§ 3.30 p.m.
§ Mr. C. R. Attlee (Walthamstow, West)
I beg to move,That this House, believing that in a world war waged with weapons of mass destruction, such as the hydrogen bomb, there can be no victors but only the destruction of civilisation, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to approach immediately the Governments of the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to arrange a meeting between the Prime Minister and the heads of the other two Governments with a view to the lessening of world tension and the preparation for effective world disarmament through the United Nations organisation; it therefore reaffirms the House of Commons Resolution of 5th April, 1954, and deplores the Government's delay in implementing it.I make no apology for raising this matter again. In the debate on 5th April last there was exhibited in this House a general anxiety about the world situation. In our Motion on that occasion we stressed its urgency, and we used the word "immediate" in asking for an "immediate initiative" by the Government. The Government, to some extent, demurred at the word "immediate." We did not suggest that action should be taken within a few days or a few weeks, but nearly a year has now gone by and nothing effective has been done. I freely acknowledge the efforts made by the Foreign Secretary to relieve tension in many parts of the world, but with every month, in our view, the present position gets worse and worse.
I must say that I was rather disturbed by the statement made by the Prime Minister in the defence debate on 1st March. He there suggested that it might be a matter of three or four years before the Soviet Government might be in a position of equality with the West in respect of the hydrogen bomb. That may or may not be so. There have been many miscalculations before. The pace of scientific advance has been miscalculated.
I recall that when I was in office the hydrogen bomb was considered to be right away in the distance, and that very soon it became an actual fact. I think that we have at times miscalculated the pace of scientific advance in the Soviet Union. I thought that, perhaps, that statement by the right hon. Gentleman tended to give some people an unwarrantable impression that we could afford delay, that there were three or four years 952 in which we could go on without worrying too much. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman did not mean that, but I think that that would be the wide interpretation of his statement, that we could have four years.
We do not believe that any delay can be allowed. I would refer, in particular, to the fact that all this time experiments are going on with the hydrogen bomb. Now it may be the cobalt bomb next. It may be some other variety; I do not know. The fact is that the advance in methods of destruction is terrifying, and I have been seeing a great number of very disturbing statements.
I did not think that the replies by the Prime Minister on 10th March to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) were really very reassuring. It is all very well saying that the amount of radiation in the atmosphere is very small and amounts at present to what one gets in an X-ray examination, but I really do not think we know enough about this. Further experiments, quite unrelated to the total amount of the radiation in the world, are being carried on on both sides of the Iron Curtain both in the U.S.A. and in the U.S.S.R.
I do not think we really know enough about the effects. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) has recently published a pamphlet setting forth some of the possibilities. I do not put them as more. We really do not know enough about all the effects of these experiments that are going on in the world. We do not know the effects on human beings; we certainly do not know the effects on animal life or, indeed, on vegetation. We are faced, however, with the fact that these various scientific experiments are apparently making possibilities of wide change in the whole composition of the world in which we live. I think it is time that there was a very full investigation into this.
We know how devastating the hydrogen bomb will be. We do not know the long-term effects due to radiation. Would it not be worth while having an authoritative statement made by scientists drawn from both sides of the Iron Curtain? It is all very well to say that our scientists are looking into this, and suggest such and such a thing, and that American scientists are looking into it—I have no doubt 953 scientists in Russia are looking into it—but I think it would be an enormous advantage to the world if we could have an agreed statement made by scientists drawn from as wide an area as possible with the purpose of convincing people in all countries of the danger the world stands in, not merely of atomic warfare but of the continued experimentation in these dangerous practices.
The second point I make is this. Could not a halt be called to further experiments on either side of the Iron Curtain? This is a matter which, I understand, is easily ascertainable; that is to say, whether an explosion has taken place or not. We do know today already how devastating an attack with a hydrogen bomb would be. Is it necessary to go on experimenting with something worse? I should have thought that this was quite bad enough. The fact is that people are filled with anxiety at this continued experimentation, and it seems to me that here would be a chance of getting something like the beginning of some kind of international agreement.
The Prime Minister, in his intervention in the debate of 2nd March, explained his delay in acting on the Resolution of the House on 5th April. There were three reasons. The first was his illness in which we all sympathise with the right hon. Gentlemen and which we deplore very much indeed. Quite apart from the fact that, naturally, we all deplore it, it also came at a most unfortunate time for the world, because it seemed to many of us that perhaps that was a time when fruitful action could have been taken.
Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman said he had made an effort to try to get tripartite talks by talking to the President of the United States. I gather that President Eisenhower at that time demurred. I should like to know whether any further efforts have been made. It seems to me that there has been some change in the climate of opinion in the United States since that time. It is certainly not enough to be put off by one attempt in a matter of such immense importance.
Thirdly, the right hon. Gentleman said that a dual meeting had been in his mind but he was put off that owing to Soviet opposition to the ratification of E.D.C. I cannot think that that was a sound 954 reason at all. It was quite obvious that that kind of opposition to E.D.C. would take place, but the Prime Minister even suggested that there was a certain surprise, as though it might be expected that the Soviet Government would accept that. It was quite obvious that they would take that kind of attitude, but that fact should not really make any difference. It is no good making a meeting of this kind depend, before one has any agreement, on the withdrawal of causes of disagreement. One might equally have from the other side suggestions that we should withdraw our attitude to this or that, or from our side that they should withdraw an attitude. I think that that was a false point, and I am sorry that in the Government Amendment to our Motion that same point is again made, of no talks before ratification.
I do not think that that contention had any validity. We are not suggesting that these talks should be on the future of Germany. If that had been the suggestion, we certainly should have included France, but I think that in a matter of this transcendent importance a contribution by Germany to Western defence falls into place in the international scene as only one outstanding matter that requires settlement. There is the question of Austria, there is the whole Far Eastern question and there is Formosa. There is indeed, a whole range of questions which I agree must be tackled separately, no doubt. But I am suggesting here, and I think that this was the view stressed in the House of Commons, that the question of getting some kind of agreement on methods of mass destruction transcends these local problems.
Further, we could not agree that this matter of top-level talks on international relations, caused by the discovery of the hydrogen bomb, should depend on the action of French parliamentarians—and the Government Amendment does amount to that. One must deplore the irresponsibility and levity of French parliamentarians at this juncture in world affairs. It is a matter undoubtedly for them, but it is difficult for any of us, much as we love the French and much as we realise the great contribution which France has made and can make to civilisation, to take seriously at this time France's claim to a major voice in world 955 affairs in face of this entirely irresponsible behaviour.
One never knows really from week to week whether there will be a French Government. It appears that when one has a Government prepared to settle on one point, say the Paris Treaties, they are thrown out on something quite different, like North Africa. Another Government come in and perhaps are thrown out on the question of the economic situation. It means putting off this vital matter, with endless possibilities of delay, if we are to await French ratification. I should like to assume that we shall get that ratification in the end, but I do not think that that should be a matter to hold up all action on a subject of such major importance.
I have no particular knowledge of the views of the Soviet Government, but I doubt whether they really attach a vast amount of importance to the question of a German contribution to Western defence, any more than they really earnestly desire the union of the two parts of Germany which have been separated by their action; and it is anybody's guess as to what the position of the Russian Government may be from time to time. I admit the difficulty—one apparently had a change of policy in the period that has intervened, and during the past year. But we are asking that another attempt should be made.
What is the matter that we wish discussed? It is not the matter of the new set-up in Germany. It is the matter of the possibility of co-existence between the two halves of the world. Can a free and a totalitarian world co-exist? Co-existence under the threat of annihilation is a pretty grim prospect. One cannot call that peace. It is a cessation of actual war, it is certainly not peace.
I fully recognise all the difficulties of dealing with Soviet Russia, but I believe that the attempt should be made. We ought not to be deterred by threats or strong language, or by attempts to divide us from the United States—attempts that are going on all the time. We should seize every chance, however slight, and we should seek every possibility of personal contact. Essentially, we should try to bring together the United States and 956 Soviet Russia, because the greatest danger in the world is the complete separation of those two great Powers and the fact, which I think is true, that the U.S.S.R. fears the U.S.A. and the U.S.A. fears the U.S.S.R.—and fear is a bad counsellor.
I suggest that in this matter the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom can go forward with greater confidence than either the President of the United States or the most influential statesman in Russia. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom can get, and, in fact, last year did get, a mandate from this House. He can get the support of public opinion. The President of the United States is in a far more difficult position. The Constitution of the United States makes things extremely difficult. One is almost always faced with an election pending, for President, or for some other purpose, whereas the Prime Minister knows that the choice of when we have an election is very largely in his own hands, and no one knows what he will do about it.
The leading man in Moscow also has a pretty difficult task. He has to get the Politburo behind him, but the point I make today is that we think that repeated efforts ought to be made and there ought to be a greater sense of urgency. We do not feel that there has been that sense of urgency. I believe that a single point, such as mutual cessation of nuclear bomb experiments, might set the ball rolling and might make a start.
At present, we seem bogged down. We have always got to wait for something else happening. I do not feel that we can afford to wait. I must say I was struck by the concluding passage in the leading article in "The Times" this morning, which said:We are committed to grievous tasks in the event of war; we should be equally thorough, forthright, and imaginatively hazardous in the fight for peace. We should be afraid neither of jibes about appeasement nor of criticism from our allies. It will be part of our task to carry them with us. Deterrence gives us time, but not lasting peace. After all the forces of strength have had their say the moral issue will remain to be solved. Britain, speaking with the vision and vigour and refusal to acknowledge defeat that in fact put her on the road to victory, even though she was then alone, in 1940, can in this yet greater battle again give a lead to the world. It can, perhaps, come from no one else.
§ 3.53 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Sir Winston Churchill)
I beg to move, to leave out from "civilization" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:welcomes the successful efforts which Her Majesty's Government have made towards the reduction of world tension, supports their proposals for the limitation and control of armaments of all kinds, and recognises that a high-level meeting with the Soviet Union should await the ratification of the London and Paris Agreements by all the countries concerned.The Leader of the Opposition has moved a Motion of censure on the Government. The terms may be admired for their earnest attempt to present a collection of words and ideas which may be acceptable to the bulk of his followers. I hope sincerely that the word "followers" is the right word. The Amendment which we have put on the Order Paper in answer to the right hon. Gentleman's Motion represents, I believe the bulk of responsible opinion on both sides of the House, has the merit of being practical in character and is aimed at producing the largest measure of unity not only of a party but of the country as a whole at an important moment in our foreign affairs.
If I may, I should like to comment a little on the Motion. I notice that the Leader of the Opposition calls for a three-Power conference. It is quite true that the Resolution of the House of 5th April, 1954, mentioned only three Powers, but a busy year has passed since then in this clattering world. Is it the up-to-date conclusion of the Opposition that only those Powers who possess the secret of the hydrogen bomb should meet in an attempt to decide the future of the world. That would be, I am sure, a very unwise declaration. Clearly, it would encourage any ambitious State to qualify, which would be the very opposite of the right hon. Gentleman's argument. I am sure he does not wish for a number of other States, large and small, responsible and irresponsible, to embark upon an elaborate series of experiments of the kind the effects of which would cause such justifiable concern.
Moreover, we cannot agree that France and Germany at this time should be dissociated from the task of resolving the fears and disputes which beset Europe and the world today. Indeed, to mention only three Powers would give serious 958 offence when, I am sure, none was intended, and would give that offence at a time when France is taking, or about to take, decisions important to her welfare and also to the policy which both parties in the House have supported. It certainly affords an additional reason for the House to prefer the words of the Amendment to the Motion of censure.
I am also unfavourably struck by the word "immediately" in the Motion. I agree that there should be no question of indefinite delays. But the French Council of the Republic is meeting on the 21st of this month, so I am told, to decide this issue, and we shall know one way or another then. In view of that going on at the present time, I should have thought that it was not possible to conceive a worse time than the immediate present for us to propose a resolution for immediate efforts to be made to promote a three-Power conference.
With the debate on the ratification of the London and Paris Agreements approaching their decisive point, the Soviets would certainly not agree to such a meeting except on a basis of further postponement of ratification. This we could in no circumstances consider, and I do not believe that the Leader of the Opposition would wish us to. In an interview which the right hon. Gentleman gave to the "News Chronicle" on 16th February he is reported as saying:I believe that ratification should go ahead with all possible speed and that Four-Power negotiations should take place when it has been completed.Her Majesty's Government endorses that view, and that, indeed, is the burden of the Amendment which we are moving in reply to the right hon. Gentleman's Motion of censure.
I do not wish to deal with this matter in a controversial mood—more than is really necessary in receiving a Motion of censure. I must now ask the House to allow me to survey the past, because it all comes into the present—the present is only the heir of the past—and I give my assurance that I will summarise this as concisely as I can.
I was greatly disappointed when, now nearly two years ago, I was prevented by illness from going to meet President Eisenhower at Bermuda. I was most anxious to set before him personally the argument which I had used in my speech of 11th May, 1953, shortly after Marshal 959 Stalin's death, in favour of a top-level meeting with his successor, the new leader of the Soviet Government, Mr. Malenkov. It is not true to suggest, however, that the whole proposal was allowed to drop on account of my falling out. On the contrary, a conference was held at Washington, instead of Bermuda, in the middle of July, 1953, at which Lord Salisbury—who took my place and that of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary who was also struck down, who was also ill—raised all the arguments which I would have used in favour of a meeting of the heads of Governments.
The idea of a top-level, four-Power meeting—it was four-Power even then—with a fluid or flexible agenda, was presented forcefully to the Americans and to the French. They could only be brought to agree to an invitation to the Russians for a meeting of the four Foreign Ministers to discuss specifically free elections in Germany, German reunification, and the conclusion of the Austrian Treaty. This was duly conveyed to the Soviet Government. It was the utmost we could get.
From 15th July, 1953,we entered upon a period of tripartite Notes and Soviet rejoinders and counter-rejoinders after agreement with the three allied Powers, France, America and ourselves—quite a lengthy and elaborate process. From 15th July we entered upon this period and it did not end until November. At the beginning of December, 1953, we were able to arrange the long delayed conference of the heads of the British, American and French Governments at Bermuda, and here a reply to the Russians was agreed.
The reply was to propose that a four-Power meeting on the Foreign Ministers' level should take place in January, 1954, in Berlin. This meeting lasted for three weeks and covered a wide field of differences between the Soviets and the Western Powers. The discussion was certainly valuable and the contacts were undoubtedly useful. I believe, from accounts that have been given me, personal contacts were also agreeable. They were certainly forthright. They did not, however, lead to any agreement on the grave points at issue.
The most fruitful result of the Berlin Conference was the birth of the Geneva 960 Conference, which began in April, 1954—we are getting on in the story—and eventually arrived at the arrangements for an armistice and settlement of the Indo-China problem. On this we are living unrestfully now, but living—I mean there is no killing going on, no war going on. However, the hope of a peaceful and lasting solution has by no means vanished in this theatre, so that we cannot say that the Geneva Conference, to which my right hon. Friend devoted such enormous care and energy, has not produced results.
While all this was going on, in June, 1954,I visited Washington and my right hon. Friend detached himself for the time being from Geneva and came with me. We passed a very busy week at the White House in the most friendly and intimate conversations with the President. Anglo-American relations had been disturbed by events at Geneva and my right hon. Friend and I were very glad that we were able to reach agreements upon many points. These agreements did not, however, include the top-level meeting with the Soviet Government for which I continued to work. There was, on the other hand, certainly no slamming of the door, no slamming down of the idea, of the plan. I felt it was one which we should all consider.
This brings me to our latest effort, which I must describe in rather more detail as I mentioned it the other day. I gave a brief outline of this to the House during our defence debate. I made an intervention in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), whose absence, and particularly whose illness, we all regret. I made this intervention which, though unstudied, was not incorrect and, I hope, not unhelpful. If the House would permit me, I should like to tell the story more fully this afternoon so as to make sure that it can be judged in its perspective and proportion.
On our homeward voyage from the United States in the first week of July last, I sent a personal and private telegram to Mr. Molotov, of which I, of course, informed the President. After referring to my speech of 11th May, 1953, for a top-level meeting of the Big Three, and to the statements I had made from time to time in the House of Commons 961 that, if this were impossible, I would seek to make a contact myself with the Soviet Government, I asked Mr. Molotov how they would feel about it. I should like, I said, to know this before we made any official proposal or considered such questions as those of time and place. I said that I should be very glad if he would tell me whether he would like the idea of a friendly meeting with no agenda and no objective but of living side by side in growing confidence, easement and prosperity.
Although our meeting, wherever held, would be simple and informal and last only a few days, it might be, I suggested, the prelude to a wider reunion where much might be settled. I said, however, that I had no warrant to say this beyond my own hopes. I ended by referring to our war comradeship. I saw quite a lot of him in the war; he was sometimes very cordial and human.
On 5th July I received a very friendly and encouraging reply from Mr. Molotov, for which I thanked him. We had, in any case, to wait until after the Geneva Conference, to which the Foreign Secretary had to return, was concluded. It was not until 26th July that I was able to address Mr. Molotov again. I said that after discussion with my colleagues I was about to send him a further message to suggest a meeting, say, at the end of August or in the first half of September at some halfway house such as Berne, Stockholm or Vienna.
In the meanwhile, however, the Soviet Note of 24th July, 1944—[Hon. Members: "July, 1954."]—Yes, 1954—things were much easier in 1944—had been published, proposing a formal conference of European States and of the United States to discuss again the proposals made some months before by the Soviet Government at Berlin on collective security in Europe. This seemed to have obviously superseded for the time being the small informal meeting that I had suggested which might perhaps have been the prelude to a four-Power meeting at the top level. I have always attached great importance to that. To this, Mr. Molotov replied—
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham,South)
Is it the case that up to this point the Prime Minister had been proposing a three-Power meeting?
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Anthony Eden)
A two-Power meeting.
§ The Prime Minister
No, I had no right or authority to propose a three-Power meeting any more than we have today. I was proposing a two-Power meeting, an informal meeting between me and my right hon. Friend on the one hand and Mr. Malenkov and Mr. Molotov, on the other hand, or anyone else they chose to bring, at some neutral place where we could talk over things.
I do not mind telling the House that I had in mind to tell the Soviet that if they wanted to bring the United States along they would have to make some change in their general attitude, and I would have suggested that the signature of the Treaty with Austria and also their joining the proposal which was made about this time by the President of the United States for the civil use of atomic power—which they have done since—would be very good topics which might make it possible to make it a three-Power conference and evidently it would soon become a four-Power, and, very likely, a five-Power, conference. However, it never came off, because I never had the opportunity. I am glad to say that there is an understanding between America and Russia about the use of civil atomic energy. That is being developed.
To this, Mr. Molotov replied that he did not see the reasons for considering that my proposal for an informal meeting had any bearing—I am paraphrasing this—on the question of the convocation of a conference concerned with the guaranteeing of security in Europe.
I answered that I had not changed in any way from my original project, but that the unexpected revival of his Berlin proposal at this juncture created a new situation, since it would not have been possible to have a large formal international conference going on at the same time as the unofficial two-Power top-level meeting which I had suggested. The British, American and French Governments, who had been addressed officially by the Soviets, were already preparing their replies for the formal conference. It was, therefore, necessary to wait until 963 we knew what was going to happen about the four-Power conference before re-examining my project in the light of events.
Mr. Molotov apparently saw no reason why the two conferences should not go on together. This was a fair matter of opinion. I am not complaining at all. We thought this impossible, as the one would certainly confuse or paralyse the other. That was our view. There the matter rested.
Meanwhile, the Soviet proposal for a four-Power Foreign Secretaries' conference had the effect for which I could not help feeling it was designed, namely, to dissuade the French from ratifying the E.D.C. treaties. I had always assumed that it was to be taken for granted.
As I have been deeply interested in the cause of United Europe for a good many years, I must remind the House of the sequence of events—I apologise for these digressions—since the Russian-Communist menace became apparent. I have consistently endeavoured, in opposition or in Government, to promote an alliance of the free world against it. I was, I think, the first to point out that this involved that Germany must rejoin the European family, and I hoped France would lead her back, and, also, I was the first, I think, in this House to state that there was no possibility of effective defence against Soviet Russia without a German Army. However, years have passed since then, and great new developments have occurred.
I had always thought that the forces of the West should be grouped on the principles of a grand alliance, but the French preferred to aim at a cosmopolitan Army, thus avoiding the creation of a German Army, and they presently elaborated their plan of the European Defence Community. As this seemed to be the only way of reconciling France to the inclusion of Germany, the advocates of Western Defence had no choice but to defer to French ideas.
Three years of lamentable delay followed before the French were able to perfect the highly complicated arrangements which they had in mind. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite had experience of some of those three years of indecision. In the end, an arrangement was agreed upon by all the Powers concerned on 964 which a cosmopolitan Army for the West could be founded. This agreement collapsed because of the French refusal to ratify it, as we all remember. Meanwhile, under the N.A.T.O. provisions an elaborate military infrastructure had been created in France. To prevent the French from ratifying E.D.C. was, therefore, an obvious and quite reasonable Soviet objective.
The strain of these three years upon Dr. Adenauer has been most grievous, and no one but that valiant patriot and idealist, for he is both, could have endured it. It is not a question of the N.A.T.O. forces gaining an addition of 12 divisions that moves me personally. Even with them, the Western front could not be a guarantee against the overpowering Russian strength in conventional weapons. Twelve German divisions are, to me, a symbol rather than a physical factor. They may, indeed, be used as a peaceful guard against uncontrolled or unlimited German rearmament and thus would be consistent at once with European unity and German self respect.
What is of major consequence to the causes we serve is the ranging of the mighty German race and nation with the free world—not on the wrong side—instead of allowing it by infiltration, or territorial bribery, or by actual force, or by our own tragic memories to be amalgamated with the satellite States to carry the doctrine and control of Moscow into world supremacy.
Earnestly as I desire to get a peaceful arrangement for co-existence brought about with Russia, I should regard it as an act of insanity to drive the German people into the hands of the Kremlin and thus tilt into Communist tyranny the destiny of mankind. Moreover, the only safe policy for us to pursue is, as we have often stated, peace through strength. Without unity there can be no strength. For the Western Powers to abandon E.D.C. and have nothing to put in its place in Europe would have presented us divided and in vacuity before the mighty Communist oligarchy and dictatorship and its satellites.
Weakness makes no appeal to Moscow. To mix up the process of ratification with what might well follow soon afterwards would very likely dilute both firmness and conciliation. The sooner we can get our 965 united ratification settled, the sooner the top-level four-Power conference may come, it may be five-Power. On the other hand, it might well be that one retreat would lead to another and, far from assuaging differences, would stimulate further aggression from the East and slowly arouse the reluctant anger of the West.
We went through all this in the years before the war, which I remember only too well. Therefore, we felt that we must on no account allow our earnest desire to bring about a top-level conference of great Powers to expose us to the charge of having thrown doubt and disarray into the ranks of N.A.T.O. We were, therefore, convinced that Her Majesty's Government had no choice but to suspend for the time being the proposal I had made to Mr. Molotov.
I am sure that the more this matter is considered by the House and studied in detail, the more it will be seen that our efforts to act in accordance with the unanimous Resolution of the House of 5th April, 1954,have been sincere and untiring and that we have in no way been disloyal to the resolution, or lukewarm, or dithering—a word that was used the other day—in pursuing our purpose across one obstacle after another. Our policy throughout has been simple, earnest, straightforward and we shall faithfully persevere in it.
I must, however, point out that several important changes have occurred in the situation since May, 1953, and also since August last when, I think, there was a visit paid to Moscow by some of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The Malenkov régime has gone. New forces rule. The "New Look" which I wished to explore in May, 1953, has been succeeded by another "New Look." Some hon. Members opposite may no doubt contend that this change might have been averted if a meeting had taken place. I doubt very much whether this assertion has any foundation at all.
In a Press interview on 1st January this year Mr. Malenkov was asked whether he would welcome diplomatic talks leading to a four-Power conference. He refused to give an affirmative reply and said with emphasis that the efforts of the Western Powers to settle the German problem were not compatible with 966 the proposal to hold a four-Power conference. We have yet to ascertain the feelings and policy of his successor.
So far, the new "New Look" has not raised any extravagant hopes of improvement. But anyhow, it is so easy to assume, as is done in some influential quarters, that all would have been well if only Mr. Malenkov had had due encouragement from us and of course from the United States. This is all pure guesswork. I would go into this subject a little more if we had the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale in his place, because he has dealt with it both in and outside the House and I should very much relish the opportunity of replying to some of the points he made. However, I will not attempt to do so in his absence.
But it was on the basis of the convictions and reasoning that I have described, that I replied on 12th January to a letter from Mr. Mendes France. Extracts from this letter were imparted to the French Senate Commission on Foreign Affairs last Thursday by M. Pinay, the Foreign Secretary. They have been referred to in various garbled forms in the Press all over the world.
I am to be asked at Question Time tomorrow whether I will publish the text of this letter. I should be very glad to do so, as it places M. Pinay's quite friendly quotation in its proper context. It expresses views I strongly hold and which are very correctly represented by the Amendment I have moved to the Motion of censure. It was, however, a private and personal letter, and although I certainly feel that the House may expect to be informed of a communication of which part has already been quoted in the Parliament of another country I must first seek Mr. Mendes France's views. If it is agreeable to him—which I should think would not be unlikely—I will in due course take steps to lay the full text as a White Paper. I hope that that can be done before the end of the month.
I have now given the House a factual account of what the Government have done to bring about top-level two, three, four, or a five-Power conference. None excludes the others and, of course, it might be hoped that a smaller meeting would lead to a larger one. I think it is a well founded and reasonable suggestion that a three-Power conference may 967 get a four-Power meeting, or a five-Power meeting and then there is the basis for solid agreement.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
Will the Prime Minister allow me to ask him, that being so, why he makes such a point of the number of Powers indicated in my right hon. Friend's Motion? He has been flirting with a two-Power meeting, a three-Power, possibly a four-Power meeting. Why does he get cross with my right hon. Friend when he mentions one of those figures?
§ The Prime Minister
I was not cross. I voted for the unanimous Resolution which mentioned a three-Power conference, but I do not think that now is a good opportunity to stress that point when these critical discussions are going on in France. I carefully stated, if I remember rightly, that I was sure no offence was meant—but it would be tactless to do it now, and that is one of the reasons why I prefer our Amendment to the Motion of censure. That is what I am arguing about.
I have now given the House a factual account of what we have done. I have tried very hard to set in motion this process of a conference at the top level and to bring about actual results. Although I do not pretend to measure what the recent changes in the Soviet oligarchy imply, I do not feel that they should in any way discourage us from further endeavours.
I must here, however, say very seriously to the House that it is a mistake to suppose that to bring about such a meeting of any of these classes is an end in itself. It is only a means to an end. It is by no means certain that the end will be agreeable. To have a conference at an ill-chosen moment, or in unfavourable circumstances, would only raise false hopes and probably finish by leaving things worse than before.
If this happened those concerned would have to bear the responsibility not only for a futile procedure but for using up in a wasteful manner what might be at the right moment an important shield against rash or violent action and have thus weakened the resources, both moral and practical, of peace-seeking peoples. It would be wrong and foolish, in timing our procedure, to run the risk of dividing 968 the allies of the Free World. That would only make the danger greater and the potential defence, whether mental or physical, weaker.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
When the right hon. Gentleman made his speech there at the General Election.
§ The Prime Minister
I think I have trespassed too much on the great kindness and indulgence of the House to allow me to go so far back over the past. I think that if I were to try to explain the motives which animated me every time I have been called upon to address a public meeting in this country, I should be going really too far and would lose at once the patience of the House and that general attitude of indulgence which I have received from it.
I have now finished speaking about the European situation, but before I sit down I must look across the Atlantic. One thing stands out in my mind above all others; that is the increase of our friendship and understanding with our ally the United States. I circulated last Friday to the House, with what I believe is almost a record for speed, the White Paper, which I have already mentioned, containing the letter which the President has written to me and other Prime Ministers of the Western European Union.
The President's statement renews the pledges which the United States gave to the E.D.C. When the Paris Agreements are ratified—may I just summarise them to the House—the United States undertakes to maintain its fair share of forces in Europe so long as a threat to the North Atlantic Treaty area exists. The United States will work closely with the Western European Union and will regard any action, from whatever quarter, which threatens its integrity or unity, as a threat to the security of the members of N.A.T.O., including the United States itself.
Finally, the United States will continue to play its full part in N.A.T.O., and if, in the President's wordsa solid core of unityis established in Europe the interests of the United States will require its continued membership of the North Atlantic Treaty for a period of indefinite duration. 969 These assurances are of the highest value not only for Western European Union but for N.A.T.O. and for the free world as a whole. They are of particular importance for the United Kingdom which has undertaken great obligations and risks, very serious when undertaken alone, but assuming an altogether different character when supported and sustained by undertakings of this kind from the United States.
The pledge which we gave last September in the conference which my right hon. Friend, by his extraordinary vigour and enterprise, brought about in London—that pledge made the Paris Agreements possible and is an integral part of those Agreements. Our commitment is most powerfully reinforced and our peril most importantly reduced by the President's new statement.
My feeling is—when the right hon. Gentleman spoke he said that he thought that there were some changes of opinion in the United States—that the wish of the United States for peace grows stronger at the same pace as their capacity for war. They give great consideration to our views. They show marked respect for our experience of the European scene. But this very attention which they pay to what we advise is accompanied by serious irritation of their public opinion at anything they take to be unfair criticism.
For instance, when criticisms are made that the President has not come over here—or come over yet to our international conferences—it must always be remembered that the President of the United States is not only the head of a State, and that he has powers of action in emergencies far beyond those granted to any other individual in the modern world. At the same time, he is morally and legally bound to other institutions of equal status in the long-established structure of the American Constitution. He cannot move about as freely as the ordinary heads of Governments. Both his immediate predecessors have created recent predecents for journeys of the President beyond the territories of the United States; and there are many earlier ones.
No President of the United States has ever had the knowledge and experience of Europe and of the very group of problems now confronting us as is 970 possessed by President Eisenhower, and I do hope that nothing will be said on this side of the Atlantic, and particularly in this House, which will raise new inhibitions in American minds against the freedom of his personal movements. I still believe that, vast and fearsome as the human scene has become, personal contacts of the right people in the right place, at the right time may yet have a potent and valuable part to play in the cause of peace which is in our hearts.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)
I should have liked to follow the Prime Minister by saying how pleased I was that he realised the urgency of our Motion, but I must say that, in my opinion, his was a weak and insipid effort in trying to put the German contribution to Western defence before the more urgent question of atmospheric radiation menacing the whole world, free or otherwise.
I wish to support the Motion so ably moved by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. In doing so, I wish to state briefly, first, how civilisation can be clearly destroyed in a future thermo-nuclear war and, secondly, why I think it imperative that a three-Power meeting should be called as speedily as possible. It is acknowledged by the Prime Minister that, as yet, there is no defence to thermo-nuclear weapons, civil or military. Already much thought has been applied to this question of salvaging mankind from total destruction, but so far no satisfactory solution has evolved.
I am not a defeatist. On this issue particularly I think that I am a realist. As yet, no person or conveyance on land, sea or in the air can escape the effects of a thermo-nuclear war. I remember quite clearly that when in 1948 there was an under-water experimental atomic explosion in the Pacific, a waterspout shot in the air one-third of a mile wide. Ships were sucked into the air. Some were sunk by the tidal wave, and those that escaped these two things were sprayed completely with radioactive rain.
Ships in the vicinity of an under-water thermo-nuclear explosion would be subjected to a waterspout probably three-quarters of a mile to a mile in width. They would be like matchsticks in an erupting volcano. It is quite clear that the day of naval concentration has gone. The same applies to armies in the field. 971 Concentrations could be blasted out of existence, and cities picked off the surface of the earth like dead flies off a flypaper, such is the devastating effect.
However, I do not think that the explosion is the worst feature of the hydrogen bomb. Undoubtedly, the worst feature is radioactivity in its various and almost unlimited forms. To find a defence against this we are still delving into an unknown and little ventured field. Scientists are still not fully aware of all the effects of radiation, and because of this defence is still begging the question. Armies in the field, the navy at sea and our kin at home would be subjected to these hidden radioactive rays.
I wonder how much thought has been applied to the simple theory that whole sections of a country can be rendered useless without any devastation at all. What of an atom or hydrogen bomb being exploded above a large collection of rain-bearing clouds? Large sections of our community would be subjected to radioactive rain. Water supplies would be poisoned; crops and food would be contaminated; animals in the fields would be affected. All this could be done without so much as blowing a leaf off a tree. Such is the greatest menace—the one we cannot see—of atmospheric radiation. Scientists could easily combine atom or hydrogen bomb explosions with their success in making rain-bearing clouds. So easy is it to find methods of complete annihilation with these weapons that it is understandable that, so far, no defence has been found.
All I have said so far is in conformity with the first half of the Motion, that civilisation is doomed to total destruction should a thermo-nuclear war break out. All nations, all peoples, neutral or otherwise, would be subjected to these devastating rays, because radiation in the atmosphere knows no boundaries.
There is urgent need for the three-Power meeting referred to in the second part of the Motion. An approach should be made immediately, and this is my reason for saying so. The United States Atomic Energy Commission has issued a report on the effects of high yield nuclear explosion. It has tried to be helpful with this information and I am sure that will be appreciated by most hon. 972 Members. However, it may be guilty of lulling the people into a sense of safety and creating the impression that, after all, there may be a defence to a future thermo-nuclear war.
I am seriously perturbed by this document. It provides real reasons why talks should be held between the Powers concerned. I speak now of theeffects on humans from radiation in the atmosphere released from these experimental explosions—experiments which should cease by the agreement of the three nations concerned, Russia, America and ourselves. The report tries, but I am afraid fails, to be reassuring. From the recent thermo-nuclear explosion—the Bikini explosion—it was found that 160 miles downwind from the explosion the radiation dosage was 500 roentgens for 36 hours after the detonation, and 450 roentgens is a lethal dose. At a distance of 190 miles, the dosage was still 300 roentgens. That is not a lethal dosage, but it would cause radiation sickness and loss of hair, it would impair the reproductive organs and cause much suffering.
For the benefit of hon. Members not fully aware of this radiation experiment, I may explain that a "roentgen" is the unit of measurement of radiation doses. The scale so far compiled indicates that 25 roentgens will produce changes in the blood stream, and all that that may entail; 100 will produce nausea and radiation sickness, and so on, and 450 is a lethal dose. It is on the report of the Atomic Energy Commission that I base my plea for immediate talks in which I think consideration should be given first to the cessation of all atomic and hydrogen explosion experiments.
I come now to the report from which I wish to quote and which I think relevant to our Motion. I refer to the first danger of the continuation of these experiments, that of gamma rays:The highest actual dose of radiation at an off-site community has been estimated to be less than one-third of the greatest amount of radiation which atomic energy workers are permitted to receive each year under the Atomic Energy Commission's conservative safety standards.Already, the radiation dosage received by these people has reached one-third of the recognised danger level. That is our first warning.
973 Secondly, regarding the fall-out of radio-strontium:One of the most biologically important radioactive substances found in fallout is strontium-90. It has a long lifetimes—nearly 30 years on the average. Radiostrontium has a chemical similarity to calcium and, therefore, when taken into the body it has a tendency to collect in the bones. Radiostrontium can enter the body in two ways—by inhaling or by swallowing … fallout material deposited directly on edible parts of plants may be eaten along with the plants. … Rainfall carrying the radiostrontium down to earth may deposit it in the soil where it can be taken up, in part, by plants and incorporated into plant tissues, later to be eaten by humans or by grazing animals, which, in turn, provide food for humans.The report goes on that the percentage is not yet dangerous, but nevertheless it is another hidden menace of which we have little knowledge at present.
There is also radioiodine. The report states:Among the shorter-lived fission products involved in the study of internal radiation, the most biologically important is radioiodine—131 with an average life of only 11.5 days.It is very important to take note of that.Even though this product may be widely spread after a nuclear explosion, the possibility of serious hazard is limited by its relatively short life.It may be "relatively" compared with cobalt, which has a radioactive life of many thousands of years, but it is a long period compared with aluminium, which may have a radioactive life of only a few minutes. In 11.5 days, many people can be seriously contaminated with this radioiodine. The report goes on to say that this percentage is not yet dangerous, but it then says:These two isotopes—radiostrontium and radioiodine—constitute the principal internal hazards from the radioactivities produced by the detonations of atomic weapons, both fission and thermonuclear.That, to my mind, is a very serious and most timely warning, and one of which we should take heed.
Finally, of the genetic effects of radiation, the report says:One other effect of radiation must be considered in evaluating the long-range possibilities of hazard from nuclear detonations. This is the possible genetic effect upon the germ cells which transmit inherited characteristics from one generation to another. At our present stage of genetic knowledge, there is a rather wide range of admissible opinion on this subject.In other words, we do not rightly know what will happen; we have not sufficient 974 knowledge of what can happen to the human frame as a result of all these various types of radioactivity.
§ Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)
In using the phrasethere is a rather wide range of admissible opinion on this subject,I wonder whether my hon. Friend has noted that behind it lies a most intense argument now going on in the United States between scientists, many of whom cannot accept this same euphemistic attitude which has been taken officially in the hand-out on the subject.
§ Mr. Mason
I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. I see blazed in most of this morning's Press criticisms of Dr. Lanier and Dr. Puck, the two American scientists who do not agree with this document. Consequently, that strengthens our argument regarding why there should be talks with a view to stopping experimental hydrogen explosions in all the countries concerned.
Many questions can be raised on the problem. If the effect of radiostrontium, radioiodine and radiation had been higher, would the experiments in America have ceased? I think that is a fair question. Dr. Lanier and Dr. Puck say that we have already reached thedangerous percentage. How far are we to go with this wholly suicidal venture? So far, we have had only about 40 atomic and hydrogen explosions by the nations concerned, but, given a little longer time, America, Russia and we ourselves will be detonating more atomic and hydrogen bombs. France, too, is considering making the atom bomb. That being so, we shall have more of these explosions, and larger ones too. What of the radiation dosage then? Unless these experiments cease, the radiation in the atmosphere will be so great that we shall be unable to control it. It will then be too late.
In view of these hidden dangers to all mankind, I think that it is the duty of the Prime Minister and of the Foreign Secretary to call an immediate meeting of the Powers concerned with a view to stopping all further atomic and hydrogen explosions. Because of the dangers involved, this should be our immediate goal. An agreement on that score might lead to the total abolition of these horrifying 975 weapons, and, ultimately, to a satisfactory peace for all mankind.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ Mr. C. E. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
The hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) has given the House a hair-raising description of the effects of nuclear weapons upon the human race. I do not doubt for one moment that his description is quite accurate, and, therefore, I hope that he will forgive me if I do not follow him into these very technical discussions, but, instead, try to bring back the debate on to a more practical basis.
When I looked at the terms of the Opposition Motion of censure, it seemed to me fairly clear that there were two motives running through it. The first motive was very obvious, and I think that it can be dismissed in one sentence. It was the simple motive of an attempt to keep smouldering the old embers of the warmongering campaign. I do not think that anything more need be said about that.
The second motive was not so obvious. I do not want to be unfair to the party opposite, but I think that, in some respects, the second motive was almostsubconscious. It was really another attempt to shirk the issue on West German rearmament. If talks on the highest level with the Soviet Union are to take place before ratification, it is perfectly clear that, so far as the Russians are concerned, the talks could only take place on the issue of whether or not Western Germany should be rearmed, and that decision has already been taken.
Furthermore, if these talks on the highest level were to be held before ratification, we should really be submitting some of our French friends and allies to an almost irresistible temptation once again to say, "Let us wait and see the result of the talks before we ratify." Since the vital debate in the French Senate begins next week, I cannot imagine a worse moment to suggest that high-level talks should take place immediately.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition asked, "Why wait for the French; why should they hold up everything?" I say with great respect that the right hon. Gentleman was rather over-simplifying the argument. We have only to look at the map of Europe to see 976 why. The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well that, without French cooperation, Western Europe cannot be defended, in precisely the same way as he knows that, without a West German contribution, Western Europe cannot be defended either.
The attitude of some hon. Members of the party opposite on this question of a German contribution has not been entirely creditable since they have been in Opposition. It was right hon. Gentlemen opposite who, when in power, very properly took the decision, jointly with our N.A.T.O. Allies, that Western Germany should be rearmed. It seems to me that, from the moment they went into Opposition and escaped any further responsibility, they have done their best to run out at every fence the whole way round the course. Whether it was the horses or the jockeys who were the more unwilling to jump the fences, I do not know.
Surely the party opposite know perfectly well that the whole resources of Soviet diplomacy and the whole technique of the cold war have been concentrated, at best, to preventing, or at second best, to postponing, a Western German contribution. They know quite well the malaise that affected Europe when E.D.C. went by the board. They also know quite well how dangerous was that malaise, and they now know how dangerous would be any further delay in completing the structure of Western defence, and that the final completion of that structure is the ratification of the Paris-London Agreements. Therefore, it follows that to ask for high-level talks now, before ratification, would be quite useless, whereas after ratification it may be a different matter altogether.
§ Mr. F. Beswick (Uxbridge)
There is one thing about this argument which I can never follow. The hon. Gentleman appears to be thinking that the rearmament of Europe is a good thing in itself. Would he be disappointed if there were high-level talks which led to some agreement that rendered European rearmament unnecessary? Would that be a good thing or not?
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
No one would be more pleased than I would be, or the hon. Member who interrupted me. I said that we must approach this matter from a realistic angle. To ask for talks with 977 the Russians about disarmament before the Paris Agreements are ratified, by which alone Western Europe can talk from strength, does not seem to me a practical approach, in view of Russian history.
§ Mr. Attlee
Why is it impracticable now, although it does not seem to have been thought impracticable when the Prime Minister first proposed it, and when Western European defence had not been organised at all?
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
The right hon. Gentleman will recollect that when it was first proposed all the Soviet heat had not been turned on the French, with the object of wrecking E.D.C.
§ Mr. Attlee
The hon. Gentleman was making the point, not that it had not been proposed, but that it had not been ratified. The hon. Member made the point that to propose talks now would be a sign of great weakness. A fortiori, it would have been equally weak if Western European defence had not been conceived and was not there at all.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
Let me develop the argument. Since the proposal was made, a lot of other things have happened; one is the fall of Malenkov. The other is that the final decision by the French Senate about the Paris-London Agreement will, we hope, take place in 10 days' time or a fortnight from now. This timing is, therefore, physically and psychologically of supreme importance.
From the terms of the Opposition Motion of censure, one might almost imagine that there had not been any contact with the Soviet Union at all. One might imagine that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary had made no attempt at any contact with the Soviet leaders. That is not so. The speech of the Leader of the Opposition made no reference to the Berlin Conference of the Foreign Secretaries last year. They discussed very much the same subjects as would have been discussed had there been a meeeting at the highest level.
What was the answer? "No" to an Austrian treaty; "No" to free elections in Eastern Germany. There was no new look. There might have been some new clothes but the wearer of the new clothes has now disappeared from the scene.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
Is the hon. Gentleman arguing that we should have a look at each kind of Russian régime, wait until it disappears, and then say, "We cannot have any talks now." When do we have talks? When the régimes are new, when they are old or when they are out?
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
The Berlin Conference proved conclusively and beyond a shadow of doubt that there was no new look from Mr. Malenkov. There may or may not be a new look now.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
I would try it once the Paris-London Agreements have been ratified, but not before. Nothing that the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) says will shake me from my opinion on that point. He is not always consistent with his own arguments.
We hope that after ratification we can ask for talks at the highest level.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
I would say a word on disarmament. A thread running through the Motion suggests that Her Majesty's Government have failed to press on with the calling of a disarmament conference and have not really tried to get agreement on disarmament. That is not a fair accusation. It is not fair to accuse Her Majesty's Government of not trying to work for disarmament any more than it would be fair to accuse the party opposite of not trying when they were in power.
The truth is that all proposals put forward by the present Government, previous Governments, the United States Government and everybody else, have foundered upon the one rock of adequate facilities for international inspection behind the Iron Curtain. The late Mr. Ernest Bevin put the matter extremely well in reply to a Question by the then hon. Member for Northfield—Mr. Raymond Blackburn—when he said:If a country will not open its doors for inspection what is the use of entering into an agreement when it is not known whether it is 979 being kept or not?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1950; Vol. 472, c. 1951.]That is the crux of the matter.
The Leader of the Opposition gaily said, "Why not get an agreement with the U.S.S.R. prohibiting explosions of further nuclear weapons." I wish we could achieve that, but unless one knows whether an international agreement for inspection will operate behind the Iron Curtain it is extremely difficult to press any further for that kind of agreement, although I should be delighted to see it achieved.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
The tests are well known. We can always detect whether any nation in the world has broken an agreement not to carry out these tests. We are complaining that the Prime Minister has resolutely refused to make the proposal.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
I know that the right hon. Gentleman has great knowledge of this subject, but I think there is much more to it than having a scientific instrument to let us know when a nuclear explosion has taken place in Siberia.
An effective disarmament agreement must not only cover nuclear weapons but must be comprehensive to make any sense or to bring security to the world. It is a great deal easier to talk about getting agreement than actually to get it. Let us be frank about this. In order to get agreement on disarmament with the Soviet Union, we must, first, overcome the age-old suspicion, going back into the centuries, of all Russians towards all foreigners.
The second obstacle to be overcome is much more difficult. Part of the fabric of the whole Soviet structure, is the carefully and deliberately-nurtured illusion that N.A.T.O. is an offensive instrument, and that the rest of the world is crouched ready to attack the vast, peace-loving Soviet Union. If we can overcome that obstacle and get the Soviet Union to drop that line of internal propaganda, we shall be very near to getting them to agree to inspection by some international body of the United Nations behind the Iron Curtain.
If they agree to inspection of that sort then they must agree that the threat of attack no longer exists in their imagination. If they agree to that, there is no 980 excuse for the Iron Curtain; and, if the Iron Curtain no longer existed, there would be nothing to prevent two-way traffic—thousands of Soviet citizens going into the West and thousands of Western Europeans going into the Soviet Union. Thus the whole Soviet myth would vanish into thin air. I do not know what effect that would have upon the Soviet system. That is anybody's guess, but let us recognise the practical difficulties.
It is an essential condition of any disarmament agreement that there should be effective international supervision behind the Iron Curtain. It will not be easy to persuade the Soviet Union to agree to any system of inspection, but the right thing to do is to persevere. That is what the Government are doing and that is the purpose of the Conference at Lancaster House. We must go on persevering no matter how slow the progress and how many the obstacles. However many setbacks there are, the goal at which we are aiming is worth it.
May I say one other word in conclusion? We can argue amicably or not so amicably about all sorts of things in the House. We can argue across the Floor of the House about the difference which separates one party from the other—nationalisation versus free enterprise, a free economy versus rationing, and so on. We can argue to and fro about that. It is all very healthy and a very good thing, but I do not believe it to be healthy if one section or group in the House accuses another section or group of not wanting disarmament.
Everybody in this House, wherever he sits, wants disarmament, but only a lunatic thinks that unilateral disarmament would serve the cause of peace. That is why I shall go into the Lobby tonight against the right hon. Gentleman's Motion of censure with the very greatest pleasure.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) accused my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition of oversimplifying the argument, but I think the hon. Gentleman is himself guilty of overcomplicating the argument.
This Motion of ours is about the hydrogen bomb. The hon. Gentleman discussed German rearmament, a multiplicity of other obstacles in the way of talks, and in the end he got so far as to say, as I 981 understood, that there is no point in starting talks with Russia until and unless all differences have disappeared so that no talks will be necessary—a reductio ad absurdum which I am sure his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary would reject out of hand, if he were listening.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
The right hon. Gentleman should not misrepresent me to that extent. What I said was that I thought that any talks at the highest level would be dangerous before ratification. I went on to say that, so far as disarmament was concerned, I thought there were very great difficulties in getting the Russians to agree to international inspection, and I discussed what those difficulties were.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I thought the hon. Gentleman said that the Iron Curtain would have to disappear. However, all that the hon. Member said will be in HANSARD tomorrow, and if I am wrong, I apologise.
I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that one beneficial result of this Motion is that it enables the House to have a second debate after a short interval upon this tremendous subject of the hydrogen bomb. So tremendous are these issues that we have to work our way by democratic discussion towards a policy based upon reasoned and considered public opinion, and it must, of course, be the job of this House to guide and lead the great public debate that is going on outside.
My hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), in his very well-documented speech about the horrors of nuclear warfare, illustrated the ghastly dilemma that faces all mankind as a result of these discoveries, and particularly a country like Britain that is capable of making the hydrogen bomb. The first problem that a country like ours has to solve is whether or not we should make it, and there is disagreement in the country and in the House on that point.
It seems to me that the arguments in favour of our manufacturing the bomb are overwhelming to anyone except a pacifist. I can see that he could not accept the arguments. I agree with what my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) said in his speech the ether day, that there is no difference 982 in principle between the atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb, or indeed, as he put it, between either of them and saturation bombing. I think it is hard for anyone who did not protest against the manufacture of the atom bomb to protest now against the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb.
More important than that seems to me to be the effect of manufacturing or not manufacturing the bomb here upon Britain's weight in the councils of the world. It is only the nuclear Powers, if one may so call them—the ones capable of making nuclear weapons—that will really be able to play a decisive part, at any rate in initiating the negotiations that can lead to the limitation and ultimately, we hope, the elimination of these nuclear weapons.
The Prime Minister made some play about the undesirability of trying to settle all the problems of the world by a three-Power meeting. Our Motion does not talk about all the problems of the world. It talks about this great problem of the hydrogen bomb. There are three nuclear Powers in the world, and they are naturally going to play the decisive part in getting the agreement that we all want to get.
If we do not make the hydrogen bomb, we shall be contracting out of the category of nuclear Powers, and we shall, therefore, be contracting out of the steps and the moves that will determine in the end the salvation or destruction of mankind. The world's prospects of survival would be even poorer if the world were deprived of the experience, wisdom and prudence of Britain in these crucial transactions.
The second great problem that arises is that of the circumstances of the use of the bomb. If we have agreed that the bomb ought to be made, we have in principle, of course, accepted that there must be certain conceivable circumstances in which the bomb might be used, because there would be no purpose in making the bomb at all if there were no conceivable circumstances in which it might be used. The question boils down in practice to the question whether the bomb should be used only against an aggressor who has first used the bomb against us, and not against an aggressor who uses only conventional weapons. It seems to 983 me that if one works it out, one can only come to one answer to that problem.
First, the bomb must not be used against any aggression anywhere. That would be automatically to convert any outbreak of hostilities, such as in Korea, into mutual destruction all round. On the other hand, it seems to me that one cannot escape the conclusion that we must be ready to use all the weapons in our possession against a major aggression that was aimed at world war, and was aimed in particular at the conquest of Western Europe and Britain itself, and whether or not such an aggressor used nuclear weapons. If we flinch from that conclusion, we are really saying that we are prepared to go down, to be conquered and over-run by an aggressor with superior conventional weapons. I do not see how one can escape from that conclusion.
Even more important than that, I think, is that irresolution on this score will actually increase the danger of war, because if we say to an aggressor who has superior conventional weapons, "We shall in no circumstances use nuclear weapons as long as you do not use them," to an aggressor who has great superiority in conventional weapons that is a standing invitation to risk aggression. On the other hand, democratic resolution on this matter seems to me to open up the only prospect in the world today of real peace.
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) in a very striking speech in the House the other day described the hydrogen bomb as an infinite weapon, and drew from that the conclusion that weshould neither make nor use it. I start from the same premise that the hydrogen bomb is an infinite weapon—I think he described it properly and well—but I come to the opposite conclusion. It seems to me that because the hydrogen bomb is an infinite weapon, for the very first time in human history war may cease to be an instrument of major policy, because the infinite catastrophe of a nuclear war would destroy and negate all the conceivable objects for which a war could be launched, and would also destroy the war-makers personally.
This is an aspect of the hydrogen bomb which has not been sufficiently emphasised. One of the revolutionary changes 984 in warfare brought about by this horrible invention is that, for the first time, those who make the decision which would launch a war must reckon on being the first to be eliminated. For the first time it will not be the fighting men alone who are mown down by the sickle of destruction, but cabinets, Parliaments like ourselves, the Kremlin and Congress.
It is, therefore, the very infinity of nuclear weapons that opens up for the first time the prospect of an acceptance of general disarmament. Men may be brought at last to do out of fear what they have since the beginning of history refused to do out of love, which is to lay down their arms and forswear war.
These prospects which open out this consummation we must pursue with all our energy and all our nerve. Somehow or other we must turn this fearsome state of peace through balanced terror which the world is living in today into a real peace, which can be based only on disarmament and on the rule of law. This means that the first steps can only be negotiation between the nuclear Powers, the three Powers capable of making these weapons.
It might well be, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition suggested, that the first point of departure might be an attempt to get agreement about stopping atomic and hydrogen-bomb test explosions. Of course, this will take a lot of time and it will demand very great patience, but that is an argument for starting quickly; it is an argument for hastening.
What our Motion says, and what we strongly believe and hold, is that the Government have shown lack of energy and determination. A whole year has gone by since all of us on both sides of the House unanimously accepted what was virtually the same Motion that we are debating today but which hon. Gentlemen opposite now resist and seek to reject.
The Prime Minister made considerable play with the issue of the hydrogen bomb and German rearmament, and was really trying to confuse an issue which is a very simple one—the issue of the hydrogen bomb. However many attempts are made by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I am sure that many will be made, to play with the niceties of language and the exact meaning of our Motion, its meaning is 985 clear and simple, and it will be understood by our people. It is that Britain, under a Labour Government, would be much more resolute and determined in initiating the steps that might result in the general disaramament for which all humanity is longing.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. A. C. M. Spearman (Scarborough and Whitby)
I found much that was interesting and much with which I agreed in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker),but I did not find in it very much to support the Motion of censure. It was ingenious of him to find one good reason for the Motion—that it brought about this debate. As one who failed to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, on the last occasion, that is a point of view with which I have some sympathy.
Wherever we sit in this House, we all want peace just as much. At one time it may have been a question of conscience. It is not our conscience that is at stake today; it is our skin. Whether it is for selfish or unselfish reasons, we are all desperately anxious for peace. The only difference is on the way in which to get it. There are hon. Gentlemen, largely sitting below the Gangway on the opposite side of the House, who believe that the way to get it is to trust the Soviet, to believe that they have had a change of heart and to rely upon them to behave decently. There are others on both sides of the House who firmly believe that the way to get peace is to prepare ourselves so that there is no temptation to an aggressor. In other words, we should make it plain to the Soviet Government that if they try to treat us as they have treated so many other countries it just will not pay.
As one who firmly believes in a bi-partisan view in foreign politics, I want to show, not how divided we are, but how much unity there is between both sides of the House in our attitude to foreign affairs. I believe that, in proportion, the more we are united here, the more war will become less likely. There are two propositions which I wish to make with which many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would agree. The first is that this country will never fight again except to defend its way of life. The second is that if the United States of America is involved in a world war, we shall be in it, and if we are involved in 986 such a war the United States will be in it, too. We are inevitably bound together.
Any stranger in our midst who knew nothing about the complications of party politics and who merely read the Motion on the Order Paper would probably say that the difference between us today was whether or not sufficiently vigorous steps were being taken to get a top-level conference. The real issue between us today is something very different, and I will come to that later. I would say that, even if the difficulties so clearly stated by the Prime Minister were removed, there is one condition which we must have before we can usefully have a top-level conference. Either the Soviet must express a desire to have it or there must be some evidence that in fact the Soviet want it but, perhaps through over-sensitiveness or false pride, they do not like to ask for it.
If there should be that evidence, then I should think that it would be a splendid gesture that the Prime Minister—the greatest Englishman of our time—should himself go to Moscow. But, if the position is very different—and I suggest that all the evidence goes to show that the Soviet policy is based on an anticipation of a collapse of the Western Powers and America; it is their constant strategy to do all they can to divide us and thereby to precipitate this—I cannot see any use being gained from a conference at present.
If the Soviet really want disarmament—and I mean, by disarmament, a controlled disarmament, so that we are not at their mercy and neither are they at our mercy—then they have, all the time, opportunities to ask for it. Mr. Molotov is continually seeing our own Foreign Secretary. For all I know to the contrary, Mr. Molotov is as well able to speak for the Soviet as is any other Minister. I am quite sure that our own Foreign Secretary is more able to speak for us than is anybody else. I believe that there is a good deal of support in this House for that point of view.
I propose to quote from a speech made on 18th November by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell). He said that he did not believe that we should get any final settlement in Europe,… to fight this eternal battle against the efforts of the Soviet to influence people over the heads of their Governments. … That is why I 987 join in welcoming the reference to diplomatic channels as the best hope. Indeed, when I read that Mr. Malenkov favoured that and had said that he was not sure we were quite ready for Four-Power talks until we have had the ground properly prepared, I thought that that was one of the most hopeful signs. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November,1954; Vol. 533, c. 589.]The day before the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey) said:I should like to suggest that high-level meetings are not likely to play a very useful part at this stage of the game."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th November, 1954; Vol. 533, c. 513.]I am glad that the hon. and right hon. Members for Leeds show such a united front. I personally have a good deal of respect for both of them.
Of course, we all must have as our target talks with Russia. We know that we can never be safe until they are effectively achieved. The point which I wish to make is that they are not an alternative to but a consequence of the American alliance. I believe that the real issue which divides the House today is not whether sufficiently vigorous steps have been taken. I think that the Prime Minister dealt with that point very effectively. The real issue is whether we are to try to get peace through neutralism or through an American alliance. I mean, by neutralism, demands that this country should mediate between two giants. I mean, by the American alliance, an attempt to find ourselves ever closer to that country.
When I listened to the Leader of the Opposition talking about neutralism today, it seemed to me a pity that the right hon. Gentleman to whom perhaps it would have given much more pleasure to hear this speech than anyone else in the House was absent because of illness. The view expressed by the Leader of the Opposition is in marked contrast to that which has been expressed by the right hon. Member for Leeds, South—the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, to make it clearer whom I mean. The right hon. Gentleman said this as lately as 18th November:… just as McCarthyism in America poisons the relations and attitude of Europeans towards Americans, so neutralism in this part of the world poisons the American attitude to Europe.I wish the right hon. Gentleman could have had a talk with the Leader of the 988 Opposition before the latter made his speech today.
Perhaps we on this side of the House are more preponderantly in favour of the American alliance, but there is certainly enormous support for that point of view from the other side of the House. I remember that time and time again the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) has paid tributes to the American alliance. Not long ago—in fact, 23rd June—he said he was sure that Anglo-American co-operation is vital.
Again, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer said, on 18th November:… the greatest and most important event of all that has helped us so much, and contributed so forcibly to peace in this part of the world, has been the end of American isolationism and the presence of American troops in Europe."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1954; Vol. 533,c. 583–4.]His colleague from the other constituency in Leeds—Leeds, South-East—on another occasion also urged that everything possible should be done to get the Americans to increase the forces they had in Europe.
§ Mr. Frederick Peart (Workington)
The hon. Member has quoted a lot of evidence,but surely he will agree that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition did not dissociate himself from the principle of Anglo-American co-operation? Surely that does not preclude a three-Power meeting between the major powers.
§ Mr. Spearman
What disturbed me was that the Leader of the Opposition—as I understood him; I am open to correction and I will read the report in HANSARD tomorrow—said that this country must aim at having a neutral position so that she could mediate between America and Russia.
§ Mr. Spearman
I am expressing a personal opinion, but I thought, when listening to the right hon. Gentleman—and I shall know better when I read the report of his speech—that he was expressing views very much in line with those of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) and not at all in line with those of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South or the right hon. Member for Leeds, South.
§ Mr. Spearman
Many other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, whose speeches I will not quote now, have made the most robust speeches in favour of the great necessity of co-operation with the United States. I would say to them today that, although I do not ask them to vote for the Government, if they could see their way to abstain in the Division they would be doing something to encourage our allies. [Interruption.] If they abstain they will not only be encouraging our allies, but will be dismaying our potential enemies.
I want to ask my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary—and tonight may well not be an appropriate occasion for him to do so—at some time to explain more clearly than he has yet done how Western European Union will work with N.A.T.O. Will he give two assurances—first,that nothing will be done which will detract from the paramount importance of N.A.T.O. and, secondly, that nothing will be done which could possibly encourage the United States to reduce their stake in Europe?
Apart from this most unhappy difference on the atomic bomb, I believe that the relations between Whitehall and Washington today are very good indeed, but I do not think that public opinion in the two countries is nearly as good as it could be. I think that we in Westminster and, if I may say so with all respect, they in Congress have some responsibility for this. Of course, in democracies where we have freedom of speech, obviously wild people say wild things. They do it in this country and I suppose that in a country where the population is three times as great, there is three times as much chance of those things being said.
I should like to see us in closer contact with the legislators from the other side of the Atlantic so that we could perhaps persuade them that the wild things which some irresponsible people, whether in the House or not, said against America were quite unrepresentative; and they could tell us how unrepresentative were the McCarthyisms in America.
I want to make a suggestion towards that end, and I in no way exaggerate its importance. Would the Foreign Secretary consider a plan of setting up a deliberative council attached to N.A.T.O. to be 990 made up of legislators representing the different countries who compose N.A.T.O.? I realise that there are objections to this. It would have no Ministerial responsibility and it would have no power, but it would provide a forum where legislators could meet, could discuss, could exchange views and could receive official information.
In my view, the closer personal contacts which we could have, not merely at the top level but at our lower level, through legislators, between Congress and here and in Western Europe, might do quite a bit to help us to mellow each other's opinions and moderate each other's actions. This project might perhaps not be unwelcome to Lord Ismay and it might give stability to N.A.T.O. and strengthen its political authority. If, in addition, the contacts made did anything to reduce the conflict in economic policy, we should live in not only a safer but a richer world.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry,East)
The hon. Member for Scarborough and Whit by (Mr. Spearman) started by saying that he wanted this debate to be bi-partisan. But, as far as I could gather, he understood bi-partisanship to be trying to drive a rather soft and squashy wedge between the Leader of the Opposition and the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer. That is not a subject I am willing to discuss this afternoon. It is too delicate. But I should like to answer the point he made when he said the choice was between the Anglo-American alliance and neutralism and suggested that anyone who urged that this country should mediate between America and the Communist world is a neutralist.
The hon. Member should take great care, for in saying that he was not attacking us on this side of the House but his own Foreign Secretary. If I might remind him, it was at a time when America said we should have nothing to do with negotiations with Communists that the Foreign Secretary had the courage, in defiance of America, to negotiate and, what is more, to drag the Americans with us. The Foreign Secretary showed that mediation by Britain was possible, that although, or rather because, she was a loyal ally, Britain was prepared to mediate when America was in the wrong. Therefore, 991 I entirely reject the theory that we have to choose between a blind allegiance to the American alliance and neutralism.
§ Mr. Spearman
It may have been due to my clumsy words, but the hon. Member has misinterpreted what I tried to say. I never said that we should have a blind adherence to American views. Of course, I agree that we must put forward our own views and I pay tribute to the success of the Foreign Secretary, but I did say that we must not adopt a neutral attitude between America and Russia.
§ Mr. Crossman
The hon. Member was also trying grossly to misrepresent the Leader of the Opposition by saying that we were advocating neutrality. We believe that on occasion we should do something which America does not want us to do. That is what happened at Geneva and we on this side of the House pay full tribute to the Foreign Secretary for his courage in taking a line of policy in blank opposition to the Americans and bringing it off.
I also do not believe that a neutral policy would be correct for this country. I would add, however, that we might be driven to neutrality by certain actions of our ally. If America involves herself in a war about the off-shore islands, according to the Foreign Secretary we shall be neutral and we shall take no part whatever in that war. We shall be right to remain neutral in that war because we shall regard it as an irresponsible action by the Americans to start it. We must face the fact that on occasion we might be driven to neutrality. Indeed, unless we tell the Americans that, we shall not exert our full influence on them. It is only by warning them that our alliance is on terms of equal collaboration and it might be broken by her actions that, in my view, we can do our job of an honest and equal friend in our relations with America.
The hon. Member for Scarborough and Whit by said that, after all, we all want peace and disarmament and the only difference between us is how to get it. I would put it rather differently. Hitler wanted peace. Everyone wants peace and disarmament; the only difference is the price they are prepared to pay for it. In my view, the price which the Western Powers are asking for peace and disarma- 992 ment is the price they can only obtain after a nuclear war. We are demanding the fruits of victory without being prepared to fight the actual war. If people are serious in what they say today about the atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb being the ultimate weapon and that we must really make peace, then we have to scale down the demands we are making on the Communist world, because those demands will be resisted even by nuclear war. That is precisely why we are in a dangerous situation.
I was particularly pleased that in the Motion of censure moved by the Leader of the Opposition my right hon. Friend did not fall into the delusion of merely saying, "Let us have a disarmament conference." He said that we must remove the causes of world tension as well. It is a sheer delusion to believe that there is a chance of disarmament today. Who thinks that the Chinese are going to disarm when America's Seventh Fleet is sailing up and down her coast and the Americans are organising and equipping Chiang Kai-shek and saying that they want to bring him back on to the mainland? Can we expect the Chinese to disarm under those conditions? And who can ask Russia to disarm after the speech of the Prime Minister this afternoon? He said that our aim—it was only at this point that he came to life—is to bring the great race of the Germans to our side. I suggest that those who want to bring the great race of the Germans to then-side are not seeking to reduce world tension. They are seeking, in a world of tension, to get the power to liquidate the other side.
§ Mr. Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
If the hon. Member is to quote the speech of the Prime Minister correctly, he should go on to say that we want the German power on our side to prevent it going on the other side.
§ Mr. Crossman
These interventions are very helpful, for I am saying that as long as each side is bidding for Germany in that way it is silly to talk about disarmament. As long as both sides are trying to get Germany into their bloc, neither side will dream of seeing its arms reduced, because each is thinking in terms of balance of military power and beating the other fellow.
That is why I very much like the fact that the Government are having to move 993 an Amendment to this Motion. The Amendment says that we cannot have any more talks until after ratification of the London and Paris Agreements has been finished. I am very glad that my party is to be united in the Lobby this evening in voting that Amendment down. I am delighted—not only delighted, but surprised—because I had the impression, a fortnight ago, that 110 hon. Members would be in trouble for having held that view. However, I ask no question on that, but say that I am delighted to find it so. Moreover, it is not what we say that matters, but what we do. Even if some people do not speak very censoriously in this debate, they will be voting for the Motion of censure on the ground that the Government said that they will delay talks with Russia until after ratification.
I should like to make a few observations in addition to those of the Leader of the Opposition strengthening his argument for the Motion of censure. My right hon. Friend said, quite rightly, that it is impossible to wait for the Parisian politicians; we must at once discuss disarmament and world tension, of which, clearly, Formosa and Germany are outstanding examples. So we on this side have reached agreement that we must have high-level talks before ratification. Why did the Prime Minister say that we cannot do so? He said it was because we want to negotiate from strength and that it is only when we have ratified the Agreements that we shall feel strong enough to stand up to the Russians and talk to Mr. Molotov at the conference table.
I was very encouraged that the Prime Minister, like so many people, has been learning slowly since 1950. Today, he did not daresay that 12 German divisions would add much to our military strength. But I remember his speech in 1951, when he said that we must gather together 50, 60, or 70 divisions in Western Europe, including a great German national army. That was the whole point of the operation. He admits that we have been licked on that one. We tried to build up a conventional army in Europe to defend Europe against the Russians, and vast sums were spent. The contribution of the Germans was to be to provide a lot of the ground troops. At that time that was the argument for German rearmament.
994 Well, we tried and we found—as some of us always said we would find—that if democracies tried to compete with the totalitarian States in rearmament during peace time the totalitarians would always win; because we prefer television sets to radar, because we always allow ourselves enough consumer goods and we are not prepared to impose the ruthless direction of labour and the ruthless Socialist controls necessary to achieve rearmament in a fully employed economy.
So the rearmament campaign "busted," and the Americans are now rapidly scaling down their Army. Having said that we must have conventional forces to meet the Russians because of the lesson of Korea, they have unlearnt the lesson of Korea and their Army is being axed year after year. Therefore, this particular job of conventional rearmament—including the Germans—is now quietly jettisoned by the Prime Minister. He said that this is no longer why we want to rearm the Germans. The reason now is political. We want to win them, to win them with arms, win them with a treaty, to get them tied into the West and, once we have tied them into the West, we can face the Russians in good heart. I suggest to the House that that is a great delusion. It is a great delusion because the Germans are far too intelligent to fail to notice how the world is going.
I was very sorry in the defence debate when my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. Healey) got into terrible trouble. The whole House roared with laughter. I thought that it was very bad luck on my hon. Friend, because all that he was doing was to spell out the policy of the Government. All he was doing was saying what General Gruenther had actually been told to do.
Why did my hon. Friend get into trouble? He tried to explain how our aim was, if war did come in Europe, to have a little local war, a little tactical nuclear war in Germany. He said that we would not drop H-bombs on the Russians so that they would not drop H-bombs on us, and everybody roared with laughter. But all that my hon. Friend was doing was telling us what had been decided by N.A.T.O. Instead of laughing at him the House should have realised that there was something to censure in a strategy as insane as that.
995 Let me point this out. The Germans can read. Does anybody here imagine that they will put themselves forward as the battleground for a nice little local, tactical nuclear war which does not involve Britain or Russia, so that we can fight each other on this jolly combat ground of Germany? That thought is what is making the Germans less enthusiastic for the Paris Treaty. They see that this is the fate to which the Paris Treaty condemns them—the Paris Treaty, plus the decision to equip the N.A.T.O. forces with nuclear tactical weapons.
That decision is a deliberate effort to ensure that, if war comes, we shall fight it locally in Germany. In the debates on the Army and Air Force Estimates, we heard more and more details about the tactical nuclear equipment, the nuclear artillery and the nuclear Air Force which are all to be designed so that we can spare ourselves destruction and can make quite sure that only the Germans are destroyed.
I have never thought that the German nation was noted for the type of suicide which one finds in the Poles. The Poles have, on occasion, thrown themselves away out of altruism. The Germans have been the most consistently egotistical, self-seeking nation in the world. When one tells the Germans about that kind of strategy, they begin to wonder whether a Rapallo policy is not preferable.
What has been going on in Germany in the last eight weeks? The Foreign Secretary gets his reports from Germany. He knows quite well that German public opinion has been flowing out of the Paris Treaty towards neutralism as fast as it can. And why have the Germans done that? It is because the nearer they come to ratification, the more they see that the Paris Treaty is a cage in which they are to be imprisoned in the West, deprived of East Germany and made, if necessary, the battleground of the West. That is the prospect that the Germans foresee out of the Paris Treaty.
Things looked much better a year ago under E.D.C. E.D.C. looked like some promotion of the Germans to the level of France. But the nearer they come to signature the more they realise how utterly delusory were the ideas put forward by Britain, America and Dr. Adenauer, who said, "Sign the treaty, get yourselves rearmed, and then, somehow, the 996 Russians miraculously will disappear out of East Germany before your might. You will roll them back from East Germany without a war."
That sounded fine a year ago. Does anybody believe it now, with the nuclear bomb? Does anybody believe now that if anything started in Germany, it would fail to bring a nuclear war? Does anybody believe that without the use of war, the Russians will evacuate East Germany and see it added to the Western bloc? Nobody believes it, not even the Foreign Secretary.
We say to the Germans, "Somehow or other you will get your unity." But we know that they will not get it through the Paris Treaty. The Foreign Secretary, I think, will at least admit that just as we cannot permit Russia to obtain the whole of Germany integrated into her bloc—because that is a destruction of any basis of our freedom—so the Russians cannot permit the whole of Germany to be integrated into our bloc, because that is an operation which threatens their security. They will fight rather than allow it. Neither side can permit the integration of German military might into the bloc of the other side. If we try to achieve that aim, German public opinion will turn against us when it discovers the consequences of it. The Germans are discovering them now.
The Foreign Secretary says, "Oh, but we must ratify." The Germans will not be tied to us by ratification. They are tied to an ally only by self-interest, and there must be very strong self-interest to tie them. If they accept that Treaty, and later find their interest is against staying with us, we shall be tied with our 4½ divisions and the Germans will rat. Personally, I would not blame them, because they will be looking after their national interests, by negotiating with the Russians.
The situation has been vastly aggravated by the development of nuclear weapons and by the decision to use nuclear weapons right down the line in the N.A.T.O. armies, for that has made the Germans even more aware of the fate which we contemplate so gleefully for them in our N.A.T.O. strategy.
If all that is true, I should like to make one suggestion to the House. [Laughter.] I am quite willing to be told by any hon. 997 Member on the Government side what is wrong with that argument about Germany. Does the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. H. Nicholls) have something to say?
§ Mr. H. Nicholls
The hon. Member had to quote somebody as suggesting that Germany should be made the battleground. He could find no one on the Government side who made that assertion, so he has quoted one of his own hon. Friends to support his argument.
§ Mr. Crossman
The hon. Member and the rest of his party know what General Gruenther has said. General Gruenther himself has stated that N.A.T.O. is equipping the armies with nuclear tactical weapons and that we will try to avoid such a war spreading outside the area—in other words, to have, if possible, a local Korea. But I do not want to be put off by the hon. Member. I want to get back to the mess and to discuss how to get out of it.
N.A.T.O. started as something that we could all defend. It started as an alliance to prevent the Russians getting the whole of Germany—that is all it was. I supported that. Any reasonable person said that there had to be a certain amount of military strength to deter the Russians from taking Western Germany. But, in the course of four years, N.A.T.O. has been transformed from an organisation for preventing the Russians getting the whole of Germany into an organisation for winning the whole of Germany for ourselves.
That was the object of the Foreign Secretary in Berlin, when he said that we would leave the Germans completely free to decide. The Foreign Secretary knew perfectly well that in the then mood of Germany—then, not now, but at the time of Berlin—they would have opted for the Western alliance. We all knew from the start that that was something that no Russian could possibly accept. So I suggest that instead of demanding the fruits of war without being prepared to fight war, we might come down to seeing what we could get in Germany by agreement with Russia. That is what the Motion is concerned with, for it seeks to relax world tension.
The Labour Party knows how, in the Far East, we must relax world tension. We have to persuade the Americans to take Chiang Kai-shek and their admirals 998 out of Formosa and to neutralise it pending a decision whether Formosa is part of China. In our view, that is the minimum condition for relaxing world tension. There can be no disarmament until that is done. The minimum condition in Europe for relaxing world tension is to try to achieve a solution in which both sides renounce their ambition to win the whole of Germany. That means—I must bring the horrible word out—neutralising Germany. It means having Germany united under a central Government and not permitted to be a member of either bloc, and it means the withdrawal of the Occupation Forces by both sides.
The Foreign Secretary, the last time I put this argument to him, said that too much water had passed under the bridge. But some more water has passed under the bridge since then, and now we have nuclear weapons. I ask the Foreign Secretary whether the presence of troops in Germany—which was defensible enough at a time when a conventional war was envisaged in Europe—has any meaning at all now. What is the meaning for our defence of keeping large forces in Germany when we know that on the first day of a war in Europe the hydrogen bomb will be dropped, when we know that those troops cannot be reinforced, when we know that there is no means of sustaining ground operations in Germany? Of all the places where preparation for a conventional war is meaningless Germany is the one in which it is most meaningless, because we are committed in advance to the use of the nuclear bomb to defend it.
I am not one of the people who oppose that commitment. I think we have to accept that commitment, horrible as it may be. But if we accept that commitment, I ask myself this question. Here is Germany—divided. Here is West Germany with its N.A.T.O. Army and 12 German divisions. Here is East Germany with a greatly increased East German army. Is it really thought that partition of this kind is the best way of keeping Europe safe and of reducing world tension?
In my view, if we permit a West German army and an East German army to arm against each other, with all the danger of local incidents, each one of which could spread into a nuclear war, we 999 are making a third world war almost certain. If, however, we were prepared to see all troops withdrawn from Germany and have what I would describe as a nuclear guarantee of her frontiers, saying that if anybody violated those frontiers he would run the risk of a world war in so doing, we should risk less than we do now. I do not deny that this proposal would be risky, but I say that it is less risky than the situation we have now, with Germany divided, with two German armies, one on each side. At least, it would be a temporary solution pending a world settlement.
That is why I cannot help thinking that the Government should think again before they say that we must have ratification of the Paris Treaties first. If we force Western Germany into the Agreement we shall force German public opinion out the other way, and if we go ahead with building up N.A.T.O. forces equipped with this nuclear weapon we shall make it practically impossible to avoid war.
§ Mr. Philip Bell (Bolton, East)
Who would disarm the Germans, and who would enforce the disarmament of Germany?
§ Mr. Crossman
I always thought it quite reasonable, if Germany were united under a central Government, that it should have some arms of its own. We cannot deny the German people arms for ever. I have never said that we should. I have always been in favour of saying that a united Germany should have a small army, but that we should forbid her nuclear weapons. She should be permitted a conventional police force.
§ Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)
I am very interested in the hon. Gentleman's argument. Would he tell me, though, why it is necessary for Germany to have an army at all if her frontier is to be guaranteed?
§ Mr. Crossman
It is not necessary, but we have no right to forbid other people the means to defend themselves, and a united Germany would possess arms, with that one limitation of neutrality enforced on it, and I say that that limitation would be no greater than that which we are forcing on West Germany.
§ Mr. Crossman
One of the essential things we have to do is to make it perfectly clear to the Germans that they can hope to keep only the present line of the Eastern Zone, that any attempt to go beyond it could not be permitted. That would be a price that it would be reasonable to exact from Germany, who, after all, caused two world wars, if, by exacting it, we could create the basis of peace for Europe. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman asked that question. It is a question that is always asked by people who do not want peace but trouble.
I conclude by begging the House not to talk about disarmament in the abstract. Disarmament means, first of all, dealing with the causes of tension. The causes of tension in the Far East are mostly due to America. The causes of tension in Europe are due to the conflict about Germany in which East and West are equally guilty because East and West both make exorbitant claims. Let Britain be the Power which mediates, by putting forward a possible basis of co-existence.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
I am extremely glad to have the opportunity of following the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). He always puts himself in a wholly unreal situation, one which does not begin to exist, and in this unreality he sets himself up as the final judge between East and West; he is the referee. Unfortunately, he seems to fail to notice the real problem the world has been enduring arising out of Communism since the war. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has heard those words of Pope:Go teach eternal wisdom how to rule. Then drop into thyself and be a fool.The hon. Gentleman arrogates to himself all wisdom, as though his speeches contained all wisdom, but they prove only that he is not possessed of it.
I refer for a moment to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, and remind the House at the same time that we are debating here a Motion of censure on the Government for not having made consistent and energetic efforts in the cause of peace. These words were said by the right hon. Gentleman, when he was moving the Motion. He referred to a "chance of getting something like the beginning of an international agreement." 1001 If this had been a discussion without undue political content, I should have welcomed such vague words in so fluid a situation, but one would have thought that the Opposition, in moving such a Motion, would have had more concrete ideas in their mind than they have.
I do not believe this Motion has been moved simply to express the deep anxiety which we all feel. It is a Motion of censure, and I ask why the Opposition have seen fit to move such a Motion. I remark, in passing, that it takes very little account of the fact that at this moment there is a United Nations Disarmament Commission sitting in London, and if reports from Moscow are to be believed, reports which, I imagine, ought not to have reached the Press, then we are to understand that another effort is to founder upon Russian intransigance, and that the Communists maintain rigidly their refusal to allow any reasonable measure of international inspection.
This fatal suggestion again creeps in, that we should act as a sort of honest broker between the East and the West between the Communist Powers and America.
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)
Would the hon. Member not agree that that is surely a very serious charge against his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary? Would he not agree that, far from saying it, the right hon. Gentleman did it, and to his great honour succeeded in doing it? It is very sad that blame should now come from one of the right hon. Gentleman's own back benchers.
§ Mr. Peyton
The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well what I mean. All too frequently from that side of the House we have the suggestion that we should act as neutrals between the West and the East, as was shown once again in the speech of the hon. Member for Coventry, East.
§ Mr. Crossman rose—1002
§ Mr. Peyton
I am saying that the hon. Member for Coventry, East has shown once again in his speech that there is this consistent attempt to snarl and bite at the Americans to whom the Government which the hon. Member supported owed so much.
§ Mr. Crossman
It is very difficult to describe my phrase about the Foreign Secretary acting as broker at Geneva as being a snarl at the Americans. I know that it is embarrassing to him, but I was praising the Foreign Secretary sincerely.
§ Mr. Peyton
Unless I heard the hon. Member incorrectly, he later went on to deal with neutrality, and it was about that point that I was speaking. I was willing to praise, and had every intention of praising, the efforts of the Foreign Secretary at Geneva. It is only right that from time to time even such people as the hon. Member for Coventry, East should have flashes of light and be able fairly to admit the achievements of my right hon. Friend.
We should take every opportunity in the House to draw the attention of the American people and successive American Governments to our recognition of their generosity to this country and to the free world and their record of restraint in action. It is a fact that hon. Members opposite cannot point to a rash action on the part of the American people and their Governments. It is only right that we should pay tribute to the immense restraint and real sense of responsibility of the American people, who have possessed during these years more power than ever rested in the hands of any nation.
I gather from the words of the Leader of the Opposition that the Opposition's Motion is not intended as a Motion of censure upon the Foreign Secretary. Surely, this must be the first time that an attempt has been made to censure the Government collectively on a matter which is mostly within the domain of foreign affairs and the Foreign Secretary is excluded from the Motion.
§ Mr. Attlee
The hon. Member is making heavy weather of this. I naturally paidsome tribute to the efforts which the Foreign Secretary has made, though that does not mean to say that I necessarily approve the whole of the foreign policy of the Government. I think that 1003 they have been tardy in this matter and that involves the Foreign Secretary collectively.
§ Mr. Peyton
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will pardon my making heavy weather of this since, if I am, it is because I am looking for something in his speech which would justify a Motion of censure.
I am constrained to ask who brings the Motion forward today and what was achieved in their time. Far be it from me to seek to lay blame upon the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues for actions which were forced upon them by the remorseless pressure of events. The real peaks which will remain visible in the history of the right hon. Gentleman's Administration were the Berlin airlift and the entry into the war in Korea. Having regard to the record of the right hon. Gentleman and those who speak with him, I do not believe that they have any right whatsoever to charge my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Government for neglecting what must have been their most important duty.
I also ask what exactly is the basis of the Motion. When the hon. Member for Coventry, East addresses the House he always conveniently leaves out the Communist menace. There is no suggestion in his speeches that we are facing a mortal peril from the East. Is there any evidence of a change of attitude on the part of the Communists, of which the Government have failed to take advantage? Is it seriously suggested that Malenkov was a peace-maker who was kicked out by the Communists because he failed to make peace? That suggestion is so fantastic that it has found little echo in this debate, though at one time I believe the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) had a nibble at it in the "Daily Mirror."
This whole subject is one which we should consider independently of party loyalties. Have the Communist Powers shown the slightest willingness to talk in any real practical terms of disarmament? Have they shown the slightest regard for the freedom of those nations whose peoples they now oppress? The hon. Member for Coventry, East on previous occasions has referred to the need for our being willing to make concessions, but I have never heard him give any clear picture to the House of the concessions which we should make. Today was the first 1004 occasion on which he has put forward an idea, if it can be called an idea. It was that Germany should be left neutral and in a vacuum in which she would have complete freedom to arm, after which apparently we should have the peril of German militarism of which the hon. Member has so often made such a bogey.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
The hon. Member is wrong there. The suggestion was that Germany should be under the joint custody of her would-be seducers.
§ Mr. Peyton
I understood that Germany was to be neutralised and was not to be in anybody's custody. I leave the hon. and learned Member to settle that point afterwards with his hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East.
What concessions should the West be prepared to make, having watched half Europe go under the Communist heel since the war, having seen Berlin blockaded and Korea and Indo-China made into battlegrounds, having seen the constant refusal of free elections in Germany, the unwillingness to settle in Austria, the persistent persecution of churches and religious leaders in Europe, the unexplained kidnappings which are such a feature of life in Berlin, the torture of prisoners of war, the imprisonment, unexplained and unwarranted, of the airmen of our allies? These are considerations which hon. Members opposite should not set aside but which they very often do.
§ Mr. Ivor Owen Thomas (The Wrekin) rose—
§ Mr. Peyton
I cannot give way and take up the time of the House.
There is nothing to suggest that this evil Communist régime has so changed its ways and its habits—which have filled the world with fear of war in the last decade—as to give us any real hope that any useful results would follow from a series of talks. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition referred to the leader in "The Times" today, and I agree that it is eminently worthy of quoting and at length. I content myself with one sentence namely:The peace of the world will not be won at a tea-party.Surely we are entitled to ask from the Russians that they should display some vestige of willingness to meet us, to make concessions, to cease grabbing, to refrain 1005 from this creeping aggression with which they have oppressed the world for so long.
We are now concerned with a régime more totalitarian, more imperialistic than Nazi Germany, and at the same time man is possessed of these most terrible weapons, which recently were the subject of debate in this House. The gravity of the threat of war is matched by the horror of the weapons which we hopefully describe as deterrents. The sombre background of world affairs is overshadowed by these factors.
This world background, with the real dangers that confront us, both man-made and scientific, make this Motion look a paltry, mean thing. If one asks for some explanation, I certainly am prepared to admit that there is some genuine sentiment in it, but at the same time one is driven to the conclusion that a craving for unity, which personalities make impossible, was perhaps the cardinal reason for putting this Motion down.
What is it that is being suggested for us to say to the Russians at these talks which are so urgently demanded? Has any constructive advice been offered to the Government by the Opposition? What are they saying should be the proposals to be put forward? There has been nothing, only the vague words of the Leader of the Opposition that maybe some measure of international agreement might arise.
Let us by all means repeat our offers of peace. Let us even offer that measure of good will which has been so constantly denied to us, but let us make it clear that 400 divisions are a very imperfect olive branch. Let us remind the Russians that it is fear of those divisions and fear of aggression from them which called N.A.T.O. into being, which made the London and Paris Agreements not only necessary but possible, and which drove first the Americans and then finally ourselves to the dire decision to manufacture the hydrogen bomb.
Let us make it clear to the world that it is upon the Communist régime that has oppressed the world with fear that the final issue depends as to whether it is to be peace and prosperity for mankind or unlimited calamity. May I say this before I sit down? We here have got to face the facts. So often we have deluded ourselves, as we deluded ourselves before 1006 the war. We have got to face the facts of this tragic decade of history which has just passed, and we have got to learn to rely on our strength, on our friends, and, I believe, on God.
§ Mr. Stephen Swingler (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Will the hon. Gentleman explain to the House, if he believes that high-level talks will serve no useful purpose, why he did not vote against the Resolution of the House of Commons last April?
§ Mr. Peyton
All I have said is let us have some gesture from the Communists who have hitherto never made any gestures of any sort at all.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)
There was one thing in the speech of the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) with which I entirely agree—the compliments that he paid to the American people. Let me say at once that I believe, with him, that peace can only come in this world provided Britain and America remain close allies. I want that to be clearly understood at the beginning of my speech, but that does not mean that that partnership with America denies us the right to tell the Americans when they are wrong.
Her Majesty's Government, for one reason or another, have been too scared to come to the House of Commons and criticise the Americans in any way. They feel that they may be doing a great injustice to our very great ally, but we on this side of the House do not share that view. We believe that if American policy is wrong we ought to say so and we ought to make clear, friendly as we are with America, that, much as we owe her for her assistance today and tomorrow and much as we appreciate all she did for us yesterday, it does not deny us the right to criticise her when she is wrong. And we think that she is wrong with her Far Eastern policy.
§ Mr. Peyton
I am not, of course, denying the right of reasonable criticism against the Americans or any other ally whom we may have from time to time. 1007 What I am saying is that we should try to refrain from the nagging and snarlingcomplaints in which so many hon. Members opposite indulge. To be quite fair, I exclude the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) from any such charge.
§ Mr. Mellish
I am much obliged. I have not the great pleasure of being a journalist. Someone once said that if one wanted to be a Left-winger all one had to do was to write an article and in it to smear first of all the leadership and then to have a bang at our allies. When one was finished one was a great Left-winger, and it did not matter what one did afterwards.
This is the first time that I have ever intervened in a debate on world affairs. I make no apology for doing so, for I have sat at the feet of some of the great men in this House and listened to what they had to say. Whatever I say today, the position could not be worse than it is now and it cannot possibly make it any more difficult.
Again, I have never intervened in a defence debate. I have often sat here marvelling at the knowledge of defence of some hon. Members, and at the way they move divisions or battleships here and there. I am only an ordinary sort of chap. I have only six years' experience in the Army, and during that time I went through all the ranks, that is, the non-commissioned ranks, and eventually I became commissioned. I was demobilised with the rank of captain, so I am ill-equipped to speak with any great knowledge on matters of defence.
Personally, I believe, and have felt for a long time, that the talk we have heard in our defence debates has been really academic. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), quite rightly, made reference to one aspect of the matter, that if war should come, no matter whether it is small or large, then, of course, we shall be using artillery with atomic warheads. It seems to me, therefore—and here I agree with the Leader of the Opposition—that we should assume certainly for the purposes of this debate, and I shall assume it, that if war should come then no doubt atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs will be used. I do not think there can be any doubt or any argument about that. Moving a division here, a battleship there, all this talk about what 1008 took place in the last war, seems to me unreal. It is fair to say that atomic and hydrogen bombs will be used.
The prime reason why my right hon. Friend put down the Motion of censure was that, having put one down a year ago and got agreement on the principle that we were facing a completely new situation, we felt there ought to be another discussion in this House of this problem.
I have a clear recollection of the effects of the atom bomb dropped on Japan. I was in India at the time, and we were getting ready to invade Malaya. We were part of what was undoubtedly the greatest armada the world had ever seen. Mine was a humble part. I was in charge of a docks operating company. I know what it is to be frightened. I do not know how much of me is coward and how much is hero. Fortunately for me, I was never put to the test because, as we were about to sail, we heard that a special bomb had been dropped on Japan.
We did not know the meaning of the word "atom" then, and I remember thinking that it was probably some more of the morale boosting of the Prime Minister, for which we were grateful. Shortly afterwards, however, we heard that Japan had surrendered. We went to Singapore and there we released our own prisoners of war and took the Japanese prisoners instead. The morale of the Japanese was very high and they were as bewildered as we were on hearing that the war had suddenly come to an end. As I understood it then, I was grateful for the atom bomb because it meant that there would be no further bloodshed.
I know now what was the effect of that bomb. It was enough to knock the Japanese nation right out of the war. It was enough to kill 100,000 people at once. I know what fear is, and I also know something of the horror of war because I saw what the Japanese did to our prisoners. I shall never forget the stupid High Command of the British Army sending round a message to our troops asking them not to fraternise with the Japanese when it took us all our time to stop our chaps killing them after seeing what they had done to our people.
The point I am trying to bring out is that no one in this House wants war less than I do. I have four children, so I have four extra reasons for wanting peace. 1009 Yet I am not a pacifist. I voted with my right hon. Friend for rearmament, I voted with my right hon. Friend for conscription, and I am not ashamed of it. I believe that what I did was right and I believe that the Government of my right hon. Friend did a magnificent job, considering the difficulties under which they were operating.
We knew that rearmament and conscription were necessary. We knew about the change of front of Russia in 1946. The "Daily Worker" was printing stories of great efforts for production and giving away medals. Suddenly, overnight, the policy of Communism changed, and instead of urging the workers to give their best for the Labour Government, sabotage was the order of the day. That showed how Communists can change over night. And this problem had to be faced by the Labour Government of the time. The Government were trying to unwind the huge war machine which had been necessarily created by others. It was a tremendous job of work which the Labour Government did and not sufficient credit has been given to them.
I look at the position in this simple way: as British people we cannot keep out of a world war. If there were to be a war between America and Russia we could not evade it. One has only to look at the map to see that, purely for strategic reasons, we should have to be either neutralised or wiped out. Also, we should probably be regarded by one of the parties concerned as being a country that should be occupied for the great resources available here.
I would like to be a pacifist. I would enjoy wearing the mantle of Keir Hardie, as some of our people do on these issues, glibly talking of peace in such a way as to make it seem that everybody else wants war. But those of us who have experienced six years of war and who, like myself, have four children and are crying out for peace now and for ever, have voted for conscription and rearmament. We agreed on atom bombs because we thought there was no alternative and we knew how the situation had altered in 1946 because of the attitude of Russia. So much for the reasons why I have voted as I have done and why I believe that what we did as a Labour Party was right.
1010 Now I come to the entirely different position which we face today. We areengaged in an arms race for bigger and better bombs, better and better armies, and Russia, also, is engaged in it. The Prime Minister, in a recent speech, said he felt that in three years' time Russia would have parity with ourselves. I suppose that that means that in three years' time, if there is no war, we shall develop even greater bombs than we have today.
I ask the House this question: where do we go from here? What are we to do? Are we merely going to say that there is nothing else we can do? Have we not got the, strength to which the Prime Minister is constantly referring? He speaks of negotiating from strength. What is his definition of "strength"? I would like to hear the right hon. Gentleman explain what he means. Surely we are now in such a strong position that we can start to give a lead to the world, a dynamic lead. The people of Britain want peace, and, if war should come, they must be convinced that we as a British Parliament have tried very hard to avoid it.
Can the right hon. Gentleman and his party really say that in the last year they have, in spite of difficulty after difficulty, tried again and again and again to reach an understanding? I do not think they can. Indeed, we have heard from the Prime Minister that this is not so. He saw a number of snags and explained them all. His speech today was much more sober than the one he made in April last year, when I thought he made a deplorable speech. Yet after his speech today I was left with the feeling that he thought this was not the time, that something might come along. I do not believe that the British people want it that way.
If Russia is only trying to put across a false philosophy we have to prove it. I often read the "Daily Worker" because I like to find out what the enemy is doing. What is being said to comrades here is that genuine offers are being made by Russia for peace and that they are prepared to meet our people. We have nothing to lose if we are prepared to have discussions with them—
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman. I agree with so much of what he 1011 says, but does he not think that there is something in the fear that, if negotiations go off at half-cock, we would be much worse off? Is not the timing of the negotiations of prime importance?
§ Mr. Mellish
That may be the view of the hon. Gentleman, but I believe that peace is of primary importance. I do not accept the suggestion that negotiations would go off at half-cock. If the British people can be convinced that the British Government are determined on peace and will go anywhere to discuss it with anyone, I do not think that the argument of the hon. Gentleman would be justified.
§ Mr. Mellish
I do not think so. I do not think that this Government are a good judge of many things.
The question is: what would we do if we were in power? First, I believe that in the leader of our party we have a man who would have shown the initiative which we are asking the Prime Minister to show. My right hon. Friend showed that initiative when he was Prime Minister by going to America, seeing President Truman, and telling him franklyand clearly that what General MacArthur was doing in Korea was wrong and that we in Britain would not support it. There was no extension of the war into China, and this was the result of the direct action of my right hon. Friend.
My right hon. Friend's contribution to world peace is something that not one of us in this House can measure properly. We look back on his giving freedom to India. If a Conservative Government had been in power at that time, and if the Prime Minister, who had certain views on India, had been in office then, and we had not given freedom and independence to India, I wonder what we should be talking about now. These things ought to be put on record. The British people know of these things and remember them. I wish that today we had my right hon. Friend as Prime Minister because I am convinced that he would not need this 1012 House to tell him to go to see President Eisenhower in the first place and, eventually, the Russians and convince them. It may be that it would all be in vain, but, to me, any effort in the interests of peace is not a waste of effort.
I believe that we have a moral obligation to understand the other point of view. We must try somehow to understand what it is the Russians are after and why. Some people already seem to know. No one in this House is more anti-Communist than I am. I loathe the régime; it is detestable. I believe that one day, perhaps in the not too long distant future, it may destroy itself. One cannot keep humanity down all the time; eventually, the people will arise and destroy those who are keeping them down. That may be one of the answers. However, that does not stop us recognising that co-existence has to work at the moment unless there is to be complete destruction of civilisation.
The Prime Minister said that we must have France and Germany in the original discussions, but later in his speech he started to say that there was no real need to have them. I believe that Britain has a special part to play today. American policy is at times difficult for us to understand. We should not be scared of criticising America when we think the Americans are wrong. I agree with what has already been said by one hon. Member about making scurrilous attacks on the Americans. We should remember that as a consequence of the last war the Americans have not another inch of territory throughout the world.
It would be fatal if America were again to be isolated. Isolation was a policy which brought about the Second World War. I believe that, as a country, we must work in close conjunction with the Americans. However I beg the Foreign Secretary, who is what may be regarded as a first-class diplomat—some may argue whether he is a first-class Foreign Secretary, but he is a first-class diplomat—to realise that he would be doing the world a service if he spoke for what he thought was the British point of view at all times and was not worried about defending policies which at times he knows are wrong and does not wish to defend but has to defend because he think she owes it to our American allies to do so.
1013 We are talking about great moral issues, and they concern the future of every one of us. I beg the Government to recognise that the Motion, although it is a censure Motion, has been tabled because we want to focus the attention of the world, and not only Britain, upon the fact that we in the Labour Party consider this problem as transcending everything for the future. If we do not settle the problem, there will be no future for any of us in the world.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir (Aberdeen, South)
With the first half of the speech by the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) I found myself in entire agreement. I only wish that there were more like him with the same courage, conviction and personal experience who would go about the country saying what he has said tonight.
As to the second part of his speech, I should like to try to remove some of the doubts that he has expressed that the Government have been lacking in energy in trying to seek high-level talks. I think the House will agree with me that many of the great tragedies of history have been due to our enemies not being quite sure where we stood. I believe that the tragedies of the future will come in that way again. An equal danger lies in our own public being either confused or misled on the great issues of the time.
I wish now to address myself to the two main questions which have been raised during the debate. First, there is the whole question of where the thermonuclear race is leading us; and, secondly, there is the question of the Paris Agreements and the high-level talks.
To me, the Motion of censure scents of panic. It is confused in thought, and it savours of a design to patch the rents in the Labour Party. The Leader of the Opposition and every other hon. Member opposite who has spoken spent a great deal of time talking about the horrors of thermo-nuclear weapons. The dread of these weapons is such that it makes it only too easy to stampede public opinion, and to make emotional appeals to anxious countrymen who are too busy, or have not the chance, to make a study of the subject. I suggest that we have got to be very much on our guard about this; because if there were politicians who could sink to such depths of irresponsibility it 1014 would be a very easy way to collect votes or to further political ambitions.
Surely, the real question to put is this: do we want to win a war, or do we want to stop a war? The whole purpose of our making thermo-nuclear weapons is, of course, to try to hold this mighty power both as a barrier and as a shield. That is the theme of our whole effort for peace—to deter anyone from daring to make war.
We cannot enter into any high-level discussions on the limitation of this power unless we are all absolutely clear where we stand, not only on its production but on its use. I feel that the subject is so important that I must refer to the attitude of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), although he is not here, in case there are many others who support his view in the House today.
Why make a bomb unless one is prepared to use it? If we try to ban the use of thermo-nuclear weapons alone, Russia, with her greatly superior forces of 400 divisions, equipped with the latest conventional weapons, would very soon be at the channel ports. Therefore, one wonders whether the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale really at heart shares the views of the hon. Baronet the Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland), who said that it is better to be overrun by Communism than to use thermo-nuclear weapons if attacked by conventional weapons alone, because that is the logic of his argument. If the scene is left to ordinary weapons alone, war is bound to start. Let us be quite clear about that.
While we of the free world have three or four years' lead in thermo-nuclear knowledge, we shall go on pressing for disarmament of all weapons, and are doing so now at the London conference. Because we are doing so now, we are carrying out the terms of the last part of the censure Motion. The real question to which we must all anxiously address ourselves is whether the control of production and inspection of thermo-nuclear weapons may, even now, have reached such a stage that it would be impossible to contrive an effective method of international check. We must, of course, persevere, however long and however hard the task.
All the time it must be seen that we are strong, and we must make known clearly exactly where we stand. We must 1015 always make clear that if attacked we shall fight and that if we fight we shall win, because the only alternative—
§ Mr. Robinson
Is the hon. Lady really telling the House that? If so, she is the first hon. Member to suggest that it is possible to win a war fought with thermonuclear weapons.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
Certainly, because even if these islands were wiped out, we of the free world would continue the fight from Canada or America, and we should win it in the end.
After all, it is not just the safety of these islands with which we are concerned; we are concerned with the whole idea of the free way of life, that versus Communism, and in that we are at one.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
Nobody could possibly say with certainty that they would win that war, but I am of the opinion that the free nations all over the world will certainly win such a war in the end. It is absolutely essential to say that, if one is attacked, one will fight and that if one fights, one will win. What is the alternative?
§ Mr. William Warbey (Broxtowe) rose—
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
The only other way one can put it is to turn that opinion the other way round and say that if one is attacked one will not fight but if it happens that one does fight, one will not win.
§ Mr. Warbey
There is another alternative which has been expressed by many hon. Members on both sides of the House, namely, that if the choice should come, a great many people would prefer to commit suicide. They know it would mean suicide and would rather commit suicide than see the introduction of Communism. That seems to be a very terrible point of view, and one which the hon. Lady should consider.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
That intervention was very interesting, because it shows that there is more support for the hon. Baronet the Member for Gravesend than would one have thought. Although one has sympathy with the hon. Baronet and always admires political courage, nevertheless it is a terrible thing to think that there is nothing worse than death.
A phrase very much used these days is that this and that are vital to our defence. The word "vital" means "without which one dies." There are only two considerations that are really vital, the rest are very important. Those that are vital are the will to fight and the means with which to fight. This censure Motion is also a reaction to Communist pressure. The Motion calls for high-level talks, now. Yet no talks can possibly take place without discussion of the hub of the European problem—Germany. Therefore, it seems that it is suggested—and I think that this was made clear in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition—that the Powers should meet before ratification of the Paris Agreements.
Timed as it is—the Agreements are due to come before the French Senate next week—the Motion is a damaging blow to wavering French opinion. I also consider it as a stab in the back of the German Federal Chancellor. Many peoples all over the world, and not least our friends, watch the only other party capable of forming an alternative Government. What do they see? They see a clash over policies, and, it seems, over personalities. Quite like the Kremlin.
The speech of the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) absolutely justifies my contention that the Motion is a reaction to Communist pressure, because he again sought to reopen the whole question of whether it was wise to bring a rearmed Germany into Western European Union. On the other hand, one could ask whether the Motion was framed so broadly to appeal to every varying sector of Labour Party opinion.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
A naughty thought, but, I believe, a true one.
As it seems to have had some kind of response from the benches opposite, I wonder whether, when it comes to the great question of framing censure Motions 1017 of this kind, the party opposite will not always be moved to the Left; because this Motion of censure is not very different from one put on the Order Paper a month ago—an unofficial one—by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and supported by 100 hon. Members.
Although Germany is not specifically mentioned in the Motion, which asks for high-level talks now, acceptance of the Motion will mean that the talks would be before ratification of the Paris Agreements. Surely it is dangerous to a degree to do anything which could in any way impede ratification of these long-awaited Agreements. I would remind the hon. Member for Coventry, East that we have spent many years since the war questioning the future of Germany and the wisdom of her rearmament. The final decision was made long ago by the party opposite and supported by us. This is a very long and old story.
Of course Western European Union achieves far more than just a contribution to our common defence of 12 divisions. It seeks to bury the age-long mistrust between France and Germany. If that goes on festering, the heart of Europe will always be in turmoil. Germany will have the opportunity of learning the meaning of responsible government only if she has the chance to live and work with us in the free world, within the much wider context of N.A.T.O. Surely it is wiser that Western Germany should be for us rather than against us, so that she knows just a little of our ways before she claims the Communist Russian East as her own again.
We are all agreed that there should be high-level talks. Our only differences are on timing, and in politics correct timing is vital, as hon. Gentlemen opposite know very well from recent experience. It is an immense encouragement that the Prime Minister is himself still trying to seek a personal interview at the highest level. When we discuss these high-level talks, let us guard against misleading the people of the country into the belief that the mere evidence of our peaceful intentions will automatically beget peaceful intentions in others.
There has been some criticism of America. We should never forget that without America we could not defend ourselves, and nor could Europe. We have never been a land Power. Our 1018 genius has always been in combination. One can have allies yet share different views and different interests. Between friends surely there must always be both give and take.
As the Prime Minister said, there have been several conferences since the war in an effort to ease tension. So far as Europe is concerned, all have broken down on Germany's future, largely on the refusal of the Soviet to define the meaning of free elections. The Motion implies that nothing else has been done. What of the hours of thought and skilled diplomacy that have been spent to prevent trouble?
I am myself a great believer in secret diplomacy, as I feel that so often in the fierce limelight of public discussion extreme positions are taken up from which people feel they cannot withdraw without loss of face. The wisdom of avoiding publicity is not always self-evident to politicians.
Now there is very heavy propaganda to divert us at the last moment from the long-discussed union of Western Germany with the West. The answer to the Russian, as opposed to the Communist, desire for unity is clear. If she is sincere, she will pursue German unity as eagerly after ratification as before, because it might be greatly to the Soviet advantage, the reason being that a united Germany would be a new State, bound by no ties made by the old. In that, of course, we of this country take great risks, and know that we take them—but they are the least of many risks.
It is true that public opinion in Germany was very much shaken by the latest Soviet Note, because Germany cares for unity almost more than anything else. We all know how France was shaken by fear. It seems that even hon. Gentlemen opposite have been shaken too. But let us take heart and remember that just the same kind of propaganda poured out before the creation of N.A.T.O., and at that time we were in the midst of the Berlin air lift. We were not at war but we were at any rate in the midst of a siege, and the position was far more critical.
After N.A.T.O. was created, although the Soviet Government were very stiff and difficult, they then became far more responsive. It certainly seems that the people of Western Germany have realised 1019 this because, despite their doubts, they have thrown in their lot with Dr. Adenauer. They have realised that Germany, by joining with the West, will have far greater bargaining power in the councils of the nations.
It is interesting to note that in Germany there are, I believe, two assessments of Russian policy today. There are those who live on the border of the Soviet, who mingle with the millions of refugees, and the thousands who still pour over the border, or those who have lived under Communist rule. They have no illusions. But those who lived further from the Soviet border—and here I include ourselves—give themselves the luxury of wishful thinking that perhaps the purpose of Communist thought has changed.
It is so easy to confound policy with tactics. The free nations have no proof that Soviet policy has changed. But we accept the tactics of co-existence. That means living side by side. It does not imply that the Communists have denied their purpose to secure world domination by one means or another. We can go on trying, in the terms of our Amendment tonight, to foster the habit of living side by side—first, by trying to achieve security and then peace.
It is because I believe that peace will best be kept and fostered if Western Germany works alongside the free Powers that I think it vital that nothing should be done in any way to delay again the ratification of the Paris Agreements. The party opposite have approved them by the spoken word, but they withheld their vote. Now they cannot make up their minds on the thermo-nuclear age. In one thing they do have faith, and in that I share—the power and genius of the Prime Minister to find us peace.
§ 7.4 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
I have found this a perplexing debate. A censure debate with which one finds oneself in such general agreement with the two opening speakers is always bound to be a little perplexing.
There seems to be a feeling in the House that conferences and the meetings of heads of States are an end in themselves. That strikes me as odd. After all, the experiences of the meetings of heads of States have not been very happy 1020 ones. In our school days, we used to learn about the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Within twelve months England and France were at war. Then there was the meeting of Alexander and Napoleon on the raft at Tilsit. Within twelve months they were at war.
Then there was the meeting of Napoleon and the heads of the Spanish State at Bayonne. The result of that was almost exactly repeated by the meeting of the heads of State, Hitler and Schuschnigg, at Berchtesgarten. Then there was Casablanca and "unconditional surrender" at Yalta and the enslavement of most of Eastern Europe. That is not an historical record which particularly encourages one to regard this as a simple end in itself.
Then again, with regard to conferences, the people who, among my friends, are most keen on having conferences are generally those who are most keen on having debates here on foreign affairs. Yet, oddly enough, they think that the purpose of conferences is to agree and the purpose of debates is to create or emphasise disagreement. If they could only realise how the bitterness of these censure debates would sound as the cooing of doves at almost any international conference, I think they would be a little surprised.
After all, if we are to have a conference it would be as well to consider what the conference should be about. No one seems to have quite made up his mind about that. I always remember when, roughly in these circumstances, a conference was proposed at the end of the last war with Turkey and some of the Middle Eastern States to be held on the island of Prinkipo. When the suggestion was made, I think it was Mr. Arthur Balfour who passed across a note—"And so we go to Prinkipo, but why we go we do not know."
Do we know why we are going to this conference? My hon. Friend the Member for East Coventry (Mr. Crossman) thinks that the conference should be about Germany. I should have thought that was one of the places where we had already conferred highly successfully. We have at least through military co-ordination created, or will, I think, in a fortnight have created, coherence in Europe such as never existed before. That is a tremendous achievement. Do we want to upset that? I certain do not. Indeed, I 1021 find that the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East about this problem a little confusing, like some of the rest of the debate. Let us see what he says.
He says, first—and I thought that I would end in agreeing—that it is no good negotiating about disarmament until we have solved the problems for which people keep armaments. Then so far as Europe is concerned—that is, Germany-well, it seemed to me that we were going then to hear, "Of course, you cannot have a disarmament conference until you have settled that by ratification." But the conclusion was exactly the opposite, for some reason which was not then given.
With regard to European unity, Germany, despite all the votes in its favour, will be against it because it will set her in a cage in Europe from which she cannot extract herself. On the other hand, we are to be against it precisely because it does not shut her in a cage, and she will get out and negotiate with the Russians. Surely, both cannot be right.
Finally, the solution, the thing which will put this cause of dissension, because of which we have to keep arms, out of the way, is to be a neutralisation of Germany with some limited arms—apparently for her dignity she has to have an army—but it need not be too large and need not have nuclear weapons.
§ Mr. Paget
My hon. Friend said "as we are now proposing." Certainly, we have troops there to see to it under these Agreements, but apparently this armament or semi-armament is to be enforced—as I put it in an interruption—by Germany's two would-be seducers. If a girl is put in charge of two would-be seducers, although they may succeed in frustrating one another, the minx will have a lovely time playing off one against the other.
That is the position in which I do not fancy putting Germany. The Russians would be arming her Communists, and we would be arming her anti-Communists, and she would be pooling the lot and having a wonderful time. Neither side would dare to refuse her anything, and this removes the bone of 1022 contention, which makes rearmament unnecessary and enables disarmament to take place. It strikes me as a really fantastic suggestion.
§ Mr. Crossman
May I ask this of my hon. and learned Friend, because I wish to understand what he is arguing? Does he think it better that Germany should be divided, with part in the Western bloc and part controlled by Russia?
§ Mr. Paget
I think that that is vastly safer than having a combined, neutralised, uncontrolled and uncontrollable Germany.
The other suggestion which we have heard from several hon. Members is that the purpose of this conference is to be the discussion of disarmament. I do not think that anybody has suggested—no, one hon. Member suggested it—that it should be simply nuclear disarmament, that we should abolish the hydrogen bomb. I do not think that anyone would seriously suggest that we could have disarmament on the nuclear plane without disarmament on the conventional plane when the other side has far more conventional weapons. I should have thought that at least a complex problem.
I do not really see how a meeting of the heads of States—how three men—can settle that one. It has to be negotiated diplomatically, and it must be negotiated technically—which, I understand, is what is happening now at Lancaster House—and a meeting of heads of States is something which can but give effect to what has already been agreed. Agreement could not conceivably be worked out at that level.
Again, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East that armamentstend to be a symptom rather than a cause of world dissension. I do not know whether my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) would agree with me altogether about this, but I must say that, going through history, I find that far more wars have resulted through vacuums, areas undefended, than through an over-piling up of arms. I know that that was regarded as one of the reasons for the Peloponnesian War, but I do not know of any war since in which it could reasonably be described as a major cause. Therefore, I believe that the securing of stability in Europe through the ratification of the 1023 Paris Agreements will be a preliminary to the effective disarmament which we all desire to see.
Ought these negotiations to take place before or after ratification? As ratification—if it is to occur at all—will take place in a fortnight, that seems to me to be rather an academic difference. In any event, it is a case of whether we wish to negotiate or to agree. Clearly, the Russian policy all along has been that Europe should be divided and, being divided, should be weak and impotent. So long as this is so, the Russians are always prepared to negotiate, but never to agree. On the other hand, once we reach the stage where Europe has come together, and enjoys prosperity, and has become strong, there is a motive not only to negotiate but to agree. So I believe that that will bring us a great deal nearer together.
What about the Motion and the Amendment? As I understand, we are both agreed about the hydrogen bomb. I am sorry that this agreement about the hydrogen bomb as a recognition of fact was not more evident in the Government proposals contained in the Service Estimates. We then come on to the rather general statements, the inconsistency of which I found it a little difficult to follow. Is there any reason, in logic, why we should not have both the Motion and the Amendment? Then, of course, tomes the question: why do we have the Motion at all? That is a rhetorical question to which everyone knows the answer.
I can only express the hope that our allies know the answer. At least, they ought to be understanding. The expression—but, fortunately, not often the substance—of American foreign policy varies with a number of elections—Presidential, Congressional, the Mayor of New York. I think there may be understanding, but that the expressions may vary a little. The French parties also have their difficulties. The Germans seem to have more curious difficulties, because there, apparently, it is considered that a Minister must resign if he votes for the Government—a situation with which my hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) may have some sympathy.
But let this be said. Paradoxical as it may seem, when we divide tonight our 1024 purpose will not be to divide but to unite the policy of England.
§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
Like the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), I find this debate somewhat perplexing. I am not sure that the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman has made it any clearer, but I think, with him, that the difference between the Motion and the Amendment is a very narrow one.
It seemed to me to be even narrower as I listened to the Leader of the Opposition. In the course of half a century in this House I have heard quite a number of Motions of censure moved, but I have never heard one moved quite as mildly as this was moved by the right hon. Gentleman today. It was very nearly negative. Any criticism at all lay in the sphere of faint praise, and that is about all one can say.
The speech with which I found myself most in accord was that of the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), who spoke not only clearly but feelingly, and expressed the general view of hon. Members on both sides of the House. As he so rightly said, all the time there is this armaments race, with growing tension, with one side a little ahead at one time and then the other side catching up and going ahead in turn. What worried the hon. Member is the question which is worrying us all—how is this to end? That is the point which we are debating tonight.
Of course, the matter has become much more prominent in the minds of everyone ever since these two terrible nuclear weapons were invented. The hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) seemed to think that, in the event of another war, somebody could win. I know nothing about these matters, but I would remind her of what was said deliberately here in London by General Gruenther in the course of a great speech which was listened to by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and myself. He said that, were this terrible third war to come, there would be no winner. That, coming from General Gruenther, occupying the position he does, has left, of course, an indelible impression upon one's mind, and it is a statement which I certainly am not in a position even to doubt.
1025 The position which is really facing us is whether there is any way in which we can avoid and put an end to this armaments race that is still going on. As I understand it, there is agreement between both sides of the House that personal contacts are needed, and that, if those contacts can be established, it might, as a result of early talks, be possible to bring about a bigger conference from which even fuller results may be obtained.
The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) asked, what are they going to talk about? I entirely agree with what was said by the Prime Minister, and I think that everybody is agreed that there should be a preliminary meeting of two, three or four Powers, without any agenda, at which they could speak freely one to another and ask each other, "How can we next proceed in order to put an end to this terrible situation? Must we go on until something starts off this hellish business, and there is an end to civilisation?"
There is, apparently, complete agreement that some effort should be made to obtain personal contact. Secondly, there is agreement that the bringing about of such personal contact is urgent. The only disagreement, as far as I can see, is concerning the exact timing of the contact. The charge made by the Leader of the Opposition against the Prime Minister is that he has been dilatory in not pressing this forward as rapidly as he might.
May I remind the House that the first suggestion for a personal contact came from the Prime Minister in his speech at Edinburgh, a suggestion which was not at all well received by the then Government? In fact, at that time, they accused the right hon. Gentleman not only of not trying to bring about an agreement, but of putting over an Election stunt. Not until the right hon. Gentleman made his amazing speech on 11th May, 1953—a speech which will always remain in the minds of all of us—was this suggestion for a personal contact again made. Obviously, therefore, it has been present in the mind of the Prime Minister all the time.
I wonder whether this Motion would have been put down at all had the Prime Minister informed the world of the telegrams and letters that have passed be- 1026 tween him and Mr. Molotov, and about which he informed us today. Time and again, I have heard it said, "He need not wait for America. He could go himself. Why should he not?" I think that it surprised all of us when the right hon. Gentleman told us today, "Well, I tried that. I got into communication with Mr. Molotov." He then told us of the communications which had passed between them. In those circumstances, how can one say that the right hon. Gentleman has not really tried, and has not done his best?
As the Prime Minister very rightly said, an effort was made at that time to bring about what we desire, not merely for the freedom of Europe, but for the benefit of Europe. Whether, ultimately, we can or cannot settle this matter, we all desire unity in Europe. In this matter, a great step forward was made by the French, and everybody hoped that others would be persuaded to join in for the defence of European unity. Unfortunately, France did not see fit to implement what she had first suggested.
Then, as I understand it, we should all have been scattered into separate elements had not the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary made his extraordinary efforts to bring about such unity as he could. The right hon. Gentleman having brought that unity to its present pitch, must we now abandon it? That really is the proposition. In two or three weeks, at most, we shall know whether or not there is to be a united Europe. When that is known, then, I understand, this other approach will be made, not only on behalf of this country, but on behalf of all those nations which have joined with us and N.A.T.O. in defence of our freedom. I really cannot condemn the Prime Minister and his Government for having waited to see whether unity can be brought about. I do not want to jeopardise its possibility by too hasty a move.
I now turn to the only real criticism of the Government that has been made in this debate, and that came from the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). Quite frankly, that criticism left me absolutely bewildered. Listening to the hon. Gentleman's speech, one would imagine that the whole cause of tension in the world today was the result of the action of this country and of 1027 America, and that the only country which has really conferred any benefits upon the world since 1945 is Russia, under the direction of Moscow, and that we in this country are desirous of expanding our dominion over the world.
I thought that we took pride in the fact that we had given India her right to self-government, as we did also in the case of Pakistan, Burma and the Sudan. Surely, we take pride in the fact that Nigeria and the Gold Coast are now self-governing. Listening to the hon. Member for Coventry, East, one would imagine that none of these things had happened, that Russia had brought freedom to Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Hungary, and that there was no tension in the world today except that caused by this country.
In the meantime, apparently, the hon. Member for Coventry, East does not propose what the hon. and learned Member for Northampton and what, I think, we all want to see, an end to all this argument. The hon. Member for Coventry, East wants an agreement between Russia and all the Western allies so that we may, in some form or another, keep Germany neutral. A more extraordinary proposition, I have never heard. Listening to the hon. Gentleman as he went on swallowing one argument after another, to my mind he resembled, more than anything else I have ever known, a cooked whiting.
The thing which I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman who is to wind up the debate on behalf of the Opposition is whether he would agree that the views of his party are clearly in agreement with those expressed on 24th March by the Minister of Defence on behalf of the Government. I think that the statement made on that occasion by the right hon. Gentleman was the most important in the whole of that two-day debate. He said:On the whole question of disarmament, our purpose is simple and our record is clear. Genuine disarmament must be based on two simple but vital principles. It must be comprehensive and it must provide a proper system of control. It must be comprehensive, by which I mean that it must include all weapons, new and old, conventional and unconventional.That is the first time, I think, that that has been said definitely in the House—that it is not enough merely to agree that 1028 the hydrogen bomb and the atom bomb should go, but that all weapons should go. War is a crime—a crime against humanity, and therefore the right thing to do is to take away all those weapons.
The right hon. Gentleman continued:The control must provide effective international, or if we like supra-national, authority invested with real power. Hon. Members may say that this is elevating the United Nations, or whatever may be the authority, into something like world government; be it so, it is none the worse for that. In the long run this is the only way out for mankind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 2185.]I ask the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) whether he will deal with that statement, because I should like it to go out to the world that it is now the united opinion of all parties in this country—that their real desire is to make war a crime and to get complete disarmament under a comprehensive authority which would be capable of achieving it.
The first proposal made by the Leader of the Opposition was that a conference of scientists should be called to inform the world not merely what are the consequences of using the atom bomb in war but also what may be the consequences which are happening in time of peace when experiments are being conducted with that dreadful weapon. The suggestion has been put forward by others, and it is one which I hope the Government can accept. That is the question I want to ask: would the Government put that forward and ask Russia whether she is prepared to come in?
I should think that the scientists themselves, if they are left freely to judge for themselves, are quite ready to do so. As a general rule scientists have no barriers between them, and are merely anxious not only to obtain information but to give information. If, for the sake of humanity, they could be brought together and their deliberations and reports published to the world, we should know what is happening to us even now, when experiments are being conducted in time of peace. It is not necessary to have a high-level conference in order to do that. All that is necessary is to make the offer to Russia, and I am quite sure that all other countries will join.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Major H. Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) has, by pure coincidence—I think it is pure coincidence—brought the attention of the House to a point which I proposed to discuss. It is the statement of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence, made in the debate on 2nd March, as reported in col. 2185 of the OFFICIAL REPORT.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has saved me the laborious task of reading the quotation, but I should like, if I may, to repeat one passage of it:Hon. Members may say that this is elevating the United Nations, or whatever may be the authority, into something like world government; be it so, it is none the worse for that. In the long run, this is the only way out for mankind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 2185.]One of the themes on which I have spoken several times in the House has been the need for and desirability of national sovereignty. I do not want to go over again all the arguments which I have used in the past, but I want to make this comment: when remarks as important as that are made in debate they should not be slipped in surreptitiously for us all to read a few days later.
I was sitting in the Gallery at that time, listening to my right hon. Friend, and I must confess that while he was speaking I missed that important remark. It was extremely important. If this is now the Conservative Party policy—that we should turn the United Nations into a world Government—I shall certainly have to reconsider my position yet again, and I hope that those remarks made in that debate are strictly limited in their scope. I hope they are strictly limited to disarmament, because in the context in which they appear in the debate it seems that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence was referring strictly to defence and nothing else. It would seem to me a most startling move by the party if it suddenly adopted world government on a purely political basis.
Of course, the difficulty which confronts right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House is that once we start setting up these international authorities, with enormous power, we cannot stop them from multiplying and eventually becoming all-embracing. I have here a copy 1030 of Command 9205, which is the Verbatim Records of the Meetings of the Sub-Committee of United Nations Disarmament Commission, which sat at Lancaster House, London, between 13th May and 22nd June of last year. I wonder how many right hon. and hon. Members have read it.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I must confess that I have managed to digest only the last 50 pages or so.
When we are debating such a subject as this—high-level talks in order to control the hydrogen bomb—I should have thought that this Report was fairly relevant. At least it ought to be, if it deals with disarmament.
I have looked through the Report. I notice that in the official Government Amendment today we are asked to support the Government'sproposals for the limitation and control of armaments of all kinds.I wonder how many people in the House, still less in the country, know what those proposals are. It is rather a startling fact that the Government's policy on disarmament—and perhaps it is unfortunate that this is not generally known—was set out as long ago as July, 1954, in Command 9204, which was that section of the various annexes made in the course of the proceedings at Lancaster House last year—Annex 9 of 11th June, 1954—which was a Memorandum submitted by France and the United Kingdom. As I understand, that still represents the Government's policy on disarmament.
One of the things we first resolved together was that we should never usenuclear weapons except in defence against aggression.The second was that we should work forThe total prohibition of the use and manufacture of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction of every type.Then,Major reductions in all armed forces,and, finally,The establishment of a controlling organ with rights and powers and functions adequate to guarantee the effective observance of the agreed prohibitions and reductions.Then we come back to the verbatim proceedings themselves, from which we see that my right hon. and learned Friend the 1031 Minister of Supply, who was then Minister of State at the Foreign Office, elaborated in considerable detail what he visualised was to be the form of this control. As reported on page 226 of the Report, he said, referring to the United States:In other words, they did not insist on international ownership and management of all sources of atomic power and of all atomic energy plants provided an effective alternative plan could be put forward. I myself put forward in the form of a question a suggestion that the international control organ should exercise its function in this field by something akin to managerial control.My right hon. and learned Friend, developing arguments regarding the total abolition of nuclear weapons, or atomic weapons, said:I am convinced, and this is the view of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, that an unconditional ban on the use of nuclear weapons, a ban of the sort suggested by the Soviet Union—solemnly declared but incapable of enforcement until agreement on the details of control has been reached—would, so far from improving the prospects of the peace of the world, have precisely the contrary effect.I certainly agree with that.
My right hon. and learned Friend went on to touch on a point which was also touched upon by my noble Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) when she referred to the question we had to ask ourselves, whether or not inspection would be effective or not. This is what my right hon. and learned Friend, now the Minister of Supply, said:I do not believe that a team of inspectors just looking on and watching is going to get enough information or is going to be able to exercise an effective control. Therefore, the idea which I put forward was that there might be perhaps alongside the managers in each factory a team of people, the servants of the international control organ, really exercising a managerial function in parallel …they should be fully conversant with every single thing which has taken place in that plant, with every policy decision and everything of that kind. It is quite a different conception from a team of inspectors coming in from elsewhere and trying to find out what is going on, even if they have the right to inspect books and ask questions.I do not know today and I do not suppose that others, except members of the Government, know what is going on at Lancaster House at present. I do not suppose that even if we ask for it we shall even be told, until the conference 1032 comes to a conclusion and all the delegates agree, that their deliberations should be made public. It is appalling that here, in what is regarded as being the Mother of Parliaments, we cannot know what the official policy of our nation is on disarmament at the moment.
The Leader of the Opposition has talked about the Conservative Government having failed the country on this, that and the other. When he talks about the Government having failed on defence and matters of that kind, he makes me feel very angry indeed. That is because I was a Regular soldier between the wars and I remember very well what the members of his party were doing between the two wars. I thought that after the Second World War we were prepared to forget that kind of thing—voting against the Service Estimates. But we saw the article in the "Daily Mirror" last week when the right hon. Gentleman raised the whole question of the Conservative Party having encouraged aggression by failing to arm the country to enable it to stand up for itself. That comes ill from him.
I think it comes ill from the right hon. Gentleman to move the sort of Motion of censure he has moved today. Granted it was a fairly moderate one; in fact, I think he bore out very nicely what the American magazine, "Time," said about him when he returned from his trip to China. I think I can quote that verbatim. It was:Mr. Attlee is the kind of guy who, if he went on a tour of hell in the company of Dante, would say, 'Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but I did think it a little too hot'.The right hon. Gentleman moved a Motion of censure today, I believe, for precisely the same reasons as his party voted against Service Estimates before the war. It is not because he believes in it at all, but because he wants to keep his party together. [Interruption.] I am entitled to say what I think about hon. Members. I think this is one of the most unnecessary Motions of censure ever published on die Order Paper. What makes it even more ludicrous is that the full story of what the Government have done in the meantime was not known by the Opposition when they tabled the Motion—
§ Major Legge-Bourke
One of the tragedies of this House is that once a party has made up its mind to vote and has committed itself to a Motion of censure, no matter if the entire case is demolished from beginning to end, because the party has agreed before coming to the debate that it should vote, vote it will. What a great thing it would be if, tonight, the Labour Party, having heard what the Prime Minister said today, said, "Very well, we have no case for this Motion of censure," because the party has no case for it.
The only one who has had a case at all, as the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery said, was the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and I think that the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) dealt with that case. I found it difficult to know whether the hon. Member for Coventry, East was speaking on behalf of a peaceful Germany or of a re-armed, aggressively military Germany, or what. I found it extremely difficult to believe that he was speaking on behalf of anyone who lived in this country. Yet repeatedly he is regarded as the oracle in these matters. Perhaps one day it will be remembered that in every single debate on foreign affairs to which he has made contributions he has played the rôle of the weathercock and has been completely demolished by his own Front Bench.
§ Mr. Warbey rose—
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I have plenty to say and I will not give way.
If the hon. Member for Coventry, East cannot be bothered to stay for the rest of the debate, I cannot warn him when he is going to be attacked. I imagine that is what the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Warbey) has in mind.
We in this country are faced, indeed the world is now faced, with a strange paradox. One the one hand, we have a weapon so appalling that it makes anything that ever happened in a previous war look small by comparison, yet I think I can honestly say that since I was born, in 1914, never could I more truthfully say that I do not believe that there will be another world war. The whole way through the rest of my life either there was a world war in progress, or one was likely to happen. I honestly believe that now there is a real chance that one may not take place again.
1034 I donot want to repeat entirely the arguments adduced in the defence debate, although I note a tendency to do that throughout these proceedings. I really feel that hon. Members are overdoing the appalling nature of this weapon. I do not know how many of them have seen a man shot in the stomach with a piece of shell. That is a very beastly thing. Yet it is easy to believe that because we have a new weapon, which does it perhaps less painfully we have to treat it as outside the realm of weapons altogether.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
If the hon. Member for Warrington (Dr. Morgan) wants to interrupt, he had better stand up and do so.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
If the hon. Member wants to interrupt I will give way, but if not, it does not make it easier to get on with the debate—
§ Major Legge-Bourke
It is easy enough for us to be so much in favour of change that we are apt to treat any new development as something completely new. I well understand why some hon. Members feel that the hydrogen bomb may fall into that category, but I do not think that it does. It is an atrocious weapon, the most atrocious weapon that man has ever devised. As time goes by, man gets more and more atrocious weapons, and I think it is true that eventually we shall get to that point of saturation, which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister talked about in the defence debate, when literally we can demolish all living things throughout the world—vegetation, animals and human beings; but I do not for one moment believe that a top-level talk, whoever is left in charge of the Soviet Union, will solve this problem. 1035 One of the greatest sins that politicians throughout the ages have committed is that over and over again they have led and encouraged people to believe that if we go on talking about disarmament long enough, we eventually get peace. I am convinced that we will never get disarmament until we have got men's minds in a frame of mind in which they want peace; and when we have got peace—this is the only thing that the hon. Member for Coventry, East said tonight with which I agree—and when we have got our problems solved, we may get disarmament. But for any of us to pretend, whether we are in favour of the Government or not, that we shall get peace through disarming on the hydrogen bomb issue, seems to me thoroughly dishonest, and it is about time that our unfortunate electorate were given a little guidance on this matter, because people are naturally extremely confused and worried about it.
If hon. Members start playing party politics on this issue, or start to pull out the religion stop on the political organ, we will lead our people, as they have been misled before, into believing that by some wonderful little talk which we are to have with some great big men who live a long way off, we shall get peace. Nothing could be more dishonest in British political life.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I would say, only by solving the problems, as the hon. Member for Coventry, East said they should be solved—not in the way that the hon. Member said, but we should solve them.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I am grateful to the hon. Member for his interruption, for he has helped me to make the point I wanted to make. The prospects of disarmament within my lifetime, or the lifetime of any other hon. Member, are remote, because the problems existing in the world today are so enormous that to start talking about disarmament as being a practical thing today is not only dishonest, but highly foolish.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am following the hon. and gallant Member with great interest. He says that we cannot get peace by talking about disarmament, and then he says that we can get peace only 1036 by solving the questions which divide the nations. If that is right, how do we solve those questions except by discussion? Is not the Motion a Motion for a conference about all matters which might tend to lessen international tension?
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I am grateful to the hon. Member for clarifying the point he wanted to make. I have been following the debate with more assiduity than the hon. Member has been able to do. Speech after speech today has been talking about controlling the hydrogen bomb and things like that; that has been uppermost in every speaker's mind. I agree that if one reads the Motion, it appears that we are to have a general sort of chit-chat, but my thoughts have been concentrated on that one theme of the debate so far.
The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) asks how we are to solve these problems. I have been speaking for about twenty minutes and no doubt Mr. Deputy-Speaker will wish me to sit down quickly. Just as I think that disarmament, world government or any of those international bodies or international chit-chats, designed with the best of intentions, are quite impracticable, and are likely to lead to more trouble than they solve, so, I believe, we are very apt to assume that one of the big issues today which must be solved sooner or later can be solved in the way that we would like it to be solved.
I say to the Government in all sincerity that I do not expect in my lifetime to see a reunited Germany. I do not believe that it is a practical proposition. Certainly, it would leave itself wide open to becoming just what the hon. Member for Coventry, East, apparently, wants it to become. That is the one sort of Germany than I do not want to see again. In my opinion, the best single thing that came out of the Second World War was the fact that Germany was divided into two, but I only wish that it had not been divided into halves by the people who divided it. That is my trouble, and it is a very big one.
What we have been talking about—what the hon. Baronet the Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland) was talking about the other day—is what we would like to happen and what we would like to be able to do. We can talk about that all day and all night, and we should 1037 get no nearer to achieving any of those aims. What I have tried to do tonight is to say that I think that those hon. Members, on both sides of the House, who really believe that world government, disarmament, a united Germany and international bodies of other kinds will solve the problems of the world, are very wrong indeed, in more ways than one.
I shall support the Government tonight for this reason, and this reason alone: that I think the Motion of censure by the Opposition is the most insincere, outrageous act they have committed since they have been in opposition. But I want the Government to bear in mind that if they want me to follow them in their disarmament policy, they must let me know more about it. They have a duty to let the country know. In particular, I ask the Government this specific question: will they give me an assurance tonight that the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence, as reported in column 2185 of the Official Report of 2nd March, does not mean that it has now become the policy of Her Majesty's Government to turn the United Nations into a world Government in the true sense of the word?
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Peart (Workington)
The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke) always speaks with courage. I believe that he expresses the authentic voice of British Toryism. He reveals an attitude of mind which is certainly prevalent in the Conservative Party. It was rather a pity, however, when the hon. and gallant Member attacked my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. He spoilt a good courageous speech by being cheap.
The hon. and gallant Member mentioned that he was a Regular soldier in the inter-war period and, therefore, thought strongly about the attitude of hon. Members on this side of the House. I happened to be a soldier during the last war, and I felt very strongly about the attitude of the hon. and gallant Member's party, which neglected strong action against Fascism during that period. But this issue today is too big for us to look back upon the past. We are proposing, not something which is insincere, but something in which we 1038 believe. We say that, because of the hydrogen bomb, there should be a fresh attempt to have a high-level conference.
The hon. and gallant Member seemed to accept the viewpoint expressed by the noble Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) that we were rather exaggerating the use of atomic bombs and the development of the hydrogen bomb and nuclear weapons in warfare. I would remind the noble Lady and the hon. and gallant Member that the Government Amendment accepts words in the Motion, namely:That this House, believing that in a world war waged with weapons of mass destruction, such as the hydrogen bomb, there can be no victors but only the destruction of civilisation …I ask the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely, does he not believe in so much of the Motion?
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I agree with that sentiment entirely. I remember it being expressed before the last war.
§ Mr. Peart
Surely, it cannot be qualified? Here are the words:… there can be no victors but only the destruction of civilisation …The noble Lady disputed that.
I believe quite sincerely, though I may be wrong, that with the development of nuclear weapons, and with the possibilities of destruction as revealed by scientific research, there would be no victors. Therefore, we believe that this issue is the most urgent and most important issue which faces our country. I assure the hon. and gallant Member that I am sincere in my belief that a fresh attempt should be made to have a top-level conference to try to end a cold war which could lead to a hot war. I say that, not because I am afraid, nor because I am in any panic.
I believe that a fresh approach should be made. On 5th April last, the Leader of the Opposition moved a Motion which was unanimously accepted by the House, and the hon. and gallant Member accepted it. Various hon. Members on the benches opposite who have now attacked this proposal over and over again must admit that they supported that Motion, which was moved by my right hon. Friend in April last year. Therefore, they must accept responsibility, for although they may argue that there is now 1039 a new factor, that we have the Nine-Power Agreement, and that there is the problem of Germany, Russia is still the same Russia, and Communism is still the same practice and the same doctrine which we all dislike.
We on this side of the House believe that we have to take the initiative for a peaceful settlement. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) said, in a very powerful speech, we must not always leave the initiative to other people. It is not a sign of weakness if we wish to have high-powered talks. I believe that that is a sign of strength, because we are prepared to test our case in discussion, and we are prepared to meet at the conference table people with a different point of view. I do not see that we have anything to lose thereby. On the contrary, we have everything to gain.
The Resolution passed unanimously by the House last April expressed the belief that we should seek to end fear in the world, and that we should pursue positive policies to that end. That was a policy which the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely, who has spoken so strongly today, can accept. Events prove we must make a further effort. It is true that the issue of Germany is raised by the Government's Amendment; but for that we could have had unanimity on this matter, and the House could have endorsed the main principle of this Motion, which was contained in the Resolution of 5th April last year. Of course, there is a censure of the Government.
However, the Government have injected into our discussion the German issue. I do not wish to go into the argument on that matter in too great a detail. There are many views about it in all parts of the House. Personally, I have always disliked the thought of German militarism exerting political influence in a new Europe. I have always taken that view, and Iwas amazed to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) advocate today a German national army. That is what he advocated.
If I have to choose between a German national army, as has been proposed by various people, and a German army integrated into a wider European army, then I certainly prefer the integrated 1040 German army in a democratically free Europe. I say that even though, in the past, I have condemned German militarism, for, as my hon. Friend the Member for Abertillery (the Rev. Ll. Williams) knows, I have spoken on the subject at Strasbourg.
However, whatever one's views on the future of Germany may be, whether one believes in neutralism, or whether one believes in an integrated Germany, whether one believes in Western Union or in the old European Defence Community, there is no reason why an effort should not now be made to negotiate on issues which are even wider and more important than the German issue. I admit that, because we mention the lessening of world tension in the Motion, it is arguable that the issue of Germany could be raised.
There are other issues—the Far East, and other parts of the world, as, for instance, the problems in the Middle East affecting Israel and the Arab world. Then there is the issue of world poverty, itself a cause of tension. The late Ernest Bevin used to say that we cannot build peace out of poverty. That is something we have to consider.
Despite all that, in view of the decision to manufacture the hydrogen bomb, in view of the fact that we face the possibility of an arms race in atomic weapons, and because, as the Motion says, if war were to break out it would be the end of civilisation—not just the end of our island life but of all civilisation—a supreme effort should be made to lessen tension. We should not leave the initiative to other people.
I am not a pacifist. I respect the views of my pacifist friends. I think they are logical. I take the view of the official Opposition, which, I know, is the Government's view on this issue, that the decision to manufacture the hydrogen bomb is a deterrent to war. I accept that. Pacifists can agree with this Motion, and with some of the positive proposals which I wish to make in the latter part of my speech.
My hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland), I think, is rather dramatising his position. Perhaps he is sincere, but I believe that his influence would be better exerted in the organised Labour movement. These are 1041 issues upon which many people hold deep convictions. Strange to say, I have always taken the view which the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely has expressed, which, I think, is summed up in the old saying, that we can as much humanise war as we can Christianise hell.
Why try to argue which is a more moral weapon? A soldier may be killed by an atomic bomb, but he may be killed also with a bayonet. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely is right in saying that we must face the question and give an answer. I say that we should take the initiative.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition stressed an important subject which has not been mentioned much in the debate—the need to get scientists in Russia and behind the Iron Curtain to work with scientists in the Western world on the problems of nuclear radiation. Hon. Members may feel that to be idealism. It is a first step. Despite what has been said about international authorities, I want an international authority set up to control and own atomic energy production all over the world.
It may sound like idealism, but we all remember that in January, 1946, when the Atomic Energy Commission of the United Nations was set up, great hopes were expressed on this subject by the leaders of the three main Powers. Unfortunately, we all know the tragic story of events in that sphere from 1946. Hon. Members will remember the discussions on the Baruch Plan and the Lilienthal Report and the admirable proposals put forward by the American Government to secure international control of atomic energy.
We all remember the counter-proposals by Mr. Gromyko, the arguments in the Atomic Energy Commission on the use of the veto, and the discussions on the unanimity rule. We all know how during all these years there has been deadlock. Despite the past the world will have to come to an international solution of these problems. Just as steel and coal are important in the manufacture of conventional weapons, so are uranium mines and atomic research important in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and I still say that Britain should take the 1042 initiative, despite the deadlock that has been reached over the years.
We need fresh discussion on this issue and to avoid being involved in too much detail, as in the present disarmament conference. This is the fundamental issue which has led to a deadlock in the Atomic Energy Commission. It is connected with the whole question of sovereignty. People say that all this is idealistic, but my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition mentioned a specific case where a start could be made. It can be done in many other spheres of activity.
The peaceful production of atomic energy is closely related to the production of nuclear weapons, just as coal and steel production is related to conventional weapons. We in Britain tend to dramatise the effects of the hydrogen bomb and, therefore, to neglect the peaceful use of the atom. We forget that today we in Britain send over 5,000 shipments of radioactive isotopes every year to 52 countries—atoms for peace and not atoms for war.
The other evening the Prime Minister made a dramatic reference to plutonium, when he slapped the Dispatch Box and said that as much plutonium as that Box would contain would give one Power world domination. I should like to give an indication how nuclear power is used for peaceful purposes. One little marble of radioactive cobalt is equivalent to 100 grams of radium, which represents approximately the whole radium supply of our national hospitals, costing £500,000, yet the cost of the radioactive cobalt is about £100 or £200. That is an example of the way in which atomic energy, when rightly used, can be of great benefit to the world.
I believe that a conception of an international authority is important. In all our discussions we must put it forward. It is not idealism. It is by this functional approach that we have tried to reconcile old antagonisms between Germany and France. When we consider the Coal and Steel Community, we see in Luxembourg scientists, administrators, trade unionists and politicians working together, not just to organise the coal and steel interests of Europe, but to resolve antagonism and to create new political unity, which is an important factor to the world. This functional approach in the European coal and 1043 steel industry leads to integration and the lessening of political tensions.
Why not a functional approach in the case of atomic energy? We have agreed to set up a European research station in Geneva, and we shall be pooling our research with other European countries. Why should we not desire to break down the Iron Curtain in the world of science? It will not be easy.
There is the problem of sovereignty. That is precisely the problem which faces us in our relationship with Europe; but in Europe the Coal and Steel Community now exists. In the case of atomic energy production, which is the basis of all nuclear weapons, a similar attempt should be made. That is the way to approach the problem.
We have not put the Motion on the Order Paper because we are insincere, and I am not saying that the Government are insincere in their efforts, but I believe that they have been too slow. Despite what has been said by the Prime Minister, and despite the reasons that he gave for the delay, an opportunity has been missed. Events are moving at such a pace that at this stage we must take the initiative. I think that it is generally accepted that there is no time to lose.
If we are to wait for a solution of the German problem, and perhaps to wait for the solution of some other problem which may arise after the German problem, no opportunity to negotiate may arise at any time. I hope that the Motion will be carried. If the Government persist in their opposition, it is up to us not only to go to our constituents in the narrow sense of that term, but to go to the country and appeal to public opinion on this issue.
The Government make a big mistake if they do not think that there is deep feeling in the country on this subject. I believe that the answer is not in unilateral action by our country, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend would wish, but rather in an international solution which can only come if we take the initiative in arranging a meeting of the heads of States.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Commander C. E. M. Donaldson (Roxburgh and Selkirk)
As a back bencher comparatively new to the House, I enter 1044 a debate of this nature for the first time with some feeling of trepidation, but I have heard a great deal of the debate and I agree in large measure with the opinions expressed by the hon. Member for Worthington.
§ Commander Donaldson
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. Perhaps I should beg someone else's pardon at the same time.
I do not intend to follow the hon. Member into the large realm of his speech, but it appears to me from the debate that there is a great deal of agreement on both sides of the House with the Motion put forward by the Opposition and with the Government Amendment. The difference of opinion seems to range generally round the word "immediately." I have not heard anyone say exactly what "immediately" means.
The hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) referred to discussions which we had in April last year, when there was an expression of opinion in the House. I was present and I agreed with the expression of opinion. But my recollection is—and I have not resorted to Hansard—that even at that time the Prime Minister was concerned about the word "immediate" or "immediately." Those who have heard him this afternoon will agree that he and his associates have, since last April, applied their minds and energies with vigour to the problems as they arose, and immediately to those problems.
Whatever differences of opinion there may be across the Floor of the House, surely this is a poor point on which to argue such an important issue as a Motion of censure on a Government when hon. Members in all parts of the House are in a large measure of agreement. What is the point of "immediately" when compared with the history of the time and space of these islands?
It has been argued that we cannot wait until we have had the ratification of the London and Paris Agreements. My belief is that we can, and I think the Prime Minister carried a majority of the House with him this afternoon when he told us why we should wait and why we should have ratification of those Agreements. I am quite certain that his views will carry weight in the country. The hon. Member for Workington referred to the weight of 1045 public opinion. I believe that all Members of Parliament are conscious, or they ought to be, of the public mind in this matter, but, surely, what the public wants in the final analysis is some form of agreement with Soviet Russia and her associates to ensure that in the future we shall live in peace and shall not resort to the hydrogen bomb or, indeed, to conventional weapons.
When is this agreement to take place? To the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Service Ministers, there is information which, quite rightly, is not available to back bench Members because of its secret nature. Surely the way in which these matters have been dealt with in the months since last April has amply demonstrated how alert the Government are to the feelings of the country and of the world. If that is so, then this Motion of censure can hardly be sustained just because of one word "immediately."
Reference has been made to my right hon. Friend's suggestion of talks at high level with the leaders of the principal powers. Equally important, but what has not been sufficiently mentioned either in this debate or in recent debates on world affairs, is the tremendous contribution which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made to ease tension, and the easing of tension is an important part of the Motion of hon. Gentlemen opposite. My right hon. Friend showed initiative and tact at the conference early last year which led, as the Prime Minister said this afternoon, to the Geneva Conference. It should also be remembered that that conference was on the point of breakdown and dissolution when my right hon. Friend took action which was effective, and the conference was a great success. For the first time for very many years in this country young people of 15 lived in a world in which no active warfare was going on.
That was the achievement of my right hon. Friend, but he does not act alone in these matters. He has the full support of the Cabinet and of hon. Members on this side of the House, and I hope that whatever comes out of the Division tonight, whatever differences of opinion are expressed on this issue, the world will not think that our people as a whole are not in agreement about the desire and the urgency for the establishment of a basis whereby we can achieve universal and lasting peace.
1046 I believe that this is the whole issue which concerns us as a nation. It certainly concerns our kith and kin throughout the Commonwealth and is of vital interest and increasingly understood by our cousins in the United States of America. What we are really facing is not only the hydrogen bomb, but the vast implications of destruction contained in the use of that bomb. Surely this is the issue which faces mankind as a whole, both the Western community and those people in Russia who have the opportunity of seeing the problem which we are facing. This is a moral issue; and not only that—one hesitates to use it but I think it is proper to use the word on this occasion—a spiritual decision has to be made.
When people are faced with moral and spiritual decisions which they must make, and it is suggested that we should have discussions in a conference which may resolve those difficulties, we would be ill-advised to push too quickly the leaders of any one nation, and ours in particular, to create a situation which may not succeed, because, as the Prime Minister said earlier today, if the attempt is made and the result is unsuccessful, then we weaken the possibility of establishing conditions where a meeting of minds at high level can take place.
For that reason I shall support the Amendment, while agreeing in a large measure with the first part of the Motion, but the country should understand that whatever we do tonight the nation as a whole is united and understands the urgency of the problem. I trust that the country feels that this Government are energetic enough, interested enough and capable of bringing about the conditions for a meeting of minds at high level when the time is ripe.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Broxtowe)
The hon. and gallant Member for Roxburgh and Selkirk (Commander Donaldson) has put his case with moderation, and has put his finger on the essence of the difference between the two sides of the House in this debate, namely, that it is mainly a question of timing. And yet I think we all feel, on both sides again, that time presses, that there is something hanging over us all, that the hydrogen bomb has really left us with very little time indeed.
In the last two or three weeks we have all been through a conflict of conscience 1047 and policy over the question of the hydrogen bomb; as to whether it should be made by this country, when and how it should be used, what policies should be associated with it, and so on. However, there is one thing upon which we are all agreed, even if we have different points of view on these other matters—at least, I thought we were all agreed until I heard today the speeches of the hon. Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke).
Shall I say, then, that apart from those two I thought we had all agreed that if the world comes to a thermo-nuclear world war it will mean the end of what we know as modern civilisation? There may be survivors, but they will be survivors of a type which will belong rather to the ages before homo sapiens than to what we have known during the last 5,000 years.
I should have thought, too, that there was one other thing upon which we would have agreed, not only in this country but in most of the nations of the world, if not all; that is, that whatever the hydrogen bomb may or may not mean, it certainly means that war has ceased now to be a viable instrument of national policy for any nation in the world. That is the revolutionary new fact which the world has to face. Indeed, it is almost the only hopeful fact about the hydrogen bomb.
Before the war, we used to talk about the need for nations to relinquish war as an instrument of national policy. There were even pacts about it. There was the Briand-Kellogg Pact. Nations signed paper declarations against using war as an instrument of national policy. Now this is no longer a pious aspiration, it is a fact of history. It is the hope at the bottom of the Pandora box of devilry that military science has laid upon our lands.
But it is often a long time in human affairs, unfortunately too long a time, before the impact of revolutionary new facts is felt upon the political policies of nations. What we have to face is the time limit before the conception that nations can no longer gain by war but all must lose by it is reflected in the actual policies of every nation. When that process is completed, when the 1048 consciousness of what this means has penetrated into the minds of the peoples and statesmen of all nations, we shall get confidence, willingness to abandon policies that might lead to war, readiness for peace and disarmament.
Over recent years we have seen the building up by the two main world blocs of forces and policies which have fixed them in certain positions from which it is now extremely difficult for either side to depart. They have built up their alliances, their arms, their bases, and their political policies to such a peak, and with such a rigidity of direction and of opposition to each other, that it is difficult to contemplate the process by which they would dismantle all the structure which they have built up.
Some hon. Members will have heard the profoundly moving broadcast made by Bertrand Russell—he likes to be called that—shortly before Christmas. He said he spoke, not as a Briton, not as a European, not as a Christian or a heathen or a black or a white or a coloured man, but as a human being, as a member of the species man. He described what a hydrogen bomb war would mean. He described the situation of the two main power blocs facing one another, and he used an apt analogy in comparing them to two duellists of former days.
He said:No doubt it frequently happened that each of the duellists feared death and desired an accommodation, but neither could say so, since, if he did, he would be thought a coward. The only hope in such cases was intervention by friends of both parties suggesting an accommodation to which both could agree at the same moment. This is an exact analogy to the present position of the protagonists on either side of the Iron Curtain. If an agreement making war improbable is to be reached, it will have to be by the friendly offices of neutrals. …That seems to me to be a very apt description of the position which we have reached.
I believe profoundly that it is only by the intervention of independent third parties that it is now possible to provide a suitable basis of agreement, accommodation, and compromise between the two main contending blocs. Where are these neutrals to be found? "Neutral" is not a correct description for this function of mediation. I prefer to speak of "uncommitted nations." The leader of them, and the outstanding country, is India.
1049 As we have already seen, India has been able to play a notable part in promoting the settlement of disputes between contending Powers in the Far East. Her rôle has at times been one behind the scenes, as at the Geneva Conference. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the Foreign Secretary would not have achieved the success which he did at Geneva without the important and, indeed, vital rôle that was played by India as a negotiator and mediator between the contending parties.
I am very glad indeed that it was the Labour Government which made it possible for India to occupy the position which she does in the world today, and be able to act as a mediating force and to help to break the deadlock between the two main power blocs. However, can India alone do the job? What other countries are there which can aid her? There are Burma, Indonesia, possibly Yugoslavia, Egypt, Sweden, Switzerland—all put together, they are not really enough to make an impact upon the world and compel the acceptance of the solutions of disarmament and the abandonment of national sovereignty which are involved therein for the great Powers of the world.
That is why, to the strength of India and India's influence in the world, must be added that of at least one other great nation, and, above all, a great nation in Europe; and the nation which can qualify for that rôle and is ideally fitted for it is Great Britain. Our country ought, in the interests of world peace, to join the great group of uncommitted nations and assist in playing a vital and essential part as a mediating force in the struggle between two contending blocs.
§ Commander Donaldson
Is the hon. Gentleman now suggesting that Great Britain should withdraw from N.A.T.O. and all the other commitments that she has in order to be a mediating Power?
§ Mr. Warbey
I do not want to dodge that; I will face that point.
This is a policy and a rôle for this country which some of us on this side of the House have advocated for many years. Some of us put forward views of this kind in the House very soon after the end of the war, but at that time another view was taken by my party and the Labour Government, the view that, 1050 instead of acting along with other nations as an independent uncommitted third group in the world, we ought to join one of the two main Powers, namely, the Americans.
That view was accepted and continued. It was a view which was first proclaimed to the world by the right hon. Gentleman the present Prime Minister in his speech at Fulton, Missouri, in March, 1946. It was based on the theory of building up a preponderance of military power against the Communist bloc. That is the basis of it. That policy was adopted and followed. It has had a good run, but it is now visibly reaching the end of its course. It is now clear that the end has almost arrived and it is admittedly beginning to run on the rocks.
§ Mr. Warbey
The Prime Minister and by the Secretary of State for War. In the course of their speeches in the last two weeks they have quite clearly shown that the end of the Fulton policy, or the bankruptcy of Fultonism, is now visibly approaching.
§ Mr. J. Hudson
Is it not also admitted in both the Motion and the Amendment that this policy involves the total destruction of civilisation and, indeed, the breakdown of all civilisation?
§ Mr. Warbey
Certainly. I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention.
At the same time we have to consider what are the specific political policies that this country ought to follow. Iam suggesting that the time is coming when we shall see that Fultonism has failed, and we ought to have some alternative ready. The Prime Minister said in his speech on 1st March that, at the moment, the Western Powers still have thermo-nuclear superiority over Communist countries.
He also said that in three or four years' time—perhaps in two years' time—that superiority would have vanished and we would have reached the position of thermo-nuclear saturation, when both sides would be able to deal a mortal injury to the other. But when that situation is reached, it is admitted in all quarters, and specifically by the Secretary of State for War in his first speech in the Army Estimates debate, that the Communist countries will still have a preponderance 1051 of military powers. It is admitted that not only will they have a preponderance of military power, but the Western Powers will have no chance whatsoever of overtaking and bettering that preponderance.
In other words, we shall have reached the situation at the termination of this whole process of building up a preponderance of power—a policy of building positions of strength—where we shall be at a complete dead end, and the final result will be that the Communist bloc, from the purely military point of view, will be stronger than the Western Powers. That will be the visible bankruptcy of the whole Fulton policy, and it is as well that we should now consider the alternative.
§ Mr. Robson Brown (Esher)
The hon. Member is suggesting that we should, out of fear, desert our Allies and perpetrate the greatest betrayal in all history.
§ Mr. Warbey
I am quite sure that what the hon. Member is indicating is that this country might then be forced into a course of appeasement. The logic of the position taken up by right hon. Gentlemen opposite is that that is the choice which will be placed before this country in three or four years' time, when the Communist Powers, on the right hon. Gentleman's own showing, will have a preponderance of military strength.
That is what they are left to face. They will have to face the alternatives of mass suicide by the Western Powers, or large-scale appeasement of the Communist bloc. Those are the only alternatives that will be before them in three years' time. That is why, on the basis of their own case, they ought to negotiate now. That is why, on their own case, every day they lose in negotiations is a day nearer to suicide or appeasement. They had better start very quickly indeed if they want to avoid having to appease on a large scale when negotiations come.
§ Mr. Spearman
The hon. Gentleman is entitled to his own wishful thinking as to the future power of the Communist Party, but what possible evidence has he that their powers will increase over those of the Western democracies?
§ Mr. Warbey
I am only basing what I say on what has been stated from the Front Bench opposite.
1052 I did refer to the Secretary of State for War, and if the hon. Member will look at Hansard of 8th March, he will see that the Secretary of State for War was referring to a situation when both sides are evenly matched in thermo-nuclear weapons and Russia has a preponderance of conventional arms. He went on to add that that would be a situation when Russiahas perhaps reduced the likelihood of severe reprisals which would come with her present inferiority in nuclear power."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th March, 1955; Vol. 538, c. 181.]If hon. Members opposite will consider what these words mean they will find that they are pretty plain. They mean that this brandishment of thermo-nuclear weapons as a deterrent is something that can only be done in those two or three years when the Western Powers have thermo-nuclear superiority. This deterrent will have to be dropped in two or three years' time because it will be valueless as a reprisal at that time, and too dangerous to brandish as a reprisal. That is clearly what the right hon. Gentleman was saying, and I think that Members opposite ought to face the consequences of it.
The conclusions are, indeed, rather devastating. They are that, if we are not prepared to negotiate now, before it is too late, there are two dangers facing this country. One is that a number of American military leaders, who see this situation coming on the West in two or three years' time, are saying, "Had not we better get it over and have a showdown while we still have priority in nuclear weapons?" That is being said by those who favour a preventive war.
§ Mr. Warbey
Admiral Radford, for example. It is well known that not only Admiral Radford but other American leaders favour it, and I can understand their doing so from their point of view. But that seems to me to be ridiculous. If we are not prepared to negotiate now and enter into genuine negotiations, which means making concessions, because there are no genuine negotiations without concessions, the alternative, if we do not want appeasement in three years' time, is to have a preventive war before that situation is reached.
That is a ridiculous position. I should like hon. Members to think over this 1053 situation very carefully. If they do, they will come to the conclusion that the sooner they begin to negotiate the better from their point of view as well as for all humanity. Every day lost now is a day nearer to the dangers facing this country and the whole world. Of course, if we are to negotiate, we must begin to deal with the problems which divide the world at the present time.
We must deal with questions like Formosa, Germany and Austria, and we must be prepared to negotiate about them. In other words, we must recognise that if we want concessions from the other side, we must be prepared to offer concessions ourselves. We shall not get a settlement of these disputes, a relaxation of tension, and of all that is involved in disarmament, unless we are prepared for genuine negotiations, which mean compromise.
Of course, the putting forward of an acceptable compromise nearly always involves the intervention of uncommitted third parties. Therefore I say that, in the last resort, we shall have to call on India, and other countries in her position, to help in this process of mediation. I hope that we shall join with India in that process.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
I do not know whether the speech of the Prime Minister was heard with more surprise or with more consternation. Perhaps it was heard with surprise by hon. Members on this side of the House and with consternation by hon. Gentlemen on the other side. We listened with astonishment to what the right hon. Gentleman said about three-Power meetings. In his peroration he talked about the power of personal contacts in changing the course of history. But he had explained how, in three-and-a-half years of office, he had never found a moment when a three-Power meeting would do more good than harm.
When the right hon. Gentleman said how dangerous such a meeting would be if it failed, he gave me the impression that he was repeating what Canning said a long time ago; that an international conference should never be held unless its success is assured in advance, and if its success is assured in advance it is unnecessary, and should never be held. If that be the view of the Prime Minister about a three-Power meeting, why did he 1054 say at the General Election that he wanted to meet Marshal Stalin? Why did he make that proposal in May, 1953? Why did he accept the Motion of 5th April last year?
Historians of the future will ask with amazement why three Powers, all preparing nuclear destruction for each other, never sent their top men to discuss the thing together? I am afraid that they will say that much of the Prime Minister's speech this afternoon was irrelevant to the Motion, and that the rest of it was sophistry. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition completely demolished the argument of the Government about the ratification of the Paris Agreements. The high-level meeting that we want is about the hydrogen bomb. That is what the Prime Minister accepted a year ago. He made no conditions then about Western Treaties. He made none in 1953. It seems to us an obvious excuse to raise it now.
The truth is that the Prime Minister never dealt at all with the subject of today's debate—the appalling dangers that modern armaments involve. Our party has always believed that general disarmament—not unilateral, but all-round disarmament by international agreement and under effective international inspection and control—is an indispensable condition for a lasting peace. We believe that it may be the condition for getting other settlements so urgently required today, including Formosa and the unity of Germany.
The Minister of Defence said at Harrow, a week ago:The purpose of our defence policy is simple: to get disarmament. That is the only ultimate hope for world peace.Things like that have often been said by Tory leaders between the wars. Lord Baldwin said them, but although he was Prime Minister for many years, I do not remember that his Government ever gave a decisive lead in the matter.
The Minister of Defence says that all-round disarmament is the only hope, but do the members of his party believe in their hearts that it is a practicable policy for which they ought to strive with all their might? One would not guess it from the speech of the Prime Minister this afternoon. One would not guess it, as I think, if one looks at what the Government have done since 1951.
1055 What has been happening in the last three years? I would add some footnotes to what right hon. and hon. Members have said today. We have been moving to disaster at break-neck speed. Never has there been such an appalling advance in what we call the art of war. Since 1951, tactical nuclear weapons have been produced; the atomic cannon: each shell, the American Attorney-General tells us, has a warhead larger and more destructive than the bomb that shattered Nagasaki.
The guided missiles, the "Corporal" and the rest, carry nuclear warheads over a far greater range. N.A.T.O. has decided to arm all its forces on sea, land and in the air with tactical nuclear weapons. The stockpiles of nuclear weapons have been immeasurably increased. The Editor of the "Bulletin of American Atomic Scientists" says that the destruction which could now be wrought by these stockpiles is beyond all computation. He suggests that within a few years from now, atomic weapons will find their way into the arsenals of all nations great and small, backward and enlightened. We know that Marshal Mao Tse-tung has them already. Since 1951, we have had the hydrogen bomb, the power of which, as one of my hon. Friends has said, knows no limit of time or space. Its effects are not local; they are terrestrial. They do not stop with the explosion, but go on for months or years, and, it may be, from generation to generation.
An eminent scientist, Professor Haddow, said downstairs the other day that perhaps 100 H-bomb explosions might do irreparable genetic damage to the human race—men might degenerate into monsters, defective in brain or body. About 70 nuclear explosions have occurred up to date. That is why the Federation of American Scientists said that it is with some sense of desperation that they demanded a United Nations' inquiry into the effects of the test, and that is why Mr. Vannevar Bush, whom our Ministers know well, gave them his support. That, also, is why we urge upon the Prime Minister that he should propose the suspension of all tests, and why we deplore his negative replies.
Since 1951, we have seen immense advances in guided missiles. We are told this week that the American inter- 1056 continental weapon, the "Atlas," which carries a hydrogen warhead, has reached the stage where the first prototype may be fired fairly soon. That does not mean that we are to get relief from the burden of the conventional weapons. On the contrary, the Government say that we have to keep the ground shield, the sea defence and the air cover. The Javelins will cost us £120,000 apiece, the V-bombers £500,000, and a cruiser £18 million. The latest American aircraft carrier, the "Forrestal," cost £60 million.
The missile programme will be immensely expensive. We must face the tremendous cost of Civil Defence, of fuel dumps, of evacuation centres, and all the rest. This arms race is something that has never been known or conceived before. The nations—above all, the three atomic nations—are literally racing down a steep place to the abyss, and the pace has quickened in a terrifying manner in the last three years.
Faced with that situation, we either believe that all-round disarmament and inspection are the only hope of peace, as the Minister of Defence says, or we do not. We either think that it is a practical policy or, like the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke) we think that it is unrealistic, that we must wait for the settlement of all outstanding international questions, and that then the armaments will simply fade away. If we think, as the Minister of Defence thinks, that it is the way to save us from a mortal peril, then, surely, we should throw everything into the effort to carry it out. With all the brains of our military experts and scientists, all the influence of our delegations to every international conference, and all the leadership of our most powerful Ministers, from the Prime Ministerial level downwards, we ought to plan disarmament, we ought to preach disarmament, we ought to demand negotiations for disarmament, we ought to make opportunities to persuade our foreign colleagues and to build up world opinion in its support. We ought to try to make it the most burning issue in world affairs.
Is that what the Government have been doing in the last three years? It was not the picture which I got from the Prime Minister's speech this afternoon. He never mentioned the hydrogen bomb or 1057 the word "disarmament" at all. We know that the Foreign Secretary has been engaged on many labours. My right hon. Friend spoke of them this afternoon. But neither he nor the Prime Minister has found much time for the hydrogen bomb. If they had given it the priority which it deserved they would have made time and they would have created opportunities to get on.
The Government would not have three-Power meetings. They told us in a recent debate that they have always been working for disarmament in the United Nations. They told us of their unwearying, unceasing, urgent efforts in the United Nations ever since they came to power. I admit at once that the Minister of Supply tried extermely hard. Within the limits of his authority and in the scanty time that he was allowed, he did an excellent job; and, of course, just when he had gained a lot of knowledge and built up his authority, he was taken off disarmament and put on to making armaments instead.
When we examine the Government's claims in the last debate, we find that the real effort which they have made, the real time which they have extended, compared with the movement of the armaments danger, is lamentably, almost pitifully, small. They claimed credit the other day for the new Disarmament Commission which was set up by the Assembly in 1951. I hope that the British delegation helped, but my memory is that it was two magnificent speeches by Mr. Acheson which really got it through. I wish that our senior Ministers had made speeches, or would make them now, like those which Mr. Acheson made then.
The Government say that they laid proposals about manpower levels before the Commission when it met. It met from March to August, 1952. They did, and the Americans put up some admirable proposals on the basic principles of a disarmament treaty, on the main objectives, the abolition of weapons of mass destruction, drastic reductions of conventional forces, international inspection and control, and other things about which the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely is suspicious. There was a very useful general discussion on these proposals in the Commission. The other delegates in the Commission backed the Western Powers. Out of 12 members, only the Russians were opposed.
1058 Then the Commission rose in August, and nothing happened for a year—nothing at all. The Government said it was because of the Korean War. In our view that was no reason at all, because the Korean War was raging when the Commission was first set up.
Then, the Government told us, in the autumn of 1953 they gave a new impetus to the work. Translated into English that means that the Minister of Supply made a speech and the Indian delegation made a proposal—a proposal that a sub-committee offive should be set up and should meet in private, the committee which is now sitting at Lancaster House. That proposal was agreed to in November. The sub-committee met in May, six months later. That is urgency, if you like.
§ Sir A. Eden
But not necessarily our fault. If the Russians will not attend, we are not always to blame.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
In the debate in December we were told that we began to propose it in March. Let the right hon. Gentleman look that up.
I refuse to believe that if the Government had said in public that they wanted the Commission to meet at once, the Russians would not have come. I do not believe it.
In the meantime, the atomic pool for peaceful uses had been proposed and the Government, in the last debate, tried to take some credit for that. But it was President Eisenhower's idea, not that of the Government; he put it to the Assembly of the United Nations and the Prime Minister did not even go with him from Bermuda to lend him support. Then, say the Government, the Foreign Secretary discussed disarmament with the Russians at the conference in Berlin in February last year. What really happened was that Mr. Molotov raised it and proposed that a world conference be held in 1954. Not, as I think the Foreign Secretary agrees, a very sensible proposal. The Foreign Secretary urged that it should be pushed back to the United Nations and that was all.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
So in six months, from November when the Assembly adopted the Resolution, until May, 1954, nothing of substance happened. Great hopes were placed in the Sub-Committee. When at last it came together it held 19 meetings, half day meetings—nine and a half working days in all and no night sessions. It rose and then for three months more, until the Assembly met in September, nothing else happened. What does all that mean? It means that the United Nations Commission and its Sub-Committee were the Government's chosen instruments and they rejected other ways of getting on. In two full years—26 months to be exact—the United Nations Commission did nothing but procedure and the Sub-Committee met for nine and a half days.
In October last the Assembly agreed that the Sub-Committee should meet again. Once again there was an incredible delay. For four months nothing happened. Then at last the Sub-Committee met in March, the other day. That is the whole record of work since August, 1952.
§ The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
The end of February last, it was a full four months all the same.
So, in two years and more, the whole record of practical work which the Government have done rests on the nine and a half days in the meetings of the Sub-Committee last year. What did it do in those nine and a half days? Four out of five of its members agreed on the Anglo-French Memorandum, which was drawn up by the Minister of Supply and M. Moch. It was a useful document, I would not deny. It laid down some of the machinery and procedure for making a disarmament treaty, mainly repeating what was agreed to in Geneva 30 years ago. It restated the objectives of a disarmament treaty, which had been agreed since 1946. It settled the time at which the organ of control should be set up and the stages by which the agreed reductions and abolitions should be carried through.
If it were genuinely accepted by the Kremlin—as we hope, but we do not know—then it would end the interminable wrangle about the Russians' unconditional 1060 ban on the use of nuclear weapons, and other preliminary points, on which so much time had been lost. Mr. Vyshinsky did accept it at the Assembly. If Mr. Gromyko does the same, the Minister of Supply will have done a useful piece of work. But the Anglo-French Memorandum is not the basis for a disarmament treaty. The Foreign Secretary will not tell us that.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
He accepted it as the basis of carrying on further negotiations and getting out of the way the absurd difficulties which had held up discussion until then. Let the Minister of State wait a moment until I have explained what I am going to say. The Memorandum, as the Foreign Secretary will agree—he understands this, since he was at Geneva 20 years ago—does not touch the outstanding problems of the disarmament treaty which must be solved; nor do the annexes to the Report of the Sub-Committee, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred me in our last debate; nor does the Government's proposal about manpower levels.
These are the problems that have to be tackled. How do we make a manpower limitation effective? How are we to limit trained reserves and deal with para-military forces, security police and all the rest? How will we bring the U.N. atomic energy plan up to date and deal with the vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons that now exist? How can we make the atomic energy control effective? The scientists say that it is becoming much more difficult than it was. How can we make effective the prohibition of chemical and biological weapons? They are both a deadly danger, and no one will accept a control that is just a sham. What are we to do about the monster bombers and guns and tanks, which, as the Minister of Supply told us the other day, could destroy our civilisation without the nuclear weapons? Are we to limit budgets, and, if so, how? It is an immensely intricate affair, as the Foreign Secretary will recall.
These are the real problems of a disarmament treaty, and they have not yet been touched. We cannot begin to make a disarmament treaty until on each of them a complete workable plan 1061 has been prepared. If the Government really believed in disarmament as a policy, they would have been drawing up and publishing such plans.
The Foreign Secretary said in our last debate, "What is the good of making plans if the Russians turn them down? We proposed this and we proposed that, and the Russians always said 'No'." I do not want to misrepresent the right hon. Gentleman. He talked of what I said about the plan for the control of atomic energy, which had been prepared when the Labour Government were in power, and he said it was an excellent plan.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Dr. Oppenheimer and men of that calibre had prepared it. It was adopted by the Assembly, but we did not get any disarmament. The Russians were against it, and the nuclear race went on. But I submit—and I hope the Foreign Secretary will agree—that we got a tremendous result out of making that plan. We convinced the world that we really wanted to abolish nuclear weapons. We convinced many doubting nations that we really wanted peace and, at whatever cost of national sovereignty, were prepared to work with Russia to get it. The plan is there as a starting point for future work.
What would the Government really say about this business of the Russians saying "No" to our proposals? They would not say that they would stop striving to get disarmament, that they would stop making plans to solve the difficulties or would stop trying to build up opinion to support the drastic changes in international life which are required. If the Foreign Secretary thinks of a constructive plan on disarmament—I mean an all-in disarmament draft treaty—simply as a matter of cold war, it might be much the most effective thing in the cold war that he could do; but, of course, it is far more than cold war.
In the Defence White Paper, the Government say:All should realise the magnitude of the disaster war would bring. Such understanding may …generate a compelling will to peace, strong enough to enforce itself on the most arbitrary of rulers.Neither in Moscow nor elsewhere can we create a compelling will to peace by fear 1062 alone. How often hon. Members opposite have told us that that is true. We must show the people that there is a practicable alternative scheme to which our Government are willing now to set their hands.
What have the Government done to create that will to peace? What have they done at the highest level? In every Government, if one wants to get a real result, one tries to start at the highest level. That is true here; it is much more true in dictatorial States. It is what we asked for in our Motion a year ago. It is the mandate which the House unanimously gave to the Government then. The Government accepted it, but what has the Prime Minister done to carry it out?
We have been deeply disturbed—the Prime Minister knows I say this with respect—about his whole attitude to this question. If he really believed what the Minister of Defence said at Harrow he has had an unaccountable way of showing it. In his speech on our Motion a year ago he used the word "disarmament" just once. He said that the Disarmament Sub-Commission was to be called. He used in that speech those terrible words which so shocked the House:The atomic bomb did not seem unmanageable as an instrument of war."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1954; Vol. 526, c. 48.]He used those words when the atomic bomb was already 25 times more powerful than the bomb which shattered Nagasaki. He also said that the genetic danger to mankind from the hydrogen bomb tended to be much exaggerated. Very dangerous optimism, as we can see. In his speech on defence two weeks ago he damned disarmament with the faintest of faint support, and today he has not mentioned the word even once.
The right hon. Gentleman's actions, I am afraid, have been equal to his words. Two years ago, I made this appeal to the Prime Minister across the Table. I said that history would know him as one of the greatest authorities on armaments and war. I asked if he would not dedicate a part of his efforts to the work of this Disarmament Commission, tell his Ministers to prepare a British draft disarmament treaty, and send someone of high authority to try to see it through. The Prime Minister sat then in stony silence, without a flicker of agreement on his face. [Laughter.] Is it funny, in the 1063 face of the appalling dangers of the hydrogen bomb?
§ Major Legge-Bourke
Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the joint French and United Kingdom Annex of 11th June, 1954, amounts to exactly the thing he asks for?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I fear that I have not made myself clear to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I followed him with great care. The Anglo-French Memorandum is a useful document, but it deals mainly with preliminary procedural points. There is no plan in it dealing with the big, positive problems which must be solved before we can have a disarmament treaty. That is my argument. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will answer it. I do not think that he can, out of his experience at Geneva, say that I am wrong.
I ask the House to suppose that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary had prepared a British draft treaty, a real scheme for all-in disarmament of nuclear weapons and all the rest together, with real control; a practical scheme worked out, so that the nations could see that it could be achieved; and with an estimate of the immense savings they would make if it were carried through. Suppose they had taken that draft to Washington and Moscow to explain it, to show that it was not hostile to anybody; to canvass the difficulties and to try to get support for it. Should we or should we not be further forward towards the creation of that compelling will to peace throughout the world on which our lives depend?
I say, as a political opponent of the Prime Minister, who served with pride under him in time of war, that I hope he will still take up this job. He has the knowledge, he has the imagination, he has the experience, he has the personal authority and he has the opportunity. The locusts have eaten a good many months, but he may still have time if he will learn the true lesson of the H-bomb and will take action now.
§ 9.21 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Anthony Eden)
The right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) has devoted a considerable amount of study over the years to disarmament 1064 questions, and I had hoped that we should hear from him some constructive proposals as to how the work which we have done could be further advanced and improved. Instead, we have listened to what I can only call a distorted travesty of recent history which has absolutely no parallel whatever in fact.
The right hon. Gentleman lectured us about our inability to handle this disarmament problem, about our lack of interest, about our lack of concern and how we have not produced this or that plan. I will shortly inform the House in detail of what has actually been achieved. When the right hon. Gentleman had to produce some result, he said that the Americans had achieved it. I am delighted. It is the first time that I have heard the Americans praised by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. [Hon. Members: "No."] Anyhow, we agree at least that the more we have of that the better we shall be pleased.
But the right hon. Gentleman never gave one grain of credit to Her Majesty's Government for any part of the proceedings. Even when there was an Anglo-French plan of which the French part was produced by a French Socialist, there was not a word of credit to this Government. I was the most distorted and discreditable travesty of reality that I have ever listened to in debate in the House. This came from a member of a Government which increased armaments in this country at a greater rate than they had ever been increased before in peace-time, and which, in addition, spent £100 million on making an atomic bomb without telling the House of Commons a word about it. I do not complain about that. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] I think that is a defensible action, but what is not defensible is, having increased armaments on a scale never equalled before, to complain of one's succeeding Government that they have not secured disarmament in two years.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
We, of course, increased armaments when we found that the Russians would not decrease theirs, because we have never been in favour of unilateral disarmament, and because we knew that it was vital to increase the strength of the free world if we were to get disarmament. We did make a plan for the abolition of atomic energy, 1065 except for peaceful uses. What I am complaining of the Government is that they made no plans at all.
§ Sir A. Eden
I am going to show that we have made these plans on a very extensive scale, and the former Government did not make those plans because in their time they were too pre-occupied, and rightly so, with the problems of rearmament which faced them.
It is on us that the burden has lain. I cannot see why, even if one is not in the same party as the Government of the day, one cannot sometimes admit that one's own country has taken the lead. I have always given credit to the late Ernest Bevin for what he did in building N.A.T.O. It was a magnificent service to peace and to humanity. Why cannot the right hon. Member for Derby, South say that what we did, with M. Moch, is the only lead given in disarmament since the war? We all know that that is true, and so does the right hon. Gentleman.
This Motion of censure tells us how we should make peace, at the highest level, with the Russians. I have a suspicion, and I think the country has a suspicion, that it is really an attempt to make another kind of peace—also, I will admit, at the highest level—within the party opposite. I have looked carefully at this Motion, as no doubt have hon. Members of the House, in contrast with the Motion put down on the Order Paper by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) a few weeks ago.
The only discrepancy I can find is a rather strange one. This Motion leaves out the word "Germany." I must say that is original. To think that we can produce peace in the world, leaving out Germany, is quite an original thought. That is the only distinction of importance between the Motion now on the Paper, and that put down by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, which I understand was not accepted by the Front Bench opposite. That is the main difference which the ordinary layman can find, studying the two Motions side by side, as I have done.
If I am wrong, no doubt I shall be corrected, but that is how I read the two Motions: one deals with the general international situation, the other specifies Germany. I am bound to ask the right hon. Member for Derby, South, who 1066 stressed so earnestly the view that we should now have talks at the highest level at this moment, whether the Leader of the Opposition really thinks that we can have talks at the highest level now, in the present European international situation, without some reference to discussion of the position of Germany and to the future of these Treaties upon which France and Germany will pronounce in the next few weeks? It seems to me utterly unrealistic. I should be against the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale, but it seems to come much nearer reality than that which is on the Order Paper at this time.
Now, I turn to the disarmament record of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke. I am sorry, but I must give the House some details, because the right hon. Gentleman gave many. He said that we had been inactive. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) said, in a recent newspaper article, that we had been criminally negligent. He said that we had done nothing but reject Soviet proposals. I wish I knew what the Soviet proposals were that we ought to have accepted. I should be only too glad to discover them under the Treasury Bench or under the Front Bench opposite. That was what the right hon. Gentleman said in the "Daily Herald."
The right hon. Gentleman said that, since we took office in October, 1951, I had been too busy to pay attention to disarmament. It really is not so. I myself moved a Motion in the first General Assembly of the United Nations that I attended in Paris after I took over office. At that meeting I was shocked and horrified at the violence of the language used between the Russians and ourselves. It was something quite unparalleled in my diplomatic experience, and I did what I could to try to bring the temperature down. If we have done nothing else, I hope the fact that when we meet we do not call ourselves every name that Billingsgate has not thought of is some slight advance. Atthat Assembly, we moved a Resolution with which the right hon. Gentleman is no doubt familiar, and in which we made an attempt to get agreement on an all-round disarmament programme.
Quite rightly, the right hon. Gentleman paid tribute to what the present Minister of Supply did, but he did not do it quite apart from the Government. Ministers 1067 do not function absolutely and alone, with nobody knowing what they are doing, including the chief in their own Departments. I was aware of what my right hon. and learned Friend was doing, just as I am aware of everything that is happening now at Lancaster House, because a day-to-day report comes to me and to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister from the Minister of State. It is not possible for the right hon. Gentleman to say that my right hon. and learned Friend has been successfully in charge of disarmament for three years but that the Government have been an utter failure. It does not seem to me to add up to a great deal of sense.
The right hon. Gentleman should know that at that meeting in 1951, the Russians maintained that there must be an unconditional prohibition of nuclear weapons and a one-third reduction of conventional forces. I think the overwhelming majority of the House, whatever party we belong to, would agree that that was one-sided disarmament which would give security to the Communists and no security to the democracies. If the Opposition do not take that view when we are the Government, they certainly took it when they were the Government. If it should happen that they are ever the Government again, I hope they will take that view again, although they have a temporary aberration at the present time. I fail to see where there is a cause for censure in this matter.
Then, at the beginning of 1952, as a result of the initiative which we took with France and the United States—the right hon. Gentleman said it was entirely due to France and the United States; I do not mind whether he thinks the three of us came along together or that the credit should be given to France and the United States, with us dragging along behind—we decided to set up a Disarmament Commission in place of the Atomic Energy Commission which the late Government worked for, and the Conventional Arms Commission. That body met all through 1952, from March to October. It held 30 meetings, and what held up the progress? It was not a wicked Tory Government. I do not think that even the right hon. Gentleman thinks that.
1068 What held up progress was that again the Russians said that there must be an unconditional ban on atomic weapons and a one-third reduction of conventional armaments. That was the position throughout 1952, and at that period we put forward proposals for a balanced reduction and limitation of armed forces, for an international system of disclosure and verification, and they were all opposed by the Soviet bloc.
§ Mr. Beswick rose—
§ Mr. Beswick
I only want to ask this question. The right hon. Gentleman has made the statement which has been made several times in this House, which is really fooling ourselves and not the Russians. He said the Russians were against international control and inspection, but they have set out in terms that they are in favour of international control and inspection.
§ Sir A. Eden
What I was dealing with was that, first of all, they said that all nuclear weapons should be abolished and there should be a one-third cut in conventional weapons. That held up progress, and I do not think any one disputes it.
In 1953, we, with the Government of India—again, we did not get much credit from the right hon. Gentleman for this, but if the Government of India get all the credit I do not mind—recommended that a small committee of what were called the Powers principally involved should be set up. The Minister of Supply actually moved the Resolution in the General Assembly recommending this step. He was no doubt put up to it by India or by others because, of course, he could never think of it himself. He moved that Resolution, whoever inspired it, and the object of it was quite simple. It was to try to seek agreement in private, because we had failed so hopelessly in all public controversy.
Unfortunately, we could not get the Russians to agree at that time. They abstained, and so it was that three months later, at the Berlin Conference, we did make a further effort to discuss this matter with the Russians. Again I claim no credit for this. As a matter of fact, it is fair to say that M. Bidault was the Minister who took the lead in that matter.
1069 Iam only too glad to say that as a result of that effort, the four Foreign Ministers agreed that views should be exchanged in private. As the result of that Motion, at long weary last the Disarmament Sub-Committee was set up, and met in London last summer.
On 11th June, the present Minister of Supply and his French colleague introduced a plan for a phased, balanced and comprehensive programme of disarmament. Really, I do not think it is possible to speak of "lethargy" and "inactivity" on the part of Her Majesty's Government and ignore the Anglo-French plan of last year.
I can only say, frankly, to right hon. Gentlemen opposite that, whatever the limitations of the plan—I will come to them in a moment—they never, during the six years when they were in office, produced anything comparable in its comprehensiveness or far-reaching character—never. That, I think, answers the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), who said that if we are to get disarmament we must have a Labour Government. Under the last Labour Government we got the biggest whack of armaments that this country has ever had.
I should now like to say something about the plan. I am afraid this is a little complicated. However, the right hon. Gentleman has challenged us, and I must try to explain that plan to the House and to the country. First, it says that an effective international control authority must be set up. When this has been done, the phased disarmament programme can begin. The first phase consists of what is commonly called a "freeze" on all military manpower and all military budgets. That is what our Anglo-French plan proposed. In the second phase—this is rather important—one-half of the agreed reduction in conventional armaments and armed forces would take effect, and, thereafter, the production of nuclear weapons would cease.
The third, and final, stage provides for completing the programme. This will begin with the second half of the agreed reduction in conventional armaments, and will be followed by the total prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons and the conversion of existing stocks of nuclear material to peaceful purposes— 1070 here let me interpolate that the only two countries which have contributed anything under President Eisenhower's plan are ourselves and the United States—and the total prohibition and elimination of all other prohibited weapons.
I think that is a complete answer to the story of "three wasted years."It is really the consummation of, I admit, a tedious, prolonged, difficult, exasperating endeavour to get to grips with the problem. It is, technically, the most difficult problem that one could discuss, and it is also, politically, one of the most difficult about which to create confidence. That is what we did last year.
That is the Anglo-French Plan. M. Jules Moch and the Minister of Supply, as he is now, submitted it at the meeting in June, and at the Sub-Committee it was applauded and supported by the Canadians and the United States. However, the Soviet delegate would not even discuss it, and 11 days later, after I had consulted the Minister of Supply who was on the Sub-Committee, we decided that we had to adjourn the Sub-Committee and admit failure because of the negative Soviet attitude.
Then, suddenly, after all that, there came a ray of hope. At the end of September, Mr. Vyshinsky said at the United Nations Assembly that the Soviet Government accepted the Plan as a basis for a disarmament treaty. That was a very unexpected and welcome measure of encouragement. Incidentally, it shows that it is possible for our Soviet friends to agree, even not at the highest level, if they happen to want to.
So, last November, the Assembly unanimously decided after that to instruct the Disarmament Sub-Committee to go to work again in private. That Sub-Committee is meeting at this moment at Lancaster House. I cannot divulge any information about what is going on there. I am keeping to the rules to which we must hold until the conference either succeeds or fails. I want to say this about the disarmament plan and I think that the right hon. Member for Derby, South with his experience, will endorse it.
Any disarmament plan which we reach must be such as to increase the security of all parties and not just the security of some at the expense of others. I think that it is fair to say that there has been too much of that last attitude prevailing 1071 for quite a while. A disarmament plan which denies the fundamental principle that all must be equally served by it would not really add to the safety of the world, but rather increase the danger. It would not be a step to peace, it might be a step to war.
On this detailed, difficult, technical, intricate subject we do not give up hope at all, and we shall certainly not give up trying for a disarmament programme which really brings increasing security for all the world at each and every stage of its fulfilment. On that topic, I only want to say that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has been labouring extremely hard with his colleagues—particularly with his French colleagues, with whom we are responsible for the plan—to try to carry matters a stage further.
No one can foretell what the final outcome will be, but I am pretty sure, whatever it is, that we shall be able to say to the House that we have striven sincerely and with all our strength to bring about results. That is my reply to the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) who spoke earlier today. He asked if we could truly say that as a Government we had worked hard to reduce tension in this past year. We can. I truly believe that any other nation to which he put that question would say "Yes." I do think so. I do not see why we should be too party-minded about all this. If it is a fact that we have played a part in reducing tension, it is not necessary to pretend that we have not.
After all, it is fair to remind the House that when we came into office there were two wars raging—quite considerable wars—one in Korea and one in Indo-China. Personally I think that the Opposition, when they were the Government, were courageous and right in what they did about Korea. Still, a war was raging there, and it has now been brought to an end. Do we not all feel a sense of relief about that? Is it not true that Her Majesty's Government played a considerable part in those final negotiations, particularly about prisoners of war and the wounded prisoners of war?
Why do we have to have party heat engendered about that? Is it not on the whole rather a good thing, whichever party happens to have done it? What about Indo-China? Is it not rather a 1072 good thing that a war there has been brought to an end? Her Majesty's Government had some small part in bringing it to an end. Why do we have to pretend that the Government have not been in earnest, nor done anything to reduce tension? There is no Member of this House who is not in earnest in trying to reduce tension and bring about peace. It is fantastic, old-fashioned and absurd to pretend that credit for this belongs to one side of the House and discredit to the other.
The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be wearing some rather sorry fustian of old times. His claim is not true. If he were where I am, he would be trying—he might say be trying harder—to bring about the results that I am trying to get. There is a cessation of War in Korea and in Indo-China. The Persian situation is better. Despite the Palestine troubles, is it not better that there is an Egyptian settlement? The Trieste situation is better than it was when tension was so high. Is that not a great relief to Yugoslavia, to Italy and to us. I was gently censured by the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) when we skidded a bit during discussions on the Trieste problem. He was very good about it. It was one of the most gentle censures, because he knew some of our difficulties. That problem, thank goodness, is settled.
Is not it good that, on the Western front, our own European issue, we are now closer to an agreement than we have ever been. I am not pretending that the London and Paris Agreements are some Minerva springing armed out of my head. I readily give all the credit for the substratum of effort in this matter to Mr. Bevin and the right hon. Gentleman who preceded me in my present office, but do not let us have this humbug that because we have not a disarmament agreement, it is all the fault of Her Majesty's Government. I cannot believe that right hon. Gentlemen opposite believe that any more than I do. I wish that they would not say it.
I now turn to some of the questions, particular detailed questions, which I should answer before I close. The Leader of the Opposition asked whether something could not be done about tests? This is a question to which we have given a great deal of thought, and which we have discussed with our Allies, but there is, 1073 unfortunately, a fundamental difficulty about it. Unfortunately, an explosion is not the final, shall we say, expression of what is going on. We cannot exclude the possibility of experiments being carried out now without explosions. That did not apply some two or three years ago. I am afraid that it does apply now. All that I can say now to the right hon. Gentleman publicly is that this very thought has been very much in our minds. We were hopeful that it might offer a useful method of arrangement about a year ago, but I am afraid that the advance of science has dimmed our hopes because, as I say, what could be observed then cannot necessarily, I am afraid, be observed now.
I was also asked by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) about a meeting of scientists, and I think that it was also mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. A lot of research work is being done at this moment, both by our scientists and by American scientists, on this matter of radiation. There is to be a meeting at Geneva, an international conference of scientists, this summer. We will consider afresh, in view of what has been said, whether this meeting is sufficiently comprehensive in character, and whether anything can be done to widen its scope or its terms of reference. We are certainly not opposed ourselves to doing that, and we will gladly consider whether any proposals which we can make will facilitate what the two right hon. Gentlemen had in mind.
§ Dr. Stross
This is a very important matter, and I fear that the right hon. Gentleman missed the point that we have in mind with reference to further test explosions. We know full well that it is possible to make innumerable weapons now without further tests, but what some of us have in mind is the damage to the genetic background of the human race, and that is the point involved.
§ Sir A. Eden
I do understand that. What I was dealing with was rather the problem of whether it was possible, by means, shall we say, of a ban on the bang, to create a situation of greater confidence about future developments in this matter. That is what a year or two ago we thought conceivable, but I am afraid that it is not a line we can now follow with great results. [HON. MEMBERS: 1074 "Why?"] Because it is possible to do a great deal of this without a bang. We do not need a bang to do some of the things which we previously did need a bang for.
§ Mr. Attlee
Do these other experiments which cannot be detected destroy the atmosphere, so to speak, as explosions do?
§ Sir A. Eden
That may not be the case. That is the other problem—the problem of the effect and it is a very important one.
I am bound to say that, on the disarmament side of the business, we thought that the control of explosions by the knowledge that they have occurred could also produce a useful check. As I say, I am rather afraid that now our information shows that that particular source of checking what has happened is not likely to be effective. But what the hon. Member said raises another set of problems of a technical character which I certainly will have examined and give further information to the House, if that be desired.
I wish to say a word about the question of when we are to negotiate. Several right hon. and hon. Members have said, "Why cannot we carry on with our negotiations now, or open up negotiations now with the Russians?" Let us try to look at this matter as far as we can. I find it very hard to believe, supposing we could have effective four-Power or five-power talks now, that it would be possible to make them realistic without the European situation in some form coming on to the scene. Is it conceivable, in view of the European situation, that we should sit down now with the Russians and the Americans and discuss academically the position about the hydrogen bomb and the atomic bomb? Would we not immediately be involved in the political issue which is the background of all that? And that political issue is the future of all Europe.
I am not going to answer the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) because, if I do, I am accused in a series of periodicals—in all of which he writes—of being a bully and going for the weakest man; and if I do not answer him, I am told that I am frightened to answer him. I will merely tell him that the neutralisation of Germany is simply no answer to our problem; because of the conundrum which I put to him before, and which, with respect, he still has not 1075 answered. It is this: is Germany to be neutral and armed, and, if so, who will keep her neutral; or is she to be neutral and disarmed, and if so, who will keep her disarmed? I still have received no answer to that question, which I put in the House some time ago. Until I have a reply, I am not converted to the thesis of the hon. Member.
If we do not accept his thesis, surely, to have any chance of success at all, our negotiations with Russia must be based n there being unity of understanding in the West. We must be ready. When we meet the Russians they will bring into the argument the position of Germany, or Austria, or whatever it may be; and if we are not ready to do that, would our discussions really get us very far at all? If we are not ready to do that would it not be a golden opportunity for Russia to create differences between us all?
I devoutly hope that the next fortnight will see the end of this long and painful
§ wait, which we have all had to endure, for the final ratification of the Paris Agreements. When the French Parliament ratify them, and we all hope they soon will—we send them that message as friends—I have no doubt as to what will be done by other countries. They are simply waiting for the French decision. If that comes, I can assure the House that not only shall we be ready for talks on disarmament, but on the future of Germany; on the unity of Germany; on the future of Austria, and the security system of Europe. Not only shall we be ready but anxious to promote such talks. We have been trying to build up the unity of the West. It is only when we have unity in the West that we can hope to negotiate successfully with the East.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 268, Noes 298.1079
|Division No. 44.]||AYES||[9.56 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hale, Leslie|
|Adams, Richard||Cove, W. G.||Hall, Rt, Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Albu, A. H.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Crosland, C. A. R.||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Crossman, R. H. S.||Hannan, W.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Hardy, E. A.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Daines, P.||Hargreaves, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hayman, F. H.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Baird, J.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)|
|Balfour, A.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Deer, G.||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Bartley, P.||Delargy, H. J.||Hobson, C. R.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Dodds, N. N.||Holman, P|
|Bence, C. R.||Donnelly, D. L.||Holmes, Horace|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Driberg, T. E. N.||Houghton, Douglas.|
|Benson, G.||Dugdale Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Hoy, J. H.|
|Beswick, F.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hubbard, T. F.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Edelman, M.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon, John (Brighouse)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Boardman, H.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hynd, J. B. (Atterciiffe)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Irving W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Brookway, A. F.||Fernyhough, E.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Fienburgh, W.||Janner, B.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Finch, H. J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Foot, M. M.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Forman, J, C.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)|
|Burke, W. A.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Carmichael, J.||Gibson, C. W.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Gooch, E. G.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Champion, A. J.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Keenan, W.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Greenwood, Anthony||Kenyon, C.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Kinley, J.|
|Coldrick, W.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lawson, G. M.|
|Collick, P. H.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Collins, V. J.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Pargiter, G. A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Parker, J.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Lewis, Arthur||Parkin, B. T.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Lindgren, G. S||Paton, J.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col M.||Peart, T. F.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Logan, D. G.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|MacColl, J. E.||Poole, C. C.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Popplewell, E.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|McGovern, J.||Porter, G.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|McInnes, J.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Thornton, E.|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Tomney, F.|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Probert, A. R.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Proctor, W. T.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Pryde, D. J.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Rankin, John||Wallace, H. W.|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd. E.)||Reeves, J.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Manuel, A. C.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Mason, Roy||Rhodes, H.||Weitzman, D.|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Mellish, R. J.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Messer, Sir F.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||West, D. G.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Moody, A. S.||Ross, William||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Wigg, George|
|Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm, S.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Moyle, A.||Short, E. W.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Mulley, F. W.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Willey, F. T.|
|Murray, J. D.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Nally, W.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Neal. Harold (Bolsover)||Skeffington, A. M.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|O'Brien, T.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Oliver, G. H.||Snow, J. W.||Willis, E. G.|
|Orbach, M.||Sorensen, R. W,||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Oswald, T.||Soskice, Rt. Hon, Sir Frank||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Owen, W. J.||Sparks, J. A.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Padley, W. E.||Steele, T.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Paget, R. T.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Yates, V. F.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Pannell, Charles||Stross, Dr. Barnett||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Drayson, G. B.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Brooman-White, R. C.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Duthie, W. S.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Bullard, D. G.||Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Wrwk & Lgtn)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Campbell, Sir David||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Carr, Robert||Erroll, F. J.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hn. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Fell, A.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Channon, H.||Finlay, Graeme|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Fisher, Nigel|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Clarke, Col. Sir Ralph (E. Grinstead)||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Cole, Norman||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Barber, Anthony||Colegate, Sir Arthur||Ford, Mrs. Patricia|
|Barlow, Sir John||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Fort, R.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Foster, John|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cambe & Lonsdale)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hn. H. F. C.||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)|
|Bennett, Sir William (Woodside)||Crouch, R. F.||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Glover, D.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Godber, J. B.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Davidson, Viscountess||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Black, C. W.||Davies,Rt.Hn.Clement(Montgomery)||Gower, H. R.|
|Boothby, Sir Robert||De la Bère, Sir Rupert||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Deedes, W. F.||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Digby, S. Wingfield||Grimond, J.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Braine, B. R.||Donaldson, cmdr. C. E. McA.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Donner, Sir P. W.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hare, Hon. J. H.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||McKibbin, A. J.||Russell, R. S.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Hay, John||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Scott, Sir Donald|
|Heath, Edward||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)||Sharples, Maj. R. C.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Shepherd, William|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbr'gh, W.)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Marples, A. E.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Maude, Angus||Speir, R. M.|
|Holt, A. F.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Hope, Lord John||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (K'ns'gt'n, S.)|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Molson, A. H. E.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Moore, Sir Thomas||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Neave, Airey||Storey, S.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Nicholls, Harmar||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Hulbert, Wing Comdr. N. J.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E)||Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'd'gh, W.)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hutchison, James (Scoutstoun)||Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Oakshott, H. D.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Odey, G. W.||Teeling, W.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Jennings, Sir Roland||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N,)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon,W.)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. P. (M'nm'th)|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Osborne, C.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Page, R. G.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Kaberry, D.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Turton, R. H.|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Perkins, Sir Robert||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Kerr, H. W.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Lambton, viscount||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'le'bne)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Pitman, I. J.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H,||Powell, J. Enoch||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Profumo, J. D.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Webbe, Sir H. (L'nd'n & Westm'r)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Ramsden, J. E.||Weilwood, W.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Williams, Rt. Hn. Charles (Torquay)|
|Lloyd, Maj, Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Redmayne, M.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Wiliams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Renton, D. L. M.||Wills G.|
|Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Ridsdale, J. E.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Robertson, Sir David||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Sir Cedric Drewe and|
|McAdden, S. J.||Robson-Brown, W.||Mr. Studholme.|
|McCallum, Major D.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
§ Question put, That the proposed words be there added: —
§ The House divided: Ayes 299, Noes 266.1085
|Division No. 45.]||AYES||[10.7 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Assheton, Rt. Hn. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddlington, S.)||Astor, Hon. J. J.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)|
|Amery. Julian (Preston, N.)||Baldwin, A. E.||Bennett, Sir William (Woodside)|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Banks, Col. C.||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Barber, Anthony||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel|
|Arbuthnot, John||Barlow, Sir John||Bishop, F. P.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Baxter, Sir Beverley||Black, C. W.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Beach, Maj. Hicks||Boothby, Sir Robert|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon, J. A.||Higgs, J. M. C.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Odey, G. W.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hollis, M. C.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co.Antrim,N.)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Holt, A. F.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hope, Lord John||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)|
|Butler,Rt.Hn.R.A. (Saffron Walden)||Horobin, Sir Ian||Osborne, C.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Page, R. G.|
|Carr, Robert||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Channon, H.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Perkins, Sir Robert|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Clarke, Col. Sir Ralph (E. Grinstead)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Cole, Norman||Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Colegate, Sir Arthur||Hurd, A. R.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Pitman, I, J,|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hn. H. F. C.||Iremonger, T. L.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Jennings, Sir Roland||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Redmayne, M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Davies,Rt.Hn.Clement(Montgomery)||Kaberry, D.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|De la Bère, Sir Rupert||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kerr, H. W.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Lambert, Hon. G.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lambton, Viscount||Robertson, Sir David|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Donner, Sir P. W.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Leather, E. H. C.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Drewe, Sir c.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Russell, R. S.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lindsay, Martin||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Wrwk & Lgtn)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Scott, Sir Donald|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Sharpies, Maj. R. C.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Longden, Gilbert||Shepherd, William|
|Fell, A.||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Simon, J, E. S. (Middlesbr'gh, W.)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||McAdden, S. J.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||McCallum, Major D.||Spearman, A, C. M.|
|Fort, R.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Speir, R. M.|
|Foster, John||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||McKibbin, A. J.||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (K'ns'gt'n, S.)|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'combe & Lonsdale)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Glover, D.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Godber, J. B.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Gower, H. R.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Storey, S.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Grimond, J.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Marples, A. E.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Maude, Angus||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Teeling, W.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)||Molson, A. H. E.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Thompson, Lt-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Hay, John||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. P. (M'nm'th)|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nabarro G. D. N.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Heath, Edward||Neave, Airey||Turton, R. H.|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Vane, W. M. F.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.||Wills, G.|
|Vosper, D. F.||Watkinson, H. A.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, w.)||Webbe, Sir H. (L'nd'n & Westm'r)|
|Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'le'bne)||Wellwood, W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Walker-Smith, D. C.||Williams, Rt. Hn. Charles (Torquay)||Mr. Studholme and|
|Wall, Major Patrick||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith|
|Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Manuel, A. C.|
|Adams, Richard||Freeman, John (Watford)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Albu, A. H.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mason, Roy|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Gibson, C. W.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Gooch, E. G.||Messer, Sir F.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Greenwood, Anthony||Moody, A. S.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.|
|Baird, J.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Balfour, A.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)|
|Bartley, P.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Moyle, A.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hale, Leslie||Mulley, F. W.|
|Bence, C. R.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Murray, J. D.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Nally, W.|
|Benson, G.||Hamilton, W. W.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Beswick, F.||Hannan, W.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hardy, E. A.||O'Brien, T.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hargreaves, A.||Oldfield W. H.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hayman, F. H.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Boardman, H.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Orbach, M.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Oswald, T.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Herbison, Miss M.||Owen, W. J.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Padley, W. E.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hobson, C. R.||Paget, R. T.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Holman, P.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Holmes, Horace||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Houghton, Douglas||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hoy, J. H.||Pannell, Charles|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hubbard, T. F.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Parker, J.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Hughes, Emrys, (S. Ayrshire)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Carmichael, J.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paton, J.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Peart, T. F.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Chapman, W. D.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Poole, C. C.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Popplewell, E.|
|Clunie, J.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Porter, G.|
|Coldrick, W.||Janner, B.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Collick, P. H.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Collins, V. J.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Probert, A. R.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Proctor, W. T.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Rankin, John|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech||Reeves, J.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Dalnes, P.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Keenan, W.||Rhodes, H.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Kenyon, C.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Kinley, J.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Deer, G.||Lawson, G. M.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Ross, William|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lee, Mist Jennie (Cannock)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Lewis, Arthur||Short, E. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lindgren, G. S.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Edelman, M.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Logan, D. G.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||MacColl, J. E.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||McGhee, H. G.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||McGovern, J.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||McInnes, J.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Snow, J. W.|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacMillan, M. K.(Western Isles)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fienburgh, W.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Soskice, Rt. Hon, Sir Frank|
|Finch, H. J.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Steele, T.|
|Foot, M. M.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Forman, J. C.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Usborne, H. C.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Viant, S. P.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Stross, Dr. Barnett||Wallace, H. W.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Warbey, W. N.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Swingler, S. T.||Watkins, T. E.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Sylvester, G. O.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)||Williams, W. T, (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Weitzman, D.||Willis, E. G.|
|Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Wells, William (Walsall)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Thomas, George (Cardiff)||West, D. G.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Wheeldon, W. E.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Thornton, E.||Wigg, George||Yates, V. F.|
|Tomney, F.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A, B.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Turner-Samuels, M.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Willey, F. T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.|
Question put and agreed to.
That this House, believing that in a world war waged with weapons of mass destruction, such as the hydrogen bomb, there can be no victors but only the destruction of civilisation, welcomes the successful efforts which Her Majesty's Government have made towards the reduction of world tension, supports their proposals for the limitation and control of armaments of all kinds, and recognises that a high-level meeting with the Soviet Union should await the ratification of the London and Paris Agreements by all the countries concerned.