§ 4.6 p.m.
§ Debate resumed.
§ Lord Gladwyn
My Lords, I shall do my best to confine my remarks to six minutes. I believe that this debate has arisen largely by reason of the recent contradictory remarks made by various American leaders, notably President Reagan's rather unhappy observation that a nuclear war might in certain circumstances, be confined to Europe and possibly also by increasing doubts on this side of the Atlantic, about the continuing validity of the doctrine of "flexible response", to say nothing of fear arising from the possible installation of cruise missiles and Pershing Its in Europe, the whole resulting in a great increase in and demand for unilateral disarmament—a fatal proposal for surrender to the Soviet Union. To combat and reverse this mood and to stabilise our relationship with America, I should like to make the following short suggestions.
It must be frankly recognised that, while the maintenance of the North Atlantic Alliance under the general leadership of America, is obviously essential if we are not, in Europe, to come under the influence of the Soviet Union, there is necessarily some difference in the outlook of European members from the outlook of Americans if only because if war should come, whether conventional or nuclear, Europe might well bear the brunt of the fearful damage that would in any case result.
Fear of nuclear war is consequently, greater in Europe than in America and if it could in some way be mitigated there would be more chance of rallying popular support in Europe for what might be called an effective defensive effort that could certainly raise the nuclear threshold. Enormous importance consequently attaches, in European eyes, to the coming negotiations over long range tactical nuclear missiles and it is hoped, of course, for a renewal of SALT. It is also probable that European opinion, in the, I am afraid, likely event of the "zero option" not being accepted by the Russians, will be more in favour of some compromise solution than will our major ally.
That being so, the European members might perhaps be more nearly associated than seems likely at the moment with the negotiations which would probably be greatly assisted if, during the course of them and contrary, I think, to the opinion expressed by the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary this afternoon, there were first some joint declaration renouncing the first use of nuclear weapons and, secondly, the constitution of a zone on either side of the dividing line in Germany from which all "battlefield" and other nuclear weapons were to be withdrawn. I personally believe that, seeing that the Russians are probably just as 779 frightened of the possibility of war as we are, both those objectives might be achieved in the comparatively near future.
In support of these vital negotiations, and, indeed, largely irrespective of their outcome, we should not necessarily increase our conventional defences, but most certainly modernise them, which could be done without very much additional expense if we on this side of the Atlantic devoted to this purpose the sums or part of the sums which it is now proposed to spend on Trident—which I now believe will in all probability come to some £10 billion—and the Americans similarly diverted some portion of the present gigantic allocations for strategic nuclear missiles when they have at the moment more than enough already to counter any possible Soviet threat.
As it would, therefore, appear that there is a specific "European" interest and attitude towards defence, it might well be formulated in some meetings held in the general framework of the new Genscher/Colombo plan, which all of those who believe in European unity trust will shortly be approved by the Council of Ministers. The argument that this is impossible because Ireland, though in the Community, is not in NATO, makes little sense, as the meetings would not take place under the auspices of the treaty, but under the general aegis of the European Council, which is quite capable of adopting any procedure which it pleases, and it is questionable whether the Irish would object to the proposal anyway.
There are, naturally, other important aspects of the European-American relationship: namely, differences over economics, over policy towards the third world, over so-called "liberation" movements, to say nothing of the great overshadowing problem of the Middle East. On all these important issues there is, however, a forum in which a joint European policy can be hammered out with a view to arguing the toss with our great ally; namely, the forum of the Council of Ministers and the European Council. But there does not seem, as yet, to have been quite the same effort devoted towards arriving at a common European policy on the overriding issue of security and, more especially, the nuclear issue. The object of my short intervention is consequently to suggest that there should be, and to indicate the broad lines on which such a policy could conceivably rest.
§ 4.12 p.m.
§ Lord Saint Brides
My Lords, misconceptions and misunderstandings arise even in the best regulated alliances, and there are two at the moment in our transatlantic alliance which I should like to mention. The first and the less grave of them has already been touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Stewart of Fulham, and it is widespread in America. It is that we, the European members of NATO, are ourselves contributing scandalously little to the common defence while leaving the main burden to be shouldered by the United States.
This is a travesty of the truth, and to state the facts fully and firmly is all that is needed to refute it. But it keeps cropping up, as it did, for example, in Secretary Haig's confirmation hearings before the Senate last February, when he was asked by one senator whether 780 it was not the case that America's allies were failing to do their full share of the common defence. Mr. Haig vigorously and trenchantly replied that, if war occurred tomorrow, as a NATO commander he would have got 90 per cent. of his ground forces, 80 per cent. of his naval forces and 75 per cent. of his air forces from the European nations. Our Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher, spoke in the same vigorous vein when she was in the United States earlier this year.
On this side of the Atlantic, there is a much graver misconception. As we all know, it is being put about in some quarters, that, for sinister motives, the Americans seek to give the ascending spiral of the nuclear arms race between the super-powers a new twist by introducing a new generation of theatre nuclear missiles and perhaps later the neutron bomb into Western Europe, by so doing greatly enhancing the risk that Europe will become the main battle-ground between the two super-powers.
Many—indeed, most—of your Lordships will share my view that these statements amount to a gross distortion of the truth; and that, on the contrary, the introduction into western Europe of theatre nuclear weapons in the numbers and according to the programme which was agreed by the whole of NATO in December 1979, failing an agreement with Russia for a reciprocal limitation on the deployment of such weapons, would be an essential means of restoring the balance of strength which has been changed so profoundly to our western European detriment. If America is seeking, by these and other means, to improve the military posture of the Atlantic Alliance, it is not at all for warmongering motives, but because the Soviet Union used the years of détente to build up both its nuclear strength and also the unprecedented array of conventional weaponry, far exceeding any imaginable defensive purposes, which stands there in central Europe today.
It is in consequence of these Soviet actions that the West has become relatively weak and now needs to catch up if it is to negotiate with the Soviet Union from a position of strength. As has often been said, it is only by negotiating from such a position that one stands a chance of achieving satisfactory results.
What I find so odd and so bizarre is that it is this process of catching up by the West to which the nuclear disarmers object, which they regard as immoral, and apparently not the overwhelming Soviet build-up of up-to-date nuclear and other weapons which has occasioned it. It was not during the years of the Soviet build-up, not during the deadly new twist which the Russians gave to the arms spiral during the years of détente, that the CND movement was revived in this country and its comparable organisations on the Continent grew to their present size; but latterly, in opposition to the counter-measures which the West has belatedly set on foot in the 23 months which have elapsed since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
In France President Mitterrand and his Foreign Minister have said firmly and with emphasis that there is an urgent need to restore the nuclear balance in Europe. The French Government have announced that they intend to take steps to strengthen France's own nuclear deterrent, the force de frappe. It is significant that in taking these steps and in making 781 these pronouncements the French Government undoubtedly have the support of the overwhelming mass of the French people.
My Lords, I do not fully understand and cannot explain why the Russian threat to Britain and its European partners should be underestimated in some quarters in this country. Perhaps the desire to minimise the Russian threat is the result of wishful thinking; perhaps it comes from a belief in the possibility of appeasing Russia if we take a sufficiently complaisant attitude; or perhaps it comes from a failure to grasp the profound difference in ethos between the two super-powers, between the ethos which applies in Russia—one of a basic belief in coercion—and the ethos of America where there apply the principles of freedom under law which were inherited from Britain. But, my Lords, the British people have a long history of reacting appropriately to the full facts when they are laid before them. I believe that they will do so on this occasion. Therefore, I have no fear of the long-term outcome. It is a major step forward that our great ally, the United States, should at long last have proclaimed a co-ordinated and constructive arms control policy behind which we can put our weight and our support.
§ 4.18 p.m.
Lord Home of the Hirsel
My Lords, the anxiety which prompted my noble friend Lord Kimberley to put his Motion on the Order Paper is certainly soundly based in history. Twice in this century it has been proved that faced with a powerful and offensive enemy it required the combined strength of Europe and America to contain and defeat aggression; one or the other could not have done it, and one or the other could not do it now. That is why NATO was formed and the joint obligation was underwritten to defend the Continent and the Atlantic Ocean. Defence on that scale cannot be improvised.
Therefore, it is necessary—whether we are thinking in terms of organising the deterrent or whether we are thinking in terms of the reality of war—that the Europeans, the Americans and the NATO Council should keep in step all the time. Is that alliance still necessary? The answer must be an unequivocal Yes for two reasons, because no one has yet been able to think of a better way of keeping the peace than the balance of power. It may be man's fault, but no better way has been found.
The second reason is that the Soviet Union—and in this the Soviet is alone among the nations—openly proclaims that there are circumstances in which force may be used to achieve a political aim. Following the examples of Czechoslovakia and the more recent one of Afghanistan, and the squeeze on Poland, no one can say for certain that a country of Western Europe could not be a political aim.
Is there any faltering of will among the European allies of the United States? If there is, I think the hesitation lies in the nuclear dimension in the balance of power. The fear in Europe that if the philosophy of deterrence breaks down then the democracies of Western Europe would bear the brunt of the nuclear exchange, which breeds a corresponding fear in the United States that having accepted the responsibility—and it is an awful and awesome responsibility—of 782 defending Europe (the United States has undertaken to do no less than that) the Europeans themselves might deprive the United States of the means by which they could fulfil their commitment. One understands then a certain fear on both sides, but fear is a notoriously bad counsellor, and the answer for the alliance must be to make the deterrence work.
In weighing the response of the Western democracies to the problems posed by Russia's mobilisation of fire power facts must be faced. It is demonstrable that weakness tempts to aggression. Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan are witnesses to that. While doubtless it is true that the Russian leaders will not contemplate a pre-emptive nuclear strike, nevertheless 40,000 tanks are offensively deployed in the Warsaw Pact area and relative to that the NATO strength is weak.
There are only two ways in which such a force could be neutralised. The first is if the Russians know that the NATO alliance has the defensive weaponry to make the risk of aggression too high. The second is mutual and balanced disarmament. I believe that the fear among the young, particularly in Europe, recently expressed in marches and demonstrations is not because they are convinced of the virtue or security of unilateral disarmament, but because the emphasis lately seemed to be concentrated on rearmament to the exclusion of disarmament. The speech of President Reagan has begun to correct that imbalance.
Obviously I cannot speak for other countries, but I believe that the people of the United Kingdom will accept the defensive missiles as necessary, provided urgency is given to negotiation on concrete measures of disarmament. I hope we are entering into a period of more rational and less emotional assessment in negotiations in which people will be able to judge the facts. It is necessary to give a word of caution. When I last negotiated with the Russians they would not sit down at the table unless the words "mutual and balanced" were taken out of the formula. That is some measure of the difficulty we will face. The Russians have never yet agreed to verification of obligations undertaken. I hope we have all learned something since then.
This is a short debate. I shall not prolong it. But I hope that we shall have less loose talk in the context of nuclear and conventional arms. All that needs to be said is that if the Russians were to launch an aggression NATO would use those weapons which are required to defeat it. We need not say more, and we ought not to say less. In Europe we could do more to recognise what I have called the awesome commitment of the defence of Europe undertaken by the United States. We are lucky to have such an ally. With a little more comprehension and understanding, I believe the alliance will remain united and will succeed in its double task of deterring aggression and guarding the peace.
§ 4.24 p.m.
§ Lord Kennet
My Lords, it is only a fortnight since the House last discussed NATO, but during that fortnight the deadly blockage of the last two years has begun visibly to loosen up. It is now understood in Washington that if Russia is wrongfully occupying Afghanistan that is not a reason to refuse contact; it may even be a reason to accelerate contact so long as nothing is done which condones that occupation. 783 If we are to wait for a virtuous Russia before talking about disarmament, we shall see no disarmament. We live in a world of sinners: and sin, by definition, is not the monopoly of other people.
President Reagan's opening bid for the coming negotiations was a reasonable one, and we in Europe should certainly close ranks behind it. It included four things in a comprehensive framework: the European nuclear missile balance; strategic arms reduction talks, the new formulation, START; conventional reductions, and confidence building measures; and lastly the European disarmament conference beloved of France. It is good to know that this package was welcomed, though in measured terms, by Professor E. P. Thompson, the brains of CND. And within a few days of this Mr. Brezhnev had gone to Bonn and unveiled his own opening bid.
True enough, they are far apart: America wants Russia to dismantle all its IRBMs, or presumably all of those on the western front, including not only the SS20s but also the ancient SS4s and 5s, in return for NATO cancelling the intended deployment of cruise and Pershing II missiles. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, offers a reduction of IRBMs, without saying which type, and I quote, "not by dozens, but by hundreds". Nor does it specify the quid pro quo. But I think in context we must read this to mean in return for the same quid pro quo; namely, the zero option on the Western side. As bids in a still completely public negotiation go, these are not too far apart. One can already foresee quite a few possible compromise outcomes. But let us leave the negotiators to their work.
Hope has returned, and we should record the outstanding part played in its return by Chancellor Schmidt, the leader of the German Social Democrat Party. Let us remember his extremely eloquent and skilful speech to the Labour Party Conference in 1974 when he begged that party to maintain its European Community allegiance. What a pity it did not listen to him. Let us remember his Alastair Buchan memorial lecture of 1977 when he expressed here in London, and in English, the principle which his country has followed since; the "two possible ways".There are two possible ways"—he said—of establishing a conventional balance with the Warsaw Pact states".And the remark is equally true of the nuclear balance.One would he for the Western Alliance to undertake a massive build-up of forces and weapons systems: the other for both NATO and the Warsaw Pact to reduce their force strength and achieve an overall balance at a lower level. I prefer the latter",said Chancellor Schmidt. So do we all. Let us also remember the fortitude with which Chancellor Schmidt recently, despite alarming ill health, stood his ground against a big unilateralist swing in the SPD, and unilateralist demonstrations in Bonn of unexampled size, and succeeded at last in bringing all the horses to the water. We should now pray that they will drink.
A new tone was set in Washington by President Reagan's speech last week. In it he at last, at long last, became the first American leader to avoid the shameful designations, "theatre nuclear weapons" 784 and "tactical nuclear weapons". He called the things throughout by their right name; intermediate range nuclear forces. We should be very grateful for that. With any luck, the stories about the Reagan Administration's supposed willingness to fight a nuclear war to the last European can now be laid to rest. Let us file them under the labels "canards" and "Aunt Sallies". The first great point about deterrence is, and always has been, that it should look as doubtful and as horrible as possible. That is how you deter. The other great point about it is, and always has been, that it is the second most dangerous way of getting through the nuclear age. The most dangerous way would be unilateral disarmament. The least dangerous is multilateral disarmament. Nobody in their senses would prolong a high level deterrent policy for a moment after they had the opportunity of establishing a lower level one by multilateral disarmament.
The next move, therefore, has to be towards minimum deterrent forces. At present the two sides face each other with nuclear stockpiles a thousand times what would be needed to deter either from attacking the other. Let them get that down to say, 10 times, or even five; the deterrence will still be complete. Let us then all draw a deep breath and see if we can go further.
At a certain point in the procedure the British and French independent nuclear forces become relevant. It must be the purpose of all nuclear powers to possess only that minimum of nuclear forces needed to achieve deterrence in a world where nuclear weapons still exist. This is the key to the whole matter. It is the doctrine of minimum deterrence: the French and Chinese Governments act in accordance with it. It is also implicit in what Secretaries Haig and Weinberger and Mr. Eugene Rostow, the Director of the Arms Control Disarmament Agency in Washington, have been recently saying. Lord Mountbatten espoused it. It is favoured in Pugwash.
Britain and France have in fact always been at the minimum level, but when the super-powers have reduced their nuclear weapons enough for our minimum forces to become relevant, then Britain and France must become directly interested and, if their own forces are to be discussed, they must of course be full parties at the negotiating table. That is some time ahead. In the meantime, we must salute not only Chancellor Schmidt's achievement, but also the new attempt by the super-powers to resume nuclear disarmament negotiations after a gap of 15 years or more. We must use words according to their meanings, and "disarmament" does not mean refraining from building weapons nor moving existing weapons around; it means dismantling and destroying weapons. That is why the present moment is so hopeful.
§ 4.31 p.m.
§ Lord Lucas of Chilworth
My Lords, I do not dissent from anything that has been said today, but I draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that all speakers have so far concerned themselves with what I might call the military aspects of the alliance. I do not think anybody would doubt the value of the alliance and the need for free and independent people to defend that freedom. On the other hand, I believe the main quarrel at present between us and our allies, the 785 Americans, is that there appears to be a total concentration of effort on this military aspect, whereas I believe there is another arm which should be examined.
At the North Atlantic Assembly meeting earlier this year, Mr. Eagleburger, the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, said the United States were concerned about pressures in Europe to change a policy which had prevented war for over 30 years. I do not know why there should be concern that the policy should be challenged. It should be challenged and it is certainly challenged. It is challenged by a new generation of people born in times of world peace. in an era of comparative freedom. That generation points an accusing finger at NATO, at what it sees as an association of ageing World War II veterans who are pursuing much the same policies, those of arms and deterrence, as were formulated 35 years ago. They ask, through conferences, demonstrations and so on, a number of questions which are difficult to answer. Indeed, we as parliamentarians have totally failed in the alliance to answer those questions, and we leave it to the newspapers and indeed to our enemies to put answers into those questioning mouths.
In the summer there was a meeting in Oxford of the Atlantic Association of Young Political Leaders. I attended it with colleagues from the Education, Cultural Affairs and Information Committee of the Assembly and we were greatly distressed by the ill-preparedness of the delegates who came to discuss matters such as we are discussing this afternoon. They were totally unaware of any of the achievements of the alliance, either through the Assembly or through the military alliance, and at the end they said, "Surely there must be a way to teach history, civic education and ethics, all developed one with another, through the curricula of schools. There should be an opportunity to expose young people to the realities of international affairs".
We in this country do not do that very well, nor do we do it very well in Europe. Indeed, at the Assembly's meeting in Munich in October, one speaker after another, unconcerned with the Education, Cultural Affairs and Information Committee, called for educational programmes so that the questioning and challenging generation could be made aware of what was being done, and why. M. Aumont of France, Snr. Falluchi of Italy and Herr Hupka of the Federal Republic of Germany, among others, all called, in their separate ways, for a wider educational process. The Education, Cultural Affairs and Information Committee adopted a text calling on the Assembly to provide the facilities, but the reality is that there are no funds available. The Secretary-General himself said: "We publish reports of the Assembly's deliberations, but we do not have the resources to disseminate that information".
Until such time as proper resources are provided for what one might call the talking or parliamentary arm of the alliance to do their kind of work, and they are ready to do it, there can be little change in this questioning attitude and the relationship between ourselves, particularly in Europe, and the North Americans, where there is a gulf of misunderstanding, suspicion and distrust. That gulf can be healed only by a greater knowledge of each other's way of thinking, our attitude towards current political and military problems and a realisation of what is being done. 786 I urge all members of the alliance to provide those kind of funds for this peaceful occupation of energies concerned with NATO and its relationships.
§ 4.37 p.m.
§ Lord Jenkins of Putney
My Lords, the last two speakers have done something to rescue the debate from disrepute as a result of the manner in which the noble Earl, Lord Kimberley, introduced the matter. He did a disservice to his own cause and to this House. It is not for me to assist his cause, but I am concerned about the reputation of your Lordships' House and Parliament. The purpose of Parliamentary privilege is not to enable noble Lords to slander and attack people in a manner which they would not be prepared to do outside this House.
It is extremely damaging for a member of the Labour Party to be declared to be a communist. Some years ago the Daily Mirror had to pay £10,000 to George Elvin, General Secretary of the ACCT, because they said he was a member of the Communist Party, a communist or was sympathetic to communism, or something of that sort. I suggest that if the noble Earl were outside this Chamber and accused Monsignor Bruce Kent or Professor Michael Pentz in the terms he used inside this Chamber, it would cost him about £100,000. If the noble Earl disagrees with that, let him put the matter to the test; let him have the courage to say outside this Chamber what he said inside it, and then we shall see what substance there is in what he had to say. I believe the law would demonstrate to him that there was no substance in it whatsoever.
As for the nature of the campaign, the CND is an organisation of protest and it is obvious that it has members of the Communist Party in it; it would be impossible for that not to be the case. But because of that, is it right for the noble Earl to try to denigrate the entire organisation? Is everybody who supports unilateral disarmament to be accused, as another noble Lord put it, of wittingly or unwittingly playing the Russian game? Are noble Lords here who support this cause to be accused of that? Is the new Shadow Defence Spokesman, Mr. John Silkin, to be accused of disloyalty because he does not believe in the present policy of the Government?
What are the Government beginning to say? They are getting themselves into very deep water if they are saying that everybody who fails to agree with them is disloyal to this country. That is the position they are getting themselves into, and they are beginning to say it about some people about whom they have no right to say it. If any kind of dissent with Government policy, if disagreement with the development of nuclear war, is to be regarded as disloyal and in some way incapable of being uttered by anyone with the real interests of this country at heart, then that is a position about which the Government had better think again.
I believe that the Government are beginning to think again about it. We have not heard from the Front Bench recently the kind of McCarthyite business which we were hearing a few months ago. I believe that the Government have realised that this kind of thing does not pay, and I am rather inclined to wonder whether they will regard the noble Earl as having performed a 787 service on their behalf this afternoon. I am somewhat inclined to doubt it.
In a recent debate in which I took part at Bristol University the case for the NATO proposition, full-scale nuclear arming, was put by Mr. Peter Blaker, and Colonel Alford of the Institute of Strategic Studies, in a manner which commanded respect. They did not attempt to denigrate their opponents. They put their case straight, and we put our case straight. We won, but by a fairly small margin, and it is my belief that this was precisely because they did not attempt to denigrate the cause that we represented, but tried to face the facts of the position.
Since I have had to spend my time in defending our integrity—I have spent four minutes in that—I have left myself with only one minute in which to try to put our case. Clearly I simply cannot do that, and I shall have to leave it to other speakers. However, I would say to your Lordships that I hope that when, on another occasion, we return to this subject, we shall do so on a different basis, because there is a reasonable argument to be put and to be heard on both sides, and that is what I was told this House was for when I came into it.
§ 4.41 p.m.
§ The Earl of Cork and Orrery
My Lords, perhaps it is as well that due to lack of time I am prevented from replying to the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney. At the risk of striking a slightly discordant note, I should like to refer to two recent happenings, both on the other side of the Atlantic, one of which at least your Lordships will already have heard of, perhaps almost too often. I refer to the recent exchange between Mr. Haig and Mr. Weinberger. As your Lordships will remember, Mr. Haig, as the Secretary of State, is reported as referring to the fact that NATO had a contingency plan for firing a demonstrative nuclear weapon across the bows (as it were) of the Russians in time of war, if they thought that they were going too far. That was contradicted by Mr. Weinberger, the Minister of Defence, who said that there was no such contingency plan and—I think I am right in saying this—there never has been.
Now, the question is, who was right? At this point there enters into the discussion a third authority, for whose existence I personally can vouch, but whom I cannot identify, who said that in fact they were both right, because Mr. Weinberger had been referring to contingency planning—he said that there had not been such a contingency plan—while Mr. Haig, on the other hand, was referring to options; and it was clear that the firing of a nuclear shot in certain circumstances was a possible option, or might become so. Therefore there was no connection between the two.
Then, within a few hours of that happening, I turned on my television set, and what did I see? I saw Mr. Haig, with whom I am acquainted, and whom therefore I can recognise, and I heard him say that NATO has contingency plans for the firing of a nuclear shot across the bows of the Russians. So where are we now? One is saying one thing, one is saying the other, and the third apparently is disagreeing with them both. Where are we? Well, I hope that we are in the same position of loyalty towards and trust of our friends, the allies, as we were previously. But that does not make it very 788 much easier, and in my opinion it has three effects.
The first effect is to cast doubts on the truth or otherwise of what is actually said. The second effect is to raise doubts concerning the responsibility (if that is the right word) of those who make these statements. What reliance are we to place upon them? I shall mention the third effect in a moment when I have said something about the CBS reports.
Some of your Lordships, perhaps most of you, will have seen these reports. They were transmitted on British television a few weeks ago, and they dealt with the defence of the United States. I think there were five of them, but at any rate the last one (which is the one I am thinking of) dealt with what is known as the notion of the integrated battlefield. The idea of this is, roughly, if I understand it properly, that one cannot shift from non-nuclear warfare—I refuse to use the word "conventional"—to nuclear warfare without a lot of logistical upsets, movements, and running about which would draw the attention of the enemy, and so forefeit surprise. Therefore there is the expedient known as the integrated battlefield, in which one starts with all the weapons readily deployed, and so one is enabled to shift from one to the other, from non-nuclear to nuclear, and back again—in my opinion a crazily dangerous idea, if ever I heard one.
That point came out in the programme. Again, we had another authority coming in, and, when he was asked a question about this point, in the course of his answer he produced a statement to the effect that American strategic policy is not made by the CBS cameras. No, it is not made by CBS cameras, and the programme was not made by them, either. It was made by American officers in uniform, talking and training in front of the CBS cameras, by which it was recorded, and through which it was broadcast presumably to the rest of the world.
That is a very alarming state of affairs, and it brings me straight to the third effect that I mentioned a few moments ago. It amounts to this. Such a programme might have been written deliberately as a recruiting programme for the CND. In saying that, I imply no criticism at all of the CND; I merely state this fact—and I believe that it is a fact.
When one member of the alliance, any alliance, speaks, or seems to speak, with what I would describe as a bewildering or uncertain voice, I believe that other members, or individual citizens of other member countries, have a duty not to maintain a discreet and tactful silence, but to speak up, and say so. I hope your Lordships will agree.
§ 4.47 p.m.
§ Lord Gore-Booth
My Lords, I hope that I might make the shortest speech of the debate, which has been full of very important and very encouraging speeches on this extremely critical situation, which might become worse before it gets better—and that means a very great deal. I wish to allude very briefly to two items which seem to me to be working against us and which we need to be aware of, even if they are not susceptible of improving by legislation. One of them, quite frankly, is a feeling which hangs like a shroud over many people. It is that for some reason or another which they do not quite know, they do not like Americans.
789 I agreed very much with the noble Lord—two speakers ago, I think—who said that the educational process would play a very important part in the immediate and near future in strengthening our own affairs and keeping our morale straight. We live in an age which is only gradually recovering from what one might call the era of decadence in much of British literature. I want very much to underline the point that in so far as people who write can get out of that era, that will improve in every other way our capacity to give a good account of ourselves if the worst should happen. Of course, one must not forget what the worst would be like if it did happen. Not only is it our duty to arm ourselves sensibly and efficiently; I am quite sure that we need to arm our psychological side, too. I think that this really refers to all parts of our country's activities. I think this also applies to the writing of literature. Not only that—this is a purely human thing, but, after all, the most important thing in the world is the survival of human beings—but we need to have more consciousness of what can be done by false information and by aggressively pessimistic views of our own country and our own society. I believe this to be a very important aspect of our whole civilisation and its preservation.
As I said, this is not a thing you can do by legislation or by making a law about this, that or the other; it is simply that there is a need in our society for a consciousness that we have been through a period in which many great things have been done and have been invented, and that it will continue. But it is really very important, to my mind, that the backward-looking and pessimistic view of our society that so many people indulge in by way of careless talking—and I do not mean this about armaments or any such thing, but simply the talking down of our own society, its abilities and its potentialities—can create more of a pessimistic feeling throughout the country, even if not intended, than should ever be the case.
One thing that perhaps increases our vulnerability (and this has been alluded to already) is the lamentable ignorance in our country of what Americans are like—what they do, whether they are for us or against us, and so on. I think that our educational side, whether it be the private sector or otherwise, has been very much lacking in informing our people of the nature, the talents and everything else of our absolutely vital allies; because if things did go badly then I think it is common understanding that if we did not have the Americans as our trusting allies our prospects would indeed be very poor.
I hope that this rather short and perhaps not very eloquent account of this danger has at least shown that there is a problem on the psychological side in our present society of which we must be conscious, and that there must be a conscious effort by our Government, by our rulers, and by those of our people who do not feel like this to make quite sure that this kind of psychology does not grow.
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ Lord Beloff
My Lords, the 30 and more years of peace and growing prosperity that Europe has enjoyed has been due to two innovations in the post-war world, both of which we owe largely to American inspiration and leadership. One is the North Atlantic Alliance, which is our proper subject today, and the 790 other is the movement for European integration, particularly economic integration, with which it is closely connected and of which it is an important support. Both these are now simultaneously, as we know, under criticism and under attack.
One of these has been mentioned; indeed, it was mentioned at the beginning of this debate by the noble Earl, Lord Kimberley, when he spoke about the CND. I am not perhaps over-worried about the impact of the CND and that type of thinking in this country. We have had that sort of thing with us for a very long time. Noble Lords from north of the border will remember that Robert Burns wrote an ode to a member of the CND:Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,O what a panic's in thy breastie!".But it is the effect on others; it is the effect on the young; it is the effect on other countries. In a broadcast yesterday morning Mr. Michael Binyon, The Times correspondent in Moscow who has done a great deal, I think, in the past few years to explain to us the nature of Soviet society, its aims and its fears, pointed out from Bonn that the Russians had clearly arrived there vastly over-estimating the impact that these peace demonstrations had made, and therefore believing, quite wrongly, that they would find Chancellor Schmidt very ready to give way. Equally on the other side of the Atlantic these reports are bound to create some questioning.
But the important thing is not, I think, even now, these movements, however large they are: the important thing is Governments, present and future. The noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, has pointed to the fact (and no one could deny it) that in the presentation of American policy there is from time to time a good deal of confusion and disarray. It is the nature of the American governmental system that it should be so. But at the same time we have to admit that not only within this Administration but as between succeeding American Administrations there has been no departure from the fundamental belief that it is in their interests to preserve the freedom of Western Europe and to promote its further integration.
It is when they look at this country, for instance, that they find a Government which is united but a Government which could be replaced by an opposition party which denies both the foundations of this 30 years of peace. As the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, pointed out, the Opposition is now represented on defence matters by a self-confessed unilateralist. They are represented on European matters by Mr. Eric Heifer, one of whose main points in his political career in recent years has been to denigrate any value to be got out of our association with Europe. It is true that the right honourable Denis Healey still figures on that Front Bench, but what he is doing there it is difficult to say, unless he believes in the medical adage that every gouty foot needs a foot-stool.
I think it is up to those who represent that party in this House to say whether they accept the policy of their party or whether they reject it. In the case of Back-Bench Members like Lord Stewart of Fulham, we know precisely where he stands; but he is not, I think, in the position of the Leader of the Opposition, Lord Peart, who in the debate on the Address declared, 791I am not a unilateralist".—[Official Report, 10/11/81; col. 220.].And he repeated that declaration today. I must say that I have some sympathy with the erstwhile noble Lord, the erstwhile Lord Stansgate, when he says it is odd to have people representing a party in a formal capacity and denying its party policy; and I can see that across the Atlantic, or even across the Channel, there must be grave confusion. What credibility can be given to a British Government today if it could be replaced by a Government taking precisely the opposite view? That, I think, is the question to which the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, will have to address herself when she replies to this debate from the other side of the House.
In the debate on 10th November, in which she took part, she said—and I quote from Hansard, column 117:We do not have to be rigid militarists, multilateralists, unilateralists or to belong to any one particular category".I do not know whether, if she seeks spiritual consolation from the right reverend Prelates, she says, "Do I have to be a Christian, a Jew or a Moslem, or would some combination of these do?" It is our contention on this side of the House that unilateralism and multi-lateralism are not one and the same thing: one is deeply and totally opposed to the other.
§ 5 P.m.
§ Lord Shinwell
My Lords, in the last 31 years since the United States agreed to an association with the other countries of the West in the North Atlantic Alliance and President Truman agreed, provided conditions were satisfactory and that we would meet our obligations, that the then General Eisenhower would be sent over to Europe to act as Supreme Commander, relations have been strained; but they have been of a minor character. After all, we must take note that even among the Americans relations are strained. General Haig does not always agree with Defence Secretary Weinberger; and sometimes we do not know who President Reagan agrees with. Sometimes the Americans doubted our sincerity and whether we meant business or whether we would provide the manpower, equipment and expenditure and sometimes we were a little doubtful about the Americans because they tried to indulge in domination and occasionally insisted that we must purchase weapons that we did not think necessary.
But in spite of these minor difficulties the fact remains (there is no escape from it) that for the last 30 years the maintenance of peace and the prevention of another war has been due to the association of the United States with other Western countries; and so it must remain, whether we like it or not. I like it. It does not bother me a bit and I hope that other noble Lords will like it. But we have to accept that there are exceptions. But whether we like it or not, we have to rely on the strength, the influence, the military power and the financial resources of the United States in the Atlantic alliance in order to maintain peace and, in the event of a conflict of a conventional character, to resist aggression. There is no escape from it. All this talk about demonstrations and unilateralism and multilateralism is quite irrelevant.
I am speaking in terms not of the possibility of 792 nuclear war but of conventional war. Now dealing with nuclear war, I do not believe for a moment that the Russians want a nuclear war. Indeed, I am pleased, to some extent, with what happened the other day at Bonn between Chancellor Schmidt and President Brezhnev. They did not completely agree, but I think they are on the right road in having discussions and consultations. The Russians do not want a nuclear war. What will they gain by it? Supposing that they destroy London and Glasgow and Edinburgh; supposing that they annihilate millions of people in this country, with a scorched earth policy, do you think they will send their parachutists over and take possession of it? No. They are not looking for that. Neither do we want nuclear war. But there is always the possibility of a conventional conflict.
Now I come down to brass tacks. What I wanted to know from this debate is this: Are we satisfied with the strength, the influence, the equipment and the strategy of the North American alliance? That is the important consideration. Are we satisfied about the manpower, about the equipment, about the training, about the forces that will be available in the event of conflict? Are we satisfied about the mobility of transport, about the provision of foodstuffs for the civilian population in the event of conflict; and also what is required for the forces themselves? These are the considerations that ought to be entertained by Members of your Lordships' House and by all those concerned.
The fact is that we do not know about these things. We get very little information about these matters—partly on grounds of security; and I do not understand why security should enter into the argument at all. These are matters upon which the public are entitled to be informed and, at any rate, we are entitled to be informed. I wonder whether we will get information tonight. I doubt it. Perhaps we ought not to expect it, but we ought to be saying this. Are we satisfied with our strength or are we dismayed at our weakness? These are primary considerations. I make no bones about it. I do not believe in anything unilateral. I do not think that the unilateralists could achieve any objective of any advantage. I can understand people believing in that. Why not? It is a free country. We have eccentric people. Some think they are insane. I do not go as far as that. I sometimes think they are obscene; but they are entitled to express their opinion. I reject their views.
I rely on what I have said in previous debates. We must maintain the Altantic Alliance. It is unity that we want. The strength we have got, not for purposes of using it, but for a deterrent to begin with. But, in circumstances which we cannot control, we must act in unity in order to provide security for our people and to provide security for the people of the West. That is our purpose. I hope we will have no nonsense about that. Whether the unilateralists become powerful or weak or whether we decide on unilateral discussion, whether anything of that sort happens, let us make it a primary consideration, along with the United States of America, that, despite the occasional differences, we will maintain the alliance in order to promote peace—and that is the first consideration—and, in the event of a conventional conflict, to resist aggression.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ Lord Orr-Ewing
My Lords, in attempting to speak for only six minutes one must cut out some of the niceties of debate. The public and parliamentarians alike must have been surprised by the seeming spontaneity with which large crowds gathered in almost every Western European NATO capital in recent weeks and weekends to shout anti-American slogans, to urge unilateral nuclear disarmament and to call for peace. In calling for peace, they are only echoing what every one of us wants. For many years, it has been Moscow's ambition to drive a wedge of hostility and misunderstanding between the USA and Europe. The Soviets see more clearly than perhaps the 250 million of us living in Western Europe that if the USA become disenchanted and withdraw their 350,000 troops from Western Europe, their aircraft, their tanks, ships and their nuclear shield, the alliance will collapse. That is why the Soviets devote so much effort to NATO's disruption.
I saw a BBC programme called "World Tonight" on November 12th where Don Milner interviewed Dr. Joseph Luns who has been the Secretary General of NATO for over 10 years. In reply to Don Milner, Dr. Luns gave three instances. He saidIn all the reports I see from agents of the KGB, or other security services, who defect to the West, all mention the fact that the Soviet Union is paying for the Peace Movements".He went on, secondly:On the 19th October, a KGB defector before the German wireless declared that the Soviet Union was paying for the Peace Movement in Western Europe".Thirdly, he said:At the end of October a Soviet diplomat was expelled from Denmark and some days later one of the leaders of the Peace Movement in Denmark and his wife were arrested for having received chunks of money from the Soviet Union to promote the Movement and for having been in constant connection with those spies".We saw well-meaning people collecting in numbers of 150,000 or even 250,000 (depending upon whose figures you believe) in Hyde Park recently to demonstrate. Special trains and special buses were provided for all and these were quite free of charge. At the annual meeting of the United Kingdom CND recently, the chairman—and I think the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, was in the chair at the time; and I am sorry he is not here at the moment—was asked where the money came from. No one was able to get a reply. The Labour Party and the TUC have both said that they did not finance these gatherings. Who paid for the special trains and for the special buses? Who paid for them to go all over Europe, across frontiers, to gather huge crowds demonstrating on similar lines in all the capitals?
I think this is an incredibly well organised campaign and it is nurtured, as we have heard from fundamentally honest people of great integrity, by Moscow and the Soviets. They have achieved outstanding success. When, in 1976, they mounted a campaign to dissuade President Carter in his early days from building the neutron bomb, they had the first of these great successes. I saw recently published in the American Bar Association intelligence report for April 1981 the following figures: The Soviets launched a major propaganda campaign against the neutron bomb. It is officially estimated that this specific campaign cost £100 million 794 dollars. It was part of a Soviet general campaign aimed at preventing NATO from modernising its theatre nuclear forces.
Such was the success of that campaign that they are following on now to try and prevent the deployment of theatre nuclear forces to match the SS20s now being deployed every two weeks across the Iron Curtain and in Europe. Fortunately—and I think I have to say this—if you read the MORI report in The Times today, this country is much more staunch than perhaps some of our allies realise. The report published in The Times says that 69 per cent. of our population oppose unilateralism, that 23 per cent. are in favour.
It is somewhat disturbing that in the younger element who knew nothing of the last war, the 15 to 24-year-olds, there is a bigger percentage; 29 per cent. of those favour unilateralism. I picked up today—the CND are working feverishly in the schools—a phamphlet being circulated in the schools called Schools against the Bomb. It is put out by Monseignor Bruce Kent and other members of the nuclear disarmament campaign. We have to counter this, because if they indoctrinate the young they will grow up and they may influence our allies into believing that we are rotten at the core. We are not. We are solid, honest and reasonably well armed, and we must say so wide and handsome.
The noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, in a recent speech in this House, said that Her Majesty's Government have documented evidence of the extent to which alien political influences are exploiting the peace movements in western Europe and the USA. If this is true, I would say to my noble friend who is to wind up that surely we must publish these facts. The intelligence people in all countries like to keep the cards so close to their chests that they never actually expose them and help our cause.
Has not the time come to say where the money is coming from, who is providing the money, what are the routes? It must be known who paid for the trains and who paid for the buses all over western Europe. Cannot our intelligence service publish these facts and go on the radio and tell the population about it? I would urge my noble friend to be more forthcoming. We are going to lose this battle unless we publish the facts high and wide.
§ 5.14 p.m.
The Earl of Bessborough
My Lords, I thank my noble friend for giving us the opportunity to put a European Community point of view in regard to relations between European members of NATO and the United States. Having been for many years president and chairman of the European Atlantic Group and later vice-president of the European Parliament, I think we should welcome President Reagan's American concept of peace, and we must all recognise and emphasise the value of deterrent nuclear weapons as tools of peace in a world where one political leader does not know the potential for good or evil in another. In the non-communist world the people can democratically dismiss one Government for another. Not so in the USSR. In non-communist societies mankind has a spiritual end—love thy neighbour as thyself—and not the purely material ends of marxism. I feel, therefore, that we should challenge the Soviet Union to abandon its self 795 appointed role as propagator of communist revolution and allow people to choose and evolve their own political systems.
This is the kernel of the conflict in Poland and Afghanistan. If the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan and allowed Poland to develop its own political institutions, the whole international climate would change. The European Community is a practical example of the recognition of common interests in political co-operation: of feeding our indigenous populations and promoting relations with less developed countries. I believe we should invite the US Administration and US firms to assist in these developments in order to strengthen Europe as a bastion of basic human freedom.
In a short speech let me also salute the US decision to purchase trainer aircraft manufactured by British Aerospace and the co-operation between US and British firms in developing the Harrier aircraft which I have looked at closely in St. Louis, Missouri. I should also take up the call of my honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence in his lecture on the 17th November for specialisation among the European members of NATO. The United States can certainly assist this process through consistent purchasing policies.
I think we should also remind the United States that the Community has unique treaty obligations to the African, Caribbean and Pacific states, designed to help their own internal social and economic growth; and I hope that following the Cancun summit the United States Government will co-operate with Community institutions in developing these new relationships.
I believe that the proposals of Herr Genscher and Signor Colombo should be supported by Her Majesty's Government—that is, proposals for a joint analysis of worldwide and regional threats to the Community, the United States and other nations, and proposals for the development of common policies to counter such threats with the aim of improving the Community's collective capacity to react in consultation with the United States and NATO. I believe, too, that such consultation should be extended to include China and Japan, and that we should all jointly develop policies for stability based on an equilibrium of forces.
I would end by challenging the Soviet Union to abandon revolution and disarm unilaterally in nuclear weapons. I often ask, since the USSR supports unilateralists in western Europe, why do they not set an example by unilaterally disarming themselves? Having regard to their vast lebensraum and rich resources within their own territories and the existence of large buffer zones between themselves and the states of a different ideology, I think they could safely do so.
We may welcome President Brezhnev's offer to withdraw some SS20 missiles behind the Urals. But in my view, nothing less than an offer of total unilateral nuclear disarmament will really make us in the West feel that the Soviet Union is genuine in its desire for peace.
I have a few seconds left and I want to mention the Diligent Report to the European Parliament on the protection and surveillance of shipping routes for oil and raw materials which was approved recently 796 by the European Parliament. I should like to draw that to the attention of my noble friend Lord Trefgarne. Finally, I think that we should say to the United States that an effective challenge to Soviet Marxism depends not only on social and economic progress in the West, but also on a new European-North American Marshall Plan designed to bring the peoples of the less developed countries to what some describe as the banquet of life.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Lord Hunt of Tanworth
My Lords, a lot has been said this afternoon about the pacifists, whose views I respect, and about the fellow travellers, with whom I disagree. But rather less has been said about a section of our communities which I think is more disturbing—that is, the number of sensible, moderate, ordinary, intelligent people who have always felt a loyalty to the alliance but who now feel that things are getting out of control, that we do not know what we are doing and that war in Europe is more likely.
In one way, it is not surprising that sensible people are worried. For 36 years we have sheltered under the American nuclear umbrella, and now people have been allowed to get the impression that, because of Soviet military strength, the American deterrent may only deter an attack against the United States itself and that plans are being made to fight a limited nuclear war in Europe. This is a travesty of the situation. It is partly the penalty of a free press and a free society, and I am afraid it is partly the fault of the Governments in the alliance, which until recently—and I emphasise that word "recently"—have either been coy about their defence policies or have even been confused about them.
I do not myself believe that the danger of war in Europe is any greater than it has ever been since the war, and, indeed, if you look at it from Soviet Union's point of view, with China on one flank and with supply lines going through Poland on another, they would be very foolish to run risks at the present time. The risk is not one of war: it is one of intimidation or collapse of determination, and that is why the European leaders in 1978—and let us remember it was the European leaders and not the United States who took the initiative—felt that something had to be done to counter the menace of the SS20s and thus to avoid decoupling Europe from the United States. The aim of modernisation of the theatre nuclear forces was, as we all know, to show the USSR that it could not risk an attack in Europe or a threat to Europe without exposing its own territory to attack from Europe, and thus for Europe to avoid nuclear blackmail—in other words to extend the concept of deterrence by showing that there is a way of defending Europe other than through the use of long-range strategic weapons.
To the unilateralists, this is seen as the United States preparing to fight the USSR on European soil. The truth is that it is demonstrating a continuing United States commitment to Europe to deter the USSR from calculation in Europe: in other words to show that there is a continuing third choice between the alternatives of being "red or dead". It seems to me that the real risk would come if we ever got to the stage of doing so little ourselves as either to drive the United States back into concern to defend itself alone or to let the Soviets think that the only alternative which we had was submission. It is that situation which I suggest to your 797 Lordships would make war in Europe more likely than the present situation.
While no one can pretend that the present situation is other than making the best, or perhaps I should say the safest, of a bad job in a world where absolutes no longer prevail, it is a policy which is designed never to let the Soviets, who are by nature cautious, think that the only alternative we have is surrender. But of course it is very important to avoid a new arms race and to ensure stability at the lowest level of military balance possible. That is where the new arms control negotiations come in and why we must pray that there is a positive response to President Reagan's proposals.
We should do everything we can to assist those negotiations, but I suggest to your Lordships that we must remember one thing. The negotiations are bound to be long and difficult, not just because neither side will want to make concessions which are not matched by the other side and not just because of the technical complexities and the problems of verification, but also because one of the Soviet Union's weapons in the negotiations will be the propaganda one, which, because they have a controlled press and a controlled people, they are well placed to wage. We must therefore go on encouraging the United States to negotiate for success, as I believe they intend to do, and try to convince our own people accordingly. But we must also remember where our true interests lie and the great danger that would face us if ever there was a collapse of resolve in Europe.
§ 5.25 p.m.
§ Lord Thomas of Swynnerton
My Lords, I should like to add my thanks and congratulations to my noble friend Lord Kimberley, who has initiated this important debate today. I think my noble friend Lord Home is the only speaker during the course of this debate so far who has pointed out that it is not only since 1945 that the democracies in western Europe have depended upon the assistance and support of the United States, but throughout the century. That is indeed the main fact of the 20th century. We should not have survived the threat from German military despotism in the First World War, any more than we should have survived the threat from the Nazi totalitarian tyranny during the Second World War, without the arrival—late, as we took pains to point out then, but in time—of the United States as our ally.
Furthermore, the United States has given, not only since 1945, substantial economic assistance to Western Europe: in the 1920s, for example, the Dawes and the Young Plans were rehearsals for the Marshall Plan of 1948. That main fact of the 20th century is one that is not fully appreciated by public opinion in this country or in western Europe as a whole. It is certainly something which would have surprised previous generations. The great Gibbon, in his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, assumed that the barbarians in future would never triumph in Europe, since, before they could conquer, they would cease to be barbarians. That has not been the case, and we have seen, particularly in central Europe between 1939 and 1945, and in other parts of Europe 798 since, that barbarism such as would not have been dreamed of before has taken over free countries.
In these circumstances, it would be very foolish indeed to do otherwise than support most vigorously the efforts now being most patiently made by President Reagan's Administration to revive the alliance and recover the initiative psychologically and strategically, and in respect of propaganda as well, against the Soviet threat.
Of course we are likely to have nuances of difference with the United States' Administration particularly after a period when, as my noble friend, Lord Kimberley, pointed out, as happened during the Carter Administration, many of us had severe doubts about the will of the United States' Administration. But of course the Reagan Administration would not have won the election last year had it not been that the Americans themselves had doubts about the capacity of the Carter Administration. We have to consider the Reagan Administration against that background and also against the increase in Soviet power—an increase over the last 10 years which, as one noble Lord pointed out, passed remarkably unnoticed during the 'Seventies by the still surviving Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
It is easy to understand (and I think this accounts for some of those who support the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) those who feel that this permanent dependence upon the United States alliance is an irritant and a challenge to our national tradition. The late Lord Dalton thought the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1950s was the last fling of British nationalism. It may be that the recovery of CND in the 1980s owes a certain amount to a similar illusion that Britain can independently take actions which will have moral effects on others.
When we talk about our undertakings or attitudes being a change from British national traditions, we might also recall that this permanent alliance which the United States has assumed in relation to us is also a very great change from their national traditions. The main speech which governed American foreign policy between the 1790s and, indeed, the 1940s was George Washington's farewell address, which warned Americans very specifically to avoid permanent alliances with foreign countries and to avoid being entangled in European caprices. Should Europeans show a continuing ingratitude for the magnanimity and generosity of American support over so many years, it is only too likely that there may be some in the United States who will take another and close and perhaps even ill-inspired look at that speech by the first President of the United States.
When speaking of American traditions, I agreed very much with the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, and the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, who pointed out that we in this country do not know enough about the United States. Study of United States literature and history is, very largely, neglected in our schools, which is surprising considering the attitudes of North Americans to ourselves. Perhaps, if nothing else, some recognition of that may be recorded as a useful memorial of this debate.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ The Earl of Longford
My Lords, time does not permit me to comment on the interesting speech of the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, who has just addressed us. He represents a new species in this House—the Conservative intellectual. We now have half a dozen of them. When I came to this House, any kind of intellectual was a rarity. But we now have half a dozen of them—and very good speakers they are—such as the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. But I am afraid that time does not permit me to say more about their speeches.
I ought to make it plain in self-defence that it was no fault of mine that my name was left off the list, and it was no fault of my revered Chief Whip, either. These things happen veryrarely in this House, but just occasionally a machine turns out to be human. However, I am under the usual restrictions. If I had even less time, I would be inclined to say "Ditto" to the speeches of my noble friends Lord Shinwell and Lord Stewart. They are eminent socialists and I support them entirely in their attitude towards multilateral disarmament. Like them, I feel that there is no middle way between multilateral and unilateral disarmament, so I support them faithfully.
But if I have two or three minutes more, I should like to follow a line of thought suggested to me—though I admit that I prepared these remarks earlier—by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. How are we to keep our public here—it will be a long struggle—loyal over the years, not only in thought but in deed, to the very strenuous and rather complicated policy that we have to follow of maintaining, so far as we can, the strength of the West and of seeking arms control? How is this to be achieved in British psychological terms? I am entirely in favour of strengthening the armaments of the western alliance, in order to achieve at least parity with Russia, and also of seeking arms control. Those are two large objectives. They are not incompatible, but they appeal to rather different emotional sides of the national character and we must pursue them both.
The point I am making is rather different. Arms control and rearmament are not, in themselves, very inspiring policies. People recognise the rational necessity for those courses if we are to survive and bring about some hope of peace. But something else is necessary if we are to appeal to the young people who were mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, and others; something of the inspiration that was produced in my generation by the League of Nations in the old days. Is it quite out of the question that any such ideal can be pursued?
Twenty years ago, here and elsewhere, many of us, under the leadership of the aged Lord Attlee, found that ideal in the cause of world government and I still believe that that is a cause which could inspire everyone, if people thought it was in the least likely to be achieved. But for a good many years now, entirely owing to the attitude of the Soviet Union, that attitude does not seem to be practical politics, and therefore it does not figure in any of these discussions, as it did 20 years ago.
Therefore—and I shall be well behaved because I shall be down in well under the five minutes—I want to lay before the House the thought that, in addition to strong western defences and a policy of arms control, 800 we have to seek something nobler, more inspiring, and I would myself describe it as world government.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Lord Mayhew
My Lords, like every previous speaker in this debate my noble friends and I most warmly welcome the proposals of President Reagan on disarmament and arms control. I think we probably all agree that a major positive statement of this kind was very badly needed from the United States, in order to bring NATO together and to hearten the multilateralists and those who are resisting the challenge of Soviet communism.
This morning I read in the papers that, according to a BBC poll, only 14 per cent. of the British people consider that President Reagan has sound judgment. This, I am afraid, is a reflection of the early statements on foreign policy and defence which he made at the beginning of his administration—statements which called for a vast increase in weaponry for the United States, at one stage for nuclear superiority, and which disparaged disarmament and arms control. These statements divided NATO and were a godsend to Soviet propaganda and to the western unilateralist movement.
Though President Reagan has many admirable qualities, I find it a mystery how the leader of a great country, with access to a vast network of policy advisers, intelligence analysts, diplomats, speech writers and so on, can yet come up with such patently unhelpful public statements on vital and sensitive questions. That, thank goodness, seems to be over and, with this new initiative from President Reagan, a new unity and purpose has been injected into NATO.
I agreed so much with the noble Earl, Lord Longford, whom I still acknowledge as a tutor of 45 years' standing since pre-war days—and I can still learn from him today—because he said not only that he is a multilateralist but that you cannot be both a multilateralist and a unilateralist. Many of us welcomed the statement of the leader of the Labour Party which was warmly in favour of these East-West negotiations on disarmament, because, of course, one cannot at the same time call on the nations of East and West to disarm by agreement together, and call on the nations of the West to disarm, without agreement, by themselves. One cannot do that. If it is possible, perhaps the noble Baroness who follows me will explain how one can take both those points of view.
But, obviously, as many noble Lords have pointed out, these negotiations are bound to be difficult and long-drawn-out. I am afraid we have to face the fact that we cannot isolate the cruise missiles, the Pershings, the SS.20s, the SS.4s and the SS.5s from all the other weaponry, not even from the other theatre nuclear weapons. I do not think you can isolate this problem and deal with it separately from the strategic weapons, or even from the battlefield nuclear weapons. Therefore, these negotiations are bound to be difficult and prolonged. However, my noble friends and I most warmly hope that a sincere, determined and sustained effort will be made to make them successful.
May I ask the noble Lord who will be winding up for the Government whether he can give us a little more information about the role which the European countries can continue to play in the course of these 801 negotiations? It does still seem to be a little anomalous that there should be no participation by any of the European countries. I know that the Government take the view that it is the Soviet Union and the United States who have provided the nuclear weapons, but that is not altogether true. The Americans certainly have not provided all the weapons for the West. If the British and the French nuclear deterrents come into the equation—which they may—certainly the British and the French must participate in the disarmament negotiations.
May I also ask the Government what input, from now on, from Europe will go into these negotiations? Is the NATO consultative group to go on? When is it meeting next? What rights of access does it have to the proceedings? Can an agreement be reached without the agreement of the European countries? These are important matters. It seems to us that the European nations have shown good judgment and a consistent line on arms control and on disarmament. Therefore, we hope profoundly that they will have an opportunity again to display those qualities.
In the meantime, we hope that these countries of Europe, with the Russians and the Americans, can make a real effort to win success from these negotiations. We hope that they will not be blinded by their military advisers. Surely the first step is not to be blinded by science by their military advisers and always to remember that, though there may be risks in a particular agreement on disarmament or arms control, those risks are likely to be far less than the risk of continuing the lunacy of the nuclear arms race as at present.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Baroness Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe
My Lords, I must briefly praise the self-discipline of the House for the way in which this debate has been carried through. There have been excellent speeches, mostly, which have been very well argued, and we have kept completely within the time limit. We owe a debt of gratitude to the noble Earl, Lord Kimberley, for raising this extremely important subject. Of course, NATO and our relations with the United States is a matter of fundamental importance. However, I must also tell the noble Earl that I profoundly disagree with his arguments about propaganda. The peace movements do not need propaganda from Russia or from anywhere else. The whole world can see the danger that we are in. As the House knows, the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney, looks after himself very well indeed, but I say with some sorrow that I very much regret that the noble Earl took the opportunity of a serious foreign policy and defence debate to vilify sincere and legitimate peace movements. Indeed, I feel it is unworthy of the standards of this House.
As to the noble Lord, Lord Beloff—in so short a time I want to make my own argument and not to change the direction of my speech, but I will just observe that in schools now our children are all taught about most of the major religions of the world. I am sure that the right reverend Prelates to whom he referred strongly approve of that. Similarly, your Lordships' House will be, and always has been, strengthened by the expression of widely different views on all subjects from all sides—whether informed militarism, multilateralism (to which I believe most 802 noble Lords subscribe) or unilateralism, which is a perfectly tenable argument.
§ Baroness Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe
My Lords, in the time I have got I would rather not. The noble Earl did not give way, either. It is not necessary for noble Lords to respond to the wilder expressions of Tory intolerance. The subject which we are discussing is much too important.
We live in very sombre times, more dangerous, I believe, than for very many years. However, we must find, as the noble Lord, Lord Mayhew, said, as did many other noble Lords, President Reagan's speech last week, and the meeting of President Brezhnev and Chancellor Schmidt this week, hopeful signs of the beginning of a thaw in the frozen foreign policies of East and West. I am sure that President Reagan has been influenced not only by Governments but also by the astonishing peace gatherings all over the world, in Europe particularly. And not by any means only young people but people of all ages are at those gatherings. So we must not dismiss the President's speech as mere propanganda, as some people do. I believe that it shows n new, perhaps overdue, change of attitude by the American Administration to European opinion. We must hope that it shows now a real crystallisation of ideas inside the Administration instead of the contradictory statements which have so alarmed the world.
In a recent fascinating article, Ambassador George Kennan, whom we know to be a man of wide experience and wisdom, described the Russians' historical,congenital sense of insecurity: the distrust of the foreigner and the foreigner's word, the neurotic fear of penetration by other powers—all too often justified historically—and a persistent tendency, resulting from all this, to overdo the creation of military strength".But, as with the Americans', the Russian policies seem to be moving, too. From that point of view I thought also that the noble Earl's speech was unhelpful. The Russian visit to Bonn was of very great importance not only to the West but to the Russians, too. The newspaper Pravda said the other day:In the present complicated international situation, the significance of this visit goes beyond bilateral relations between Germany and the Soviet Union".However dangerous, and in our view wholly immoral, the Russians' actions in, for instance, Afghanistan are, as my noble friend Lord Stewart of Fulham and I both said last week, there is no doubt whatever that Russia needs peace as desperately as do the NATO nations. Leaving aside the unimaginable horrors of a nuclear war even for so huge a country as the USSR, the Russian economy is in as serious a condition as the recession has made the West. They need peace to build it up. They need Western technology. They need credits. They need foreign currency. We all know that they need grain. Therefore, I do not believe that the article in Der Spiegel was simply propaganda. And their recent agreement to construct the gas pipeline with Germany, despite efforts by the Americans to prevent it, is I believe evidence that they 803 are trying to overcome their historical and cultural suspicion of entanglement with foreigners. And this we must and do welcome.
As the Financial Times says today, the discussions in Bonn have brought no break-through on nuclear disarmament but they have been very far from a waste of breath. They have to some extent cleared the ground before the vitally important Geneva Conference next week which we on this side believe to be of prime importance and on which we profoundly regret the absence of a NATO presence. The House understands, as the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary pointed out, that we cannot expect quick results but something concrete must emerge before the autumn of 1983—before, that is, cruise and Pershing can be deployed at all, as Chancellor Schmidt himself has said. That gives us only two years.
The zero option is a start, though there are many versions of it. And no versions of it are agreeable to all the participants as, indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, pointed out. The West thinks that all medium range missiles in Europe on both sides should be abolished or not installed. The Russians will wish to include United States bombers and submarines as well as the French and the British nuclear capabilities. Chancellor Schmidt has also made it clear that he feels that these would have to be taken into consideration at some point. All this is very difficult, but a start must be made somewhere. We on this side of the House are glad that, like the Labour Party, the right honourable lady the Prime Minister has now welcomed the zero option.
Important as Bonn has been and as we hope Geneva will become, it is essential that the Russians and the Americans should talk together at top level. There are more hopeful signs that Presidents Reagan and Brezhnev are thinking more positively on these lines and we should like to ask the Government to urge on both sides that they should meet soon.
The most vital truth is that the world must accept that it is impossible to negotiate without trust. Of course, there is mistrust on both sides. There is the whole vexed question of verification, to which the noble Lord, Lord Home, referred, but even on that subject President Reagan has called for more openness and creativity and this is a welcome addition to the present dependence on satellite monitoring and spying. Mr. Brezhnev, in his article in Der Speigel said:Some other forms of control might be worked out, given confidence".All these movements, however slight and however, in some senses, contradictory, are of basic importance. I believe that the world is still in serious danger, if only from inadvertence if not from wickedness. The very existence of weapons, nuclear or conventional but particularly nuclear, is the greatest danger of all. There is the deep Russian suspicion of the West's plans; as President Brezhnev said:,All Western weapons could hit Russian soil but Soviet weapons could not reach the United States";and the ingrained American fear and hatred of Communism is still very present. But, when one-third of the world is existing in dreadful poverty, the world is still wasting an appalling amount of its resources 804 on building up defence spending, one wonders how sane we really are. As Ambassador Kennan has pointed out:We are heaping up fancy and expensive new equipment that we do not have the manpower to operate or the money to maintain".On this side of the House we deeply regret that NATO is not to be represented at Geneva, but we appeal to the Government to do everything in their power, to bring every possible influence to bear, and to state publicly that only by working positively towards world disarmament can we hope to survive the worst crisis that the world has yet seen.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Trefgarne)
My Lords, it is hard to remember a time when it has not been claimed that the accord between Europe and the United States is drifting on to the rocks. Late in 1956, a former and most distinguished British Prime Minister wrote to President Eisenhower from his retirement—it was his last intervention in world affairs—and I quote the late right honourable gentleman Sir Winston Churchill with diffidence. He wrote as follows:There is not much left for me to do in this world and I have neither the wish nor the strength to involve myself in the present political stress and turmoil. But I do believe, with unfaltering conviction, that the theme of the Anglo-American alliance is more important today than at any time since the war …There seems to be growing misunderstanding and frustration on both sides of the Atlantic. If they be allowed to develop, the skies will darken and it is the Soviet Union that will ride the storm".I quote these words first in order to remind your Lordships that, whatever the differences of perception between Europe and the United States today, to which almost every noble Lord has drawn attention this afternoon, the problems we face are as nothing compared with those following Suez 25 years ago. And, secondly, to point out that the U.S-European relationship is one which has been tested in the past by very real divergences but which has always survived. It is stronger for this, not weaker.
Before moving to the specific issues raised this afternoon, let me try to put the subject as a whole into perspective. The fundamental aims and interests of the European NATO countries and the US have always been close and will remain so. These links have been forged by history, especially the pattern of emigration from Europe to the United States and have been bonded by the pattern and growth of trans-Atlantic trade and commerce. The cement of this relationship is the military threat to the West from the Soviet Union and its allies. The simple fact of the matter is that it is in the common interest of all the free world to resist any encroachment of the Warsaw Pact on to Western European territory.
To suggest that the United States would allow Western Europe to be submerged while they hid behind their own barricades is simply not part of the American character, and flies in the face of the history of trans-Atlantic relations in this century. Such an appalling scenario would no more be in their interest than in ours.
This said, it is inevitable in a close and well-tried friendship of this kind that there should be differences of 805 emphasis or of opinion. The very openness of the democratic forms of government which we have espoused on either side of the Atlantic makes it inevitable that we should not fear to air such differences. Doubtless if there were any suggestion of such freedom of expression among the allies of the Warsaw Pact we should hear such a jarring cacophony as to make us find the concept of concerted action by them almost unthinkable. It is always going to be one of the products of our system, based on free expression and freedom of the individual, that dissenting voices and opinions will be heard. It should be a source of pride both to your Lordships and elsewhere that this is the case. But it would be utterly wrong to suggest that such differences as do exist threaten the Atlantic Alliance and all that it stands for. As I have said, there is a fundamental shared body of interests which run far deeper than the differences of emphasis which have been mentioned during the course of this afternoon.
Perhaps one reason why the rumour of a rift has been going round just now is that there is a new Administration in the United States whose policies are still taking shape. The Reagan Administration is active and vigorous: it looks at the problems facing it with new energy and considers new options and new ideas. And new ideas are always liable to lead to controversy. But there is nothing wrong in that. Indeed, it is constructive, provided, of course, that there is consultation among those concerned. I am glad to say that consultation among the allies has recently been intensive; in fact it has become a growth industry since Mr. Reagan became President.
I have mentioned that there are bound to be differences even between the closest of friends. It is these differences which hit the headlines. Headlines are designed to catch the eye and they and many of the analyses one reads below them often say nothing about the multifarious threads of constructive co-operation between the United States and Europe which make up the essential fabric of the alliance. There is not time for me to go into detail about the daily consultation between ourselves, our European friends and the Americans on a host of subjects in the political, defence, commercial and other fields. But it is this daily interchange which sets the tone of the relationship and makes any passing differences look like ripples on the surface.
Let me give just one example—and there are many others—which illustrates the co-operation I have been mentioning, and show how wrong it is to assume that the Administration reaches its foreign policy decisions too hastily. A year ago it looked as though efforts to bring Namibia to independence might soon bear fruit. But difficulties appeared. When the new Administration took over they made a careful appraisal and a detailed exploration of the views of their western partners and of African Governments. Efforts to find a solution are now back on course, with America setting the pace. The fact is that Europe and America are fundamentally interdependent. The United States knows that a strong and self-confident Europe pursuing coherent policies will strengthen democracy in the world and will contribute a potent voice to the Councils of the West. But we in Europe need America's strength to guarantee our security, just as America without Europe would be isolated in its resistance to the international 806 ambitions of the Soviet Union.
Let me now, focus for a moment on the subjects which are currently of much concern to all of us, defence issues, East-West relations and the Middle East. On defence issues, as fellow members of the Alliance the United States and the United Kingdom share a common approach to the protection of western freedom. We regard it as our first duty to preserve our democratic way of life, in ways that will ensure that nuclear weapons will never be used against us, or by us. The policy of this Government and the Governments of our western allies is based on deterring any aggression against us, and at the same time pursuing, through international negotiations, agreed limits and reductions to the present high level of arms.
Let me explain what I mean by deterrence. I mean that we have to ensure that the Soviet leaders, present and future, understand beyond peradventure that any attack upon us will provoke from within the alliance a response which will render their aggression pointless. To achieve this comprehension in the mind of the Kremlin we need, therefore, to demonstrate both the political will and the military capability to react firmly and quickly. All members of the North Atlantic Alliance are firmly convinced that nuclear weapons are for preventing wars, not for fighting them. Talk of nuclear warfighting is dangerous nonsense, because their would be no winners in a nuclear war at any level. Despite the public concern, we do not think nuclear war is likely today. We are not on the brink, precisely because the policy of deterrence is working. It has kept the peace in Europe for over 30 years. That is why we support the recent American decisions to improve the effectiveness of their strategic forces.
But that is not the end of the story. Otherwise we would be condemning ourselves to an endless arms race. We must try to prevent this. Hence NATO'S commitment to negotiated arms control and disarmament—a commitment stated in the plainest terms in President Reagan's recent message to President Brezhnev. By seeking arms control agreements we attempt to make the military balance more stable; by seeking multilateral disarmament we attempt to bring down the appallingly high level of armaments on both sides. We see deterrence and disarmament as necessary and complementary ways of achieving our overall objectives of peace and security.
We in Europe have, therefore, strongly supported the efforts of the United States and the Soviet Union to reach agreement on the limitation of strategic arms, and we have welcomed the American emphasis on moving towards substantial reductions in present levels when the Strategic Arms Reduction talks get under way in 1982. We have also given our strong support to the negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union on limiting long-range theatre nuclear forces. These negotiations will begin on 30th November, and we have taken a full part in the close consultations which have been held within the alliance to establish the American negotiating position. As the Prime Minister said in another place on 19th March, we have noted with pleasure the emphasis given in President Reagan's speech on 18th November to arms control as an important element in United States foreign policy, and we particularly welcome the President's intention to seek massive nuclear dis- 807 armament in Europe. The negotiations opening on 30th November will offer the Soviet Union the opportunity to demonstrate that they share the western objectives of achieving substantial reductions in nuclear weaponry based in Europe.
The noble Lord, Lord Mayhew, and indeed the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, referred to the absence of Europe from the TNF talks which will be starting next week. These negotiations are, of course, concerned with American and Soviet weapons. That is why they are conducted bilaterally. But the Special Consultative Group, to which the noble Lord, Lord Mayhew, referred, which is the NATO body responsible for TNF matters, has met regularly to concert the US negotiating position, which has the full support, of course, of all members of the alliance. The SCG will continue to meet as necessary after the negotiations have begun. I understand that it held its last meeting on 20th November.
In Europe, nuclear disarmament must, of course, be accompanied by steps to reduce tension and conventional armaments. At the Madrid CSCE meeting we and our allies have backed the French proposal for a conference on disarmament in Europe to negotiate militarily significant, politically binding and verifiable confidence and security building measures applicable to the whole of Europe up to the Urals. We continue to work for agreement between NATO and the Warsaw Pact on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR) in central Europe. In all of these fora we work closely and effectively with our American allies.
We and the Americans are of course at one in recognising the horrors of nuclear war. But as my noble friend the Foreign Secretary said recently in Luxembourg,abhorrence of war is no substitute for realistic plans to prevent it".Against this background the Government do not accept that unilateral disarmament is a safe or a sensible policy. Even talk of unilateral moves may well encourage the Russians to block negotiations—in the belief that if they wait long enough the West will disarm on its own, damaging our security interests without seeking Soviet reductions in return. Thus, any one-sided reduction by the West would weaken our ability to deter aggression and could, therefore, make war more likely, not less likely. It would open us to the threat of intimidation and political blackmail. Nor would Britain be safer without nuclear weapons: our industrial and strategic importance would still make us a tempting target in any conflict. A related and most important area, and one in which there is the closest co-ordination between the Europeans and the US, is that of the wider East/West relations.
The current strains in East/West relations are the direct consequence of Soviet behaviour. Soviet expansionism during the 1970s, culminating in the invasion of Afghanistan, destroyed the climate of trust which is essential if East/West relations are to prosper. We fully share American determination to bring home to the Russians that restraint in the conduct of international affairs is the sine qua non of our generating any long-term warmth in our mutual affairs. But we also support President Reagan's commitment to a dialogue with the Soviet Union, of which arms control 808 negotiations which I have already mentioned form an important part. And we welcome the decision by the Foreign Ministers of the United States and the Soviet Union to follow up their recent discussions in New York with a further round of talks in January.
The Government have repeatedly made clear the importance they attach to East/West communication, particularly at a time of increased international tension. We therefore welcome the talks that Chancellor Schmidt has been having with President Brezhnev in the past two days and the opportunity these have provided for the Chancellor to give an exposition of the full range of shared Western policies.
Meanwhile, events in Poland remain of great concern to all her friends. It is important that the Polish Government and Solidarity should avoid confrontation and continue to seek agreement through peaceful negotiations. Above all, Poland's problems must be solved by the Polish people themselves. Outside interference would mean the end of detente. On the economic side, both the US and ourselves, together with a number of our European NATO allies and others, are members of the Committee which discusses concerted action to help Poland out of her present severe economic problems. This is a matter on which there is the closest transAtlantic co-operation.
We continue to attach great importance to working with the United States in the Middle East. We share the common objective of a comprehensive peace settlement negotiated between the parties and ensuring security for Israel and a future for the Palestinians. We are in no doubt that the U.S. must continue to play a central role in Middle East peace efforts. Whatever differences of emphasis there may be between us, we shall not lose sight of this central fact.
Both we and the Americans have taken a close interest in the eight points put forward in August by Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia. We agree with President Reagan's view that these points contain positive elements and can be a beginning point for negotiations. There is, of course, considerable common ground between the eight points of Crown Prince Fahd and the Venice Principles, to which we remain committed as a framework on which we believe Middle East peace can eventually be built. My noble friend Lord Carrington was encouraged by his recent visit to Riyadh to discuss these questions with the Saudis. We believe that the Camp David process has important achievements to its credit, not least the establishment of peace between Egypt and Israel and Israel's agreement to withdraw from Sinai next year. Something more may be needed, and that is why we are exploring further ways forward towards a basis for negotiations to which all can agree.
Our commitment to peace in the Middle East has recently been demonstrated in a practical way by our agreement, together with that of three of our European partners, to a United States request to provide a contribution to the proposed peacekeeping force in Sinai. There is little I can add to the statement made on this matter in the other place by my right honourable friend the Lord Privy Seal on Monday. But I would stress that our agreement to participate shows how we in Europe can co-operate successfully with the United States in the Middle East. We very much hope that the Government of Israel will be able to accept the 809 offer to participate which we have made in response to a request which had their support. We attach considerable importance to maintaining and strengthening the peace which has been achieved between Egypt and Israel with such great effort on both sides so that it can be used as a basis for further progress towards a comprehensive peace. At the same time, as my right honourable friend the Lord Privy Seal has made clear, we remain committed to European policy in the area as set out in the Venice Declaration. We continue to believe that the key to progress lies in mutual acceptance of the two principles at the heart of the Venice Declaration: the right of existence and security of all states in the area, including Israel, and the right of the Palestinians to exercise fully their right to self-determination.
I think that I have covered most of the important points that were raised during the course of this debate. Therefore, I shall not delay the House further by dealing with some of the specific matters.
§ Lord Gladwyn
My Lords, will the noble Lord make some reference to the possibility of some conversations on security and the general aegis of the forthcoming Genscher-Colombo plan?
§ Lord Trefgarne
My Lords, I could detain your Lordships for a considerable time with a dissertation on that topic. Suffice it to say that, in the context of political co-operation among the Council of Ministers with which the noble Lord will be familiar, there is now some discussion on the political aspects of security which I hope go some way to meet the anxieties of the noble Lord.
At the opening of my remarks, I reminded your Lordships that the history of the United Kingdom's relations with the United States (and this applies as much to our other European allies) has not been without the occasional strain. Perhaps I may end by quoting again from history, from a document which issued less than a year after the Churchill letter to which I earlier referred. It is the Declaration of Common Purpose of October 1957. Agreed during Mr. MacMillan's visit to Washington for discussions with President Eisenhower, it said:These two countries have close and historic ties, just as each has intimate and unbreakable ties with other free countries.Recognising that only in the establishment of a just peace can the deepest aspirations of free peoples be realised, the guiding purpose of our deliberations has been the determination of how best to utilise the moral, intellectual and material strength of our two nations in the performance of our full share of those tasks that will more surely and promptly bring about conditions in which peace can prosper. One of these tasks is to provide adequate security for the free world".Well, take away a bit of the 1950s verbiage and I do not think that would require much redrafting for today.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ The Earl of Kimberley
My Lords, in the brief moment left to me I should like to thank very sincerely all those noble Lords who have taken part in the debate this afternoon and to thank them for the very short, succinct and to-the-point speeches that they have made. I obviously cannot answer all the points raised; I can make very few comments. I should 810 like to mention in particular my noble friend Lord Lucas of Chilworth and the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, who spoke about the education of the young. I thought that that was an extremely good point.
But basically all noble Lords this afternoon agreed that the only way to achieve peace is to pursue the policy which most of us have discussed this afternoon even though we may have gone about it on different roads. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney, was slightly unfair in attacking me because I did not actually call anybody a communist by name—I said that they had leanings towards it, which is patently obvious and true. One thing that always puzzles me is why communists think that they have this divine right to sue anybody for libel if they are called communists whereas if someone calls me a Tory I do not sue him for libel or anything else.
§ The Deputy Speaker (The Earl of Listowel)
My Lords, I understand that we have come to the conclusion of the two and a half hour debate, and therefore I express the wish of the House that the noble Earl should withdraw his Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.