§ 3.30 p.m.
§ Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Wavertree)
I beg to move,That this House, noting that the Secretary-General of the United Nations defines its rôle in a split world as the localisation of conflicts and the elimination of power vacuums between the major blocs, and conscious of the continuing series of emergencies in which United Nations help has been sought in the Sinai Peninsula, Lebanon, Laos, and the Congo, and the possibility of many future emergencies, together with the advisability of reducing the danger of outside interference in the internal affairs of States, calls attention to the need for an improvement in the instruments of action of the United Nations and in particular to the creation of an international police force of 20,000 men.I am grateful even for the short time that the providence of the Ballot has given me which enables me to bring to the attention of the House a most important problem at a time which I believe to be very apposite.
Much has been said about houses for old people today, but it will not be any good if those houses are destroyed in war. Not that an international police force is likely to be a major guarantee of peace, but at any rate it is a step forward to an international order. Not that my Motion calls for a world security authority, though I would call the attention of the House to the booklet from the Conservative Political Centre dealing with this matter, to the words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in March, 1955, and to the Defence White Paper of 1958. Especially would I call attention to the words of my right hon. Friend, now Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, who in discussing a general agreement for the preventing of war when he was Minister of Defence, said, in a speech in this House on 10th June, 1958:To carry out this agreement, a world security authority would have to be set up under the United Nations. Its functions would be to supervise the process of disarmament, to prevent any rearming thereafter and to deal with any acts of aggression by the disarmed countries. In order to carry out these functions, the authority would ned two instruments; an international arms inspectorate and an international police force.Later my right hon. Friend said:As a safeguard against bad faith, it would be absolutely essential—this is a point I wish to emphasise—2017 and I should like to emphasise it too—that the authority, with its international inspectorate and police force should be fully established before the actual process of disarmament began."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th June, 1958; Vol. 589, c. 76–7.]This Motion is only a means to endeavour to improve the efficiency of the United Nations, and I believe it is far more useful than any sit-down demonstration in Whitehall or some dingy gathering to protest against what is happening at Holy Loch.
I realise that there are some people outside this House, as well as some hon. Members, who do not wish to improve the standing of the United Nations. But I believe that the United Nations has come to stay and that somehow we have to win the ideological battle in the United Nations and bring in the uncommitted world to our side. The ideological war may make the Hundred Years War seem merely like an historical battle. Even if it is said that neither the Soviet Union nor other countries want to strengthen the United Nations or to create a permanent international police force, I suspect that, with the balance of arms about equal, they will concentrate more on policies in the social and economic planes. Therefore, it is in their interests as well as ours to reduce the number of dangerous flash-points in the world that may spark off some conflagration. I am thinking particularly of the Irsael border, of Quemoy and Matsu, and especially of the Congo. There are certain areas, too, we are inclined to forget, such as Kashmir, and there is Berlin. I suspect that although the Communist world might wish to create civil commotion and trouble in many of the emerging territories, it does not wish to go so far as, say, the Spanish Civil War, with Great Powers intervening on either side.
I think I have said enough to call attention to my view that many further calls may be made on the United Nations Forces. Are we really satisfied with the set-up of the present forces? The first truly international one was the United Nations emergency force in Sinai. The new one—in this alphabetical age, known as U.N.O.C., the United Nations force in the Congo—is very nearly 19,000 strong. That, of course, takes into account the 5,000 or so troops from Indonesia, Guinea, the United Arab Re- 2018 public and Morocco who during this month will be withdrawn. U.N.E.F. is over 5,000, so already we have more than 20,000 actually in operation in two parts of the world. They are composed of national contingents which may be withdrawn at the whim of any Government which dislikes United Nations policy. They have no proper intelligence, no common language, they have not been trained to work together, and they have only a kind of ad hoc general staff. I think they have an extremely difficult job.
I do not believe their fairly constantly changing directive is the ideal, for by interfering in the internal affairs of the Congo they have possibly prevented a strong Congo Government from appearing. On the other hand, they have also prevented outside interference and that, I believe, is the most important thing that any United Nations force can do. Therefore, I welcome what they have done as very much better than nothing at all. Obviously this particular instrument of action of the United Nations can be very much improved.
I wish to refer the House to an all-party pamphlet published as long ago as 1957 as the result of a commission which sat under the chairmanship of the then Lord Pakenham, now Lord Longford, on which sat my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett), my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) and also the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), as well as many others. We pointed out at that time that if a permanent force had been available in October, 1956, Israel would have had no argument about invading the Sinai Peninsula and possibly, therefore, the Suez episode might never have taken place.
I agree that there are countries like India and the U.S.S.R. which are likely to object to such a force, but I would point out to them and to those of my hon. Friends who dislike the idea of United Nations so-called interference that this force would only come into a country at the request of the government of that country. It would not be strong enough either to enter into conflict with the national forces or to do anything except self-defence. It would be more a moral than a physical force, 2019 although it would be armed with the best side arms available.
I personally feel that one of the main troubles with the present set-up of an international force is that it is composed of national contingents. I should like to see some permanent, individually recruited, force, although obviously there would have to be a time lag during which national contingents would have to be used until the small international cadre was gradually extended. The primary advantage of the light force would be its availability to take up a position between opposing national armies and to garrison areas of potential conflict. That is exactly what U.N.E.F. is doing at present.
I see no reason why sovereignty should be heavily impinged, because only when an individual State has asked for such a force would it come in. I have not time to go into the detail of how I believe that some form of military council would have to be set up under which such a force would operate. But in this pamphlet there is a long appendix giving full details about our views.
I wish to draw particular attention to the need, not only for such a force to come between opposing armies, but to see that order is kept during plebiscites, such as the one in the Saar, or during elections which ultimately may take place were Germany, Korea, Vietnam or other divided countries to be reunited. I believe that two of these paragraphs are almost prophetic when it is remembered that they were written four years ago. It is stated:It has been suggested that a Light Force might, at a later stage, also undertake permanent policing duties within a state at the request of its government and with the consent of the United Nations"—very similar to what happened in the Congo.This service might be particularly useful for newly independent nations which had not yet fully developed their own police and armed forces. On the other hand, the greatest care would be necessary that the force was neither used nor suspected of being used to maintain a government in power which in its absence would be deposed. The commander of a force composed of national quotas can never be certain that one or more quotas will not be withdrawn under the instructions of their national governments. Some may, indeed, belong to states which are parties to, or have an interest in, the dispute which is receiving the attention of the force. Nor 2020 will he have a homogeneous unit with uniform organisation, language or equipment. Apart from the more obvious difficulties, experience shows that divorce between administrative and operational command is, in the long run, impracticable".We went on to consider the composition of such a force, of how it should be a corps d'élite of fine physique and of better scholastic standards than are commonly found in the average nationalist army—
§ Mr. Tilney
—and the ability to learn the operational language of the force. I believe that there would be many volunteers. My hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) seems to pour scorn on President Kennedy's peace corps, but I should have thought that there was much to be said for it. Only with the approval of the national governments concerned would volunteers be allowed to join such a force.
I hardly have time to go into detail about the logistics of such a force. At first it would be necessary for many senior officers to be seconded from their national armies. It would be essential that they should have the best of side arms, armoured cars and reconnaissance aircraft. They should have their own transport and a base, and an area in which they could train. They must have some common military, criminal and civil code under which they should operate. I certainly think that they should be prepared, for the time they stay in such a force, to surrender their nationality, which they would get back on retirement.
Of course, it would cost a certain amount of money, but I believe that it would be a small premium to pay as an assurance against a much larger disaster for the world. I believe, too, that there are means that have not yet been thought out of improving the finances of the United Nations. The Congo Force, I believe, is costing something like 120 million dollars a year, and therefore something very drastic will have to be done to find the United Nations the finance, which is so very important. There are possible levies that could be made on the canals that are used for world trade, and by the 2021 exploitation of the sea bed. All these things, which are in the future, should be considered. I do not see how the United Nations can expect to operate efficiently unless it is assured of regular revenue in the form of a rolling programme for five or ten years, rather than on a year-to-year basis.
I believe, too, that if the Government were to take the lead in the United Nations and propose such a sort of international force, they would receive a tremendous backing from many of the smaller countries, in fact, from the bulk of them, for it has to be borne in mind that the scales of Justice are vain without her sword. If we are to have a peace corps, on which my hon. Friend pours scorn, I see no reason why we should not have a police corps too. I believe that it is a British interest that such a force should be prepared, trained and kept ready for further emergencies. I believe it is a world interest, and that, should the force regularly increase in strength, the United Nations really could become the true instrument for the protection of the weak and perform its prime task of maintaining peace with justice.
§ 3.49 p.m.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)
I feel that the House will be most grateful to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) for having drawn our attention to these matters. We have just been passing through a week in which there has been a two-day defence debate, and we also had last night until a very late hour a discussion on the Navy Estimates.
Colossal sums have been voted by this House for defence—£1.,655 million in one year on defence—and exactly the same thing is taking place in civilised countries all over the world, with the result that the standards of living available to mankind at present are just being thrown away on completely unproductive expenditure on arms, which never seems to give the slightest security to those who spend them, and, indeed, it can be said from one point of view actually to take away the security which we all want to see established.
I think that it is particularly suitable, therefore, that at the present time we in this House, having this business on our hands at this moment, should consider 2022 ways in which it might be possible to turn this expenditure into more fruitful, more productive channels, channels which will raise the standards of the human race instead of bringing us ever nearer to the edge of disaster.
The hon. Member for Wavertree has drawn our attention to one of the ways —indeed, I would submit, the only way—in which this can be done. He is asking particularly for the establishment of a permanent force. I could not agree more with him when he said that in its ideal state it should be an individually recruited force of individuals owing their allegiance, because they would have discarded their old nationality, to the world instead of to individual nations.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I feel sure that he will agree with me that the establishment of this force is merely just a minimum step in the direction of the creation of world institutions which can keep the peace. [Interruption.] I think that it is very amusing that on this peaceful Friday we should have this influx of the Tory backwoodsmen coming to scoff—
§ Mr. Mallalieu
Will the hon. Member allow me to finish my sentence?—scoff at progressive ideas towards world order, just as if, in this country, no one with any historical sense could see that we have had to go through just the same sort of things before until we got rid of the little kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria and the rest and eventually established the King's peace, which it took quite a long time to establish.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
Is the hon. and learned Member seriously suggesting that any of Her Majesty's subjects should be encouraged to throw off their allegiance?
§ Mr. Mallalieu
Colonel Blimp personified. Of course, in the interests of all humanity Englishmen would be prepared to sacrifice a great deal more even than that. I am quite sure of it. None of us is ashamed of his nationality. On the contrary, I think we are very proud of it, but we are even prouder to think that we can use our whole being as English men or British men, whoever we may be, in the service of humanity in general. And this is a way in which it can be done.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
The noble Lord says it means nothing at all. He laughs at Kennedy's peace boys. I think Kennedy's peace boys are a most admirable idea, but I submit that it would be very much better if instead of having Kennedy's peace boys coming only from the United States they came from all the countries and were channelled, as it were, through the United Nations, one central organisation.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
Would the hon. and learned Member please say what thousands, perhaps millions, of British subjects residing overseas in the Commonwealth and Empire are doing out there if they are not doing a fine job of trying to raise the standards of living of the people amongst whom they are living, and doing what we have been doing for generations? Is that not a far greater concept than what President Kennedy is recommending for Africa and the Far East?
§ Mr. Mallalieu
Well, of course, I happen to be one of those whose privilege it is to go abroad into our former territories, now happily, many of them, members of the British Commonwealth, to see the remarkably good work which is done by British people out there and which has been done for very many years. Certain rather unpopular derogatory words, such as colonialism and imperialism, are used about their activities by those who tend to forget that they have done a good job overseas. I know it, and I very much deplore, though I fully recognise how it comes about, that these activities should be described as the 100 per cent. exploiting of peoples abroad, peoples with less privileges, endowed with less wealth and less education and knowledge than even those who come—
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
Having said just that, does the hon. and learned Member not realise and confirm, in face of what I have said and he has acknowledged to be true, the extreme naivety of President Kennedy's proposal?
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I do not think that it is naive at all. It is merely another approach. He is trying to do something which we have been doing for a great many years. He is taking the first halt- 2024 ing steps in the direction in which we have been going for a long time. The only submission I make is that it would be far better if these efforts were channelled through the United Nations rather than that they should appear to be yet another form of exploitation by the West of under-privileged peoples.
The hon. Member for Wavertree has directed our attention towards possible evolution out of the United Nations of something which might be able to keep the peace. As I have said, I agree that his permanent force is the first minimum step which must be taken in this direction. It is so obvious that I simply do not understand—doubtless that is my fault—how it could be that anybody who has read the history of this country could say that that is not exactly the course which should be followed by the world these centuries later.
It was in Tudor times that the King's peace finally became established. We have had several hundred years of evolution since then and it is about time we had the concept of the King's peace spread over the whole world so that we can dispense with the silly nonsense of the Prime Minister saying to the House that he wants total and complete disarmament, but that Khrushchev will not have it, and of Khrushchev banging his desk at the United Nations and saying that he wants total disarmament, but the others will not have it. Some machinery has to be devised by Which both these people can see that they are entitled, having regard to the duties they owe to their own people, to rid themselves of arms and of the burdens that go with them, because they will be given security in exchange.
How, it may be asked, is that to come about? How can one possibly get rid of one's arms without security? There is a way in which it might possibly be done. One can speak only tentatively of these matters, because they have not really been pushed by Governments. This is the moment to push them; the moment when Khrushchev not only says he wants to get rid of his armaments, but says that once a treaty has been signed saying that the nations intend to get rid of their arms any scheme one likes can then be devised for supervision and he will accept it.
2025 That was possibly said in the heat of banging the desk, and may not strictly be accurate. However, it shows the way he is thinking. This is the moment when Her Majesty's Government should take up the remarks that have been made by the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, each of whom has said that he believes that unless we have a world security authority, with a world force to support it capable of going in to stop war and of keeping the peace, we shall never get disarmament, or have security or peace. Now is the time that we should go to the United Nations and make a proposal.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. J. B. Godber)
The hon. and learned Member, I am sure, is aware that this was part of the Western disarmament plan and was re-embodied in the proposals put forward at the 1960 Ten-Nations Disarmament Committee, 2026 which showed that the Government are fully behind these proposals.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I give full credit to the Government in that respect. They have come a very long way—I will say my way of thinking—towards the thinking of very large numbers of hon. Members who are members of the World Government Group and who have thought out quite a careful scheme along these lines, which, if it were only proposed by several important Governments at the United Nations, might rally the world once more to a centre around which peace could be built. Further—
§ It being Four o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.