§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call upon the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), may I repeat that many hon. Members want to speak in the debate. More than 20 back benchers have already indicated to me their desire to catch my eye. With a little compression, it should be possible to call most of them. Yesterday one back bencher spoke for 25 minutes and another for 22 minutes, and the latter would not believe that he had spoken for so long. Therefore, may I ask for a degree of conciseness and an eye on the clock.
§ 3.52 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I beg to move, That the Vote be reduced by £5. We are discussing the salary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and his Ministers, and we are very grateful to them for being here.
I am told that the usual form is to move a reduction by £5. I do not think that many of my hon. Friends would regard that as very appropriate. Indeed, it seemed to me that, allowing for the depreciation of the value of the pound since the Government came to office, the electors of Manchester Exchange might think that £1,000 would be more appropriate. If you would allow me to move a reduction by that sum later, 1738 Mr. Speaker, I should be very happy to do so.
§ Mr. Speaker
It was the Procedure Committee that recommended in 1965–66 that the sum should always be £5. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will comply with that procedure.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I have had to accept that I must move a reduction by that derisory sum, Mr. Speaker, but I am sure that the country will feel that it does not begin to represent the depths of its disillusionment.
I shall have harsh things to say about the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's conduct of affairs a little later, but I am sure that my hon. Friends will agree to my felicitating him on the approach of his seventieth birthday next month. We do so genuinely. Our personal good wishes to the right hon. Gentleman are completely unaffected by what we have to say about his policy and his Administration. The right hon. Gentleman's honesty and sense of public service are a model to us all, and we gladly congratulate him on this anniversary.
The Government and the Conservative Central Office have apparently decided to make a great occasion of it, and so they should. But the naughty thought crossed my mind that perhaps they are preparing a niche for the right hon. Gentleman in the Pantheon of Conservative heroes. I seem to remember the same process of Stanley Baldwin and later Winston Churchill being enveloped in the Conservative Party's love. I can only hope for the right hon. Gentleman's sake that the same process is not now about to happen to him.
My suspicions were even greater when I heard of the great birthday party on Monday evening. I was reminded of that very amusing film "Some Like it Hot", starring Marilyn Monroe, in which the gangsters of New York had no idea how to get rid of their principal rival. So they invited him to a whacking great birthday party, in the middle of which they wheeled in a tremendous birthday cake on a trolley. As our hero went up to cut the first slice, the top of the cake flew open and a man with a Thompson machine gun emerged and sprayed him with bullets.
1739 That was the end of our hero. If I were the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary at that birthday party on Monday, I should watch the birthday cake very closely. We hope that he will be with us for a long time to come.
The right hon. Gentleman was good enough yesterday to send me a copy of his speech, and that has given me the opportunity of reflecting on it. I am much obliged to him. He emphasised the theme of change, repeated change, widespread change. If there was another sub-theme that emerged throughout the speech, it was that of advising us all to keep calm and to keep cool. Those were the thoughts that emerged on many occasions.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke, for example, of the rather shrill rhetoric in the United States about its problems with Europe, which should give way to a calm examination of the facts. But in talking about world trade he did not refer, as I understood his speech, to the apparent exclusion of the Common Agricultural Policy from the talks and negotiations that are about to take place, particularly those that are to take place later in the GATT. The right hon. Gentleman can hardly expect the United States to approach the discussions in a calm and philosophical frame of mind if one of its principal objections to the developing policies of Europe is that of being excluded from the negotiations.
I do not think that this is a very suitable debate for us to discuss the matter in detail. What the Opposition ask from the Government is that there shall be a separate day for the discussion of the very important GATT negotiations, which will determine the future trade of the world and determine to what extent we can look for a prosperous world.
Then, according to The Times report, he advised us, in connection with the negotiations between the EEC and the developing countries to replace the present Yaoundé Convention, that:Here again emotions would have to be kept out of the way. Everybody realised that the Community could be of benefit".In the case of Greece and Portugal he says that there is a need to keep calm. He asked:How would a drastic blow to the security of the West, exposing the Portuguese seaboard of the Atlantic Alliance and the south-east 1740 corner of Europe, result in a change of the internal policies of those two countries? Foreign policy and defence are matters too serious to be conducted on the basis of emotional reactions to aspects of other Government's policies over which we have no control.I do not think that a little genuine indignation would come amiss in the Foreign Secretary's approach to the problems of either Greece or Portugal. Many people take the view that the combined expression of opinion and condemnation by the EEC and the NATO countries would have a considerable impact on Greek public opinion. I understand that some of our NATO allies take that stand, but we seem to be lagging behind.
In what the right hon. Gentleman said I can read nothing which expresses the views that have come from both sides, particularly from the Opposition, about the absence of democratic procedures, about the arbitrary arrests that are taking place in Greece today, or about the attitude towards the Portuguese in the celebration of the alliance. [Interruption.] Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to make my speech in my own way.
When I read the words again, and I think of them in the context of the 1930s, they seem to me to make a perfect defence for the attitude of the Government at that time:Foreign policy and defence are matters too serious to be conducted on the basis of emotional reactions to aspects of other Governments' policies over which we have no control.We awoke almost too late last time when we took that line of non-intervention. I wish the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary had found it possible to express the indignation and concern felt in the West about what is going on.
In any case, even on the right hon. Gentleman's own test, I wonder whether it is true that Greece is capable of playing an effective rôle in NATO. I should be glad if the Minister who is to reply would tell me whether the information I have been given is correct. I understand that the Greek navy has a total of 34 ships, not all of them in service. Five of the captains of the 13 destroyers have been arrested, and one has sought asylum in Italy. Seven commanders of the torpedo boat fleet of 15 have been arrested, and all six commanders of the submarine fleet of six vessels have been arrested.
1741 Leave aside the morality of the situation, leave aside the need to express an opinion about what we think of that kind of behaviour by the Greek colonels, does that sound like an effective force, in which all the submarine fleet, if not immobilised, at least has been seriously denuded of its experienced commanders? I urge the right hon. Gentleman to give an expression and to give a lead to European opinion on these matters. If my information is right I believe that we can exercise influence on Greek opinion. By no means all the means of communication have closed with that country.
We are to discuss the French nuclear tests on Monday. The China tests have come too late for the right hon. Gentleman to express an opinion about them. I regret very much that his voice has been muffled when the Commonwealth has been speaking out. It is due to a false sense of need perhaps not to keep in line with France but not to be openly antagonistic. It is a matter of great regret if we have to choose between the Commonwealth and France on this matter.
I speak for the people of this country when I say that they would prefer to hear the right hon. Gentleman speaking out openly and clearly and condemning the French nuclear tests not only on behalf of New Zealand and Australia but on behalf of those people who live and who are indigenous to that part of the world.
The right hon. Gentleman is asking us to be calm, unemotional and open-minded. I was reminded of that when I read his speech this morning. I was also reminded that a few days ago my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) took up a point which I had made and had presented to the right hon. Gentleman about the Law of the Sea Conference. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson) has also raised the matter—namely, the British attitude to the Law of the Sea Conference.
Where do we stand? We are a seagoing nation with great traditions. In the past we have played a part in arranging and helping international settlement of these affairs. In fact, the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) took up the matter and not my hon.
1742 Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland, who is also present.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am sure that my hon. Friend did so, and with even greater eloquence. My hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sunderland, the hon. Member for Inverness and myself, if I may modestly include myself, were saying to the right hon. Gentleman, "Please tell us what the British attitude will be when you go to the Law of the Sea Conference? Shall we stick to the three mile limit or shall we go for a 12-mile limit? Shall we say that there must be an extension to a 30-mile limit?" A whole range of options is open. The right hon. Gentleman replied that he did not think that we should want to lay down a position before the International Conference on the Law of the Sea assembles. He thought that it would be better to go to the conference with a fairly open mind and to negotiate something reasonable.
That will not do. The law of the seabed, the mining of the minerals which are to be found, fishing and the degree of pollution are all matters on which Britain should take a strong position. That is especially the case when—and I remind the right hon. Gentleman once again—we have taken a lead in the past on these matters. But no, we shall be going to the conference with a fairly open mind.
Yesterday, when discussing Helsinki, the right hon. Gentleman was asked what would follow the discussions which are to take place in Helsinki and how any agreement which is reached can be consolidated. The right hon. Gentleman replied that we have an open mind on the possibilities. Calmness, coolness and open-mindedness can be taken to the point when it can be asked whether there is any opinion at all.
Let us consider Rhodesia. No doubt there is a case for saying, "Let the Rhodesians and the Africans get together. Maybe that should be so. Maybe we should sit back and wait for them to develop negotiations and the agreement which they must come to at some time. It may be right to counsel calmness, open-mindedness, patience and coolness, in relation to some problems in some areas. I am sure that is right. 1743 But it cannot be right in all cases. Other middle-ranking countries like this country have clear, active, positive policies. They do not hesitate to state their positions and to give a lead.
Whatever views hon. Members may take on France's attitude, there is a clear example of a middle-sized country which knows what it wants and where it is going. France has shown how much leverage such a country can exercise.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The right hon. Gentleman does not seem to appreciate that. Perhaps he will tell me why middle-sized countries should not try to exercise the leverage which their influence permits. If he does not choose to do so, then my proposition stands.
I am not saying and nor am I arguing about the way in which influence should be exercised. I am not claiming that France is necessarily exercising its influence in the best way. I am saying to the right hon. Gentleman that instead of being inert the French are playing a positive rôle. I am saying that a middle-sized country, if it chooses to exercise its influence, can exercise a great deal of leverage. I am complaining that apart from the one great spasm to get us into Europe we seem to have been drifting on all other fronts with an open-minded calm, and cool approach to all problems whilst others take the lead. British foreign policy under the right hon. Gentleman has the glacial coolness and inertness of Scottish salmon stretched out on the fishmonger's slab.
I shall mention two considerable areas of agreement. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman's assessment of Asia. It seems that China is seeking non-alignment in South-East Asia. Recently I had the good fortune to visit that area. It is true to say that China is not employing a forward strategy. China is attempting to withdraw. It would much prefer to see Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam detached from the West but not necessarily attached to China.
On the other hand, it is true to say that the United States is actively promoting a policy of disengagement in that area. If that is so, there are better prospects for peace in Vietnam, Laos and 1744 Cambodia than we have seen for many years past. Of course, the communists in Vietnam, and President Thieu, will continue with their internal struggle for power. The fact that the Chinese and, as the right hon. Gentleman says, the United States—I assume that there is no disagreement about this—are pulling back from the area does not mean that all the tensions will be removed.
It was quite clear to me when I was on the spot that President Thieu is much more durable than many people give him credit for. Further, it is clear that the communists believe that in the end President Thieu's system will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.
There are millions of people in that area who do not support President Thieu or the communists. If only a third force could be created, such as was provided in the Paris agreement between Le Duc Tho and Dr. Kissinger, there is no doubt that it would probably represent a majority view. Although the prospects of great power involvement are much less than they were and to that extent, the prospect that the area will not become the scene of a potential war is made a little better, why has not the right hon. Gentleman made any progress so far in the recognition of North Vietnam?
I put that question to him on my return from North Vietnam with a Labour Party delegation in the early spring. He indicated that he was examining the problem and that it would arise in due time. What is the reason for the delay? Is recognition supposed to be some sort of prize for good behaviour? Is North Vietnam on trial to see whether it will live up to the Paris agreement? If so, it may be that we shall have to wait a long time. I hope that that is not the position.
Our influence at the moment with North Vietnam is negligible. I accept that we have a man stationed out there. He has been given a car in which to ride but a very small petrol allowance. He mostly uses a bicycle when he makes his reports. He does so not to the Prime Minister of North Vietnam but to the municipal authority. Perhaps the Prime Minister does not know that.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The right hon. Gentleman must not get too impatient. There are occasions when even the Prime Minister's Government is open to a little criticism. The Prime Minister need not sit here and be bored; he can go if he wants to.
I am sorry if I am boring the right hon. Gentleman but perhaps he would nevertheless like to listen and open his eyes for a second to what is happening in North Vietnam. His representative there has no official connection with the Government of North Vietnam. When the Labour Party delegation went there, we had to use the good offices of the Swedish Government to enable us to see the Prime Minister of North Vietnam because the British representative there is accredited—if that is the right word —to the municipality of the city. Is that boring? Does not the right hon. Gentleman understand the situation? Can he not see it through the eyes of people out there, such as other legations and embassies? He may laugh or think the whole thing boring but—and of course I would not want to involve his representative—no one concerned with that situation who is British comes out very well.
I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he wants to exercise influence or not. If Her Majesty's Government want to exercise influence they should recognise the accredited Government there, and when they do so perhaps they will be able to talk to the Prime Minister of North Vietnam and other leaders. That in no sense implies any moral approbation of the régime, but it implies the reality of the situation and the ability to discuss matters with a Government who can influence South-East Asia more than anyone else, except the Chinese or the Americans.
§ Mr. Patrick Cormack (Cannock)
What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. That also applies to Greece.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I said earlier that I thought that the Foreign Secretary should try to get a united EEC or NATO attitude on the subject of Greece, and that if that combined attitude resulted in a withdrawal of recognition from Greece and of the ambassadors it would have the most tremendous impact upon Greek public opinion. That view is held by 1746 many exiled Greeks. What we are discussing here is the best way to get the restoration of a democratic régime in Greece and not ways to influence the régime, which is what I am discussing in the case of North Vietnam.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I have given way to the hon. and gallant Gentleman on previous occasions. He seems to make a point of asking me to give way to him. I will do so again.
§ Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. Is it not a bit thick for him to lecture my right hon. Friend about lack of British influence east of Suez when the Labour Government abandoned our position east of Suez, despite what the then Foreign Secretary, Lord George-Brown, had said —that no country with a sense of international responsibility would do any such thing?
§ Mr. Callaghan
One day the hon. and gallant admiral will awaken to the fact that it is possible to exercise influence without having gunboats. The whole tenor of my argument is that in pursuing British policy we shall have to learn to exercise influence without our gunboats. I have already illustrated how France, which, as far as I know, has no troops east of Suez, manages to exercise and use a very considerable leverage.
I turn to the subject of the Middle East. The Foreign Secretary says, and no one can deny it, that the future there is depressing. I was glad to read that he still accepts the implementation of United Nations Resolution No. 242. There is no doubt that both Israel and Egypt are extremely sensitive at present, with the situation being debated in the United Nations. Our position becomes more important because, when the debate is resumed, I understand that the United Kingdom representative will be the President of the Security Council in July.
So far the debate at the United Nations has not produced any draft resolution or concrete proposal. I have not read all of 1747 it, but I believe that it demonstrates that peace in the Middle East will doubtfully be promoted by public debate and will be produced only by negotiations between the parties principally concerned. The basis for such negotiations exists already, as the right hon. Gentleman made clear again yesterday, in Resolution No. 242, sponsored by Britain, unanimously adopted by the Security Council, and accepted by both parties.
What I fear is—and my fear is shared to some extent by the Israeli representative—that the resolution could be seriously impaired, if not destroyed, if others should attempt to add to it or interpret it or otherwise tamper with it, directly or by implication. I do not wish to disturb any possibility of negotiation, even if any words of mine could. I think that perhaps the best thing we can do as a result of the United Nations debate, initiated by Egypt, is to ask once again the countries principally concerned, Egypt and Israel, to follow a step-by-step approach. This commends itself to the Opposition as the best tactic.
The United Nations could perhaps best help by providing help, as in the past, for a process which will achieve direct negotiations between the two main parties. The United States has recently called for an interim settlement. In my judgment I do not think that we can ever hope to get a one-stage settlement all tied up in pink ribbon. I believe that the process has to be achieved step by step. I hope that everything that we do will be directed to achieving that end. I do not differ from the statement of the Foreign Secretary on this point.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
My right hon. Friend has given further welcome to Resolution No. 242. Is he aware that it was embodied and amplified in a General Assembly resolution last December which was passed by 86 votes including the British, to 7 votes —the 7 being Israel and 6 of the smaller Latin-American countries? Can he explain—I understand that this has been publicly stated by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition—why the Opposition Front Bench opposed this resolution?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am not proposing to go any further on the question of the Middle East. I know that there are fierce 1748 protagonists on both sides of the issue. I do not happen to be one of them. I believe that it is our task to try to ensure that there are step-by-step negotiations. Both Israel and Egypt have legitimate claims. There are arguments about words and resolutions. I repeat that too much public debate on this issue will not help the parties to come together. What they need is a period of quiet. I apply this ordinance to myself in that I restrain myself in public utterances on the issue, although I have many private views, which I will gladly discuss with my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew).
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is in ebullient mood today. I hope he enjoyed his lunch.
I turn to the question of Rhodesia. The results of the latest mission and the reports and speeches I have read seem to show that no settlement is possible. I go further, and perhaps the Foreign Secretary has reached the same conclusion. It seems to me as an observer that the 1971 agreement in its present form is now comatose and will shortly be dead. I do not see how it can be implemented because the more time that elapses between when the agreement was made and when it is implemented, the weaker will be the prospects of implementing it unchanged. There will have to be substantial alterations to it.
There is the question of the detained Africans. Peter Niesewand, whose case for release we all supported, rightly, was lucky because world attention focused on him. But the House has the same responsibility towards those Africans, their names unknown here, who are detained in the same circumstances in the same conditions and by the same arbitrary behaviour but do not seem to have had the attention of the world's Press focused upon them. I know that the Foreign Secretary has made representations about these men before. I trust that he will continue to make fresh representations about them to the Rhodesian régime.
Secondly. I believe that we must now press for Africans to be brought into the constitution-making process. One day, as Sir Roy Welensky said recently—and it 1749 is strange to hear this from him, certainly for those of us who saw him 14 or 15 years ago—one day, he said, a black majority will rule and that day is perhaps closer than many people think. His thinking has undoubtedly changed since many of us went to Rhodesia in 1957. The longer this goes on without negotiations between the two parties, the worse will be the deterioration in relations between them.
I was reading that a Government Minister in Rhodesia said the other day that the determination and sense of purpose of the present attacks by the guerillas is greater than it has ever been. This is an accelerating process. It is surely a classic process in terms of the fighting of freedom movements and the giving way to violence if reasonableness does not seem to prevail. The Smith régime is fortunate in the sense that there are still many Africans, Bishop Muzorewa at their head, who are still willing and ready to speak in the accents of moderation and reason.
I understand that there is little we can do to influence Smith in this, but we must continue to make clear, as the Foreign Secretary has done, that if these 200,000 Europeans and their children wish to lead a happy and peaceful life, they must come to terms with the rising African nationalism before it is too late and before the situation gives way to something that will be intolerable for them.
The main burden of the Foreign Secretary's speech was naturally and rightly about the consequences, either foreseen or expected or hoped for, or feared perhaps by some, of the Nixon-Brezhnev meeting. The cold war is dead, it is said. We all hope so. It will take me a little time to adjust to that thought after 25 years of listening to the cold war being preached. When we think back through all those long periods—the blockade of Berlin, the Cuban missile crisis, the Berlin Wall, they are all engraved on the minds of all of us who have lived through this period—the cold war was a fact. It is a period through which we lived and the NATO and Warsaw pacts were a response to it.
We must approach this with caution. Mr. Brezhnev's policy was not, as far as I know, achieved unanimously in the USSR. It is at least possible that he will find himself attacked in his own country 1750 unless there are active signs of success for this policy. We have to take this into account. We do not have to do so sceptically. We have to make it more certain that Mr. Brezhnev's policy will succeed. In other words our attitude must be that if the policy fails, if it breaks down, if there is a change in attitude, if must not be our fault. We cannot guarantee what will happen inside the USSR, but we can at least ensure that we approach this new turn of events with hope, certainly with caution, but also with a determination to make it succeed as far as lies in our power.
If it succeeds then it will have profound consequences for the improvement of our relations. It will decrease the prospects of war. It could lift the great burden of arms expenditure. I read the other day that a recent UN survey showed that the total cost of the world's armed forces is equal to one-third of the total income of the human race. It is an astonishing figure. Put in that way we can see what a lifting of the arms burden could mean to a raising of the standard of life. To put it another way, we spend 30 times as much on arms as we spend on official aid. We shall watch the progress at Helsinki in July and at the arms disarmament conference on 30th October with great hope for mankind.
We are looking for a positive approach to these problems. We should take the chance to improve our relations with the USSR. The Foreign Secretary said yesterday that they were a vitally important element in his policy. All I can say is that I do not think he is making much of a fist of it at the moment. Mr. Brezhnev has been to Washington. He has visited Bonn and Paris. When is he to be invited to London?
§ Mr. Callaghan
That is the true voice of Conservatism speaking. "Let us always lap in the rear, let us always be behind everyone else." I notice that in his talks with Mr. Brezhnev, as they are reported in the Press, President Pompidou has not given way on any points which he thinks are vital to the interest of France. Does the hon. Member not trust the Foreign Secretary to meet him. Is that why we should not talk? Are we so uncertain about our 1751 own stance? Do we not understand that it is our job to present our position to Mr. Brezhnev? Why not invite him? Why has he been to all the other principal capitals in Europe and the new world but not here?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for pointing out the obvious conclusion.
I hope Mr. Brezhnev will be invited soon and will come here. It is high time he did. I hope that he will be exposed even to the hon. Member for Cannock (Mr. Cormack). [HON. MEMBERS: "Not that."] After all he has dealt with a lot of Republican businessmen in Washington and I guess that if he can deal with them he will eat the hon. Member before breakfast.
§ Mr. Cormack
The right hon. Gentleman could certainly be eaten before breakfast by Mr. Brezhnev. If Mr. Brezhnev comes to London perhaps he will listen to some of the representations made in this country about the way in which certain citizens of the Soviet Union are treated. Perhaps when the right hon. Gentleman is upbraiding the Greek Government and talking in eulogistic terms of North Vietnam, he will spare a word of derision for the way in which freedom is controlled in that country.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I would want to see such things discussed with Mr. Brezhnev, in a spirit of détente. As I understand it, some pertinent questions were put to Mr. Brezhnev during his visit to Washington by Members of Congress on precisely such points. It is surely best if we could have such a meaningful discussion. What I am complaining of is that he has not been asked. It is high time he was.
Some of the matters which we need to discuss, not only with the USSR, but with Eastern Europe generally, are such things as the freedom of movement of citizens in and out of countries, the arrest 1752 and trial of political prisoners in those countries and the growth of the media and the capacity to express freedom. Does the hon. Member for Cannock disagree with any of that? Why do the Government funk meeting him? What is the objection?
§ Mr. Callaghan
We did and the Russians came. Some frank views were expressed. I am interested to hear the reaction of Conservative Members to this. It bears out the view of them that I frequently hear expressed in Europe that from the Prime Minister downwards, they are all backward in an understanding of the spirit developing there today. They are showing themselves unfitted—and the Foreign Secretary has never in any way shown himself fitted—to conduct this dialogue. We do not have to agree with those with whom we discuss matters. Otherwise the Prime Minister and I would never meet in this House. If the West has a position, if Britain has a case, if social democracy means anything, and it will increasingly mean something if we are to live in the atmosphere of détente, it is high time we were talking. I put it in this way, and I must say I do not think that Conservative Members will understand, but I believe my hon. Friends will. It was made clear to me by the Russians when we discussed it that détente will mean that there will be better relations between Governments but that this will not stop them or prevent them preaching their own ideology or their own social system. That struggle will go on. Do not we have an answer to that struggle? We on this side of the House believe that we do. We believe that the form of democratic Socialism that is growing not only in this country but elsewhere is the best answer to the form of Communism. So let us argue it out with them.
There is a growing wish—I had the good fortune last weekend to be in France, and I beg hon. Members to try to understand the claims by workers in different countries—to take greater control over their own resources and their own means of production, and to have a different relationship with their machine. It is not confined to militant trade unionists in this country. The solutions 1753 take different forms. In the EEC the solution for transforming this relationship is called participation. In this country the solution advocated by many people in the trade union movement is nationalisation. In the case of France it seems to me that there is growing up a system which 60 years ago G. D. H. Cole would have called syndicalism. But I beg even the hon. and gallant Member for Winchester (Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles), who so often sits laughing, to understand that here is a change, a transition, taking place in people's attitudes to the relationship between the worker and his means of production; and unless we understand that and argue it out with the Communists, we in this country have very little chance of ensuring that we are standing on firm ground. I would be prepared to take that stand and to argue it with them, even if the hon. and gallant Member does not show a sense of occasion in being willing to do so.
§ The Prime Minister
The right hon. Gentleman has come to a very important part of his speech on which I must interrupt him on one important point. This Government have always been willing to discuss international affairs, and indeed any problems of the kind he has just mentioned, with any Government. If he wants one example alone of major importance, it is this Government who have brought about full diplomatic relations with Peking, with whom we have had discussions, and on which I was talking with the Foreign Minister of that country only a fortnight ago; and on which I myself have had an invitation to go to Peking.
If the right hon. Gentleman looks back he will find that in the autumn of 1971 relations between this country and the Soviet Union became strained but that was not through any wish of this country or this Government. The results of that are now diminishing, I am glad to say. This Government have always shown themselves willing to discuss. For example, the Soviet Ambassador has always at any time had direct access to myself and the Foreign Secretary, and has used it. This has not been the case in Moscow, although again it is easier. So I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not accuse this Government of not wishing to talk about any problems which 1754 affect East-West relations or indeed any other problems. We have always been perfectly willing to do so. The right hon. Gentleman will recall why the strain developed. We believed that our first duty was to the security of this country and then to discuss.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I believe the House will note rather wryly that when I say it, Conservatives laugh but when the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister says it they applaud. The Prime Minister makes a fair point in relation to Peking. I do not take too much pleasure though perhaps a certain malicious enjoyment in thinking that relations between the Conservative Government of this country and the USSR have been so bad. We do not want to go over the spies issue again but maybe that could have been handled differently. I know the Foreign Secretary tried, but it is true that that has embittered relations between us. I ask the House to accept as a fact—and the last time I made this point I was again jeered at by the same hon. Members although the Prime Minister accepts it—that relations between our country and the USSR have been and are still frostier than they are between USSR and other major powers in the West.
The Prime Minister accepts this. I accept and thank him for what he has said about his desire to improve relations, because this is not yet fully understood in the USSR or in the eastern European countries. It is something we have to go on saying, though some of his own back benchers do not encourage it, I readily admit. But I believe the Prime Minister understands that, as he understands its significance for this country; and what he has said this afternoon is of very great importance. I hope it will be fully reported, not only here in the absence of HANSARD but throughout eastern Europe and the USSR, that it is the desire of this Government and certainly of our party that there should be a resumption of relations with the USSR at the highest possible level; and I hope that those who jeer on the back benches opposite will remember that what has been said now has the authority of the Prime Minister.
I must apologise to the House for taking so long but I was provoked a little earlier when I said I would turn to the 1755 way in which a middle-sized country like ours can exert leverage without gun boats. I would like to say in a sentence how it can be done. It should be done through the United Nations. [Interruption.] Again, an expression of disgust until no doubt, the Prime Minister at the next Foreign Affairs debate comes down and says he agrees.
We have the astonishing phenomenon that in the last 25 years the population of the world has increased by 50 per cent. against the preceding millennia, and we know of the problems of hunger and starvation in places such as India and Africa, referred to by the right hon. Gentleman yesterday, and such things as the problem of energy. I remember Aneurin Bevan in one of his poetic moods talking of the population starving whilst it watched its television sets. If we are not careful we shall find our cities cluttered with cars which cannot move because there is no petrol to run them. There is the problem of pollution, one of immense importance, and there is the significance of the Law of the Sea Conference on which we must quickly get our own approach to secure proper authority.
These problems cannot be dealt with regionally or nationally. The EEC has only limited uses for these matters but they must be dealt with. We hear of ideas such as political union by 1980 and a single economic monetary policy within six years. I do not believe it. Sometimes, when one reads communiqués from summit conferences one feels that because Prime Ministers have been unable to agree on concrete practical issues they take refuge in high-flown sentiments about long-range objectives that they know will not come, and they hope that when the bells are ringing they will drown the noise of the problems still waiting to be solved.
I believe firmly that this will be the attitude of the next Labour Government, that we shall use the United Nations and its institutions, whatever jeers may come, as the main thrust of our policy. We shall endeavour, despite the difficulties that undoubtedly there will be, to bring new vigour and a new sense of purpose to these problems that I have mentioned. We believe they are ripe to be tackled on a world basis. We believe it is right to encourage the idea of 1756 détente while preserving our own alliances. We believe the right approach is with caution and hope, constructively. We believe that if we do use the United Nations in the way that I have outlined, with British policy expressing the view of a middle-range power with, I hope, still a sense of idealism and still a sense of purpose outside as well as inside Europe, this country can play its part in meeting its responsibilities to the world.
§ 4.39 p.m.
§ The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Lord Balniel)
The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) always speaks agreeably in this House, but I am bound to say that on this occasion, while there were aspects of his speech with which I agreed, there was a great deal of substance on which I found myself in disagreement. With his opening remarks, however, there was general agreement, namely, over the way he extended the good wishes of the House to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for his forthcoming seventieth birthday. Undoubtedly he echoed the general goodwill that the whole House feels towards my right hon. Friend.
But a quite remarkable lack of logic permeated the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He wishes us to establish relations with North Vietnam—which, incidentally, my right hon. Friend will deal with in his final speech. That is no doubt a highly desirable objective, but, while the right hon. Gentleman says that the purpose of establishing relationships with North Vietnam is to wield influence, almost in the same breath he says that the European Economic Community should get together and that Britain should withdraw her ambassador from Greece in order to wield influence in Greece. That is a contradiction in logic which passes the comprehension of the House.
I must get on, because time is passing and the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was reluctant to give way.
§ Mr. Allaun
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman and I shall be brief. Is not there a difference? We are arming against Russia. If we were arming against 1757 Greece and there was a danger of war, I should be opposed to it. That is a different situation from arming against a nation and doing everything possible to prevent war. There is no threat of war with Greece. There is a distinction here.
§ Lord Balniel
The argument was about the wielding of influence.
The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East criticised the Government's representations on the subject of French nuclear tests. He completely ignored the attitude taken by the Labour Government. In July 1966 the Leader of the Opposition—then the Prime Minister—was asked what approaches he had made to General de Gaulle after the first French nuclear tests in the Pacific on 2nd July, to which he replied:None, Sir. The French are fully aware of our concern about their current programme of nuclear tests in the Pacific."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th July 1966; Vol. 732, c. 1436.]To take another example, the right hon. Gentleman was highly critical of the Government's attitude towards détente, but in practice we have supported the Ostpolitik of the German Government, we have supported all the initiatives to improve our relationships with the East, we have supported the quadripartite agreement on Berlin, we have participated in discussions on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, we have taken initiatives on the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction Talks and it may reasonably be said that we have taken a leading part in the preparations for the European Security Conference which begins next Tuesday.
The right hon. Gentleman constantly refers to another European country which is so influential, but I cannot think of any other country of our scale and which has our influence in the world which has been so positive in trying to secure détente and good relations with the eastern world. Indeed, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, we have established relationships with Peking.
The general tenor of the right hon. Gentleman's argument was to accuse the Government of drift and of not exercising influence. The right hon. Gentleman wanted us to throw our weight about much more. But, as my later remarks will prove, not strident diplomacy, but 1758 quiet, steady enhancement of influence is the best rôle for this country to play.
I want to devote most of what I say to two areas of the world in which the House has shown a sustained interest which were referred to by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State but not covered in great detail. These are two areas where we have much at stake but where political problems have injected tension—sometimes serious tension—into the lives of the countries concerned. I am referring to the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.
In the Middle East our attention focuses on the central political problem of the Arab—Israel conflict. Our concern is about this conflict and our preoccupation is about the human tragedies involved and the dangers which flow from the unsettled conflict. All this tends to overshadow in public attention what has in fact been achieved—namely, a striking improvement in our relations with this part of the world, in particular in the last three years—which is what the right hon. Gentleman criticised us for not having achieved.
We have strengthened the traditional ties with some of these countries. We have based relations with certain others on a new footing, freed from the old suspicions and misunderstandings of the past. It is easier to gauge the scale of change if I refer briefly to our relations with various countries which play an important rôle in the area.
Turning first to Iran, relations between the two countries are very good indeed. His Imperial Majesty the Shahanshah visited London as the guest of Her Majesty the Queen last June. There have been other important exchanges, including the visit to London of the Iranian Prime Minister last April, and the visit to Tehran by my right hon. Friend earlier this month. During that visit my right hon. Friend was able to have valuable talks with the Shah. The conversations were confidential, but this series of visits is symbolic of a close sharing of viewpoint on international affairs. The relationship between the United Kingdom and Iran is based on the growing volume of trade between our two countries. As an example, British exports to Iran in the first five months of 1973 were running at an annual rate 1759 of almost £144 million, a 30 per cent. increase on the same period last year.
In the Gulf, whilst of course there are anxieties, peace and stability, to which Her Majesty's Government have devoted enormous effort, have been maintained, and all aspects of our relations with the Gulf States continue to be excellent. We maintain a close dialogue with them, and we have made clear our readiness to cooperate with them in accordance with our Treaties of Friendship. In the United Arab Emirates, British loan service personnel play a positive rôle in the Union Defence Force—the old Trucial Oman Scouts—the Abu Dhabi Defence Force and the Dubai Defence Force.
A growing number of Gulf States recognise that the Sultanate of Oman is the bulwark of the Gulf against subversion. They are providing assistance to the Sultan for the defence and development of his country. We welcome this. We have had close and cordial relations with the Sultanate for many years and provide military assistance under the terms of the 1958 Exchange of Letters.
The rebellion in Dhofar still continues, but the Sultan's armed forces have reasserted their control over large areas of the province. When one visits Oman, one cannot fail to be greatly struck by the scale of civil development. Although the Sultanate has to devote much effort to defending the country against attack from outside and against armed subversion, the impact of building new schools, houses, hospitals and industry has led to an increase in the rate of desertion from the rebel ranks.
Hon. Members have heard much talk recently—and much concern has been expressed—about the so-called energy crisis. Our friendship with Saudi Arabia is long-standing, but world attention has recently focused itself on this problem and, therefore, on Saudi Arabia and some of the smaller oil-producing members. Our good relationship, within which we can mutually help each other, has therefore a very special significance. This is exemplified, for instance, in terms of trade. Our exports to Saudi Arabia so far this year show an increase of about 30 per cent. over 1972: £17.5 million from January to May 1972 and £22.6 million for the same period this year.
1760 In the last few years Saudi Arabia has played a more active rôle in Middle Eastern politics, and particularly in the affairs of the Arabian peninsula. For example, she has established close and friendly relations with the Yemen Arab Republic and Oman, and is helping the Sultanate of Oman in their struggle to defend their sovereignty.
We welcome the assumption by Saudi Arabia of these responsibilities in the peninsula. King Faisal's experience and statesmanship and the vast resources of his kingdom equip Saudi Arabia admirably for this rôle.
Our relations with Jordan and the Hashemite family are traditionally close. The stability of Jordan is one of the key factors which will contribute to the stability of the whole area. It is our policy to give Jordan high priority in all fields of co-operation, particularly capital aid, technical assistance and military training. When I visited Amman this year, I was impressed by the Jordan Government's efforts—in the face of every kind of difficulty—to boost their economy. I was able to announce that my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development would make available a further capital aid loan of £10 million to be spent on projects in the Jordanian development plan.
The Syrian Arabic Republic broke off diplomatic relations with us at the time of the Arab/Israeli war of June 1967. Over the past nine months there have been contacts between ourselves and the Syrian Government through friendly intermediaries which led to the resumption of full diplomatic relations on 28th May. We hope to exchange Ambassadors in the near future and we expect that relations, particularly in the field of trade, will continue to improve.
The activities of the fedayeen have placed the Lebanese Government in a cruel predicament. Lebanon has our most profound sympathy and support in the incredibly difficult circumstances in which she finds herself.
Another transformation of relations—which was ignored in the remarks of the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was symbolised a short while ago when we had a visit from the President of the Sudan. Since mid-1971 we have 1761 responded in many ways to the Sudan's desire to reach a position of genuine non-alignment and balance between East and West.
We warmly welcomed the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement in February 1972 which ended the civil war in the Southern region of the Sudan. We responded to requests for help there with grants both to the Government of the Sudan and to the special fund set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I should like to refer to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) who plays a major rôle in helping refugees. We wholeheartedly agree with the comments which my hon. Friend made yesterday.
We have also in connection with the Sudan reached agreement on compensation for nationalised British firms. This in turn enabled Her Majesty's Government to resume a programme of capital aid and technical assistance amounting to £15.7 million over the next four years.
Nowhere is the improvement in our relations with the Arab world more evident than in the change which has taken place in Anglo-Egyptian relations. The visit to Cairo of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in September 1971 has been followed by a number of valuable exchanges between British and Egyptian Ministers. The signature of the nationalised property agreement in 1971 and the agreement of March this year for the transfer of the balance of blocked bank accounts have removed the last remaining irritants in our bilateral relations.
The Egyptian Government were remarkably generous in lending us Tutankhamun treasures. They were seen by over 1½ million people, symbolising the new phase in our relations. I hope that we can continue to consolidate this relationship. In 1971 we granted Egypt a £5 million loan as a contribution to her economy. This has restored the historical association of Britain with Egypt's economic development. I believe we can do more to help in this field. My right hon. Friend announced last night that we have offered Egypt a further loan of £10 million, repayable over 25 years at 2 per cent. interest with a 7 year grace period. This offer has been accepted by the Egyptian Government and we will shortly be 1762 discussing with the Egyptian authorities a list of suitable projects.
I must confess not everything on the horizon is good and it would be wrong of me not to refer to our relations with Libya in this review. Here the tale is not so happy. We have tried hard to wipe the slate clean of disagreements arising out of our relationship with the former regime there. We have so far not succeeded. Our task has not been made any easier by the support expressed by the Libyan Government for the IRA, in language which betrays a profound ignorance of the situation in Northern Ireland nor has it been made any easier by the expropriation, without compensation, of British assets in Libya.
We have no wish to quarrel with Libya. There, as with other countries, all we want is a stable relationship based on mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs.
We do not want this improvement in our relations with the Arab world—an improvement again ignored by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East—to be at the expense of our friendship with Israel. This friendship is solidly based on our common respect for freedom and democracy and for intellectual and cultural achievement. I am looking forward to visiting Israel at the end of this month, and I shall assure the Israeli Government of our deep and continuing interest in the security and prosperity of their country.
I come now to the larger problem of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs. We cannot regard with equanimity the present unsatisfactory and fragile state of "no peace, no war". We have consistently tried to inject some movement into the situation. But all efforts so far to break the stalemate have failed.
In passing, I have been given an account of the constructive speech made by the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Dr. David Owen), in which he emphasised the importance of concentrating our studies on the demilitarisation of the Sinai to provide security for Egypt and for Israel. I understand that it was a most remarkable contribution to the debate and I assure the hon. Gentleman that we shall study with the utmost care his constructive suggestions.
Our desire to break the stalemate makes us anxious that the present meeting of the Security Council—which is the 1763 first time the Security Council has considered the Middle East problem as a whole since the adoption of Resolution 242 of November 1967—should make the most of the present opportunity. We must take the opportunity to break out of what Dr. Waldheim has described as avicious circle of action and reaction, violence and reprisal".Our own policy is clear and, I believe, widely respected. We continue to believe that Resolution 242 provides the basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Our views on how this resolution should be implemented remain as set out by my right hon. Friend in his Harrogate speech of October 1970 and I shall not expand on them here. It is this resolution which provides a formula for marrying Arab sovereignty with Israeli security, and it is the duty of us all, whether in the Security Council or elsewhere, to make progress towards putting that resolution into practical effect.
I wish that we could move forward with large bounds. But the emotions and passions surrounding the situation are such that we must be content with small steps, as the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East indicated. I only hope that such small steps will be obtainable.
The short-term aim of Her Majesty's Government is that when the Security Council resumes some kind of genuine diplomatic process can be got going. In our view, the mission of Dr. Jarring should be not only retained but re-energised. It is important that there should be progress, however achieved, towards breaking the present intolerable deadlock. The story of the Arab-Israeli dispute is one of lost opportunities. This is one opportunity which should not be lost.
§ Dr. M. S. Miller (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the policy of Her Majesty's Government in respect of the Arab-Israeli dispute is based on Resolution No. 242 or upon the speech of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary at Harrogate, because the two are not exactly the same?
§ Lord Balniel
Resolution No. 242, which was initiated by the British Government, sets out this attempt to marry 1764 the security interests of Israel with the sovereignty interests of other countries involved. In his speech at Harrogate, my right hon. Friend amplified that. The resolution is in short, concise language. In that speech my right hon. Friend explained the attitude of the British Government. It would be wrong for me in such a very delicate matter to attempt to make any elaboration in answer to an intervention from the hon. Gentleman. But I make it clear that the policy of the Government is as represented by my right hon. Friend in his Harrogate speech, which is in full conformity with Resolution No. 242.
§ Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)
The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that in the Security Council debate the Israeli Ambassador said:If the experience of the last few years has demonstrated an incontrovertible fact, it is that there can be no imposition of a solution from the outside. If there is a message to be retained from that experience, it is that Israel will not be drawn into any process that would introduce third powers, and their own differences, whether as members of committees or participants in consulting groups, into a conflict which only the parties themselves can settle.In view of that statement, do Her Majesty's Government still hold the view that it is a hopeful step in trying to settle this dispute to reconstitute the Jarring mission and that it is only through some such international intervention that a settlement is likely to be achieved?
§ Lord Balniel
I do not say that it is the only way that progress can be made. Like the right hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Goronwy Roberts), the Government feel that this is the way most likely to achieve an advance in this very difficult area. That is our view. I recognise that the Israeli Ambassador has put forward his view. But that is what we are striving to achieve in the Security Council.
I now wish to say a word or two about the Indian sub-continent. Our links with this part of the world are long-established and close. But I find one of the most exciting aspects is that the links of today are not of nostalgia and sentiment about the past simply confined to an older generation. Links are being formed every day by young men and women in business, in diplomacy amongst those who implement our technical aid programmes, 1765 and in professional relationships which exist between our countries. One has only to read British newspapers to understand the widespread concern in this country about the drought in parts of the sub-continent.
Hon. Members have shown a very close interest in the complex of unresolved issues which still exist between the three major States in the area of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These issues are a legacy of the conflict which led to Bangladesh becoming an independent State. They are issues involving not only the recognition of constitutional change but the happiness or misery of human beings.
I believe that the House has been right to recognise that our rôle can only be to provide what help may be jointly requested by the parties concerned. Passionate concern may lead one to wish for a more active policy. Yesterday the right hon. Member for Caernarvon said that we should ask to be asked to help. But the truth is that we shall help no one if we act in a way that the countries concerned do not accept.
§ Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)
Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that those of us who were in Bangladesh and India at the time were aware of the magnificent feeling towards the British Government and people because of the immediate response of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to provide aid? The right hon. Gentleman has just made reference to the drought on the sub-continent. Why could not we have behaved in the way that we did during the crisis in Bangladesh, which did so much good for us and for both India and Pakistan? It was a lost opportunity.
§ Lord Balniel
We give more aid to the sub-continent than we do to any other part of the world. We have made it clear that we are willing to help if it is felt to be useful. This matter was referred to by my right hon. Friend yesterday.
During the past three months there has been some movement, if as yet little progress, towards negotiations on the major points at issue. On 17th April the Indian and Bangladesh Governments issued a joint declaration which offered the Government of Pakistan joint negotiations 1766 with the Government of India on three inter-dependent humanitarian issues: the repatriation of the Pakistani prisoners of war at present held in India, except for those required to stand trial in Dacca for alleged war crimes; the transfer from Bangladesh to Pakistan of those Biharis opting to go to Pakistan; the transfer of the Bengalis in Pakistan to Bangladesh. On the same day the Government of Bangladesh announced that the number of prisoners of war that they would require to stand trial in Dacca for alleged war crimes was 195.
Since then various messages have been exchanged, and we understand that the response of the Government of Pakistan has been to state that they are prepared to discuss each of the three issues in the joint declaration but that they do not consider them interdependent.
We have also had reports that legislative action may be set in train in Pakistan to make possible the recognition of Bangladesh. Too much should not be built on this, but there is some ground for cautious optimism.
We hope that these various proposals will lead to negotiations between the countries of the sub-continent. We are anxious to see a speedy resolution of all the problems. As I have said, we are willing to help in any way that we can to find an acceptable solution.
I ought perhaps to mention that earlier this week the Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Gandhi, made a short stop-over in London on her way back to India from Canada. This provided her with an opportunity for talks with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. In their discussions they covered, amongst many other subjects, the effect on Anglo-Indian trade of our entry into the European Economic Community, the problems of immigration, and the current situation in the sub-continent. This is in fact the third informal meeting during the present administration which my right hon. Friend has been able to have with Mrs. Gandhi. He greatly welcomes the opportunities that these have provided for friendly, useful and constructive exchanges of views.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)
Will my right hon. Friend agree that at present the most dangerous issue likely to prevent a satisfactory outcome to all these matters is the emotive trial of prisoners of war?
1767 Does my right hon. Friend hope that there will be the maximum restraint shown by both sides in this context?
§ Lord Balniel
I share my hon. Friend's view. We hope that the maximum restraint will be shown by all the parties on the many emotional issues involved in this conflict. My hon. Friend has touched on one issue which is exceedingly important. There are other emotional issues which are very relevant. But, as I say, I hope that some movement is gradually being made. We are very willing to play our part in it.
§ Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)
On the subject of Pakistan leaving the Commonwealth, does the right hon. Gentleman hold out any hope of the future readmission of Pakistan, given the build-up of a mood leading eventually to a return to the Commonwealth?
§ Lord Balniel
That is always possible. But President Bhutto made a very firm statement at the time of leaving the Commonwealth. I think that any statement on that subject should come from the Government of Pakistan, not from myself.
In conclusion, I want to mention the Commonwealth. For Britain and the Commonwealth this is an important year. It marks Britain's entry into the European Economic Community. It is also a year of great activity within the Commonwealth. At this moment the Commonwealth Press Union is meeting in London. In addition, we are actively preparing for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Ottawa, and not long after that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association will be holding an important conference in London in September.
A real effort is being made by all member countries to ensure that whatever changes are necessary as a result of our entry into the European Community—there must inevitably be some, notably in the trade and tariff sphere—are brought about in an orderly way and without damage to the distinctive character of the Commonwealth.
Before the Ottawa conference, on 25th and 26th July, will take place the opening conference of the negotiations for the 1768 new Convention of Association. In this conference the 20 Commonwealth developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific will negotiate their relationship with the Community. The total number of associations could be as many as 43, covering the whole of black Africa south of the Sahara, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
The annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which will take place in September in London, will be opened by Her Majesty the Queen. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will take the chair at some of the conference sessions, and as leader of the British delegation I look forward to taking part in the debates. There will also be 20 Members of this House participating in that conference.
Perhaps—I should at this point mention the Heads of Government meeting which is to take place in Ottawa in August. The world has changed dramatically since the Commonwealth leaders last met in Singapore in January 1971, not least because of our entry into the European Economic Community. The representatives of the 32 independent Commonwealth countries will have a great deal to discuss.
The increase in the number of participants has made it difficult to maintain the informality and intimacy which used to be an outstanding feature of Commonwealth gatherings. However, I believe that there is a will to return to the traditional style of Commonwealth meetings.
The Commonwealth is unique amongst political associations, past or present. There are no irksome rules, there are no regulations, there is no common constitution, and there is no military alliance. But underlying the whole is the principle of discussion and co-operation and of a constant exchange of views and ideas. The links which bring it together are human, not formal. I am certain that the Ottawa conference, under Mr. Trudeau's chairmanship, will try to return to the informality and intimacy which made the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference so sucessful in the past. When they meet in Ottawa there will for the first time at such a gathering be representatives of the Heads of Government of Bangladesh and the Bahamas.
1769 On that happy note, welcoming two additional members to the Commonwealth Conference, I conclude my remarks.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
The Minister of State has created a record. He spoke for longer about the Middle East while creating fewer emotional reactions than any previous speaker in the House. A lot of what he said was welcomed by all shades of opinion on this subject—for example, the undoubted increase in good will between this country and the Arab world. Granted this increase of interest, business and good will, has not the time come to upgrade some of our posts in the Middle East? Admittedly, we have a Grade 1 post in Cairo. But why are there no Grade 2 posts anywhere in the Arab world? This matter appears to have been forgotten and should be looked into.
I was particularly glad that the Minister mentioned the successful progress of the Gulf. Many hon. Members on this side of the House remember the forecasts made by hon. Members opposite of dire disaster that would take place in the Gulf as soon as the British left. The Foreign Secretary made a speech in which he said that he was very much afraid that when we left the Gulf the Egyptians would walk in. Indeed, I recall recounting to the Foreign Secretary some years ago a special personal message from President Nasser, who said, "Tell, Sir Alec when you get back that there will be no Egyptian soldiers in the Gulf." I am glad that, looking at the Gulf in the light of what the Minister has said, President Nasser was right on that occasion and the Foreign Secretary was wrong. It is a fact that the development of the Gulf has been going well and that Britain's prestige and influence there is greater today than when we had a military presence there.
I was also glad when the Minister said that it was the Government's policy to try to reactivate the Jarring method of negotiating a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. I was sorry to hear my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) intervening in the opposite sense and putting the Israeli view for face-to-face talks.
§ Mr. Richard
My hon. Friend is quite wrong. I quoted a sentence from the Israeli Ambassador's speech and asked, in view of that, what chance there was of getting a Jarring type mission going and whether it was the best way out of the situation. I was not expressing any view. My hon. Friend is wrong.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I am glad to have that interpretation by my hon. and learned Friend, because he quoted the Israeli Ambassador as making a number of points against the possibility of a Jarring type mission succeeding. He asked the Minister whether, in the light of the Israeli Ambassador's remarks, it was worth proceeding in the way that was being suggested.
§ Mr. Richard
My hon. Friend must not do this. He is a much older parliamentary hand than I and knows what he is doing. I quoted from a speech at the United Nations. I expressed no view on the rightness or wrongness of what was said. I merely asked for the Government's view. There is nothing wrong in that.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Since my hon. and learned Friend has given me some advice, perhaps I may give him some. It is better to make these points in one's own language than to be misunderstood by quoting at length the views of the Israeli Ambassador on the subject.
Having cleared that aside, I come back to agree—it seems that my hon. and learned Friend also agrees—that the best way to proceed is through a Jarring mission. There is no question that, without any assurances from the Israelis about their acceptance of Resolution 242, the idea of simply envisaging direct face-to-face talks is not the best way. We should proceed on the Jarring basis.
The difficulties of getting a face-to-face negotiation are sometimes underrated. We must recognise that in practice the Israelis lay down two important preconditions: first, that Jerusalem shall not be discussed and, secondly, that the Palestinians should not be represented. These are grave stumbling blocks to this alternative method of negotiation.
We must see the Arab view here. It is a fact that the Israelis are the party in possession. They have the loot. Perhaps I may bring this out with a homely 1771 analogy in order to restore relations with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons Court. Those who advocate face-to-face talks are sincere and honourable and the last people who would run away with one's wallet. But if one of them were caught red-handed with one's wallet it would not be enough for him to say, "Let us sit round a table and discuss this controversy between us. What I want is to be left alone in peace." When one says, "I will certainly sit around the table with you on condition that you return my wallet", they reply, "No preconditions before face-to-face talks."
This may sound exaggerated, but it is a point of view held in the Arab world. The Israelis occupy tens of thousands of square miles of Arab territory and the Arabs say, "Before we can agree to face-to-face talks, we ask you to say in advance that you will withdraw from territories that you have conquered." That is what Mr. Jarring asked the Israelis to say and it was because they would not say it that the Jarring talks broke down, and we have never got negotiations going on Resolution No. 242.
§ Dr. Miller
Would it not be more accurate to say that what the Israelis are in effect saying to the Arabs is, "If you agree to negotiate with us, we will not permit you to put a sword back at our throat again"?
§ Mr. Mayhew
I leave the House to judge. I think that the analogy is that the Arabs are asking for an understanding, not that the Israelis should withdraw before the negotiations—certainly not—but that they will agree to withdraw under Resolution 242 as part of a settlement. That is what the Israelis have not given. They have spelled out the territories that they wish to maintain —Jerusalem, Sharm el Sheikh and so on. These are the realities. To ask for face-to-face talks is making no positive contribution. The Jarring procedure is much better.
The whole House agrees, I think, judging from speeches both today and yesterday, that the prospects of a peaceful settlement in the immediate future are nil. They have receded year by year for some time now. Our problem has become how to create the conditions in which, on some future occasion, a peaceful settle- 1772 ment can become practicable or, even less than that, how to prevent the conditions arising in the Middle East which will prevent a peaceful settlement ever coming.
From the Israeli point of view, on the surface, there seems a lot to be said for the status quo. After all, they now control the whole of Palestine, they dominate the area militarily and they have severely crippled the Palestinian liberation forces with their policy of reprisals and assassination. Yet they are further away than ever from the absolutely vital aim that they must have, which is to be accepted in the Middle East by the Arab world. This is a literally indispensable thing for them. Today, although they represent only 2 per cent. of the population and 2 per cent. of the territory of the Middle East, so vast is their lead technologically, in the power of their weapons and their capacity to use them, their general competence and their greater efficiency of government, that the 2 per cent. can dominate the 98 per cent. But the question is, how long can the 2 per cent. dominate the 98 per cent.?
When we look behind the chaos of Arab politics and calmly consider the marked and steady growth of educational standards, population, wealth and technology, plus the growth of the power of the oil-producing countries, it is plain not only that 2 per cent. of the Middle East cannot indefinitely dominate 98 per cent. but that, within 15 or 20 years at the outside. Arab power will be dominant in the Middle East.
The next question is, in that event and assuming no settlement has been reached, can the State of Israel survive? I have no hesitation in answering, "No". To the extent that the creation of facts by Israel in Jerusalem and on the West Bank eradicates the old 1948 boundaries, to the extent that Israel succeeds in consolidating and incorporating its conquests and squeezing out more Palestinians from Palestine, as it is doing by economic pressures, so the 1948 frontiers become meaningless and so the whole concept of Resolution No. 242, of a compromise settlement based on withdrawal to the 1948 frontiers, becomes meaningless too.
In practice, whether they want it or not, the Israelis will have opted for all or nothing at that time, and the Arabs in their turn, when they are strong enough will demand all or nothing. The State 1773 of Israel will in practice then be dismantled and Palestine will again become predominantly Arab. This is long-distance thinking, but it is as certain as any historical prediction can be.
What can we do to avoid this happening? The Israelis have put their short-term military domination in front of their long-term political acceptance and this is a disastrous strategy. I am afraid that it could provide a terrible disaster for them. None of us wants this. I have always maintained that within her proper frontiers, Israel has a right to exist. I have always been willing to urge any forms of defence arrangement for Israel within her proper frontiers. I would willingly see arms sold to Israel as part of a settlement to defend her within her proper frontiers.
We have to ask how to avoid this almost certain long-term disaster. It is, therefore, in everyone's interests, especially those of the Israelis, to try to get a peaceful settlement. The only possible way of doing so, both sides will agree, is along the lines of Resolution No. 242. Unfortunately, if we are realistic, we know that, at present, there is no chance of that happening.
The most recent restatement of Resolution No. 242 is General Assembly Resolution No. 2949 of December last year. Of its six recommendations, the Arabs accept all and indeed voted for the resolution. The Israelis do not at present accept three of the recommendations, and voted against. The first of these recommendations waswithdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;The second was the Assembly's invitation to Israelto publicly declare its adherence to the principle of non-annexation of territories through the use of force;The third was the statement that the AssemblyRecognises that the respect of the rights of the Palastinians is an indispensable element in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.These are not at present acceptable to Israel, who voted against the resolution, as I explained in my intervention. We must recognise also that the United States is not prepared to pressurise Israel into acceptance.
1774 The resolution was passed by 86 votes to seven, the seven being Israel and half-a-dozen of the smaller Latin American States. I was deeply disturbed to hear my right hon. Friend say that the British Labour Party lines itself up with the six banana republics in opposing Resolution 2949 I cannot conceive how this has come about. My right hon. Friend gave no explanation. If my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons Court wishes to do his party good service, he will at least spell out tonight the precise reasons, which clauses in this resolution, backed by an overwhelming majority of world opinion—practically the whole of Europe, the whole third world, practically the whole Communist world—have led the Labour Party to oppose it. We are entitled to know all these facts and we have never had them spelled out.
Although, at the moment, bearing in mind the American attitude, the essential recommendations regarding a settlement are not practicable, but there are two recommendations which are practicable. They call upon us not to recognise the creation of facts by Israel, the eradication of her 1948 frontiers, on which a future settlement is bound to depend. I would urge that everything that we do, on both sides of the House, should carefully follow this resolution in refusing to acquiesce in the creation of facts, which is the enemy of a settlement.
Again, I was very sorry—I am sad to have to say these things—to see that, whereas the Foreign Secretary, when he visited Jerusalem, was careful not to do so under Israeli auspices—no doubt the Minister of State will take the same care when he visits Jerusalem—and therefore to accept the annexation of Arab Jerusalem by the Israelis, when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition visited Jerusalem he acquiesced in the creation of facts by visiting Jerusalem under Israeli auspices, especially as he found occasion to praise the new building in Jerusalem when there. Of all Israel's creation of facts, the worst is the erection by Israeli property developers of monstrous flats and offices in conquered Jerusalem.
Not for the first time in history, the Holy City has been desecrated by Barbarians.
On a more constructive note, however, may I say that the whole future must 1775 rest, if we are to have any hope, with the United Nations. In his peroration, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), very inconsistently, assured the House that the next Labour Government would operate their foreign policy through the United Nations. That was his main message. Yet that is what we are asking for in this case, and it is my right hon. Friend himself who opposes the main resolution passed by the General Assembly.
I am afraid that the Opposition may be accused, if we are not careful, of double standards in some of these things, of separating ourselves from the Third World in particular. We heard much about Africa yesterday. We on the Opposition benches have a fine policy towards Africa. However, I point out to the Opposition Front Bench that the OAU recently went far beyond the United Nations' resolutions in criticising Israel and called for unconditional withdrawal of Israel from her conquered territories, which include a great part of Africa. Sinai is the biggest part of Africa under military occupation. These colleagues of ours in Africa, with whom we are fighting against colonialism and racialism, see in that fight South Africa, Portugal, Rhodesia and Israel grouped together.
§ Mr. Mayhew
My hon. Friend has only to follow their diplomatic activities and speeches to see that this is true. That may be right or wrong. Let us avoid controversy and leave that in doubt. I am simply saying that we shall find our whole position in southern Africa and our relations with our allies in the fight against colonialism and racialism very much undermined if we appear to be adopting double standards and attacking racialism and colonialism everywhere except where practised by Israel.
Finally, I seem to have criticised my party leaders rather more than usual. Let me hastily say that all parties have things of which to be ashamed in their records in the Middle East. The Tory Party is the party of Suez. That puts it beyond the pale to begin with. The Liberal Party attacks colonialism and racialism in every part of the world, except where it is practised by Israel. I hope that the Labour Party will carefully consider the 1776 possible double standards in its approach to this colonial question.—[Interruption.] I am sorry to have aroused my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis). I hope that he will have an opportunity to speak later. He will no doubt say quite different things on this subject with equal sincerity.
The way home for all my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Opposition Front Bench is to study carefully the latest Resolution 2949 of the General Assembly. It is the best hope, it is supported by world opinion, and I do not understand why they are so strongly against it. If we cannot immediately go forward to a peaceful settlement under Resolution 242, let us at least do those things which are set out in Resolution 2949 which will help to keep the conditions so that we can eventually reach a peaceful settlement which would be in the interests of everyone in the world, including, in the long run, the State of Israel.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ Sir John Peel (Leicester, South-East)
I thought that it was pretty rich of the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) to inform the Government side of the House that the Europeans regard the Conservative Party as being wholly ignorant of the changed feelings and views of the Western Europeans. That does not come well from a member of a party which is boycotting the European Parliament, has no representatives there, and is not even in touch with them, despite the remarks and opinions of their party-political faith in Europe.
That was not the only inconsistency in the right hon. Gentleman's speech. I am very glad that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State drew attention to one of them. A great deal has been said, particularly in the debate yesterday, about the underdeveloped countries of Europe, and particularly Greece and Portugal. I should like for a moment to include Turkey, because in the business of inconsistency I notice that there is a tendency to want to stick our noses into the affairs of Turkey because we do not approve of certain political happenings there.
No one can deny that Turkey, Greece and Portugal are vital to the Grand 1777 Alliance. In view of the enormous expansion in the last year or two of the Russian Fleet, the Central Treaty Organisation assumes greater importance than ever.
One point about dealing with these under-developed countries of Europe disturbs me a great deal. Some of us seem to get muddled between the political, the security and the economic sides to this question. It is very often overlooked that some of these countries, at least, have only known parliamentary democracy for a very short time indeed, and certainly have not had the immensely long experience of it that we have had in Britain. They are trying to produce democratic forms of government and they are going through a very difficult period. On the other hand, on the economic side, most people agree that they should be helped. But when their political difficulties become apparent, there is a great tendency particularly among the Left wing, to want to ostracise them, to break off relations with them and to cut off economic assistance to them.
I was very sorry yesterday to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse) paint a very grim picture of Greece. I am not saying that in many respects he was not right. But his only solution was to suggest that we should use as a lever the association agreement between the EEC and Greece, which is an economic agreement and an attempt to help the Greeks to improve their economic position. But that agreement is being used now as a lever, because the whole thing is frozen. I am a member of the Greece-EEC sub-committee of the European Parliament. We have had no meetings at all, and the whole thing is in cold storage.
The only other thing that we can do about that agreement is to abrogate it completely. Will that help the Greek people? Will that be of any benefit to them? Will it bring down the Greek Government? I do not believe it. We continue to try these economic sanctions. We have tried them on Rhodesia. They were supposed to succeed in weeks rather than months, but the Rhodesian Government is still in power. We need to take a hard, common-sense view of these things. I know that they are difficult. I 1778 do not hold any brief for the Greek Government or the Greek Colonels. Wherever cruelty and injustice are practised, I condemn them. That applies just as much to the extreme left as it does to the extreme right. I think it a great mistake, therefore, to imagine that we shall help the ordinary common people of a country by ostracising them and putting them into Coventry.
§ Mr. Molloy
Does the hon. Gentleman think that we help ordinary people anywhere if we supply their illegal regimes with arms under the guise of NATO, as we appear to be doing in relation to both Portugal and Greece?
§ Sir J. Peel
That is not the point. I am reminding hon. Members that we say in one breath that we must help them economically to improve their situation, and in another breath, because they are having political difficulties, we say that we must have nothing to do with them. We ought occasionally to remember the facts of political life and stop being somewhat hypocritical about these things. We are very lucky in this country to have had parliamentary democracy for a long time. We have been through a great many pains ourselves in developing it. Let us remember that others who have had it for only a short time are having similar pains in coming to the same stage. It takes time.
That is all I am asking, that we should give some consideration to these matters. Labour Members would not dream of applying a similar rule to the African countries, and, if they ask me to believe that most of the newly independent African countries are good parliamentary democracies, they will ask me to believe anything.
I turn now to our relations with America, which I believe to be of vital importance in this year to both the West and the world. With the expansion of the Common Market, we have reached a significant and difficult milestone in our relations with our North American allies. Here again, we come across inconsistencies and contradictions. The Americans have been foremost in wanting Europe to unite. They have strongly supported our long struggle to create the Community. We are now well on the way to seeing the expanded Community moving forward on 1779 the economic plane, but now the American's say "You can talk about the economic side, but you cannot talk to us on the political front, and the political front is of vital importance." Indeed it is, but all I ask our American friends to remember on this issue is that political unity takes time. After all, their own political unity was created in bitter bloodshed, and no one today would advocate that political unity in Europe should be created in a similar way. It can be done only by agreement and in peace.
We hear a great deal about detente. I am glad that there are good signs on the political front of developments towards detente with the Communist countries. We have seen a good deal of this in the North Atlantic Assembly and in Western European Union. But I urge that we not only listen to the words of the Communist spider but watch what he is doing. What he is doing is creating a military weapon out of all proportion to what is needed for defence. The Soviet Union is creating a force far more powerful than is required merely to defend her territories. She has created a naval power which is now world-wide, many of her other arms are more modern than ours, and she greatly outnumbers us in vital areas.
It cannot for a moment be argued, therefore, that it is safe to negotiate for détente unless we can reasonably match the Soviet power. At present, we are very near to being at a dangerous disadvantage. One cannot stress too strongly to the peoples of the parliamentary democracies the need to keep up our guard while we negotiate. We have not got détente yet, and we certainly shall not get it unless we are strong. The Communists believe in strength and in the big battalions when they are negotiating.
At this stage of European-American relations, we must remember on our side that we cannot expect indefinitely to have defence in Europe from the Americans on the cheap. Yesterday my right hon. Friend pointed out how much the Europeans were doing, and I realise that very well, but there is one aspect of it which rightly worries the Americans, namely, the effect on their balance of payments. Those countries which are defending the grand alliance with troops outside their borders have a problem in coping with foreign currency difficulties. I should 1780 have thought that it was not beyond the wit of man to solve that problem.
On the other hand, I feel that we must ask the Americans to realise that the European Economic Community, which they were so anxious to see created, is an evolving entity in its own right. It has a character of its own which is different from that of its component parts, and, no doubt, in the long term something will be created on lines similar to the United States of America itself. In these circumstances, they must understand that we have the right to do among ourselves things which are not necessarily applicable to the outside world.
We are at a stage when there is a great deal of misunderstanding and a lack of knowledge between Europe and the Americans. This we must overcome. How do we do it? It will require contacts, constant contacts, on many fronts. In this connection I mention the North Atlantic Assembly, the only assembly in which parliamentarians from Europe and America come together and exchange views. It is time that we looked upon that assembly as a specially valuable contact with the Americans. We should regard it as an official body. It has been unofficial ever since it was created by the voluntary efforts of some of our own people on both sides of the House, and in the circumstances of today it takes on a new life and a new importance.
One fact which annoys our American congressional friends is that the North Atlantic Assembly is official from their point of view, the Congress having made it official. It is high time that we in Europe looked upon it as of equal importance. I ask the Government to consider the possibility of a protocol which would give this assembly an international official status, giving it a greater chance to play an important part in our relations with our great allies.
I hope that the Government will pay attention in this important year to the need to create machinery of some kind which will overcome the misunderstanding and ignorance which, to our disadvantage, prevails between the Americans and the Europeans.
§ 5.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)
I associate myself with what the right hon. 1781 Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said about the Foreign Secretary. From this bench, and, I am sure, from all parts of the House, we are happy to wish him well on his birthday, when it comes.
Being mindful of Mr. Speaker's call for brevity, I shall confine myself to about six points, while in no way implying that they form an all-inclusive list. Four of them relate to the expression of British opinion, if there be such a thing. This is a question which came up the other day in the Select Committee which considers how we deal with EEC regulations. We had a visit from Mr. Nord, a Dutchman, who is the permanent secretary of the European Parliament. He asked what was the national interest and how it was defined. Of course there is no clear definition and normally the national interest projected outwards is in essence the interest of the ruling group or ruling body or Government of a country. We could go to different parts of the House and ask different hon. Members what the national interest was and get a different answer from each.
The first area in which I think we should be expressing our views much more firmly is on the question of the French nuclear tests. It is not merely the pragmatic matter that clearly, by the time the French thermonuclear warheads are operational, they will be obsolete anyway with which I am concerned. It is not only the fact that the French have flouted the decision of the International Court. Certainly the French seem to have taken a stand which would have been very different had there been any threat of fall-out in their own territory. They seem to have suggested that whether the tests take place in the Pacific is a matter more of concern to French security than it is the business of the Pacific nations. That is quite wrong.
The Minister of State made the point towards the end of his speech that this year was an extremely important one for Britain because of our relations with the Commonwealth and the events which will take place in association with it. As head of the Commonwealth and the only European member of it, we have a duty to support New Zealand, Australia and our Pacific dependencies and openly to 1782 denounce the tests. It is not good enough for the Minister to say that the Government do not approve of them and to adopt a mild and not very positive attitude. Britain has a very definite responsibility to express its opinion in a positive way. We have not done so, yet the French are to some degree sensitive to that kind of criticism. They reduced last year's tests from seven to five partially in response to world criticism.
The position of New Zealand is particularly important and because of it we should take some responsibility. French good will is immensely important to New Zealand and will be a central factor in regard to its future relations with the enlarged Community. New Zealand is, as a result, in a very difficult position and must inevitably depend upon its own supposed mother country, an influential Community partner, to advance its case. Here we have negated our responsibility and I regret it. My criticism of France in no way means that we should, in spite of our new relations with China, hesitate to express our disapproval of the recent Chinese test. The two things are complementary.
I wish to turn now to the question of Greece and Portugal which were mentioned by the hon. Member for Leicester, South-East (Sir J. Peel). It is to some extent true, as the hon. Member said, that these two countries have had probably a shorter experience of democracy in the recognisable sense than most other countries of Western Europe. To that extent they are both the under-developed countries of Europe in democratic and economic terms. The question which arises, however, is what this country and other countries do in relation to them.
In the case of Greece I am not in favour of ostracism, but Britain cannot for very much longer—and I do not think we should any longer—openly associate in direct alliance with a country which is a dictatorship and which shows no sign of reverting to democracy. I remember clearly being criticised after visiting Greece with two Conservative Members and two Labour Members shortly after the colonels took over. I do not regret anything I said when we came back. I said that it was a dictatorship but it was not as repressive a dictatorship as it had been portrayed. We did not express approval of it. Where we were 1783 wrong in our political judgment was in hoping, and the hope then existed, that Mr. Papadopoulos was willing to revert to a situation of democracy, for it now appears that this is not so. The time has elapsed and there are no preparations for a return to democracy. There cannot be a return to democracy in a vacuum. That would be similar to the situation in which the Belgians left the Congo. There was no preparation and the whole thing was thrown into turmoil. I do not believe we can associate ourselves with this situation of alliance for much longer.
§ Mr. A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)
What, then, is the hon. Member's policy for the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and the Baltic States?
§ Mr. Johnston
I wish to make this clear. I favour contact with nations or regimes of which I do not necessarily approve. I am in favour of contact with the Soviet Union and the GDR, but that does not mean that I wish to be in alliance with them or anything of the sort. If NATO is an alliance for the defence of freedom, its membership should reflect what it seeks to do.
The same applies in the case of Portugal. It is one thing to maintain trade and diplomatic contact with Portugal, and I favour both of those things. But it is a different matter to celebrate an alliance with great pomp and circumstance when the situation is far from democratic.
I agree with the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East that the cod war places Britain in a very difficult position. Legally Britain is right, and there is no argument about that. Yet all the indications are that there will be a world agreement next year when the international conference takes place in Chile which will mean an extension of territorial limits all over the world. It is this fact as much as anything which is sustaining the Icelanders in the attitude they have adopted. We shall have to deal with Iceland in a rational way whether we want to or not. We cannot perpetuate the situation in which our gunboats have to defend our trawlers indefinitely. Therefore, the Government would do well to work out realistic proposals based on some limited extension of territorial water, as I think there will have to be, and which take account of traditional 1784 fishing rights and which are based primarily on conservation.
It would be a good thing if the Government went to the Icelanders and stated that they were prepared to withdraw the Navy if Iceland was prepared to re-enter full negotiations. We should be well advised to take that step.
My fourth point concerns the Community institutions. I apologise for not having been here yesterday. I was involved in one of those institutions. That is one of the problems we face when there is a dual mandate. What are the Government's precise intentions with regard to the European Parliament? It seems to me that there is a contradiction, which is only thinly veiled, between what the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) and his fellow members of the British Conservative delegation to the European Parliament say and the attitude of the Government.
It is all very well in theory and in principle to say that our broad idea is that the European Parliament must be strengthened, that it must be given real powers, and that there must be direct elections, but, unless there is a commitment to doing it at a certain stage, the words are fairly empty. Are the Government positively thinking of a timetable whereby direct elections will become a reality, rather than simply saying that they agree with the principle and that it should happen at an indefinite time in the future?
As the Community develops a revenue of its own, as it is doing and will continue to do, the maxim which the critics of the Community deploy—that that means taxation without representation—will become increasingly relevant and justified. That situation would run completely against the democratic tradition not only of this country but of the other two States which have now joined.
A gap is developing between what the House controls and what is controlled in the European Parliament. That gap is increasingly dealt with by the Council of Ministers, which is not directly responsible in a coherent sense to any body of critical electorate. To reach decisions in the Community, reconciliation of interests will be required, and those interests will be not only national but sectoral. The European Parliament is the one institution 1785 which can effectively give expression to that reconciliation. Therefore, if the Community is to be a democratic organisation the European Parliament's powers must be increased and direct elections must be introduced.
I know that there is a risk attached to direct elections. One of the major risks in the short term is that they will encourage a nationalistic setting-out of views, but—and this is more important—they will force countries to take a stand on European affairs, not just national affairs, and involve the electorate in European affairs in a much more direct way than at present.
Although there was a fair amount of excitement when Britain entered the Community, there is now a pretty heavy pall of apathy hanging over the whole question. I find extraordinarily little reaction from the electorate to the sort of issues in which I find myself involved in the Community, important though they may be. We must by all means possible combat that attitude.
Fifthly, reference has inevitably been made to the Nixon-Brezhnev talks. It seems true that since they took place the world is a little safer than it was before, but to what extent the real cause of peace has been furthered remains to be seen. However, what is extremely important is that there is now undoubtedly on both the Russian and the United States sides a desire, a common requirement, to reach agreement. The United States may or may not be able—it depends on Congress —to release the sort of money which would make possible the commercial deal which Mr. Brezhnev worked out. But it is the fact that the Russians are anxious to reach agreement, partially for economic reasons, and that much encourage everybody.
Where exactly does that leave the European Security Conference? I suspect that with regard to security, which is what it is supposed to be about, the conference is now almost relatively unimportant. First we had the Ostpolitik, the agreement between the Germans and the Russians, followed by the agreement with Poland and Czechoslovakia, so that there is already the resolution of the principal issue of European security, the German question. Therefore, the real substance of European security will be 1786 dealt with not in Helsinki but in the mutual and balanced force reduction talks in Vienna and the strategic arms limitation talks in Geneva, which are about the real stuff of disarmament.
I suspect that the Helsinki conference will be primarily an exercise in cosmetics rather than definite, hard negotiation, but it could still be a significant milestone in détente. It should be welcomed, and we should do everything we can to further the whole feeling of détente, although I suspect that the negotiations in Helsinki will produce fewer practical results than those which take place in Vienna and Geneva.
I said that I would try not to speak for very long, though in a foreign affairs debate one could go on almost for ever. I have not referred to the Middle East, although there were some slightly tendentious references not only to the Liberal bench but to other parts of the House on that subject. One of the things that depress me very much about the Middle East is that when we listen to the two sides and their protagonists in the House they seem incapable even of approaching an understanding of the other side.
Be that as it may, we are having a foreign affairs debate at a time which is more hopeful than for a long time. I believe that to translate the hopes into reality we need the coolness and firmness which have been associated with the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, but also a more definite moral purposefulness than the Government have been displaying.
§ Mr. Dennis Walters (Westbury)
It is always said of foreign affairs debates that they range too widely. It is perhaps inevitable that they should. The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston), speaking from the Liberal bench, has understandably presented a tour d'horizon of foreign affairs, and he has done so very well. Perhaps I, speaking from the Government back benches, should confine myself to one, more limited area.
It has been generally agreed by speakers from both Front Benches and from the back benches that an effective reactivation of the Jarring mission would be extremely desirable. I agree. I 1787 agree that Resolution 242 is correct and ultimately might provide the best hope for a solution, but, depressingly, I cannot see that taking place in the near future.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of State rightly took credit for a number of important initiatives which have taken place in the Middle East in the past two years and the greatly improved relations between Britain and a number of Arab countries. The Government should be congratulated on what they have done. However, I should like to see an even more robust approach to a policy which has been firmly set in the right direction. First, I should like to see a more robust approach to the sale of British military equipment to those Arab countries which have expressed an interest in making such purchases from Britain. The argument that selling strike equipment to the Arab countries would seriously affect the balance of military power in the area, and thereby make a peaceful settlement more difficult, is frequently made but it is specious and the facts do not substantiate it.
There is no military balance but an imbalance which is decisively and sharply tilted in favour of Israel. The United States has continuously supplied, and in vast quantities, all the military equipment, both defensive and offensive, which Israel has at any time demanded. On the very day that the Nixon-Brezhnev talks opened in Washington, the open secret of the United States decision to supply Israel with a further 48 Phantoms and 36 Sky-hawk bombers to add to the 120 Phantoms which have been already supplied was announced. The timing of the announcement was the only surprise about the transaction. It is one of an endless catalogue.
It should be remembered in this context that even at the highest point of Russian-Egyptian co-operation—that is, for the period leading up to July 1972 —when in wishful anticipation of a positive Western response President Sadat terminated the Soviet military presence in Egypt, the Soviet Union had consistently refused to supply Egypt with effective strike weapons. In this respect, the Soviet Union showed greater prudence than the United States.
The military balance argument is fundamentally bogus and generally recognized 1788 as such by any person wishing to acquaint himself with the real facts. Of course I accept that there are many who would like to perpetuate the present imbalance, but that is rather a different argument and not the one which is usually produced. Moreover, I do not believe that the perpetuation of the military imbalance in Israel's favour is necessarily conducive to achieving peace on mutually acceptable terms. The past six years have demonstrated fairly conclusively that it is not.
There is a strong case to be made for exactly the opposite proposition—namely, that if the Arab countries possessed comparable military equipment to that of Israel and a strike capacity of their own, peace negotiations would be more likely to start and to be successful because Israel would be presented with a new and powerful incentive to negotiate.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
Is not the hon. Gentleman turning the truth on its head? Has not every possibility of negotiation been offered by Israel? Was not the immediate response to President Bourghiba's offer to negotiate one of "Yes, any place, anywhere and with anybody"? How does the hon. Gentleman reconcile those facts with what he has just been saying?
§ Mr. Walters
I do not believe that what the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) has just said is correct. If he goes back to the Egyptian acceptance of Resolution 242 and the Egyptians' positive response to the Jarring questionnaire of February 1971, he will see that all the concessions which Israel used to demand from Arab countries have been made.
There would be a new incentive for Israel to negotiate, an incentive which would be recognised not only by Mr. Sapir and by the moderates, but also by General Dayan and the Hawks. The more attractive incentives have failed, as I have just mentioned in my reply to the hon. Member for Hackney, Central. There was the incentive provided by Resolution 242, the response to the questionnaire, in which Egypt declared publicly its readiness to enter into a peace agreement with Israel and to give commitments concerning the termination of all claims of belligerency and acknowledgment of the right of each of the two parties to live in peace within secure and 1789 recognised boundaries, and the incentive of King Hussain's repeated public and private declarations of his desire to reach a peaceful settlement. Anybody who has spoken to him would not doubt that he meant it. All these incentives have proved inadequate.
At the same time, in the international arena there has been failure. The United States pressure on Israel did not materialise. When powerful action was called for, the United States administration meekly succumbed to internal political pressure.
Britain and France have so far been unable to stimulate a sufficiently strong and united European policy to take the place and to fill the vacuum left by the United States. It is in this context of the urgent need for British and European influence to be felt that British timidity about arms and even more about participation—conceivably in order to keep in step with the Americans—is unfortunate.
Only a few weeks ago the United States made it clear that it was prepared to reverse its policies and to take an initiative which it would have earlier criticised if taken by others. It announced that it would be willing to supply Phantom aircraft to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It would indeed be mortifying after all the anxiety and hesitancy about what we should do with the Jaguar if the United States sold Phantoms to those countries. Kuwait, which has been particularly wise and statesmanlike, in all its dealings will, I feel sure, ponder carefully before entrusting its long-term defence to the United States.
When I spoke in the foreign affairs debate in December I talked at length about the energy crisis and referred to the prediction made by the Director of the State Department's Energy Division that by 1980 at least one-third of the United States fuel needs would have to be met by Arab countries. I shall not repeat myself on this except to say that I remain convinced that eventually a change in the direction of United States policy might come about quite suddenly when self-interest became so glaringly apparent that internal political pressures would have to be squashed.
In the meantime Britain and France must not be left behind. They should 1790 pursue their policies based upon European interests and provide the guidance and leadership in the Middle East which the United States has so signally failed to produce.
I turn to two other aspects of the Middle East situation where some action is called for. It has become a clichè to say that there cannot be a solution of the Middle East conflict without finding a solution to the problem of the Palestinians, a solution which, if it is not perfectly fair and satisfactory to all the Palestinians, is at least not intolerably unfair and would be acceptable to moderate Palestinian opinion. If there is no solution to the Arab-Israel conflict there will be a constant threat of war with a serious danger of escalation, the economic development of the area will be distorted by expensive and excessive preoccupation with arms and defence build-up, and the economic interests of Britain and Europe will be constantly threatened by oil disruption.
It follows logically therefore that, pending a settlement, the Palestinian problem should not be allowed to deteriorate to a point where compromise is permanently excluded. There is disturbing information from the occupied territories that the Israelis are developing a policy of economic pressure, designed to reduce the inhabitants to a state of absolute economic dependence on Israel, at which stage a new mass exodus of Palestinians from their own land could be stimulated by economic pressure.
In order to prevent this happening I believe that an international presence should be established, if at all possible, in the occupied areas and that a programme of economic development should be undertaken for the benefit of the people living under occupation, under the aegis of the United Nations and with financial support from a consortium of European and Arab Governments—possibly the EEC and the Arab members of OPEC. Thirdly, I believe that there should be renewed international pressure for the return of the 1967 displaced persons. Our representative at the United Nations has already made powerful appeals on this matter in very effective speeches.
Actions of this kind would also be helpful to Israeli moderates, because anyone interested in the problem knows that 1791 there is a considerable division of opinion within Israel and that the moderates do not wish to see the final destruction of the Palestinian people, because they also share the belief that a settlement would in that event never be attained.
Finally, there is the problem of Jerusalem. After their victory over the Arabs in 1967, the Israelis proclaimed the annexation of Arab Jerusalem. The General Assembly of the United Nations declared this to be illegal but over the last five years Israel has remained in control and enormous new building programmes have gone ahead.
In 1970, delegates at a building programme conference described the threat to Jerusalem as enormous and said that the city might be turned into a second Los Angeles if the process went on. The Archibishop of Canterbury made a statement in 1971 in which he urged that something should be done about Jerusalem. He said:The old city of Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, to Christians and to Moslems…It is a city which belongs to all three…The building programme of the present authorities is disfiguring the city and its surroundings in ways which wound the feelings of those who care for its historic beauty and suggest an insensitive attempt to proclaim as an Israeli city one which can never be other than the city of three great religions and their peoples.Calling a halt to the building programme is an urgent step, but recent reports in The Times and the Sunday Times indicate that this is not being done and the vandalism goes on. I implore my right hon. Friend when he visits Israel to press very strongly the question of Jerusalem on the Israeli Government, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will give the other points I have raised careful consideration.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)
My hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) argued that there was a danger that Israel would overplay her hand, would rely too much on her present military advantage and would not look far enough ahead to what the future may bring. I think that there is great weight in that argument, but if ever the Israelis are to be persuaded to believe in it, it will be essential for the leaders of the Arab countries to make it clear by deed and word that if ever agreement can be reached they will thereafter 1792 abandon any idea of destroying the State of Israel and will treat Israel, if not as a friend, then at any rate as a neighbour and as one member of the United Nations should treat another. Until that happens, it is useless to counsel prudence to the Israelis.
There is one thing above all that the leaders of the Arab countries could do to make this more credible—that is, to say, "We are ready here and now to meet the Israelis at the conference table in order to put the necessary flesh and blood on the essential but still rather bare and bony structure of United Nations Resolution No. 242." It would be enormously difficult for the Arab leaders to say that, but what alternative faces them? If they did it, I believe that they would be surprised at how far the Israeli Government would go to meet them on all the other points in dispute.
Secondly, I turn to the problem of Rhodesia. I think that we were reassured to hear yesterday what the Foreign Secretary had to say about his adherence to the Six Principles. I think we understood the explanation that was given about the sending of the diplomats and officials, but I want to put a point to the right hon. Gentleman. There may be some danger in doing this kind of thing too often because it may encourage Mr. Smith to believe that he has only to hang on long enough and sooner or later someone will come out who will give him what he wants.
With that in mind, my one disappointment about what the right hon. Gentleman said about Rhodesia was that there was no mention of the Government's attitude towards sanctions. I reject altogether the idea that sanctions are now an empty form. It would be a matter of great importance to Mr. Smith if he could ever reach the point where he could say, "The rest of the world has given it up. We are going to get away with it."
As I understand it, Her Majesty's Government hope, by patience, flexibility and encouraging black and white in Rhodesia to talk together, that in the end agreement can be reached. That may be so, but it will not be so if Mr. Smith can still cherish the idea that he has only to hang on long enough and he will get his own way. The way to convince him 1793 that that is not so is to put great weight on the enforcement of sanctions. If in this problem there is need for patience and flexibility, there is also need for determination.
What are Her Majesty's Government doing to see that sanctions are properly observed by our own subjects in this country? What are they doing about those countries which confess to observe sanctions but are careless in doing so? Our new membership of the EEC gives us an added right to raise this question with our fellow members.
Further, I cannot help making what is perhaps not so serious a point. In the recent celebrations of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance, did any member of Her Majesty's Government remind Portugal that one of the clauses of that 600-year-old treaty is that Portugal shall not aid and abet rebels against the British Crown? I would like an answer to that question.
My third point concerns the forthcoming conference at Helsinki. The Foreign Secretary said that he had an open mind on the important question of whether the conference should be followed up by the creation of a permanent consultative body between East and West.
As G. K. Chesterton once remarked, one should open one's mind as one opens one's mouth—for the purpose of closing it again on something solid. This, I hope, is what the Government will do, and I hope that their solid conclusion will be favourable to the concept of a permanent body. I have always envisaged this as a group of high-ranking officials dealing with day-to-day, week-to-week problems which may arise between East and West and calling in Ministers only at comparatively rare intervals when it was essential. This concept ought to appeal to the Foreign Secretary. It has those virtues of calmness, quietness and doing good so that hardly anyone notices which so appeal to him.
My reasons for believing that such a body would be useful are these. If we get agreements out of the Helsinki conference—for example, on the exchange of ideas, books, persons, and so on—it will inevitably be necessary to watch them and see how they progress 1794 and to consider complaints that may arise on either side that the other has not properly observed them. We do not want points like that to be the subject in each case of highly publicised quarrels. We want them to go to an expert body which will examine them calmly, defuse them and try to reach agreement.
Apart from any problems that may arise out of agreements concluded at Helsinki, there is always the possibility of particular difficulties and irritations arising between East and West. The subject of an eastern country may come to the West and break the law of a country. The same can happen in reverse. Once again we do not want this kind of think to be the cause of recurrent crises with no accepted procedure for dealing with such matters. Here again there is a case for a permanent body.
Another reason is this. One of the arguments used some time ago against having a conference of the kind that is to be held at Helsinki is that it would lead mankind to build up exalted hopes that we were coming together and afterwards everything would be all right. It would be disastrous if we encouraged the world to think that that was the situation. If we make it clear from the start that the Helsinki conference is only the beginning of a long process, we avoid the danger of this illusion. We set up a machinery which is appropriate to the age in which we are living.
I suppose that what is popularly called the atomic or nuclear age began with the first use of nuclear weapons at the end of the last war. From that moment any subsequent major war in the world would not merely cause appalling damage to mankind; it would be disastrous for mankind. The special feature about the point of history we have now reached is that not only is this fact true but the really powerful people in the world today have at last grasped that it is true and are beginning to act upon it.
We shall, therefore, if things go tolerably well, live in an age when we think, not in terms of crises, ultimate and the rest, but of long, laborious compromises, adjustments, arguments. People may say that this is a bit dull. I would say that that would be a jolly good thing. The Chinese, I am told, have a curse for an enemy which goes "May you live in 1795 interesting times". That is an experience most people in this century have gone through quite enough, thank you. It always seems to me that if we can make international affairs a little duller the human spirit may apply itself to subjects more suitable for enjoyment and interest.
I believe that we are approaching a period in human history of the kind I have been describing, with slow and elaborate adjustments. My hope—and this is admittedly optimistic and personal, or at least partisan—is that in time out of this will emerge a new kind of civilisation that can unite the passion for social justice which was the best in the inspiring causes of the Russian Revolution, and the passion for liberty that has been the best in so much of Western European history. The idea that these can be blended will be regarded by many as a vain dream. I believe that we have to try.
The nature of modern diplomacy, makes it more likely than ever before that we can try successfully. This is why I am a democratic Socialist. I believe this is ultimately what mankind must produce—that combination of liberty and social justice.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) spoke for a short time about the significance of democratic Socialism as a force in Western Europe. I agree with him and perhaps I may be allowed to conclude by expressing the hope that next time there is a conference of Western European Democratic Socialists our own party will be represented at it.
§ 6.37 p.m.
§ Mr. A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)
We have heard from the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart) and his right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) protestations of their belief in democratic Socialism. The hon. and learned Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) must be taking converts by the dozen. I want to refer first to the speech of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew). Since 1955 I have made six visits to Israel, four of them on parliamentary delegations. That does not give me any special expertise, but at least it 1796 gives me first-hand knowledge of what is going on there.
The hon. Member dismissed the claims and protestations of the Israelis with a wave of his hand and said they would not give up Sharm el Sheikh and the other half of Jurusalem. We have to understand why they will not do this and why Sharm el Sheikh is so important. It is the entrance to the Red Sea, which controls the Gulf of Aqaba and which lies in the heart of the State of Israel. It is there that the new refineries are being built and the pipelines are going to the seaport of Ashdod, into the Mediterranean and into Western Europe.
At the end of the six-day war the United Nations—what I regard as a moribund organisation—had its people at Sharm el Sheikh. All that Nasser had to say was "Get out" and away they went. The Israelis, however, were able to control the situation fairly well. The hon. Member spoke of the Israeli policy of reprisal and assassination. Has he no memory of Munich or Lod or the other things which the Arab guerillas have done to Israelis over the years? Do not the Israelis have a right to defend themselves against this sort of atrocity perpetrated against them year after year? Of course they have, in just the same way as the British people would defend themselves, given the same problems.
My hon. Friend the Member for Westbury (Mr. Walters) made a remarkable speech. As I listened to him, I had to say to myself, "You have to be joking", because I could not imagine anyone quoting such unrealistic and so-called facts about a situation as those which he put forward. He solemnly tells the House that the Russians have not put any missiles or offensive arms on the west bank of the Suez Canal. He must be joking. The SAM missiles have been there for a long time.
§ Mr. Cooper
So is a revolver. But it a bullet fired from a revolver kills by shooting someone through the heart it is an offensive weapon. The truth is that during this period both the Americans and the Russians have been delivering arms to both sides. This has brought about a serious situation.
I do not know whether I am rather exceptional in this connection, but I spent 1797 some time going through the Gaza Strip and along the West Bank, now occupied by the Israelis, once Jordan territory. I wonder whether anybody in this House, when he talks about the Palestinian problem, really knows what the Israeli Government are doing for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. For example, the Arabs, under Israeli supervision, are building three-bedroomed houses or cottages—I suppose we would call them chalets—with running water, something which the Palestinian Arabs have never known in their history; and this is going on year after year.
Does anybody know or realise that about 100,000 Arabs move out of the Gaza Strip into Israel every day to earn their living, and at the same rates as are paid to Israeli people within the State of Israel itself? Does anybody realise that within the Gaza Strip the Israeli Government are building up cottage industries to enable Arab women to earn their living, again at high rates of pay, something which they have never known before in their lives? If we are to take sides in this, for goodness sake let us give both sides of the story.
My hon. Friend talks of what is going on in Jerusalem and the high buildings that are going up there. Does he know what the old City of Jerusalem was like before Israel took over after the Six-Day War? The old Arab City of Jerusalem was full of filthy, rat-ridden slums. The Israelis have now converted it into what one can only describe as a decent city. The Arab people are not too displeased with the new standard of life they find there.
As for repression, one can go the whole length of the West Bank, which is a long journey and takes nearly a day, as I did, without seeing a soldier or a policeman, not even in the big city of Nablus. We saw the bridges going over the Jordan, lorries and trucks going backwards and forwards and people trading peacefully one with another. The Palestinians are being made a political pawn by people who want to cause disruption in the Middle East. Let us face it.
The several delegations upon which I have served have had interviews and discussions with members of the present Israeli Government and others. It seems 1798 to me that the obvious solution to this problem is that the world has to recognise and accept that the State of Israel will exist permanently. That fact having been established, the four great Powers —the USSR, the USA, France and ourselves—together with the Israelis and the Arabs, must get together and determine the frontiers to be established, and those frontiers having been determined the Big Four must guarantee them.
§ Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)
I have been listening to my hon. Friend with great interest, but I feel he is misleading the House about where the Israeli Government stand in this matter. It is not so much a question of how the Israelis are treating these pepole whom they took over by the capture of their territory. It is a question of whether we in this country, and the United Nations, accept United Nations Resolution No. 242, to the effect that we do not accept that one nation should capture another nation's territory. The Prime Minister of Israel has herself put a barrier to negotiations by saying—and I hope that the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart) will not forget it, for he also misled the House in this sense—that she would not give up one inch of captured soil.
§ Mr. Cooper
I never see any force in that argument for the simple reason that half of Western Europe today has been captured by the Soviet Union as a result of conquest and nobody suggests that anything should be done to push the Soviet Union out of any of these territories. Nobody suggests that the Soviet Union should be pushed out of the Baltic States. We are very hypocritical about this. Let us take our own empire, which we built up over many hundreds of years, most of it by conquest. Suddenly somebody has decided in the United Nations that whatever one gets by conquest is illegal and immoral and one cannot have it any more.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
In order to put the record right following the intervention of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch), is not it right that what was being said by the Israeli Government was that they would not cede territory that had been occupied before meaningful negotiations had taken place?
§ Mr. Cooper
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. In discussions we had with high-ranking members of the Israeli Government, they put two very pertinent points to us. For example, they asked, "Why on earth should we want Sinai? Nobody lives there. It is all sand and we have all the sand we need. We do not need any more. The only reason we need Sinai is that it is a defensive barrier against Egypt on the other side of the canal." Then they asked, "Why should we want another quarter of a million Arabs? Again, we have all the Arabs we need. We would like to get rid of them." Of course, they want to get rid of them.
In my judgment, the Israeli case is very powerful. What we must have—and I am sure the Foreign Secretary is aware of this—is something of which we have heard a lot this afternoon, a détente between the four great Powers to establish the boundaries of the State of Israel; and those boundaries having been established, the Big Four must guarantee that that shall be so. In that way, and in that way alone, can we hope to get a peaceful settlement in that part of the world.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun (Salford, East)
Several hon. Members have referred today to the seventieth birthday of the Foreign Secretary. I, too, wish to send many happy returns to the Foreign Secretary, but not as Foreign Secretary. He is a nice man —a nice man with nasty ideas. I hope he will not take that as a personal insult. On the contrary, it is his ideas I am getting at.
I shall say a word about the Middle East to which the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) and a previous Conservative speaker, the hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. Walters) referred. The latter made an astonishing proposal. He said that we are sending Phantoms and other arms to Israel and therefore we should supply arms to the Arab countries. I believe it would be far more sensible, instead of arming both sides as we are doing to our shame, that we should be arming neither. If the Big Four—the United States, Russia, France and Great Britain—were to say, "Not another weapon to either Israel or Egypt" the war would shortly end. Basically, that is what I should like to see and perhaps this kind of idea could be applied in other parts of the world, too.
1800 I want to deal briefly with the key issue in the world today. This week Mr. Brezhnev said, "The cold war is over". Mr. Brezhnev has visited Mr. Nixon, Mr. Pompidou and Mr. Brandt. Significantly, he has not visited the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Why? Because he has not been invited. Why has he not been invited? The Prime Minister, who spoke earlier today, did not give the reason, but when my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said that our relations with Russia were frostier, I saw the Prime Minister nod his head. Why are our relations with Russia frostier than are the relations of America, Germany and France with Russia? It is because the British Government have less enthusiasm for rapprochement than have the Governments of the other three countries.
The cold war lingers on here, not only in the Foreign Office, but also among the Government back benchers and people in influential positions in the Conservative Party. For them, the cold war is not over. In every foreign affairs and defence debate the hawks are vocally at work. With one or two notable exceptions the contributions from the Government benches, Front and back, are concerned mainly with the growth of the Soviet Navy. The hon. Member for Leicester, South-East (Sir J. Peel)—
§ Mr. Allaun
Let me deal with some of his ideas. The hawks say that the Russians are likely to build three aircraft carriers. But the Americans have 17. I am against aircraft carriers, but surely if we refer to one side we must also refer to the other. The hawks cry that the Russians have increased the number of their nuclear missiles. But NATO has more warheads. I am not an enthusiast for nuclear weapons. I do not know how they are counted, but we are told that the Russians have 2,200 nuclear warheads. That is less than half the American total, which, we are told, is 5,900. I am sure that neither side has any serious intention of attacking the other, but this is the old mistaken idea—"If you want peace, prepare for war". Each side is so frightened of the other that it is producing this enormous burden of arms 1801 that can lead to disaster. Despite the détente, both sides are increasing their armaments because of mutual and mistaken fear. The arms race is militating against an extension of the détente and it is impoverishing all the countries involved.
The colossal expenditure incurred has pressed the "Big Two" into the SALT talks and America into considering troop reductions in Europe. Do not think it would not benefit the Russians, too, if they could switch their Service men to increasing production in agriculture and industry, as I hope they will.
Willy Brandt took great political risks in pursuing his Ostpolitik and no doubt there are opponents inside Russia for Mr. Brezhnev's "Westpolitik". He, too, is taking risks. If he fails to get results in the form of trade and a reduction in military spending, he may be forced into a more recalcitrant policy or even be replaced by a less co-operative leader. Willy Brandt had to encounter and withstand bitter opposition to his Ostpolitik. In the end, he won the General Election on it —it was a vote winner.
Why not a British "Eastpolitik", and why not drastic arms reductions? The new programme of the British Labour Party talks of a £600 million-a-year reduction in arms expenditure so that resources can be devoted to what the people want. I believe this to be right and immensely popular. Any party that goes to the polls on that sort of programme is likely to derive great advantage from it. I regret that because the Government have moved in the opposite direction and increased military spending by no less than £809 million a year in the last two years, they are unlikely to take this advice.
§ Mr. Allaun
If the hon. Gentleman wishes to win the next election he should take my advice. Manchester, Exchange is not a bad example of response to Labour policy.
Within the NATO councils our Defence Minister and Foreign Secretary are not regarded as the keenest advocates of progress in the MBFR talks. Leaders of other Governments are taking a much more positive line in this direction. It is said that Mr. Brezhnev is agreeable to 1802 mutual force reductions, but not to balanced ones. If that is so, I hope that he will reconsider his attitude—[Laughter.] On this issue I should have thought that even hon. Gentleman on the Government benches might take a more serious attitude. If that is the Soviet attitude I hope that it will be reconsidered.
If the Warsaw Pact countries have more troops in Europe, instead of each side making a cut of, say, 200,000 men and demobilising them, the Russian alliance should demobilise 400,000. I do not regard that as impossible, because the Russians need their men for peaceful production. It is said that if the West and the East brought home a proportion of their servicemen, Eastern Europe could more quickly return them to Central Europe. I feel strongly that troops on both sides should not merely be brought home but should be demobilised.
It would be a mistake to confine these discussions to troop levels in Central Europe. In June 1971 Mr. Brezhnev made some ambiguous comments about East-West naval limitation. The opportunity should be seized to raise the possibility of making the Mediterranean a sea of peace rather than a scene of competition and confrontation.
The British Government have not invited Mr. Brezhnev to this country, but they have invited Mr. Caetano. Throughout Africa, this will be taken to mean that Britain is backing the war being waged by 200,000 Portuguese troops against the three most glaring examples of colonialism on that continent.
§ Mr. Allaun
We have not supplied General Mobuto with the arms to which I am about to refer. Where does Portugal get most of its arms for that war? It gets them mainly from NATO. From Britain it has obtained 170 Auster aircraft, jet engines for the German Fiat planes and naval vessels. I believe that must stop. If NATO claims to stand for the defence of freedom and democracy, it should expel Portugal forthwith. The Foreign Secretary's argument against this yesterday was that if 1803 we refused to ally ourselves with governments that we did not like, we should have fewer allies.
§ Lord Balniel
On the subject of the supply of arms to Portugal, the hon. Gentleman will know that the Government have answered a number of questions tabled by the hon. Gentleman laying down the rules under which we supply arms. He should refresh his memory about the conditions.
§ Mr. Allaun
All the NATO Governments with their hands on their hearts say, "We have not supplied arms to Portugal." The question arises, then where the hell did they get them? I refer to the three examples I have mentioned and on which I think there is evidence, namely the Auster aeroplanes, the British jet engines for the German Fiat aeroplane and the naval vessels. I have seen canisters containing napalm which have been dropped in the three colonies which have had NATO or United States' markings.
When we have some degree of influence, as we should have over Portuguese policy, we are entitled to use it. Instead, the Government bend over backwards to invite the Head of State to be given a royal reception here, thereby encouraging him in his war. Three years ago almost to the day I was at a conference in Rome and I met Mr. Cabral, the outstanding leader of the Movement for the Liberation of the Portuguese Colonies of Africa. There was then a suggestion that he should visit England, but his friends demanded a guarantee of security if he visited Britain. At the time I thought that demand a little melodramatic, and Mr. Cabral visited England and returned without incident. But this year they got him—they murdered him, as they murdered Delgado, Mondlane and Sigao. Therefore, if we shake hands with members of the Portuguese ruling class, we are shaking hands with murderers. They themselves do not kill. They hire assassins instead.
We do not want an alliance with murderers. I am glad that on Wednesday the Labour Party Executive called on Labour Party members to boycott all functions and meetings to be held in connection with the forthcoming visit of Caetano. I hope that will apply to the top ranks on the Opposition side of the House.
§ Mr. Cormack
What the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) says is riddled with inconsistencies. On the one hand he wants us to meet Mr. Brezhnev and to shake hands with him. Are Mr. Brezhnev's hands always clean? I should like to meet Mr. Brezhnev. Indeed I write to him regularly about the plight of the Soviet Jews and he never replies. If Mr. Brezhnev could be persuaded to come here, I should like to shake his hand. But the hon. Gentleman must not apply double standards, because it makes total nonsense of his argument.
§ Mr. Allaun
My first point in reply to the hon. Member for Cannock is that we are not in a military alliance with Russia, whereas we are in a military alliance with Portugal. Secondly, if I thought there was a danger of war between Britain and Portugal, I would welcome a visit so that we could avert a war. But we are arming against Russia, not against Portugal. I think it would be an anti-war move to have Mr. Brezhnev here.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)
So far as I understand the hon. Gentleman's argument, it is that we should not seek contact with our friends to influence them, but that we should with our enemies. I should like to know if that is what he is saying.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)
I would remind the House that there are a number of hon. Members who have sat through this two-day debate and who still wish to be called.
§ Mr. Allaun
I understand, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I must reply to the question put to me by the hon. Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett). If the hon. Gentleman thinks that we have invited Mr. Caetano here to influence him in stopping the war in Africa, he should think again. The best thing is for the Government to call off the visit. It would cause indignation in the ranks of the Portuguese Government but elation almost everywhere else.
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)
In view of the fact, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you have graciously called me to speak immediately after the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun), perhaps I should have delayed my intervention for a few moments. The hon. 1805 Gentleman began his remarks with a rather backhanded compliment to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary by saying that he was a nice man with nasty ideas. I wish I could say the same about the hon. Member for Salford, East.
To return to the hon. Gentleman's concluding remarks, he appeared to be advancing the argument that it was useful to invite people here and talk to them when they threatened us, but not when we might be in a position to influence them. That must be on the record as a summary of the hon. Gentleman's arguments.
When I came here to speak, I thought I would concentrate my remarks entirely on the question of Rhodesia, which is at the moment a very pertinent subject, but I was tempted by the remarks made by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) to talk about other matters. Some of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks were a classic reminder of the fact that the Foreign Secretary some time ago talked about double standards at the United Nations. Having heard the right hon. Gentleman's speech, there are undoubtedly also double standards in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
At one point in his speech the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East spoke of recognition of North Vietnam and said that recognition is not the prize for good behaviour; it is a matter of fact and of convenience. But what happened a little while ago when the Government announced their recognition of Greece? The argument then put forward by the Opposition was precisely the opposite to the argument adduced by the right hon. Gentleman today. I should like to quote from an article in The Guardian headed "Recognition of 'illegal' Greece angers Labour". The article said:In Whitehall officials were on the defensive and at pains to say that the act of recognition should not be taken to have 'moral significance'. This appeared to be an oblique admission that the military dictatorship in Greece is not the sort of regime that Britain would ordinarily wish to do business with.I should have thought that that was self-explanatory, but the article continued:However, officials stuck to their brief, which is that in terms of the normal criteria, recognition has to be granted. Two criteria were listed: one, that the regime appears to 1806 control the greater part of the territory; and, two, it enjoys a reasonable prospect of permanency.I do not think anybody would quarrel with that. The article continued:But the Foreign Office could not dispute that one criterion normally applied by Britain was missing—the one which demands some evidence that the regime enjoys the broad support of most of the people of its territories.Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could make clear whether he wishes to add a third criterion because the Labour Government, of which he was a leading member, did not. Nor when the Leader of the Opposition paid his visit to Czechoslovakia did he pay much attention to that criterion. He did not visit an illegal Government, but a Government of which he favoured recognition. Yet I do not imagine that the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East or the Leader of the Opposition will claim for a moment that the present régime in Czechoslovakia commands the majority support of the inhabitants of that country. The right hon. Gentleman must be a little more careful when he taunts my right hon. and hon. Friends for what he calls their illogicality. He will find that he has dug himself much deeper into the ditch by his comments about Greece.
Does the right hon. Gentleman claim that we were right to recognise the régime in Greece according to the criteria?
§ Mr. Callaghan
My main desire is to see the restoration of a democratic régime in Greece and of a democratic Socialist régime in Hanoi. My approach to recognition and the withdrawal or otherwise of ambassadors depends upon where it is thought we get any leverage. It is my estimate that we should get more leverage if we recognised Hanoi. On the other hand, though this is a matter of opinion and not a matter of fact, if the combined NATO Powers were to say that they believed that the nature of the régime in Greece was so Draconian that they intended to withdraw their recognition of the régime, in my view this would have a profound impact on Greek opinion and might result in the restoration of democratic practices. It is the end that matters. The means are less important.
§ Sir F. Bennett
That does not answer the question. The right hon. Gentleman said that what might happen as a result of some action or other was a matter of 1807 opinion. I asked a fair question. If one is to recognise a régime according to the two criteria which obtained during the period in office of the Labour Government, were we right to recognise the Greek Government—
§ Sir F. Bennett
If the right hon. Gentleman had been Foreign Secretary, of necessity it would have been the point. Either he would have had to refuse recognition or he would have had to grant it. He would not have been able to trot round the NATO ambassadors trying to get them to follow his opinion, and only when he got a majority behind him—
§ Mr. Callaghan
If we cannot wait, why so far have we not recognised Hanoi? We have waited long enough there.
§ Sir F. Bennett
The right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. I leave it to him to say whether the time is appropriate for the recognition of Hanoi. But he cannot argue for the recognition of Hanoi and at the same time argue against the recognition of Greece.
§ Sir F. Bennett
If that is the philosophy of the Labour Party, I am not surprised that we got into the mess on foreign policy that we did when right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite were in office. However, the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors never undertook such a ridiculous appraisal of how to conduct foreign policy as he expounds.
The right hon. Gentleman then went on to discuss invitations to this country, and he taunted the Government for not inviting Mr. Brezhnev here. I should be only too happy if he came because it would give us an opportunity to talk to him about various matters. However, I am sure that if my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary said "We thought that it would be a good idea to invite Mr. Brezhnev—and he has just accepted our invitation—since it would give us an opportunity to tell him what he is doing wrong", my right hon. Friend would be cheered from the Opposition benches. But if my right hon. Friend said "We think that there are bad things happening in South Africa, 1808 and we have taken an opportunity to invite Mr. Vorster here to tell him about the bad things we think he is doing", there would be anything but cheers from the Opposition: there would be raspberries. That shows the totally double standards which Labour Members adopt.
I turn now to another matter which has been raised in a number of speeches. When hon. Members go abroad to various countries, it is noticeable that if they go to countries which have Right-wing régimes that are basically friendly, they are dismissed as "junketings". On the other hand, if the Leader of the Opposition or a Parliamentary Labour Party delegation goes to Moscow or Prague, it is called a "good will mission" for the purchase of exchanges between men of good will. I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East can tell us what is the difference between junketings and good will visits. Does it depend on the colour of the flag flown by the country concerned, or are other criteria applied?
There have been a number of references to Turkey and Portugal. Although I join everyone in deploring the activities and behaviour of the present Government in Greece, surely our primary aim should be to alter the situation. All history shows that external pressure on a country always has the opposite effect to that which it is sought to achieve. This has happened again and again. However, it is grossly unfair to Turkey and Portugal to compare them in any way with Greece.
Turkey has a very short history of democratic government, and it has been a history of trouble. It is a country which came almost straight from the Middle Ages to modern times. It has a Parliament. It is doing its best. However, it is faced with a firm attempt by minority elements to bring down its Government by subversive means. It is true that the Turkish Government have a number of detainees, and we are right to be concerned about detainees held without trial anywhere. But it is not easy for Britain with her present troubles in Ulster to appear too much in a white sheet when talking about the necessity to have political detainees in order to prevent subversion. We should remember that before we lecture other countries. We must remember, too, that there 1809 are two other Commonwealth countries, Sri Lanka and Singapore, which are never criticised although they have political detainees whom they believe to be guilty of trying to bring down the State by force. If we are to start criticising the theory of political detention, let us do it right across the board and not be selective. I have not noticed many attacks on Left-wing countries which have detention such as those that we have from the Opposition upon Right-wing countries.
There is more unfairness talked about Portugal and her policies than about almost any other country. The Portuguese believe passionately in a non-racial approach to any problem. Not many right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have been on "junkets" to Portugal, although one or two have. Anyone going there rapidly becomes aware that there is far less feeling in both metropolitan and African Portugal about race than there is in this country. One hears a great deal about the armies which are supposed to be fighting in Portuguese Africa, but very few people realise that the great bulk of the troops are locally raised. In Mozambique, for example, the great majority of the troops fighting there are Mozambique Africans.
In Portuguese schools in those countries there is no element of racialism at any level. There never has been. For scores of years when Britain preserved a distinctive racialist society in its control of its colonies, Portugal was broadminded to an extent that we should praise. It is an authoritarian country. But if we are to start restricting our friends only to those with parliamentary democracies we shall find ourselves members of a very small club.
I urge right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to study the remarkable advances which Portugal has made towards establishing democracy in her African colonies. In Angola and Mozambique there are Parliaments with considerable power. The majority of their members are African, as are their electorates. We have not yet managed to do that in Rhodesia. Labour Members in this House have not taken the trouble to read about recent changes in Portugal which have lead to this state of affairs.
1810 I come now to Rhodesia. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart) has left the Chamber, because I know that he is as keen as I am to try to bring about some kind of settlement before it is too late. Another unfair attack which is sometimes made from the Opposition benches is that those of us who feel that sanctions have failed are pro-Smith. Nothing could be further from the truth. One is entitled to the view, which I have always held, that sanctions are counter-productive to the achievement of a settlement. Sanctions have failed. They were bound to fail unless we could ensure that they were applied universally. When that failed, sanctions were bound to fail. Until recently Rhodesia had enormous stocks of tobacco which were unsold and which were having a serious effect on her economy. Those stocks have been sold. That is because sanctions are not being applied universally, and I see no prospect of any such application in future.
That does not mean that I favour the Smith régime, as will be apparent from my further remarks. The sands are running out for Mr. Smith, not because of sanctions but because he cannot ignore indefintely the majority opinion among the people he rules. The growth of African nationalism in Rhodesia will bring about the change. I suggest that Mr. Smith had better move very quickly and make a deal with African opinion while he still has the chance. The situation gets more difficult and the forces of extremism among the Africans in Rhodesia get more intense as each day and month goes by. In practice, the Africans who still hold control of public opinion in Rhodesia are moderate men. How long that situation will continue I do not know.
Sanctions will not bring down the Smith régime. They would never have succeeded. He will be brought down in due course because of the sheer impossibility of 220,000 whites controlling between 5 million and 7 million Africans. He ought to make a deal whilst he still has the chance to influence the course of opinion in Rhodesia. The wisest thing would be for leaders of African political opinion of all shades and the Europeans there to get together quickly before the situation gets completely out of hand, as I fear will be the case. A settlement could 1811 be reached now. This would be the moment for those with enough imagination to achieve it. Otherwise the sabotage and subversion will grow, as has happened elsewhere, and no deal will be possible. Therefore, while on the balance sheet Mr. Smith has got away with sanctions, as I thought he would, he will not succeed if he continues to outrage moderate African opinion in Rhodesia.
§ 7.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Gwynoro Jones (Carmarthen)
I was glad to note that the hon. Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett) came nearer to the straight and narrow path in his last few sentences as compared with the general tenor of his speech.
I shall confine myself to one matter—the failure of the British Government publicly and persistently to condemn the decision by the French Government to carry out nuclear test explosions in the Pacific Ocean.
This afternoon the Minister of State spoke about a new Europe in 1973 and of the new opportunities open to the Commonwealth and the Common Market. Yet on this question of French nuclear testing we have first of all failed to support our Commonwealth friends, and have blatantly failed even to attempt to influence the people who, we have been told over the last year or two, are now closer allied to us—France. Indeed, that was represented as one of the main reasons for our entering the Community. We are supposed to have a special relationship with the French President and people. It is lamentable that the Prime Minister is over-zealous in his care to keep the French President happy at all costs.
The Foreign Secretary spoke glowingly of co-operation within Western Europe and the Community. He spoke of the strengthening of our influence within the Nine. Yet he made no reference to any attempt being made by the British Government to persuade the French to call off their nuclear test programme.
The French have pursued or are interlocked with their present policy due, no doubt, to the relic of de Gaulle's ancient quarrel with America and his exaggerated nationalism. They have pursued a determined and independent defence policy outside NATO.
France is spending 17 per cent. of its resources on armaments, and 30 per cent. 1812 of that on the nuclear programme. However there is opinion within France that points clearly at the extravagant expenditure that is being incurred as being wasteful.
Jules Moch, a former Defence Minister, a former High Commissioner of the Atomic Energy Authority and the Director of Research at the French National Defence Centre, in May this year said that if France used its so-called nuclear strength, a quarter of an hour later France would no longer exist. It would take about 20 nuclear weapons to destroy all the major French cities, and the super Powers already possess 4,000 to 5,000 such weapons.
One supposes that the French take the view that Russia, America and Britain in the 1950s and early 1960s made sure that they had the necessary equipment to defend themselves before signing the Test Ban Treaty in 1963 and that we are now asking them to pursue a policy which we were not prepared to carry out in the 1950s.
I submit that the situation is vastly different. The French, if they are adamant in pursuing this policy, could clearly conduct underground nuclear tests. After all, they carried out underground tests in the Sahara. Clearly they have the technical expertise to carry out such testing underground. But the factor preventing underground testing has been the question of higher costs. The nuclear programme has already cost France between £4,000 million and £5,000 million, and it is a continuing cost.
Is it the prerogative of a country such as France to argue that the higher cost of testing underground compels it to go to a part of the world furthest away from its own shores? The French argument is that the nuclear test is safe and there is not a great deal to worry about. If so, they could just as easily carry out this test off the coast of France. The British Government have been extremely quiet about the dangers of fall out. I wonder what the opinion and view of the Foreign Secretary would be if these tests were to be carried out in the English Channel rather than the Pacific Ocean. Would the Government then have been so quiet about this whole matter?
I turn now to the attitude of the French to the International Court at The Hague. France says, "We are not guilty. But, 1813 even if we were, the court would have no jurisdiction."
That is the precise point being made by Iceland, but the British Government are taking a vastly different stand against the view expressed by Iceland.
What is the Government's attitude towards the decision by the International Court at The Hague? The argument apears to be, "What is the purpose of protesting? The nuclear test experimentation will carry on anyway." Yet there is evidence that continuing protests over the last two or three years have caused France to change her mind, albeit at a slow rate. For instance, there were supposed to be seven in the last series of tests, but, due to the tremendous opposition, only five were carried out. They have postponed the present series at least twice in the last two months. They are unlikely to explode a megaton nuclear device as they first intended. It is now expected to be a device of less than 200 kilotons.
We should be more concerned about the effect of the test.
§ Mr. John Wilkinson (Bradford, West)
Before the hon. Gentleman gets on to the technicalities, would he utter one word of criticism about the programme of the People's Republic of China for exploding nuclear devices in the atmosphere?
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Member can be sure that I would include China in my condemnation of France. Eager as he was to condemn China, I am sure that, when he makes his speech, he will condemn France in the same terms, and the fact that the Government have failed publicly to express concern at the French action.
For those who say that there is little to worry about, that the side effects are not great, that it is difficult to measure the consequences of radioactive contamination, that it is not enough of a health hazard to cause concern, I would only quote from an article in The Guardian:There are people who try to minimise the dangers of nuclear fallout for various reasons. However, most scientists well-versed in the subject feel otherwise. Two Melbourne University experts, Dr. R. Melick, who has spent the past 15 years studying radioactive fallout over Australia, and Dr. M. Denborough, a researcher 1814 into genetic diseases, have stated that there will be an increase in cancer, leukamia and genetic defects due to radiation fallout from the French tests.The article goes on to say that there is evidence now of fallout from the American and Russian tests of 20 years ago.
In this debate, I have taken a similar point of view to that of my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) who asked pertinent questions yesterday to which we shall expect replies.
If foreign policy means that we are to exercise influence where it matters, in this respect we have singularly failed, despite the Government's claim over the last two or three years that by joining Europe we would become more influential within the Community. In that situation, why have the Government failed to make the necessary strong representations? The Secretary of State said yesterday that the French are well aware of our view. I am sure that if they are, our view should have been made doubly strong in public. We should join our partners in Australia and New Zealand in opposing France's intentions.
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ Mr. William Shelton (Clapham)
I want to follow an important point that was made by several hon. Members opposite, including the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston), the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun) and the right hon. Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart). This is that, because we do not like the internal affairs of countries such as Greece or the behaviour in Africa of countries such as Portugal, we should not be in a military alliance with them. We were in military alliance with Russia for some years during the war immediately after they had ended their military alliance with Germany, but my main point was brought out clearly in an interesting exchange yesterday between the right hon. Member for Lanark and the Foreign Secretary.
The right hon. Lady asked my right hon. Friend whether morality had no part in foreign policy and whether all foreign policy was directed these days, as perhaps it was 100 years ago, to a moral self-interest. She must forgive me if I do not quote from HANSARD because, like my hon. Friends, I have had some difficulty with HANSARD.
1815 The right hon. Lady drew a picture of my right hon. Friend walking down the street and seeing one man being attacked by a gang. She asked whether this would not arouse a sense of moral outrage in him. In an excellent intervention, my right hon. Friend said that, while he disliked, for instance, the Greek régime, security had to come first.
This is a fairly profound point of difference between people in this country—not only between hon. Members opposite and my colleagues but between people we meet—and it could become important. If the right hon. Lady had been here, I should have suggested to her that a better analogy than a man walking down a street would be if she had an unpleasant neighbour who beat his wife and drank too much. If he wanted to borrow the lawn-mower, because the right hon. Lady did not like him, she would refuse to lend it. But if her house caught fire and he climbed a ladder to her window, I cannot believe that she would refuse to climb down.
I cannot believe that she and all other hon. Members do not feel the same as I about the importance of the security of this country. We must all believe that it has to come first. So the difference between us must lie in our judgment. There must be one of two reasons for it. The first is the contribution that the countries we are discussing make to NATO—whether they make a contribution or not. Alternatively, it must be a judgment whether we face a threat to our security.
In the case of Greece, we all agree about the way in which the Greeks run their internal affairs, but Greece contributes half a billion dollars to NATO, there is a US naval and air facility base there, housing 3,000 American Service men, and another base is under construction at Pireaus for six destroyers and an aircraft carrier, to cater for 7,000 US personnel.
Greece and Turkey are our NATO allies in the Mediterranean and they are essential, as my right hon. Friend has said, to the physical security of Western Europe. They make a great contribution to NATO. If one believes that, one must ask whether there, is in fact a threat to NATO or whether the détente is a reality. The hon. Member for Salford, East said 1816 that Mr. Brezhnev said that the détente is a reality, that the cold war is finished. Is this so? We would like nothing more, but one must look at the facts. We are told that the USSR has about 100 combat divisions in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The Warsaw Pact forces together outnumber the NATO forces on the ground by some two to one. Recently the Warsaw Pact has added some 1,500 tanks to its forces and now outnumbers NATO forces by four tanks to one. The Warsaw Pact countries have increased their aircraft strength by 50 per cent. They have six new nuclear submarines and 90 new silos for inter-continental ballistic missiles. Their artillery strength is about 2½ to one against NATO. Their fleet is one of the biggest in the world—perhaps the biggest or the second biggest. Their long-range aircraft can reach the Indian Ocean and the Carribean.
This may be, as the hon. Member for Salford, East said, because they are frightened of the United States. I do not know. But I do know that while there is such a preponderance, and an increasing preponderance of Warsaw Pact forces in Eastern Europe compared with those of NATO, I cannot decline to believe that there continues to be a threat to our security.
Therefore, if we believe that Greece, Turkey and Portugal contribute to NATO, and if we believe that there continues to be a threat to our security, the right hon. Member for Lanark and some of her hon. Friends are permitting themselves a moral luxury in their attitude to those countries, which one day may well become a very dangerout attitude for this country.
§ 7.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis (Hackney Central)
I shall not follow the speech of the hon. Member for Clapham (Mr. William Shelton), save to say that the message that he seemed to be conveying was that if one detests a régime one must not declare that detestation if it happens to be one with which one is aligned. That is not a doctrine to which many hon. Members, on the Opposition side of the House at least, would be prepared to subscribe.
I want to address my remarks to the situation in the Middle East. During the last few weeks, I have had the advantage 1817 of visiting both the Lebanon—albeit, too briefly—and Israel. I do not claim to be a great expert on either of those countries, but in those visits I was able to obtain a flavour of both of them and to sense the atmosphere which is prevailing in both.
Against that background I shall make certain observations about the rôle of the United Kingdom and about the speech of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs yesterday and of the Minister of State today.
Concerning the Lebanon, until the events of the last few weeks, at least—I went there before the incidents arose in Beirut—it was quite clear to any visitor that the Lebanese themselves view the presence of the Palestinians, many of whom had descended upon them after the conflict in Jordan, with a mixture of fear, suspicion and anxiety.
It was with great reluctance that we were accompanied on visits to two villages, Shatyla and Sabra, which lie within about five minutes' drive from the centre of Beirut. It was quite clear that even the police force there was not prepared to enter these territories because they appeared to be under the sovereignty of the terrorists. It was no small wonder that eventually a development had to arise where the Lebanese authorities found themselves on a collision course with the Palestinians living in those and other villages.
There is no doubt that the conditions in which those people live are squalid, miserable and unacceptable. As I have said, they are within five minutes by car of lush Beirut. Very little, indeed, nothing, is done, apart from the help that is given by the United Nations, to assist those people in their misery. They have been used for 25 years or more as miserable pawns in a game of power politics.
It is noteworthy that the only sensible plan that has been forthcoming has come from the Israelis themselves, with the Peres plan to rehabilitate these people, first in the Gaza Strip. But the Arab world looked upon that as totally unacceptable because it was interfering with the status quo. Israel, Egypt and the rest of the Arab world find themselves spending thousands of millions of dollars in order to build up their arsenal of weapons. 1818 If only a tenth or a twentieth of that money could have been utilised over the past years in bringing some help to these miserable people, those conditions could have been resolved. There is no doubt about that. The Lebanese could have resolved the position themselves as far as their own refugee problem is concerned. The Egyptians could have done it. But they have lifted not a finger.
Instead, they have preferred to allow these miserable people to fester. They have taught them to detest Israel. They have nurtured that hatred. Now they say, "Let all the Arab refugees return to Israel." In those conditions it is totally impossible for Israel to accept in entirety the people who are bent on Israel's eradication and destruction.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Dr. Miller) and I were together in the Lebanon and we met Palestinians. The one theme common to everything that they said was that they could not accept Israel and that it had to be eradicated. They said, "we shall live together in a multi-confessional State with the Jews." But what faith can the Israelis have in a multi-confessional State after the disasters of Lod, Munich, Khartoum, Bangkok and Nicosia, when they have seen how Arab behaves towards Arab in Jordan, when Arab terrorists fled to Israel in order to obtain sanctuary? What faith can the Israelis have when they see how the Egyptians behaved towards the Yemenis, with the use of poison gas? It does not offer a very satisfactory token of good faith.
There are many Lebanese whom we met who desperately yearn for peace. They are Phoenicians. Peace would give the opportunity for trade. They want to trade with Israel. At present they are living in an impossible situation. Whether the effects of thraldom by the terrorists which existed at the time of our visit, will persist, we know not. I hope that that will not be the situation.
The situation we found in Israel was not one of overwhelming confidence or complacency. Everywhere we went, as a principle of discussion at political meetings, there was raised the question of peace. Israel does not have to be told by my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) that 1819 peace is essential. The Israelis recognise that. Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by hostile forces. But despite everything that they have had to expend, they have achieved an enormous rate of economic expansion and have achieved full employment. They have built up the welfare State and, at the same time, they have brought very large-scale aid to the depressed areas of the world, including Latin America and many parts of Africa, and that is a remarkable contribution from a small nation. It is a living testimony of their democratic Socialist idealism.
At the same time, Israel has absorbed 800,000 refugees from Arab persecution. It is a quiet, undemonstrative settlement of people. These people were left quite destitute. They were never offered any compensation.
Anxieties were expressed to us, however, by the Foreign Minister of Israel, above all about Resolution No. 242. I was glad to hear from the Foreign Secretary yesterday that he accepts the previous Government's interpretation of Resolution No. 242, that it did not refer to the relinquishment by Israel of all the territories. That seems to be common ground betwen the two sides. But I cannot help feeling that the right hon. Gentleman's speech at Harrogate was to a large extent inconsistent with that, since he then spoke about Israel returning to the 1967 frontiers "with minor revisions". I do not know what he meant by minor revisions, and he has never explained it.
I hope that the instructions which the Foreign Secretary gives to our representative at the Security Council is not to engage in map drawing. I rather think that that is what he had in mind when he referred recently to the "secure and recognised boundary" between Israel and Egypt as coinciding with the old Palestine border. That is not particularly helpful. Resolution No. 242 does not need primary interpretation of that kind. What it needs, and what the parties at the United Nations ought to be encouraging, is that the parties to the dispute should be drawn together in direct negotiation on the basis of Resolution No. 242—that is what was contemplated—and for the United Nations to provide such help as may be appropriate in implementing the resolution.
1820 I was astonished to hear from the hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. Walters) the suggestion that the British Government should now provide arms for the Arabs to force Israel to the negotiating table. Israel does not need much forcing. Israel has its hawks, of which I disapprove, and it happens to have its doves, but what it does not have are clay pigeons, and it is certainly not prepared to accept a situation in which withdrawal must come before any settlement.
The Israelis have made their position clear over the years. In 1968, there was the Jarring offer for the delegations to meet in Cyprus. Israel accepted. Egypt did not. Every suggestion for a meeting has been refused. In August 1970, Israel expressed her support for permanent peace with Egypt and Jordan, accepting the consideration of withdrawing her armed forces from territories occupied since 1967 and, as a result of that, secure and agreed borders to be laid down in peace agreements. Egypt was not interested. Israel has always agreed to talks without preconditions, but Egypt has not been interested.
When my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East refers to the Jarring questionnaire, one fact which he does not mention is that Egypt has insisted throughout that Israel's armed forces be withdrawn to the pre-June frontiers, and that has been a condition precedent to any discussion. The Israelis, of course, will not accept it, because they are not mad.
When President Bourguiba suggested that there should be direct negotiations, that was immediately accepted by Mr. Eban. Otherwise, there has been a total chronicle of rejection.
As regards the occupied territories, there has been massive distortion from one or two hon. Members on both sides. It is nonsense to suggest, for example, that economic pressure is being applied by the Israelis on the occupied territories to reduce their economic strength. We have just been there. We have seen them. The Israelis are trying to build up the trade union movement. They have made great efforts and they have succeeded in eliminating unemployment. Conditions which have never before existed in these territories now exist. Arab students go to Amman and to Cairo, they are educated there, and they 1821 come back to the occupied territories. There is the open bridges policy; 200,000 people pass to and fro between Israel and Jordan each year.
§ Mr. Molloy
The probability is that, if the Nazis had overrun this country and ruled us for about 20 years, some British students would have gone to Brunswick or some other German university, and some of us would still have been operating in the underground.
§ Mr. Davis
If the situation is so ghastly, why do so many Arabs decide to take their holidays in Israel, not only from Jordan but from Samaria and Judea, taking what was once described by an Arab writer as a vacation in the Zionist hell?
I believe that the difficulties, which undoubtedly exist, can be resolved only by the parties coming together. That is the way in which peaceful settlements have been achieved everywhere. In India and Pakistan, and in Germany at the end of the war, the parties had to get together. Only by direct negotiation, and only by the Government encouraging direct negotiation, will the situation ultimately be resolved and the great technological progress which Israel and the Arab States can offer to the deprived peoples of the Middle East be allowed to develop.
§ 7.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Tapsell (Horncastle)
In common with the majority of hon. Members who have spoken today, I shall direct my remarks to the Middle East, but, lest I get caught in the deadly crossfire between the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) and his hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy), I shall confine myself to the economic aspects of the problem there, and keep well clear of the political.
1822 I see that some Arab leaders have recently been complaining that in the joint communiqué issued by Mr. Brezhnev and Mr. Nixon only 86 words were devoted to the Middle East. Communiqués are often designed to conceal rather than to expose the essential nature of talks, and, in so far as that communiqué is frank, the shortness of its Middle East section is, I suspect, more likely to be a reflection of the intractable nature of the area's problems than of its unimportance to the super-Powers. Indeed, Mr. Brezhnev has recently told us that the Middle East is now the world's most dangerous area. I believe that to be true.
In this context, I shall say a few words about the economic problems of the Middle East, which are based upon oil. In thinking about oil and the attitude of the great Middle Eastern oil producing countries, it is of the first importance to try to understand how the people of those countries see the problem themselves. I have known the area fairly well all my life, and I recently returned from a visit to seven of the major oil-producing countries of the Middle East. They feel that only recently have they begun to receive anything approaching a fair commercial price for their oil. They point out that the vastly higher living standards of the West and of Japan have, in their view, been made possible by the cheap oil which the Middle East has been providing over the past 20 years or more.
They say also that oil is still a cheap raw material. The fact, as I pointed out to the Prime Minister at Question Time today, that the Reuters commodity index shows that the price of the 17 leading international commodities has risen by 80 per cent. in the last 12 months seems to indicate that the price rises in oil, which have received so much publicity, have by no means kept pace with the general increase in raw material prices. The oil-producing countries also point out that it is the heavy taxes which most countries impose on oil products at retail level which makes petrol appear so expensive. They feel bitter that the Governments of many of the consuming countries obtain as much, if not more, revenue from the oil in the form of taxes as do the producing countries, many of which have standards of living much lower than we have.
1823 The oil-exporting countries also claim that the cost of their imports from the industrial world have gone up by probably more than the rise in the price they are paid for the oil they sell. They also say that they are paid for their oil in paper currencies which are constantly depreciating in value, while their oil reserves are by no means inexhaustible.
The point about depreciation is a valid one because they are paid mostly in US dollars and since August 1971 the value of the US dollar has depreciated against both the German deutschemark and the Swiss franc by about 40 per cent. When the oil-producing countries take normally prudent investment measures to seek to protect themselves from this enormous depreciation they are immediately accused of unsettling the international monetary system, although they have been the chief financial losers in each financial international crisis since 1967, and they have the strongest vested interest of all in monetary stability. They are now being frequently warned that, as their financial reserves build up to massive proportions, the countries of Western Europe and North America, not to mention Japan, will almost certainly introduce limitations on the proportion of equity they can hold in public companies for investment purposes.
While they well understand the political reasons which prompt each country to wish to exercise effective ownership of its own major industries, this poses a serious question for them. What, they ask, are they supposed to do with this decpreciating paper that they receive for their oil, bearing in mind that they have only limited supplies of this extractive raw material and that in most cases it is their only national asset? Most of them have already established advanced welfare States at home, and development funds have also been established, with huge resources from the oil-producing States, to help the poorer Arab States. They will be dispensing large sums for development projects in the next decade. What, the oil countries ask, are they supposed to do now? They cannot put all the money that they will get into gold and property, and they must do something with it. One alternative course of action is for them drastically to curtail oil production, to keep the oil in the ground, thus preserving their capital in 1824 an inflationary era, extending the life of their one precious resource and pushing up the world price of oil.
From their point of view, as their reserves build up, this makes absolute sense, and I am sure it is a policy which many of them will tend increasingly to pursue. The effect of this for us in the West, and for Japan, will be to precipitate the energy crisis even more quickly than has been suggested. The whole situation poses a major problem for the Western world, Japan and the Soviet Union. Although it is impossible to get figures from the Soviet Union, leaders in the Western oil industry think that by 1980 the Soviet Union may be needing to import about 10 per cent. of its total energy requirements.
The important point to grasp is that the energy crisis is far more acute and more immediately present than is even now generally realised. The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), in his amusing knockabout opening speech, talked rather jocularly of the possibility of our cities being jammed with cars without petrol. But that is a real prospect. The dangers of economic, financial and political confrontations developing between the oil-producing countries and the oil-consuming countries, whose very existence, way of life and standard of living depend on this source of energy, are all too real. I would suggest to my right hon. Friends that it should be an urgent task of statesmanship to avert these potential dangers. It might be possible to do so before they reach flash-point, although I do not believe that we have a great deal of time ahead of us.
The more thoughtful Arab leaders are conscious of the dangers of overplaying their economic hand in this international situation. They recognise that the superpowers, Russia and America, will not permit their domestic economies to be brought to a standstill, in any circumstances, by the oil-producing countries of the Middle East. The Arab leaders have no desire to see the Seyss-Picquot Agreement of yesteryear updated in a modern form by a secret Brezhnev-Nixon agreement which in effect divides the oil fields between the super-powers of today. The Arabs need to sell their oil, even if increasingly their need to sell is not quite as urgent as the consumers' need to buy. 1825 Above all, the Arabs treasure their independence. They therefore have as much interest in solving these problems as anyone else.
We need to establish a permanent international machinery, separate from anything that exists now, to seek to work out agreed plans for regulating the flow of oil from the exporters to the importers in the best interests of both and to agree on an international plan, or series of bilateral agreements, by which the vast surplus revenues to be derived from oil can be constructively employed for the benefit of the investing countries, and the countries where the investment is to be made. The economic problems involved in this are too vast, too political and too closely related to the national survival of so many great nations for them to be left in the hands of the oil companies. Only Governments and a permanent international body staffed by respected nationals of both the main producing and the main consuming countries can hope to measure up to the scale of the problems involved.
I hope, therefore, that my right hon. Friend will take an early initiative in establishing machinery of this kind divorced from the negotiations about the price of oil which recur at regular intervals. Of course, Britain is exceptionally well placed in the current critical energy situation compared with the United States, Germany or Japan. As a result of the North Sea discoveries we shall soon be nearer to being self-sufficient in energy terms than we have been for half a century. Nevertheless, it is urgently necessary for Britain to embark upon a major programme to reduce its dependence upon oil in every possible way. Such a programme would be as much in the interests of the oil-exporting countries as it would be in the interests of the major oil-importing countries because, ultimately, it is in everyone's interest that as much of the oil as possible should be kept in the ground for as long as possible.
There are many directions in which oil-saving programmes could be launched in Britain and a senior Minister should be put in charge of this policy at once. I want to mention just a few steps which should be taken. I list them in rising order of importance and I make no apology for 1826 doing this in a foreign affairs debate, because all of these suggestions are relevant to future good relations with the Middle East.
It should be made compulsory for all public and commercial buildings to have double-glazed windows and for building insulation standards to be made much more stringent. Local authorities should be required to revert to the use of trolley buses. Public transport should be encouraged instead of private transport in all cities and emergency plans should be drawn up for the limited curtailment of private motoring in case this should suddenly be necessary because of acute petrol shortage. The rundown of the coal industry should be halted and reversed. A date should be set by which electricity generation by nuclear power should be in sufficient supply to make it compulsory for all central heating to be powered by electricity rather than oil. A far more intensive study should be carried out into the harnessing of solar and tidal energy. For instance, the Severn Barrage scheme, which has been under study since 1849, which in politics even the Leader of the Opposition will agree is a long time, should be implemented. Hon. Members more knowledgeable than I about power matters will, I am sure, be able to think of many other actions which could be taken in these important spheres.
When Mr. Brezhnev recently reminded us that the Middle East is the world's most dangerous area, I am sure that he had oil as well as Israel in mind, because the indications are that Russia is facing the prospect of an energy crisis herself.
There are some problems in the Middle East which can perhaps best be solved only by the passage of time. However, oil is a problem which will grow steadily more serious with the passage of time. It is not a situation which particularly calls for quiet diplomacy. What is needed is fairly dramatic and public action now to grapple with the problems before they become even more difficult than they already appear to be.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)
My right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) began his speech by congratulating the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on his forthcoming birthday, and I 1827 associate myself with what my right hon. Friend said.
I am rather sad, however, that I cannot express pleasure at being able to say that the right hon. Gentleman announced that the terrible drought situation in India will be somewhat assuaged by immediate action by the British Government. When I was in India during the Pakistan-Bangladesh trouble I was very proud of my nation and of the right hon. Gentleman, because he took immediate action, giving top priority to British aid reaching a part of the world where people were slaughtering and maiming each other and where people were starving. The first politician to act was the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of this country, and that will remain to his everlasting credit.
It is a great shame that, possibly because of a technical or constitutional concept, the right hon. Gentleman could not act in the same way on the terrible drought. But I hope that he will consider what I and other hon. Members have said and will find a speedy method whereby we can help a great, friendly nation in serious trouble. It is difficult to imagine that since our debate began yesterday probably 10,000 people have died for the lack of a drink of water, and we might have been able to help if we could have acted in the same remarkably swift and efficient way in which the right hon. Gentleman acted on the Bangladesh problem. That would have been a truly great contribution from our country.
I want to speak briefly about Rhodesia. I was a strong supporter of the principle of imposing sanctions, but I do not think that they have worked. What pains me is that some right hon. and hon. Conservative Members seem to derive some cheer from the fact that sanctions have failed. The normal way in which the world decided such issues was to send in troops, set the tanks rolling and drop the bombs. I had thought that in 1965–66 we were adopting a saner, more sensible method to which the rest of the civilised world was prepared to make its contribution. The real failure of sanctions has been that they were not wholeheartedly supported by the rest of the world, in the way in which successive British Governments tried to impose them. It is a tragedy that a civilised way involving no bloodshed should be 1828 brushed to one side and jeered as a failure.
I should like to comment on the remarks of the hon. Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett) about Portugal. It is true that over the past 18 months the situation in Portugal and her colonies has changed considerably for the better. But the House should note that they have changed because of moral pressure exerted by debates in this House, in the Council of Europe and in Western European Union, and by articles in newspapers in the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States, Italy, France, Britain and other countries. If the argument had not been sustained by hon. Members and people in other parts of Europe, the probability is that the small alleviation in Portugal would not have happened.
I am saddened when I realise that some Conservative Members have not yet grasped what the struggle is about when we debate foreign affairs, that it is about influencing men's minds. The hon. Member for Torquay made the stupid, banal remark that the Opposition would not welcome Mr. Vorster here but would not mind if Mr. Brezhnev came. Do not the Conservatives understand that over half the world is not white, that there are people all over the world who, because they are not white, are not concerned that Mr. Brezhnev is a Communist, if he does not discriminate against them because of the colour of their skin as Mr. Vorster does? I hope that Ministers will get the idea. For hon. Members like the hon. Member for Torquay, a surgical operation is needed to get it through.
§ Mr. John Biffen (Oswestry)
Before the hon. Gentleman gets totally carried away with his enthusiasm—
§ Mr. Molloy
I am not giving way, so the hon. Gentleman had better sit down. I am usually willing to give way to anyone, but when an hon. Member begins in that way he has had it. Let that be a lesson to the hon. Gentleman.
The issues of Portugal, Turkey and Greece have not only been discussed in this country. Greece was expelled from the Council of Europe. The 17 other member nations argued that no country could join in that free association of democratic nations without sticking to the rules.
1829 It has been argued—and there is some substance in the argument—that countries like Turkey have only recently in historical perspective, moved towards the principle of a democratic form of government. Neverthless, disturbing and upsetting things are going on there. When the matter was discussed in the Council of Europe many of us who took part in the debate quoted from articles of the world's free Press that we love—from The Times, the Herald-Tribune, and Italian and French newspapers—pointing out many of the terrible things that go on in Turkey.
We must concede that there are extremists in Turkey who have a different outlook from that of the people who rule there at present. Those extremists are equally vulgar and are behaving in an absolutely deplorable manner. But it is regrettable that, in crushing them, those in authority are treating in the same manner, with arbitrary arrest, torture and so on, many people whose expressions of opposition to the régime would be regarded as quite legitimate. We must say that we do not hold with such things. It is said that our defence position is such that we must accept some of the things which are going on in Turkey, Greece and Portugal. How can we justify what we spend on the defence of the great alliance when we claim that we defend the great free societies of the West?
It seems that we do not mind being helped out by those who have the sort of régimes to which we are opposed, such as the régime which exists in the Soviet Union. I am, of course, opposed to the régime in the Soviet Union. I do not believe that we can have such a system in this country. We have rejected that system. It is true that at one time nothing was given and everything had to be fought for, but the opportunity was available. No such opportunity exists in Eastern Europe.
The real will of Eastern Europe is imposed by the Red Army. That we must acknowledge. However, we cannot say that we deplore that sort of thing but that we do not mind if somebody else, who has a similar outlook, contributes to making us safe. There must be hypocrisy in that argument. If we 1830 are to continue with this myopic policy we may not pay for it in the next five years but the next generation will pay for it.
I shall now direct my remarks to the British Commonwealth of nations, which is relevant as we are due to have a British Comonwealth conference and because we have now joined the Common Market. I was one of the many who warned that we should not enter the Common Market and that entry would not be a happy event. Nevertheless, we have joined. I warned that if we were to become members of the EEC we should in no way run down the relationships which exist between our country and various countries of the British Commonwealth. I regret to say that that is beginning to happen.
I must say firmly and strongly that the arguments which were at one time submitted in this House—namely, that by joining the Common Market we should have a stronger voice, that we would be able to get Europe to see our point of view and that our position would not be sycophantic—have not been made out. It seems that President Pompidou has only to snap his fingers and his policies are carried out almost unchallenged. There may be a casual remark from the Prime Minister in this House that he is not in favour of what the French President is doing. We should go further than that.
I am hoping that a Minister will say from the Government Dispatch Box that we applaud the courage of the New Zealanders and the Australians. I hope that we shall not forget that they are no longer windy of the French or anyone else as the French were when they were in danger and when they joined and were in a difficult situation.
If people say that that is being romantic and that I am harping back to the past, that is not the view taken by many citizens of New Zealand and Australia. Because of the sycophantic attitude which the Government are adopting towards the French President, New Zealanders and Australians are saying that they are sick of the way in which we are crawling to the French. However, Australia and New Zealand must realise that it is not the British people who are adopting that kneepad attitude. I regret 1831 to say that it is the attitude of the Prime Minister and the Government and, as we all know, there is a world of difference between them and the British people.
Another matter which we must consider is the dangerous trend, to which Aneurin Bevan referred, of the castle wall mentality—namely, that the world will be drawn either to the Soviet castle wall or the American castle wall. He said that if we thought that we should join the American castle wall it would be not merely dangerous for our country and a myopic policy to pursue but would deprive us of making our contribution to the great argument. I think that there is some truth in that.
What is the alternative? My right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East mentioned it this afternoon. It is true that we can find all sorts of people who are willing to poke fun and to laugh at the United Nations. It must be difficult to bring people from every country in the world under one roof for debate. It is asking too much to believe that in a few years such an assembly will work perfectly and function in an excellent manner. Individual nations have not been able to do so, let alone representatives of all the nations of the world.
We must not forget the great agencies of the United Nations such as the Save-the-Children Fund and UNICEF. These agencies function day in and day out in trying to raise the standards of ordinary men and women. I believe that we must devote more money to abolishing ignorance, disease and suffering. By so doing we shall make a contribution to the pacification of the world.
I should like to see Great Britain give a lead in the new philosophy. We cannot just join the United States, China or Russia. The real test of mankind's affairs is not who is able to produce the best hydrogen bomb with which to threaten the rest of the world. If that is the philosophy and the policy of this nation, then we have not much to offer. The ordinary people of this country do not accept that. They believe that with this country's traditions and history it can function in a way which will make a contribution to sanity. They believe that a lead should be given by the Government. I hope that they will be given a lead by the next Government. We 1832 know which party will form that Government. Let us hope that it will not be long before that is put into practice and we can all swap seats.
As I have said, the ordinary people of this country are looking for a lead. They want a sane, sensible and good ideal to follow. Hon. Members and diplomats have the chance to do something in that direction, but it seems that they are willing to push such ideals into the background and to suggest that we should be realistic. The realistic choice before the world is that we either wipe out mankind or adopt a new philosophy and encourage other nations to follow us in the pacification of the world and in spending more money on preventing hunger and disease and all the horrible associated matters which afflict two-thirds of mankind. That is the choice.
For far too long we have said that we must be realistic. For far too long we have denied the adoption of a sensible and sane philosophy. It is about time that we tried to implement the ideals of which we probably all approve in our hearts. What we need is the political courage to do it.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
There are about five hon. Members who have earned the right to be heard this evening. If speeches are confined to six minutes each, they will all get in.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Julian Critchley (Aldershot)
I trust, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall follow your instructions to the letter and keep one eye on the clock. I shall not take up the interesting speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Horncastle (Mr. Tapsell), who spoke about oil. I have only one word to say about energy crises: I have suffered from them for years. The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) is well known to us all and especially to those who serve with him in the Western European Union. The hon. Gentleman is a good example of what is meant by universalism in the context of the Labour Party. In opposition members of the Labour Party give the impression of being universalists when in fact clearly they are not. By "universalists" I mean that they inject into foreign affairs a degree of morality. One has to ask oneself 1833 from time to time, "Is there a place for morality in the conduct of foreign affairs?" If I were obliged to give an answer to so difficult a question, it would be "The smallest place that is physically possible", for a country's self-interest should be the guide to its foreign policy, with the important proviso that it should have adequate respect for the self-interest of others.
The argument about Portugal and Greece is to some extent irrelevant in the context of our own interests. It is sad to have a talk on the second day of a foreign affairs debate at 8.30 in the evening because it seems that no one is interested in foreign affairs. When I entered the House in 1959, an elderly and distinguished Conservative said, "If you are a gentleman you will take an interest in agriculture and in foreign affairs." He never spoke to me after that and I am convinced that he mistook me for the then hon. Member for Nottingham, West, now my hon. Friend the Member for Horncastle (Mr. Tapsell).
We have one journalist present, if I may spy strangers for a moment, and that is possibly one too many. We have a very small number of strangers in the gallery. I expect they are here because it is raining heavily outside. As for the Diplomatic Corps, they are all parked illegally at Wimbledon. We have to watch the clock and my speech will have to be short and straight to the point.
In May, I went with the General Affairs Committee of Western European Union to Washington to talk about European economic, monetary and security matters with the State Department and on the Hill with Congress. I came back thoroughly depressed because, if Watergate has any significance—and I am not interested in who is guilty or not because it does not affect me directly —it is its effect on United States foreign policy.
One can begin to understand Watergate only in the context of the war that is being waged in the United States between the legislature and the executive. Watergate is a powerful reinforcement for the legislature in its battle against the executive, and to a very large extent 1834 that battle is being waged over what sort of foreign policy the United States should pursue with regard to this country and Europe as a whole.
When we went to the State Department, we found people bewildered but expert. Clearly they had never seen Mr. Kissinger's speech but they spent half a day explaining what Mr. Kissinger was supposed to have meant. When we went to the Hill, we found Congressmen as bewildered but thoroughly inexpert. They said, "You Europeans are too lazy, too mean to defend yourselves." The feeling we got there was that senior members of congress and the senate felt that United States forces should be withdrawn from Europe because they were there to defend not America but Europe.
I fear very much indeed for Europe's interests in this context simply because the United States has found, because of Vietnam in particular, that it is suffering from a lack of self-confidence. It is looking for scapegoats; it has monetary and economic problems, and it wants to solve them to a large degree through matters of security. The revival of Japan has not helped. We in Europe will eventually have to pay the price.
It must be for the genius of European statesmen to remind the United States of its self-interest—that is, that the defence of America and Europe is indivisible.
§ 8.34 p.m.
§ Mr. David Walder (Clitheroe)
It is quite extraordinary in foreign affairs debates to say, "I will follow my hon. Friend who has just spoken" because, as everyone knows, hon. Members usually pursue and ride their own hobby horses, but I shall do just that in the short time at my disposal tonight. I have one advantage over my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Chitchley) in that I know I have one of my constituents in the Gallery.
At this late stage in the debate, I intend to go right back to the beginning —the Brezhnev-Nixon Agreement. It seems that now we have two colossi bestriding this narrow world. The question for us is, what attitude do we take in future? I know that there have been diplomatic revolutions in the past, those of Alberoni, Frederick the Great and the rest. But these have been revolutions 1835 when there has been a balance of a number of equal Powers. Now we have parity accepted between the USSR and the United States of America, two Powers which previously thought in terms not of parity but of superiority over one another. The question for us is, what does this mean for the British within the European Community?
This year was designated as European Year by the President of the United States, which I must say was very decent of him. It meant that we in Europe were expected to put more reliance on our own defence establishments and resources. It also meant, from the point of view of the United States of America, that there was a certain amount of apprehension about trade relations and trade rivalries between Europe and the United States of America. Now we have this agreement between the two super-Powers. There is a possibility—and I stress that I am talking about the deterrence world, not about warfare in the real sense—that Western Europe will become in the eyes of the two super-Powers a military backwater. There is a danger that the super-Powers will so regard Western Europe.
We in Britain are a powerful member of the NATO alliance. There might also be a tendency in consequence of this for us to become hawks in the place of the United States, who are now doves in a limited sense in our own self-interest. We will certainly have the difficulty of persuading our European allies to play their proper part in the defence of Western Europe. Relevant to this is what I might call the Chinese temptation. Several distinguished correspondents in The Times, some of whom sit in this House, have told us that for 20 years we can rely upon the fact that the Chinese will take care of the Russians, which is again very good of them.
I was in China with the parliamentary delegation last year. The Chinese were fascinated by the fact that we have become members of the European Community. They were intrigued by the fact that we have thus entered the band of what they call medium-size Powers. There is no doubt that the Chinese fear Russia. They also fear a carve-up between the two super-Powers.
It is possible that the United States State Department may think that by its 1836 own improved relations with China it has solved the problem, that by a little judicious pressure in the East it has worked the miracle in the West. This is far too simple a picture. The USSR and the Chinese would both deny overt ambitions at the moment. Their conflict is a doctrinal one and a bitter one. I cannot see peaceful coexistence between those two countries. Their situation is rather that of the countries in Europe divided against each other during the 30 Years War.
The points of conflict that we in NATO have to consider will be outside Western Europe. We shall also have to consider the danger of a United States conventional withdrawal from Europe. We are now in Europe. The United States certainly encouraged us to become members of the Community. It was in favour of that move. It should not be too surprised now if we adopt towards it—although it is still our principal military ally—an increasingly European attitude.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Alan Haselhurst (Middleton and Prestwich)
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) that it is sad that there should be so little interest being displayed in a foreign affairs debate in this House. It is particularly sad because it seems to me that at this time in our history we are perhaps nearer to influencing world affairs than we have been for some time.
I connect this with our membership of the European Economic Community and our ability to fashion the policies of the countries of the European Community towards a like-minded approach to many of the world problems. So I believe that at this time we in this country should be more attentive than ever to foreign policy. If we were to order our priorities, my own choice would be that we should be thinking, of course, of an East-West détente, that we should be thinking of the Middle East and its implications, not only for the peace of the world but for energy supplies, and that we should be thinking also of the future of the developing nations.
If something like that was our order of priorities, it was odd indeed to find the right hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Goronwy Roberts) saying yesterday that in his list of immediately urgent 1837 problems was that of countries such as Greece and Portugal. These countries are in our own backyard, so to speak, and perhaps it is for that reason that we exercise ourselves the more greatly as to what is going on within them. But surely it is also fair to say that, because they are in that backyard, we are concerned about the defence of that backyard as well and that we cannot ignore it, despite our concern for the internal policies of those countries.
We have a long-term interest in our association with such countries as Greece and Portugal and their peoples because we must surely hope that one day there will be circumstances in which they will be embraced more fully within the European family of nations. Honestly, I doubt whether a policy of isolation practised towards them at this time would have the effect that I gauge many hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House feel might flow. I believe that diplomacy cannot be conducted in accordance with some kind of instant popularity poll—that these nations are nasty and, therefore, we must be unpleasant to them.
I listened carefully to the speech of the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). He is a doughty debater, but I did not detect a great deal of substance about what we might expect the foreign policy of a future Labour Government to be. It seemed to me that his speech could be summed up by saying that a future Labour Government would talk to those countries to which the present Government were not currently talking and would not talk to those with which this Government at present has relations.
There is an excess of piety in the Opposition which tends to disappear considerably when the Labour Party is ever in government. It is also surprising to me that, against the priority issues that this country might be facing at the present time, we spend so much time discussing the question of Rhodesia. I suppose the reason why we do so is that we have a legal tie with that country and we have a responsibility, which I certainly acknowledge, and also that we recognise that what we do in relation to Rhodesia affects our policy in the whole of the rest 1838 of Africa at least, if not throughout the wider world.
I would ask whether it ought not to be a conclusion to be drawn from this two-day debate in the House that we should be discussing Rhodesia far less in future than we have been inclined to do in the past. The present situation with regard to that country is profoundly unsatisfactory. Enough has been seen of sanctions for us to be sceptical of their success in future. Even if we escalate the policy of sanctions, I doubt very much whether we shall achieve anything as a result of them now, apart from the implication of escalation on our policy towards South Africa. We certainly have not had it spelled out to us whether under a Labour Government we shall be escalating sanctions, no doubt taking a policy hostile towards South Africa.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State spoke yesterday of talk, not war, and of reconciliation. He has mentioned these terms many times, principally in connection with Europe. But surely that ought also to apply to all parts of the world. I would certainly wish those words to be used in connection with our affairs with South Africa because I retain the hope, which I trust is not too wildly idealistic, that we might be able to influence what goes on in Southern Africa, and in South Africa in particular.
I wish it could be in Rhodesia as well that our influence were felt. I have supported my right hon. Friend in his attempts to bring about a settlement. A settlement would undoubtedly be beneficial for all of the people in that country. If I have any criticism of the Government it is that perhaps the message has never been made clear enough to the Government of Rhodesia what it is that this country could accept as a genuine settlement.
I believe that the people who support the Rhodesia Government, and the members of that Government, live in a world of their own in that they do not appreciate what is the feeling in this country. Those of us who would like to see a settlement could draw little comfort from the speech of my right hon. Friend yesterday. However, I support its tone.
What should we do now? What advice can we give to the Government? I would ask the Government to say when 1839 the order for the renewal of sanctions comes up in November this year that it should be renewed permanently and not renewed on a once-a-year basis. This would make it clearer than anything else to the régime of Salisbury that there is no reprieve at hand, and that we would not be prepared easily to approve a régime of that twpe. I feel that very strongly. I do not want to approve that régime till it comes to what I would believe to be a genuine settlement, although I know that many of my right hon. and hon. Friends would not go quite so far, but I say to them that it is not economically worth our while to take any other policy towards that country.
The second thing I would say to the Government in this context is that it should be made crystal clear to Mr. Ian Smith that there can be no more talks or negotiations without a multiracial approach by Rhodesia. That would mean real pressure on the Government in Salisbury and on the ANC to talk together. If any supposed that such pressure was there last year they must now realise that they were deluded. There has not been sufficient pressure. I suspect that it is not only the Smith régime which has lived in a dream world but that also the ANC has lived in a dream world in supposing that it need not do anything and that the British Government would alter the terms for a settlement.
Whatever our hopes for Southern Africa we need frankly to assess the size of our interest north of the Zambesi. In a changing world Britain should be a country which the newer nations will learn to trust. Let us, therefore, play a major rôle in improving the lot of the peoples of the developing world by aid and trade, but let us also tackle these difficult issues in the region of Europe to make it and the world as a whole a safer and securer place.
§ 8.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Caerwyn E. Roderick (Brecon and Radnor)
I apologise for having been absent for most of the day for various reasons, but I must, ask for forgiveness because I was here most of yesterday when others were absent. I should like briefly to make one or two points that need emphasising.
Yesterday, the Foreign Secretary spoke of several aspects of our foreign policy 1840 and mentioned the Helsinki conference beginning next week. What worries me and what worries other people is the suspicion which he seems to have of such a gathering. He does not inspire confidence by the way he approaches the whole of European security. He says he is most anxious for the talks to succeed, and I hope that he is, even though he approaches them with such suspicion. I agree with him that round one would be quite meaningless by itself, and we expect permanent machinery eventually to be set up, as it must be if we are to get results in the long term. We cannot hope to see results overnight, but there will be results in the long term. We wish the Foreign Secretary well in Helsinki, and we desperately want the talks to succeed.
It has been suggested in the debate that, because agreement is difficult to obtain, we should forget about a Rhodesian settlement and accept the status quo. I cannot accept such a premise. If it is difficult to reach agreement, that is all the more reason why we must persist in attempting to do so. We must not abandon the Rhodesian people. I agree with the Foreign Secretary that we rely on black and white in Rhodesia for a solution, but we must not abandon our stand and we must continue to press for the rights of the African.
I am concerned that we are not doing all we should in providing aid for the drought-stricken countries. We have an opportunity to do a great deal more and to show what can be done in influencing countries throughout the world. We have aircraft there. I know that talks are going on, and I hope we shall treat this question with the greatest urgency. If the weather remains dry there will be trouble, and if it becomes wet there will be even more trouble because the transport will not be able to get through.
People in India are suffering starvation. I hope that we shall not wait for the Indian Government to ask for help. Indians have a certain pride and they will not ask for tied help. I hope that we shall freely offer assistance and not wait to be asked.
Many of us are worried about the French nuclear tests in the Pacific. I was glad to hear the Foreign Secretary say, even at this late hour, that we have protested to the French Government at long last. We have been told again and 1841 again that by entering the EEC we should have more influence with the French. Where is this influence? We seem unable to influence their policy on the tests. If Ministers are to be believed, we should now have much more influence with the French. They should be reminded that, if the bomb is as safe as they say it is, there is no reason why it should not be exploded a little nearer France.
I have always believed that aid, not arms, should be the basis of foreign policy. The only way to rid the world of tensions and fears is to ensure greater economic and social security for the people. Instead of spending money on arms, we should spend it on aid. Ministers and hon. Members on the Government benches are afraid of Communism. Unless they do something to secure the economic future of the developing countries, they will advance the cause of Communism. One way of defeating Communism is to make sure that those countries get aid when they need it.
In the percentage of gross national product that goes on arms, we are grouped in the league table of Western Europe with Portugal and Turkey. It is deplorable to think that in arms expenditure we are on a par with those Fascist countries. We should be seeking a great reduction in our arms bill and ploughing more money into efforts to secure a lasting peace. I hope that the Government will seek to concentrate foreign policy more on aid than on arms. The speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) was a constructive and useful contribution in this respect and I hope that the Minister will take note of it.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. John Wilkinson (Bradford, West)
To be called so late in the evening, particularly following speeches by such virtuosi of the parliamentary epigram as my hon. Friends the Members for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) and Clitheroe (Mr. David Walker), concentrates the mind wonderfully. They talked of the era of negotiation on which we are alleged to be embarked, and in this year of Europe I shall concentrate on the discussions on mutual balanced force reductions.
The negotiations on MBFR are likely to be embarked upon without any fixed 1842 agenda having been decided. The NATO alliance always insisted that there should be a fixed agenda and a set of principles for discussion. It is dangerous to embark on open-ended talks without concrete areas of negotiation. It is dangerous because the Soviet Union will continue to build up its military strength on the Western Front. It is particularly active on the Western Front in terms of armour. About 1,500 of the latest Soviet tanks have been moved into Eastern Europe. Therefore, when the mutual force reductions begin, the Soviet Union can withdraw obsolescent equipment and keep the latest marks in situ.
The policy of Mr. Brezhnev is clear. He is guided by the reasonable motto that it is ridiculous to shake the tree if the apples when ripe are going to fall into his lap. The objectives of the Soviet Union have not changed. They are global and they are increasingly being backed up by the growing military capability of the Soviet Union expressed by sea power. We are already seeing how this inhibits our own policy. We have only to look at the North Atlantic situation and our actions in regard to Iceland to realise how we are circumscribed in that region by the military potential of the Soviet Union.
It is all the more important, therefore, to secure the assistance of allies around the periphery of the Euro-Asian land mass. We must develop our relationship with the People's Republic of China, for it is only with the counterweight of China that we can assure the defence of Western Europe. At a time when the new world is less prepared to redress the imbalance of the old, collective security is vital.
I also believe that in NATO we must augment the European identity of the alliance. But there are equally important collective security arrangements outside the NATO theatre. In that regard CENTO is crucial since it underpins our whole Middle Eastern position and without the support of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan the already precarious position of the West in the Gulf will be imperilled.
I shall be interested to hear what the Minister has to say about the recent CENTO ministerial conference. The trouble with CENTO is that it has always been unable to cope with an attack by 1843 a third party. This was proved in 1965 and in 1971, and it is all the more serious when the CENTO Powers find themselves adjacent to countries which are overtly in alliance with the Soviet Union, like Irak and India. Subversion is already a crucial danger, and I am glad that some steps are being taken in that direction.
Our strategy, in short, must be one of collective security, but it must also be maritime. One has only to look at how the ANZUK arrangements are under strain following the latest decision of the Australian Government. I would suggest that it might make good sense to withdraw some of the Gurkha units, particularly logistic units, from Hong Kong, to augment the land forces available to ANZUK. With this, we could make good any deficiency following an Australian withdrawal.
As moral issues have been raised in the debate and as many hon. Members have referred to the drought in India, it seems exceedingly strange and almost incomprehensible to many of us at a time when thousands are supposed to be starving in India that the Indian Government think it right to detain some 93,000 Pakistani prisoners-of-war and civilians 17 months after the cease-fire on 17th December 1971. It is well known to this House that the matter is before the International Court at The Hague at the moment. But we cannot ignore the situation totally. According to the Geneva Conventions, prisoners-of-war are to be released and repatriated…without delay after the cessation of hostilities.They are not to be used for political bargaining or as pawns in any political exchange or deal which may be sought.
On 17th April this year, the Governments of India and Bangladesh made a so-called initiative. I was interested in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon), who has been a lifelong friend of India and has great experience of the area. Quite rightly in the circumstances he called upon the Government of India to make the first move by releasing the prisoners-of-war. It is quite wrong to link the issue of prisoners-of-war and civilian detainees with trials on supposed genocide charges in a portion of what was a unitary State and with the issue of Biharis 1844 who happen to be stranded in Bangladesh and who may wish to go elsewhere.
I suggest strongly that if we are looking at all these moral issues we should not forget that one. In this era of negotiation and détente, I hope that the Government did not miss the opportunity of expressing our concern about it to the Prime Minister of India when she passed through London on Monday.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)
At the end of a two-day debate an hon. Member winding up is tempted to go through the list of right hon. and hon. Members who have spoken, trying to repeat the salient points in their speeches, commending them for what they have said or not said, and to sit down without trying to pull the whole together—in other words, simply to compose what might be described as a parliamentary Bradshaw of constituencies. I want to avoid that temptation, with all respect to those right hon. and hon. Members who have spoken, and instead to concentrate on some of the themes.
I am glad that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secreetary is present, because I join those right hon. and hon. Members who have welcomed the fact that the right hon. Gentleman is about to attain his seventieth birthday. As I once heard an American General say of de Gaulle at the height of the French crisis, we wish him no ill; we wish him a long, happy and contented retirement. We hope that his retirement comes about as a result of a decision of the electorate and perhaps not of his own.
The Minister of State today was a living proof of the advantages to a Government of what the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary described yesterday as "…quiet, still, almost secret diplomacy." We had a long list from the Minister of various parts of the Middle East and the rest of the world where he felt that the situation had improved. The advantage of quiet diplomacy is that anyone who has attempted something and succeeded can point to it, and if a situation improves about which he has done nothing he can claim that it is due to his "quiet, still, almost secret diplomacy."
The Minister began with Iran and the Gulf. We had a pat on the head for the Union of Arab Emirates. Like my hon. 1845 Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew), I recall the lack of enthusiasm with which that organisation was greeted when it was proposed by us when we were in office.
The right hon. Gentleman had a quick look at Saudi Arabia, where we were told that our trade was improving, that relations with Jordan had improved, that Syria, had improved, the Lebanon had improved, and relations with the Sudan had improved, though again I think this was due to the President of the Sudan's change of political direction rather than to any great initiative taken by Her Majesty's Government. Finally, we were told that Egypt had improved, but Libya was still very bad. It struck me that post hoc, propter hoc is not only a logical fallacy, which we all know it is, but that it is not a good basis upon which to attempt to justify foreign policy.
I think it was the late Sir Winston Churchill who asked the late Iain Macleod to get him some figures on infant mortality. When Mr. Macleod produced a rather large set of figures to him, he read them all through and said, "Young man, what I want is a political statistic. In this context that means that I want to show that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than ever died before." The Minister of State understood fully and well what a political statistic was. His speech was studded with political statistics, if not with any justifications for his policy.
I turn to what I see as the three main themes that have run through the debate and which perhaps should run through any consideration of Britain's foreign policy at the moment. I say to some of my hon. Friends who talked about the Middle East that I do not propose to say anything on that subject in the course of the 22 minutes remaining to me. That is not because of any lack of interest on my part or, indeed, on the part of the Opposition Front Bench. Frankly, it is that we had a good example this afternoon of the great difficulty of attempting to reconcile views within the House of Commons, let alone in the Middle East itself. Therefore, if my hon. Friends will forgive me, I will study their speeches with great care—with almost as great a care as they take to study the speeches by ambassadors at the United Nations—and, hav- 1846 ing done that, I suspect that I shall end up in just as unhappy a state of confusion as when I started.
The three themes at which I want to look are, first, Britain's relations with and outlook towards southern Africa, particularly Rhodesia; secondly, our relations with European countries within the alliance, particularly Greece and Portugal; and, thirdly, relationships between the European nations, on the one hand, and the United States, on the other, and what would seem likely to occur there in future.
I think that those three themes must be set against what right and hon. Members who have spoken in the debate would agree to be the background of at least possible change in the quality of relationships between various nations. It may be that there is now a real and qualitative change in the attitude of the Soviet Union. It may be that, for the first time, we are on the threshold of an era of détente. Various views have been expressed—some sceptical, some cautious, and some more optimistic. I will return to that matter later.
I turn to our relationships with Southern Africa and Rhodesia. Having heard the Foreign Secretary's explanation yesterday, there can be no major ground of complaint about the mission that was sent to Salisbury in the last seven days. It went, it saw, and it returned. I am grateful for the Foreign Secretary's assurance that it took no new proposals out and, indeed, that no new proposals were received. Although it was perhaps a high-powered observation team, nevertheless, it is possibly even more impressive when a team of that quality and at that level comes back and reports as it apparently has. If it is right that Mr. Smith will report to his Parliament tomorrow that he sees no immediate or real possibility of any settlement with Britain, what will come next for this country? This subject has been referred to by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart).
The hon. Member for Buckingham—I am sorry he is not here—said:There is only one possible course of action, and that is now to make legal a de facto situation.1847 I do not think that I can say strongly enough from this side of the House that, if that is the attitude which the Government will accept and carry into practice, they must expect deep and bitter opposition from this side.
The Government will clearly have to tread warily now on Rhodesia, not only because of the situation that country, but because of the situation on their own back benches. There is clearly a major group of Conservative Members who now, as for many years past, regard sanctions as an unnecessary imposition and a wasteful exercise in futile diplomacy. As for the right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery), thinking back, as we do to 1965 when he was an Opposition back-bencher at the time of UDI, we suspect that, if he were on the back benches now, he would be leaving that group.
On the other hand, we believe that the continuation and intensification of sanctions and the re-emphasis by the Government of the importance that we attach to the Six Principles is crucial to the next stage of our Rhodesia policy. For us to do otherwise, for us now to abandon sanctions—what would that mean, in view of all that has been said about sanctions from both sides in the last few years?
Not only should we be betraying our responsibilties for Rhodesia; we should be breaking our oft-reiterated word to members of the Commonwealth, breaking a mandatory United Nations resolution, putting ourselves consciously, deliberately and obviously on the wrong side of the southern Africa confrontation. I cannot believe that anyone in the House would advocate that policy if he considered the matter coldly and dispassionately.
The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall)—I am sorry that he is not here—and the hon. Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett) displayed an attitude of benevolent disapproval of the Smith régime. It was an attitude that has been expressed often in the last eight or nine years, an attitude which says, "I do not approve of what Mr. Smith does, of the policies of the Rhodesian Government, and I do not support his internal domestic policies, but after all, what can we in Britain do about it? Let us therefore express our disapproval and go 1848 back to trading with them as much and as often as we can."
§ Sir F. Bennett
The hon. and learned Gentleman can make what remarks he likes about my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) in his absence. On my attitude, I would prefer to stand by the speeches that I have made tonight and on previous occasions, all of which have been perfectly consistent and have not accorded with his summary.
§ Mr. Richard
If I am wrong, of course I withdraw. I am reminded of the barrister who, when rebuked by a judge in the Court of Appeal, said, "Your Lordship is right and I am wrong, as your Lordship usually is." In that way, perhaps I can say that I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I get him wrong.
§ Mr. Richard
I will read the hon. Gentleman's speech with the greatest pleasure, as I always read his speeches.
May I put our Rhodesia policy into the context of our relationships with and attitudes towards the rest of black Africa? If we were to abandon our sanctions policy, how would it be received in Kenya and Nigeria? There have been successful visits here from both these countries in the last few weeks at one level or another. They must be among the most hopeful of the African countries. Nigeria is now recovering from the tragic experience of a civil war, and Kenya is deliberately attempting to create a multiracial society in that part of East Africa. At a stroke, if we now abandon our Rhodesia sanctions policy and go back on our word to African nations, and if we breach a mandatory resolution of the United Nations, it will totally destroy our credibility in that vast continent.
I am grateful for the Foreign Secretary's assurance that he will make a statement on his views on Rhodesia before the House rises. I must give him notice, however, that if there is to be any drastic change in the present policy, he can expect our total opposition. Meanwhile, we must wait and see, and we must hope.
I turn now to the second part of my speech, which deals with the affairs of 1849 the alliance. It has been perhaps extraordinary, but not unsignificant, that in the two days during which we have been discussing foreign affairs there has been no mention, as far as I recall, from either side of the House of Dr. Kissinger's letter, his initiative and the attempt by the United States to create a new Atlantic relationship, to forge a new Atlantic charter of some kind. It may be that this is because the initiative—if that be the right word—from Dr. Kissinger, and from President Nixon, was in itself basically an incredible initiative. It is perhaps unfortunate that in the whole debate there has been no detailed examination of what response either we or Europe as a whole should make to that intiative.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
That is not quite accurate. I spent quite a time during my speech on the trade side of this matter and expressed how we thought that the various questions had to be dealt with, and the various existing formulae and the different time scale. I said that, therefore, while there may not be one ball of wax, all the subjects had to be discussed in the context of a possible visit by President Nixon to Europe.
§ Mr. Richard
The right hon. Gentleman certainly did that. But when I was in America recently the Kissinger initiative was continually pushed at one and the continual question was about what Britain is doing and what initiative Britain is trying to get the European nations to take. In a moment I shall examine, I hope in not too great detail, the effect of that initiative. I do not find it very credible. It does not deserve the sort of mammoth response which some Americans have been demanding from it. But surely the central fact of European politics and alliance politics at present is that we are having to operate in an extraordinarily accelerating pace of change.
It is not only that changes are taking place in the alliance and in European politics. The pace of those changes is accelerating. The most significant of all must surely be the political adjustment of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the DDR. I should have thought that this adjustment was the most significant event in European politics, probably of the last decade. The recent treaty between the two countries, their 1850 joint admission to the United Nations, and the agreement over Berlin remove not only the major political problem in Europe, but a political problem which has existed since Potsdam.
If one goes back over the last 25 years one finds that in any discussion of European politics, confrontation, East-West relations, or security in Europe, one has always returned to the German question and how one resolves the political differences between the West Germans and the East Germans. I do not understand those who, in the debate and elsewhere, say that we in Britain and the rest of the alliance should somehow be tougher, more intransigent and less able to change than the Government of the Federal Republic have been when it is the Government of the Federal Republic who have such a large number of refugees living in their territory who used to live in what is now the DDR, and who are, after all, the most intimately concerned. We cannot be called upon to out-Germany Willy Brandt when it comes to a discussion of relationships within Germany and between the two halves of Germany.
Parallel with this political settlement, there is the whole series of negotiations which have been mentioned at various points in the debate—SALT, MBFR, the European security conference, and even the Nixon-Brezhnev meeting and the communiqué which followed it. Perhaps Mr. Brezhnev was unduly optimistic when he said that the cold war is over, but I ask hon. Members to reflect about that for a moment. A few years ago, it would have been inconceivable to expect that a Russian premier would go to Washington, that he would have arrived at the sort of agreement that he did arrive at with the President, or, indeed, that he could have discussed it in the terms that he did.
While on the subject of the Nixon-Brezhnev meeting and the communiqué, I suggest that we ought to pay a tribute to President Nixon, in the midst of all his present troubles, for the success of that meeting with Mr. Brezhnev. It must be a rare moment in history when a President of the United States can look back with affectionate nostalgia, as I am sure he does this week, on a week which he had spent negotiating with Mr. Brezhnev. I imagine that of the two occasions Mr. Nixon will probably 1851 find last week more acceptable and more congenial than this.
What do all these trends add up to? I believe that they add up to the foundation for a genuine accommodation, and in this context the conference on security and co-operation in Europe becomes of special importance. I am glad that the Government seem at last to have appreciated the opportunities for contact and for normalisation which this conference opens up.
In addition, however, it means that the existing alliance systems in Europe on both sides will have to be looked at deeply, if not critically. Many hon. Members will know that I am what could loosely be called a NATO man. I believe strongly in the alliance and in its continuation. I believe, indeed, that we have survived 25 years of sharp military and political confrontation by and large because of the alliance, and we have, moreover, emerged intact from the last quarter of a century.
Western Europe has prospered, and there have been no military outbreaks in Europe in the last 20 years, but it must not be thought to follow from that that the alliance which has served us well in the past 25 years in the political context during that period is necessarily the correct instrument in the correct form and in the correct place to serve us for the next 25 years.
Where does the alliance now go from this point? On the other side of the Atlantic today, we see an America which is unhappy, introverted, and uncertain. I have never known the United States more uncertain that it is today about its rôle in the world, more unclear about what it is trying to achieve, or more doubtful of its ability or its willingness to perform that rôle. A large measure of this may be due to the fact that the Americans are suffering from a military and political hangover from the Vietnam intervention. That may well be true. Also, they have serious balance of payments problems, believed to be due to the stationing of troops in Europe.
What do the Americans see from the other side of the Atlantic?—a Europe grown rich, as they believe, under the protection of the United States, and still not prepared to pay what they believe to be a fair share for that protection. I do 1852 not know whether hon. Members have been to Montana, Senator Mansfield's home State. It is, I believe, 2,000 miles from the eastern seaboard and 1,000 miles for the western seaboard. It is at least 1,000 miles, therefore, from any piece of sea. One might say that it is a very long way from anywhere, and certainly 5,500 miles from the centre of confrontation in Europe.
If I were a grain farmer in northern Montana—which, thank heaven, I am not —I think that I should take a great deal of convincing, in the present political, economic and military climate confronting me, that it was necessary for the security of my grain farm and my family that American troops should be stationed On the Elbe.
If I lived in Washington and I considered these matters in greater detail with greater clarity, perhaps I would see the justification for it, but I can understand the political pressures in the United States for troop withdrawals or, alternatively, for a considerably greater contribution by the European members of the alliance towards the cost of those troops in Europe. Those pressures are growing and are continuing to grow. We should say to the United States that it should perhaps make up its mind and tell us whether it still believes that the security of Europe is essential to the security of the United States. If it believes that—and my opinion is that it basically does—then we in Europe should be able to meet them with their difficulties. If it does not believe it, the propects for the alliance are grim.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Colin Mitchell (Aberdeenshire, West)
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman saying that he should go to Montana himself to improve the situation? The Americans are withdrawing from Europe, which we were all saying yesterday in the debate.
§ Mr. Richard
The hon. and gallant Gentleman might have been saying it yesterday but not many others were. I am asking the Government now to consider with the European members of NATO what response they should make to the political pressures which I believe are building up in the United States. The question is whether that is the sensible thing to do. I believe that clearly it is.
1853 The other matter that has loomed fairly large in the debate is the situation of Greece and Portugal. The hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Lt.-Col. Colin Mitchell) in his speech yesterday made probably the one great comment of the debate. He was considering the speech by the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse), who made an extremely cogent and impressive contribution on the situation in Greece, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman said that he agreed with it and then he said "But I am certainly no Byron". I fancy that we may all echo that sentiment.
Let me turn in the few minutes that remain to consider the twin problems of Greece and Portugal. The Foreign Secretary yesterday said that he was not prepared to expose the security of Western Europe and the south-east corner of the Mediterranean or the NATO seaboard of Portugal because they were essential. While I accept that as a statement of principle, where does it take us? It cannot be suggested that we shall have as an ally within NATO any nation, whatever its political complexion, if it is prepared to come in because on that basis I would have expected Spain to be a member of the alliance, just as Portugal and Greece are.
Where the Government have gone wrong on Greece and Portugal is that, while they have over-estimated the importance of Greece and Portugal to the alliance, they have under-estimated the importance of the alliance to Greece and Portugal. I do not believe that we have so little leverage over Greece and Portugal as the Government seem to suggest. There are international organisations of which they are both members. NATO is one and the EEC and its associate relationship with Greece is another. In the case of Greece it is almost inconceivable that it would lightly see itself excluded from NATO away at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. Surely it would much prefer to remain as it is under the NATO protective umbrella and it is, frankly, that which gives us the leverage.
NATO gives Portugal military protection, it makes its arms supply easier and it gives it a degree of diplomatic protection which would not otherwise be 1854 available to it at the United Nations, for example, which clearly does not apply to Spain. Clearly we should have this leverage, and I must ask the Minister who is to reply why we do not use it. Even if he tells me that we do not have that leverage, is it necessary for the Government to go out of their way almost gratuitously to praise both Greece and Portugal in the way that they have? The presence of those two nations in NATO taints the alliance. In those circumstances, gratuitously to invite Mr. Caetano to this country at present is neither timely nor appropriate. The Anglo-Portuguese alliance may be old, but that does not necessarily make it praiseworthy or worth celebrating in the fashion proposed.
The Opposition's conclusion is simply that the Government's foreign policy is bland in the extreme, almost to the point of stagnation. Studied inaction may be terribly English and very aristocratic, but when it is elevated to a principle of government it is pretty well bound to fail. The Government are now almost the prisoner of their own inertia, and captive to their own apathy. Our main criticism is of drift.
For those reasons, particularly in relation to Greece and Portugal and the absence of any protest on the French nuclear test, the absence of any clear view by the Government on the future of the alliance, the absence of any initiative by the Government in the alliance to attempt to forge a new relationship between Europe and the United States, we shall vote against the Government tonight.
§ 9.31 p.m.
§ The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Julian Amery)
I shall not seek to deal in any detail with the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) about Rhodesia. I have often thought that some of the best speeches on the subject were made in 1965 and 1966 by my right hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North, as he was, now more happily ensconced in Brighton. [An HON. MEMBER: "Big head."] I have reread some of them recently. What I have said, I have said. I withdraw nothing; I qualify nothing. But neither shall I repeat any of it tonight. A great deal of water has flowed under the bridge since then, and I very much agree with my right 1855 hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary that the ultimate responsibility for settlement rests today in Salisbury more than in London.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of State dealt with the problems of the Middle East very fully in his opening speech this afternoon, and I shall not try to deal with them in detail again. They remain very intractable. But I think that we can record one major advance, the withdrawal of the bulk of the Soviet forces from Egypt. That has reduced, though not eliminated, the danger that a local conflict could escalate to global proportions. The significance of that development should not be underestimated in any quarter, though we should remain vigilant to see that the tension that has existed in the Eastern Mediterranean is not transferred to the Persian Gulf or the Indian Ocean.
§ Mr. Amery
I shall not give way. I have a great deal to say, and I do not think that what I have just said is controversial.
There has been general regret in the House at the state our relations with Iceland have come to, and general agreement that the Government have handled the problem with restraint and in a spirit of conciliation. The position is clear. Our ships are fishing in international waters, as the Law of the Sea stands, and they are confining their catch well within the limits of the injunction of the International Court.
I think we can say that we have bent over backwards to negotiate a settlement. I am sorry that we have not found a similar readiness on the other side, and that instead our civilian trawlers have been harassed by gunboats, with warp-cutting, rifle shots and shellfire. In the circumstances, there was no option but to send in the Royal Navy, though we delayed as long as possible. The Navy is not there, as some have suggested, to enforce the ruling of the International Court. It is there to protect our trawlers against unprovoked aggression, and it will continue to fulfil that task.
It is arguable that the Law of the Sea should be changed, and it is the purpose of the Santiago conference to see whether changes should be made. But, if they are 1856 to be made, they should be made by agreement. I am sure that all those who care about constitutional and democratic procedure will agree that changes should not be made unilaterally or by arbitrary action. Equally, it would be foolish for us to make unilateral concessions. It would be irresponsible to our fishermen. The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) asked me why we had not yet laid down publicly the Government's approach to the Law of the Sea. Our view on the principal matters has been explained by British delegates at the United Nations Seabed Committee, which is preparing for the conference. Summary records of the committee's proceedings are available in the Library. Of course, there will be negotiations which will involve give and take. The right hon. Gentleman would not expect us any more than other countries have done to display all our hand at this stage.
I turn now to the subject of the French nuclear tests, which have figured largely in our debate. I understand that we shall have a half-day debate on the subject on Monday. There will then be a full opportunity to examine every aspect of the problems involved. As the subject has been raised so often during the debate, it would be discourteous to the House if I did not summarise the Government's position.
The Government are opposed to tests in the atmosphere. Indeed, it was the last Conservative Government that pioneered the Test Ban Treaty. We have, however, to accept, though with regret, that neither France nor China has yet felt able to adhere to the Test Ban Treaty. We hope that they will. Our views on this are well known to both Governments. They were reflected in our vote for the resolution at the General Assembly last November.
The recent orders of the International Court of Justice are the concern of the Governments to whom they are addressed—that is to say, the Governments of France, Australia and New Zealand. International law in its present form does not call on other Powers to enforce the judgment of the court. Having restated our general objection to atmospheric tests, we should be justified in intervening further only if there were evidence of danger to health resulting from the tests.
1857 The evidence available to the Foreign Office is that there is no danger whatever to health as a result of the French or the Chinese tests in the atmosphere. That assessment has been shared by the Australian Government's National Radiation Advisory Committee, which has reported after each previous series of tests, which said that…the fall out over Australia from the series of French tests did not constitute a hazard to the health of the Australian population.
§ Mr. Gwynoro Jones
In that case, will the right hon. Gentleman accept that tests should take place in the English Channel?
§ Mr. Amery
What I have said about the French tests applies equally to the Chinese People's Republic, which yesterday announced that it is carrying out tests in the megaton range.
What I have said follows closely the line taken by the previous Labour Government on the occasion of earlier French and Chinese tests. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State reminded the House, the Leader of the Opposition, when he was Prime Minister, was asked in 1966 what approaches had been made to President de Gaulle about nuclear tests in the Pacific. The right hon. Gentleman replied:None, sir. The French are fully aware of our concern about their current programme of nuclear tests in the Pacific."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th July 1966; Vol. 732, c. 1436.]His comments on the French tests of 1967 and 1968 were even more significant. He said nothing at all.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to Australia and New Zealand. The Governments of those two countries, despite the technical point which the right hon. Gentleman has put to us, are at the moment desperately attempting to dissuade the French from proceeding with these tests. No doubt 1858 they have repeatedly made their views known to the British Foreign Office. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House clearly what the views of the Australian and New Zealand Governments are on these tests and what the replies of the British Government have been to their representations?
§ Mr. Amery
The views of the Australian and New Zealand Governments are on record publicly. Any discussions we may have had in private with them are confidential.
My hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) raised the question of clemency for Rudolf Hess. I thought that his plea was the more impressive because of his own experience of war-time imprisonment. The Government feel great sympathy with this appeal. My right hon. Friend has already discussed the matter with Mr. Gromyko on a previous occasion and he has asked me to say that he will do so again at a suitable moment during the forthcoming meetings at Helsinki. He will also discuss the matter with representatives of France and the United States, which share with us and the Soviet Union the responsibility for Spandau prison. We consider that an act of clemency towards Hess would be particularly appropriate in a year which has been marked by significant gestures of reconciliation between the Soviet Union and Germany.
Apart from the discussion on the French nuclear tests, the gravamen of the Opposition's case against the Government appears to have been concentrated on the amicable relations we maintain with Portugal and Greece. Against the background of the tremendous changes which are taking place in international affairs. I ant rather relieved that the Opposition's fire should be concentrated on such a relatively narrow front—not that it is unimportant.
Our alliance with the Portuguese has lasted 600 years—that is to say, it goes back almost to the time of Simon de Montfort and the beginning of our parliamentary institutions. It has endured to the advantage of both parties, despite tremendously conflicting views held at different times in Lisbon and London. Any ideological conflict which may exist today is nothing compared to that which 1859 existed between the Catholics and Protestants in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Of course there are differences between us, but I think I can say, as many of my hon. Friends have testified, that there has been a more liberal trend in the Portuguese African terrorities, although not as fast as many would wish and not based on the assumptions on which we ourselves normally proceed. But it is a trend in the right direction, and this at a time when a good many other countries have been moving in the wrong direction.
§ Mr. Richard
A sub-committee set up by the United Nations recently examined the claims of the liberation movement in Portuguese Guinea—or Bissau, or whatever name one likes to call it—to be the de facto or sole representative of the aspirations of the people of the territory. The United Nations mission reported that it also took this view. The question of the representation of the liberation movement in Guinea is to be raised at the next United Nations General Assembly. What is the attitude of Her Majesty's Government towards recognition of that movement?
§ Mr. Amery
We shall study in detail the hon. and learned Gentleman's question, but our attitude has always been that we do not think that changes in territories can be or should be brought about by force, but only by agreement.
I turn now to the question of the recognition of the Greek Government. I cannot do better than repeat what the Leader of the Opposition said about Greece in December 1967:…"it is the traditional practice of Her Majesty's Government, and always has been, to base recognition not on approval of a Government but on whether they have control of the country concerned, by whatever means."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1967; Vol. 756, c. 634.]I say without offence that I listened with more respect to some of the opinions which have come from this side of the House on this matter, particularly those of my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse).
My hon. Friend prefaced his very strong criticisms of the Greek Government with one word of extenuation. However, the picture in certain respects is not all black. I have had some experience of 1860 the Cyprus problem and I think it is widely agreed by all who have studied it, including the Turkish Government, that the restraint shown by the Greek Government may well have avoided war with Turkey in 1967—a war which would have rent the alliance asunder. I think that the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart) would perhaps endorse that view.
That said, I do not share many of the anxieties expressed by my hon. Friend. He and I were colleagues in clandestine operations in the Balkans during the war. Many of his Greek friends now excluded from political life are friends of mine. So is Mr. Pesmazoglu, with whom I have worked on European matters in the past. It is right that someone with my hon. Friend's knowledge of Greece should speak up as he has done. It is a tradition in our public life that individuals should express their views frankly and openly when they think that injustice has been done at home or abroad.
But where Governments are concerned, as distinct from individuals, it is often wiser and more effective to make representations privately. We have done so on several occasions about particular individuals in Greece, but I am advised, and I accept the advice, that it will not be helpful to them for us to intervene publicly or to be specific publicly. In all of this we must remember that the cradle of democracy has not always been its home. The history of Greece in this century has alternated between dictatorship and constitutional government.
The pre-war Government of General Metaxas was not exactly liberal, but it certainly gave a good account of itself in the war against Italy and fully justified our military alliance with it. In all of this it is important to distinguish between the rights of individuals in Parliament and outside to criticise and the duty of Governments not to intervene in matters where they have no direct responsibility.
I know that at the height of the cold war Ministers often denounced the practices of other Governments. But we are moving to a period rather less dominated by ideology. The accent is increasingly on the right of each country to find its own way forward.
In this House we all agree in condemning the so-called Brezhnev doctrine of 1861 limited sovereignty, under which members of an alliance seek to impose certain standards on one of their number. Nothing would do more harm to the unity and purpose of NATO than an attempt to apply even a modified Brezhnev doctrine to any of its members.
There seems to be a certain contradiction in some of the views expressed by Labour Members. We have been urged to speed up the recognition of North Vietnam. Contacts at official level have already taken place. We expect to pursue these in Peking shortly. We did not do so before because it has not been the practice to recognise divided countries. The Labour Party did not think of sending an ambassador there. It did send Lord Davies of Leek, with results which we all remember.
At the same time we are urged to press on with the recognition of North Vietnam and to withdraw our ambassador from Athens. The Labour Party has sent an official delegation to the Soviet Union and now has sent one to Eastern Europe. I am glad. It seems a bit illogical to stop a delegation going to Portugal.
The Leader of the Opposition is happy to go to Prague and to shake hands with those who stepped into the shoes of Mr. Dubcek, yet he and his right hon. Friends have, as I understand it, refused to meet Prime Minister Caetano or to try to exercise their possibly beneficent influence upon him. The hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) suggested a possible explanation for this. He said that when we go to meet potential adversaries the object is to promote peace, whereas when we go to meet our allies it is not. I disagree. The coherence of NATO makes a much greater contribution to peace than any amount of negotiation. The real difference is between currying favour with one's adversaries and kicking the ball through one's own goal.
This debate is timely because it comes at the end of a year or more of bilateral talks and in a period when we are moving into a multilateral phase with important conferences beginning at Helsinki, Tokyo, Nairobi and Vienna. The hon. and learned Member for Barons Court referred to Dr. Kissinger's speech and to what the Germans have christened the 1862 "West-West problem", the problem of relations between Europe and the United States. The revival of the European economy coupled with the deficits which the Americans have incurred has changed the relationship between the United States and the European countries considerably.
However, I very much agree with what my right hon. Friend said yesterday in opening the debate that it would be wildly exaggerating to attribute any large part of the American deficit to Europe. Their currency has now been devalued formally on two occasions, and rather more with the float, and I have very little doubt that the operation of what the economists call the "J curve" will lead their economy to come back to balance in the not-too-distant future.
The right hon. Gentleman asked whether the agricultural policy is to be negotiable. We have accepted the agricultural policy as the price of entry into the Common Market and certainly it is not for us to take initiatives in the matter, but the grain sales which are developing towards the Soviet Union will undoubtedly help the United States a great deal in this particular matter. We shall approach the Tokyo talks in a very constructive spirit. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) asked how this would be done. Negotiations will be conducted through the European Commission but it will, of course, be supported by Government delegations.
§ Mr. Cunningham
The right hon. Gentleman has made a most important statement. He has said this Government would not attempt to change the common agricultural policy. This is entirely contrary to everything they have said on this subject before British entry. Will he now say whether that is the case and whether we are to put up with the agricultural policy for ever because we are new boys?
§ Mr. Amery
No, I will not give way. There is a close connection between reductions in barriers to trade which can very easily be offset by changes in curcency patterns. Good progress is being made towards a European trade mandate. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be discussing in Luxembourg today, with other Finance Ministers, certain steps towards European monetary union. My hon. Friend, on the front bench below the gangway, yesterday raised the question of relations with Japan. Our wish, of course, is to pursue a liberal policy towards Japan and we are well aware of the danger of driving Japan into economic isolation. But I must say very clearly that it is for the Japanese to reciprocate in the matter and I do not think they have yet made it quite clear that they will do so.
The revival of Western Europe and Japan has intensified competition between them and with the United States but I would dismiss altogether the idea of a crisis of capitalism. Our experience since the war, shows that, however much competition grows between advanced countries, trade between them grows faster than any other trade. I would reject the idea that in the field of trade one man's gain must be another man's loss. It is very often, indeed usually should be, the other way.—[Laughter.] I stand amazed by the Labour Party. Does it seriously believe that it is not possible to have mutually beneficial trade? Surely this is one of the assumptions an which we are all agreed? I say that I reject entirely the idea that one man's gain must be another man's loss. There is every reason why there should be effective co-operation and why both sides should be gainers—that all concerned should be gainers.
In his speech this afternoon the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East somewhat took us to task because, he said, Mr. Brezhnev had visited Bonn, Washington and Paris and had not come here. He suggested, and others have suggested, that our relations with the Soviet 1864 Union have been frosty. I think that was the word used by the hon. Member for Salford, East. It may be that there has been in Moscow for a time a certain resentment over our handling of their secret agents here, over our joining the European Community and seeking to give it a more political content. It may be, too, that there has been resentment of our occasionally reminding our allies of the realities of the military situation. That may have inhibited warmth but it has certainly not cost us any respect in the Soviet Union, in Eastern Europe, or in China.
We play a leading rôle in the relations between Europe and the United States, a leading rôle in East-West relations, within the European Community, within NATO and with China. We seek good relations with the Soviets but détente must be based on actions as well as words, and in diplomacy it is very important to remember that the Socialist world does not consist only of the Soviet Union. The Socialist countries of Europe are not monolithic in the way that is often thought. China plays a very independent part and the future of China is vital to Japan and to South-East Asia, which is, after all, Australia's near north.
§ Dr. Miller
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Would he answer the question which I asked yesterday about the Caribbean, and British Honduras?
§ Mr. Amery
In the brief moments left to me, I propose to deal with a more fundamental problem.
The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said he would seek leverage for British policy in the United Nations. We are all at one in our support of the United Nations, but I must remind him that the big changes which have taken place in world diplomacy over the past year or two have not taken place within the United Nations but outside it. It has been through bilateral contacts and now regional conferences and separate conferences that these matters look like making positive and constructive progress.
Our theme on the Government side is Europe. We believe that it is in the building of Europe that we shall be able 1865 to influence the constructive development of the West. Already Europe is a trading area. It will also soon be an effective payments area, and since one cannot divide and separate trade and payments from foreign policy and defence I have little doubt that before the end of the decade Europe will be not a dream—as the right hon. Gentle-
§ man accused it of becoming—but an effective reality enabling us to play a beneficial and constructive part in the West.
§ Question put, That the Vote be reduced by £5:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 246, Noes 275.1869
|Division No. 178.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lawson, George|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Allen, Scholefield||Ellis, Tom||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||English, Michael||Leonard, Dick|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Evans, Fred||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Ashley, Jack||Ewing, Harry||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Ashton, Joe||Fishsr, Mrs.Doris (B'ham,Ladywood)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Atkinson, Norman||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Loughlin, Charles|
|Barnes, Michael||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Foot, Michael||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Ford, Ben||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Baxter, William||Forrester, John||McBride, Neil|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Fraser, John (Norwood)||McCartney, Hugh|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Freeson, Reginald||McElhone Frank|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Galpern, Sir Myer||McGuire, Michael|
|Bishop, E. S.||Garrett, W. E.||Machin, George|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Gilbert, Dr. John||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Mackie, John|
|Booth, Albert||Golding, John||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Boothroyd, Miss B. (West Brom.)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Maclennan, Robert|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Gourlay, Harry||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Boyden, James(Bishop Auckland)||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfield, E.)|
|Bradley, Tom||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Marks, Kenneth|
|Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne,W.)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Marquand, David|
|Brown, Ronald(Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Marsden, F.|
|Buchan, Norman||Hamling, William||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hardy, Peter||Meacher, Michael|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Harrison, Waller (Wakefield)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Mikardo, Ian|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Hattersley, Roy||Millan, Bruce|
|Cant, R. B.||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Miller, Dr. M. S|
|Carmichael, Neil||Heffer, Eric S.||Milne, Edward|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Hilton, W. S.||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hamplon, Itchen)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Horam, John||Molloy, William|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Huckfield, Leslie||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Coleman, Donald||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morris, Rt Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Moyle, Roland|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Murray, Ronald King|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hunter, Adam||Oakes, Gordon|
|Cronin, John||Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Ogden, Eric|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Janner, Greville||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||O'Malley, Brian|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Oram, Bert|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||John, Brynmor||Padley, Walter|
|Davidson, Arthur||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Deakins, Eric||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Judd, Frank||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Dempsey, James||Kaufman, Gerald||Radice, Giles|
|Dormand, J. D.||Kelley, Richard||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Kerr, Russell||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Driberg, Tom||Kinnock, Neil||Richard, Ivor|
|Dunn, James A.||Lambie, David||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lamborn, Harry||Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lamond, James||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Brc'n&R'dnor)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)||Wallace, George|
|Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)||Stoddart, David (Swindon)||Watkins, David|
|Rose, Paul B.||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Weitzman, David|
|Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Stott, Roger (Westhoughton)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Rowlands, Ted||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Sandelson, Neville||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Whitehead, Philip|
|Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Swain, Thomas||Whitlock, William|
|Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff.W.)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Aberlillery)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Tinn, James||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Sillars, James||Torney, Tom||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Silverman, Julius||Tuck, Raphael||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Skinner, Dennis||Urwin, T. W.||Woof, Robert|
|Small, William||Varley, Eric G.|
|Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)||Wainwright, Edwin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Spearing, Nigel||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)||Mr. James Hamilton and Mr. Joseph Harper.|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Adley, Robert||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Dykes, Hugh||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Jessel, Toby|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Astor, John||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Emery, Peter||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Awdry, Daniel||Eyre, Reginald||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Farr, John||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Fell, Anthony||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||King, Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Kitson, Timothy|
|Batsford, Brian||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Knox, David|
|Bell, Ronald||Fookes, Miss Janet||Lamont, Norman|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Fortescue, Tim||Lane, David|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Foster, Sir John||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Benyon, W.||Fowler, Norman||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Fox, Marcus||Lloyd, Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'field)|
|Biffen, John||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Blaker, Peter||Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.||Longden, Sir Gilbert|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Gardner, Edward||Loveridge, John|
|Body, Richard||Gibson-Watt, David||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Boscawen, Hn. Robert||Gilmour, Rt. Hn. Ian (Norfolk, C.)||MacArthur, Ian|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Glyn, Dr. Alan||McCrindle, R A.|
|Bowden, Andrew||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||McLaren, Martin|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Gorst, John||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Bray, Ronald||Gower, Raymond||Macmillan, Rt.Hn. Maurice (Farnham)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Gray, Hamish||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Green, Alan||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Grieve, Percy||Maddan, Martin|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Madel, David|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Grylls, Michael||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Gummer, J. Selwyn||Marten, Neil|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Gurden, Harold||Maude, Angus|
|Burden, F. A.||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hall, Sir John (Wycombe)||Mawby, Ray|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Channon, Paul||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Chapman, Sydney||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Haselhurst, Alan||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hastings, Stephen||Moate, Roger|
|Churchill, W. S.||Havers, Michael||Money, Ernie|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Hawkins, Paul||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Hay, John||Monro, Hector|
|Cockeram, Eric||Hayhoe, Barney||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Coombs, Derek||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||More, Jasper|
|Cooper, A. E.||Heseltine, Michael||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Cordle, John||Hicks, Robert||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick||Higgins, Terence L.||Morrison, Charles|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hiley, Joseph||Mudd, David|
|Costain, A. P.||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Murton, Oscar|
|Critchley, Julian||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Crouch, David||Holland, Philip||Neave, Airey|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Holt, Miss Mary||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hornby, Richard||Normanton, Tom|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.Maj.-Gen.Jack||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Nott, John|
|Dean, Paul||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Howell, David (Guildford)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Dixon, Piers||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Osborn, John|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Hunt, John||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)|
|Iremonger, T. L.|
|Parkinson, Cecil||Royle, Anthony||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Peel, Sir John||Russell, Sir Ronald||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Percival, Ian||Sandys, Rt. Hn D.||Tilney, Sir John|
|Peyton, Rt. Hn. John||Scott, Nicholas||Trew, Peter|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Scott-Hopkins, James||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Pink, R. Bonner||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Pounder, Rafton||Shelton, William (Clapham)||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Shersby, Michael||Waddington, David|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Simeons, Charles||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Sinclair, Sir George||Walker, Rt Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Proudfoot, Wilfred||Skeet, T. H. H.||Wall, Patrick|
|Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Walters, Dennis|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Soref, Harold||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Speed, Keith||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Spence, John||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Redmond, Robert||Stainton, Keith||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||Stanbrook, Ivor||Wilkinson, John|
|Rees, Peter (Dover)||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Stokes, John||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Sutcliffe, John||Worsley, Marcus|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Tapsell, Peter||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R|
|Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Tebbit, Norman||Mr. Walter Clegg and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Rost, Peter||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ It being after Ten O'clock, the debate stood adjourned.