§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 11.12 a.m.
§ The Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
This second Bill which I move today is a short and very simple one. Its purpose is to authorise Her Majesty's Government to take part in an operation of the greatest importance to the lives and welfare of many millions of people in India and Pakistan by making available a sum of £20,860,000 to the Indus Basin Development Fund during the course of the next ten years. It would, I am sure, be heartening to the Governments and peoples of both these Commonwealth countries to know that the Bill has the unanimous support of the Parliament of Great Britain.
The Fund was set up by an Agreement which was signed in Karachi on 19th September this year by representatives of the International Bank and of the Governments who are to be contributors to the Fund, namely, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Germany, the United States, and ourselves. On the same day the Governments of India and Pakistan signed the Indus Waters Treaty that marked the successful settlement of what had been a long-standing problem and the source of a long period of difficult negotiation between the two countries concerned and the International Bank over the division of the waters of the great Indus river system.
The purpose of the Fund is set out in the White Paper—Cmnd. 1199—which has already been laid before the House. The text of the Agreement is reproduced in that Paper, which also contains a summary of the Indus Waters Treaty.
There is in the basin of the Indus and its five tributaries, Mr. Speaker, an abundance of water supply sufficient for all the irrigation and other needs of the great populations which live in that historic region of the Indian subcontinent. The distribution of water is, as the House knows, uneven both in the area it covers and in the times when it is available. The rivers of the basin 1373 are supplied mainly by melting snows in the Himalayas in early summer and by the rains that fall there late in the year.
To make use of this water for the benefit of the cultivators in the Punjab, a system of irrigation canals was constructed. The border between the two countries now cuts across the system which, under the pre-1947 regime, formed the old Punjab, and which was built up during the period of British rule in India into the largest irrigation system in the world. This system included a complex network of link canals enabling surpluses of water in one river system to be applied to relieve shortages elsewhere.
On the partition of the sub-continent of India in 1947 this system of irrigation was divided. Some important head-works of canals which supplied parts of Pakistan were in Indian territory, and the problem therefore arose, not only as to how the control of the existing canals should be arranged, but also of the development of future works. The whole irrigation system was at that time, and still is, in a continuous process of development, and the problem was how to divide the available water fairly between the two countries in order to meet their needs and requirements.
In 1951, the International Bank made available its good offices to help the two Governments reach a solution of this problem, and in 1954 proposed a settlement on the basis of a division of the waters which would enable Pakistan to use the waters of the three western rivers of the basin, the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab, and India to use that of the three eastern rivers, the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej. The details of an arrangement of this nature, as the House will recognise, required a great deal of working out. But this has now been done and the result is embodied in the Indus Waters Treaty.
To enable Pakistan to replace from the western rivers the waters she has hitherto been drawing from the eastern rivers a number of new canals will be necessary. Large reservoirs will also be needed to store water accumulating during the periods of high flow so that it can be fed into the canal system during the dry seasons. This programme of works goes far beyond the financial 1374 resources of Pakistan herself. Faced with this problem, the International Bank decided to set up a fund, to which it invited certain Governments—members of the Bank—to contribute. They all agreed to do so, and these Governments signed the Indus Basin Development Fund Agreement.
As the House will see from the White Paper, the fund will amount to about £320 million, of which about £230 million is to be provided by the Governments who have signed the Agreement, some £62 million by the Government of India under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty, and some £30 million by the International Bank in the form of a loan. The fund will be administered by the International Bank, and contributions will be called for from the Governments concerned, according to a schedule which has been worked out by the Bank.
It is proposed that the whole programme of works will be completed in ten years, although provision is made in the Treaty for this to be extended up to a maximum of three years if that should prove necessary. It is, therefore, at present envisaged that the United Kingdom contribution to the fund should be provided over ten years, and that the maximum contribution in any one year should be approximately £3 million, which is likely to be in the financial year 1964–65.
The work involved will be carried out by the Pakistan Government, with money made available from the Fund, and all contracts for machinery and operations which cannot be undertaken by the Pakistanis will be open to international tender. We can, therefore, reasonably hope to have a chance of sharing in the practical work as well as in the financing of this great scheme, and that, in turn, will give substantial opportunities for British industry.
As I have said, the Bill is short and simple, but it is, as I know the House recognises, one of very great importance and significance. It authorises the United Kingdom Government to take their part in what is an outstanding example of Commonwealth co-operation, on the one hand, carried out in partnership with the United States of America, the Federal Republic of Germany and the International Bank; and it is designed to settle a problem facing two of our 1375 friends and partners in the Commonwealth over the last thirteen years—a problem which is of very great importance not only from the political point of view, but from the point of view of the direct welfare of the people of the two countries.
It is sometimes difficult for us at the end of a summer such as we have had to appreciate the tragic consequences which arise from the shortage of water. I have said to the House on previous occasions that I remember, when going to look at some of the irrigation projects in the Indus basin, and particularly the difficult problem of salination which is faced there, one of the farmers saying to me, "You must remember, Mr. Alport, that in this part of the world people kill for water." That is a gauge of the immense importance to the relationship between the two countries and to the whole future of that part of the subcontinent of the effective solution of the problem of the division of the waters in the Indus basin.
After all, the lives and welfare of one-tenth of the total population of India and Pakistan depend upon these waters and a fair and peaceful division is, therefore, clearly a matter of immense significance. The settlement, which will leave both Governments free to develop their resources in their own parts of the Indus basin, not only has removed a dangerous source of disagreement and conflict between the two, but also will, as I have already said, and as the House recognises, be a major contribution to the development and improvement of the standards of living we hope, of the peoples of both those countries.
Therefore, it gives to us all, I am sure, and certainly to Her Majesty's Government, great pleasure and satisfaction to see that this settlement has been accomplished. I should like to say how much we in the United Kingdom have admired the statesmanship of both sides which has made this settlement possible. I think that it would also be right at this particular moment to pay tribute to the work of the International Bank and to the great interest and concern that Mr. Black himself has shown in relation to this problem and to the successful conclusion of the negotiations.
1376 In fact, the Bank has played a vital part in these negotiations. It has brought to bear upon them deep knowledge and negotiating skill and, as we all know, very great patience and understanding. On this occasion, too, I think that it would be right to place on record the fact that Mr. W. A. B. Iliff, one of the Bank's vice-presidents, has played an outstanding part in these negotiations. I am sure that here in the United Kingdom the House will be anxious and glad that we also are able to play our part in bringing to a successful conclusion a great undertaking.
§ 11.24 a.m.
§ Mr. H. A. Marquand (Middlesbrough, East)
I wish on behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends to extend the warmest possible welcome to this Bill. We on this side of the House have for many years expounded the case for a real war on want, for a determined effort by all the richer nations of the world to help the under-developed nations, so that we can become truly one world and foster this understanding by expanding prosperity.
We are particularly glad this morning that this Bill comes before us to facilitate the provision of resources for a major battle in the world war on want. This is a very notable occasion. The resources to be provided by these new agreements are enormous. They deal with an area in the world where no fewer than 30 million people live and depend upon a proper supply and a fair division of water.
The right hon. Gentleman has truly said that there is an abundance of water in the area. This is one of the greatest river systems in the world. The annual flow of the Indus is, I believe, twice that of the Nile and three times that of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers put together. I have had the privilege on two occasions of visiting this part of the world and journeying along the great River Indus from Karachi as far north as Attock, and seeing, in the course of that journey, several of the barrages and water undertakings which are built along those banks. When one finally reaches the northern reaches of the river, one sees one of the wonders of the world, the great Himalaya Range and the beautiful city of Peshawar. These remarkable and romantic views inspire one with feelings of awe.
1377 Even after one goes up the river and sees the innumerable villages, peasants on small farms, and millions of diligent cultivators who benefit from the flow of the river, one has the feeling, although not so intense—but a tremendous impression—of the great importance of this water supply to humble people.
For a very long time, men have drawn water from this great river by means of numerous canals. These canals have been expanded and developed by the Mogul Emperors of India, by the British rulers of India, and later by independent India and Pakistan. Since independence, Pakistan itself has undertaken some remarkable projects on the basis of damming the river for a more constant and regular supply of water in areas which had been previously rendered desert by the meanderings of this enormous river. I am thinking particularly of the Thal development project, which I had the privilege of seeing in its very initial stages in 1953, and which I saw again this year prospering and getting on very well.
These great projects have been of immense importance in giving new life and a new opportunity to people whose life was very poor and very difficult indeed. Today, Pakistan and India together have, I think, already 30 million acres of land irrigated—the largest irrigation system in the whole world. So vital is this river system both to India and Pakistan and so many millions depend entirely upon it for life itself, it is not surprising that there was great anxiety in both countries about the fair division of these waters when the partition, coupled with independence, took place in 1947.
I heard a great deal about it in 1953. I can well remember the atmosphere of suspicion which I found both in India and in Pakistan about the division of the waters. I can remember, for example, being shown a part of the Grand Canal passing through Lahore which was entirely empty, and being told by the gentleman who took me in his car to show me the canal that it was empty because India had cut off the supply of water. I found this difficult to believe. I later made inquiries and found that the canal was empty for its annual or biennial cleaning. This is an example of the acute suspicion and the high tension which 1378 existed between those two countries at that time.
It has taken a very long time since 1953 to arrive at an eventual settlement of this dispute between India and Pakistan. Because of the very difficulty and because of the immensely long time that it has taken to arrive at such a solution, we can rejoice ail the more, I think, that at last a solution has been reached. It has relieved tension between India and Pakistan, as I found when I was there at the beginning of this year, and it has led to further agreements. When I was in Rawalpindi this January, I was privileged to join in a luncheon given by the President of Pakistan to celebrate the settlement of the Western Border disputes between India and Pakistan, and, as my noble Friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth would say, a very good time was had by all. Let us hope that the settlement of the water dispute, leading to a settlement of the frontier disputes, may before long lead to an agreement on the outstanding and most difficult problem, that of Kashmir.
Big as past projects have been, the programme envisaged in this development agreement will, I am reliably informed, be the largest of its kind ever undertaken anywhere in the world. This is a very great occasion for us when we think of that. With the grants, of which this Bill provides a part, and the loans and the separate undertakings by India and Pakistan themselves, the total cost of all the developments which are to take place as a result of the agreement will be 1,000 million dollars. It will not only provide more water, by storing water which at present goes to waste from time to time during flood periods, but it will share the water on a fair basis agreed by all and, at the same time, will provide electric power, much of which, thank goodness, can be used for tackling this terrible problem of salination to which the right hon. Gentleman referred.
When in Pakistan, last January, I learned that every day no less than 200 acres of land go out of production through salination. That is a stupendous figure of loss of production due to salination which, as the House knows, is caused by the seepage of water through the canals waterlogging the land, and 1379 resulting in the salt rising to the surface and making it impossible to cultivate the land. This is one of the most serious problems in the world, and one is happy is think that at last the additional water will not create additional salination but will enable electric power to be generated for pumping out the water again so that the salt can be washed away.
It was, I think, David Lilienthal, the chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority, who first suggested that India and Pakistan should combine to establish something like the Tennessee Valley Authority for the development of the Indus waters. It has not been done exactly in that way, but this suggestion by the chairman of that great undertaking in the United States was followed up by Mr. Eugene Black, the chairman of the International Bank, and resulted eventually in this agreement. What a wonderful achievement that is to have to one's credit. What a pleasure for Mr. Black to look back upon it in later years when he retires, as we all do at some time or other, and for him to think that this gigantic undertaking will always be associated in the minds of everybody—India, Pakistan, England, Germany, Canada and Australia—with his name.
I join with the right hon. Gentleman in the tribute which he has already paid to Mr. Black, and, of course, to Mr. Miff on whom the burden of all the detailed negotiation has lain in recent years. I am glad that it is not only through the co-operation between India and Pakistan, which is so welcome to all of us, that this agreement has come about, but that this is an international project in which many countries will contribute to the provision of the necessary resources which are far beyond the capacity of India and Pakistan and their poor peasant peoples to finance by themselves. The United States, of course, is in it in a very big way, but Germany is in it, too. I welcome this. So is the United Kingdom and so are Australia and Canada. Therefore, this project represents co-operation between the wealthy nations of the world which have surpluses on their balance of payments and which are able to make investments abroad, and between the Commonwealth and between India and Pakistan.
Having mentioned Canada, I should like to say again what I said on an earlier 1380 Measure, and that is how much we appreciate the efforts which Canada has made in this field of international development. Last January I saw the Canadians at work on the Worsak project on the Kabul River. This is one of the tributaries of the Indus. I was delighted not merely to meet them and to see their evident pleasure in having lived for some years and done constructive work in that wonderful area, almost on the roof of the world, but to see the pleasure with which the local people spoke about them and the way in which the Canadians had been able to get to know, to fraternise and to mix among the people of Pakistan and the friendly, easy terms on which they were co-operating with their Pakistani workpeople, some of them former wild tribesmen who were more apt with the gun than with the shovel and who are now taking such a delight in undertaking engineering operations on that great project.
As we have been told, our contribution to the scheme is to be a maximum of £20,860,000. That compares with our contribution to the International Development Association of £47 million. That is a very substantial contribution and one which we should regard as appropriate to our position as a comparatively rich country and to our position as a country which has had such long associations with India and Pakistan and the subcontinent for so long. We shall gladly vote the money, and I feel certain that there will be no difficulty about the passage of the Bill through the House of Commons. We particularly welcome the speed with which the Bill has been introduced. To have an agreement signed in September and to have the Bill introduced in November is good work. It is a great step forward in the age-long struggle of the peoples of Asia to win the war against want.
Before I sit down, I would beg the House to give thought for a moment to the teeming millions in the other half of Pakistan. This morning we have been dealing with Western Pakistan where the struggle for a decent standard of life is a very difficult one and where, from time to time, they face enormous obstacles which are beyond their control because of their inability to control the flow of these great waters. They are now in sight of overcoming this great difficulty.
1381 In Eastern Pakistan they are faced with the opposite difficulty. There is no lack of water there. The waters of the Brahmaputra and the Ganges flow through the area. There is an enormous volume of water and frequent heavy rains, and there is no difficulty about cultivating the soil owing to drought. Yet there the struggle is as hard, if not harder, as in Western Pakistan.
We have been vividly reminded of this by the two cyclones in the Bay of Bengal in recent months. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal happen fairly frequently, but these two last ones, which came in rapid succession, were catastrophic disasters. I wonder if the House has fully realised how serious they were. The one on 10th October, I understand, killed 6,000 people and destroyed nearly 5,000 houses while seriously damaging 35,000 other houses and buildings. They had scarcely taken breath from the shock of this disaster when it was followed by another cyclone with very much the same sort of story that we heard not long ago about Mauritius. They were hardly back on their knees again, as it were, after the first shock when there was this second cyclone three weeks later in which another 4,000 people or perhaps more were killed because it was accompanied by an enormous, an almost incredible, tidal wave.
Last January, round the new port of Chittagong, people showed me with great pride the immense developments they have made. I talked with workpeople, management and others, and everyone shared in the feeling of pride that this great new port had been built; with the new housing and social developments which were taking place as well to service that port. Now Chittagong is totally out of commission and no less than 5,000 new wells have had to be sunk to find fresh water because the water previously available is contaminated.
This is a terribly serious situation. There are more than 10,000 people killed and innumerable houses—pathetic little houses just a few feet above sea level and surrounded by a few trees—have been destroyed. The whole of a man's life, the whole of his efforts and those of his father and his grandfather, it may be, have all been washed away in a night, his children killed and he himself lest destitute. Could not we do a little more than provide three lakhs 1382 of rupees towards this? I leave that thought in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman. He will shortly be introducing a supplementary estimate. He told us that the Government proposed to contribute three lakhs of rupees—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I have given the right hon. Gentleman rather more licence than I ought to have done. I hope that he will not proceed out of order.
§ Mr. Marquand
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would only say that we are to vote about £40 million this morning. We do not grudge a penny of it, and we should not grudge similar expenditure elsewhere.
§ 11.42 a.m.
§ Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Willesden, East)
Thanks to the extremely successful work of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a chapter of most difficult negotiation has been brought to an end and it may be reasonable to assume that in future we shall have co-operation between Pakistan and India over this rather difficult matter. The House should appreciate, however, that two of the six rivers concerned derive from Kashmir and while these two matters, the problem of Kashmir and the Indus dispute, have always been considered as being separate and distinct, it is hoped that the good will which has brought about the settlement of the Indus Waters Treaty will also be responsible for bringing about a settlement of the Kashmir problem which has exacerbated relations between these two great countries.
In the present system of works in Pakistan, it is quite apparent that only a quarter of the water of the Indus basin is used. The rest, unfortunately, is discharged into the ocean unused. What could make an enormous contribution to the welfare of these people, not merely in India but in Pakistan, is lost. I think that this can be overcome by the substantial project which is in mind, the link canals, the new barrages and the additional storage facilities which are to be constructed. The House should regard this as an immense step in international co-operation and a rational compromise between the rights of riparian owners both upstream and downstream. It is an example to other 1383 nations which are obliged to share important waterways which traverse their territories.
When partition went through, many years ago, Pakistan was left in the position of being in possession of the major part of the irrigated lands of the Indus basin. In that matter India was a poor beneficiary. When one considers that India possesses the head works on which the system in Pakistan depends, one may see the position which has evolved. It was apparent that over the borders in India development would take place. I examined the position in 1958 and wrote on that occasion:… out of the 22 million acres now irrigated in the Indus basin, India retains only about 5 million with which to sustain a population of 20 million in the area, compared with the 17 million acres remaining to Pakistan to meet the requirements of a population of about 22 million. On the Indian side as there are some 25 million acres considered fit for cultivation which could possibly contribute crops to relieve the shortage of food, India is urged somewhat precipitously to press ahead with immediate development. It would seem that co-ordinated action by both countries would provide the quickest way of meeting the requirements of the 34 million people involved, without unduly upsetting contemporary arrangements, and of making the most economic use of the waters available regardless of political boundaries.I believe that the arrangement reached now, that is, that the western trio of rivers should be assigned to the exclusive use of Pakistan and the eastern trio should be given to the exclusive use of India, is most satisfactory.
I wish to raise one or two matters on the financial provisions. Obviously, if our contribution is to be at the rate of £20.8 million over a period of between ten and twelve years, and the yearly allocations total £3 million, immense orders will be available on the world markets. I hope that the practice ordained by the World Bank in the past will apply, and that these amounts will not be earmarked for any particular currency but will be available for international tender. But in Article VII of the Agreement these words have been added:All goods required for the Project shall be procured on the basis of international competition … except as the Administrator shall otherwise agree on grounds of efficiency or economy.I do not know whether the Secretary of State has any idea of the implication 1384 of those words, but I hope that it may be interpreted that these moneys will be spent for the use of Pakistan in the cheapest markets in the world, where the goods required are available.
I am interested in what is included in Article II, where the United States is down to subscribe an additional 235 million dollars. That, of course, is subject to agreement between the United States and Pakistan. Will that be a Development Loan Fund type of lending, or possibly the Export-Import Bank lending? Will it mean that the goods will be purchased in the United States? Would not it be preferable that Pakistan should buy, if it is in her interest, in Western Europe, where she could make greater use of the money available?
I see that these very substantial contributions are to be made by Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and, if I may add, New Zealand, are in the form of gifts. Of course, I support the Bill. It has remarkable potential and is an example for other countries to follow. But it occurred to me, could not the same conclusion be reached if the moneys were provided by long-term interest-free loans? These works will be of infinite profit to Pakistan, namely, hydroelectricity, increased yield per acre, reclamation of land, and so forth.
Undertakings are certainly given to Pakistan under Article VII, but it seemed to me that if there were liability over a compass of the years the terms of expenditure would be carefully scrutinised. Perhaps it was a wise arrangement at the time and could not be reached in any other way. Therefore, on that basis, it had to be in the form of a straight out gift.
It would appear rather extraordinary, if that were the case, to find loan arrangements with the United States covering the additional 235 million dollars and also, although quite properly, an amount from the World Bank which would be acceptable on the payment of interest. One would have thought that all round there would have been a system of international co-operation entirely on the basis of gifts, and not of loans. Also, considering the position of Western Germany, the provision of 126 million Deutschemark is a small contribution to be made from that source.
1385 I want to raise one other matter with the Minister of State. The allocation which will be called for from the United Kingdom cannot exceed £3 million a year. I can understand why this does not come under Section 3 of the Export Guarantees Act. There are good reasons for that, but why can it not be dispensed annually under the C.R.O. Vote? Why has there to be a separate Bill?
§ 11.52 a.m.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
While generally agreeing with what the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) said, I think that he was a little ungenerous to the United States and the action it is taking in relation to this Agreement. Through this agreement America is making very generous grants, quite apart from the loans she is providing. I should have thought it better to give a general welcome to the Agreement than to attempt to pick some of the holes in it that the hon. Member was picking towards the end of his speech.
I welcome the opportunity, along with other right hon. and hon. Members, to say how glad we are that this agreement is before the House today. The Minister of State will recollect that I have asked him a number of Questions on this subject over the last year or two. I have pressed him in the past that Her Majesty's Government should be as generous as possible in assisting the World Bank to get the necessary money to make this Indus waters plan a reality. I am flattered to discover that I have so much influence with Her Majesty's Government, because I think we agree that they have reacted generously and we are very glad to support them.
I recollect being in the Punjab on both the Indian and the Pakistan side in 1957 and doing my best to study this Indus waters problem at that time. Then it seemed to be one of the insoluble problems of the world. It seemed as difficult to get agreement there as it did in the Arab-Israel problem in the Middle East. This, therefore, is an occasion of very great hope this morning, that only a few years after the problem seemed insoluble we should have before us this excellent international agreement. I think it proves that in other parts of the world where there are difficult international disputes 1386 it is worth while persevering in seeking solutions for them with patience and persistence. The evidence from the Indus waters problem is that one can get a successful international agreement in the end.
I well recollect at that time, as someone who has affection for both Pakistan and India, feeling sad that they should find it so very difficult to get together in this scheme of international co-operation. I remember attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, in Delhi, during that period and being very touched by seeing some of the Pakistan delegates to that conference who were visiting Delhi for the first time since partition. They were renewing many old acquaintances. But when the conference came to an end, then, because of the hard facts of the division between the two countries, they had to bring back to the forefronts of their minds once more that they were separated. They had to go their ways with this difference between them. All of us in this House hope that out of this agreement will come an era of increasing co-operation between India and Pakistan, a co-operation which one hopes will eventually result as the hon. Member for Willesden, East said, in settlement of the Kashmir problem.
I remember going to look at the Bakra Dam, in the Himalayan foothills, which is one of the most striking hydro-electric projects in the world. Of that achievement India is rightly proud. I remember being struck, as I looked at the arrangements at the foot of those hills, how the river Sutlej, below Bakra, was diverted literally at right-angles to provide much needed irrigation schemes for the Indian part of the Punjab. But it was, of course, taking away water which formerly flowed into what is now the Pakistan part of the Punjab.
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) so vividly described, when one sees that great country of Pakistan, with its desperate need for water, which, literally, is a life and death matter for it, one also sees the paradox that not only is there shortage of water, but excessive salination caused by too much water. One then realises how vitally important this settlement is for Pakistan. I think it true to say that in terms of making an investment from this country 1387 to dealing with the problems of world poverty, this kind of water scheme is one of the most important ways in which we can help. It is an investment which, I am sure, will pay very rich returns in the years ahead.
I welcome particularly two features of this Agreement. The first is the participation of other Commonwealth countries, Canada and Australia. I feel very strongly that the future significance of the Commonwealth in the world will lie more and more in direct relationships being built between the older white Commonwealth, if one may call it that, and the newer Asian countries of the Commonwealth who face the great problems of technical underdevelopment. The more that countries like Canada and Australia are involved directly in assisting Commonwealth countries in Asia the more that strengthens Commonwealth relationships throughout the world.
Like my right hon. Friend, I was deeply impressed by the Canadian participation in the Warsak project, on the North-West Frontier. I went there with Canadian Members of Parliament and I found it fascinating and exciting to see those Canadian Members of Parliament visiting their constituents in that remote part of the Commonwealth and getting from their constituents working on this scheme a very favourable impression of the work they were doing and the response that they had from the Pakistani population.
It is more difficult in countries like Canada and Australia to make public opinion fully aware of the need to give help and to pay taxes in order to assist the vender-developed areas of the Commonwealth. The more this kind of thing is done as it will be under this Agreement the more likely we are to meet with success in that direction.
I also welcome the participation of West Germany in this Agreement. It is very important that in the years ahead in one way or another we should persuade the West German Republic to play a much bigger rôle in accordance with its financial resources in assisting the under-developed areas of the world. This is a very useful step forward in that process.
I suppose that in some ways this Agreement is rather remarkable 1388 Simultaneously, it is a good example of European co-operation, of Atlantic co-operation, of Commonwealth co-operation, and also an outstanding example of achievement by an international body, by what essentially is an agency of the United Nations. At this time many of our hopes lie in the United Nations being able to increase its scope as a world authority and, more directly, in countries such as the Congo, to do what is needed to assist these new communities to get on their feet economically and politically. This kind of outstanding success for the World Bank and for Mr. Eugene Black and his colleagues is a source of immense hope.
I trust that out of this Agreement the World Bank will take fresh hope and that all those all over the world who wish success for the United Nations and its various agencies will feel inspired to go ahead and to try to do in other parts of the world what has been done in the Indus basin. I should like to see a scheme such as the great T.V A. scheme set up under United Nations auspices in the Middle East, and there are, no doubt, other areas in the world in which this kind of experiment, which has been brought to such a successful conclusion here, could be carried out. For those reasons, I very much welcome this opportunity to take part in the debate.
§ 12.1 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Gresham Cooke (Twickenham)
I should like to say a few words in support of the Bill, because I was in Karachi when the Indus Rivers Treaty was being signed, as was my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Sir M. Stoddart-Scott), who was present at the ceremonies. We were guests of Mr. Ahmed Jaffer, a former Member of Parliament, who is very interested in this scheme.
There are great reasons for satisfaction here, some of which have been mentioned today, not only in the settlement of this difficult problem but also in the hope which it gives for the future settlement of the Kashmir problem. While I was there, people in Pakistan hoped that a settlement would be reached of the Kashmir dispute, but that was not to be, despite the fact that President Ayub and Mr. Nehru had talks on the matter. The door was, however, left open.
1389 There is another special factor about which we can be pleased, and it is that there has been a feeling in Pakistan that the United Kingdom has not done enough for Pakistan in comparison with what she has done for India, for large amounts of aid have been given to India. There was a feeling that Pakistan had been left out in the cold, but I think that the grant which we are making here has done a great deal to dispel that feeling.
It is commonly said and thought that we are not doing enough to help the under-developed countries, but this is an example of what we are doing. I know that it is sometimes thought that Russia is doing a great deal to help the underdeveloped countries. So she is, but the United States and ourselves are doing ten times as much as the Russians are doing for the under-developed countries, and that fact should be widely recognised.
The part which the World Bank has played in this Agreement has been significant. While I was in Karachi the name of Mr. W. A. B. Iliff, of the World Bank, and his patient work over the years was widely recognised and much appreciated.
With those few words I should like to say how much, as a visitor to that part of the world, I welcome this very favourable Bill.
§ 12.5 p.m.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)
The Bill will be supported and welcomed on both sides of the House. It will be welcomed because of the project itself and the help it will give to so many millions of people, but also because it represents an agreement between two members of the Commonwealth, who, in other fields, have been in disagreement, and also because the Agreement has been made possible as a result of the intervention and assistance of an international authority. I welcome it as an important illustration of the way in which international co-operation is being developed in these days when so many people talk of the continuance of the tensions of the cold war.
The hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet), pointed out that we in this country are making our contribution in the form of a grant and that other countries are not doing it in the same way. While not necessarily wishing to minimise the generosity of other 1390 countries in making contributions, nevertheless, it is a view which has been expressed on this side of the House repeatedly that, particularly when we are dealing with non-commercial development and when we are seeking to build up the infrastructure of development in under-developed countries, this is a field in which outright contributions should be made, so that the burden is not placed on the countries being developed.
I should like to see this example followed far more widely. We on this side of the House have pleaded time and again for the establishment of a world development authority under the United Nations which would be in a position to request all members of the United Nations to make their contribution and which would be governed and controlled by all members of the United Nations and not by any particular section of it. It is unfortunate that the World Bank is not supported by the Communist countries. It is a pity that they do not support it, but I am sure that if we could establish a world development authority we should have the full participation of all members of the United Nations and we should cease to have this distinction between different sides in the cold war in giving aid where it is required.
We should also cease to have any distinction between the givers and the recipients in control of the organisation providing the aid. We want an organisation in which there is real equality of control between the haves and have-nots, between the givers and the recipients, as well as between those who support one or other side of the cold war or those who support neither.
Hon. Members on both sides of the House have talked frequently of the idea of world government as a distant ideal at which to aim. The fact is that we are seeing world government beginning to come into existence before our very eyes. This kind of international co-operation, through an international institution, is an example of it, and what is happening in the Congo and elsewhere provides a further illustration of the fact that we are already beginning to see the United Nations become a supranational authority in which citizens of the world are carrying out their obligations to that authority rather than to a nation state.
If I may be allowed to do so, I should like to take the opportunity to pay a 1391 tribute, in which I hope the whole House will join, to those in the Congo who recently laid down their lives—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I do not like to have to stop the hon. Member from paying tributes, but I have great difficulty in getting the Congo within the rules of order.
§ Mr. Warbey
With great respect, Sir, I was suggesting that the Bill was an example of the development of world co-operation and the principle of world government, and I went on to say that this conception of world government, both economic and political, is already beginning to develop and is no longer merely a distant idea at which we should aim.
I would think it appropriate to say that some of those whom we regard as our fellow-citizens, members of the Irish Republic, have fought and died to help in establishing the principle that there is today a loyalty of individuals and of nations towards an international body, and that the international body eventually may have the authority which we all desire to see it have. I welcome the Bill as a step in that direction.
§ 12.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)
I shall detain the House for only one moment or two to echo the welcome given from both sides to the Bill and particularly the hope that it will lead eventually to something much greater—that is, the settlement of the Kashmir dispute and any other outstanding differences which there may be between these two great members of the Commonwealth.
I want also, however, to echo the slight qualms expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) that there are no strings attached to the loans given by the United States in this matter, because we have had experience in the past of such strings being attached to similar undertakings.
In page 3, paragraph 2, the White Paper states:Except where the Bank, on grounds of efficiency or economy, agrees otherwise, all goods required for the plan will be procured on the basis of international competition.1392 I hope that it will be completely fair competition. If my hon. Friend the Minister of State speaks again, I wonder whether he can give such an assurance and, also, that the Government will be watchful against anything unfair as a result of the admittedly generous help which is coming from several countries to finance this great scheme.
§ 12.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Alport
Perhaps I might reply briefly to the one or two points which have been raised. First, I was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) why it was necessary to introduce a Bill for this purpose rather than to carry the amount on the Departmental Vote. The reasons are twofold.
First, the Bank wants to know now the whole amount which will be authorised by the United Kingdom Parliament covering the whole period of ten years. Therefore, it is necessary to do it by way of a Bill.
Secondly, this is a grant of what, I think the House recognises, is a substantial amount of money. We felt, therefore, that in those circumstances, it was only right and proper that it should be marked by the introduction of an appropriate Bill of this nature. It also gives both to the House and to the country an opportunity of recognising the significance of the occasion rather than having the provision of the money hidden away in the rather obscure pages of a Departmental Vote.
The second comment of hon. Members concerned the question of grants and loans. I think I am right in saying that the International Bank is not authorised to make grants and, therefore, its contribution to the scheme could only be by way of a loan. Also, I understand, the contribution of the United States is a combination of grant and loan. The House will recognise that without the generosity of the United States in this matter it would have been impossible to bring the financing of the project to a successful conclusion.
§ Mr. Marquand
Is it not correct to say that the United States is providing no less than 58 per cent.—well over half—of the total grants and, in addition, is providing 70 miliion dollars maximum by loan?
§ Mr. Alport
That is perfectly true. As the right hon. Gentleman said, and as I have just emphasised, the generosity of the United States in this matter has made it possible to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion.
The third point that was raised by hon. Members concerned Article VII, Section 7.01 (b), thatAll goods required for the Project shall be procured on the basis of international competition under arrangements satisfactory to the Administrator. …The Administrator, I understand, will be an official of the Bank. The Bank has, as its policy right from the start, maintained the principle of open international tender and I feel that the House can have every confidence in the fact that the Bank will carry out its responsibilities through its Administrator in these circumstances in a way which would be fair to all those who are participating. Certainly, that is the spirit in which we would approach the matter.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Noble.]
§ Committee upon Monday next.