two or three speakers, are in favour of an enlarged and stronger Europe. The noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, was annoyed about that and mistrusted it. But, quite frankly, we are not able to choose our friends, and if support comes from an unexpected quarter, well, let us welcome it. The Chinese, as the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, has pointed out, are wanting a wider balance of power. They do not want the world to 133 be polarised between Russia and the United States. They realise their own potential strength, they realise Japan's strength and they realise the real true potential of an enlarged Europe. I am extremely glad that our Foreign Secretary is at present in China at this critical time to be able to—what shall I say?—have an exchange of minds and ideas with this future world Power at a critical moment in our own historic development. My only source of information is the Financial Times, but having heard what Mr. Chi Peng-Lei had to say on the European Security Conference and the warnings that he gave which were very similar in tone to the warnings given by other speakers to-day, I feel that, at least in the short term, China and ourselves will be able to collaborate in reestablishing a balance of world power.
We can ask: Why does an expanded Europe increase our power? This again is a very obvious question, but many people deny that an expanded Europe is in fact a source of greater energy. Those of us who go regularly to Europe must be impressed by the fact that the energy that the Common Market has created is everywhere to be seen. If you want a memorial, look around you. One sees it in the scope of their social services; in their road building: and in the whole economic activity of the Continent of Europe. And now that decisions have been reached that we are to become full members of the Community, I find it fascinating to see that the Italians are coming in to invest in a chemical plant and a steel plant near Hunterston. This is one of the aspects of an expanding Europe. Now that we are firmly in the Market, investment is coming into this country from the most unexpected sources.
Economic power is, of course, the basis as I said, of everything else and I have very great sympathy with my noble friend Lady White when she pleads that when we are looking so intently towards Europe we do not forget the Commonwealth. But, surely, that is one of the areas where great things can be done by an enlarged Europe. After all, it is the associated nations which are going to work with the Common Market in the future that must add to the power of that economic organisation. The former French colonies are associated, the Mediterranean 134 border States are associated, and some former British Commonwealth nations are associated. And in addition to the union of Europe will come a wider collaboration of all those colonial territories and neighbouring territories that were once linked with the colonial Powers but are now associated with them in a larger organisation.
May I turn from this rather simple view of the state of economic power in Europe to its effect on our defensive power. I was extremely impressed by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, because he said much better than I could something that I had been wanting to say this evening. Europe's economic power for defence purposes can be effective only if it is deployed collaboratively. We have of course made a good start. There are a number of bilateral schemes such as the Anglo-French helicopter package; the multi-role combat aircraft; the family of tracked vehicles with the Belgians and the Canadians and so on. But that is only a beginning. We want something a great deal more than that and the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, was that the existing organisation of Western European Union should be used now as the central point from which ultimately the control of a European defence community might spring. That has the advantage, of course, that it is situated in Paris and that fact might overcome some French objections. They might be able to get what they want without having to yield on the question of moving a secretariat. But there is an organisation there, in which I am certain many of your Lordships have had experience, which is well established, has an excellent Secretariat, and which it in fact devoted to this specific purpose. It must not be scrapped. I expect that it cannot be scrapped for the reason that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, gave: because of the various points that the original Treaty made in the control of nuclear weapons or the banning of nuclear weapon.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
Yes. So that is going to remain with us for some time, and in my view I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, has found a forum where collaborative defence projects could be discussed and from which 135 perhaps ultimately they might be controlled.
We have, as I said, a number of bilateral schemes. I believe that we must now move towards some common compound and controlled structure. So long as we have different forms of communication this is going to be extremely difficult. I do not know, but I should like to think that the through-deck cruiser, when it comes on the scene, will be able to act as the command and control vessel of an Allied fleet. I believe that at the moment there are so many different forms of communication within the various national fleets that the creation of a European fleet, equivalent to the Sixth Fleet, is not possible. So we must move towards a system of command and control which will enable European armed forces to operate as a whole rather than as a series of individual forces thrown together by an alliance. I believe, also, that we must start specialising in the weapons that we produce. To give a single example: I am not going to enter into the argument about a joint force de frappe with the French. That is a long way off, whatever happens. But I do believe that we might in this country step up our production of "hunter-killer" submarines for the use of Europe as a whole. We are making them in a regular series and I am sure that if we brought back into production the Cammell Laird yard which is now no longer making them, we could produce a substantial number of these highly effective weapons systems which are, in my view, the only answer to the very large Russian submarine fleet which the noble Lord, Lord Ashbourne, mentioned in his speech. That is something which does not conflict with any particular nuclear policy. The submarines may have nuclear reactors but they are not nuclear weapons, and they are the main counter weapon to the Russian nuclear submarine fleet. That is the sort of specialised system which we have developed successfully and which we might make in a series for a future European fleet.
One thing we must do if we come together is to end the competition to be the nation which spends the lowest proportion of its gross national product on defence. We must face up to the fact that the defence of our society is going to become increasingly expensive. The 136 reason is quite simple. On one side, defence is a labour-intensive operation, and therefore soldiers must be paid a rate which they might expect in civilian life. On the other hand, technology itself is becoming increasingly expensive as it becomes infinitely more complex.
In the past we have worked on a system that we have a certain amount of money to allocate to defence and each year thereafter that sum has been allowed to increase only to account for an increase in price. But, if I read the White Paper correctly, we are now saying that we are expressing our defence expenditure in terms of a percentage of the gross national product and only incidentally saying that this is, whatever it is—£60 million—above the base expenditure on a base date. I believe this is something that we—not only ourselves, but our partners in the European defence organisation also—must do. We must not try to get our defence on the cheap. We should at least he prepared to spend on defence an equal proportion of our gross national product, which will grow annually, and not try to keep the amount below a fixed ceiling. If we do this, we have no hope whatever of achieving the sort of flexible defence that the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, and others wish to see. One cannot have a flexible response, using very large conventional sources, without spending a great deal of money on it. Defence is going to get more expensive whether we like it or not.
If I may throw in a little jarring note, if we not do spend this money it means we have to go back to the old pure doctrine of deterrence. The Polaris force is costing us only £38 million a year, which, out of a total expenditure of £2,800 million, means that it is a very cost-effective way of deterring an enemy. There may be a very severe temptation to go back to the full-blooded policy of deterrence unless we are willing to find the money to build up substantial conventional forces. But I am afraid that spend we must, because, whatever people may argue, I believe that the danger from Russia still exists. The danger is not weapons; it is attitudes. So long as the U.S.S.R. continues to treat individuals as cattle it will continue to treat nations as cattle, and we must face up to this fact. If, in order to face up to this danger, we have to sacrifice 137 some sovereignty for more security, then I am in favour of it.
May I, very briefly, turn to some of the interesting speeches made to-day? I think we all sympathise with the noble Lord, Lord Janner, in his plea for firmness in dealing with piracy in the air. In the past, in the last centuries, before the aeroplane appeared, we took piracy at sea very seriously. I believe that we have to take piracy in the air equally seriously. From our own national experience (we have in fact been one of the nations which has stood firm and refused to give hostages to fortune, and we have been very fortunate: our policies in the past have been successful), we have to encourage those other nations of the world who have to face this problem and say that firmness is the only real answer to this problem.
I very much enjoyed the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, hung on the United Nations law of the sea. I have only one suggestion to make. The noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir, is about to go to negotiate with Iceland, I imagine; she conducted the last negotiations, and I presume that she will conduct these. I am certain we all wish her well. But may I suggest that the idea of the matrimonial sea might be applied? I do not see why, if the Caribbean can have a matrimonial sea to cover the whole Caribbean area, we should not have a matrimonial sea of the North Sea and the Channel. This might be a bargaining counter. It is a joke, but I cannot understand why we should not, as a counterploy, use our equal right to whatever fantastic limit we like, though we happen to be a rational and sensible people. I did not realise, until the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, pointed it out, that 200 miles is the fishing limit for the South American States. The thought of a 200 miles limit off the British coast is interesting.
I thought also that the speech of my noble friend Lord Walston was most helpful and constructive. I hope that now, while we are in Opposition, we shall take the opportunity of a postgraduate course in the procedures of the European Parliaments. Many of us have enjoyed the experience of actually serving at Strasbourg and on the Western European Union Council. I have only one real basic hope, which perhaps we could get 138 over to our colleagues in Europe: that they would not read newspapers when one is making speeches. I always find that habit somewhat depressing. Perhaps this is one of the improvements in procedure that we shall bring about. Nevertheless, I think we must not simply turn our backs as a Party on these organisations. They are going to be with us; we have to learn to use them; we have to improve them. And we halve got to do what the noble Lord, Lord Walston, said: we have somehow to inject into this very complex bureaucratic machine the fresh breath of Parliamentary control. We must get down to this and succeed in it.
I am determined not to speak any longer than the Secretary of State: I congratulated him, in his absence, on the shortness and pungency of his opening remarks; and I still have two minutes to go. I want to comment upon the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, all of whom said, and I think absolutely rightly, that merely going into Europe will not solve our problems. We are not going to a land that flows automatically with milk and honey. The milk and honey are there, and other good things as well; but they have to be worked for. If we accept the fact that we are not getting a guaranteed prosperity but just an opportunity of becoming prosperous, then I think we shall do well in the wider world in which we ale about to operate. I do not know what opinion is held of Toynbee as an historian these days, but when I was a young man I always found his doctrine of challenge and response one that influenced me strongly. The great civilisations of the world, according to Toynbee, did not arise in the easy areas of Europe or Egypt, or elsewhere, but grew and developed in the harsh areas in those countries. It is the challenge of Europe that will, I think, re-create the British sense of purpose and the British strength and end the malaise that has plagued many of us for too long.
§ 7.59 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE)
My Lords, I agree very much with those noble Lords who have 139 said how immensely difficult it is to tackle such a wide-ranging debate on foreign affairs and defence in one afternoon. This debate has raised a great number of varied and important questions, and I will try to answer the main ones that have been put forward. I think that the main theme running through the whole of this debate has been the future shape of the Europe of the Nine. The lead was most admirably given to us yesterday by my two noble friends who moved and seconded the humble Address. I should like to join all those who have congratulated them both on such an admirable discharge of a very difficult task, as I know it to be having once had to do it myself.
I should also like to join with noble Lords in congratulating the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich upon his maiden speech. He told us that he could not be with us this evening, but I think that we all felt the sincerity with which he expressed his concern about the division of families who are stateless Asians, but where perhaps some of the dependants are United Kingdom passport holders. It is perhaps right for me to say that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has himself accepted the responsibility for those who have been made stateless in Uganda. It is our hope that those wives and dependants who are able to come here because they are what we call the "late renouncers" of British citizenship will be able to join their husbands in the eventual country of residence. The United Kingdom passport holders who are wives of Ugandan citizens, or have stateless husbands, are of course given entry certificates on application, and we hope very much that in the end they will be able to join each other.
We are glad to accept those who are our responsibility, and I thought that the House might be interested to know that up to October 3121,711 Asians have arrived in the United Kingdom, and several hundred more are expected to arrive before the deadline in one week's time. Although the High Commission in Kampala had issued 27,345 entry certificates by October 31, some 4,000 people are expected to go direct to third countries, and others again are being asked to go to third countries by them after 140 arrival in the United Kingdom. If we were to accept all stateless Asians as well, or any stateless persons from all over the world, it would be an impossible task in this country, and I suggest to the House that it would also prejudice those who have the right of entry under our Immigration Acts.
The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, in his opening remarks, asked me whether it was true that Her Majesty's Government had pledged a contribution of £250,000 to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees Fund to help deal with the problem of stateless Asians. This is a fact, and, so far as I know, the other figure given by the noble Lord of £800.000 for the total so far pledged to the Fund is also correct. I could not assure him that this will be enough, because only the United Nations High Commission will be able to say when they have finally found out the exact numbers, which are still not clear. I should also like to try to reassure the right reverend Prelate who spoke to us earlier that anybody, whether a United Kingdom citizen, an alien or a stateless person, has a right of appeal to an adjudicator. I would assure the right reverend Prelate that all such persons are being advised by the High Commission in Kampala of their right of appeal.
The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said that he regretted that there was no reference in the gracious Speech to the subject of Rhodesia, but I think that this is deliberate because as we know well, a great effort has been made to try to secure proposals for a settlement which, after the Pearce Commission had reported, were not acceptable to the Rhodesian people as a whole, and which we had of course to refuse. It was then that my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said that he felt that the next move should come from within Rhodesia itself, and should come from contact between all Rhodesians. Therefore, while of course we wish still to carry out any settlement which is in conformity with the Five Principles, nevertheless we think that it is for the Rhodesians themselves to discuss what it is that they really want.
As we have had, as a theme running through the debate, the future shape of the enlarged Community, I think perhaps it is right that I should quote the opening words of the communiqué which 141 came from the Summit Conference. It said this:The time has come for Europe to recognise clearly the unity of its interests, the extension of its capacities, and the magnitude of its duties as befits its mission to be open to the world.I would suggest to the House that this is the answer to anyone who still questions whether Britain within Europe will somehow become isolated from the Commonwealth. The noble Baroness, Lady White, shares with me, and I think with many other noble Lords in this House, our concern that going into Europe shall not in any way damage but shall enhance the chances and opportunities before the Commonwealth. I would say to her in particular that the European Community, by its nature, must be part of a far wider world. I have myself just returned from Africa: from Zambia and also from Malawi, where there was a meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I should like to say here how immensely we appreciated the welcome that we got and the preparations that were made. I was greatly heartened by the fact that so many of our friends said that Britain will be a greater asset with a more secure political and economic base in Western Europe, and that we shall be able better to help developing countries overcome their immense problems.
The noble Baroness, Lady White, asked me in particular about our expenditure on Europe and on the Commonwealth, particularly through the British Council and in other ways. I should like to look at what she said in detail, but I should like to say now that what is being spent on Europe is designed to some extent to redress the balance. We must remember that happily we have many Commonwealth students in the United Kingdom; we have large technical assistance programmes to the Commonwealth and other developing countries, and I suggest that the cost of these must be borne in mind when we are trying to draw up any balance between our expenditure on Europe and on the Commonwealth in either of these particular fields. Of course, I need hardly say that we also give extensive capital aid.
My noble friend the Secretary of State for Defence, who opened the debate, reminded 142 the House that at the Summit Conference the Community of the Nine nations affirmed their conviction that the Community as a whole must respond even more than in the past to the expectations of all the developing countries. The Community referred in particular to an increase in the volume of aid, to an improvement in the financial conditions of aid, to tackling commodity agreements, and to the improvement of generalised preferences. The nine nations of the future enlarged Community also mid that they would take particular account of those countries towards which,through geography, history, and the commitment entered into by the Community, it has specific responsibilities.The Community will be dependent to a greater degree than any other group of nations in the world on the free flow of international trade. Britain within the enlarged Community most certainly wants to see the Commonwealth and the developing nations of the world increase their standard of living. Indeed, as we always have, we want it not only because it is right but because the contribution which these countries can make to the expansion of world trade is vital to us in Europe.
Nevertheless, one of the most important reasons why Britain turned to Europe was political. It was the great tragedy of the 1930s that the countries of Western Europe somehow did not find it natural to defend their interests together. It was a grievous mistake and many lives and many hopes were lost forever. Now, at last, we have a new chance. We all know that the purpose of a nation's external policy is to protect its own vital interests. It is reasonable therefore to assume that when the economic and monetary interests of the countries of Europe become entwined, there will at least be a common attitude on external policies. In time it is possible that the foreign policies of the countries of Western Europe may become indistinguishable from each other. As the nine nations affirmed in Paris:They intend to transform, before the end of the present decade, the whole complex of their relations into a European union.This is perhaps the most historic act since the end of the Second World War.
143 The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, suggested that we should link the existing Western European machinery to the Brussels machinery, as a kind of wing of the new European Union. I hope very much that this idea will be studied—indeed I think it must be—along with a great many others for institutional change which will be considered over the coming months. Nevertheless, I would suggest that the commitments by which we and our allies are bound in the W.E.U., under the revised Brussels Treaty, are of the first importance and we must guard against altering institutional arrangements for the W.E.U. which might have the effect of undermining it. The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, also made another main point, which was supported by that doughty warrior the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, concerning the importance of adequate conventional forces; indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, took up the same theme and said, "Spend we must".
Of course Her Majesty's Government wish to see that tactical nuclear weapons do not represent a substitute for adequate conventional forces; and I am sure that my noble friend the Secretary of State, who is sitting here beside me, will note with interest the views of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, about the means of producing larger conventional forces at much smaller expense. But I suggest to the House that even with greater conventional strength NATO would continue to need its complementary tactical nuclear armoury as an insurance against nuclear attack, or even nuclear blackmail. As regards strategic nuclear forces, of course we recognise the limitations of both the British and French forces by comparison with the nuclear might of the United States and the Soviet Union, but we cannot foresee a situation in which Europe might want to abandon its strategic nuclear capability. The noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, asked me whether there was some kind of secret deal between Britain and France on this matter. I should like to reply to him categorically that there have been no discussions between the British and French Governments at any level about any form of nuclear defence collaboration between the two countries. I hope that that will satisfy him in some measure. There is of course an inescapable interest to pursue 144 the détente between the Eastern and Western parts of our continent, and to try to ensure a better international equilibrium in accordance with principles which Europeans and their friends and allies share.
Both the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, asked me about Vietnam and South-East Asia. I hope that what I say will be duly read, because I wish the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, "Many happy returns!" I believe that he is 84 to-day, and I know that he is celebrating, which is why he is not here now. I think it is still too early to say exactly what form a settlement in Vietnam will take and what international machinery will be the result. I would only say that Her Majesty's Government are certainly ready to help, whether in the context of the previously established Geneva machinery or in some other way; and we would certainly wish to consider taking part in any post-war reconstruction aid.
My noble friend the Secretary of State for Defence has spoken in detail of the Security Conference, of mutual and balanced force reductions and of NATO and Western European defence, and I do not feel that it would be right for me to repeat his excellent arguments. But I should like to refer to a point raised by my noble friend Lord Bethell and by the noble Baroness, Lady White, about whether we are trying to consolidate our relations with Eastern Europe. I would say that I think they are proceeding satisfactorily. As we all know, Her Majesty the Queen has recently paid a most successful visit to Yugoslavia. This year we have concluded both a trade agreement and an industrial co-operation agreement with Czechoslovakia. With Poland, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has recently had some useful discussions in Warsaw, which will lead during the coming weeks to the signature of a long-term industrial co-operation agreement; and with the other countries of Eastern Europe we also have agreements. I believe that all these contacts are of value and importance to us, because they help to achieve understanding between Governments and between the peoples of those countries. They are a reflection of the recent Summit communiqué which stated clearly 145 that it was the desire of the enlarged Community,to promote a wider economic and human co-operation with all the countries of Eastern Europe.The noble Lord, Lord Trevelyan, spoke with his great knowledge about the Middle East as, with equal passion, did the noble Lord, Lord Janner, who also told me that he could not be present to-night. In this very difficult situation, we remain convinced that Security Council Resolution No. 242 still offers the best basis for a just and durable settlement of this long-drawn out dispute. We only hope that the violence which has broken out in recent weeks and the reprisals, will not harm the efforts that have been made to continue Dr. Jarring's mission. I would also say to the noble Lord, Lord Janner, who spoke with such understandable emotion on the whole subject of terrorism, that it is not just an Arab problem; it is a world-wide problem, and we condemn it whatever its source. We believe that it is incumbent upon the whole international community to take effective and collective measures to stop the rot which otherwise threatens to destroy the whole fabric of world law and order.
My noble friend also spoke of a rather different dispute, that between ourselves and our old ally Iceland. All I can say here is that I hope that while talks continue the dangerous incidents in dangerous seas will cease, for the safety of the fishermen of both our countries, and for the good humour and temper of both our nations. The noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, spoke with some knowledge and imagination on the Law of the Sea Conference. All I would say to him is that at the moment we are deep in the preparations for it, and I entirely agree with him that in this case of extending fishing limits it is absolutely essential that we shall not have anarchy among the international community, and that we somehow reach agreement together on what is fair and just to all concerned.
146 The noble Lord, Lord Ashbourne, spoke about NATO in connection with Iceland, and about Russia's maritime strength. He asked: Should we not increase our own? When we are considering the size of the Royal Navy it is surely important to recognise that we do not now have to face any potential enemies alone but together with our allies. Even so, our maritime contribution to NATO is by far the greatest of those of the European members of the Alliance.
My Lords, if we can keep the peace in Western Europe and extend it to the East, we shall indeed have achieved much for our generation. The visit to China of my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary marks a new start in relations with that great country, and I am glad to be able to inform the House that so far the visit has gone very well indeed. I must say I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, with absorbed interest. If I may say so, his account of his visit to China made me wish that I had had the chance to go, too. I understand that China welcomes in particular the enlarged European Community because she sees it as a stabilising force and as a trading giant—and, of course, the new Europe's influence in the world will be very great. When Britain is a member and, I trust, when many members of the Commonwealth are associated in one form or another, our combined influence could become immense. Therefore, my Lords, I believe that in the years to come this nation will once again have the means and the will to tackle the vast problems that still confront us all.
§ LORD MOWBRAY AND STOURTON
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross, I beg to move that the debate be adjourned until to-morrow.
§ Moved, That the debate be adjourned until to-morrow.—(Lord Mowbray and Stourton.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned until to-morrow accordingly.