HL Deb 29 October 1985 vol 467 cc1471-82

Debate resumed.

4.10 p.m.

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, like everyone else, I am most grateful to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury for choosing this important subject for debate at so appropriate a time, and also for his thoughtful and comprehensive speech. I think that it is important for the Church to give a clear and unambiguous lead on the great issues of the day; for a failure to do so reduces the influence for good and the authority of the Church. The most reverend Primate has given such a lead today and we appreciate that very much. We are also grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Young, for her clear statement of the Government's attitude and commitment to the United Nations.

As far as public opinion is concerned, the Church and the United Nations have a good deal in common. Some people are for it, some are indifferent, and some have no time for it. Mr. Conor Cruise O'Brien, who has great experience of the institution, has said: Hardly anyone has much time for the United Nations". In travelling around the country and talking to people, one certainly has the impression that there is very little interest in the United Nations. People know that the Government and, to a lesser extent, the European Community have a direct impact on their daily lives, and they react to that in various ways. That is reflected in the press and in the media. But the United Nations, like heaven, seems to be remote and detached from the reality of day-to-day living; or so it seems to the man-in-the-street.

This is a problem and a disappointment to those who, like the most reverend Primate, believe in it. I share his views and those of Mr. Conor Cruise O'Brien, who also said in his article: The United Nations is the most important international institution that has ever existed, and its survival is bound up with the survival of the human race.". If that proposition is true, then it is of the first importance that the United Nations should survive, that it should grow stronger and that we as a country, through our Government, of whatever complexion, should support it.

The most reverend Primate has referred to the charter and the history of the last 40 years. The charter is an historic document and I am not aware of anyone who really finds fault with its wording or its principles. Everyone—East, West, North and South—subscribes to it, but after 40 years of immense change, convulsion and trauma there are those who say that the United Nations is an expensive failure, a pestilential nuisance, a talking shop or a platform for propaganda. Those are words which I have heard not only outside this House but inside it and in another place.

Nevertheless, I wonder how many would in fact vote for the abolition of the United Nations; for its abolition, in my view, would be a dreadful thing for mankind since it would deprive the world of the only forum where all the nations have the opportunity to meet regularly and talk to each other. Of course there are deficiencies and there are weaknesses; there is opportunism; there has been failure; too many resolutions and too much aimless talking. The United Nations is the only place where such things take place. But, for all that, its abolition would leave the world a much more dangerous place than it is. It is necessary to emphasise that given its short life—what is 40 years against the backdrop of history?—and the political strains and tensions of the period we have lived through, it has not been a failure; at least, that is my belief.

The United Nations has no real power; that remains in the hands of sovereign states, both big and small. Nonetheless, its achievements are substantial, and they were mentioned by the most reverend Primate and by the noble Baroness, Lady Young, in their speeches. They are substantial because the influence of the United Nations rests not on political power but on the authority it is able to command as a forum for the international exchange of views.

The first objective set out in Article 1 of the charter is: to maintain international peace and security". Let us, however, be realistic. If two or more nations are bent on war, as was the case with Iran and Iraq, the United Nations cannot stop them. If, however, they wish to avoid war or to bring war to an end, if the combatants are looking for a way out, the United Nations can in various ways be invaluable. Several examples have already been mentioned. At the time of the Suez crisis and at the time of the Cuban missile crisis the United Nations played a constructive role in getting the parties "off the hook". As the most reverend Primate has just said, in Cyprus, in the Golan heights and in Kashmir the United Nations has played an important part in halting bloodshed and easing the plight of refugees. The United Nations role as a "trouble-shooter" is certainly not to be underestimated. It can contrive a situation in which the great powers can retreat gracefully when they approach a dangerous confrontation. That helped Mr. Krushchev and President Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis.

If it were not for power politics and the fact that nations assess problems as they affect their own interests, much more progress would have been made. Power politics always seem to take precedence over co-operation. I have already quoted Mr. Conor Cruise O'Brien, but I admire him both as a man and a very good writer; and he put it in a nutshell in The Times last Wednesday, when he said: The UN has developed a set of rituals that make it possible for powerful people who have made fools of themselves to climb down and not look quite as foolish as they deserve to look". The classic examples of this use of the United Nations stage were provided by the Suez crisis of 1956 and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. There are also cases where political leaders have used the United Nations in order to stay out of trouble that their friends and supporters expected them to get into. The United States used it in this way in 1956 over Hungary and the Soviet Union in 1982 over Lebanon.

Since 1945 there has been a great enlargement of the United Nations, as the most reverend Primate has said, from 51 to 159 today. The developing world has become a major factor and in recent years, because of the colonial past, the West has tended to adopt a defensive posture. I believe this to be a temporary phase. Indeed, third world attitudes are not set in concrete, and many of the leaders there know that Western economic support and techniques are essential to them. They also realise that the United Nations agencies, whose work is important to their development, are more dependent on the West than on the East. The Soviet Union's support of these agencies has not been good, and this is regrettable. Realistic third world leaders know this, and they are wise to do so. Indeed, the experience of Ethiopia must have taught them and others a tragic lesson.

The fact is that the third world countries are not so uniformly anti-Western as they have been, and this is demonstrated by the decline in the number of hostile resolutions, against the United States in particular, which peppered the order paper of the United Nations. Things have improved. There is more objectivity today than there was three or four years ago. I am not saying the developing countries are becoming involved in Western politics or that they should be associated with us in that way. I think it is best that they should concentrate upon their own huge problems and that we should continue to help them as effectively as we can.

If I may, I should like to repeat what has been said by both previous speakers today in paying a tribute to those in this Chamber who have played an important, indeed a seminal role in the founding of the United Nations. I refer to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, who was there at the very start. I believe that Mr. Brian Urquhart, whom I shall mention in more detail shortly, was the noble Lord's personal assistant at that time. I should like to also pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Caradon and the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, both of whom a little later played most important roles in the development of the United Nations.

Mr. Brian Urquhart, as has been said, deserves the warmest tribute, for his most distinguished service. He has been responsible in very large part for the operation of the peace-keeping role of the Unite Nations. They afford, as he said a "depolarising constituency", and in a world where politicians and political scientists so often construe international events in terms of the simple East-West dichotomy, what could be more important than that?

In looking to the future, we must ask what role we see for the United Nations and what part we, the United Kingdom, should play. More particularly, what can be done by our Government working through the UN to help resolve the most pressing problems now confronting us—South Africa, the Middle East and nuclear disarmament, to name the most urgent. We are all very aware of the myriad of resolutions that issue from the UN Council meetings. And we are all aware of the number of times such resolutions are either fruitless or transgressed. A crucial example of the latter was cited in last week's press, where it was reported that we, Britain, had been contravening the 1979 United Nations mandatory arms embargo against South Africa. Nonetheless, the United Nations resolutions on South Africa, on the Middle East, on nuclear arms control do offer a starting point for negotiation; a reminder of what should be achieved.

We must certainly not distance ourselves from the UN and treat it as of little account. We occupy a privileged position as a permanent member of the Security Council and we should not only use that opportunity to express our own views, but should also aim to increase the influence, authority and, eventually, the power of the United Nations in the world.

We should examine the role of the Secretary General and his secretariat and consider whether this should be made more authoritative, and enable them to take a more positive line in overseeing and vetting the work of the agencies, to which I have referred. Some of these agencies already act as if they were autonomous bodies. I do not propose to look in detail at these—ILO, FAO, WHO, UNESCO, IMF, World Bank, and the International Maritime Organisation, which was referred to by the most reverend Primate, but to read this list alone is to realise how crucially important the United Nations is.

The UN is worth preserving for the sake of its agencies alone. The world would be an enormously poorer place without them. My noble friend Lord Oram, with his deep experience as a former Minister of Overseas Aid, will deal with them in detail when he winds up, and I am sure that my noble friend Lord Ennals, who is the president of the UN Association in this country, will also have a great deal to tell us.

There is one significant power which the Secretary General can exercise, which has been mentioned by the noble Baroness and which comes under Article 99 which states: The Secretary General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security. We should encourage him to use this power as potentially dangerous issues arise, in the hope that West and East will combine to damp out flames before the fire spreads. This is surely in the interests of East and West alike.

In an editorial last Thursday, The Times commented that the Security Council is a glaring example of an institution which is badly in need of change", and pointed out that the Secretary General has urged that the council should be made more use of as an instrument of "preventive diplomacy". It was suggested that this would enable the Secretary General to summon the council for meetings to consider emerging issues in the world, and that this would be additional to the council's function of considering disputes which have been formally brought to its attention. I note with interest that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has also made suggestions for reforming the Security Council with a view to making it rather more flexible than it is, and the most reverend Primate underlined this in his speech.

The late Dag Hammarskjold said this: None of us is ever going to see the world order that we dream of appear in our lifetime, but nevertheless the attempt to build that order is the difference between anarchy and a controlled degree of chaos, a tolerable degree of chaos. We could, in fact, achieve something better than "a degree of chaos" if East and West could cohabit the globe with some greater degree of mutual confidence. One hopes that a little more trust may emerge in the forthcoming meetings in Geneva.

We as a nation must support the concept of the United Nations and the charter of the United Nations. Forty years on we do have something to celebrate. We have never needed the United Nations more than we do today. We are living through a most critical and dangerous period when several things may go awry. The United Nations is the best chance of establishing some sort of understanding, the start of permanent peace, an increase of trust, and we must work unremittingly for its continuing and greater success. The future of the world depends upon it.

4.26 p.m.

Lord Gladwyn

My Lords, as the Secretary to the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations which made all the arrangements for the holding of the first General Assembly in London in January 1945 and which recruited a considerable number of civil servants who went on to New York with the new Secretary General, Mr. Trygve Lie, then as acting Secretary General for a period of two or three weeks when the Assembly met in London, I may, I suppose, be expected to say a few words about my broad impressions of how the world organisation has progressed—if, indeed, "progressed" is the right word—during the ensuing 40 years. I fear that I have largely confided my views on this point to the media already, but I shall endeavour to insinuate in my remarks a few original ideas.

May I say at the outset how right and proper it is that we should be indebted to the most reverend Primate for initiating this debate and for making such a powerful and interesting speech, with every word of which I think I myself agreed, including his interesting proposals for reform of the organisation generally. I was going to make one or two similar suggestions, but I shall not need to do so now.

For let us not forget that, whatever cynics may say, there is a moral element in the whole concept of the United Nations; that is to say, the basic idea that nations, however jealous of their "independence", must somehow evolve a system whereby they at least avoid killing or exterminating each other, and also combine to help the afflicted, even at the cost, to some extent, of penalising the rich.

This is clearly not a political notion. If Machiavellian politics was the only guide, the rich would have made every effort to preserve their riches by combining to share out markets and, indeed, to hold down the poorer countries—something in which, by so combining, they might very well succeed. There would thus, politically speaking, be no need for any international organisation, except no doubt as a meeting place for the powerful and the well-to-do. In international relations generally, the element called "conscience" would naturally not apply.

Happily, there was from the start no question of operating such a stark Realpolitik. In the first place, the old empires were about to disappear and they have all now virtually disappeared. As has been said already, from 51 in 1945 the members of the United Nations now stand at 159—an increase of more than 100 members, consisting chiefly of former colonies which are now quite rightly described as free. This does not mean that they are necessarily better off. A few certainly are, but the majority are considerably, and some are very much, worse off by any standard than they were when they formed part of some larger economic whole. Most are happier, perhaps, but even this is doubtful. It may well be that such evident deterioration, where it exists, is chiefly due to over population and to world recession. It may also be due in part to incompetence in the handling of certain Western scientific techniques. However, the process of decolonisation was inevitable. It was also desirable on moral grounds and thus necessary, but it does complicate the actual operation of the United Nations itself.

The other factor which affected the whole operation of the United Nations from the start was the outbreak shortly after the ending of the first assembly in London of the so-called "Cold War". The Soviet Union then made it clear—and has never repudiated the notion—that it alone possessed the right kind of government—namely a totally "directed" social and economic system—and that is was surrounded by nations which would necessarily, by the very force of things, seek to impose their rival or "free" economic policies in its place. This made it impossible to run the United Nations, politically, on the original conception of at least some kind of understanding between the super powers. Economically, it was also more difficult to run owing to the Russian insistence that any "capitalist" aid to the new emerging nations was merely a form of neo-imperialism, and that the only right way to help them was, as far as possible, to see that they also adopted something equivalent to the Soviet system.

May I mention at this point that at the famous conference of Dumbarton Oaks in the summer of 1944 the British delegation had the impression—and I am afraid that this impression was confined to only one conference—that the Russians really wanted to play and seemed confident that co-operation with the West, and notably with America, would be possible after the war. We were very pleased when they accepted nearly all of the basic Anglo-American proposals and, more especially perhaps, that the famous Yalta voting formula, devised by Sir Alexander Cadogan and myself and then transmitted to the United States delegation, was eventually accepted by Stalin after I had myself passed it on in London to Gromyko's number two, Arkadi Sobolev. Were we entirely ingenuous in thinking, at Yalta, that something like the charter might actually work? Perhaps we were, but I am not absolutely certain even now that some rather different régime might have emerged in Moscow. Conceivably, it may still emerge.

As we all know, the charter did not work or worked only very imperfectly. There was indeed one very considerable United Nations victory (which has not been referred to so far this afternoon) in early 1946, namely, the withdrawal on United Nations insistence of Soviet troops from Iran—the so-called Azerbaijan crisis—but there was very little of importance, politically, after that. Korea, four years later, was of course a success for the United Nations in the sense that obvious aggression was defeated, but really only because the Russians, absurdly from their point of view, were absent from the Security Council when the crisis came. It was thus scarcely a victory for the charter. True, the Soviets did not veto the constitution of the State of Israel, and I suppose that, on legal grounds at any rate, you can, if you will, rate the imposition of a collective United Nations will over France and the United Kingdom at the time of Suez as a success for the United Nations too. As the noble Baroness, Lady Young, said, Resolution 242 was also a document of great significance even though unfortunately, as we all know, it has not as yet been applied. I myself would also rate fairly highly the resolution of the Security Council on the Falklands which seemed to be extraordinarily good and worthy of the organisation as a whole. I should also like to support all the proposals for reform of the Security Council put forward by the noble Baroness, Lady Young. They seem to be very sensible and should be applied.

The great general failures were, after all, the rejection (however comprehensibly) by the Russians of the Baruch plan for the international control of atomic energy and the impossibility of agreeing on any permanent United Nations security force. And you might also add the rejection of Western help in the rebuilding of Russian and eastern Europe at the time of Marshall Aid. Nevertheless there have also been certain minor successes, among which I would certainly reckon the setting up of small United Nations peace-keeping forces in, I believe, no fewer than five areas, more especially, in Kashmir, Cyprus and the Lebanon. It is quite true that the small forces—who are, in practice, forbidden to shoot to kill—could be pushed aside by determined militants. But it seems certain that their mere presence does have some stabilising effect and that a rather mysterious kind of aura attaches to what are called the "casques bleus". My first recruit to the United Nations secretariat, Mr. Brian Urquhart, has recently been developing on television the case for these small forces, for the constitution and upkeep of which he deserves enormous credit. It is indeed a pity that at the age of 66 he will shortly be leaving the secretariat.

On the political side, too, I do not think one can ignore the fact, that, for one reason or another, most important statesmen cannot resist the temptation of coming to the annual General Assembly and making speeches setting out their individual points of view. Having just returned from the celebrations regarding the 40th anniversay, I cannot say that such speeches, to some of which I listened, were particularly brilliant or illuminating, but at least, everybody had his say and of course highly important discussions were also held, as it were, on the side of the major speechmaking. It is a pity that there are so many very small states, but this is something we cannot help at the moment. In principle, I believe that the members should have been limited to those numbering say 1 million inhabitants, which I believe was the rule under the old League of Nations, but I do not think that we can do anything about that now.

There remains the whole vast non-political side of the United Nations and its allied organisations. It may be that some of the smaller organisations, of which there are an enormous number, have proliferated and that if they were wound up nobody would know the difference. It may well be that even some of the larger ones are considerably overstaffed and could well be reorganised—UNESCO is an obvious case in point. But the difficulties here are great: no international organisation can be altogether efficient. Since all members demand representation on the staff, a considerable number of them tend to be what might be called "place men"—whose work is often in practice performed by more efficient members. But that does not mean that the major United Nations agencies are not on the whole effective, or that they do not perform a very necessary task. I would particularly single out the United Nations' efforts to cope with the appalling problem of refugees, successfully undertaken up to now under the admirable direction of Prince Sadruddin who has just left his job. Then there is the United Nations development programme which I do not think has been mentioned up to now. Although it is criticised by some, it undoubtedly transfers many resources to where they can substantially relieve economic distress. That cannot be disputed as a general statement.

It is particularly disappointing that our own contribution to that fund, and more especially the contribution of the Americans, is now being substantially cut. I know that in the past there have been abuses in the administration of aid. If we could simply increase trade, that would be much better. However, it can hardly be denied that, as matters stand, some aid is essential.

I should like to mention also the excellent children's fund, UNICEF, if only to emphasise the extent to which we all depend on the non-governmental organisations of the United Nations. I entirely agree with the most reverend Primate that we must support them within the limits of our power to do so.

I should like to say a few words in conclusion. It seems possible that, unfortunately, the human race has taken leave of its senses and—perhaps as the result of over-population and by the misapplication of modern science—is pursuing policies that must inevitably result in its destruction, or at least in some enormous reduction in its numbers.

If that is indeed so then, short of some divine intervention, there is nothing that we can do about it. In practice, we must of course proceed on the assumption that the human race, still remaining sane, is at least susceptible to the promptings of some kind of reason. If, therefore, we adopt what the Germans call an als ob attitude—that is, acting as if something were true—then we must surely imagine that, war between the two super powers being so obviously suicidal for both, it will not be long before they come to some agreement on the severe limitation of their immense nuclear and other armaments which—again on the assumption that the nuclear genie cannot be put back into its bottle—can be achieved only through the retention by them both of a small number of such weapons, sufficient, however, to obliterate the other on any possible second strike.

When, and if, such a broad agreement is achieved then clearly the opportunities for the United Nations are immense. Vast sums saved in the armaments field as a result of progress by the United Nations disarmament agency could be diverted, at least in part, to encouraging trade with the third world. Russia and China could be developed as never before. The lion would indeed be lying down with the lamb!

Is this an idle dream? To some extent, no doubt it is. Even if an East/West agreement is arrived at, tensions of some kind will persist for as long as human nature remains what it is. But without what I would term the first essential stage of East/West agreement, it is difficult to imagine how the United Nations can fulfil its essential functions; and I fear that its future may indeed be rather grim.

Whatever happens, we in Europe must in any case be in the forefront of those urging moderation and support for the great international organisations. If we in Europe really could speak with one voice on such matters, we may indeed have an influence quite disproportionate to our actual strength. In co-operation with the Churches and with other religious organisations, such as the Japanese Buddhist movement, Soka Gokkai, we must, while recognising that in this wicked world disarmament cannot, without disaster, be unilateral, combine to support all liberal forces working against wars. In the words of one of our modern poets, we must never fail to, Rage, rage, against the dying of the light".

4.44 p.m.

Lord Home of the Hirsel

My Lords, it is always agreeable to follow the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, but particularly so today when I recall his very distinguished service to this country in the early and formative days of the United Nations, both in the Security Council and in the Assembly. Incidentally, I remember that the noble Lord made himself into a television star overnight. It was a very impressive performance as we watched it from far away.

It is right that this House should mark this anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations and in particular its charter for international relations. I am with others grateful to the most reverend Primate for his thoughtful introduction to this debate. With one of his proposals I have a good deal of sympathy. It was that there should be a standing organisation to deal with emergencies in the world. I made such a proposal at the time of the general election in 1963.I hope that the most reverend Primate will not be discouraged by that disclosure and that he will try to renew that resolution in some form before very long.

In the 1940s, following the war, when for the first time millions of civilians found themselves in danger of death, it was entirely creditable that man should search for a system of security for the nations where the emphasis was placed on the prevention of wars, or, if wars should unhappily break out, on their containment; a system more reliable than that of military alliances and the balance of power which had proved fallible in the past. The emphasis was on peacekeeping.

For that the charter was designed. It was decided also—and I remember this well—to place at the very centre of the document the clause which required that no one country should intervene by force in the internal affairs of another. They knew (and they were right) that this was the key to peace between the nations. It still is. Unless that rule is observed, wars will break out and there will be no peace. I remember that the stage was set and hopes were high when that pledge was underwritten by the formation of the Security Council, with the leading powers giving it substance by their membership. When the Soviet Union, after months of detailed discussion, put her name to the charter and to the non-interference clause, she became a member of the council.

Post-mortems on political issues are never very profitable. However, my noble friend Lady Young asked: after those high hopes, what went wrong? If we are to learn and profit by the experience of the past then we must face up to facts and ask the question: why have so many hopes been dashed?

Perhaps that development came too soon. Perhaps the world was not ready for such a concept as collective security. The sequence of events as I saw them, very often at first hand, was something like this. There was the early and frequent use of the veto by the Soviet Union on virtually all peace-keeping resolutions. One of the few resolutions to be passed was that referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn. As he said, it went through only because the Soviet Union was absent on that day. Then there was the refusal by the Soviet leaders to agree to any military machinery which could be put at the disposal of the Security Council, and the increasingly definite statements from the Kremlin that force could be used in support of a political aim.

Next there was the absence of the Russians from any of the United Nations organisations dealing with finance and development; and finally, of course, the occupation by the Soviet Union with its own troops—and I emphasise this because this is not concerned with an appeal from some other country for assistance or anything like that—of Czechoslovakia and in particular Afghanistan, which is a third world country.

I take no pleasure in recalling these events, but when a member of the Security Council breaks the non-intervention clause which is at the kernel of the charter, then any hope of organising collective security goes out of the window. The plain truth of the matter is, that unless and until the Russian leaders withdraw from those occupied territories and substitute co-operation for cold co-existence, there will be no confidence, no trust, and the United Nations as a peace-keeping body is virtually paralysed. Of course, as the most reverend Primate has said, it can undertake minor roles and they should not be underestimated. He was right to emphasise that the United Nations have done some very useful work.

The significance of the Russian action is that for the present, instead of embarking upon a new experiment in collective security to keep the peace, the world is thrown back on the military alliance and the balance of power. That is something from which we tried to escape 40 years ago.

The situation is anxious; but there are two new ingredients in it by reason of which we need not despair. The two world wars in this century started because the German leaders relied on the military weakness of Britain and France and the fact that America was not counted in the balance of power. They calculated that for those reasons a war could be won. It is imperative that the potential aggressor should be given no excuse to make such a calculation now. If, by reason of the absence of any security stemming from the United Nations, we have to return to the balance of power, as we have done, then the best guarantee of peace is to make that balance real. We can hope—which is right—that during the disarmament conferences that are proceeding the balance will be reduced to lower and lower levels and that members of the United Nations will combine to achieve that end.

Is the United Nations worth preserving? The answer must be emphatically "yes". A forum where the leaders of nations can openly express and exchange views is a safety valve. Some of the United Nations agencies do very valuable work. Other noble Lords have named them, and I would pick out particularly the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, both of which are of great importance. I have a feeling that the latter, in conjunction with the World Bank, should be able to take a leading role to enable the countries of Africa, for example, to sustain their peoples by native agriculture and husbandry. I hope that a lead will be taken there.

There is one aspect of the United Nations which I find hopeful. During most of the time when I played an active part there, colonialism featured very strongly in all the debates, and the ex-colonial powers, the new powers in the United Nations, were affected by it in their whole outlook. The fear of neo-colonialism has undoubtedly inhibited progress but I think that it is working itself out of the system of the United Nations, which can only be welcomed. It is high time that it did so.

There is a danger in the United Nations as it is of increasing bureaucracy. I do not know whether any of your Lordships heard Alistair Cooke say the other day in his programme from America that when the General Assembly is sitting there are going to and fro what he called "ten thousand extended limousines" taking the members backwards and forwards to the Assembly. I hope that that number at any rate can be cut.

The next few years will reveal—and this is the essence of the matter—whether or not Russia will use the United Nations so that the great problems facing the nations will be solved in co-operation and peace. I have one positive suggestion to make as to how we might begin. It is that the Russians might feel able to co-operate in preventing terrorism, which is something that they are experiencing for the first time. Let us hope that they take a view of it and lend their support to other countries in order to curtail these awful activities.

I shall not bother the House with it but there is a list of conventions which, if they were universally supported, and if the Soviet Union were to co-operate, would do much to curtail terrorist activities. Such support would enable the United Nations to perform a much more useful role than it has been able to perform up to now and would enable it to give a lead in important co-operative efforts against terrorism. I am afraid that until that day the democracies are bound to look for their security outside the Security Council. We have no alternative. If and when the Soviet leaders seriously try to work within the spirt of the charter, then that will be the day when hope can be born again.