§ 3.32 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Herbert Morrison)
This is the first debate on foreign affairs which, we have had since I became Foreign Secretary. The House has already had its opportunity to pay respect to my predecessor who died so tragically and so soon after leaving office. He did much to represent the spirit of our country to the world. I should like in this debate-today to set out briefly the aims which the Government of our country should follow in the general interests of world peace and progress.
As the Committee knows, we are proposing not to consider today the affairs of the Middle East, but perhaps the Committee would like me to make a very short statement about Persia, not that it can 469 be much or in detail, as to the present position. The present position in regard to the Persian situation is that we have heard from Mr. Harriman that the Persians have indicated to him a basis on which the Persian Government would apparently be prepared to open discussions with His Majesty's Government on this question.
The Persian attitude in some respects is not yet clear and further information has been asked for and is still awaited. The Committee will not, therefore, expect me to give any further particulars at this time. In considering this question, His Majesty's Government. of course, have particularly in mind the situation as regards the Company's operations and the extent to which the Persian Government are prepared to put an end to the provocation and interference to which the Company's management and staff are being subjected. These flatters are under consideration.
In the meantime, I should like once again to express our sympathy, which I am sure the whole Committee will share, with the Company's staff in Persia, and to assure them that in staying at their posts and supporting with such fortitude the indignities and hardships of their present situation, they are making a most valuable contribution towards an acceptable solution of the problem.
§ Mr. Somerset de Chair (Paddington, South)rose —
§ Mr. Morrison
As I indicated, I think that I had better not go into detail on the situation at the moment when Mr. Harriman is doing his best to put forward a settlement. It would not be wise for examination to take place.
§ Mr. de Chair
On a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman has just said that he did not wish this debate to cover the affairs of the Middle East, but that, for the convenience of the Committee, he would make a statement about Persia which he could equally have made as a statement to the House before the debate began, when he would then have been subjected to ordinary question and answer across the Floor of the House. Is it not a little unusual for the right hon. Gentleman to inject into this debate such a statement?
§ The Chairman
That is not a matter for me and no point of order arises. 470 Perhaps I might inform the Committee that I have a very large number of names of hon. Members who wish to speak in this debate. I hope, therefore, that all will co-operate to make their interventions as short as possible in order to enable as many hon. Members as possible to be called.
§ Mr. de Chair
Further to that point. It is precisely because we desire to cooperate by not dragging into the debate the general question of Persia and the Middle East that we wish to dispose of this point at once.
§ The Chairman
No point of order arises and certainly the better way would be to allow the right hon. Gentleman to proceed.
§ Mr. Morrison
I understand that the House will have an opportunity of debating the wider issues of Middle Eastern policy on Monday next.
Whatever regions we are discussing, our underlying motives and objectives are the same. We have said before, but it is worth saying again, that our first objective is peace—peace for all the world. We do not mean peace at any price, but a peace which will leave us free to get on with the work of social and economic advance and which will itself be the inspiration for that work. For, in the long run, the important thing in international affairs is to co-operate with other countries in all that has to be done—in resettling refugees and people expelled from their homes, in helping under-developed countries to make the best use of their resources and, in general increasing production so as to do away with hunger and poverty. For hunger, poverty and reaction are the raw materials for excessive nationalism, Communism and war.
This means that our foreign policy must be directed towards two objectives which go hand in hand—freedom and security, on the one hand, and economic prosperity and social justice on the other. We cannot achieve either of these without the other. Let no one run away from the fact that this involves an appropriate degree of economic planning not only, here but as between nations.
In pursuing these two objectives, we give full support to the United Nations. Within the United Nations we are working closely with other like-minded countries which. in the main, share our aim. 471 Take the work of the North Atlantic Treaty. The Treaty, while in form similar to traditional mutual security arrangements, is conceived in a new spirit. It is an association which provides not only for military defence but for voluntary consultation and joint decisions by the countries party to it in important matters of their common interest, including possible fruitful co-operation in economic affairs.
The work which is being done, not only at the periodic meetings of the Council, but by the Deputies, in the Production Board and in the Financial and Economic Board and in the various military bodies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation—all this work is bringing together officials and officers of the participating countries day by day in a way which is unique. It is creating a habit of considering national problems from an international angle. This habit has distinct value in helping to create a common point of view in the Atlantic partnership.
We must face the fact that what brought the North Atlantic Treaty into being is the need to strengthen the defences of the West. We can succeed in our aim of deterring aggression only if we show that the free nations are united in a common resolve to make their defence effective if the need to do so is thrust upon them. That is the background to our re-armament programme, undertaken jointly with our fellow members of N.A.T.O.
Our first task is to do all we can to strengthen the integrated force for the defence of Western Europe under General Eisenhower. His new headquarters outside Paris are the focus of the determination of the N.A.T.O. powers to defend their freedom if called upon to do so. The peoples of the United Nations already have good cause to be grateful to General Eisenhower for what he did in the last war. I am sure that he can count on the loyal support of the North Atlantic Treaty Powers in increasing production and in building up the efficiency of the forces under his command.
The first task of the North Atlantic Treaty Powers must be to ensure the security of Western Europe. The security of Western Europe cannot be safeguarded on the mainland of Western Europe alone. The inclusion in the North Atlantic Treaty of the United 472 States and Canada, as well as of Norway, Denmark and Iceland, is proof enough of that. The Mediterranean is also the southern flank of Europe's defence, and. as I have already informed the House. we have come to the conclusion that it is reasonable that Greece and Turkey should join the Treaty, and that this is the best practical means of linking their security, as we must all do, with the existing members of N.A.T.O.
I have said enough to show that, within the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty is the instrument, above all, to which we in the United Kingdom look for furthering our aim in the area which it covers. Because of the broad scope of the Treaty, it is to some extent a framework within which many projects in Europe can be developed.
The Government have already explained their sympathetic attitude to the Schuman Plan and similar projects for closer economic association between the various European countries. The Government will also continue to play their full part in the Council of Europe at Strasbourg. Plans for the pooling of economic resources show a determination to find new ways of tackling economic problems whose solution has so long eluded individual governments.
This country, with its ties with the Commonwealth and its economic undertakings all over the world, cannot, of course, give commitments in advance to European organisations of this type. We do, however, wish them every success, and for that reason hope to be able to co-operate with them wherever circumstances permit, so that we ourselves may contribute to their success.
It is, indeed, inevitable that, when Governments find themselves engaged in a number of these common undertakings, they will in practice find that, over a wide field of policy, they are working towards common solutions of their problems, perhaps not only in the economic field. Much progress has, indeed, already been made in Europe under the aegis of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation. The experience of O.E.E.C. and much of its machinery is, indeed, now of great value to the North Atlantic Treaty. A similar project, but in the defence field, is the French plan for a European army, in which Germany would 473 take part as an equal member. We consider that the idea of a European army merits very careful consideration and examination, provided it can be made adequately to meet the requirements of North Atlantic Treaty defence.
I know that this question of German re-armament arouses strong feelings for many reasons, but I ask the House to look at it, not only from the point of view of military requirements, though these are of great importance, but also from the general point of view of the sort of Europe which we want to see in the future. It is common ground that Germany must, in due course, take her place as an equal member of the community of free and democratic nations. It is reasonable, and indeed necessary, that a Germany which is in free association with other democratic countries should have the means to defend herself.
Clearly, it is in the general interest that the arrangements made for the defence of Germany and for the defence of Western Europe generally should be joint arrangements freely entered into and agreed by all the parties concerned. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in the House on 12th February:We have accepted the need for a contribution from Germany, but the time, method and conditions will require a great deal of working out."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1951; Vol. 484, c. 67.]That is exactly what we are doing now, and the Committee will have been aware of the recent conversations at Bonn and of the conversations with regard to a European army at Paris.
Among the problems of Europe, the position of Spain has recently attracted attention. The policy of His Majesty's Government towards Spain has not changed since last February, when my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs put before the House the reasons why His Majesty's Government are opposed to any association of Spain with the system of Western defence. His Majesty's Government still do not believe that the inclusion of Spain in Western defence would strengthen the community of freedom-loving nations.
The discussions which the United States Government are now conducting with the Spanish Government are, I understand. directed towards the acquisition of certain facilities for the use of ports and airfields. and do not envisage the entry of Spain 474 into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. There has been the most frank and friendly exchange of views on this question between ourselves and the Government of the United States. We have expressed to them our conviction that the strategic advantages which might accrue from associating Spain with Western defence would be outweighed by the political damage which such an association might inflict on the Western community of nations. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nonsense."]
In all these matters, we must bear in mind the purposes of our policy, which are constant, and must not be diverted from one thing to another by the day's news or the wonder of the week. As Mr. Dean Acheson expressed it last year, our object has been to build up positions of strength in the West, and we have been doing this steadily in Europe, without excitement or panic, but also without complacency. I think we can say that this policy has been thoroughly successful in the main and that there is no need whatever why we should abandon it. We have shown a firm front wherever there have been threats, but we have never been provocative and we have never given any nation cause to think that our preparations are other than defensive.
At this moment, after the latest Communist aggression in Korea has been brought to a halt by common action, there are some people who think that we should relax our efforts and change our course of policy. With respect, I do not agree. We have lived long enough with the. "peace campaign"—so-called peace campaign—to know what kind of peace its advocates have in mind and to be very cautious about the various more or less attractive shapes which the campaign assumes from time to time. At the present moment we are told there is a new desire for peace and understanding on the Eastern side of the fence. I sincerely hope that that may be the case. If it is so, we can rejoice, for nothing we are doing or shall do will stand in its way. But we shall not let down our guard or relax our vigilance in any way until we can see the proofs. Here, again, I find myself in full sympathy with what Mr. Acheson said at Detroit yesterday.
The price of preparing an adequate defence is heavy for all the European Powers. It has meant postponing some 475 of our hopes of economic recovery. Nor were our hopes of economic progress confined to Europe. In Asia, too, we believe that stable and democratic political conditions must be established if peace is to flourish. To make those conditions possible, a real effort is called for to raise the living standards of peoples in that part of the world. In too many places they are still appallingly low. We are therefore co-operating wholeheartedly in the Colombo Plan and will do our best to see that this plan is brought to a successful conclusion.
The 1st of July was the opening day of the six-year period for which the Commonwealth countries and Colonial and Protected Territories drew up the development programmes covered by the Report published last autumn. Work on these programmes has already started, in some cases ahead of schedule. I should like here to emphasise the point that these programmes are "home-produced"—the Colombo Plan does not conceal some new form of economic imperialism. Instead, it seeks to help the under-developed countries to accomplish the progress they themselves consider most essential to their well-being.
The Technical Co-operation Scheme is flourishing, and in the seven months odd in which it has been in full operation it has already provided considerable technical assistance to the countries taking part in it. Since the Colombo Plan Report was issued in November last, we have had the pleasure of welcoming the United States Government to membership of the Consultative Committee. Just as the United States contribution to the economic recovery of European countries was immensely important, so we look forward to co-operation in the same aims in Asia.
The Associate States of Indo-China have decided to join the plan, and we hope that the other non-Commonwealth countries of South-East Asia will do the same, so that the Colombo Plan can be extended to include not only all the countries of this area, but also the more industrially developed countries which are interested in promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the region.
In the territories for which His Majesty's Government are responsible, development plans were in existance and 476 were being implemented before the inception of the Colombo Plan, and these have been embodied in their "Colombo programme." So far as external financial assistance may be required to carry through their plans, His Majesty's Government have already given an assurance that they will stand behind them. In the Federation of Malaya the execution of this programme is going ahead as fast as preoccupation with the terrorist campaign permits. In all the territories ample finance is available for the immediate future, and any slowing up of progress is more likely to be due to other causes, for example, the shortage of labour and possibly of certain materials.
The prospects of peace and stability in the Far East have been much set back by the fighting in Korea, but now we have hopes that that fighting may be coming to an end. Armistice talks in Korea have been going on since 10th July. The scope is military and the objectives limited: to bring the fighting to an end so that the future of Korea can be discussed in a peaceful atmosphere. As regards the present talks, it will be better to refrain from commenting for the time being. Nobody knows how long the talks will continue, but some progress has been made towards an agreed agenda.
This might be a useful moment to take stock of the situation. Just over a year ago North Korea invaded South Korea, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at once announced our decision to play our part in the system of collective security devised by the United Nations to resist aggression and to keep the peace. The Security Council resolution of 25th June, 1950, calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities was ignored by the North Koreans.
In another resolution on 27th June the Council recommended Member States to furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as might be necessary to repel the armed attack. This was the first positive attempt the world had seen of putting collective security into force under an integrated organisation designed to keep the peace. How many times in the past has the opportunity for such action to resist aggression been missed, and with what deplorable effects! The United Nations acted swiftly in pursuit of its obligations. His Majesty's Government, along with other Governments of the 477 Commonwealth, contributed considerable land, sea and air fighting forces to the campaign. These forces have given a magnificent account of themselves, and we are proud of them.
It would be as well to pause and think what would have happened if the United Nations had not taken action in Korea. The North Koreans, with their vastly superior equipment and mechanised forces, would have overrun the whole of Korea in a short space of time, and aggression would thus have had its reward. A decision by force would thus have been obtained. This would have been entirely contrary to the spirit and purposes of the United Nations whose very basis lies in the peaceful settlement of international disputes. Successful action by the North Koreans might well have led to other aggression elsewhere, and world peace generally would have been greatly endangered.
If the present armistice negotiations in Korea are successful—and we all hope and pray that they will be—then the United Nations will have achieved something very worth while. The loss of life among the United Nations forces will not have been in vain. For there can be no denying that their sacrifices have done much to prevent a third world war, to uphold the rule of law, and to teach would-be aggressors that to resort to force is dangerous as well as wrong.
We could not have contributed effectively to this great United Nations effort to enforce collective security and at the same time maintained our world-wide commitments if we had not provided ourselves with the physical means of doing so. Suppose we had remained disarmed to the extent that we disarmed after World War II; suppose we had not foreseen the danger of aggression and taken steps with our allies to meet that danger accordingly. In that case not only would events in the last year have taken a different course, but the outlook today would have been dark and ominous indeed.
Mr. Litvinov remarked in 1934 that peace was indivisible. I wish his sentiments had been shared since the end of the war by his compatriots. While they and their friends have been talking so much about peace, their actions have unhappily belied their words and Korea is the outstanding example of this. Korea 478 is a significant landmark to a world in search of peace and security. I hope its lesson will never be forgotten.
Another important contribution to the stability of the Far East will be the conclusion of a Treaty of Peace with Japan, and I think it is right that I should devote some little attention to this important development in world affairs. The draft Japanese Peace Treaty, published as a White Paper on 12th July, including the minor textual amendments set out in the subsequent White Paper published yesterday, has now been circulated to States which declared war on Japan. The draft Treaty is the result of consultation between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth Governments and the Government of the United States of America, which have been in progress ever since the summer of 1947.
The recent talks which took place with Mr. Dulles in London enabled the United Kingdom and United States Governments to agree upon the text which has now been published with only a few agreed reservations. But there has been no question of any attempt to determine the final terms of a Japanese Treaty without taking into account the views of the other principal Powers concerned, and we have now reached the point of formal consultation with those and other Powers at war with Japan upon the latest draft. There is one notable exception to which reference will be made later.
It should be emphasised once more that, as far as the United Kingdom is concerned, this formal consultation is the logical outcome of the continuous and close consultation with other members of the Commonwealth who have been kept informed of the progress of the talks with Mr. Dulles. It will also be recalled that the Governments of Australia and New Zealand discussed the Peace Treaty with Mr. Dulles during his tour in the Far East in the early part of this year.
Before turning to the Treaty itself, some clarification is necessary on the question of Chinese participation in the signature of a multilateral Treaty, since China was certainly one of the principal Powers in the war against Japan. As is well known, the difficulty here lies in the fact that the principal Powers are not agreed as to the Government which could properly represent China in the signature 479 of a multilateral Peace Treaty with Japan. Indeed, the 14 Powers who are regarded as those principally concerned in the war with Japan are almost equally divided between those who recognise the Central People's Government of China—and that number includes the United Kingdom—and those who recognise the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai-shek.
It seemed to us unlikely that general agreement would be reached in the near future, so that, if this stumbling block were not removed, the conclusion of a Treaty with Japan would have to be indefinitely delayed. Now agreement is general, even amongst those Powers which are opposed to our point of view as to how a Treaty should be prepared, namely, the U.S.S.R. and China, that an early Peace Treaty is essential.
In 1949 the Government of the Soviet Union suggested that an early peace with Japan was of great importance and it was supported in this statement by the newly-constituted Central People's Government of China. It therefore seemed that the only course to adopt would be to set aside this question of China's participation and, while safeguarding Chinese rights and interests, not to invite any Chinese to participate in the signature of the multilateral treaty now contemplated. This is a course much to be regretted but, after exhaustive consideration of the subject, there seemed to be no other way.
This conclusion does not imply in any way that His Majesty's Government have ignored or wish to ignore China's major interest in the peace settlement with Japan, and it does not mean we do not still recognise the Peking Government as the Government of China. The text of the Treaty provides that Japan will, for a period of three years after the present Treaty comes into force, be prepared to make a substantially similar Treaty of Peace with any State at war with her which signed the United Nations' Declaration of 1st January, 1942, but which does not sign the present draft Peace Treaty. China's rights and interests are thus safeguarded, as she was one of the States which signed the United Nations' Declaration referred to. In addition, the Treaty gives China, although not a signatory, the benefit of certain articles. It can fairly be said, therefore, that we have not been 480 unmindful of China's position or of her rights and interests in the matter.
To turn now to the Treaty in general, it represents the sum total of agreement reached so far as a result of the consultations which have taken place. We have for some time past been in agreement with the United States that, after a lapse of six years since the end of the war with Japan, a Peace Treaty with that country should be of a liberal, non-punitive and non-restrictive nature—nonpunitive, because Japan has already been made to suffer greatly as a result of her defeat in the war, and also because there is no desire on our part to perpetuate in any vengeful spirit the measures which were necessary at the time for the occupation and de-militarisation of that country; non-restrictive, because there has been general agreement that Japan, with its present population of 83 million, mounting at the rate of one million a year, must be enabled to possess an economy which will ensure a reasonable standard of living to her people. To adopt any other course would not only be to perpetrate an injustice but also to create conditions which could only sow the seeds of further trouble in the future.
Our decision in favour of a liberal Peace Treaty was a deliberate one. Many hon. Members will remember the trail of troubles left by the Treaty of Versailles. Certainly the Labour Party, in the course of its history, has not been backward in condemning much associated with the Treaty of Versailles, and we must remember those things at this time. We might have adopted a Versailles policy over the Japanese Peace Treaty, but after careful thought we felt that the contrary policy of a liberal treaty would give us the best chance of seeing Japan develop along liberal Parliamentary lines and play her part in the free world.
One of the matters which has exercised participants in the treaty-making has been the question of security. Here there are two aspects to consider. On the one hand, there are some who believe that, given the chance, Japan will again become an aggressor nation and threaten the free world. On the other, there is the hard fact that if Japan is left entirely defenceless she will become an easy victim to aggression by others.
481 It will be observed that in the present draft Treaty there are no actual restrictions upon Japanese re-armament. Such restrictions have been written into treaties in the past, and with the passage of time they have not been observed. Experience shows that such restrictions in a treaty not only do not ensure the desired result, but tend to provide a focus for the worst evils of nationalism, In point of fact, Japan, having been deprived by her loss of territory of important sources of raw materials, will not be able in the foreseeable future to re-arm to the extent of becoming a potential aggressor.
This question however, is closely bound up with that of the defence of Japan itself. Today Japan has no armaments of any description and no armed forces apart from the police. She is, therefore, in no position to resist aggression should such aggression be contemplated. It will be observed that in the present draft Treaty Japan accepts the obligations set forth in Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations. At the same time, the Allied Powers recognise that Japan possesses the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence referred to in Article 51 of the Charter.
As at present contemplated, the security of Japan will be ensured by the voluntary conclusion by Japan of a defence pact with the United States of America, whereby balanced forces will be maintained for the defence of Japanese territory. It will, no doubt, be argued by those who are opposed to the security of Japan from aggression that such a pact represents an attempt by the United States to build up Japan in order that she may commit aggression against China or Russia, or both. We are satisfied that no such intention exists and that all that is contemplated is that the necessary forces will be stationed in and around Japan by arrangement between Japan and the United States which will ensure that Japan herself cannot become a victim of aggression.
One of the main security factors from the point of view of the United Kingdom has been the effect which the contemplated defence agreement between Japan and the United States and the consequent partial re-armament of Japan might be expected to have upon the defence of other members of the Commonwealth, particularly that of Australia and of New 482 Zealand. This question is one of the major problems connected with the Japanese Peace Treaty to which most careful thought has been given for a long time.
It has now been found possible to achieve a significant contribution to the security of Australia and of New Zealand in the Pacific area by the negotiation of a Tripartite Defence Agreement between these two members of the Commonwealth and the United States. His Majesty's Government, as is well known, have been in close consultation with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand throughout the negotiation of this Defence Agreement.
In the territorial provisions of the Treaty it has been considered appropriate to do no more than to arrange that Japan should renounce all right, title and claim to the various territories which, by general agreement with the Allies, she should give up. The independence of Korea is recognised by Japan.
In the matter of economic provisions we have considered it proper in one particular, namely, the Congo Basin Treaties, to re-define Japan's position. Japan was a signatory to the Conventions concluded at St. Germain-en-Laye in 1919 in connection with the trade of the territories within the Congo Basin. She will be required to renounce such rights as she possesses as a signatory Power to these Conventions.
With regard to the other economic provisions of the Treaty, we have been guided by the same considerations as those which determined our attitude on security. On the one hand, we attach importance to the early resumption of full sovereignty by Japan; on the other, we place little reliance on the effectiveness of punitive restrictions in a peace treaty. Thus the Treaty provides that Japan will be prepared to negotiate suitable treaties of trade, commerce and navigation with those of the Allied Powers who wish to do so.
Pending the conclusion of such treaties, Japan is required for a period of four years to give to each of the Allied Powers, and to each of their dependent territories, Most-Favoured-Nation treatment with respect to Customs duties, restrictions and other regulations in connection with the import and export of goods, and 483 national treatment with respect to shipping, imported goods and business activities, including taxation and property rights, if Japan is in fact accorded such treatment in return.
This, of course, imposes no obligation upon the United Kingdom or upon any other Allied Power to treat Japan in any particular way, but means that the United Kingdom or any Colonial Territory would forfeit its rights to national or Most-Favoured-Nation treatment in any particular field if it failed to give Japan the treatment in question. This complicated matter has already been the subject of a statement by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 12th July in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Mr. McKay).
I fully realise the anxieties of Lancashire and the fears held there of a revival of Japanese competition. Lancashire and other places, too, remember the troubles of pre-war years, and I remember them also. I do, however, assure hon. Members that for practical purposes on this point also it is useless—indeed, I think, it is impossible—to write into the Treaty effective restrictions. In the long run the future prosperity of Lancashire, like the rest of Britain, will depend upon the sustained pursuit of the right economic policies at home and on international cooperation in economic affairs.
There has been considerable discussion, especially among holders of Japanese sterling bonds, about the possibility of Japan resuming payments on her external debt. The draft Treaty emphasises that pre-war obligations have not been affected by the war, and it includes a Japanese affirmation of liability for the pre-war external debt, as well as undertakings about early negotiations between debtors and creditors for the resumption of service of the debts.
The general financial provisions of the Treaty have been much influenced by our agreement that it should be of a nonrestrictive nature in order to enable Japan to maintain a reasonable standard of living for her people. Poverty is bad enough; externally imposed poverty is worse. During the six years of the occupation, Japan has been a financial liability and her essential imports of food and raw materials have cost the United 484 States Government over 2,000 million dollars in that time. The draft Treaty, therefore, while recognising the principle that Japan should in equity be required to make due reparations for the damage and suffering which she caused by embarking upon an aggressive war, also recognises that unfortunately adequate reparation cannot be made. It does, however, provide for certain measures of compensation which it is within Japan's capacity to pay.
In the first place, Japan will, if required, render to any of the Allied Powers whose territory was over-run assistance in repairing the damage done by the Japanese occupation. The draft Treaty provides for the resumption by Allied nationals of their property and property rights in Japan. It also gives each of the Allies the right to seize all Japanese assets within its territory, subject to certain exceptions. Our proposals for the use of Japanese assets in the United Kingdom for the benefit of those who suffered as prisoners of war or civilian internees are set out in the answer given today to my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd).
Moreover, the draft Treaty included some recognition of Japan's desire to make recompense for the suffering endured by prisoners of war in her hands. As an indication of this desire, Japan will agree to the transfer, subject to certain exceptions, of her assets in former neutral or ex-enemy countries to the International Red Cross. The total value of these assets is about £5 million, and the intention is that the International Red Cross should liquidate them and distribute the proceeds as it deems appropriate for the benefit of former prisoners of war and their families. Clearly, funds will not permit the payment of a large lump sum to all ex-prisoners, but it is hoped that, whatever is the basis of distribution adopted, some measure of relief will be afforded to British ex-prisoners of war of His Majesty's Forces, including those raised in the Colonies and Protectorates.
I am grateful to the House for bearing with this lengthy exposition of the draft Peace Treaty, which I am hoping to sign at San Francisco on behalf of the United Kingdom on 8th September. I felt that the House should be given the fullest possible information before the summer Recess.
485 I have spoken long enough, but even so I have dealt only with some of the issues confronting us in the world. There is a whole complex of pressing problems in and about the Middle East to be discussed on Monday. More and more the problems of international affairs—political, economic and social—affect our daily lives in our own country.
The general body of our citizens are pretty well agreed on the sort of world we want to see and on the sacrifices we are prepared to make to achieve it, and I think we are also in agreement on the broad issues with our fellow members of the Commonwealth, our neighbours in Western Europe and our friends in the United States. Agreement is not always reached easily, but we are all free to speak our minds, and we do so; for our friends in the Commonwealth, the United States and elsewhere share most of our ideals.
We believe that those ideals are sound and we hope that in course of time they will be accepted by all nations. All of this means that we must make our contribution and we must make our appropriate sacrifices if the common advantage of the world is to be achieved, and that others must do the same. It is a tragic fact, a very tragic fact, that there are Governments which seem to be animated by other purposes. If they are to follow a course which will benefit all mankind, a real change of front is needed. We are always looking for that change of front.
§ Mr. Morrison
We are always looking for that change of heart, that change of spirit, and if we see clear signs that it has taken place, we shall be ready to grasp with both hands the opportunity for new and world-wide progress.
§ 4.25 p.m.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden)
I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman paid a tribute to his predecessor, for whose spirit I should again like to express our own admiration on the occasion of this debate. On the question of Persia, I accept the right hon. Gentleman's statement as being an interim statement. Subject to there being no need for any further statement this week or for any Question from this side, I think we had better leave 486 the matter to be discussed as arranged on Monday.
We welcome the debut of the right hon. Gentleman as Foreign Secretary. I do not think any Foreign Secretary can be said to have been baptised until he has been through the lengthy ordeal of what is called, in Foreign Office parlance, atour d'horizon.The right hon. Gentleman has got through his tour de force,and I think he has got through as well as any of his predecessors. We have certainly missed from his statement some of the more lively and controversial language he has used outside the House, for example to the miners. We have also missed from his statement some of the more proud and almost bragging language which he used when he was dubbed "Lord Festival," but we have, I think, discerned those qualities of statesmanship of which the country is in such need at the present time.
I would myself say that his speech could best be described in the expression I saw on the back of a bus as I came to the House this afternoon—an expression advertising a certain well-known tyre. It said, "Buy our famous Zig-Zag safety tread." That seems to me to express the zig-zag safety-tread path which the right hon. Gentleman has hitherto followed in the foreign policy of this country. I can only hope that the tyre which we are discussing this afternoon will not skid unduly, that it will occasionally be able to accelerate a little more than it has done, and that it will eventually get us somewhere; and with those few words I will come to the substance of the right hon. Gentleman's reference to the objectives governing British policy.
We have no reason to differ from the statement of objectives, in general, of British foreign policy at this or any other time. These objectives are for us summed up in the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. We stress, perhaps even more than the right hon. Gentleman did in his speech. our devotion to the British Commonwealth of Nations and our belief that in the mobilising of the strength, both economic and strategic, of the British Commonwealth lies the safety of these islands.
We are not in any way second to him in our desire for close working with the United States of America. In fact, I shall illustrate shortly that perhaps we shall 487 desire to work even more closely with that great country. We stand frankly for British interests and are not ashamed of it, and we believe, as the right hon. Gentleman does, that the economic argument is vital in the conduct of our foreign policy today.
In view of your appeal about the number of Members wishing to speak, Major Milner, I shall not have time to go into great detail about the Colombo Plan, but I should like to ask whether, in studying the Colombo Plan and bringing it into force, we are working with the alleged machinery and the alleged help which is to come from the President's Point Four, about which we have heard very little lately.
Despite the fact that we agree on these main principles of British foreign policy, there seem to us to be several major defects in the conduct of foreign policy by His Majesty's Government at the present time. First of all, as I shall show in various instances that I shall cover, there does not seem to have been sufficient evidence of a sense of urgency in handling the major problems of the hour. Secondly, we have an uneasy and, alas, an apparently justified impression that the voice of Great Britain is not being heard at the present time with sufficient strength or with enough emphasis. No doubt we shall hear more of that in the debate on Monday.
But thirdly, there seems in the midst of all the preparations for improved defence arrangements and for building up positions of strength, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, an inadequate will or insufficient machinery to give the political directives which are necessary to represent the united determination of all our Governments and nations involved, and it is in these directions that we would beseech the right hon. Gentleman to proceed, and to give some evidence of firmness and unity of purpose, not only within this country but among the major nations involved.
In the early part of my speech, before coming to consider the Japanese Treaty, I had better allude to this question of Spain. Before I examine the merits of the American move in Spain, I should say that, by the fact that it is unilateral, it has to that extent taken away from the strength of unity of purpose which we 488 would wish to be made to prevail among the Allied nations. It has for that reason excited a good deal of adverse comment. But when we come to examine it calmly and dispassionately I think we must recognise—and I should like to take a line different from the right hon. Gentleman on this matter—that this move is intimately connected, in the United States' view, with the needs of Western strategy.
The United States' interest in this matter has always been well known and recognised. General Marshal and General Eisenhower and many other American leaders have, in the past, expressed definite views on the strategic importance of the Iberian Peninsula. Even at the time of the signature of the Atlantic Pact, the Spanish gap was recognised. It was clear then that Spain should not be included in the Atlantic Pact. I should like at once to illustrate why it is important that it should be examined calmly by saying that, so far as my information goes, there has been no request by Spain to be included in that Pact at the present time. Indeed, I would go further and say that the inclusion of Spain in the North Atlantic Pact, or, indeed, within the United Europe Organisation, is not before us at the present time, and I have no desire to pursue it.
In this context I should like to say that I thought that the Foreign Secretary's compliment to the speech of the Under-Secretary of State on Spain at a late hour of night some months ago was most undesirable. We recognise the loyalty of the Foreign Secretary to his own Under-Secretary, and that we accept; but I should like to say that I thought that the speech was a most unfortunate one for the sake of international relations, whether in the case of Spain or any other country, and I further think that any attempt to base our foreign policies on a purely ideological basis is not in the best interests of this country or of any other.
Leaving that aside, we have no right to cavil at the United States if she pursues a strategic plan which, in her view, is designed to reinforce the West, and in this connection I should like to remind the Committee that Mr. Acheson has, in a recent statement, on 30th July, made clear that there is no intention to alter the provisions of men or materials established under the North Atlantic Treaty for the 489 defence of Europe. I should take a sinister view of this move if I thought that the United States were by it dragging men and materials away from the vital scene or in any way resigning from their proud intention to help us in that area. But Mr. Dean Acheson has spoken of this essential matter in the following words. He says that this new move does not alter the firm intention of the United Statesto see to it, that if Western Europe is attacked, it will be defended and not liberated.In fact, it may well be that the new arrangements, looked at from the angle of the United States, may well fortify and buttress the United States' determination.
I should like to say to the whole Committee that if this new move in any way assists the prevention of the economic collapse of Spain—and I am purposely avoiding all political arguments today—and if the economic collapse of Spain could be avoided, it would be very much to our interests in our general struggle against Communism at the present time. Further, appeal to the Committee and say that it is not for us, however strongly we may feel on Spanish issues—and I have probably been as much in controversy over Spain in this Committee or in the House as any living man, and I have learned my lesson—it is not for us to prevent action calculated to help the Spanish people, who are still suffering from the loss of over one million men in their civil war.
Now I come to consideration of the right hon. Gentleman's observations on the Japanese Treaty. In the case of Japan we have felt in the Opposition during the time of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor and for some time past that this has been the arc in the bow of world policy, which appears to have been omitted from the precise attention of British foreign policy. To take one instance, the Commonwealth, we understand, has now got a token contingent, an occupation force, in Japan. The United Kingdom, perhaps for understandable reasons, is not represented in that contingent. But what is essential is that we should now be properly represented in Japan, and that we should resume our historic close association with the Japanese people. In this connection we are glad to hear that that great expert 490 on Far Eastern affairs, Sir Esler Dening, is going to Japan to represent his country.
Before Japanese policy became subordinated to the control of military and naval cliques, and before cruelty and conquest became its dominant theme—and I hope that those days will pass, as the right hon. Gentleman himself expressed the hope—we remember the days of Anglo-Japanese collaboration following upon Lord Lansdowne's Treaty of 1906. Lord Lansdowne's role has now been assumed by a statesman of no less eminence and ability, namely, Mr. John Foster Dulles, and we would desire from this side of the Committee to support the right hon. Gentleman in his tribute to his work and influence. We should now examine in broad outline Mr. Dulles' magnanimous settlement that he has negotiated with all concerned.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the importance of bringing the Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand, into the picture. They must have misgivings about unrestricted Japanese re-armament in the East just as we have feelings about unrestricted German re-armament in the West, and undoubtedly these feelings are felt most by those who suffered most in the war in the Far East or in the West. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Pact which has been recently signed between the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. This appears to have machinery the same as we have in the North Atlantic Treaty. There is to be a Council of Ministers.
But the right hon. Gentleman has gone no further today in explaining how the United Kingdom was left out of this arrangement, and why, in fact, steps have not been taken to enlarge the Far Eastern Pact arrangement in much the same way as the Western arrangement—the one for the East, and the North Atlantic Treaty for the West. In the reply which is to be given to the debate, perhaps this matter can be carried farther than the right hon. Gentleman's statement on 19th April of this year, when he said, in a rather pathetic way, I thought:It would not have been unwelcome to us if we had been included in the proposed pact…But the discussions did not so work out…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th April, 1951; Vol. 486, c. 2007.]491 That does not seem to me to indicate that the right hon. Gentleman or Government policy are inspired with the requisite sense that it is vital to have joint arrangements in this area.
In the case of the Western Pact we were able from the Opposition side to indicate that for at least three years before the North Atlantic Treaty Pact was contracted, we had recommended this course of action. I can refer to a speech which I had the honour to make as long as two years ago asking why further progress had not been made with the Pacific Pact. I said that we should bring togetherthe nations in the Far East in much the same way as we have brought them together in the West."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th May, 1949; Vol. 464, c. 1340.]Yet His Majesty's Government, through the Minister of State, only a year ago gave a totally negative answer to the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Brigadier Smyth). That was on 19th July, 1950. Now we are rewarded by a statement made in another place by Lord Alexander, exactly a year after the statement of the Minister of State, that a Pacific Pact might be a big step in the direction of even more far-reaching arrangements in the Pacific.
We trust, therefore, that His Majesty's Government will take a real lead in carrying a little further this matter of a pact of Far Eastern nations involved in the problems of today, and will consult with the older Dominions and be quite certain that British interests are thoroughly involved in this matter. We should certainly involve ourselves as far as possible with United States policy in the Far East.
This is particularly important in view of the military portions of the Japanese Treaty. In view of the liberty given to Japan to re-arm, we are naturally vitally interested in the safeguards provided by the Treaty. We presume that the United States will arrange for the stationing of forces in Japan after the withdrawal of the occupation forces, and this is provided for in a 90-day delay period after the coming into force of the Treaty.
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what proposals His Majesty's Government will make at San Francisco for the disposal of the forfeited territories other than Korea and the Ruyukyus 492 and adjacent islands which the draft proposes shall be under United States trusteeship. We welcome the idea that the Ruyukyus, which stretch between Japan and Formosa, shall be occupied, but we should like to know what is to be the future of Southern Sakhalin, which has a vital strategic position in the area north of Japan. Further, I should like to ask, in view of the provisions in the Treaty for Japanese re-armament, whether the Japanese constitution is to be revised to enable her to have the sovereignty to make an independent defence force?
Now I come to the right hon. Gentleman's observations about the economic problems arising from the Japanese Treaty. We are glad that Japan has initiated labour legislation, has been readmitted to the international Labour Office, and that trade unions have been established. However, I want to ask a specific question to which I hope we shall receive an answer: will Japan sign the Convention on Copyright Designs and Trade Marks, because the signature of such a Convention will make a difference to her in the fairly free opportunities for production which, despite all the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, the Treaty allows.
If one studies the tables and statistics in the trade returns it will be seen that Japan is creeping back, like Western Germany, into world trade. The percentage is rising. Further, from the accounts we get, it is clear that the Japanese rayon industry will have reached a level of £500 million per annum by the end of 1951, which is close to the pre-war peak production.
We must also remember that Japan is cut off from her easy markets in Korea and China which were always supposed to be the markets which would support the Japanese trade. It is also extremely doubtful whether the countries in South-East Asia, and some of those operating the Colombo Plan, will be suitable for Japanese products. There is no doubt, therefore, that the Government are right in saying, through the mouth of the President of the Board of Trade, that for the present we must retain our freedom to protect our economy, if necessary, against abnormal and injurious competition. Therefore, we support the proposal not to extend most-favoured-nation treatment to Japan at present.
493 We also approved what the right hon. Gentleman has said about the Convention of St. Germain-en-Laye, 1919, and the general provision about the Congo Basin Treaties. I should like the Committee to remember, particularly the Lancashire Members and those representing other industrial districts which will undoubtedly suffer in the future—and they had better get their minds ready for it—that the denial of most-favoured-nation treatment to Japan will not prevent Japanese competition in many of our overseas markets after a period.
The freedom which His Majesty's Government say they are determined to retain for the present has been impaired by the non-discrimination announced by the President of the Board of Trade and accepted in recent years at the expense of preferential arrangements. Therefore, there is no doubt that this matter should be carefully canvassed, and I hope that hon. Members who represent industrial, commercial and textile interests will go thoroughly into this problem before we let it leave the Committee this afternoon.
We were glad to see the paragraph about compensation in the Treaty, and every tribute should be paid to hon. and gallant Members on this side of the Committee who have done so much to bring this matter before public attention, especially the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood. The fact that there is a reference to compensation for prisoners of war must be laid to the credit of the House of Commons and its debates, and we should thank the Government for making this inclusion.
However, when we come to the question of compensation under Article 16, the right hon. Gentleman has announced today that the total figure will be about £5 million. We understand that has to be spread over 200,000 members of the Allied Forces. I say quite categorically that we regard the total amount as entirely inadequate except as a gesture. I understand—I should like this to be corroborated—that the Americans have paid their ex-prisoners a dollar for every day in captivity. Suffering can be regarded as international and human, and we trust that the Government will be able to give reconsideration to the amount suggested under Article 16.
Further, the fact that the principle of compensation is included in the treaty is 494 a useful precedent for future treaties. I hope this will be made known outside and that the Chinese, who have many of our prisoners in their hands, will recognise that in future the principle of compensation should be included in treaties of peace.
Further, I should like to ask a purely business question: whether His Majesty's Government have any further proposals to make about compensation for chattels, for fair compensation for British nationals who remained in China in 1941 in accordance with the expressed wishes of His Majesty's Government, and who suffered loss or injury from Japanese forces? Foreign Secretary said that the draft is subject to possible modifications, and so I should like to appeal to his sense of fairness and to the softness of his heart.
I understand that the Japanese Treaty will be signed in September. By then we may have good news about the success of the cease-fire negotiations in Korea. It is our ardent and oft-expressed wish that an honourably negotiated peace should be concluded in the Far East. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will accept, once and for all, that we, too, do not wish to see any more blood-letting. Clearly there is no doubt that there are no grounds for easy optimism in the Far Eastern situation or in the Eastern situation as a whole. Apart from the active fighting in Korea, order has not yet been reestablished in Malaya. nor victory won in Indo-China.
While I am referring to the East, I should like to make a reference to the tension which exists at the present moment between India and Pakistan, which is immobilising two of the best armies in the East for no great international purpose. I am not going to be so foolish as to make any recommendations on this very difficult matter, but it is one which must be in the minds of His Majesty's Government, and upon which a solution is urgently and ardently desired.
In the case of the Korea talks, the opening was sponsored by Mr. Malik. It is to be noted that his speech was timed almost immediately after the collapse of the Four Power talks in which the Under-Secretary took part with great pertinacity —and this time I hope not to be so offensive to him and to pay him a compliment. at least for his patience—in Paris. I 495 think that we should remember the earlier days of which the right hon. Gentleman rightly spoke, particularly when the United Nations acted with determination and Mr. Malik walked out of the room, and we have to envisage any peace move from that quarter with a great degree of scepticism which has been increased by our knowledge of the discussions in Paris.
I should like to take this opportunity, in referring to the important international scene, to say that if there be any basis for a re-opening of talks, either in the Far East or the West—and there were some hopes mentioned by Mr. Malik himself—it would be the desire of His Majesty's Opposition that that opportunity should be taken by His Majesty's Government. While actively supporting His Majesty's Government in any attempt, whether in Korea or elswhere, to achieve an honourable peace, I should like emphatically to disagree with the words of the Minister of Defence which he used in Manchester on 2nd July, namely:At the slightest sign, we should be only too willing to curtail our activities and return to the arts of peace.We now need much more than signs. We need practical evidence of the peaceful intention of others, and until we have made a greater effort than hitherto, we shall not have won the right to relax. This applies particularly to Western Europe, which I am coming to in my concluding remarks.
I think that the best introduction to this theatre is perhaps what I have just said, that until we have partial re-armament and are strong—and the Foreign Secretary used strong words on that subject this afternoon—we shall not have the right to relax. Mr. Acheson in a speech at Detroit, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, gave us some figures of Soviet strength. Mr. Molotov has just made a speech which may be regarded as alarming or otherwise, according to our taste, in Poland. The Under-Secretary of State for War made a speech in Birmingham on 15th July last. He told us that the Soviet strength had risen as high as 215 divisions, that is over four million men. There are 22 divisions in the Russian zone of Germany, including 5,000 tanks—mobile forces.
I would ask the Committee to notice this increase over the official figures— 496 and these are official figures I have given of a year ago, when it was suggested by the Minister of Defence on 26th July—exactly a year ago—that there were 175 Soviet divisions and 2,800,000 men. Now we are told it is 4 million and over 200 divisions. That makes one recall a statement by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), in his question to the Government of four-and-a-half years ago, when he asked:Is it or is it not true that there are today more than 200 Soviet divisions on a war footing …? "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd October, 1946; Vol. 427, c. 1689–90.]These figures must be to any thinking person, considering the international situation, at least a spur to further effort on our part.
That is why we ask the Government, in all seriousness, why this vital question of German re-armament has been so consistently delayed. We understood that agreement had been reached with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the Brussels Conference of December, 1950, that there should be a German contribution. If hon. Gentlemen opposite say that they are not involved in this, I would remind them of the statement made by Mr. Bevin in the House of Commons on 29th November last year, which, I think, represents a moderate and common-sense view on this very great problem of German re-armament. He said:If, unhappily, aggression were to take place in Europe, we are satisfied that its defence would have to take place as far East as possible, and that means that Western Germany must he involved; and if Western Germany is to be defended, it seems to us only fair and reasonable that the people of Western Germany should help in their own defence."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th November, 1950; Vol. 481, c. 1172.]The Foreign Secretary has been using language today pointing out how defenceless Japan is. He has told us of the magnanimity of the Japanese Peace Treaty and how the Japanese must now help to defend themselves. The same process should surely apply in the case of Germany. I do not under-estimate; I am not deaf or blind to the evidence of what has been described as Neo-Nazi influence which is growing up in Germany, particularly that of Remer and his movement, whose picture we see in one of our periodical newspapers and whose speeches we can read second-hand.
497 I am aware of the lead given by the Leader of the Opposition and my right hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden), who have shown their sympathy with the French desire to include German units within the European army and so avoid the worst dangers of revived German nationalism. I feel certain that that is the way to proceed. I know the objections felt both on this side of the Committee and by hon. Members opposite to German re-armament, and it is clear that to make progress simply for progress' sake would be undesirable; but progress in this matter must be madepari passuat the same moment as progress in our own re-armament and progress in the political sphere in Germany.
I should be greatly obliged if in the Government reply we could hear if some contractual treaty is to take the place of the statute, and if that difference will make the issue more factual. We must try to marry the Pleven Plan and the Petersburgh Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation machinery, as the point has now been reached when Germany must share the burden of our defence, provided that her contribution can be regulated under General Eisenhower's European command.
In view of the many other speeches, I will conclude my remarks by summing up like this: We need, in our view on this side of the Committee, unity in policy both among the free and allied nations and in the House of Commons. From the form that the right hon. Gentleman has shown, there is no reason why this unity should exclude criticism or lively interchanges. I think that we are likely to have that. Indeed, we might well be healthier if our foreign affairs debates, when they are on controversial subjects, got back to the same sort of temper and atmosphere as in the days of Fox, Wilberforce, Sheridan and other great leaders of our country in the past.
The truth is, whether we have peace or not, the cause we are all fighting for, which is to regain our freedom, is greater than the extent of any differences which can be shown on the Floor of the House. The cause is not so much peace, especially peace at any price, but life itself. We could not live freely and happily under the circumstances of a Communistic dictatorship, and we should therefore take the advantage of this solemn debate today, 498 which on the whole must be an advantage of a joint character, to dedicate ourselves. afresh to the common cause of the free democracies.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
The Foreign Secretary spoke at some length about the lessons that we can gain from the war in Korea for our future policies towards Russia and China. I should like to make one or two further comments on this subject, and to begin with the light which the Korean war throws on the capacity of these Communist countries to, misunderstand and misinterpret the intentions of the Western Powers. This may seem an academic subject, but I believe it is overlooked too much; it has a great bearing on our present and future policies.
If we take first of all the original act of aggression—the unleashing of the North Korean forces against the South by the Soviet Union—surely, it is hard to believe that if the Russians had known at that time that the United Nations would intervene with such strength and determination they would have done what they did. It is much more likely that they misjudged the intentions of the United States and the United Nations, as, indeed, did many competent observers in the West who believed that the Americans had "written off" South Korea.
When my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary congratulated the United Nations for the part they have played since that time in Korea, I think we should remember how much better it would have been if the intentions of the United Nations and the Americans had been plainly known in advance, so that, at least, we should have had a chance of altogether avoiding war in Korea. Both sides can learn from that incident, Russia more than ourselves; but, we, too, can learn, because there are other parts of the world now where the intentions and commitments of the Western Powers are probably not clear to the Chinese and Communist leaders. I am thinking of Yugoslavia, Indo-China, Formosa, Persia and a number of other countries where uncertainty may exist.
Of course, it is not always possible or wise to be too specific about these things, or to go beyond the obligation we all have as members of the United Nations, but there is a strong case on balance for 499 the Western Powers clarifying their commitments on a joint basis. I should like to see the deputies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in London considering this, and seeing if they cannot come to a clearer collective definition of our position.
It is not only clearness on our commitments that matters but the fact that we have the military power to honour them. This is, I suppose, a maiden speech, and I do not mean to be unduly controversial. I look forward on some other occasion to discussing the follies of the pamphlet "One Way Only." All of us hope passionately that there will be a cease fire in Korea and that a chain of events will take place which will enable the Western Powers to disarm with safety. But surely Korea is an absolute proof, if anyone needs it, that any realistic peace policy today absolutely demands as an essential element a substantial armed force at the service of the United Nations.
Even before aggression took place one heard talk about the Russians abhorring hot war methods and that the real danger was of cold war aggression. It was pointed out that we were in the happy position of having no choice to make between guns and butter. We could overlook the guns and fight Communism with the butter. Surely that is now shown to be a dangerous delusion. And surely one powerful cause of Chinese readiness to talk peace now—she obviously wishes a cease fire whether we succeed in getting one or not—is the clear knowledge that the United Nations are not only strong but are becoming stronger day by day by great strides. If we weaken now and lose our resolution and cut our proposed arms expenditure, I believe it would be to prolong the suffering and agony in Korea and increase the risks of a new world war and new local wars at different places. That, I believe, is the first lesson, in addition to those the Foreign Secretary mentioned, which can be learned from Korea. There must be no future misunderstandings, no doubt over the precise nature of our commitments or about our readiness to honour them, nor about having the military strength to carry them through.
The lesson of Korea should also spur us on towards closer and more effective unity of the Western World. Mention 500 has been made of the progress made under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Much, of course, has been done, but how much remains to be done. It is absolutely wrong that the branches of the Organisation should be scattered over the free world, the standing group in Washington, the Deputies of the Foreign Ministers in London and the headquarters of General Eisenhower in Paris. It is wrong that there should be no method to finance jointly the defence efforts of the free countries. It is wrong that the Netherlands should have a naval programme which does not conform to the real needs of the joint defence plan. It is wrong that the French should not be constructing the airfields we need, and which they undertook to construct under our joint effort. And if there is any defence of the adoption of the.280 rifle, I have not heard it yet. These are things which should be done in our march towards a greater unity of the West.
Korea also shows us that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is not the only basis for unity and collective security. It has shown that we must not despair of the United Nations, despite its shortcomings, as a basis for collective security. It is clear that it has a whole number of faults. It is slow, cumbrous, and with very uncertain political control over military operations. Moreover, as the Americans themselves would agree, too, there is so much power and influence in the hands of the United States at Lake Success as to constitute an unhealthy, unbalancing factor. But, with all these faults, United Nations has done great things. It is worth noting that, in spite of all the bitterness and the fighting in Korea, the Organisation has not broken up. Russia is still a member, China is wanting to join, and it seems to be clear that besides dreary debates and platitudinous resolutions which cover up so much of the work of the United Nations, there is something real and vital there, something on which to build a force for peace. There is an unsuspected combining force in the United Nations, which has more political value than is always appreciated. I hope very much that the Government will build on what is good in the United Nations—will remember, for instance, that if we get a cease fire in Korea then it will be a constructive move, as part of fair negotiations, to have Communist China back on the Security 501 Council. Let the Government not be cynical or defeatist about the United Nations.
All these reflections were suggested by the misunderstanding which clearly took place in connection with the original act of aggression in Korea. But it was not only in connection with the original act of aggression, that the Communist leaders misunderstood the intention of the Western Powers. China's intervention was partly motivated by misunderstandings—by a false but genuinely—held belief that the United Nations under American leadership was planning aggression against her, that the United Nations were not only concerned to liberate Korea but sooner or later they would also go over the frontier. I am not saying that the Chinese might not also have welcomed what then appeared to be an opportunity of throwing our forces out of Korea. It is not inconsistent for Marxists to combine aggressiveness in themselves with a genuine apprehension of aggressiveness from the other party. I do say that fear was part of the motive of Chinese intervention.
It does not exonerate them from blame for what they did. If the Chinese, like the Russians, insist upon isolating themselves from the rest of the world, filling themselves up with half-baked Marxist ideas about the intentions of the West and paying too much attention to unrepresentative opinions in the Western World, on the extreme Left as well as on the extreme Right, we cannot exonerate them from blame for the disasters which come from their ignorance. There is plenty of evidence that that fear was there. It reinforces the belief that Communists have a greater capacity for misunderstanding the intentions of the Western Powers than we sometimes give them credit for.
It is all too easy to assume that these people are cool and objective observers of the world scene, that they are entirely cynical about their propaganda, when they talk about the aggressive intentions of America and Britain against the Soviet Union. On balance, I feel certain that the opposite is nearer the truth and that the Communist leaders. with all their ability and intelligence—within their limitations—have a profoundly subjective and ill-informed view of the West and of the intentions and motives of the 502 Western Powers. I feel that their propaganda is rather a true reflection of their twisted minds.
I am not saying that this means that all their attitudes and acts conform with Marxist principles. The fact that we in Britain are a Christian country does not mean that all the acts and attitudes of our people and of our Government conform with Christian principles, but we are not cynical about our Christian beliefs. They colour our attitudes to a great extent. When the Russians talk, as Mr. Molotov did on Saturday last, of the aggressive intentions of the Western Powers, it is dangerous and wrong to write that off as sheer cynicism and not as including a degree of genuine apprehension.
There is thus a real danger, in the state of tension and mistrust that exists in the world today, that we may make some perfectly legitimate move, in Germany, for instance, which will have a profoundly sinister connotation for the Russians and the Communist leaders, and will lead them into the kind of aggressive action that we saw in the Chinese intervention in Korea, under the mistaken impression that war is being forced upon them. It is dangerous, I admit, to talk as I am doing. Once we admit an element of fear in the motivation of the Communist leaders, people will automatically jump to the assumption that it is the strong policies of the West which are causing tensions in the world. Of course, the reverse of it is true. These policies are dictated by the Russian policy of expansion and non-co-operation. The idea that our policies have an aggressive intention is purely a figment of their own suspiciousness.
If these views sound academic today, I believe that they will sound very much less academic in the years that lie ahead. We should consider this factor very carefully. As soon as we begin to catch up with the military strength of the Communist world, and then to surpass it, as we shall in due course, I believe that this factor will become of much greater importance. The danger of Russian misunderstanding of our weakness then becomes less, but the danger of misunderstanding our great strength becomes a great deal more serious.
What should the Government do, bearing in mind these factors? The first 503 thing is to acknowledge that this problem exists, and to accept it as one of the factors that must be taken into consideration in framing our policies, in connection for instance with German re-armament, with plans in relation to subversive operations in Europe, in relation to Formosa, and to other moves that are bound to come eventually in relation to liberating parts of Eastern Europe. We should bear in mind that there may be some acts of policy which would strengthen the Western case from the military point of view, but only at a disproportionate cost in increasing the tension in the world, and inflaming the illogical fears and suspicions of the Communist leaders.
This is, I repeat, a dangerous line to take, especially at a time when our prior job is to increase the strength and unity of the West. I recognise that many sincere lovers of peace may resist this argument altogether, particularly in the United States of America. The very qualities which have enabled the United States to be such a tower of strength in world affairs since the war—self-confidence, dynamism, uninhibited directness of approach to the world's problems—make it very hard for them to accept policies of patience and restraint. I think that they themselves would be the first to agree with this.
It would be quite natural if there were to be disagreements between the United States and her Allies on subjects of this kind. In those circumstances, most British people would, I feel, expect the Government to stick to their policy of close alliance with the United States but to put the arguments for restraint and moderation in the most vigorous possible way. This job of persuasion cannot be done by blackmail; it can only be done by people who have a genuine desire for friendship and co-operation with the United States.
Besides framing the right policies, the Government have the duty to make known to the Chinese and Russian leaders that those policies are designed for peace and involve no aggressive intentions against them. I am bound to say, looking back upon it, that I think the Government are too shy of talking to the Russian leaders in conference. Some of the old reasons against holding high-level talks are no longer valid. Today we have 504 sufficient unity in the West to make it possible and sufficient strength to be able to talk on a reasonable basis with the Russians. Let us not always leave it to the Russians to take the initiative in these matters. Let us use every possible channel—radio, personal contact, public statements and so on—to insist upon the peaceful nature of our huge re-armament programme.
There are other factors. The question of mutual aid is infinitely worth while for its own sake, but as a contribution to peace it works far more slowly and less directly than is sometimes appreciated. The two basic principles are first the strength and unity of the Western World to build up the United Nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and to press on with our arms programme.
The second principle is considerable patience and imagination in our diplomacy and an infinite capacity for putting ourselves into the other man's shoes, whatever the provocation, and looking at the problem through his eyes—not necessarily to concede what he wants to see, but so as to make it perfectly certain that the impact on him of our policy is the impact that we want and not something totally different.
If we pay regard to these principles we shall have the best chance for the future of avoiding catastrophe.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Duncan Sandys (Streatham)
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) in his discussion of the various problems he has raised with regard to the Far Eastern situation. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler) said, the Foreign Secretary carried out a completetour d'horizon,a review of the world, and, again, although I am keenly interested in many of the topics which he raised, particularly the problems of the re-armament of Germany and the Japanese Treaty, in view of the great number of hon. Members who wish to speak I propose to confine myself to one subject only, and that is the problem of Spain.
In his speech, the Foreign Secretary said that His Majesty's Government did not consider that the association of Spain in the Western system of defence would contribute towards strengthening the free democratic peoples. I wish to examine 505 objectively and dispassionately the issue which has been raised by the negotiations between the United States Government and the Spanish Government. I hope that other hon. Members who discuss the same topic will endeavour to do the same, because I feel that it is only in that spirit and in that atmosphere that we can hope to arrive at any kind of balanced conclusion. Unfortunately, charges and counter-charges are at the present moment being hurled backwards and forwards across the Atlantic. This controversy and storm over Spain can do no good to anybody except those who stand to benefit by dissension between the free peoples of the world.
We are told officially that these negotiations are still no more than exploratory talks, but nonetheless it is quite clear that accord has been reached in principle between the United States Government and the Spanish Government on the broad lines of an agreement. The proposed agreement is that Spain will give the United States naval and air bases and that in return the United States will give Spain economic aid and assistance in strengthening her defences.
It seems also from the statements that have been made that talks have been going on for quite a number of months between the State Department, the Foreign Office and the Quai d'Orsay on this question. In spite of these long negotiations, Mr. Acheson had the other day to admit that deadlock has been reached. The American Government was thus faced with the issue as to whether they should abandon their project for a pact with Spain or whether they should go ahead alone, despite the objections of the Governments of two of their principal allies, a very unpleasant choice to have to make. I am sure that all of us believe sincerely that the United States Government is as conscious as any of us of the supreme importance of maintaining unity among the members of the North Atlantic alliance, and that it was only with extreme reluctance and purely on military grounds—certainly not on political grounds—that the United States Government came to the decision to go ahead alone.
The United States Chiefs of Staff make more public speeches than ours do, and so we have some idea of what is in their minds and what advice they have been 506 giving to their Government. From the public statements made by American military leaders, it is clear that for a long time they have been advising their Government that it was of the greatest strategic importance to obtain naval and air bases in Spain and in the Spanish islands in the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean.
I do not think that there can be two opinions about the strategic importance of obtaining the use of those bases. There is no doubt that these facilities would be of immense value in the event of war to meet the attack upon allied shipping which must be expected from our knowledge of the large ocean-going submarine fleet which the Soviet Union has built up. Equally, from the standpoint of land operations it is clear that the possession of these facilities in Spain might in certain circumstances be of very great significance.
Supposing, for example, that the Western Front were forced in and that the Red Army were able to over-run Germany and France, there is no doubt that to retain the Iberian Peninsula would be of capital importance. If in such an eventuality we could at least retain this large bridgehead in Europe from which a counter-offensive might at some future date be made, it might alter the whole course of the conflict.
If, on the other hand, the Allied armies were forced to evacuate the whole European mainland they would be faced with the proposition, about which we know so much ourselves, of having to fight their way back with all the perils, delays and complications involved in launching an amphibious operation against a strongly held enemy coast.
I trust that these bases will never need to be used for a war at all, and that if there should be a war it will never come to the point of having to fall back on to one bridgehead in the corner of Europe. Nevertheless I am sure that any wise strategist would insist upon this measure of re-insurance, for that is what it is. It has not, I am sure, crossed our minds that the negotiations between America and Spain mean that the Americans have not the intention of putting up with us an all-out defence of the Western Front in Germany. If there were any possible doubts on that score, they must surely have been removed by the explicit declaration made by Mr. Acheson from 507 which my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden quoted a little earlier.
Also, we have had a very clear and precise undertaking from the United States Administration that any arrangement which they make with Spain will not in any way interfere with the priority to be accorded to the delivery of arms and equipment to their N.A.T.O. Allies in Europe. Now that we see the enormous expansion of American industry, there is no doubt that even if Spain has to take her place behind the other European countries in the queue, it need not be so very long before she would be able to get substantial supplies from American production of, at any rate, a large range of weapons and equipment.
The main objection which has been made is not on military grounds—I do not believe there is any great controversy about the military arguments—but on political grounds. It is said that since the Western alliance is based upon democracy and exists for the defence of our free institutions, it would be contrary to the principles and the spirit of that alliance for a country which is not democratic to be associated with it. That is an understandable first reaction, but it is very hard to see how His Majesty's Government and the French Government can officially put forward those objections, having regard to the fact that only a few weeks ago they made the announcement of their decision to make substantial loans to the Yugoslav Government for precisely the same purpose; that is to say, in order to strengthen Yugoslavia's economy, and to assist her in her re-armament.
There are, of course, profound differences between the systems of government in Yugoslavia and in Spain, and it would be quite individious and extremely difficult to make a comparison of the two regimes. I certainly do not propose to attempt it this afternoon. One thing, however, that is perfectly clear—and I think that both Governments would be among the first to recognise it themselves —is that neither of the two systems in any way resembles anything which could be described as a democracy in the ordinary sense of the word.
We have supported this loan to Yugoslavia. I personally have for many months urged assistance for Yugoslavia. But if there are no political objections to 508 lending money and giving support for the rehabilitation and defence of Yugoslavia, I cannot see how objections on political grounds can be raised against similar action by the United States in the case of Spain. It may well be that Yugoslavia will prove to be a precious island of resistance in the Balkans.
In certain circumstances Spain may prove to be an equally vital bastion of defence in the West. There is one difference worth mentioning between the loans, to Yugoslavia and the American aid to Spain, and that is that, in the case of Yugoslavia we asked for and obtained nothing in return, whereas in the case of Spain there are valuable military facilities which are being received as a counterpart.
In some of the discussions that have taken place there has been a good deal of confusion of thought and of expression. One thing that has been referred to again and again is the text of the Treaty of the North Atlantic alliance, in which it is stated that the North Atlantic alliance exists for the defence of freedom and democracy. There is, in my opinion—which I think will be shared in all parts of the House—no question of admitting either Yugoslavia or Spain to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, still less to. the Council of Europe, for the simple reason that both of those institutions are based upon democracy and upon the maintenance of institutions which guarantee to the citizens of Member States basic human rights. It would, therefore, be quite inappropriate to think of admitting either country to N.A.T.O. or to the Council of Europe.
But that is not what the American Government is proposing. It is true that initially they did envisage that Spain should be brought into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. There is no doubt that that is what they at first envisaged. But that idea has been dropped, partly because of the justifiable objections of their European Allies, and partly—and I think one should mention this, too—because of the reluctance of the Spanish Government to accept the obligation to send troops abroad, which would be involved in membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. That has been dropped, and what we now have in its place is a proposal for a bilateral pact between the United States Government and the Spanish Government. In my 509 opinion this change removes any legal or constitutional objections which there may have been to this arrangement.
Nor are there, I submit, any objections from the point of view of efficient organisation to a Member State of N.A.T.O. having at the same time a bilateral defence pact with another European country outside the N.A.T.O. For instance, Great Britain and France have bilateral pacts with Turkey. Turkey is a European country and she is not yet a Member of N.A.T.O.; but that has raised no legal or constitutional difficulties. I therefore submit that, from the legal and organisational standpoint, there are no objections to this pact.
In passing, I should like to take this opportunity to express my satisfaction at the statement made by the Foreign Secretary the other day, in which he assured the support of His Majesty's Government for the admission of Turkey to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Having examined the military, organisational and legal aspects of this problem, I now come to what is undoubtedly the main, and perhaps only really valid, objection to the proposed pact, and that is its political repercussions in Continental Europe. I am not thinking of its repercussions in this country. I think that we can take it. I am thinking of the political repercussions of this pact in Continental Europe. Let us be frank about this. There is no doubt whatsoever that this pact between the United States and Spain will be used by Soviet propagandists as a Heaven-sent piece of ammunition in their general political campaign, and it may create increased difficulties for the democratic parties in countries such as France and Italy, where they are holding their own with difficulty against the Communist challenge.
I am trying completely to be fair in my statement of the problem. I think that that is undoubtedly a very serious objection. But are we to accept that as conclusive? It would lead us into very great difficulty. Are we to refrain from taking the measures for defence which we consider necessary out of the fear that our action may be misrepresented? If we were to do that we would certainly be handing on a plate a bloodless victory to our opponents. The essence of 510 democracy is to trust the intelligence and judgment of the people, and to have confidence that if the problems are fully discussed truth will prevail.
If we are afraid to tell the facts to the people, and afraid to take the action which those facts demand, then we are getting ourselves on to the slippery slope of half truths and half measures. That is the surest way to undermine the very foundations of the democracy we seek to defend. I submit to the Committee that this issue must be decided on its merits. To allow policy to be dictated by fear of Communist propaganda would be to accept a major defeat in the cold war.
Another objection which has been made, and which is understandable, is that this American aid will act as a kind of powerful blood infusion into the Spanish system; and that it will strengthen the Franco régime and prolong its life. It would be foolish to deny that after the years of ostracism the prestige which will come from having concluded a pact with the United States will undoubtedly raise the stock in Spain of General Franco. There is no doubt also that the discontent of the Spanish people will diminish to the extent that this American aid is reflected in improved economic conditions. On the other hand, the knowledge that the rising standard of living was due to assistance from the great American democracy and that the continuance of that aid was dependent upon the continuance of American goodwill, together with increased contacts with the outside world, all this would inevitably have a growing influence upon the outlook of the Spanish people and Government.
The policy of putting Spain into quarantine, which has been very fully tried out, has proved a complete failure. It has had exactly the opposite effect to what was intended. It has had the effect of rallying great numbers of Spaniards, who were by no means sympathetic to the régime, to General Franco, for the simple reason that they resented what they regarded as interference from outside in their domestic affairs.
Judging from this past experience, it seems to me that the establishment of more normal relations between the outside world and Spain and the infiltration of democratic ideas which would be 511 bound to result, are much more likely to bring about changes in the system of Government in Spain, such as so many of us desire, than would the renewal of a policy of enforced isolation.
Finally, in judging this issue, it is well to remember that, whether we like it or not, the United States Government have made up their minds to go through with this pact, which will usher in a new phase in the relations between America and Spain. The choice before us and the other Western European nations is whether we should sulk in our tents or whether, despite certain misgivings, we should try our best to make this new American initiative succeed. It is not an easy choice. However, in coming to our decision we have, at any rate, the reassuring thought that no new policy towards Spain could be less successful than the one hitherto pursued
§ 5.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Greenwood (Rossendale)
Tomorrow morning the millions of newspaper readers will read with interest of the warm support which the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) has given to the American proposal for some measure of agreement with General Franco. The right hon. Member was mistaken, however, in brushing aside the repercussions in this country. He clearly appreciates the repercussions in Western Europe, but he does not appreciate them here.
I tell the right hon. Member that such a proposal would be completely unacceptable to millions of people in this country, who would doubt the worthiness of an aim whose successful accomplishment called for the obtaining of so undesirable an ally. I think that certainly all hon. Members on this side agreed with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary when he said that, however strategically advantageous such an agreement might be, it would from the psychological point of view be most undesirable. That is the viewpoint of many people.
I regarded the speech which we heard from my right hon. Friend this afternoon as perhaps the most acceptable speech on foreign affairs that we have heard from the Government Front Bench since 1945, in spite of the reservations I have about parts of it. I am, however, unhappy about the position of the draft Japanese Peace 512 Treaty. I want to emphasise that in speaking on this question today I am doing so at the request of a number of Members on this side of the Committee who represent textile constituencies in Lancashire and Cheshire. But they are not, of course, to be taken as being necessarily committed as individuals to the point of view which I am expressing.
We regard this matter as important, not only because we have the welfare of Lancashire at heart, but because we believe that upon the prosperity of Lancashire depends the economic stability of the country and the effectiveness of the rôle which it can play in world affairs. We appreciate the difficulties with which my right hon. Friend and the drafters of the Treaty have had to contend. My right hon. Friend himself mentioned a number of those difficulties. We appreciate, too. that the Treaty represents. at any rate some progress in the direction of curbing Japanese competition. I think it is good that Japan's rights under the Congo Basin Treaties and the Convention of St. Germain should be restricted in the way that is being done in the draft Treaty. On the other hand, I think it will probably turn out to be more a gesture than an effective piece of action. We appreciate also that certain efforts have been made in Japan to raise the standard of living and to make Japan a less dangerous competitor than in the past.
Nevertheless, in spite of that, we still regard the Treaty with the gravest disquiet. The President of the Board of Trade, in a statement to the House on 12th July, appeared to consider that the two safeguards in the Treaty were, first, the expanding world economy, and second, the fact that Japan had undertaken to observe fair practices in her commercial activities. But I wonder just where we are to find this expanding world economy, to which the President of the Board of Trade referred only a fortnight ago? If we were to ask exporters and merchants in Lancashire whether they believed that there was at the moment an expanding world economy, we should get a very dusty answer.
It is, of course, completely irrefutable that the final solution of this problem of Japanese competition depends upon an expanding world economy, but at present we have not got that expanding world economy. On 17th July, for example, the 513 City Editor of the "News Chronicle" told us that:The state of trade is not satisfactoryand that that remark applied particularly to the textile trades. Three days later, the "Manchester Guardian" told us thatTraders are not as confident as they were, say, six months ago, that the total supply of goods available for export can in fact be disposed of satisfactorily abroad.In these circumstances, the effects of cheap Japanese competition are already becoming felt and could become serious. A week ago, the "Textile Mercury," a reputable cotton trade newspaper, told us that merchants were beginning to find it extremely difficult to sell their goods in Pakistan and Indonesia, which, of course, are important sources of economic outlet for Japan. I do not think there is at the moment sufficient evidence of this expanding world economy to justify us in giving Japan the opportunity to expand her markets in the way that she will be able to do as soon as the Treaty is signed.
Let us look at this expanding world economy from the point of view of Japan herself. I was glad that the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler) touched on this point. Japan's criminal behaviour in the last 20 years has meant that many of the markets of the world have been closed to her goods. She cannot sell her goods as easily as she could to China, Russia or Korea.
There is now an added difficulty. Under the terms of the Treaty, it is to be left to a subsequent Japanese Government to decide whether she will recognise the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kaishek, or the Government of the Chinese People's Republic. Suppose that under pressure from the United States Japan is virtually forced into recognising the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kaishek. That would mean that the outlets available to Japan would be further restricted and once again she would be driven to expanding her markets and penetrating into markets which we would like to keep for goods produced in this country.
That threat is already apparent. It is very difficult to get exact figures of the progress so far made towards the complete rehabilitation of the Japanese cotton and textile industry, but it seems fairly certain from all the sources available that, 514 taking the cotton industry and the rayon and other artificial fibre industries in Japan as a whole, production is running at about one-third to a half of what it was before the war and is growing rapidly.
I hope that before Japan is allowed to expand as completely as she will be able when sovereignty is conceded to her, we shall renew discussions with the United States and make sure that America will use her influence to prevent the expansion of the Japanese textile industry at the expense of the interests of this country. I say that because there is a suspicion among many people in this country, particularly in Lancashire, that America is anxious to build up the Japanese textile industry because that would help to give Japan a viable economy without competing with America and at the same time —and this is important—provide an outlet for American raw cotton which at some stage in the future may be extremely useful to the United States.
I am afraid that at this time Lancashire is remembering what happened in February of this year when America increased her exports of raw cotton to Japan and at the same time reduced her exports of raw cotton to France and the United Kingdom. It seems, if one looks at the figures of American raw cotton sales over the past four months, that there has been a steady expansion of sales to the Far East and at the same time a reduction in the sales of raw cotton to France and the United Kingdom.
What is going to happen during the next few months it is impossible to forecast at present. We shall not really know for about a month, until we discover what is to be America's production for the next four months and what allocations she will be able to make; but in the meantime, I hope we shall press the United States for an assurance that Lancashire is not to be starved for the benefit of the Japanese textile industry.
I now come to the second plank in the argument of the President of the Board of Trade, that Japan will observe fair practices in the future. The right hon. Member for Saffron Walden rightly referred to Japan's readmission to the I.L.O., to the legislation she has introduced for regulating working conditions and the establishment of a trade union movement in Japan. I believe it may be 515 that the establishment of a trade union movement will prove to be the most important consideration in this respect. because it is only the organised workers in Japan who can withstand the pressure from the industrialists to reduce living and working standards once the occupation forces are removed.
My right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade, speaking in Manchester last week was, I thought. a little naïve when he said:It was hoped that Japan would realise that it would be to her own advantage not to indulge in unfair competition.That is taken from the "Manchester Guardian" of 20th July. But I cannot see why Japan and Japanese industrialists should consider that it is not to Japan's advantage to take part in activities of that kind. I wish to refer the Committee to two sources of information on that score. In "The Times", on 2nd July, we find this report from the Tokyo correspondent, under the heading, "Labour standards in Japan":Japanese industrialists have been heard to state recently that since the British Government has concurred fully in America's ideas of a peace settlement, there is no longer any need to tolerate nonsense about wages, working hours and so on.For the first time since the surrender a private organisation—the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce—has urged that daily working hours be increased from eight to 10, that restrictions on overtime and holiday work be 'eased,' that conditions of employment for children and female workers be revised,' and that annual leave with pay be shortened.Management groups, however, now go farther and demand that the law relating to labour standards be rescinded. This law not only protected Japanese workers but also ensured that the British Commonwealth and other countries would not again be confronted by competition made possible by the employment of something closely approaching slave labour.Lest hon. Members should think that was a flash in the pan, a similar story was filed by Mr. Richard Hughes of the "Sunday Times" on 3rd June this year in which he stressed the campaign in Japan to destroy Occupation labour standards, to increase the working hours of Japanese workers, to abolish overtime, and to restore the big family combine monopolies.
I hope my right hon. Friend will make it clear, especially when he replies tonight, that the Government will press for more 516 positive safeguards in the Treaty and will raise at the International Labour Organisation any attempt to evade the obligations Japan is supposed to be assuming. The President of the Board of Trade referred to "appropriate action" to safeguard British industry. It may be that he was referring to the withholding of the Most-Favoured-Nation treatment in Japan, but is there no other method for protecting workers in the textile industries, in the potteries and other industries in this country?
Many of us question whether the time has arrived for the restoration of sovereignty to Japan. We are wondering from the evidence that has come to us whether Japan is yet sufficiently reformed to take her part as a sovereign nation in world affairs. I wish to refer to another article in the "Sunday Times" by Mr. Richard Hughes in which he referred to Mr. Ichiro Hatoyama, the leader of the Liberal Party, who is almost certain to be Prime Minister when the Japanese Treaty is signed. He visited Europe in 1938 and had cordial discussions with Hitler and Mussolini and went back to Japan preaching the virtues of the Nazis and Fascists and the coming desirable defeat of the effete British. In one article—and I think this is most apposite to this discussion—he said on his return to Japan:Japan should closely follow the Nazi method of handling labour problems. The noble Fuehrer's totalitarian principles are closely woven into the labour control laws, which prevent class strife.That was written by the leader of a great party in Japan, a party with influence, which may well have power in that country to which we are preparing to hand over the powers of a sovereign State.
I understand there is a Japanese proverb which says:Why remember the earthquake when the ground has fallen asleep and the nightingale sings again?In this connection I suggest that the earthquake took place in Lancashire in the days when Japanese competition, based on slave labour, brought the textile industry to the verge of bankruptcy, and the nightingale singing today is the Japanese nightingale which, if I may change the metaphor must be laughing up his sleeve at the shortsighted folly of the United States in putting forward these proposals. 517 I suggest to my right hon. Friends that it is their duty, when they go to the San Francisco Peace Conference, to express there the doubts that I have expressed this afternoon, and to ensure that every possible safeguard is made available so that Lancashire prosperity and world stability may not be imperilled.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Brigadier Prior-Palmer (Worthing)
I cannot follow the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood), throughout the whole of his speech, but I agree with a great deal of what he has said, and I fully realise, as I am sure do many other hon. Members on this side of the Committee who also have Lancashire interests, the great dangers inherent in the draft Peace Treaty as at present worded. I hope that the House will do everything it can to see, as has already been said by the Foreign Secretary, that the Treaty is not in its final form and that desirable alterations are made so that our industries will be properly and adequately protected.
I wish now to make a few observations on the Russian situation as I see it, and on some of the reasons which have led to the present situation, as well as to say something which may perhaps assist us to understand a little more clearly what is happening, what has been happening and what is likely to happen in the future.
It is essential that we should remember that this policy of expansionism by Russia is nothing new. It has been going on for 200 years. The only real difference since the Bolshevik Revolution is that the sights have been raised to the extent that, in addition to the extension of frontiers, the final collapse of the whole democratic world and the substitution of Communism has been added to the old Czarist policy.
It is also interesting to remember that during the course of these 200 years, wherever there has been resistance to this expansion, the expansion has ceased. It is nothing new, it has been happening recently and it has happened over the last 200 years. That is the lesson which we must realise, and it is the lesson of Russian history which we must remember in all our plans and thoughts.
It was a very great thing and a very great service that Mr. Acheson did to the world yesterday when he stressed that 518 the ending of the war in Korea was not by any means the end of our troubles. In fact it may quite likely be a beginning of new troubles. After all, the ending of the Berlin blockade, the ending of the conflict in Greece, did not mean the end of our problems so far as Russia is concerned.
Therefore, I most sincerely say that we must be very careful and watch as to which pawn will be moved next, because it is the pawns which are being moved now, and the main pieces are remaining stationary on the board. In that relation, I wish to say a few words about Germany. It is my belief that it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the newly re-armed Eastern German State may be used as the next pawn and that a "liberation" of Western Germany may be contemplated.
Let us face the fact that the Germans passionately desire the unification of Germany, but the Western Germans desire that unification not by the conquest by Eastern Germany but by properly conducted democratic elections, and everything that His Majesty's Government can do in that direction to bring it about should be done. We all deplore the break-down of the Four-Power talks in Paris, but let us pray and hope that that is not necessarily the end. Anyone who realises what has been going on there must be very grateful that when Moses came down from the mountain with the Tables of the Law, he did not have to put those proposals for approval to a conference such as that which took place recently in Paris.
As one of those who had the honour to help to resist German aggression in the past, I am the very last person to want to see the re-armament of Germany unless I passionately believe it to be right. There was a time when I thought that the only good German was a dead German. I have rather modified my views since then. I think it is wrong, in view of the possible danger to Western Germany, to ask only American and British soldiers to assist in the defence of people whom they have so recently themselves been fighting, and that it is only reasonable to suggest that the Germans should be asked to help to defend themselves.
In relation to this subject, I would deprecate seeing the resurgence of the 519 German General Staff or of anything in the nature of a large air force. Nor do I see the slightest necessity for coastal cruisers or motor boats. But I see the most vital necessity for ground troops as an integrated part of a European army under General Eisenhower's command. To those who have fears about German re-armament, I ask whether the French proposal for a European army is not the very safeguard which we are seeking in order to ensure that a German army shall never again become a menace to peace. That is surely the answer to anyone who has fears of that nature.
I would refer, in this matter of pawns and their moves, to the recent blaring of the Moscow radio against Yugoslavia, suggesting that Yugoslavia now has designs on Albania. Is that not very reminiscent of the Hitler technique, and slightly reminiscent also of our Foreign Secretary when dealing with supplementary questions? A perfectly constructive Question often produces a provocative answer from the Foreign Secretary, and the Member who has asked the question is accused of introducing party politics. That is precisely what is happening at the moment in the case of Yugoslavia.
I say most earnestly to the Government that it is vital that we should make it crystal clear to Russia what would be our reaction and the reaction of the United Nations should Yugoslavia be attacked. We made the mistake with Hitler. There was no more surprised man than Hitler when we took action on his march into Poland, because we had allowed him to do so much without raising a finger or making clear what would happen if he did march on Poland. We must not make that mistake again in the case of Yugoslavia.
On the subject of radio, I deprecate the Foreign Secretary's words about the foreign propaganda broadcasts, and that the money for them should have been withdrawn or reduced. I believe that none of the money that is to be spent on defence could be spent more valuably than in improving not only the quality but the quantity of our broadcasts to satellite countries.
I have spoken to people who speak Bulgarian and Czechoslovakian, and they are horrified at what is being sent out to 520 those countries by the B.B.C., a very great deal of it with a Communist bias. I have been told by people who speak those languages that that is happening, and I urge the Under-Secretary to get hold of some of those scripts and look at them, and see if there is any truth or not in what I am saying. I am not vouching for it, I am only saying that it is what I have heard, and it is extremely disturbing.
I turn to the subject of Spain. I disagree entirely with what the hon. Member for Rossendale said on this matter. I do not believe that there is anybody in this country who really minds very much one way or the other whether we are friends with Spain or not. I am referring to the ordinary man in the street. I say this from my own experience. I have never yet seen a private soldier who was fighting the Germans who hated a German. It was impossible to stop the private soldiers giving cups of tea to captured Germans, and making friends with them. It is not in the nature of the ordinary man in the street to go on hating people. That would be entirely contrary to the whole of our history.
I consider that the aspect of probable political repercussions in this country is grossly exaggerated even if it exists at all. I realise that there would be serious repercussions in other countries, but, as one of my hon. Friends said, if we are to hesitate to take action because we are afraid of what Communist propaganda may do as a result, that will be the beginning of the end of democracy.
I wish to stress one or two points other than the political aspect. Is it not within the bounds of possibility that a country with a vast airborne force might, if that country moved into Western Europe, drop five or six divisions into Spain? I ask hon. Members opposite to think of the effect of Russian air bases in Spain on our Mediterranean communications. If they cannot imagine that, I ask them to get into touch with some of our sailors and merchant men who took convoys to Malta after Germany occupied Italy. There is a very real danger, apart from the danger of the submarine menace to our food supplies.
I urge hon. Gentlemen opposite to set aside this sort of dogmatic ideology and bitterness over the past and to face the stark realities of the situation. I consider 521 that it is insane to set aside the assistance which could be given by what is patently an anti-Communist country. People who are blinded by this hatred seem to forget the gratitude of thousands and thousands of soldiers who owe their existence to the fact that, when their enormous armada was assembling for the invasion of North Africa under the very guns and eyes of Algeciras, where they stayed for many days, not a single word was breathed to the Nazis about it. The invasion was a complete surprise.
That is one reason, at least, why we should be grateful to the Spaniards, and it should be borne in mind especially by those who consider that Spain is a Fascist or Nazi country. I ask hon. Members to think not of the repercussions of introducing Spain, but of the repercussions of not introducing Spain. I agree with one of my hon. Friends who said that there should be no question of her joining the North Atlantic Pact.
That brings me to the question of the inclusion of Turkey which I am sure we all welcome. I do not know enough about the subject to be able to say categorically one way or the other whether it would not have been better to have had a Mediterranean pact. Are not Turkey and Greece a little far afield for the North Atlantic Pact? I believe that a Mediterranean pact might have provided a better solution to the problem. Probably that is a subject more suitable for the debate next Monday.
No one could fail to have been impressed by the speech made by General Eisenhower over the wireless recently to many millions of American listeners. Perhaps there are some who do not realise what he said. He paid a most magnificent tribute to what Great Britain has done since the war. That was the burden of his speech. It would be a most excellent thing if someone were to go to the B.B.C. microphone and tell the people not only of this country but of the world what the Americans have done for the world, and all the assistance which they have given to help to raise the standard of living of the peoples in the depressed countries, to say nothing of what they have done to assist His Majesty's Government in the past few years.
We have in this country and in the House of Commons a minority voice—a 522 strident vocal minority which is heard more often, both inside and outside the House, than the majority. I am afraid that the Americans, because of the frequency with that voice is heard, are apt to think that it is the voice of the majority of the people. Let the Americans realise that it is the voice of a very small and insignificant minority, and that the great body of the people of this Empire and this country are eternally grateful to the Americans for what they have done.
We have given our support to the broad principles of the foreign policy of His Majesty's Government. Our criticisms are levelled only at the detailed implementation of that policy. We regret the break-down in the Four-Power talks. We hope that the Russians are beginning to realise the analogy of the lamp-post and the motor car which is that no lamp-post has ever yet hit a motor car except in self-defence. The tragedy is that the international roadways are not at the moment very adequately lit.
It was said of the respected predecessor of the present Foreign Secretary, during his illness, that it was a very serious matter that there should be no Foreign Secretary at the Foreign Office. I am not at all sure that it is not still today a very serious matter that we have no Foreign Secretary at the Foreign Office. The country and the Empire are getting a little bit tired of seeing Britain being kicked around. The main body of hon. Members in this Committee would like to see a man come to the Despatch Box and talk once more with a voice of Britain and of the Empire. There is one thing which the right hon. Gentleman should realise and it is that, owing to our reputation in the past for our diplomacy, we carry a very great weight in the world far in excess of our actual strength.
The words of the British Foreign Secretary, if they are strong words, can always bring encouragement and hope to those nations of the world who are most in need of encouragement and hope. I wish that the right hon. Gentleman would once—just once out of the whole of the six years during which I have seen him—come to that Despatch Box and make a statesmanlike speech and not a party political speech—a speech which is not looking towards the next election but towards the next generation.
§ 6.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Edelman (Coventry, North)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) has made a blustering and insulting attack on the Foreign Secretary. I think that it was quite unworthy of him. The fact that today we have peace in the world is in a great measure due to the cautious but none the less firm approach of our Foreign Secretary to the dangers which threaten us. I am sure that if the policies advocated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, in association with many other hon. Gentlemen opposite, were to be followed, then indeed we should have the war which I am sure everyone in this Committee does not wish to have.
It is no accident that the hon. and gallant Member speaks so enthusiatically in favour of General Franco. He may have forgotten what happened in the years before the war. He may have forgotten that General Franco acted in close conjunction with Hitler in preparing for the Second World War. He may have forgotten that Guernica was a rehearsal and a try-out for Coventry.
§ Brigadier Prior-Palmer
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is not trying to misrepresent what I said, but if he looks in the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow he will see that I never mentioned General Franco.
§ Mr. Edelman
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman can divorce General Franco from Spain, then he is certainly more effective than his hon. and right hon. Friends or the Government of the country. The fact of the matter is that General Franco and the policy which he represents are integrally woven in with the present system in Spain. If the superficial logic of material expediency and strategy were to be followed, I am certain that there would be a great deal to be said for associating Spain with our system of defence, but there is more to be said about it than that.
The fact is that the moral effect of joining Spain with our defence system would be to undermine the morale, not only of the Continent, but at home as well. It may well be that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, when he goes back to Worthing, may find that no one holds that view, but I can assure him that, if he goes into any industrial city in the country and talks to the workers, he will find that they have not forgotten what 524 General Franco did to the trade unions and the working classes in Spain, and he will realise that their feelings about Spain and the Fascist system are not merely that there has been at long last a repentance, but that their feelings represent a fundamental hostility to the organisation and policy of Fascism, of which system Spain is the only surviving representative in the world today.
I speak in this matter, not from any doctrinal point of view, but because, in the case of Germany, I believe that it is absolutely right that Germany should join, in one form or another, in the defence of the West. I believe that that is desirable for a variety of reasons. I do not think that Germany should, without having any responsibility at all, be defended by the other countries of Western Europe and make no contribution, either in resources or in men, to the great and common task which faces us all today.
For that reason alone, I say that it would be desirable to make Germany perform some sort of service to the collective defence of the West, and it is precisely for that reason that, when the proposal for a European army was raised at the Council of Europe a year ago, I voted in favour of it. I support the creation of a European army today precisely because I am opposed to the re-creation of a national German army with a national general staff, and it seems to me that the only alternative to the creation of a national German army today is to create a European army, in which German forces will be integrated and towards which Germany will have to make a contribution of material and of men, while at the same time safeguarding that a resurrected German national army shall never again become a menace to her neighbours and to Europe as a whole.
I want to turn from that point to the question of the balance of power in Europe, and, indeed, in the world as a whole. If we are seeking in our defensive system in the West to put our forces in equilibrium with those of Russia and her satellites, it is of the utmost importance that we should recognise how strong Russia really is. Indeed, the great debate which is today going on inside the Labour Party derives very largely from the estimates which we make of the strength of Russia today.
525 I have very carefully read the pamphlet "One Way Only" with particular reference to its proposals for deterring the Russians, and, in reading it, I observed that there seems to be no difference of view, certainly no difference of principle, inside the Labour Party as to whether something should be done to balance the power of Russia and to defend the West against potential Russian aggression. The only difference that exists in the party seems to me to be about the actual estimates of how strong Russia actually is, and, therefore, the debate, such as it is, which is going on, revolves around the assessment, and the capacity for assessment by those who are concerned in the matter, of what Russian resources really are.
I read with great interest the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, South (Mr. Mikardo), in Monday's debate, and I am delighted to see him here today, because I gave him notice that I was raising this point, and, indeed, he may wish to correct me if I say anything factual with which he disagrees. On Monday, he said:The countries embraced within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have three times as much coal between them as the whole of Eastern Europe and the other Russian satellites… and six times as much steel."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd July, 1951; Vol. 490, c. 1741.]Those words "six times as much steel" are crucial, because, in saying that, my hon. Friend was echoing what was stated in the pamphlet One Way Only," and repeating, in a little different form, what was said by his right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), who said something to the effect that 215 million tons of steel does not go to war with 140 million tons. I have examined these figures which have been put forward by the hon. Gentleman and his friends—
§ Mr. Edelman
The hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friends—[An HON. MEMBER: "All pals together."] The total production of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries is 125 million long tons of crude steel, but the total production of the Soviet Union and her satellites is 34 million long tons; in other words, the actual disproportion 526 between the production of the Soviet Union and her satellites and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is as four to one, and not as six to one.
It may be that that is merely an arithmetical difference, but, on the other hand, if the disagreement which we are having as to the relative resources and what we must put into the scale in order to contain Russia depends on arithmetic, then, surely, we ought to get it right. Therefore, I trust that my hon. Friend and those who hold the same views on the statistics of production will bear that in mind in considering what effort we have to put forward in order to measure our strength against the potential strength of Russia.
§ Mr. Donnelly (Pembroke)
Would not my hon. Friend agree that equally valid to this argument is the fact that there have been so many varied estimates of Russian strength so far as military divisions are concerned? We have had them from various Government spokesmen, including the Under-Secretary for War at one time, we have heard them from a dozen hon. Members; and we have heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition at various times still different estimates of the number of Russian divisions, so that it is clearly valid to take that into consideration in discussing this matter.
§ Mr. Edelman
The hon. Gentleman charges the War Office with over-production of Russian divisions, and equally he has to face a charge of under-production of Russian steel. In fact, he is now trying to assess what we have to put into the effort of containing the Russians, and it seems to me that we ought to get these figures right.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. Wyatt)
As there has been doubt cast on the latest estimate which I gave of the number of Russian divisions, it might perhaps be convenient if I cleared up this misunderstanding. The estimate that was given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence was 175 Russian divisions, and that referred to infantry and armoured divisions only. My estimate referred to a total of 215 divisions, which included an additional 40 artillery and anti-aircraft divisions, so that there is no discrepancy at all.
§ Mr. Edelman
I am obliged to my hon. Friend for his intervention, and I think the Committee will note that those who put forward these figures in the debate the day before yesterday have not seen fit to challenge the figures that are now put forward.
As to the arguments of my hon. Friend, we have come to the conclusion that, if we take as a fundamental factor the industrial potential which is to be taken into account, there can be no doubt that we are greatly over-estimating the strength of the potential enemy, and, in my submission, my hon. Friend greatly underestimated the potential strength of the potential enemy.
§ Mr. Mikardo (Reading, South)
I did not wish to interrupt my hon. Friend, but I should be very happy after this debate to tell him where his figures are wrong. I can do that without any difficulty at all. One has to take into account not merely one year's output of steel, but the amount of capacity. All I want to say is that I would ask the Committee to believe that, as my hon. Friend started by saying that four times as much is in balance, I would say that six times as much is in balance and four times as much is out of balance.
§ Mr. Edelman
In answer to the last part of my hon. Friend's intervention, four times as large is certainly not in balance, but, on the other hand, if we take into account the fact that Russia could almost with a shrug of her shoulders in the case of war encroach upon the steel production of Western Europe, which adds up to a total of 47 million tons, then, indeed, the fact that the North Atlantic Treaty production is only four times greater than that of Russia—not six times greater—is a most important factor in estimating the amount of resources that we should put into our defence effort. While I am grateful for his offer to put me right at the end of the debate, I am sure the Committee would have preferred it if he had taken the opportunity of putting the Committee right in the actual course of the debate.
In considering the strength of Russia we must be quite sure that we do not either over-estimate or indeed underestimate, because the last person of some notoriety to make a major miscalculation about Russia's strength was, in fact Goering. He under-estimated it by very 528 much, and later on when the war was won it was Goering who said that Russia had been responsible for the most colossal bluff in the whole history of warfare. He said that not because the facts were not available, but because he refused to believe the facts as they were represented.
In considering the validity of the Russian statistics, I believe that one would do well always to take at their face value the actual statistics of physical resources which the Russians put forward, because it happens to be part of the Russian psychological make-up that although they exaggerate certain things and deny others, so far as production is concerned that is the one thing of which they are proud both in public and in private. Therefore we ought to treat their statements very seriously.
May I be permitted to mention a few comparative statistics of Russian strength today and Germany's strength as it was in 1939. If we take the case of steel alone, in 1939 Germany was producing 23,700,000 tons while Russia today is producing at the rate of approximately 27 million tons. In the case of oil, even with Rumanian production included, Germany was producing at the rate of only 7 million tons of oil in 1939, whereas Russia today despite all the difficulties which she is having in the Caucasus is producing at the rate of 43 million tons per annum.
In the case of aluminium, Germany's production in 1939 was 195,100 tons whereas Russia's production today is at the rate of 200,000 tons. I could give a further range of figures, but I do not wish to do so. The fact is that we must recognise that Russia's potential resources today and her capacity to make war are considerably more than is shown in the estimate of those who have contributed to "One Way Only" and of those who have advocated those views in the House.
Therefore, if the difference on this side of the Committee is not a difference of principle as to whether one should stand up to Russia, but merely a difference of estimate as to what extent one should put resources into the task of standing up to Russia, I wish to declare here and now that I reject the figures put forward by those of my hon. Friends who are associated with "One Way Only" and am prepared to accept the estimate on which the Government have based their programme and which they believe to be 529 necessary in order to deal with the situation as it is today.
It is not enough just to stand up to the Russians. I believe that at a certain point we must, even if we will never accept—as, indeed, we never will—the ideology which Russia seems to propagate, we must have a modus vivendi which will stabilise our relations with the great Eastern bloc and still permit the movement of trade and mutual benefits to begin again, because the great disaster from which Europe suffers today is that it has been cut in two and that the natural organic flow of industrial products from the West to the East has been stopped.
I hope that having reached the stage of the containing of the Soviet Union, we will proceed to elaborate the constructive policies which I am sure my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has at heart in order that Europe may once again recover its unity and live in peace.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ Brigadier Smyth (Norwood)
I propose to confine my remarks entirely to the Japanese Peace Treaty and particularly to the provision made in that Treaty regarding Far Eastern prisoners of war, which is a cause I have very much at heart, although I was not myself a prisoner of war, and, therefore, shall not be a beneficiary of any of the generosity that is to be bestowed upon the ex-prisoners by the Treaty. This Treaty will be, and I know is, considered in this country and throughout the Commonwealth as a soft treaty so far as Japan is concerned. I know that we should not be vindictive and pursue a vendetta and that we should let bygones be bygones. I quite appreciate the difficulties of the Foreign Secretary in that respect.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to forget that only a comparatively short time ago Japan was a very formidable competitor in trade with this country. It is also a little hard to forget the extreme degree of treachery with which the Japanese launched their campaign upon us in the Far East at a time when we were stretched to the limit in our war against Germany. I remember, too, the brutality with which the Japanese conducted their war in the early days of the 1942 campaign when their star was in the ascendant, and the 530 callous brutality with which they treated our Far Eastern prisoners of war.
I realise the difficulties which the Foreign Secretary has had in his discussions with Mr. Foster Dulles, and I also realise how important it is that in this matter we should work in the very closest co-operation with our American Allies. But I also suggest that between friends one often gains more respect by stating one's point of view very firmly, even though it may be contrary to that held by the other side. I hope that the Foreign Secretary has not closed his mind to the provisions of the draft Treaty, and that he is really going to regard it as a draft which can and will be amended in accordance with the wishes of this House and in accordance with the recommendations and wishes put forward by the nations of the Commonwealth.
If I have one criticism to make of the approach to the drawing up of the Treaty, it is that we did not first get together with the Commonwealth and discuss the matter among ourselves and put forward a combined Commonwealth appreciation at the time when we had these conversations with Mr. Foster Dulles. What we did was to discuss the matter primarily between ourselves and America and then to submit the matter to the Commonwealth for their views.
I want to confine my remarks now entirely to Article 16 of the draft Peace Treaty which deals with the Far Eastern prisoners of war. In the debate on the Motion I moved in the House on 10th May, we asked the Government to include a clause in the Treaty to give compensation to our Far Eastern prisoners of war for the sufferings and brutalities that they experienced whilst in Japanese hands. As hon. Members will remember, that was essentially an all-party Motion. It was signed by 297 hon. Members, including no fewer than 90 hon. Members from the Government side of the House. I think that was rather remarkable and showed that the House does not regard this as a party matter but is looking at it as one of essentially British concern for people who suffered much in the service of this country during the war.
Despite the rather discouraging response which the Motion had from the Minister of State, the House accepted it in no uncertain terms without a Division, and I think we must express our appreciation 531 and gratitude to the Foreign Secretary for having taken note of the opinion of the House and for having included this matter in the draft Peace Treaty. In my concluding remarks when I spoke on 10th May, I said:I believe that by giving whole-hearted assent to this Motion we shall not merely put in a clause on behalf of Far Eastern prisoners into the Peace Treaty—although I hope we shall do that—but we shall be showing the whole world that we are absolutely determined to outlaw war and those who wage aggressive war. We shall show that if, however, war does come upon us despite our efforts, there are certain codes of humanity and human decency, particularly with regard to women and children and helpless captives of war, which we, the British people, insist shall be observed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th May, 1951; Vol. 487, c. 2237.]The Far Eastern prisoners of war feel that by getting that clause into the Treaty they have maintained and established this principle with regard to a certain code of conduct.
I feel very uneasy about our Korean prisoners of war and I wish we could have had an opportunity of establishing our opinion on this whole matter at a rather earlier date. I want to make it quite clear that my Motion did not include civilians who had lost property in the Far East and were putting in for compensation. I made that clear subsequently in a supplementary question to the Foreign Secretary, when I said that I did not think they could possibly be included in this claim because obviously the case of people who have suffered losses in the Far East—and some of them have lost everything they had in the world—is a matter for individual treatment. I hope that matter will receive attention, but obviously it could not be included in the claim of the Far Eastern prisoners of war.
I should like to say that, to my certain experience, in the early operations with the Japanese in 1942 there were many cases where we particularly asked civilians to remain at their posts. Therefore, I think it is very hard that in cases where, having complied with that request, they lost everything they had in the world they should not be going to receive early compensation.
I want to come down to one or two important details in this draft Article 16 which I want to put especially to the Foreign Secretary. First of all, I want 532 to deal with the money that is to be made available for the Far Eastern prisoners. The Foreign Secretary has said it would amount in all to about £5 million. I understand that over 200,000 ex-prisoners are to be compensated, which would work out on a per capita basis at only £25 per man. I think the Committee will agree that that is a very paltry sum indeed.
The American Government have already paid their Far Eastern prisoners on a much more generous scale of a dollar per day per man for every day of captivity; and they paid that on a flat rate because they very rightly judged there was no other fair method on which such a claim could be paid. They paid that amount mainly from certain frozen Japanese assets which they had in their possession before these Treaty discussions started.
I am sure that Mr. Foster Dulles would agree that in this matter it should be a case of fair shares for all and that all the nationals who have suffered in the same way at the hands of the Japanese should be paid on the same scale. On 10th May I expressed my admiration for what economists could do with figures. I said then that if there were a will in this matter there would be a way, and I asked for £9,500,000 for our 38,000 British prisoners of war and the dependants of the 10,000 who died in captivity. That was reckoned on a basis of 3s. per man per day. On that occasion the Minister of State who, as I said, received the Motion in a very discouraging way, said he must warn the House that there was practically no chance of getting anything out of the Japanese at all.
All I would say is that in quite a short time his figure of nought has risen to a total of £5 million and my admiration for economists has increased. Therefore, I can, with complete confidence, reiterate the claim I made on 10th May that our British Far Eastern prisoners should receive £9,500,000. And I am quite certain that in three years' time we shall be wishing we had asked for a considerably bigger sum because I am absolutely sure that the Japanese are already recovering very rapidly and that their recovery will continue at a very rapid rate.
Surely, this bill for brutalities rendered should take precedence over all other 533 claims on the Japanese. I only heard this morning from Australia that the Australian Far Eastern prisoners of war are just as dissatisfied with the amount of money that is being made available as our British Far Eastern prisoners are, and they are pressing their own Government most strongly for a sum of £4 million reckoned on the same scale as our Far Eastern prisoners are calculating theirs.
The second and last point I want to put to the Minister is with regard to the method and scale of distribution of such money as we may get from the Japanese. The Far Eastern prisoners of war look with the very greatest approval on the International Red Cross as the body selected in the Treaty to collect and distribute the money. We think there could be no more suitable and reputable body for the purpose. It is stated absolutely clearly in Article 16 of the draft Treaty that this money is being made available by the Japanese,… to indemnify those members of the armed forces of the Allied Powers who suffered undue hardships while prisoners of war of Japan.…That is the purpose for which we ask the money, and, quite rightly, it is being given definitely for that purpose. I have said all along, and our Far Eastern ex-prisoners agree unanimously, that they have absolutely no wish to compete with other ex-Service men in the matter of disability pensions, welfare schemes, hospital treatment and all those things for which adequate machinery exists in this country already. This sum of money is being claimed from the Japanese for certain brutalities which our men suffered while they were prisoners of war.
I ask the Foreign Secretary if he will request the International Red Cross to distribute such money as they get and we hope it will be considerably more than that which is already envisaged—quickly to the various national branches and that it will be distributed on a per capita basis. I say with complete authority that the Far Eastern British prisoners of war are absolutely agreed, and they were agreed months ago, that even if they got only 6d. per man they would rather get it on an equal-shares-for-all basis than that there should be set up cumbersome committees which would sit for years so that a lot of those who are supposed to benefit from 534 the scheme would probably be dead long before anybody got any money.
They are absolutely agreed on that point, and, as the money is being given for the Far Eastern prisoners, surely in this case the customer should be adjudged to be right and the money should be distributed in the way in which those ex-prisoners wish. It is quite impossible to measure degrees of suffering experienced by various prisoners 10 years ago in prisoner-of-war camps. If any organisation attempts to set up committees to do that I am certain that it will end with a great deal of dissatisfaction for all concerned.
I should like to take this opportunity of thanking all those Members on both sides of the Committee who gave their support to this very worthy cause. As hon. Members know, we had a lot of rather formidable opposition, and we are not out of the wood yet. But it is not only the 297 Members who signed the Motion whom I should like to thank, but the more senior Members on both sides of the Committee who, by reason of their position, were not allowed to sign the Motion but nevertheless gave their warm support.
I am sure I should be interpreting the views of the Committee if I said that we are grateful to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for having taken note of the wishes of the House and having included this matter in the Peace Treaty; but we say quite definitely to him that the sum envisaged simply will not do. We are certain that it can and must be increased. I am sure that the Americans who have been paid on a much more generous scale will see the justice of that claim and so also will the Japanese.
§ 6.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
The hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Brigadier Smyth) concluded his speech by thanking hon. Members for the assistance they have given in bringing this matter before the Committee. I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that from every side we desire to thank him also for the part he has played and for the assiduous way in which he has brought this matter before the attention of the Committee and of the Government. I want to thank the hon. and gallant Gentleman personally for his speech tonight. I can assure him that we are at 535 one with him in desiring that the fullest possible compensation should be paid to those people who suffered so much not only physically but mentally in the most cruel circumstances.
I shall come a little later on to the other part of the draft Treaty with Japan. I should like to turn my attention for a moment to the wider issue, namely, how do we really stand today? Is our position stronger, is it growing stronger from day to day, and is the free world more united as we proceed, so that we are reaching that position we desire to reach where we can definitely say that all we have done and are trying to do is to ensure peace and to avoid the horrors of a third war? I am not sure even now quite where we stand with many matters. I do not know quite where the political direction ought to be.
We have got a unified command, and the very able man who is at the head of that command, and who has earned the respect of all countries, has put forward his own ideas with regard to the forces under his command. How far are the nations and Governments agreed on the policy which he has put forward? For some considerable time some of us, not only in this country but elsewhere, have urged that our policies—our defence policy, our political policy and our economic policy—are integrated and that we cannot really separate one from the other. I should like to have known more about what is being done along those lines politically and economically, as well as our position defensively, in conjunction with all the other free nations which have joined together to defend freedom and to maintain a permanent and just peace throughout the world.
The hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) referred to Spain. I have no doubt that we should do our very utmost to increase our material and our moral strength. I have not the slightest doubt that we should add considerably to our material strength if we had the assistance of Spanish men, whether in the Army or in the Air Force. It may be very desirable that we should have bases in Spain. But having put those on the assets side, can anyone be sure that we should not lose more on the other side? The hon. and 536 gallant Gentleman said that we can be friendly with the Spanish people. Of course we can. He said that we are friendly with the German people and that there was friendliness between the armies even in the middle of the war. Of course, there was. But surely that is not the point.
The real point is: what is our object? Have we got a common object? As has been pointed out by an hon. Member opposite, the Government of Spain, under a dictator, in our time of stress and difficulty, did not desire that our method of government should succeed and did not believe in democracy but was anxious that our enemy, Hitler, should succeed. Can we be convinced now that there has been such a change of heart that their object is the same as ours—that of maintaining the peace of the world, of ensuring that democracy shall be the true form of Government and that we shall have justice throughout the world?
How are we to be convinced about these matters? Might I suggest one way —one that would have very great influence with me? How far are these countries prepared to join in signing the Charter of Human Rights and putting it into active effect in all their countries? If they would do that, then so far as I am concerned they would be travelling a very long way towards the same objective as that which, I am quite sure, the people of this country have in mind.
Perhaps I may say a few words, too, about Germany. I would say the same about Germany as about Spain. Once again, on the question of whether one should arm Western Germany, there is much to be said for the argument that they should be defending the liberties which we have won for them, much to be said that they who have caused so much misery and suffering throughout the world in two wars should now be defending those liberties. If there had been no Kaiser there would have been no Hitler; and if there had been neither, what a different world we should be in today.
§ Mr. Davies
There might have been somebody else, but there are those two, at any rate. What a different world it 537 would have been in suffering and in losses, not only of material but of the finest men of our time—losses from which it will take us generations to recover. It is right that the Germans should be used, perhaps, but, again, what will be the effect? We know of the opposition in France—and is that to be wondered at in view of the fact that France has suffered so much within the memory of people born before 1870—three invasions, three humiliations? We cannot expect them to get over that quickly, but in the plan for a new integrated army, which is a plan put forward even by the great Commander-in-Chief, I can see a great virtue. In fact, I look even beyond its present conception. Some time, when peace has really been established and when we can talk on equal terms with Russia and any other country which has a dictatorship, it may be the nucleus of the police force which will maintain law and order throughout the world.
I turn now to Japan and to the draft Peace Treaty. I must comment on the fact that it was nearly six years after the conclusion of the war with Germany and Japan before we began even to suggest that we should formally declare that we were no longer at war with either, and nearly six years before we put forward a draft treaty for discussion. I wonder what future generations will say about that. This generation, which has suffered so much from wars—the first of four years and the next of six years—took another six years before it could say even that the state of war was over and that it could begin to discuss peace.
I think this draft Treaty is on a sound basis. It is wonderfully fair. It looks to me as if Mr. John Foster Dulles, who undoubtedly has been mainly responsible for drafting it and compiling it, has kept firmly in mind that the mistakes which were made at Versailles should not be repeated.
§ Mr. Davies
It may be; I hope not, and if he has they could be left out. There is no point in inflicting humiliation upon people for any length of time.
§ Mr. Davies
It can lead only to further disaster. Recriminations are bound to arise and, what is more, there is always a difficulty in imposing terms which are almost impossible. But, on the whole, one can say that it is an effort to be fair. If I may use the very sound words of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, it emphasises that these people should work their passage back into a normal condition. I approve of the Preamble which states, at the head of this draft Peace Treaty, that it is to… enable Japan to carry out its intention to apply for membership in the United Nations Organisation and in all circumstances to conform to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations; to strive to realise the objectives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Let her work her way back along those lines.
Having said that, I should like to come to one matter which I understand meets with the approval of both sides of the House. That does not surprise me. It begins in Article 8:Japan will recognise the full force of all treaties now or hereafter concluded by the Allied powers.….That is Clause (a) of Article 8, and then follows Clause (b):Japan renounces all such rights and interests as she may derive from being a signatory Power of the Conventions of St. Germain-en-Laye of 10th September, 1919, and the Straits Agreements of Montreux of 20th July, 1936, and from Article 16 of the Treaty of Lausanne of 24th July, 1923.Why do that? Why limit her in that way? When we have this recognition that she has to work her way back, why do do that? There are other phrases dealing with much the same kind of thing. How is that going to help when we say, "You shall not now have the same conditions as we were prepared to give you when we signed this agreement at St. Germain-en-Laye"?
What was that? It was that the trade of all nations should enjoy complete freedom in that area known as the Congo Basin. It was that free trade principles should be applied to the signatory Powers and to such independent States as might approve of such actions. What object can be served by saying, "You shall no longer come on the same footing as Britain or France or Belgium in trading with the Congo Basin today"? Who will suffer? Britain? Here, goods 539 are already in such short supply that we cannot possibly supply the Africans of the Congo Basin. France or Belgium? They are in much the same position. The people who will suffer will be those who could be supplied by somebody—the people of the Congo Basin. Why punish them?
This is in an effort to do what? To stop competition coming from Japan. What else can it mean? The hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) very rightly called attention to the conditions in Japan today and warned us about what was happening. They are rapidly approaching a state of slavery, with extension of hours, lowering of wages and so on. But the right way to deal with that is not to stop them from trading. They are already being allowed to enter the International Labour Organisation. Why not use that? Why not use the Charter of Human Rights, and say, "You shall treat your people decently and properly"? But how can we possibly help them if we are going to stop them from trading?
§ Mr. Davies
Let me just refer to what the President of the Board of Trade said, very rightly, in a written answer which he issued on exactly the same day as this draft Treaty was issued. He said:we recognise that Japan's economic circumstances are very similar to those of the United Kingdom, she must export to live. Japan must succeed in paying her way without United States support which has sustained her economy during the occupation. This will be a difficult task, with her rapidly increasing population and lack of raw materials, and we therefore attach special importance to the intention expressed by Japan in the Preamble to the draft Treaty of conforming in public and private trading and commerce to internationally accepted fair practices."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th July, 1951; Vol. 490, c. 50.]
§ Mr. Walter Fletcher (Bury and Radcliffe)
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that even at this juncture, while that very splendid phrase is being put into the Treaty, there is some unfair competition from Japan in the way of pirated designs, which we have heard spoken about today? I think a little more practice and rather fewer pious wishes would help.
§ Mr. Davies
The way to deal with that is to deal with the evils, and surely not by forbidding her to export altogether.
§ Mr. Davies
What is to happen? Look at the population today. There were 50 million in 1909; 64 million in 1930; 84 million today; and they have got to export to live.
§ Mr. Harold Davies
I just want to test the honesty of the allegation of what is called unfairness. How many countries, Australia and others included, are prepared to take into their vast open spaces some millions of these people who are struggling for a standard of life?
§ Mr. Davies
I do not know. That I could not possibly answer. If we have 84 millions of people within those islands, which cannot feed them, what are we going to do but allow those people to export? The answer to the other points that have been made about their bad faith, their conditions of labour amounting almost to slavery, their trickery, is to ask them to put a stop to those things, and to ask them to conform to the ordinary right practices.
§ Mr. Davies
We shall not do it—obviously we shall not do it—by saying to them, "You shall not export freely." With starvation staring them in the face, they will have to resort to all kinds of other tricks in order to live. That is only natural and human.
It is right that we should remember the cruelties that the war imposed upon all people that came under the thraldom of the Japanese war machine, but, at the same time, we must realise that we cannot all the time punish a nation. If we want these people to take their part with the others of us in maintaining a free world and a peaceful world, then we have got to enable them to live and to work decently and properly, and we shall never obtain anything but hatred leading to war if we stop them from trading to earn, in the only way they can earn, their daily bread.
§ 7.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Baird (Wolverhampton, North-East)
I should like first to say how much I agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Brigadier Smyth) in his plea for the ex-Japanese prisoners of war. I agree wholeheartedly with him, and with the great work he has done in this job to which he has applied himself, and I hope that the Government will pay attention to his point of view in this matter, which is also the point of view of a large number of Members of this Committee
With regard to the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), the Leader of the Liberal Party, I should say that I agree with most of it, but I thought it was rather woolly with regard to the Japanese Peace Treaty. There has been a lot of talk—not by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but by others—about how the Japanese Government today are a Liberal Government. The fact of the matter is that in these three countries, of which we have been talking, Japan, Spain and Germany, we see the ex-Fascists climbing back into power, and the Japanese Government are more than tainted with Fascism. That is the position, which we cannot ignore.
§ Mr. C. Davies
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me? I am very grateful to him. These are not the only people who find it convenient to use the term "Liberal" when their principles are directly opposed to Liberal principles.
§ Mr. Baird
I quite agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but the fact of the matter is that the old gangs are climbing back into power. I quite agree that there is the problem of the rising population of Japan, but I believe that the way to tackle it—and the only way—is by putting forward a world plan of mutual aid as suggested in the pamphlet, "One Way Only." We should see America and the other great countries coming together and planning these underdeveloped areas for their mutual benefit instead of in a higgledy-piggledy way as at present.
I must confess that I am not an expert in foreign affairs. This is the first speech in the six years I have been a Member of Parliament in which I have ventured to put my point of view on foreign affairs. It may be, however, that the experts who 542 are dealing with the details sometimes do not see the wood for the trees. All I hope is that what I have to say will bring a little breath of fresh air into the debate.
There are certain facts apparent to all of us, and the first, I think—and I think that everyone will admit this—is that we cannot deter Russia simply by fair words. I do not think that there is anyone in this Committee who is against the rearmament programme.
§ Mr. Baird
May be there are one or two, including my hon. Friend, but I think that any great differences between us are not on the necessity for re-armament but about the scale of re-armament. I think we must make that quite clear. Some of us think that the scale of re-armament is too great. Second, I do not think there is anyone in the Committee—and I do not think that even my hon. Friend the Member for Ayrshire, South (Mr. Emrys Hughes), will disagree with me in this—who would not agree that we all acknowledge the great debt we owe to the United States of America for what they have done for world relationships since the end of the war, and specially by the provision of Marshall Aid, which showed great vision.
But third—and I think a large number of us recognise this and that we all ought to recognise it—while we may condemn Russia, Russia has not been responsible entirely for the deadlock in the international relationships. We all have a number of mistakes to be chalked up on the slate against us.
One of the greatest dangers to peace, apart from Russian expansion in the world today, is the irresponsibility of certain groups. I have in mind at the moment the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer). I mean certain groups in this country and in America. When discussing international affairs, they show irresponsibility and, indeed, hysteria, which, if not checked, can, I believe, throw us completely off our balance and off our judgment; and if that happens I believe we shall, instead of being on the offensive in the world of ideas, be on the defensive; and if we lose the war of ideas, that will be a much greater defeat than any defeat on the battlefield.
543 Another point I feel rather strongly about is this, that the greater becomes our military strength—I am talking of the Atlantic Powers—the more it is necessary for us to recognise that there is a danger that our policy may come to be dictated by the needs of the military. There is a danger of the military dictating policies, instead of the politicians. It is these two factors, the irresponsibility of certain sections of the community and the growing strength of the military in political affairs that, I believe, are forcing us, against our better judgment, to accept a policy today which, in the long run, will do us great damage.
We must recognise—we in this country and in this Committee that we are today sacrificing what we know to be our vital interests for the sake of Anglo-American unity.
§ Mr. Baird
I was just about to do so. There is, for instance, the American idea of the Japanese Peace Treaty. My hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) has told us of the effects that the Treaty will have on Lancashire if carried out according to the American plan.
Then there is the failure of our American friends to recognise the Chinese Government, and the military backing which has been given to Chiang Kai-shek. We all know that in a few months time the question of who is to control Manchuria will come up in discussions between the Russians and the Chinese, and at a time when we have an opportunity of splitting these two forces we are in danger, by the shortsighted policy of the American Government, of forcing them together in a common desire to defend themselves.
The military treaty between Spain and the United States, and the attempt by certain hon. Members opposite to obtain her admission into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and also the rearmament of Western Germany, will encourage the resurgence of Fascism in Western Europe.
I ask those who advocate that Spain should be brought into the comity of nations once again to remember that only the other week a responsible Spanish 544 statesman again demanded that Gibraltar should belong to Spain. If Spain is rearmed and demands the possession of Gibraltar, will we then agree to send in Mr. Harriman or some other American statesman to negotiate between ourselves and the Spaniards about who should control Gibraltar?
What is happening in the world today? The Pentagon, thinking only in terms of military needs, makes certain demands on the Administration; Press hysteria backs up those demands, and pressure is brought to bear on the American Administration, which ultimately gives in. Pressure is then brought to bear on our Government; we protest and stand firm. Then one of our statesmen goes out to America and returns accepting what he has been protesting against. That is what is happening today. I believe that the decisions taken recently about re-arming Japan as a base against China, to have air bases in Spain, and more German divisions, are all military decisions which the politicians have been forced to accept against their better judgment.
I say that the generals must be restrained. Up to now, in Russia Stalin has known how to control the generals, and when there has been a change in line in Russia the generals have very often changed with it. There is danger in this country, and in the Atlantic Pact countries, that although we may change our control, and although MacArthurs may go, MacArthurism carries on. The danger of a foreign policy which is, to such a great extent, dictated by the military is that, as a result of accepting military policy, we shall be forced to carry out a policy of unconditional surrender. That is a military policy, and is the danger as I see it.
I wish to refer especially to the rearming of Western Germany. This seems to me to be perhaps the greatest folly of all. In March, 1950, the late Foreign Secretary said:If we want to bring France and Germany together, talking about arming Germany in any form is, I am satisfied, going to set the clock back for a considerable time. I talk with my French colleagues about the great problems with which we have to deal. Like the last speaker, I pay tribute to French statesmanship in the tremendous task which they have undertaken in trying to solve the various problems which now face us. But I am not going to take a step which is going to set the clock back—which would make 545 things very bitter and very difficult to solve." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th March, 1950; Vol. 473, c. 325.]That was a statement made on behalf of His Majesty's Government some 15 months ago. Shortly afterwards we accepted German re-armament in principle.
Those of us who have been in touch with German circles recently know that in Germany today the general mass of the population have a completely cynical outlook towards politics. I believe that Germany could, if not restrained, become once again a breeding ground for Fascism, and the first danger of German re-armament is that there will again be an instrument for the growth of Fascism.
In Eastern Europe today we still have many friends, and if we want to lose these friends, if we want to consolidate the States of Eastern Europe behind Russia, the best way to do it is to re-arm Western Germany. And, most important of all, once Western Germany is re-armed the last bridge between the East and the West is destroyed. Once Germany is rearmed it will be very difficult for us at any future date to achieve a peaceful solution of the world's problems.
Various hon. Members have suggested that the solution is the one put forward by some French statesmen. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman), said that we would appreciate the re-emergence of a German General Staff. I think what he meant was that he was in favour of the Pleven Plan. What is the position? We all know quite well that the French put forward this proposal because they knew that the Germans could not accept it. Those of us who have studied this matter know quite well that the Germans will not accept the Pleven Plan. What is the good of talking about a plan which we know will never be carried into effect?
§ Mr. Edelman
It is completely inaccurate to suggest that the French have put forward this plan in the belief that the Germans will not accept it. On the contrary, there is considerable support for the plan among Germans who do not want to see a German national army but who are prepared to work for a united Europe.
§ Mr. Baird
There is one other point we must all face. I believe that we in this country have done right in standing up to America. It is only right to recognise that the best way for two great nations to be friendly is not for one of them always to accept what the other one says. We have done a great service, for both ourselves and our friends across the Atlantic, by criticising them from time to time. On many occasions we have restrained them when they might have gone wrong; and I suppose that on other occasions they have restrained us. But once Spain, Germany and Japan are re-armed, then these allies of America will be much more subservient to America than we are, and we may find that our influence with America will diminish in proportion to the increase of the re-arming of the former Fascist Powers. I appeal to right hon. Gentlemen opposite, in our own national interest, to remember that there is a danger of the resurgence of these countries and of the influence they will have on the United States.
The only sanction we in this country have just now with regard to restraining America in Europe is our air bases. Once there are also air bases in Spain our influence in that respect will have disappeared.
Finally, I should like to say a word or two about the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North, who said that the recent speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, South (Mr. Mikardo), was incorrect. Our preponderance of steel was 1 in 4, not 1 in 6, as suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, South. He suggested that the aluminium and oil which Russia now had was as great, if not greater, than Germany had at the beginning of the war. He said that we must not argue that the Russians are weakening. It may be that the hon. Member for Reading, South, overestimated the strength of the Western Powers, or it may be that the hon. Member for Coventry, North, under-estimated; I do not know, but with the 547 present balance of power, why is it that in Persia, for instance, the Russians have not interfered to any great extent? [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Why is it in Korea the initiative for peace came from Russia? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am talking about the present time. The initiative came from Russia for the present peace negotiations.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I think that the hon. Member should be fair to Mr. Acheson. The initative for that peace came on the 1st June in Mr. Acheson's speech. It was not followed up by Mr. Malik until 25 days later.
§ Mr. Baird
Let me develop my argument. The hon. Member for Coventry, North, argued the balance between Russia and the Western Powers was 4 to 1. Surely if Russia is showing signs that she wants to negotiate now, she is not going to carry on an aggressive war next year when we are strong. The time has now come when we are getting very near to a balance of strength in Europe. When we reach that balance of strength—and Russia by her action has shown that she does not feel strong enough for an aggressive war—are we to continue to re-arm until we have a predominance of strength?
I believe that would be a wrong course. Once there is a predominance of strength on one side it is very difficult to retain peace. I believe that once we get that balance of strength, the time has come to reopen negotiations and to get round the table with Soviet Russia. I believe that the time has now come when we have struck a balance of power. If people want war, by all means go on building up our strength until we have such an overwhelming strength that we can dictate to other people.
§ Mr. Baird
I think as a Socialist, and I 'say that at the first opportunity we must seek reconciliation with the other powers of the world and build up a peaceful solution. I deplore the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing, when he expressed the wish that we had a Foreign Secretary who would lay down the law to these other nations. That is not the way to peace. The way ahead 548 lies along the road suggested in "One Way Only."
§ 7.35 p.m.
§ Lord John Hope (Edinburgh, Pentlands)
May I at once remind the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Baird) of three things? First, the Russian goal is still what Professor Laski defined as the "organisation of catastrophe"; secondly, Russia still looks upon war as inevitable; thirdly, Russia still intends that the maintenance of peaceful relations with the enemies of Communism is only tactical while her great plan of disruption proceeds.
I do not myself believe either that war is inevitable or that the Communist plan need succeed. But the issue depends only on the strength and purpose of the free world. In that connection, I was encouraged, as I believe almost everyone in this House was, by the realism shown by Mr. Acheson in the speech which he made yesterday at Detroit, and which has already been quoted at some length. I should like to quote very shortly a further passage in that speech in which Mr. Acheson said:Whether or not there is peace in Korea, whether our adversaries are cooing like doves or growling like bears, our job remains the same. The threat we face remains the same. The tactics of the Kremlin are flexible, and may change from season to season. But so long as its power is of threatening proportions, and so long as it does not show a willingness to work for a stable and peaceful world, the danger remains.Has that willingness been shown? Anyone who has followed, as I have, the daily stream of broadcast propaganda on the Russia and satellite radio in connection with the Korean truce moves knows that that propaganda has certainly not taken the form of expressing the hope that this may be the dawn of peace, when different systems and men of different opinion can work together. Not a bit of it. The Korean truce moves have been explained solely in terms of a conquered American nation seeking mercy at the hands of the conqueror. There is no sign so far of a change of heart or of a new vision.
I shall not detain the Committee with details of the strength of the various Communist armies which are opposed to the free world. They, too, have been quoted fully already in the debate. I would just remind certain hon. Members oppo- 549 site of something else from Mr. Acheson's speech:We do not have to match the Soviet armies man for man or gun for gun, since our mission is to deter not to attack. But we have a long way to go before we reach a safe deterrent level.In the face of the facts much—and I say this advisably because I think I am right in saying it—although not all of the Left wing in this country, led by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), have intensified their campaign to antagonise the U.S.A. in every conceivable way and to hamstring and undermine our own people's contribution to the keeping of the peace.
§ Lord John Hope
Indeed, if it were not so sad it would be amusing to watch the tug-of-war in Anglo-American relations going on with the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and Colonel McCormick of Chicago on the one side and every sensible citizen of the free world on the other. Why do these men pursue this course? I will give the answer to that in a moment. It is a psychological dilemma from which they are definitely suffering, in which I think the explanation lies.
I want for one moment to examine what it is they are doing. They are accusing the United States of consistent mistakes, of consistently blundering diplomacy and of being—I use the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale—" unreliable allies." Let us look at a few facts. Wise, statesmanlike action in Greece was taken and strong encouragement for Turkey has been given. Is that blundering diplomacy?
What about the part America played in the Berlin airlift? It prevented Berlin from being over-run by the Russians. The Marshall Plan revived Europe and gave her new hope and economic stability. The Atlantic Pact showed that the United States of America were in the business of world peace, and did not mean to get out of it. In Korea, the United Nations action was led promptly by the United States, and history will say that that was the first active expression of what was so often talked about but was never practised, collective security.
Are those the actions of an unreliable ally? No, Sir. The real trouble with the right hon. Gentleman and his friends 550 is that on the biggest issues the United States have been right. That is their crime. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about China?"] In China the United States showed they were not fooled by Communist aggression, and because they were right we have been spared the terrible consequence of the Russian Armies occupying from Tromsoe to Gibraltar. We have not yet lost the trust of the United States, but this country must make up its mind where are and who are its real friends. Personally, I think it has made it up, and it is in an optimistic frame of mind that I offer a constructive suggestion as to how things can be improved. In this I speak for several of my hon. Friends as well as for myself. While I admire the spirit behind the efforts made to federate this country with the United States, I believe it to be misguided and impracticable of attainment at this moment.
§ Lord John Hope
There are those in both countries who have repeatedly urged it. Such a political move at the moment is unrealistic with its deep and inevitable constitutional changes and unpredictable results at a time of crisis. [Interruption.] I will listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) in silence when he addresses the Committee, if he will do the same for me. We should stick to the practical possibilities and reinforce our strength rather than increase our weakness.
I proceed from two propositions: the first proposition I put before the Committee is that without the power of the United States the free world has no hope whatever of survival. Secondly, without Anglo-American agreement on foreign policy that power will be largely wasted. What I should like to see as our aim is, quite simply, a common Anglo-American foreign policy. To attain that there should be meetings at regular intervals between the Foreign Secretary of this country and the Secretary of State of the United States accompanied by the Defence Ministers of each country. Also, the combined Chiefs of Staff Committee should be reconstituted.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation remains intact, and the idea that I have put to the Foreign Secretary does 551 not cut across any present plans or activities. On the contrary, it breathes breath into the body to make it live. Initial Anglo-American accord on foreign policy will be welcomed by the Commonwealth, by Europe and by all our friends elsewhere, who must recognise that this unity of purpose is absolutely basic to their own interests. There would arise such a combination of power and experience in the cause of peace as could face a challenge anywhere by anyone.
I should like to see the Government and the Labour Party, as they are in power and are responsible, taking the initiative, but I do not think they can and I do not think they will. Here is the dilemma to which I referred at the outset of my speech. The trouble may well be—I know it does not apply to every hon. and right hon. Gentleman opposite—that emotionally many members of the Left wing in this country are still very close to the event which has inspired so much of their faith and progress, the Russian Revolution of 1917. Only with the greatest reluctance do they recognise that what they once thought marked the emancipation of mankind, in fact set a pattern for its spiritual and physical bondage. There is the real dilemma of the party opposite.
Have they awakened from their dream? Perhaps they have, but there is a definite hangover at present which belies the efforts of some of them to do a good morning's work. It is perhaps time they went back to bed and let others take charge, who are fitter for the job. Time is short, and we cannot let things drift any longer. There is much to do. If we mean to do it, it can be done.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Joseph Hale (Rochdale)
My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Baird) apologised to the Committee for having intervened in a foreign affairs debate after being only six years in the House. Almost in the same breath he said that he was not an expert on the subject. That is something for which I feel he has no need to apologise, because I know of no expert yet who has accurately forecast the trend of events in foreign affairs, and the mass of experts are but self-styled experts who draw their prestige from their own opinions of themselves.
552 It is not my wish to travel over the whole field of international affairs but to confine myself to one aspect which affects in a very deep way the people whom I have the honour to represent in the House. My constituency, like several others, is a part of Lancashire, and one need only mention Japan in Lancashire to see well up in the people a deep feeling of animosity towards the Japanese.
There are, perhaps, two reasons for this, and they are sufficiently recent to remain fresh in the minds of Lancashire people. When Singapore fell during the war, many of Lancashire's proudest sons fell into Japanese hands. We waited long years before we learned of the terrible deaths that many of them suffered at the hands of the Japanese, who had no respect whatever for international law or obligations and even lacked what we consider to be the essentials of humanity. When the people of Lancashire look at the draft Treaty and find in Chapter III, Article 5, that Japan is to be allowed to re-arm without any specific restriction on her re-armament, is it to be wondered that they dread that what happened before may very well happen again?
Of course, in this Lancastrians are no different from most other Englishmen. We are poor haters, and we dislike carrying hatred and bitterness over the years. But I sometimes wonder whether our American friends realise how deep these feelings really are. I remember laughing with many other people, in the days at the close of the war, at the idea of a certain Errol Flynn having won the war in the Far East. At this moment, however, I am not so sure that he did not do so, because the content of the Treaty caters largely for the American view of Japan of the future, a view which I consider to be purely artificial.
The ties that at present bind Japan to America are artificial. The Japanese are an Asiatic people and, whether we like it or not, the real future of Japan is bound up with Asia and not with America. Lancashire, of course, remembers those unhappy days before the war when men stood in groups at street corners and could only afford to buy cheap Japanese shirts, while in their own hands was the skill to produce shirts that excelled the Japanese in quality.
It is not a good thing constantly to be looking back. I know that the majority 553 of people in this country wish for a happy future for the Japanese, but if this Treaty teaches us one lesson above all others, it is that there are many things in international relationships for which treaties cannot cater. Many people in Lancashire imagined that when a Peace Treaty with Japan became a reality, there would in some vague way be in the Treaty a restriction upon the Japanese economic system. I do not mind confessing that I, too, felt that we should be able to do something to curb what we believed was grossly unfair competition. Since the publication of the draft of the Treaty, I, like most other hon. Members, have done a lot of deep thinking on this point. To be honest, I have not found how we could have included in the Treaty clauses that would have ensured the desired result.
My hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) gave to the Committee a picture of the way in which many Japanese industrialists are thinking. They see in the re-establishment of their sovereignty a chance once again to depress the standards of living and working conditions of their people. I am bound again to admit that I do not think there is anything we could have included in the Treaty that would have stopped the Japanese industrialists from taking advantage of a labour system not half so well organised as our own.
§ Mr. Walter Fletcher
The hon. Member used the expression "a labour system not half so well organised as our own." Is not that rather a deceptive phrase? Is not the real point that the optimum, raising it to its highest point, cost of living of a Japanese must inevitably be much lower than ours?
§ Mr. Hale
If the Japanese worker were to be put into conditions of luxury tomorrow, he would still produce goods far cheaper than we produce them in Lancashire. We must realise that.
But, of course, a lot of Lancashire business men—and the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe will, of course, be 554 very familiar with this—have in recent months been agitating about the Congo Basin Treaties. I rather think that when we are considering those Treaties, we forget the purposes for which they were made. They were not made to provide a market in that area for Lancashire or for anyone else. They were made in the interests of the inhabitants of that region, and today, when we talk of colonial development and of raising the standards of life of backward people, we put ourselves in the position that we cannot say to the people of the Congo Basin or of South-East Asia, "You wear either an expensive Lancashire shirt or no shirt at all." What we have to aim at in our foreign affairs is the healing of what might be for the East, at any rate, one of the most tragic wars they have ever known.
Japan is cut off from the Chinese mainland. China is a natural market for Japanese goods. The other natural outlets for her products—India and Pakistan —are not going to be the outlets in the future that they were in the past, for these Powers themselves are industrialising rather fast. What the Treaty actually does is to warn the people of Lancashire what is coming. It is no use dressing up the situation. We have in the Treaty a warning that before long we shall have to face the full brunt of Japanese competition.
I would ask my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, were he present, that when he goes to San Francisco he should impress upon our American friends that we would like to be quite clear about their intentions for Japan in the future. What drives them at this moment to this Treaty with the Japanese? Is it because they are sick and tired of maintaining the Japanese economy and want once again to see Japan a viable State? Is that the over-riding condition, or does America really want Japan to take what, after all, I suppose, is her legitimate place in the comity of nations?
My hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale said that the people of Lancashire remember February of this year, when the allocation of cotton that went to Japan far exceeded that which came to Europe. It would be unfortunate if the people of Lancashire were allowed to gain the impression that, in addition to the industrial potential of Japan, a cheap producing country, they are to be 555 faced also with discrimination in the field of raw materials, which would, of course, make the whole position intolerable.
I believe that an honest attempt has been made to arrive at a liberal Treaty. We all know that in the past treaties of another kind never produced the result which we hoped they would. We sincerely hope that the present Treaty will justify its being a liberal one. It still remains to be seen whether our friends, the Americans, who have so much say in the matter of raw materials today, will see that Lancashire people really get a square deal.
That is all we ask. We realise that we cannot indefinitely keep Japan out of the international market. What we do urge is that the Foreign Secretary, in his negotiations with the Americans, should make quite sure that we are given the chance to compete, because we realise that long after Japan has finished producing cheap cotton yarn Lancashire will still be in a position to give to the world yarn of a quality Japan will find it hard to compete against in that respect.
Much of the work that is being done and has been done towards the raising of the standard of life of colonial people and people in South-East Asia will be lost unless we are prepared to allow Japan to export to those markets. The only economy we can protect against being flooded with cheap goods by Japan is our own. We are not in a position to do it overseas. All we Lancashire Members should make it quite clear in our constituencies that, much though politicians may do in helping Lancashire in the international field in the future, there remains for the industrialists and the workers of Lancashire the task of seeing that productivity in that county is raised higher and higher in the coming years.
§ 8.2 p.m.
§ Commander Noble (Chelsea)
The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. J. Hale) said he was very sorry that the Foreign Secretary was not here to hear his remarks. I should be quite satisfied if one of the three representatives of the Foreign Office were here. It should be possible in this debate for one of them to be on the Government Front Bench all the time.
556 I have the greatest sympathy with what the hon. Member for Rochdale said about Lancashire. Echoing the words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler), I hope that the Government will go into this question most carefully and be very cautious in order to see that Lancashire, in the words of the hon. Member, gets a square deal.
I wish to turn to another aspect of the Treaty namely compensation for civilians in the Far East. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norwood (Brigadier Smyth) went very carefully into the question of compensation for prisoners of war. I should like for a few moments to deal with the case of the civilians. I was very surprised to hear the Foreign Secretary say in his speech that the figures of the compensation amounts were given today in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd). When I looked at the Order Paper I found that it was a Written Question for written answer, and I wondered whether that was not one of those little games played by Government Departments which mean that they do not want unpleasant figures to be put before the House.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Might I tell the hon. and gallant Member that I had four or five Questions on the Order Paper, so it was inevitable that some of them must be non-Oral ones.
§ Commander Noble
As I said, I wondered, but I am glad to hear what the hon. Gentleman has said. It was only through the courtesy of the hon. Member for Attercliffe that I was able to obtain those figures. It is a great pity that the Government did not let us have them either in the Debate or beforehand, as they would have answered many of the questions put by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norwood. It appears from the written answer that the immediate sum involved will be under £1 million, and also that there will be no per capita payment to prisoners of war, that the money will be paid to the charities that administer that side of the Services. It was a great pity that we did not know that in this debate.
Turning to the civilians, under the Treaty as at present drafted there will be many British nationals who will get no compensation whatever for their loss of 557 property in the Far East. They seem to fall between two stools. People who lost their property in this country through bombing received compensation through the private chattels scheme. People in Malaya are getting compensation through the local scheme there. People in Burma, the Philippines and China are at present to get nothing whatever in compensation, either for internment or the treatment they received, or for the property they lost.
I have had a lot of correspondence with the Foreign Office on this subject. I should like to quote one paragraph of a letter of 10th May, 1950, from the Minister of State on the subject of internment. He wrote:As a matter of international law and in the absence of any specific provision in any armistice or treaty of peace, the fact that a British subject has been interned by a foreign State in consequence of the entry into war against His Majesty of that foreign State, of itself gives no right of claim, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, against the foreign State concerned. His Majesty's Government are unable to assume any liability in respect of claims by civilian British subjects in respect of internment, of itself, since a belligerent has the unquestionable right to intern aliens of enemy nationality.I quite agree with that, but they have the right to be treated decently when interned and to he compensated for any loss of property they may have incurred.
It is all very well for the Government to say now that Japanese assets are not large enough to pay any compensation, but have they really done enough in other fields to try to obtain more compensation? I take the example of the Philippines and quote the case of a constituent of mine who was with her family in Shanghai. They were passing through Manila on the day of Pearl Harbour. They never intended to go to the Philippines, but as that was the day of Pearl Harbour they could not go any further. They lost everything they had and spent the rest of the war there in internment. They are to get nothing.
They applied to the United States to be covered by the Philippines Rehabilitation Act, 1946. They were told that as they had not lived for five years before the war in the Philippines they would not get any. I took the matter up with the Foreign Office and was told on 19th July last year, in a letter from the Under-Secretary: 558On the 15th June, His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington was instructed to continue to press for national treatment for British nationals under the Philippines Rehabilitation Act, 1946, but he has not so far been able to report any success.I do not know what is the position in regard to that matter now, or whether the Government are still continuing to press.
It seems to me that it should have been possible for British nationals to have been covered by the American Act because the numbers of British nationals caught in the Philippines must have been very small in comparison with those of the United States and of the Philippines involved. Surely it would have been possible to have reached some arrangement with the United States, perhaps on a reciprocal basis. If that could have been done in the case of the Philippines Act should not there have been other courses of action open to the Government to obtain compensation other than through Japanese assets?
In the past, when people raised this question, the Government said, "Wait for the Japanese Peace Treaty." We have waited for it, and these people are not getting compensation under it. I hope that the Government will not let the matter rest there, and that they will pursue the other avenues such as I have suggested in regard to the Philippines. I hope that when the Foreign Secretary goes to San Francisco to discuss and perhaps amend this Treaty, he will bear these points very much in mind and see if something better cannot be done for these people who at the moment are to get nothing.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Yates (Birmingham, Ladywood)
I hope the hon. and gallant Member for Chelsea (Commander Noble) will understand if I do not follow his argument. The subject he raised is certainly most important and has been fully discussed, but I promised to speak for only a few minutes and there are one or two issues to which I wish to refer.
One would imagine, from speeches made by hon. Members opposite in the main, that the only questions they have in their minds and the only thoughts they have are re-armament, air bases, or defence. As far as I could understand in this debate this afternoon, there has been no real constructive thought given to what might be the prospect of bringing about a more peaceful solution to the 559 problems which confront us. [Interruption.] I shall do my best, although I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) will not agree with me.
An hon. Member for one of the Scottish divisions, speaking earlier, suggested that the United States of America were right on the big issues. I think that if America had been with us in regard to the recognition of the Peoples' Republic of China, we certainly might have avoided the bloodshed which has taken place since. I cannot accept that it is right for this Government to submit itself entirely to the mind of America.
I noticed that the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler) said specifically—and I thought we were going to get something constructive—that what we wanted was an honourably negotiated peace with no blood-letting. I think it important that we should make up our minds exactly what are the conditions under which we would agree on what is regarded as an honourable peace. I do not think we are likely to get it in the atmosphere of fear that has been created so far and which seems to hamper the prospects of an agreement. It seems to me that in the last few foreign affairs debates the more we have concentrated on re-armament the greater has been the fear and the more the international situation has worsened. It is called arriving at peace through strength, but it seems that the more we go in that direction the more perilous the situation becomes.
I understand, of course, that Russia has great fear of the number of bases which are being established in the world. They refer to the United States of America having access to Greenland, Iceland and bases in Britain and in Japan. In reading a United States publication, "News and World Report," which is a well-known Washington journal, I saw that on 25th May this year there were two references to which I would draw the attention of the Committee. The writer said:Atomic bombs available to the bomber forces of the U.S. now number at least 1,000. There are 10 or more bombs for each major industrial centre of Russia. Professional opinion is that at least 7 out of 10 of these bombs could be delivered on their targets… On the seas, even more than in the air, the power of this country dominates. Seventeen aircraft carriers, 700 fighting ships are in service. Great fleets of naval vessels remain in 560 mothballs ready to be taken out as needed. Aircraft carriers in service are capable of carrying bombers, themselves capable of carrying atomic bombs, close to the industrial heart of Russia. Atomic energy, before long, will be powering the first of a fleet of American submarines of ultra-modern type.Of course, if that appeared in the new Moscow publication, "News," as something done against this country, we would be very frightened and nervous about it. I think we must understand that this kind of preparation must create fear in the minds of people in Russia.
To add to that there are the bases to be obtained in Spain. I observed when the Foreign Secretary was speaking this afternoon and said that one had to consider whether or not the strategic advantages outweighed the political advantages, and he assumed they did and that the political advantages were certainly less. Nevertheless, hon. Members opposite said "Nonsense." They ought to have read the leading article in the Sunday "Observer," certainly not a Socialist paper, but what one should call an independent paper, which was that this American move in SpainInflicts a damaging blow on our prestige and dignity. It weakens the Atlantic Treaty. It introduces a factor of intrigue and jealousy into Western Europe and opens the way for Europe's Fascist in every country to compete with Europe's democrats for American favours.The article concludes:It is perhaps not too far-fetched to foresee the possibility that Fascism will gain new vigour in Europe from an agreement which seems at present to require no political or ideological concessions from General Franco but leaves him openly triumphant.I congratulate the Foreign Secretary on the stand he has made on this and I hope he will continue to do so. We read in the "Manchester Guardian" a Press statement by President Truman in which he says:Our total security programme costs have now reached an annual rate of more than 35,000 million dollars.(Which is £12,500 million.) The article states:Within the next twelve months aircraft deliveries are to be tripled and the tank automotive programme increased to four times the present rate of deliveries.… It now appears as we review our strategic situation in the light of world events, that these goals may need to be raised whether or not we have an armistice in Korea.I wish to ask the Foreign Secretary whether or not he can seize on some other 561 ropes that may appear on the horizon. Those to which I have referred are perilous. If this path is going to lead to peace, I have never known anything more frightening in its prospect. It is not a policy of peace through strength but a policy of peril through stupidity.
There are other signs on the horizon. For instance, we had Mr. Malik's speech from which the present discussions are proceeding in Korea. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has himself given an interview to "Pravda," I understand. We are moving forward. It would not be a bad idea if he were to go a little further and have a talk in Moscow with some of the representatives there. The suggestion was made that high level talks surely ought not to be over. I believe that if the Foreign Secretary will seize some opportunities, for instance, to get Mr. Malik to explain what he meant—[Interruption.] yes, apart from what he referred in regard to Korea—what he meant by a desire to reduce arms, and I ask whether or not we cannot seize all these opportunities, with the latest opportunity we find in this paper "News" introduced by Moscow. The "Manchester Guardian" spoke of that paper in this way:Mr. Tarle's article is important not because of what he says… but because of the way he says it. Recrimination is reduced to the apparently irreducible minimum. The argument is reasoned, the language is not discourteous.I should have thought that we ought to welcome this; but if we do not welcome any suggestion that it is possible to have an agreement, then are we to put ourselves in the position of saying that nothing proposed by Russia can be accepted? Let hon. Members opposite say what is the constructive point of their policy. There is no constructive policy submitted by them. They submit a policy of building up arms which, in the end, must lead inevitably to war.
§ Mr. M. Philips Price (Gloucestershire, West)
Would the hon. Gentleman admit that the fact that we were not armed sufficiently at the beginning of the Second World War and Germany was armed, helped to bring about that war?
§ Mr. Yates
I do not think so. I think that it was the policy pursued between the wars which brought about the Second World War. We can go back to the Versailles Treaty and find that the seeds of the next war were there. It is not a question of the building up of armaments. When once we resort to armaments, as Earl Grey said, inevitably it leads to war. I have made my position clear in this House. I opposed conscription and rearmament. I want some kind of constructive policy which will have a psychological effect and which will drive out the fear which will lead to an inevitable clash of arms.
I think that the speech of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary was constructive. I do not agree with all its implications. I hope that he will resist the warlike tendencies of some hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Yates
If ever a Foreign Secretary was justified in the speech he made at the weekend, my right hon. Friend was. I would not take a lesson from the Leader of the Opposition when he refers to my right hon. Friends as leeches which, I think, are blood-sucking worms. If that is the language of a peaceful statesman who asks for the responsibility of the office of Prime Minister, then heaven help this country if we are to be governed with that kind of spirit. I ask for a constructive policy. I hope that my right hon. Friend will seize a new initiative. Let us have some high power talks. Let us make some real contribution which will destroy the fear which otherwise will lead inevitably to war.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Colegate (Burton)
I do not intend, especially at this time of night, to enter into speculative propositions as to what Spain, Russia or other people will do. I want to deal with one serious practical point. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will be good enough to consider it. I share to some extent the apprehensions of various hon. Members about Japanese competition. I think that the matter should be cleared up rather more specifically than has been done so far.
The Preamble of the draft Peace Treaty with Japan puts forward as one of the purposes of the Treaty that it will enable Japan 563… in public and private trade and commerce to conform to internationally accepted fair practices.Those are words; but fortunately for us those words during the last 50 or 60 years have been interpreted by a series of conventions and agreements, to some of which Japan was a party. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in an answer which I received this morning, confirmed the fact that the Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property signed in London on 2nd June, 1934, will come back into operation, so far as Japan is concerned, when this Treaty is signed.
That Convention deals with what is known as industrial property—with models, industrial designs, trade marks, trade names, patents, and so on. On the whole, Japan kept that Convention rather better than some people appeared to think. On the patent side, Japan's practice was not too bad. Unfortunately, a more serious agreement—the International Agreement relating to false indications of origin which was also signed in its revised form in London in 1934, was not signed by Japan.
That has proved one of the worst difficulties with regard to Japanese competition. To show how she behaved, I will give one or two examples. She created a small village called "Macclesfield," and silk manufactured near there was stamped "Made in Macclesfield." She went further. She founded another village called "U.S.A." Electric lamps were exported from that Japanese village stamped "Made in U.S.A." That is the sort of thing which we must stop. We have an instrument at hand which the Industrial Property Department of the Board of Trade knows very well, in the International Agreement regarding false indications of origin.
I strongly urge the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to see that this draft Peace Treaty with Japan not only includes the adherence of Japan to the Convention about industrial property generally but also adherence to the agreement which deals with false indications of origin. There is a difficulty. Let me be honest with the Committee. I am sorry to say that while that agreement about false indications of origin is signed by 23 civilised powers, the United States of America have refused to sign it. This is an opportunity. It has always been the 564 object of those interested in the protection of industrial property that we should get the United States to sign that agreement.
In the International Chambers of Commerce and in other ways in recent years the United States have made great steps forward in co-operating with other nations.
§ Mr. Follick (Loughborough)
Does the hon. Gentleman know that in the U.S.A. there is a city by the name of Toledo which manufactures steel, while the finest steel in Spain was manufactured in Toledo?
§ Mr. Colegate
Yes. I thank the hon. Member for confirming what I have been saying. We want to stamp out these practices. I urge the Foreign Secretary to see that that international agreement is brought into the other agreements which are mentioned and Articles 15 and 12, and, in that connection—I cannot give my reasons at length, because time is so short—I beg the Foreign Secretary to see whether he can make it quite clear that Article 15 is the operative article. The Industrial Property Department of the Board of Trade knows all about this point.
In conclusion, let me say that some people may ask what is the good of getting Japan into the International Labour Office and into the International Convention and other international agreements. My answer is that, if we get a signature there, we shall have a basis upon which to work in order to bring up the standard, not only of labour, but of international commercial honesty in Japan, and I think that we shall get the support of the United States in trying to bring that about.
§ Mr. Colegate
I am an optimist, and I have reasons for my optimism. I have been concerned with this subject since 1925, and I have seen a great growth of international morality in relation to patents and design. If we can bring Japan back into the family of civilised nations, we shall do something, though not everything, I agree, to allay the apprehensions in those many industries in this country which had the mortification of seeing their high quality goods imitated by cheap Japanese production and stamped "Made in Macclesfield" or 565 " Made in Great Britain." I hope that the Secretary of State will be good enough to consider this point with the Industrial Property Department of the Board of Trade in order to see whether, in that respect, the draft Treaty with Japan may not be improved.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Assheton (Blackburn, West)
Except for the problems of the Middle East, this debate has ranged over a very wide field—Germany, Spain, Russia and the Japanese Treaty.
So far as Spain is concerned, I think my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler) made our position quite clear. We must not allow emotion to restrain common sense, and moral indignation is not a constructive policy. No question of the inclusion of Spain in the North Atlantic Pact arises, and we have no right to object if the United States pursues a strategic plan to reinforce the West, which might save us great loss in time of war. I think the leading article in today's issue of "The Times" ended on the right note. It said:Allies who are wise in their counsel command more attention than those who are merely stubborn in their opposition.On the question of the Japanese Peace Treaty, before I come to deal with what I consider the major point, there are one or two minor points which I would like to clear up. We have had two interesting speeches from my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norwood (Brigadier Smyth) and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea (Commander Noble) on the subject of compensation for prisoners of war and others, but it was a little difficult to understand from the debate exactly what reply had been given to a question, which apparently was a written question, this afternoon on the subject of compensation.
If it is possible for the right hon. Gentleman who will wind up the debate to give the Committee a clearer indication than we have had so far, I think it would be useful. On the basis of what I gathered from the exchanges that took place, it did not seem to me as if the arrangements were likely to prove at all satisfactory.
There is one other minor point I want to raise on the Japanese Treaty, and it is to ask the right hon. Gentleman—I do not know whether he can give me an answer 566 now—whether there is any provision in this Treaty—if so, I have not seen it—on the question of Japanese loot taken to Japan from the South-East Asian territories, and much of which has since disappeared. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any information about it which can be made available to those from whom property was stolen.
Now, to come to the major question, on which all Lancashire hon. Members must be specially concerned, it is not to be wondered at that there is a good deal of anxiety in Lancashire about this Japanese Treaty. Let us just remember for a moment the background to the view which we in Lancashire see.
The history of the Lancashire cotton trade is a very long one. It is a history of great success and of great distress. First of all came the great inventions and the escape from the slavery of hand spinning. These were the inventions of Hargreaves, who was a carpenter in Blackburn, of Crompton and Arkwright and Cartwright, and these great developments came nearly 150 years ago. Lancashire had good fortune at that time. Not only did she have great inventors, but the coal was at hand, the iron was nearby, she had good sea ports, the necessary water power, and soft water so dear to bleachers, dyers and printers. Above all, she was first in the field, and for 140 years she made tremendous progress.
In 1913, the Lancashire cotton trade was the greatest and most successful in the whole world. In that year Lancashire wove 8,000 million yards of cloth. Of those 8,000 million yards she exported 7,000 million yards—one-eighth to clothe the people of this country and seven-eighths exported to the rest of the world. Capital had been assembled, mills were built and machines put in. The workers were industrious, quick-witted and quick-fingered, and there was also a great merchanting system full of adventurous, alert and energetic men who had personal contacts in every part of the world and a name for fair dealing. That great system, alas, has been largely destroyed by the destruction of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange.
In 1913, 3,000 million out of those 7,000 million yards went to India, and in that year Lancashire's exports were 18 times those of Japan. Who in 1913 would have thought that the Lancashire cotton 567 trade stood on the edge of a precipice? Let people who are too satisfied now think of that. Then came the Great War, and in the 20 years that followed it we experienced what Godfrey Armitage called the "most terrible retreat in the history of industry." With it came untold suffering gallantly borne and only fully understood by those who lived in Lancashire and suffered.
To what was that due? To what had the success been due? It had been due to two things; first, to the free entry of Lancashire cotton into the markets of the world, and, secondly, to the cheapest production in the whole world. That was the basis of Lancashire's success, but in the years of disaster both those advantages were lost. India which had helped us so well in the war was promised a tariff. Indian tariffs were put up and by the time the 1939 war broke out that 3,000 million yards which we used to send to India had fallen to 70 million. Practically all the exports to India had gone.
At the same time, after the 1914–18 war, Japan had come into the cotton trade paying one-fifth of the wages paid in Lancashire, thus beating Lancashire in prices. There was deep bitterness in the hearts of Lancashire folk. The operatives saw the spindles and the mills becoming idle, and one employer after another went bankrupt. Eight hundred cotton mills were closed in those years, 21 million spindles were broken up, and 360,000 looms were abandoned. It was an unparalleled disaster, and by 1935 the exports of Japan exceeded ours by 30 per cent., whereas before the war our exports had been 18 times those of Japan.
To Lancashire operatives the Japanese were blacklegs paying low wages, working long hours and employing child labour. Lancashire said that it was not fair, and can one wonder that hon. Members on both sides of the Committee today have reminded us of that?
Bitter memories have been stirred, and the thought of renewed competition from those whom we have just defeated in war at a great price in suffering, blood and treasure is a very serious matter to every one in Lancashire. But Lancashire people are wise, I think, as well as generous, and they do not wish to impose humiliating conditions upon a conquered race. Nor 568 do they wish to drive them to seek succour elsewhere. Therefore, there is much to be said for a magnanimous settlement, but I cannot be expected to go to Blackburn and say, "Long live Japan."
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I do not think Lancashire people, who are as generous as any in the world, would mind of this Peace Treaty were based on magnanimity, but to anyone who has been following the Press in countries where they have been allowed to discuss this Peace Treaty—unlike us here—it is obvious that everything has been subordinated to the military needs of America, including the trade of Britain.
§ Mr. Assheton
The hon. Member has expressed his view, but he has not had time to make a very full intervention and I cannot accept that view. I say that although Lancashire is wise and does not wish to impose humiliating conditions, none the less the people of Lancashire are made very anxious by this Treaty. Before the Foreign Secretary and his colleagues go to San Francisco, they must make absolutely certain that every possible step is taken to safeguard our position. It is our duty here, and especially the duty of Lancashire members, to see that these matters are closely examined and that every reasonable safeguard is devised. There is no representative of the Board of Trade on the Government Front Bench at the moment, but I hope that the Ministers concerned will take note of what has been said.
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden said earlier today, the great dilemma is how Japan is to feed her millions without inflicting ruinous competition on others. Taking the long view, the question we have to ask ourselves is, "What can cure poverty in the East?" There are three possibilities. In the country, improvement of agriculture and in the towns, machines. Is it not possible also that perhaps one day the East will adopt the same attitude to family planning which has been adopted in the West? May they not think that better than the inevitable alternative, which is the destruction of millions of human beings by famine, pestilence and war.
But all that is a long way off, and we are faced today with an immediate problem. We are faced with a position in which, as we have been told today, the 569 wages in Japan are at present lower than ours here. Woman labour in Japan is not receiving half what it is paid in Lancashire, and the men perhaps receive two-thirds. That at once raises the argument of unfair competition. But do not let us forget that we are not in the old days now. In those days, when we talked about unfair competition we in this country were paying higher wages than were paid anywhere in the world; but now we are not. Our standard of life is lower than it is in the United States or Canada, and we might expose ourselves to a like treatment from others if we are not very careful. Therefore, we must think twice about using that argument.
I see the Government is wisely reserving the right to deny most favoured treatment to Japan, and the President of the Board of Trade has stated that for the present we must retain our freedom to protect our economy if necessary against abnormal and injurious competition. I am glad to know this. I note also that Japan has renounced her rights under the old Congo Basin Treaties, re-enacted substantially as they were after the war in 1919. So she will not any longer enjoy as a right the advantages of the open door for cheap textile goods in the markets of Equatorial Africa. But, as we have been reminded today, those Treaties were not made for the benefit of Lancashire. They were made for the benefit of Africa, and that is a point which we ought not to overlook.
What of Japanese competition in our overseas markets? As my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden said, the principle of non-discrimination has whittled away preferential arrangements, and in any case we must not forget that a great many of Lancashire's exports go to countries where no preference arrangements can possibly help us.
We have been anxious in Lancashire about American policy with regard to the allocation of cotton. When the United States introduced allocations Japan received remarkably favourable allocations. She got 98½ per cent. of her imports in the previous year, and we got 45 per cent. I believe that one of the reasons given for the high rate of allocation to Japan was that she was to supply goods for the Korean war. Actual demand was less than was expected, and further supplies were, therefore, available for export trade, and although in May, 1950, it was estimated by the Japanese 570 that their exports of cotton cloths would increase by 10 per cent., in actual fact over the year the increase was 46 per cent.
Japanese prices have now once again become highly competitive, and it seems that America is likely to support arrangements which can enable Japan to pay her way. With assured supplies of cotton from the United States, with increasing spindlage and with an increasing power supply, the Japanese cotton industry is getting into a strong position. There is always the possibility, too, which we must not overlook, that American policy might force Japan, or at any rate might require Japan, to cut off trade with China altogether and thus increase the need for Japan to compete in some of our other markets. Of course, Korea and China were the principal markets of Japan before the war.
We in Lancashire must, therefore, impress upon any Government, whatever party is in power, the need for the utmost vigilance on our behalf. American capital and Japanese labour may be very formidable in combination. The dangers to our trade in the old days were of one kind. Today there are dangers of another kind, but they may also be very great, and it is clear, therefore, that in this field we must, above everything, rely upon Anglo-American co-operation. It is vital to us in every aspect of our foreign policy, and no more vital in any part of it than it is in this. Let us pray that there will be sufficient co-operation between our two great countries and Japan to steer Japanese commerce into channels which will do as little harm as possible to our trade in this country.
It is good news, as we have been told today, that Japan has been re-admitted to the I.L.O. The report which the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) read to us was a revealing one, and those who read it in "The Times" have had much to think about. It makes one wonder whether the President of the Board of Trade is not perhaps a little naïve and a little overoptimistic. Before the war the Japanese under-cut our goods by cheapness due to low wages, long hours and child labour, and we want to know whether she will do it again. She says she will not, but we have to see that she keeps her word.
571 Before the war, we were forced, much against the grain, to limit in British Colonies the invasion of Japanese goods, by means of tariffs, quotas, licences and other devices. Since the war some thought in Lancashire has turned to the possibility of controlling world markets by agreement, and I believe that this is the principal solution proposed by the Japanese themselves. What will come of this proposal I do not know, but it is certainly one which should be carefully studied.
I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is proposed to begin negotiations at once for a commercial treaty with Japan, as indicated in Article 12A of the draft Treaty. I want him also to tell us, if he can, about the arrangements for avoiding the pirating of trademarks and copyrights to which my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate) referred. It is quite clear that if we are to look forward to some sort of order and stability in the cotton trade in the future, a great deal of hard work must be done and there must be patient negotiation both with America and Japan. Lancashire herself must see that she is capable of competing successfully both in quality—of which I have no doubt—and in price.
I suppose there are few people who would deny that there is no more important duty laid upon the Government of this country than to maintain the most friendly possible relations with the United States. Friction with the United States or with our other friends in the world is the one thing we must avoid and, if I may say so, our position in the world would be greatly strengthened if our divisions at home were less marked.
Before I sit down, I want to say a few words about Russia. I dealt with Spain at the beginning of my speech, and there is nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden said on the subject of German re-armament. In the course of the debate there have been many speeches about Russia. There were some disputes as to how many divisions the Russians have. One of my hon. Friends asked me how many divisions there were in the Labour Party, and I told him I did not know.
§ Mr. Assheton
Whether there are many or few, there are certainly a great many divisions in the Russian army, but the question upon which we in this country cannot make up our minds is—what is the Russian policy based upon? Is it based upon ideology and what Lord Salisbury called a fanatical enthusiasm for what she believes to be a new religion? Is it, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) suggested, based on blatant imperialism, or is it based on suspicion of the Western world? Or is it an amalgam of all three?
In any case, we must show that in the West we are strong not only potentially, as some hon. Members below the Gangway have suggested, but also actually, in armed force. If the enemy is at your door it is not enough to have a great potential; you need to have actual force ready and available at the time. If we are nearer peace today it is because the West is stronger than it was.
If, on the other hand, Russian policy is based on suspicion, then every effort must be made to remove that suspicion and to bring about a clearer understanding of our true position, a clearer understanding of our utterly peaceful and unaggressive intentions and the utterly peaceful and unaggressive intentions of the whole Western world. We wish the Foreign Secretary the best of luck in his efforts in that direction. But in any case the process will, I fear, be very slow. The tension may be prolonged, and our efforts can only be sustained and war can only be averted by building up the strength of our own people and that of other peoples in the world who love freedom and who hate tyranny.
Communism is a hateful and a cruel and a false creed. To my mind, its impact upon the world has been more like the impact of Islam than anything else in history. Communism breeds on suffering and poverty, and it is sustained by demagogues, many of whom little understand its true implications. Let those who seek to stir up class strife hesitate before they do so, especially in these days.
Love of freedom, I would remind the Committee, and hatred of tyranny, are not found in any one section of society. Who were the great leaders in the war for freedom, in the war against tyranny? Roosevelt, Churchill, Bevin. Did they all 573 come from one section of the people? We in England and in the English speaking nations have for many years—for centuries—striven for freedom, and we shall continue to strive for it. We are more likely to keep it if we have less suspicion of one another's motives and more readiness to believe that each and all of us—with but a handful, I hope, of exceptions —believe in freedom and will do our best to see that it is preserved in the world.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ The Minister of State (Mr. Younger)
There has really, I think, been very little difference on principle expressed in this debate. So far as we have disagreed it has been almost wholly on matters of methods —with one exception, perhaps; that of the situation regarding Spain, about which I shall say something a little later. It is true that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler), who opened the debate for the Opposition, listed three defects in the Government's policy in recent years. He said that there had not been enough sense of urgency; that Great Britain's voice had not been heard strongly enough; and he complained of a lack of political direction, and said, if I remember rightly, that he would give examples; but I waited for the examples in vain.
I think really the truth is, when one hears these criticisms made, that one is bound to reflect that since the war we have unfortunately, and, I think, not through our fault, very largely been in the position of reacting to policies varying from non-co-operation to open hostility on the part of Powers with whom at the end of the war we had hoped to cooperate fully; and it may be true that we have been somewhat slow in recognising that, instead of being co-operative, they were non co-operative and were even prepared to be hostile. I doubt very much whether that is a criticism, even if it is a fact. It might have been very much more unwise to have done other than wait with the utmost patience for co-operation until it was clear that we had to take measures on our own account.
I think that this has not been a debate which I should seek to wind up on a very high note. I think that there are a number of things about which hon. Members have expressed anxiety and about which they have asked for information, and I 574 should like to try, as far as I may, to satisfy their requests.
I should like to spend some time to begin with upon the Japanese Peace Treaty. That, of course, offers an example of our having had to take a situation as we found it—a situation we would certainly have wished to have been otherwise, and one which compelled us to accept certain things in the Treaty which my right hon. Friend recognises to be only second best.
I refer particularly, of course, to the impossibility of including China as a party to this multilateral Treaty. Second to that there is the doubt—to put it at its very lowest—whether the Soviet Union, another Power inevitably with a great influence in the Far East, would be prepared to participate. That is unfortunate, but the evolution of our relations with Japan cannot stand still; our relations with her must develop, and all Powers, including even the two I have mentioned, have for some time past been pressing, as we have been, for an early treaty.
My hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) at one stage of his speech asked whether Japan had reached the point where she was ready to recover her sovereignty. That, of course, is a matter for argument. In the nature of things, we probably cannot fully know the answer until she has regained her sovereignty, but I should just say this to my hon. Friend.
We have reached the conclusion—and I think all the Powers concerned share our view—that whatever measure of success the Allied occupation may have had in these six years, there is nothing to be gained from continuing it. If Japan has not evolved satisfactorily in the way we would wish, then another few months or another few years of Allied occupation will certainly not make her evolve any further in that direction. Indeed, so much is that the case, that the good work might be undone by resentment against the Allied occupation, which is inevitable; occupation is bitter to any people, and the reaction against it may well become stronger and give food for a new nationalism.
We all agree, I think, that many of these problems, which have made it difficult to have a wholly satisfactory Treaty, have arisen out of the Korean war and the actual fighting in the Far East. That 575 is what has made a more comprehensive settlement of the whole Japanese and Far Eastern problem impossible. But that is no reason for refusing to settle what can be settled. We think it is time to end the war with Japan, and time for Japan to assume full responsibility for her future. My right hon. Friend referred to this as a liberal treaty, and although the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) complained of the misuse of the word "liberal," I am sure he would not deny us the right to use it in this instance.
One hon. Member appeared to think that this was an American dictated Treaty. I can assure him that that is far from being the case. There has, in fact, been only one point—that of Chinese representation, to which I have already referred —on which we and our American friends held diametrically opposed views. We both realised when we went into the discussions for getting this draft Treaty that it would probably prove impossible to reach agreement on that point. But concessions were made on both sides; there was no dictatorial attitude on the part of Mr. John Foster Dulles and the Americans here, and we think that the compromise which has been reached, although only a second best, reflects credit on the attitude of both sides, who held such opposite opinions. On all other matters of principle, I think it is fair to say that the Americans and ourselves have been basically in agreement.
There have, of course, been differences of emphasis, but we have agreed with them that, if Japan is to recover her sovereignty, then there is nothing to be gained from inflicting a lot of pinpricks. Theoretically, I suppose, one might hold a defeated enemy down indefinitely, but neither the American nor the British people conduct their affairs in a manner which would make that possible or thinkable. Once that is admitted, it is surely right to have a liberal policy with the minimum of pinpricks, the minimum of things which will cause future resentment.
Moreover, it has to be remembered that this Treaty, unlike many treaties in the past, comes after a long interval after the end of the war. Six years have passed, and this Treaty will not come at an early stage of the occupation, but will mark the end of it. Therefore, we have to think particu- 576 larly how restrictive clauses in the Treaty would in any event be enforced. We think that there is very much more chance of getting implementation of undertakings which may subsequently be entered into, and much less chance of a nationalist reaction, if security and economic arrangements are put, as far as possible, on a voluntary basis, and entered into by Japan when her sovereignty is regained, rather than that any attempt should be made to impose it in the Treaty.
Very few questions have been asked about the security side of the Treaty. I think almost the only one was that asked by the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden, who asked about the future of South Sakhalin. The Treaty does not attempt to dispose finally of the territories which are being taken from Japan. Under the Yalta Agreement, it was agreed that South Sakhalin should go to the Soviet Union, and in fact forces of the Soviet Union have occupied this territory ever since.
In the Treaty, Japan renounces her right, but nothing is actually said about the destination and final settlement of this area, or indeed of a number of other areas. It would, of course, have been desirable if this Treaty could have been for a full Far Eastern settlement and if all these things had been explicitly stated. That is not the case, and South Sakhalin, with the other territories, is left in the status quo, and will no doubt be settled when the whole of the Far Eastern problem is eventually cleared up.
§ Mr. Duncan Sandys
Can the right hon. Gentleman say where will reside the sovereignty of these territories which Japan has renounced, but which are not allocated to anybody else?
§ Mr. Younger
I should not like to enter into the question of international law on that situation. It is somewhat anomalous. The fact is that the situation will be neither better nor worse than it has been in the last year or two. We do not know what the final settlement will be, and that is one of the things that has been left open, as it has been in the case of Formosa. I would not like to say what the juridical situation is, but this is left as it was before the draft Peace Treaty was produced.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
Is it not a fact that both from strategic considerations and from the point of view of the fishing rights, Sakhalin Island is very important?
§ Mr. Younger
I think it is, and I do not think there is much doubt under whose jurisdiction it is to remain. At Yalta it was agreed that the sovereignty should be transferred to the Soviet Union but to tie these things up would require a full settlement, which we cannot at the moment reach.
On the economic side, I agree that it is likely that Japanese competition, which was such a difficult problem for us and especially for Lancashire and other areas as well will again become a real thing. We know that Japan's position is that she must export if she is to live at all, and I can assure hon. Members on all sides of the Committee that the Government and especially the Foreign Office and the Board of Trade are fully aware of the anxieties that are felt in trade and industry in Britain. I do not quarrel with the list of the dangers and anxieties expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn, West (Mr. Assheton). He expressed the views of Lancashire on this subject in a very earnest manner, and was extremely reasonable in his appreciation of what could be done and what could not be done —I am afraid it is largely what could not be done—to ensure complete safeguards.
The trouble is to say how such a problem could be effectively met in the Peace Treaty. On the one hand, we have the fact that Japan relies on her exports. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave the figures of the money that was poured into that country by the Americans since 1945 to keep her going at all. Then we have the diverse interests of members of the Commonwealth, Asian countries and our Colonial Territories, many of whom are desperately anxious to have the maximum possible quantity of Japanese goods, because they have a low living standard. Though we have been consulting with all the members of the Commonwealth, we have been playing a leading part—in a sense, acting in the consultations as a trustee for all those people. Therefore, we cannot contemplate a restriction under the Treaty which would prevent would-be consumers from getting the goods they want, particularly when many 578 of them, in fact, are at the present time not obtainable from British industry.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
In the annual reports of the Trades Union Congress year after year there have been constructive proposals for dealing with this problem. Surely the time has come when something internationally should be done about a fair wages clause and fair conditions.
§ Mr. Younger
I was coming to that aspect of the problem, which, of course, is a very real one. Before I do so, I should like to mention one further difficulty which again is difficult of enforcement. There are those who contemplate that there should have been incorporated in the Peace Treaty some hard and fast upper limit of production in some particular Japanese industries. Hon. Members will realise that that is a thing which it is very difficult to envisage being enforced for a long period of time. If it is not enforced, it is no good inserting that into the peace settlement.
What safeguards have we got? I think that we must agree that anything we do is bound to involve some risk. We cannot be wholly saved from Japanese competition. In particular, we cannot be saved if we revert to the old situation in which primary producers all over the world are suffering from slumps and consequent low purchasing power. There should be room for Japanese exports as well as for our own. This is a complicated problem and to pursue it would take one into the whole realm of economic trade and commercial policy of all the nations of the world.
As regards unfair practices, particularly that of copying, I was asked whether that was covered in this Treaty. The declaration which the Japanese Government will make, which is attached to the Treaty, does cover the two international conventions which, I understand, deal with this matter. The first is the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the other is the Berne Copyright Convention. She will become subject to the obligations of these conventions, and that declaration appears attached to the Treaty.
There is also the point, which has been referred to by the President of the Board of Trade, that we are keeping our hands free on the question of the Most-Favoured-Nation Clause. That has been misunderstood in some quarters as indicating that we propose now not to 579 give the Most-Favoured-Nation treatment. We do in fact give the Most-Favoured-Nation treatment, and there are many reasons why we should wish to continue to do so, but as there is this long past history of unfair practices, we feel that we must keep our hands free in that respect.
§ Mr. Colegate
The most important one at the moment is adherence to the agreement with regard to indications of origin. There is no reason why that should not be incorporated, and will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Government propose to put that point in this draft Treaty?
§ Mr. Younger
This is a very technical matter. I was under the impression that it was covered by the conventions.
§ Mr. Younger
Certainly Japan undertakes to do what is required of her under obligations under the old Treaties and to accede to certain new conventions. If that is an international convention, it may be taken that she will be required, if she was not already before the war a party to it, to become a party to such a convention. Furthermore, many of these things have been deliberately left to commercial treaties and not put in the Peace Treaty. For the reasons I have given, we think that there is a better chance of implementation if an obligation is freely accepted by Japan than if it is imposed.
On the point raised by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) of conditions of labour and the level of wages in Japan, that is, of course, a very important reality which industry has to face. I think that it is to a large extent a job for the Japanese trade unions, for their colleagues in the international trade union world who can help them and give them support, and for the representatives of the Japanese and others in the I.L.O., but I think we should be deluding ourselves if we thought that the tremendous gap between the standard of living and the wage level in Asia and the wage levels in highly industrialised Western countries can be rapidly bridged.
That point is also relevant to what I was saying about the large consumer markets which have a standard of living much nearer to the Japanese than to ourselves. Nevertheless. I think that this is 580 one of the things to which we must give very great attention in the coming months and years, both through the trade unions and through international organisations. We must also try to ensure the fullest United States and United Kingdom co-operation in this matter. It was suggested that there are already signs that the gains made by the trade unions in Japan are in danger. What truth there may be in that, I do not know, but of course, at the end of a period of occupation, we face the danger that there may be a reaction from quite a number of things which the Allied Occupation has sought to enforce, and I very much doubt whether any clause in a Peace Treaty could protect us fully from that.
§ Mr. R. S. Hudson (Southport)
Reverting to the question of the Copyright Convention and so forth, I do not think it was covered because the declaration deals only with those multilateral international instruments to which Japan was a party on 1st September. I should have thought it would have been much better that the two conventions, to which our industrialists attach a very great deal of importance, should be included specifically in paragraph 2 of the declaration, to which Japan declares that she will adhere. I should be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman would look into this.
§ Mr. Younger
Certainly. I asked about it earlier, and my understanding was that it was covered. If for any reason we Lind that that is not so, I certainly undertake to look into it.
The final matter which I want to mention very briefly—I have very little time left—is the question of reparations. When we had a debate earlier in particular relation to the possibility of obtaining anything for former prisoners of war, it was emphasised on all sides that the matter about which the prisoners of war themselves were most anxious was to get the principle established that there was an obligation on Japan to pay reparation for the wrong done.
At that time we were not altogether optimistic. Final negotiations had not been completed, and we were not overoptimistic about getting even the principle accepted. There have been very considerable difficulties, but we have got the principle accepted, and I hope that to that extent those who are interested 581 will be satisfied. Of course, it was only because of the very exceptional compassionate merits of the case that it was possible to get that agreement.
When we come to the question of trying very greatly to increase the sum of money available for the purpose, frankly we are up against very great difficulties. As is the case in any payment which Japan may at this stage of things be compelled to make, in the long run that is liable to fall upon the people who are at present and are likely for some time to come to have to continue, contributing to the viability of Japan and it is a very difficult thing to ask that anything more than the assets in neutral countries which are made available, and assets in our own country, should be made available for this purpose.
I was asked about the question of distribution. So far as the distribution through the International Red Cross of neutral assets is concerned, the details of that are still to come. I can give no information on that. It has still to be worked out, and I should be very glad of any advice and consultations that we can have.
On the question of the assets in our own country, which amount to about £1¼ million but which immediately will amount probably only to something rather less than £1 million, because it is difficult to liquidate them all, I apologise to the House that this written answer to a Question was made today. Owing to lack of imagination on my part, it had not occurred to me that the House would not yet have seen the answer. It is rather long because it involves the question of the use of organisations, and perhaps I may read out part of one paragraph which, I think, gives the gist of it:We therefore propose that the money which may be obtained from the liquidation of Japanese assets in the United Kingdom should be put at the disposal of selected benevolent organisations closely linked with the Services, or concerned with the interests of civilian internees. This would he on the understanding that the money shall he used primarily for the benefit of prisoners-of-war and civilian internees of the last war and of their dependants, who must be resident in the United Kingdom at the time of payment; that it is to meet need and hardship (on a broad interpretation of those terms), and preferably not to be in the form of a continuing grant.I hope that hon. Members will be content with that extract, because I have 582 very little time to deal with the other subjects, and the reply will be in full in HANSARD tomorrow.
§ Brigadier Smyth
Has the right hon. Gentleman taken note of the fact that the former Far Eastern prisoners of war themselves want the payment to be made on a basis of fair shares for all? Even if they are to get only 6d. a man, they would rather share it out. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not think that he knows better than they do as to how the sum should be distributed.
§ Mr. Younger
I did note that point in speech of the hon. and gallant Member and I am hoping I may have an opportunity to meet representatives of that body before long, when we may discuss the matter.
§ Mr. Snow (Lichfield and Tamworth)
Is what my right hon. Friend has just read out contrary to Article 16, which refers specifically to ex-prisoners of war and the Armed Forces, as he is now dealing with civilian internees?
§ Mr. Younger
I do not think it is contrary to the Article, but I will have to examine the text and cannot answer that on my feet at the moment.
§ Sir Harold Roper (Cornwall, North) rose—
§ Mr. Younger
I am sorry I cannot deal with this matter any further, as I have only five or six minutes in which to finish and there are a large number of subjects. In conclusion about the Japanese Treaty, I think, and I hope the House will think, that it is a heartening achievement of Anglo-American co-operation in a very difficult area of the world and I should like to pay tribute to the statesmanship of Mr. John Foster Dulles, to whom the success of these negotiations is very largely due.
I turn back to Europe for a few moments. First, I should like to deal with one point with which I was asked specially to deal, the question of the size of the Russian armed forces and the apparent conflict between certain figures. The figure of 175 divisions is a figure which includes infantry and armoured divisions. The figure of 215 divisions included a further 40 divisions called artillery and anti-aircraft divisions. I think the difficulty is that the organisation of the Russian army is very different 583 in this respect from ours and many of these artillery units would not in our armies be described as divisions at all. It is not an overall increase from 175 to 215, but the larger figure includes an additional category of troops. In the overall figures the figure of 2,800,000 referred to army personnel, whereas the figure of 4 million included the total forces.
I do not think I need elaborate upon that, but I wish to say something about the general question of the defence of Europe. The first thing on which I think we all agree is that we must have an overall policy which builds up both the moral and material strength of the Atlantic Treaty Powers. We need, on the one hand, increased material forces, and secondly, a defence plan which offers a reasonable assurance to all the parties concerned that they will be defended and not find their territories used for a sort of rearguard action at the beginning. Thirdly, we must have a cause worth fighting for
On the first point, I hope there is no disagreement anywhere that we must co-operate most fully with General Eisenhower in his most onerous task and give him every support we can by example and exhortation and by providing men, materials and equipment. On the second point, of having a plan which offers a reasonable assurance to all the parties that they will be really defended, that, of course, brings up the question of the contribution from Germany. I would say here that it is not only most Western Germans, but all Western Germans who feel they have a right to be defended or to defend themselves. There are also some of our other Allies in the West who feel in an exposed position, particularly Denmark and also Holland and Belgium and, to a lesser degree, all our Allies on the Continent. I think it is really beyond dispute that, taking a long view of the future, Germany cannot always be defended by others. She must make a contribution herself. As the Committee know, the policy outlined by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in February still stands.
I was asked in particular about the discussions with a view to putting the occupation of Germany on a contractual 584 basis. That has been going on ever since the Brussels meeting of Foreign Ministers at the turn of the year. There have been very complicated discussions in Germany and the matter will be coming up for review fairly soon by Governments. The European army talks have concluded, I think, today, and we hope to examine them very shortly. I can assure the Committee that we will take a sympathetic view of the proposals. I cannot say what they are. I have not yet had time to see them. They only came in this morning. There are further the Bonn discussions, which have been referred to, upon which I need not elaborate.
My final point relates to the third heading, the question of a cause to fight for. That means morale. It means, on the one hand, that Western Europe must have a reasonably sound economy and a reasonable measure of social justice to make people think that they have something worth fighting for. It also involves the proposition that not every anti-Communist is from a morale point of view a sound ally.
That brings up the question of Spain. I know this subject engenders heat. The first thing I wish to say is that I am in entire agreement with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden. There is not at the moment, and I hope there will not be, any question of discussing the entry of Spain into the North Atlantic Treaty. It has not been suggested and we are not considering it.
I think that the United States was entitled to make an agreement if that is what she thinks is right. We are not contesting that right. We are only contesting the appropriateness and the wisdom of it. I think it is wrong to point too clear a contrast between the military, political and moral aspects in these matters. We have to ask the broad question, would the association of Spain in Western defence strengthen us or not? That is the point to which my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, in a speech some time ago which received some criticism, was addressing himself, and I think addressing himself very fairly.
I wish to quote to hon. and gallant Members who have stressed so much the military and strategic aspects, Napoleon, who said in a very famous phrase that 585 in war moral considerations make up three-quarters; the balance of material forces accounts only for the remaining quarter. It is interesting to note that he said that in correspondence on affairs in Spain. Strategy which leaves that aspect out of account is the strategy of defeat. It is wrongly imagined that it is only Communists in Europe or in this country who would lose heart to a considerable extent if they were to find themselves associated with Spain. [An HON. MEMBER: "Rubbish."] It is not rubbish. It is deeply and widely felt among the working class of the whole of Europe.
We know that there are divisions in Europe. Why add to them in this way? This is a matter which should be taken much more seriously from the morale point of view than it has been by some hon. Members. I cannot really accept the comparison between Yugoslavia and General Franco's Spain. I believe the analogy to be quite false ideologically and strategically. In any case I ask myself what can the memory be of those hon. Members who seek to liken Tito's partisans to the Blue Division.
§ 9.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Assheton
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for allowing me one minute to say something to the Committee. The outstanding Votes will be taken at half-past nine. In the old days, hon. Members will remember, there were a great many Divisions on this occasion. As we have done in the last two or three years we do not propose to divide against any of these Votes because they are all so mixed up. We cannot vote against some things we dislike without voting against some things that we support, so we shall not vote at all. I think that the Committee understands our position.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ The Chairman
then proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House this day, forthwith to put severally the Questions, That the total amounts of the Votes outstanding in the several Classes of the Civil Estimates, including Revised and Supplementary Estimates, and the total amounts of the Votes outstanding in the Revenue Departments Estimates, and in the Navy, the Army, and the Air 586 Estimates, be granted for the Services defined in those Classes and Estimates.