§ 2.38 p.m.
My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Henderson has not yet arrived to move his Motion, with the leave of the House I will do so in his absence. I am entirely in your Lordships' hands. Perhaps the Leader of the House would care to express an opinion.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (THE MARQUESS OF SAL ISBURY)
The situation with which we are faced is an unusual one. I would suggest that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, should speak very early in the debate, because I understand he is putting the main case for the Opposition. He would be followed by spokesmen from the Liberal Front Bench and, I understand, from the Bishops' Bench. If he could speak then, my noble friend, Lord Reading, would speak after the noble Lord, Lord Henderson. If that is convenient to the House, I think it would be convenient for the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, to speak now.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I should have added that the noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford, will speak second, in any case, because he has a Motion on the Paper.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
May I suggest that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, should formally move the Motion which is down in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and then should not intervene until later on the points which he wishes to raise? Then the noble Duke could speak immediately after the Motion had been moved. I think that that would meet the case.
I am perfectly ready to fall in with any arrangement which meets the wishes of the House, but I notice that my noble friend is now here.
§ 2.40 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON rose to call attention to Foreign Affairs; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I apologise to the House. I took the few minutes' grace that I thought would be allowed by Prayers. I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. I feel that an opportunity to discuss the international situation before we adjourn for Easter will be generally welcomed, especially in view of the fact that it is nearly four months since we had our last debate on Foreign Affairs in your Lordships' House. A discussion would have taken place a month ago but we on these Benches felt that it would be advantageous to await publication of the promised White Paper dealing with a German defence contribution and the European Defence Community. The noble Marquess, the Leader of the House, was good enough to agree.
§ Before I deal with these and other matters concerning Europe, I should like to refer, quite briefly, to events in other parts of the world. The situation in Korea has not changed appreciably since our last debate in November. The ceasefire talks continue to drag on at a very slow tempo without any observable sign that they will reach an early conclusion. The experiences of the months since the talks began show that there is some justification for the view, often expressed, that it is easier to start war than to start peace. We must all regret and deplore that the fighting goes on; that the talks have not, as yet, led to a cease-fire and armistice and to the opening of negotiations to restore peace to war-ravaged Korea and to the distressed Korean people. The noble Marquess the Leader of the House, who I believe will be speaking later, may not have anything to add to our present knowledge of the situation in Korea, but there is one matter which has recently arisen on which he may wish to say something quite definitely.
§ For some time the Chinese Communists have been busy charging the United States with using germ warfare in Korea and China. I cannot believe that any person of free intelligence would be tempted to give credit to such a monstrous charge unless there were the fullest and most conclusive evidence available, resulting from independent examination and investigation. In this case there is no 114 proof, only unsupported assertions. Soon after the assertion was first broadcast by Pekin radio, the International Committee of the Red Cross offered to investigate the facts, but while the United States Government immediately accepted the offer, no response was forthcoming from the Communist Government of China. Now, despite the most categorical official denials by the United States Government in Washington, and by the Foreign Secretary in another place, the accusation continues to be used as the basis of a major Communist propaganda campaign, not only in this and other Western countries, but throughout Asia and the Middle East.
Photographs purporting to substantiate the allegation have been widely circulated and published. These, I understand, have been examined by distinguished American scientists and declared to be fakes. Nevertheless, Mr. Malik, the Soviet delegate to the United Nations Disarmament Commission, has repeated the charges, and described the American Secretary of State as
an instigator, an advocate and one of the organisers of the use of bacteriological warfare.
At the same time, he rejected with contumely the offer of the International Red Cross.
§ Here we have a striking example of the "big lie" technique in propaganda as it used to be so cynically practised by Goebbels. It would seem that the Communists are quite as adept in the art of political fabrications, and not inferior in their propaganda exploitation of them. I call attention to this matter because it is not always wise to ignore what is untrue. We ought not merely to treat with contempt the continued repetition of Communist falsehoods of this kind. They are not only directives to the faithful but also snares for the unwary and the innocent; and this particular one is designed to raise doubts or distress or indignation among the peoples of all lands who would abominate the introduction of such an evil practice by any country, Communist or non-Communist. I hope, therefore, that the noble Marquess the Leader of the House will take advantage of the opportunity which this debate affords to issue another firm categorical denial on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, and that it will be given wide publicity in 115 order that it may be brought to the attention of the general public.
§ My Lords, there is another matter, this time affecting Burma, which ought not to be lost sight of—namely, the existence in that country of an armed force of Chinese Nationalist troops. This force is of some thousands in strength, and it is alleged that it has been receiving arms and supplies, and perhaps reinforcements, from Formosa. I do not know how reliable are the reports to which I have referred, but what is beyond doubt is that there is an armed Chinese Nationalist force in Burma which escaped from China and which has established its base on the Burma side of the frontier. The presence of these troops on Burmese territory must obviously be a continuous source of embarrassment to the Government of that independent country, and if they should attempt to make sorties across the frontier—indeed, it is just reported that they have done so in the last few days—there is a risk that such action might be regarded as provocative by Communist China and become a danger, or a cause of danger, to Burma.
§ The Chinese Nationalist authorities occupy China's seat at the United Nations, and so long as they do so it is not unreasonable to expect that they will at least act in conformity with the Charter of that world organisation and will not allow any of their armed forces to use the territory of another Member State as a military base. That is manifestly an abuse of the right of asylum. Until these troops can be transferred to Formosa, surely it is the duty and the responsibility of the Chinese Nationalist authorities to order them to disarm and to respect the rights and interests of the country in which they have found sanctuary. I do not know whether the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, who will be speaking for the Government, can tell us anything more about the present position and activities of these forces, or about Her Majesty's Government's attitude on the matter; but if he can, I hope he will do so.
§ Since our last debate there has been a marked improvement in the situation inside Egypt. Tension has been relaxed, and conversations have been resumed between the British Government and the new Egyptian Government. But in view of the delicate stage which the negotiations have now reached I do not propose 116 to refer to various aspects of the Middle East problem, which can be discussed with greater freedom on another occasion. I will content myself, therefore, with saying that I sincerely hope it may be found possible to reach a genuine agreement which will, on the one hand, ensure the effective collective defence of Egypt and the Middle East, and, on the other, give real satisfaction to the legitimate national aspirations of the Egyptian people.
§ Now, my Lords, I come to Europe. Here there is a whole complex of interrelated problems which are demanding almost continuous attention by the Western statesmen. Noble Lords have no doubt read with a good deal of satisfaction the White Paper on the Lisbon Conference, and the more recent first report of General Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Nations' forces in Europe. Both documents show that an appreciable though limited headway has already been made, and further progress planned, with regard to the building up of collective defence forces as a deterrent to aggression and as an instrument for maintaining peace and increasing security. Responsible Western leaders are expressing the view that the war danger in Europe has receded. Mr. Eden gave it as his opinion in his broadcast at the week-end. M. Stalin, in his latest answers to Press questions, has declared that a third World War is not closer than it was two or three years ago. General Eisenhower believes that the situation is brighter than it was a year ago. And I believe that it is agreed by those who are in a position to form a judgment that there has been a lifting of the mood of depression and anxiety which set in throughout the free world as a result of the Berlin blockade, and which gradually increased when the Communists began their aggression against South Korea.
I think there can be no doubt that the factor mainly responsible for this improvement in public morale and psychology, as well as in the cautious official opinion, has been the steady build up of Western defences, under N.A.T.O., and the vast production programmes which are being undertaken to make Western defence secure. So far so good. But nothing could be more foolish than to imagine that this entitles us to "let up" on our defence efforts; that there is less need
than there was to press on vigorously with the collective task which we and our free partners have undertaken. In this connection, General Eisenhower has warned us that it would be disastrous
if the favourable signs and developments recorded in his report were to put any mind at case or create a sense of adequate security; for there is no real security yet achieved in Europe; there is only a beginning.
Those are wise words, and we shall do well to keep them constantly in mind. While we can draw encouragement from the progress which has been made in a comparatively short period of time, that encouragement should be used to sustain our resolve to press on with the planned building up of adequate Atlantic defence resources.
§ A vital part of the task that still lies ahead is the bringing of a European Defence Community into being, as an essential part of the defensive strength of the free West. This still remains the only basis on which France will accept German rearmament. The British position was that we should welcome a European Army if it were found to be practicable. The Foreign Secretary has told us that the North Atlantic Council, at its Lisbon meeting, approved the plan as providing an acceptable method, both from the military and the political point of view, by which Germany can contribute to the defence of the West. We are not concerned in this debate with the actual details of the European Defence Community plan, which can be better examined and discussed during your Lordships' forthcoming Defence debate, but there are one or two important general points which I should like to mention to-day.
§ The first is that the Foreign Secretary has again made it clear that Britain is not to become a participant in the European Defence Community. That has been the British position from the outset, and it has been stated many times that we have not only European but Commonwealth and world interests and responsibilities—vital facts which we all recognise. It is, I believe, true that both France and Federal Germany have a more sympathetic appreciation of our special position than used to be the case. We all welcome that better understanding, but it is my personal belief that if we had been able to see our way to contribute 118 some force to this European Defence Organisation it would have made a profound psychological impression throughout Western Europe, and allayed certain fears which continue to trouble the French. Moreover, it would have been welcomed by both France and Federal Germany as practical encouragement to them in their efforts to break away from their historical hostility, and to get together in common political, economic, and security enterprises in a European, rather than in a narrow national spirit. We are, as I understand it, to be closely associated with the E.D.C. at all levels and in all activities short of merging any of our forces. But I should like to carry this matter a little further. We know that the French are concerned about the future integrity of the European Defence Community. The fact is that there is no real safeguard against a member nation breaking away from the Community, and the French Parliament have given expression to the concern which this absence of safeguard causes them. In the Order of the Day approved by the French Assembly on February 19 the Assembly recommended the French Government to ask the British and American Governments to guarantee, in the case of a breakdown or a violation of the Treaty by a member nation, undertakings in respect of the European Defence Community, this guarantee taking the form of the maintenance of sufficient American and British forces on the European Continent for as long as appears necessary. In the absence of British participation in the Community, it is reasonable to assume that the French Government will have raised this point and will have pressed for a guarantee on the lines indicated. The Foreign Secretary stated, as recently as last week-end, that we should be prepared to give the European Defence Community our backing and our guarantee within the framework of the Atlantic Pact. I am not clear what is intended, and I hope that the noble Marquess will be able to tell the House what Mr. Eden had in mind when making that statement.
§ It is expected that the European Defence Community Treaty will soon be complete and signed, and another important step will then have been taken towards a German arms contribution to Western defence against aggression. This question of a German contribution has been, as we are all aware, the cause of 119 a great deal of public uneasiness. The fear of a resurgence of German militarism is deep and widespread. None of us wants to see the re-creation of a powerful German military machine under a dominating German General Staff, and I believe it is true to say that perhaps the vast majority of the German people themselves are also hostile to the idea. Certainly, that was the very definite view which I formed, as a result of my visits to Germany and Berlin and my discussions with responsible leaders of the democratic political parties and the trade unions. Both Dr. Adenauer and Dr. Schumacher are as resolutely opposed to it as we are.
But, of course, that is not the sort of development which is being contemplated. What is proposed is a German armed contribution of a fixed proportion to the European Defence Community. It is within that context that the matter must be viewed. The reason for having such a contribution is precisely the same reason why the Atlantic Treaty nations are themselves undertaking vast defence burdens. If the antecedents had not been created by the Communists, the consequences would not have arisen for the Western world. It will be remembered (indeed, the White Paper reminds us of it) that the
British position was defined by my right honourable
friend Mr. Attlee, as Prime Minister, just over a year ago; and, so far as I know, what he said then continues to be the policy of Her Majesty's present Government. Mr. Attlee said that we have accepted the need for a contribution from Germany. I do not think the need has changed or is any less urgent. That is certainly General Eisenhower's view, for he has stated in his report that with
maximum potential realised through the collective efforts of member nations of N.A.T.O. there is little hope for the economical long-term attainment of security and stability in Europe unless Western Germany can be counted on the side of the free nations.
Mr. Attlee went on to say that the time, method and conditions would require a good deal of working out, and he amplified this statement by setting out four conditions. The first two were that the arming and the building up of the forces of the Atlantic Treaty Nations should have precedence over the arming of Germany. The third condition was that the
arrangements must be such that German units would be integrated in a way which would preclude the emergence of a German military menace. The noble Marquess will correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that the North Atlantic Treaty Governments are reasonably satisfied that the European Defence Community plan will fulfil these conditions. The last condition was that there must be agreement with the Germans themselves. That has not yet been fulfilled, but the Treaty, after it has been signed, has to be submitted to all the Parliaments concerned for ratification, and it will not come into operation until all the ratifications have been given. Not until then will it be possible for a single German to be recruited.
§ While all this work on the defence side has been progressing, negotiations have been going on with regard to ending the occupation of Western Germany and giving the Federal Republic equal status. This is a matter of the highest importance, both to our relations with Federal Germany and to Federal Germany's growing association with the free West. I hope the noble Marquess will be able to give the House some idea of when this political Treaty will be completed and signed. It seems to me that the sooner this political development is brought to the stage of accomplishment the better it will be for all of us. It will soon be three years since the Federal Republic was set up, and it is vitally important that both the political and the psychological value of the change from an occupation régime to one of Western Germany's free and equal partnership in the free West should be fully realised by a speedy conclusion of the preparations.
§ The intention was, and I suppose still is, that the political Treaty and the defence Treaty are to come into force at the same time. I do not know whether it is still expected that the necessary Parliamentary processes will be completed without interference with the planned timetable. We know that delays have ensued with regard to the ratification of the Schuman Treaty. I think I am right in saying that only three or four of the six Parliaments concerned have so far ratified. As regards the European Defence Community Treaty, it will be remembered that, prior to the Lisbon Conference, both the French Government and the Federal German 121 Government obtained the approval of their Parliaments only with difficulty, and with conditions attached. Moreover, a new factor has been injected. If one of the objects of the Soviet Note was to embarrass both the Western Allies and the Federal German 'Government, having regard to the political timetable to which I have just referred, there can be no doubt that it was well-timed. We all know that the reunion of their divided country is the ardent desire of every German. How many of them would be prepared, or could be induced, to sacrifice integration with the West for unification? We do not know the answers to these and other relevant questions, but we can be sure that they will have a bearing on the timetable of ratifications and the implementation of the plans. The unification of West and East Germany on a basis of freedom—I repeat, on a basis of freedom —would mean the removal of one of the most unsettling factors in European and international life.
§ It should not be forgotten that if the Western Allies had not met with uncompromising resistance from the Russians, Germany would have been set on the road to union, with freedom, at the last Four Power Conference in Paris as long ago as 1949. But does the Soviet Union mean by its present proposals that when Germany is reunited, United Germany will be free? Is United Germany to be debarred from entering the free West in order to be brought later on into the Soviet orbit? Many such questions spring to the mind, and they cannot be brushed aside and ascribed to undue suspicion of the aims and purposes of the Soviet Union. We know from experience that we can never be sure of the Russian mind. Hitherto, the Soviet leaders have denounced German rearmament in the Western defence pattern and said that it would create an intolerable situation. They have now turned a complete somersault and are themselves proposing that Germany should have their own national land, air and naval forces, provided Germany breaks with the West and adopts a policy of neutrality. This is but the most recent example of the sudden switches in Soviet policy which make it so difficult to understand their mind and to discover their real aims and purposes.
§ It is not my intention, however, to comment on the various Russian propo- 122 sals regarding the unification of Germany. We may get some enlightenment from their reply to the Notes of the Western Allies. But I want to make two observations. There is surely complete approval in all parts of the House for Western insistence that if any progress is to be made towards German unity, there must first of all be free and secret elections throughout the whole of Germany. I should expect that to be regarded as a cardinal condition, not only by the peoples of the Western nations but also by the German people, whether living in East or in West Germany. My second observation relates to the Russian proposal that Germany pledge herself not to take part in any coalitions or military alliances against any Power which participated with its forces in the war against Germany. If that means an undertaking not to be party to any pact for aggression, it would be unexceptionable and in complete harmony with the Charter of the United Nations. But if it is intended to mean that Germany is to be denied rights which all other nations enjoy under the Charter and is to abstain from association with other free nations in collective arrangements for common defence against aggression—that is to say, regional associations which are strictly in harmony with the Charter and the purposes of which are not only proclaimed to be, but are, in fact, defensive and non-aggressive, despite all the Soviet Union and its satellite chorus say to the contrary—then it seems to me that the road a united Germany is required by Russia to travel is not the road of freedom and independence.
§ There will no doubt have to be further exchanges between Soviet Russia and the West before we can know whether a conference is possible on a basis which will allow negotiations to be undertaken with some reasonable prospect of practical results. The Russian Communists are difficult people to negotiate with, as we have discovered at past conferences. We thought that the Austrian Treaty was virtually assured at the Paris Conference in 1949, and by all normal tests it should have been agreed and put into operation long ago; but even to-day this liberated friend is still denied her freedom and independence, and the blame for that lies squarely on Soviet Russia.
§ But while past experiences point to the need for caution and for serious con- 123 sideration of the Russian proposals, we should not assume that a Soviet move is just another manœuvre. It may, of course, be just that. But, on the other hand, the Soviet leaders may have serious negotiations in view. I believe it is true that the defence efforts under N.A.T.O. have impressed Russia, and though we still have a long way to go before we attain adequate defensive strength, it is not unlikely that the Soviet leaders have been both surprised and impressed by the Western world's sharp reaction to Communist aggression in Korea and by the determination with which the Western nations have set about putting their common defences in order. So, if we are to go into conference, we should be able to speak from greater strength than at almost any time since the war ended; and with increased strength there should be increased confidence. We have always held that as our defensive strength was developed, the Soviet leaders were likely to become more disposed to negotiate settlements. The difficulty is to know when that point will be reached. I think that will be discovered only in talks and is unlikely to be disclosed in any other way.
§ At the same time, it seems to me that the Western nations would be unwise and unjustified to delay or call a halt to their present plans for strengthening their defences and for giving Federal Germany equality. The Federal German Republic is vitally concerned, in any case, and their views cannot be ignored. It is my opinion that no question of modifying our present plans should arise unless and until it falls naturally into the context of an agreement which would give Germany unity with freedom and provide satisfactory alternative means for ensuring the security of the West.
§ I will not take more than a few moments to deal with the last point that I wish to raise. I should like to ask the noble Marquess whether he has any information to give about the Conference which has been sitting at The Hague on the question of indemnification by the German Government for the damage done to the Jews under the Hitler régime. We are seven years from the end of the war and there is a tendency to forget the shameful martyrdom of the Jews in Germany and in German- 124 occupied territories. Over 6,000,000 of them were done to death and their property confiscated. But it is unnecessary for me to go into the details of this chapter of evil doings—noble Lords are well aware of them. I think we should agree that these crimes called for repudiation by democratic Germany and for such moral and material indemnification as lay in its power. Repudiation has been made and the duty to make restitution accepted in a statement submitted to the Federal Parliament by Dr. Adenauer and approved by it last September.
Since the State of Israel came into existence several hundred thousand Jewish refugees have been taken in from Europe and given the opportunity to build up a new life. That has involved Israel in vast expenditure, estimated at 1,000,000,000 dollars. There are also claims by world Jewish organisations amounting to half that sum in respect of heirless property and other restitution. In proposing a conference on the basis of Israel's claim, the Federal Chancellor stated in December that:
The Federal Government regard the problem of indemnification in the first place as a moral obligation, and consider it the honourable duty of the German people to do everything possible to redeem the wrongs committed against the Jewish people.
He added that the Federal Government would:
welcome the opportunity of contributing towards the building up of the State of Israel by delivery of goods.
We cannot but welcome and applaud these declarations and give full credit to the spirit and sense of justice which prompted them.
§ So far, I believe, these discussions on Jewish claims have been kept quite separate from the London discussion on German external debts. That seems to me to be right and proper, because by no stretch of the imagination can the Jewish claims be regarded as belonging to the category of external debts. Their nature and history are altogether different. I hope, therefore, that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to keep them separate, and that both they and their two Allies will continue to give their sympathy and encouragement to the efforts to arrive at a satisfactory agreement through The Hague Conference. It is regrettable that there has been what 125 appears to be a breakdown in the discussions, and I sincerely hope that it may prove to be only temporary. It is important that the Conference should succeed. I believe that if it can reach agreement this Conference may make a real contribution towards assuaging the bitter memories of the Jewish people, and the gradual development of a spirit of reconciliation between the peoples of these two countries. That is my hope, and I believe it will be the hope of all noble Lords. I beg to more for Papers.
§ 3.13 p.m.
§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD had given notice of a Motion to call attention to the economic dangers of the American Alliance and also to the political dangers especially as these affect Eastern affairs; and to move for Papers. The noble Duke said: My Lords, it is, I think, generally agreed that as the result of the two world wars, and other causes, in the matter of worldly power and wealth the sceptre has now passed from the British Empire to the United States of America. It is not necessarily a bad thing to have to take second place to another country, nor even to defer to the wishes of its statesmen, if their wishes and policy are wise and good. But it is a very different matter indeed if their policy or their methods are not good. Few methods could be more evil than atom or napalm bombs, and few policies could be more unwise than the continued American support of Chiang Kai-shek's Government. Noble ends are useless if the means which are employed to further them are not also noble. That is a fact which people are very apt to forget. Bad means can destroy the noblest aims. In what I am about to say in criticism of American policy I do not want it to be thought that I am anti-American. Many of the finest people in the world are to be found in the United States, and some of them, I think, are looking to us for a lead. Unfortunately, the United States, like many other countries, has not the best and wisest of her citizens where they should be, at the head of affairs.
§ With regard to the economic consequences of the Alliance, I have always contended that the Loan was a mistake, and that the Loan and its interest would become too heavy a burden. I suggested at the beginning that we should try to develop the resources of our Empire with 126 the aid of a reformed financial and foreign trade system. Briefly, the main features of such a reformed financial system are these. The money supply should be adjusted so that it relates to the output and import of goods. Money should not be created in the form of interest-hearing debt. Revenue taxation should be done away with, and the services of the State should be financed by the annual creation of new non-debt money, taxation being employed solely for the purpose of collecting for cancellation and destruction surplus money in order to prevent inflation. There should be no more State borrowing, and the National Debt should be extinguished as soon as possible. The fact should be frankly faced that, in an age of labour-destroying inventions and discoveries, full employment is no longer possible, and the deserving unemployed must be adequately maintained out of the funds for the State's use to which I have already referred. During the inter-war period the faulty financial system was the only important cause of poverty in this country. Now there are other causes—namely, rearmament, over-population, and the sale of our foreign investments to America during the war, making it difficult for us to obtain imports.
§ But although financial reform can no longer get us out of all our economic difficulties, it still remains essential, not only because it could help our economic life very greatly but also because of the effect overseas of our example. Our Dominions are still very much in the position we occupied before the war. By reason of their great resources they are lands of potential plenty, where the financial system is the main hindrance. We need to give them a lead; and particularly do we need to give a lead to Canada, so that she may escape from her unhealthy financial dependence on the United States. We need also to be in a position to say frankly to the United States Government: "We have come to realise that international money lending at interest is not a good plan, as it gives too great power to the creditor country over the life and policy of the debtor country. We intend, therefore, in future to abandon the charging of interest on our foreign loans, and we shall no longer be able to pay interest to you on yours. We will repay the principal, but we shall need a longer time in which to do it."127
§ One of the main features of sensible foreign trade should be that a country exports goods surplus to its own requirements, and receives back only those goods which it really needs. In our trade with America, however, we are now commonly sending away goods we badly need and, in order to suit American business interests, are receiving back in part exchange goods which we do not really require from America, this being a condition of our receiving goods which we do require. That is not a fair arrangement, and I think it is one which the Americans would resent if the position were reversed. In the same way, we have agreed to sacrifice certain trading rights with non-American countries, again in the interests of American business, in a way which is not altogether fair. In considering the American economy, which has the same fundamental faults as our own, it is always well to remember that it has three main props. It has to be sustained by war and war preparations, by making gifts of goods to foreign countries, or by a policy of public works so gigantic that the American Government to-day is hardly likely to be able to undertake it.
§ In considering the political consequences of the Alliance it is necessary to have a background provided by the recognition of certain facts, pleasant or unpleasant, which are apt to be evaded. The first of these is that there is no reliable evidence that the Russian or Chinese Governments, unprovoked, desire aggressive war. Their people suffered too much in the late war. They are making too good progress in the cultural and economic development of their countries, and their propaganda among their own peoples is not the propaganda of countries that really want war. If they really wanted war, they would represent it as a glorious crusade to create Communism throughout the world, in which every patriotic Communist should join. Instead of that, they declare that they want peace, and accuse the other side of being warmongers. When you are conducting propaganda among your own people, to make out that you want peace when you really want war is a psychological blunder of which they are not likely to be guilty. It is true that in the past Russia was guilty of aggression against Finland and the Baltic States, but here the motive does not seem to have been the extension of 128 Communism by armed force so much as military security. The attack made on the Soviet Government by British and American forces earlier, and the coming attack by Germany (which may have been anticipated), while it still leaves these attacks indefensible, at any rate makes them in part understandable.
The next point I would make—though I am afraid that it is not one with which your Lordships are likely to agree—is that, in this age of atomic warfare these Islands, for geographical reasons, are placed in an entirely new position. They are no longer capable of successful strategic defence by military operations undertaken from within their own frontiers. So long ago as July, 1948, the Council of the Atomic Scientists' Association made the following statement:
In the event of an atomic war, owing to the concentration of Industry and the density of our population, no country is more vulnerable than Great Britain to attack by atomic bombs or other weapons of mass destruction. It seems clear if our airfields are made bases for launching attacks by weapons of mass destruction on other countries, we must expect that our cities will be attacked by similar weapons. The most elementary patriotic reasons to ensure the survival of our nation demand that we should do everything in our power to see that this country shall not become the recipient of atomic bombs.
It seems to me that in allowing this country to become one of the principal American air bases, we are inviting, if international tension should grow worse, a crushing air attack, possibly of the Pearl Harbour character, before there has even been a formal declaration of war. And I have no hesitation in saying that in such an attack our civil defence measures would be mere pills for the earthquake. A British army wandering about on the Continent, as part of the European army, would be very little good if the homeland had been devastated behind their backs. Another mistake appears to me to be the preparation for this atomic bomb experiment in Australia before any attempt has been made to ease international tension by a policy of establishing demilitarised areas, and before really imaginative and intelligent use has been made of recent Russian concessions—which are important concessions.
§ The next point I would make is that if rearmament is continued it must virtually ruin this country, and probably other European countries as well. One possible result of increasing austerity without the remotest hope of any end in 129 the foreseeable future is that a considerable part of our weekly wage-earning population will turn to the only Party that can promise them deliverance from this burden—that is to say, the Communists, or at any rate the following of Mr. Aneurin Bevan. In regard to the atom bomb, I was rather struck by a point made the other day by a speaker at a public meeting. She said that over here we are all concerned with fears of what will happen if the bomb falls on us, whereas, if we are a Christian nation, as we profess, we should be far more afraid of using that diabolical weapon ourselves.
§ With regard to American foreign policy, the most disturbing feature about American statesmen and diplomats is their terrible lack of imagination. They seem so filled with a blind hatred of Communism that they cannot realise that it is not a phenomenon of evil without parallel in history, but merely a phase in the political evolution of certain countries. It has its good and its bad features, and it may develop very differently in different parts of the world. In countries which have never known real freedom its bad features are excessively bad, but the remedy is not to kill Communists; it is to set up something better in our own country. That we shall certainly not be able to do so long as our economic backs are broken by rearmament. The policy of negotiation from strength is, in my opinion, a very unwise policy. It may be that some of the statesmen on the other side are of such a character that, while you are attempting to reach an agreement on world disarmament by a sensible policy of give and take between equals, they will be easier to handle if they know you are not prepared to endure treatment from them which they would not endure were they in your place.
§ But the policy of negotiating from strength goes far beyond this. It really amounts to trying to get such strength that you can always bully the Government on the other side into doing what you want them to do. No Government in a powerful nation will endure such treatment. We should not endure it; the Americans would not endure it. And we and they are foolish if we believe that either the Russian or the Chinese Governments will 130 endure it, even making any allowance that has to be made for the different Eastern mentality. The only result of striving for this superior strength is a ding-dong armaments race ending, if history has anything to teach us, in war. The policy of surrounding Communist countries by a complete ring of armed bases is also likely to defeat its own end by its exaggeration. It may give the Governments of these countries a genuine fear that attack will be delivered against them, so tempting them to strike before preparations have been still further perfected.
§ Particularly unwise is the rearmament of Germany. About the only good thing achieved by the late war was the pronounced aversion to war that it created in the German and Japanese peoples; and now even that is being thrown away. In war there is one factor more important than any other, and it is the fighting morale of the people. Now we are making a present of this factor to both the Russian and Chinese Governments. It is very unlikely that German troops, as part of a European Army, or the Japanese, will fight on oar side with any very great spirit, since they will know that, whoever wins, in the end their country is bound to be devastated by being turned into a battlefield. If, on the other hand, the price of their possibly being on our side was the granting of complete independence to Germany and Japan, it might suit them, as it would undoubtedly suit the Communist countries, to enter into an alliance with the Communist Governments against ourselves. I cannot help feeling that if some years ago, when I advocated a negotiated peace with Germany (a policy which would have saved those of your Lordships who believe in German rearmament a great deal of trouble) I had gone on to advocate the future rearmament of Germany, the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, might be no longer with us. His indignation might have caused him to explode like an atom bomb, with shattering effects on this House and its occupants. Germany should not be remilitarised. Germany should be demilitarised under the protection of the United Nations, which Russia and China should be invited to join. By an arrangement of that kind each of the protecting Powers would become a watchdog on the other, which would be a very healthy arrangement.131
§ What I have said with regard to the rearmament of Germany applies equally to the rearmament of Japan, and its effect on the fighting spirit of the Chinese people. Japan should not be remilitarised. It should be demilitarised under the protection of the United Nations, including Russia and China. The same policy should be pursued in regard to Formosa, and the people of Formosa should be allowed to choose whether they will remain under Chiang Kai-shek or join China or become independent. Under such an arrangement, neither the American nor the Chinese Government would have any legitimate ground for complaint. A similar arrangement should be suggested with regard to Korea, which should be united under a new Government, again as a demilitarised area. In regard to Egypt, although I am glad to hear that tension is now relaxed, I feel that on balance it would be far wiser and more honourable to cease trying to force Egypt into an anti-Russian war alliance, and to keep our many times repeated promise to withdraw all troops from Egyptian territory.
§ With regard to such countries as Malaya and Indo-China, it is important not to be in too great a hurry to attribute all the trouble to the Communists. No doubt there are Communist agitators and no doubt there are also bandits. But I have heard, on reliable authority, that a great deal of the trouble is due to the fact that lavish promises were made to the Resistance Movement during the war but have by no means been generously kept. Moreover, there is in these parts of Asia a growing Nationalist movement. It is generally agreed that, in spite of certain very unhappy consequences, it was wise to give her freedom to India. What is sauce for the Indian goose may well be sauce for the Malayan and Indo-Chinese gander, even though it may mean considerable sacrifices for French and English settlers. Such sacrifices, unhappily, are sometimes inevitable where there has been pursued a Colonial policy which has not commended itself to many of the native inhabitants. A very dangerous error in American diplomacy is to regard wars as a kind of panacea for every act of apparent Communist aggression. War is not a panacea. By reason of its own nature and of human nature, it is now the clumsiest, most dangerous and most 132 uncertain instrument of policy that it is possible to employ. It should therefore never be used, even by those who believe in it, except when certain conditions are strictly fulfilled. It is better to appear to give way to aggression half a dozen times than go to war on a weak and confused issue.
§ The conditions that should be fulfilled are, first, that every legitimate grievance of the other side should have been fully met, not merely in propaganda theory but also in fact, and that absolutely nothing of a provocative nature should be done by our side or by our protégés. The latter should be plainly warned that if they indulge in inflammatory speeches they will receive no support from us. One of the greatest curses of the age in which we live is what I would term the idolatory of abstractions—that is to say, the pursuit of noble aims by evil means. The airman who would shrink with horror from the idea of throwing a baby on the fire does not hesitate to throw fire on babies, because he is too far away to see the consequences of his action, and because his head is filled with idealistic notions about serving his country. In the same way, American statesmen, their heads filled with idealistic notions about upholding the authority of the United Nations and checking Communist aggression, cannot see that they have made a far worse hell of Korea than would ever have resulted if the civil war had been allowed to take its course; and that by that war, and especially by advancing beyond the 38th Parallel, they have made a Third World War not less likely but more likely. In the same way, military chiefs of staff, consulting maps and forming strategic plans, are apt to forget that in international relations the psychological factor is sometimes more important than military strategy also that there are such things as men and women with bodies capable of suffering agony.
§ As I have already suggested, one of the worst errors of American policy in the Far East has been their obstinate, continued support of the corrupt and discredited régime of Chiang Kai-shek, whom even the anti-Communist Chinese do not want back. The present Government of China is still doubtless anti-European and anti-American, and it is also quite ruthless in dealing with what it regards as subversive elements— 133 Chinese Governments always have been. But I have heard from reliable and non-Communist sources that in the economic and cultural development of the country the present Government have done more than any other Government and are less corrupt. I have no hesitation in saying that we should state quite frankly to the American Government that they have bedevilled negotiations in Korea all these long months, mainly by their refusal to recognise the Chinese Government and by their support of Chiang Kai-shek; and that if they continue in this error we shall withdraw our troops from Korea. I know that it would be said that this would destroy the unity of the United Nations, but unity is not in itself necessarily a virtue; it is only unity in wisdom which is a virtue. Unity in folly is far worse than disunity. There was unity of a kind among the Gadarene swine.
§ With regard to the behaviour of American diplomats at disarmament conferences, an intelligent American recently gave it as his opinion that they seemed to be trying to impress Congress at home with their speeches rather than trying to make any progress towards a settlement. They seemed to be imbued with the idea that if the other side were untrustworthy there could be no hope of making any progress. Untrustworthiness, however, is only a fatal obstacle if two parties want different things. If they both want the same thing (as, in this instance, freedom from the hazards of atomic war) there is always a chance of reaching an agreement based not on verbal promises but on rights of inspection. If the other side put forward apparently reasonable proposals, it is a fatal diplomatic blunder to sneer at them, quote past failures and bring charges of insincerity. Such proposals should be received with cordiality, and suggestions put forward from our side and the American side calculated to carry the matter further. In making those suggestions we should be careful not only never to ask the other side to do anything we are not ready to do, but never to ask them to do anything we should not be ready to do if we were in their place, which is not necessarily at all the same thing.
§ During these negotiations, a full report should be published, without comment, so far as possible throughout the world, 134 and if negotiations did break down we should take the utmost care to see that they broke down solely and obviously through the unreasonableness of the other side. If two or three such breakdowns took place in succession, the other side would be virtually compelled to behave reasonably in order to save face with their own people, for not even a Communist Government dare go to war if its war propaganda is unconvincing by reason of the lack of real grievance, because it knows that if it did so its people would fight with so little spirit that they would quickly be defeated. It was most unwise and unreasonable when, not long ago, Russia suggested a conference on Germany, after we had said that the agenda of the conference was not wide enough and Russia had agreed to our additions, then to refuse the Russian suggestion that the Atlantic Treaty should also be considered. In the circumstances it was a perfectly fair proposal. It is unfortunate that give and take, which are the essence of true negotiation, are apt to be dismissed contemptuously by American statesmen and diplomats as "horse trading."
§ Recently, too, the Russian Government made a number of concessions on the all-important question of rights of inspection. They received a very chilly response. The Americans have hardly budged at all from the Baruch plan, which even that wise, impartial body of people, the American Quakers themselves pronounced to be not entirely fair to Russia. One learns that there are a disturbingly large number of people in the United States who have taken the line "We are bound to have a war, let us get it over." Americans who think like this appear to forget that when they have "got it over" it may be that it will be all over with some of their Allies—including ourselves. Some very prominent men in America in public life have made some most disturbing statements. Mr. Foster Dulles said recently that the United States should let it be known that they would not stand idly by while any part of the world remained under Communist or Fascist rule. Senator Taft has claimed that the only way to stop a Communist attack in South-East Asia is by a Chinese Nationalist invasion of the mainland. Mr. Harold Stassen takes the same line and advocates the use of Chiang Kai-shek's troops immediately 135 for an attack on China, and the restoration of General MacArthur as Commander in the Far East. These, my Lords, are not policies of defence. They are policies of blatant aggression, and in those policies we should have neither part nor lot.
§ 3.42 p.m.
§ LORD LAYTON
My Lords, I have the greatest respect for the sincerity of the views of the noble Duke who has just spoken, and there are some reflections he made which will, no doubt, be kept in mind by statesmen and others who are concerned with international affairs. But, as I listened to him, I could not resist the reflection that but for what he calls the "American Alliance" we should not to-day be discussing Foreign Affairs in a world in which, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, the danger of war is receding. We discussed economic matters fully in an economic debate in February last when I ventured to give my views on the new pattern of trade between Britain and the United States. Therefore, I shall not follow the noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford, in that field. Nor will I follow him in what he said about the Far East: this debate would be interminable if we were all to view the horizon all over the world. So I propose to adopt the principle that the cobbler should stick to his last; and I propose to come back to Europe.
The Russian Note of March 19 concerning a draft Treaty with Germany is a very important document, not mainly because it is likely to result in the conclusion of a satisfactory peace but because it is designed to influence German opinion. If it succeeds in so doing it may complicate or delay completion of the promising developments which are taking place between the Western Powers and the German Federal Republic. These developments go a long way to regulating the topics which in former times would have been dealt with in a peace Treaty. I looked the other day at the chapter headings of the Treaty of Versailles, and was struck by the large number of those headings which have become the subject matter of continuous collaboration on an international basis. We are gaining some idea of what we sought to create after Versailles. It is important that these processes of internationalisa- 136 tion should be complete before the whole German question is thrown again into the melting pot. The moral of this Russian correspondence is, clearly, that we must make the greatest haste to complete our plan for bringing Germany into an international community and not leave her to develop once again into a fully-fledged sovereign State independent of the rest of the European community.
The sting of the Russian Note, however, is in its tail, which suggests the creation of a German national army. There are only three courses open to us in this matter: to re-create a German national army; to keep Germany unarmed; or to merge German Forces in a European Army. As between those three there can be no hesitation in this country. Public opinion has also pronounced on it in other countries. A recent Gallup poll showed that 77 per cent. of the public opposed the creation of a German national army. Eight per cent. of the remainder were in favour, and 15 per cent. expressed no opinion.
§ LORD LAYTON
In Britain. This opposition would not be set at rest by the vague Russian suggestion that Germany's forces should be limited to the numbers required for her own defence. After the experience of the inter-war years, it would be naÏve to suppose that this limitation would last very long; and, once broken, the Germans would once again become the balancing factor in Europe. It is equally unrealistic to think that Germany can be kept permanently disarmed. In April, 1942, just ten years ago, the 60,000,000 people of Germany were within measurable distance of world domination. They and their allies were in possession of territory which supported one-third of the world's population at that time. German territory contains the greatest war potential on the Continent of Europe. Is it sensible to suppose that these hard-working, disciplined people would be content to accept the position of a large-scale Switzerland—a sort of buffer State, as it used to be called?
If those two possibilities are ruled out, we are compelled to consider the third possibility: the merging of German forces with those of other countries of Europe in a European Army, under a common staff. Much has been done to 137 bring this concept into being, particularly in the last three or four months. The N.A.T.O. Conference in Lisbon in February agreed, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, that the principles underlying the proposed Treaty to establish a European Defence Community conform to the interests of the North Atlantic Treaty, and the Conference, therefore, agreed upon the principles to govern the relationship between the two bodies. Time does not permit me to discuss the proposed Treaty in detail; I will content myself with underlying three points of far-reaching importance. If the scheme goes through, the total strength of the European Defence force will be settled by agreement, as well as the size of the respective contributions of the various members, presumably on the basis laid down by the French Parliament that the contribution of no individual should exceed the strength of the French contingents available in Europe. In other words, this major proposition as to the size of rearmament in each European country, and that there shall be no predominance on any one side, is accepted by agreement.
Secondly:The six Powers in the European Defence Community will themselves jointly agree where orders for all military material shall be placed and where they shall not be placed, having regard to various considerations including strategic considerations. Arrangements will be made to ensure that all these safeguards within the European Defence Community will have regard to the interests of Britain and the United States.I am quoting from the document, Thirdly, there should be a common budget. Many of your Lordships will remember the attempt made twenty years ago at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva to introduce budgetary control as a means of controlling and limiting armaments. That proposal failed, but the suggestion of a common budget prepared and administered by the executive organ of the E.D.C. is a very different proposition, for it will mean that the Committee of Ministers will have continuous and intimate knowledge of the details and progress regarding not only the actual forces raised but also the development of the war potential in the different member States.
These are three of the features of a scheme which, from one point of view, covers the same ground as the Disarma- 138 ment chapters of the Treaty of Versailles: forces, armaments and armament production. But how striking is the contrast with the régime of thirty years ago! This time it is a plan, not imposed upon Germany by force but agreed to by the Federal Republic of its own volition as a permanent feature of free Europe. I would ask your Lordships to reflect how profoundly the course of history might have been changed if, in the period between the wars, we had had intimate knowledge (I emphasise the word "intimate") of the military situation, not only in Germany but in France, Belgium, Holland and the other countries. Our understanding of the situation would have been utterly different. That is implied in the present proposal. Yet the project of the European Army hangs fire—let us not deny it—for the French Government, as well as some of the other States of Western Europe, hesitate to commit themselves until they know more precisely where this country stands. Britain, in conjunction with the United States and France, declared last September at Washington that it was in the interests of us all that Germany should join a European Defence Community, and we added that we wished to be associated with it as closely as possible in all stages of its development. The French, naturally, ask us to explain precisely what we mean by "association." If this Community is established in the way proposed, the link which it will create between France and Germany will be a permanent one. It is not surprising that our nearest neighbour hesitates to be tied more closely to her traditional enemy than she is to Britain.
In the concluding phrases, therefore, of the Order of the Day passed by the French Parliament when they discussed this matter and already quoted by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, the Deputies invited the Government—I will read the text as printed in the White Paper, though I suspect the translation is not as good as it might have been—to renew all its efforts, with a firm will to succeed, to obtain the participation in the E.D.C. of other democratic nations and in particular Great Britain. This solution, which constitutes a guarantee fully meeting the anxieties expressed by the National Assembly, would naturally involve the study and the perfection "—I underline the word "perfection"—of those institutions and measures most likely to ensure its success.139 Those last words, quite clearly, in simple English mean that France is prepared to re-write the Treaty if we will participate. It is a long way of putting it but it is quite clear and simple what it means. The House will observe that this Resolution closely resembles the appeal to Britain which, as I forecast last November, would be addressed by the Assembly of the Council of Europe to this country. This Order of the Day reinforces that appeal in the most authoritative manner possible.
Before discussing the action which we might take, I should like to address myself for a moment to the question whether the desire of our Continental neighbours for a "re-insurance policy" cannot be fully met by N.A.T.O. It is common ground that the European Defence Community must be a regional organisation within the greater orbit of the Atlantic Pact. But, for many reasons, N.A.T.O. cannot in itself fulfil all the purposes of a European Army. In the first place, N.A.T.O. is an alliance of sovereign Powers whose forces are contributed by their respective defence organisations on an independent national basis. Though there is unity of command, national General Staffs will continue to be responsible for the training, equipment and use of their respective forces. It is unlikely—indeed, it is unthinkable—that the Congress of the United States would ever agree to modify that provision. On the other hand, in the European Army the forces will be merged in the manner set out at great length in the White Paper (Cmd. 8492). The Germans, naturally, would not be satisfied to be merged into a composite Army if that did not apply also to the other forces that were included in it. There is that vital distinction between the N.A.T.O. forces and the E.D.C.
Again, if N.A.T.O. attempted to organise European forces in the detailed way that is contemplated in the European Army, it would involve the United States in a degree of intervention in Europe which the American people do not contemplate or ask for. The United States wants to establish in the democracies of Europe not a group of satellite States but a strong, united partner which will steadily take over an increasing responsibility for its own defence. This idea, the concept of a closely knit association 140 in Europe within the larger orbit of the Atlantic Community, applies not only to defence but to all the other aspects in which European co-operation is rapidly developing, economic and political alike. This wish of the Americans to see a closer union in Europe with which they can deal runs right through the story of their relations with Europe since the war. It was clearly enunciated in the Harvard Speech which initiated Marshall Aid. That speech, in short, was to the effect "Get together, and then we, the United States, will see what we can do." It was repeated ten days ago by the American head of the Mutual Security Organisation in Europe in connection with the O.E.E.C. It is responsible for America's second thoughts on the whole question of a European Army, and it is strongly held and enunciated by General Eisenhower himself who, before the year is out, may well be the President of the United States. May I say, in passing, that whether or not General Eisenhower is the next President of the United States, his stimulus, help and guidance will be greatly missed in Europe? If, as we all ardently hope, a united, strong and prosperous free Europe in due course emerges from the horrors of this past decade, the names of Marshall and Eisenhower will be high on the short list of those who have done most to bring it into being.
The same point was repeated again and again by the delegation appointed by Congress who came to Strasbourg to discuss European affairs with the Assembly of the Council of Europe. That delegation was not a hand-picked body. It was representative of all parts of the United States, and some of its members had not previously been to Europe. They were disappointed that the unity of Europe had not gone farther forward. They did not think that N.A.T.O. could be a substitute for European union. Several of the members of the delegation actually said that, if Europe did not get together more effectively, the United States would be less likely, and not more likely, to commit itself deeply to N.A.T.O. The unity of Europe is an implied condition of mutual aid and is stated to be America's policy in several of the Acts of Congress. America wants to back a going concern.
The text of that debate was available to members of the House a month ago. 141 The views of that delegation are very important, for they come from the source where power lies in the United States. Both at that debate and in the discussions in Congress, when the delegation was appointed, it was made clear, that though it is to America's interest and is her intention to support and sustain Europe, Congress is extremely anxious to avoid being drawn more deeply into what it regards as Europe's domestic affairs. Britain cannot take that attitude. Incidentally, I deprecate the suggestion that in regard to our relationship to European affairs we should wait on what the United States will do. That is not a course which we should adopt. It has never before happened in history. It is a completely false conception of our geographical position, of our economic position, even of our economic structure. I need not argue the point, because the view officially expressed by the leaders of the Labour Government last September, and endorsed by the present Government, is that though we cannot be a member of a European Federation, we are deeply interested in the problem and, as I have already said, wish to be closely associated with its development. That decision will, I am certain, be generally accepted to-day on both sides of the Channel.
How are we to make it work? We have been very coy in saying what we mean by "association"; yet the shape of things to come in Western Europe largely depends on how we interpret that word. I therefore warmly welcome the statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on March 19. For the first time the statement has outlined in general terms the attitude of Her Majesty's Government towards the Council itself and towards the various bodies that may be associated with it. I venture to hope that all Parties in this country may find themselves able to accept Mr. Eden's statement as an agreed basis of British policy. The proposal will be closely studied in the capitals of Europe and will be keenly debated at the meeting of the Assembly in May. The Secretary of State repeats his reservations about converting the Council of Europe into a quasi-federal body with legislative and executive powers. He suggests, as an alternative, that the Council, while continuing to serve as an organisa- 142 tion for inter-Governmental co-operation in general, should to a certain extent be remodelled, so that its organs could serve as the institution of the Schuman plan, of the European Defence Community and of any future organisations of that type. This device would simplify the international structure of Western Europe, prevent overlapping and avoid any tendency to widen the gap between, on the one side, those countries who wish to go far and, on the other, those who are unwilling to go far.
The idea is not in itself new. It is in accordance with the views that have emerged from the debates at Strasbourg, where the overwhelming majority of the Assembly have been deeply concerned to avoid yet another division in a continent already so grievously divided between East and West. This passionate desire to preserve the solidarity of Western Europe is responsible for decisions such as that contained in the protocol to the Schuman Plan Treaty, where it is provided that the annual report of the steel and coal pool will be laid upon the table of the Assembly for debate and discussion. This is an attempt to keep all the smaller groups somehow tied in with the larger community of Western Europe as a whole. That is the deep desire in Strasbourg, and I am quite sure that those feelings are reflected throughout Europe. What is new is the Secretary of State's proposition that a link of this kind need not be confined to the Assembly, but that Member States of the Council should be associated with all the organs of the new functional bodies. In the case of the European Army, for example, Mr. Eden suggests thatIt might be possible to arrange for countries, like the United Kingdom, whose aim is to establish a close link with the European Community, to be associated in an appropriate way, with the Parliamentary and ministerial institutions of the community, as well as with the executive organs.In other words, what the Secretary of State is proposing is that British Ministers should take part, whether for certain purposes only or as associate members with or without a vote, in the ministerial organ controlling the European Army. Its representatives might be parties, in carefully defined conditions, to the work of the Board of Commissioners directing that Army. Similar arrangements might be made in the case of the Schuman plan. 143 I hope that I am right in my interpretation of the statement made by the Secretary of State on March 19. I do not know whether the spokesman for Her Majesty's Government can develop or further elucidate these points to-day, but they clearly go right to the heart of what we mean by "association with Europe."
I will only comment briefly on the two principal cases. We are already committed to send a permanent delegation to the seat of the High Authority of the Schuman Plan. Whether this means much or little depends on what the delegation does when it gets there. I have repeatedly insisted in this House that, whether we join the Schuman Plan or not, we must enter into established relations with the pool, partly because we are deeply concerned in the proper distribution of the limited raw materials of the steel industry, partly to agree on trading conditions in various markets, and partly because we are deeply interested in the distribution of armaments production. I suggest, however, that we should not be going far enough if the British delegation attached to the Schuman Plan were to limit its interest to that type of consideration. The Schuman Plan sets out to create a greatly enlarged single market, yet subject to social control. It seeks to retain competition as a stimulus and criterion for efficiency, while at the same time preventing the social evils which so often accompany economic change. One of its major purposes is to raise the standard of living in the basic industries with which it is concerned. This country is deeply interested in these matters, and we should contribute our experience and help to guide the development of a very great international experiment. I hope that the phrase, "the closest possible association" means that we shall, in fact, be associated in an intimate way, and that some assurance can be given to that effect.
The case of the E.D.C. is not nearly so far advanced. The Treaty is not yet in its final form and, as matters stand, it is by no means certain that it will be approved by the six Parliaments in its present state, still less that it will secure the solid support that so great and novel an enterprise demands. The offer of the French Parliament (for it is an offer), to adjust the terms of the Treaty to meet 144 the situation of Great Britain and the Scandivanian countries is still open. Basically, what our European neighbours ask of us is that we should be permanently committed to the defence of Western Europe. I think also that they fear that as time passes the influence of their most powerful associate in this composite defence force may become dominant, in spite of all paper safeguards. These fears may become more marked if world tension relaxes, and the interest of our American Allies in Europe becomes less active.
Many suggestions have been made to reduce these fears. The section of the White Paper on the relations of N.A.T.O. and the E.D.C. proposes, with Dr. Adenhauer concurring, that the two bodies should be linked by reciprocal security undertakings. The Foreign Secretary and Mr. Acheson have declared their abiding interest (I think that phrase is the strongest that has yet appeared as an indication of permanence) in the establishment and integrity of the E.D.C. Mr. Eden has described how the British forces that will be maintained on the Continent will be linked with the forces of the E.D.C., including, perhaps, a considerable measure of blending between the respective air forces. The word "blending" is new. We were told that we should not merge our forces, but it is now suggested that there should be "blending" between the respective air forces. And now Mr. Eden has suggested that we might be associated at various levels with the control organs of the E.D.C. If the inclusion of a token force within the Army itself is felt to be a necessary condition of that intimate association, I hope that this step will be given the most careful consideration by Her Majesty's Government. The proposals made so far, however, are suggestions only. I would urge most strongly that in response to the French Parliament's invitation Her Majesty's Government should express their willingness to enter into detailed discussion with France and her associates as to what these points mean before the Treaty is signed, in order to see whether we can formulate a permanent undertaking that will give our neighbours of Central Europe the reassurance they desire before they take so grave a step. I ask this not as a mere gesture of friendship, but because the unity and strength of the democratic half 145 of Europe is by far the most vital of Britain's interests.
One last comment on Mr. Eden's proposals for the Council of Europe. I referred when I spoke in this House a week ago to the O.E.E.C. developments, and to Her Majesty's Government's relations with that body. If the Council of Europe develops on the lines proposed by the Secretary of State, as an organisation for general purposes supplemented by special, and sometimes limited, institutions for particular tasks, it will have no political organ with legislative or mandatory power covering the whole of the countries concerned. In this event—assuming that that is the evolution—it will be important to ensure, so far as is possible, that the essential principles of democracy continue to be observed by all its members. Last month, after much discussion, a Protocol to the Convention of Human Rights was drawn up and signed in Paris by the Committee of Ministers representing the fifteen countries, and if the Governments concerned will immediately now proceed to ratification the way is clear to bring into force the Convention itself. The Convention, your Lordships will remember, makes the observance of a limited number of these rights the joint responsibility of the members of the Council of Europe. I hope that Her Majesty's Government will promptly ratify these additional clauses, in the drafting of which they have taken a prominent part and so make it possible now for the Convention to become the first operative Statute of the Council of Europe. My Lords, the fight for the soul of Germany and of Western Europe generally is on. It is not only a military matter; it is an economic and political one as well, and we must carry it on with all our might and on all three fronts at once.
§ 4.16 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
My Lords, the House has listened with great profit to the words which have fallen from the lips of the noble Lord, Lord Layton. He speaks with special and admired authority on matters relating to the Council of Europe and to Western and general European unity. I am sure that I shall be voicing the views of your Lordships in expressing the gratitude that we on these Benches, at any rate, feel to the noble Lord for his activity in all those matters. Like him, I shall confine 146 myself to Europe. I will not speak about the remarks of the noble Duke, except to say just one or two words. I sympathise with the noble Duke in what he said about atom bombs and napalm bombs, but I have not the same sympathy with him with regard to his general attitude to the United States. Like the noble Lord, Lord Layton, I would emphasise the profound debt which we in this country owe to the United States of America, and also the need for a close friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States, in which, nevertheless, a certain independence on our side has a proper part to play.
These debates offer recurrent opportunities for common counsel on the international scene. But, unhappily, the fundamental facts remain unchanged. The Foreign Secretary said the other day that the prospects of a Third World War were, in his opinion, receding. It is true enough that the forces of the Western Powers are getting stronger. It is also true that the forces of the U.S.S.R. and her allies and satellites are increasing as well. We have more atom bombs than we had; so have they. We can command more divisions than a year ago; so can they. The tension grows. There is war in Korea unabated. There is a cold conflict in Europe. If it continues to grow, any spark anywhere might set the world ablaze unless a new factor of quite different quality enters the total scene. The lesson of history teaches that unless a heroic new effort for peace is made from both sides, sooner or later the very momentum of waxing military strength is bound to issue in a gigantic war. Let us remember. Mr. Churchill's words, written in 1943 and quoted in The Hinge of Fate:A third struggle will destroy all that is left of the culture, wealth and civilisation of mankind and reduce us to the level almost of wild beasts.The words spoken by General Eisenhower in Paris on January 22, with special reference to the tasks lying ahead for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, are very apt to the present need. He said:While I think that most of us believe that Europe has been doing about as much on the economic and financial side as its economy can stand, it does appear that there is room for action in the great field of moral and intellectual leadership.Yes, there is room for action there. The danger is beyond doubt. How are we going to meet it? 147 Speaking generally, there are three possible methods: first, appeasement or surrender; second, continued increase of military strength; third, negotiation at the top level at the right time. I dismiss at once the first method of appeasement or surrender. The other two demand more serious treatment. Nor are military strength and negotiation to be regarded as necessarily opposed: on the contrary, they may be auxiliary. I propose to argue that the pursuit of the military path by itself is not enough—indeed, that, on the contrary, after a certain point it is fraught with danger. And as it is the crucial point in the defence of Europe to-day, I shall in particular question the wisdom and emphasise the peril of Western German rearmament. I shall then urge that Her Majesty's Government press forward with all their power with the method of negotiation at the top level, before German rearmament is accomplished; and that the right time for Four Power negotiation at the top level is now.
Let me then take the second method of meeting the danger, which has the most numerous and eloquent champions—namely, continued increase of military strength. I do not at all dispute the need of rearmament. I support the present and the late Governments here. The real question is when and where it is to stop. I plead that rearmament in itself is not enough, and that there is a limit beyond which nations cannot go and survive. Rearmament is not enough in the conflict with Communism. Communism is an armed doctrine, but a doctrine. You can conquer armies by stronger armies, but you cannot conquer Communism, which is an ideology, a religion, a way of life fanatically held, by force. This is where moral and spiritual leadership is required. We in the West need a stronger faith, a more ardent devotion to a more dynamic religion and a more sustained and earnest campaign to meet the needs of the underprivileged, the undeveloped, in a united and universal campaign in the name of human brotherhood against want, starvation and disease. We should be wrong to underestimate the achievements of Communism over at least one-sixth of the earth's surface, or the significance of its revolutionary appeal to the under-dog. But as practised and dictated by Moscow, 148 Communism, with its cruelty, its contempt for human life, its purges, its elimination of religion, its denial of spiritual values and human rights, carries within it the seeds of its own death in the end. We shall conquer Communism, and shall save the millions suffering from its terror, not by arms but by offering a true, instead of a false, faith, and by an unceasing and costly following out of that faith in our own action for humanity.
As to rearmament itself, there is a limit beyond which we cannot go and prosper. Whatever other extensions of rearmament may be deemed essential for the defence of Europe, I believe that the one path on which we should not go is the rearmament of Western Germany. So I turn to that matter as crucial in the present situation. I understand the powerful character of the arguments in favour: because Western Germany, in outlook and interests, is so bound up with the West, it should participate in an integrated force for the defence of European freedom. But the issue seems to me not quite so simple as that There are in particular, two considerations—first, the relation of the rearming of Western Germany to the ideal of German unity; and, second, unless the Western German soldiers are willing soldiers they are no use to a European Army. General Eisenhower has recognised that. Now, the outstanding desire throughout all Germany is a united Germany. As the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, noted, the Soviet Note plays on that, even while the Soviet Government refuse to take steps in the Eastern Zone to secure free elections, which are an indispensable preliminary to unity for all Germany. Dr. Adenauer believes that the rearming of Western Germany is a necessary step to German unity on democratic lines. Dr. Adenauer is a fine European statesman. He made an excellent impression on his visit to this country some weeks ago. But I do not gather that he has yet convinced his fellow countrymen. Voices like those of Herr Lemmer, head of the Berlin section of the Christian Democrats at Bonn, and Dr. Jacob Kaiser, a member of his Cabinet, have issued their warning that these proposals—and, by implication, Dr. Adenauer himself—are not sufficiently alive to the interests of Eastern Germany or adequately concerned about a united Germany as an urgent issue.
149 It has already been said this afternoon that Mr. Attlee recognised that the agreement of the Germans themselves was indispensable; and it was recognised by Mr. Acheson, and others, from very early days, that German rearmament must have the approval of the people as well as of Parliament and the Federal Government. The reports which reach me from various sources suggest that the people take little share in these great decisions, and feel little responsibility for what is being done, or proposed, over their heads. I am told that the Germans generally are divided and critical; that there is opposition in the West from the 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 (I think it is) East Germans who have been expelled from the Eastern part of Germany to the West—they are opposed because they feel that return to their homes in the East is indefinitely postponed—and there is opposition in East Germany for fear that there may be a lamentable cessation of interest by Western Germany in Eastern Germany's problems. Once rearmed, Western Germany is cut off; it is almost a separate nation. And once the West of Germany is rearmed, how can we prevent Eastern Germany from being rearmed as well? How can we prevent the frontier from having a military significance? The division already existing is hardened by steel, and is itself an explosive for the whole of Europe.
I am sure the right reverend Prelate will forgive my interrupting to point out that rearming started in Eastern Germany before it was seriously considered in the West at all.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
I agree; on a certain basis that is true. Nevertheless, it does not alter the fact that accentuation on arms on both sides is bound to be considerably strengthened. There is this further point. This as well as the Soviet Note, in a far more determined way, is a complete going back on the former policy, common to the Allies, of demilitarisation; and I know that there is real fear of a revival of militarism in Germany, as a result. We ought also to be sure—this is an important political point—of the attitude of the officers of the West German divisions to the Hitler Plot on July 20. Do they regard those who participated in that plot as traitors or heroes? Who will be in command? What will be their political outlook? 150 Again, I feel it is necessary to be frank about these things. It is necessary to consider the attitude of the German soldiers themselves. Those who know the Germans well, and know about German soldiers, know that the Germans are the most obedient of people and ready to fight for such a cause as the Fatherland. But will they fight for two-thirds of Germany against one-third? Will they fight willingly, knowing the warnings that have been given by Soviet Russia?
I point, for example, to the declaration made at the Prague Meeting of the Cominform and the East German Ministers on October 21 and 22, 1950, which said that restoring the West German Armymeans that the three Western Powers have gone over to a policy of aggression which is incompatible with the interests of peace in Europe and with those of peace-loving peoples all over the world.Will the Germans fight willingly when they realise that Germany itself, for better or for worse, is likely to be the first theatre of the war? And when they are told that Germany must be defended and therefore armed, otherwise there will be a vacuum in Europe which the Soviet Forces are certain to overwhelm, they can reply, with some justice, that when the Western Powers were much weaker than now Russia could easily have overwhelmed Germany and all Western Europe, but never did. I apologise for the gravity with which I have spoken, but these things are being said in Germany by my friends. The peril of this aspect of rearmament is important because Germany is the heart of the European problem; and the rearmament, as well as the unity of Germany, is the crucial issue in Europe to-day.
I now turn to the third possible method of meeting the danger—namely, that of negotiation: not, let me repeat, a substitute for military strength, but an urgent supplement now. Some day we shall have to negotiate: the question is, when? The present Government and the late Government all believe—and members of most Parties believe—in negotiation from strength. It is said: "The stronger we are, the less chance the Russians have of a quick victory." That is, quite rightly, the justification of rearmament. But while the West grows in strength, so does the East. The U.S.S.R. are not 151 retreating in their military programme. As was stated in this House a few days ago, a statement was made at the Praesidium in Moscow a month ago that the total military budget of Soviet Russia equals nearly 29 per cent. of the whole expenditure of Russia. Negotiation from strength can be mutual. When we are weak we are afraid of unfavourable settlements; when we are strong we insist on settlements favourable to ourselves. But unless there is a good deal of give and take, we shall never succeed in ending this terrible deadlock. Can it be broken? Signs are abroad of the making of a tentative approach. The heads of three Governments, at least, have not been completely silent. President Truman has, so far, said least in public. All three have been quite rightly warned by past experiences—there have been so many disappointments—and it is only natural that they should be reserved and reluctant. But it is good that none has turned the idea down.
On October 15, in a speech at Wake Forest College, North Carolina, President Truman reaffirmed that the aim of United States foreign policy was peace through strength, and at the same time restated United States readiness to work for disarmament and peace with Russia and all nations concerned through the United Nations. Last week, in reply to questions put by a group of editors of American papers as to whether a meeting between the heads of the Great Powers would be beneficial, Marshal Stalin said that possibly it would be. In reply to a Question in the other place asking what contribution the Prime Minister is now prepared to make to the holding of a meeting attended by the heads of the Great Powers, Mr. Churchill said he had no reluctance at all; he was in earnest, and if the circumstances and situation were favourable, he would welcome the occasion. I would also call your Lordships' attention to the words of Mr. Radhakrishnan, the Indian Ambassador to Moscow. After being received by Mr. Stalin on April 5, he said:There is no outstanding problem now dividing the world that cannot be settled by discussion and negotiation. It would be unwise to bang the door against every approach and give up the task as impossible. No effort should be wasted, and every effort should be made to get the top people together.152 I know Professor Radhakrishnan personally. I had various conversations as well as correspondence with him last summer and autumn. He is no sentimentalist; he is a philosopher and a statesman. When he sees Mr. Molotov and Marshal Stalin, he is well aware of the burning issues that divide the world. Is it not possible that an Ambassador from India should understand the East and the West better than they understand one another? Should not a voice from India be heard with respect? I know of no man more concerned than he about the danger to the world if an heroic effort is not made to end the present strain.
My Lords, I think that the historians of the future will have good cause to marvel if the four Powers cannot now be brought together to thresh out matters at the top. Even an ordinary contemporary reader's study of the Chatham House fortnightly bulletins, Chronology of International Events and Documents, is very depressing. In the last two years there have been many conferences, much exchanging of notes, much strife of words, and prolonged armistice conversations. All at present are abortive. The nearest, though most disappointing in the end, was the conference of the four deputies. One can sympathise very much with them for the great demands made on their patience and endurance, and admire their resourcefulness; but in the end, after getting some way, the three deputies, under instructions, were obliged to exclude the North Atlantic Treaty, naturally enough, because other Powers than their own were involved; yet the issues which N.A.T.O. was formed to meet, because of Communist aggression, were of the essence of the problem. After all, deputies are only deputies and not principals. The time has now come for the principals to meet before it is too late, before a greater hardening takes place and the machine of rearmament gets out of control. The time has now come to meet in secret as before, in years of war, to work out a settlement of crucial problems, a formidable task involving lengthy discussion which is yet indispensable.
Those problems embrace Korea and the Far East; Treaties with Germany and Austria; disarmament and the atom bomb; cessation of all hostile propaganda; the re-establishment of the authority of the United Nations Organisation 153 as a fully inclusive organisation concerned with the total welfare of humanity and the achievement—and why should we despair of it?—of a peaceful co-existence, subject to that, of Capitalism (if that is the right name for non-Communist systems in the Western World) and Communism, and based on mutual desire to co-operate, readiness to perform obligations which have been assumed, and observance of the principle of equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States. My Lords, the time for negotiation at the top level is now, before it is too late, before German rearmament is an accomplished fact. I believe heartily in the United Nations. One of the encouraging signs in the present situation is the continued adherence of Soviet Russia to the United Nations. I believe also in the possibilities which the United Nations opens out for a united crusade, in which the East and the West can join, against poverty, disease and starvation, on the largest scale. I believe that in spite of difficulties and dangers—formidable though I know them to be—given courage and energy and the spirit of give and take on all sides, a meeting between the heads of the four Great Powers now would not only be beneficial but would prove by far the most hopeful way, by the help of God, to the attainment in this troubled world of justice and peace.
§ 4.48 p.m.
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARYOF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF READING)
My Lords, some of your Lordships may be aware that I have been absent from this country for the past fortnight in order, primarily, to lead the United Kingdom delegation to the Colombo Plan Conference at Karachi, and also to pay a short visit to Delhi. In so doing, I had the privilege of being the first member of Her Majesty's Government to visit those countries, and I should like promptly and publicly to acknowledge the warm friendliness with which, in that capacity, I was everywhere received. But, my Lords, the result has been that, having returned only last Friday, I have not bad overmuch time in which to bring myself up to date with the passage of events or to prepare myself for the always formidable task of addressing the House on behalf of the Government upon the complex and diverse topics which are included under the general head of Foreign Affairs.
154 Nor, I must add, has my task been lightened by the enforced absence for much of the debate of my noble friend the Leader of the House, who in his capacity of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is this afternoon attending the proceedings in memory of the late Prime Minister of Ceylon, whose premature death is deplored not only in his own country but throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. My noble friend none the less proposes to intervene in the course of the debate to deal with the subject, in particular, of the fictitious and fantastic charges made by the Chinese Government, and disseminated by the full battery of Communist propaganda, in regard to the use of bacteriological warfare in Korea. He will also deal with the speech of the noble Duke, although perhaps I may be allowed to say one word, in passing, on that speech. I hope that it will not be too disrespectful to say that, although at certain times we refer in this House to "the gracious Speech," I have seldom heard a more ungracious speech made in your Lordships' House. Listening to it, one would think that there had never been such a thing as Lend-Lease, had never been a Marshall Plan, and that the whole policy of America was to dominate and to exploit, not to rescue and restore.
It may be that, as a result of my noble friend being absent for much of the afternoon, I shall have ultimately to ask leave of an indulgent but possibly flagging House to wind up the debate at a later stage of the proceedings. Most of your Lordships will have either heard or read the recent broadcast by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in which he found himself able to give a more reassuring account of the state of Europe, and to affirm his belief in the recession of the risk of war. He has, as your Lordships know, throughout the months since he returned to the Foreign Office been engaged in a series of complicated and delicate negotiations regarding the future organisation of Europe in general, and Germany in particular, which are now well in sight of a successful conclusion.
The meeting of Foreign Ministers at Lisbon last month, together with their preliminary discussions in London, happily went far towards resolving the difficulties which at one time threatened to 155 retard progress. But even if the European situation appears calmer there are, unfortunately, still too many potentially explosive areas in the world, to some of which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has called attention in the earlier part of his speech, and it is perhaps convenient that I should deal with them, before turning to the subject of Germany and Europe which was the main theme of his speech. As regards Egypt, it is our hope that discussions in Cairo may shortly begin, and in those circumstances the House will, I am sure, not expect me to dilate at any length upon the situation. Since the dismissal of the Wafd Government of Nahas Pasha, efforts have been made by the Egyptian authorities to restore order in Cairo and to put an end to terrorism in the Canal Zone, and we have been able, as a result of improved conditions, to relax many of the restrictions and other, protective measures which we were for a time reluctantly obliged to impose. Our concern now is to obtain a settlement in Egypt which will be acceptable to us and also to the people, as well as to the Government of Egypt, and, at the same time, as regards the Sudan, to bear always in mind the wishes of the Sudanese themselves, whose right to self-determination we are pledged to support.
The noble Lord in whose name this Motion stands, on his journey to the Far East next stopped off in Burma, a country which I also visited some two months ago. Though my chief preoccupation there was with the Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, I was at the same time able to take the opportunity of being in Rangoon to meet and talk with many of the Burmese Ministers, who were also good enough to make me welcome. The noble Lord is, as I know from my conversations with them, right in thinking that the continued presence of a variously estimated number of Kuomintang troops in the province of Kentung is causing the Burmese Government anxious and continuous concern. Her Majesty's Government are at one with them in regarding these uninvited and unwelcome guests as a source of confusion and unrest. Your Lordships will remember that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State in another place on February 5 made the suggestion that the United Nations might appoint a small 156 commission which should investigate the situation on the ground. The Burmese Government who are, of course, themselves members of the United Nations, have not, however, so far taken up that suggestion. On the other hand, the delegates of the Chinese Nationalists in Paris disclaimed any control over or support of these forces, so that any approach from Her Majesty's Government in that direction would be unlikely to prove useful, even if we were in relations with the Chinese Nationalists, which, in fact, we are not. It therefore does appear that it is the Government of Burma which must itself decide in the first place what action can suitably be taken to resolve the present impasse.
Perhaps I may next pause for a moment in Indo-China, although the noble Lord said little about that subject. Your Lordships will have seen the announcement in the Press of April 2 that M. Letourneau, the member of the French Government in charge of relations with the Associate States of Indo-China, will now fulfil the functions previously discharged by the late High Commissioner in Indo-China, Marshal de Lattre de Tassigny. Her Majesty's Government are confident that France will continue in Indo-China her policy of ensuring for the three States, Viet-Nam, Laos and Cambodia, their status of independence within the French Union, and we warmly welcome the appointment of so distinguished and experienced a Minister with whom, just before my departure for the Far East. I was happy to have the opportunity of a long and valuable conversation here in London. M. Letourneau has been intimately associated with the transfer to the Associated States of responsibility for their own government and administration, and this process is now virtually complete.
Members of the French Union assume the obligation of mutual defence against aggression, and France has not shrunk from the heavy burden in which this obligation has involved her. She has for nearly six years been fighting to guarantee the independence of the new States from Communist domination, and her sacrifices have been very heavy. This war is costing France more than £400,000,000 a year, and more than 1,000 French officers and 30,000 French other ranks have lost their lives. To those figures must be added the officers and 157 men of the armies of the Associate States which are fighting gallantly alongside their comrades of the French Union. France is doing more than protecting the gift of independence which she has bestowed upon those new States. She is barring the way to Communist aggression and subversion in the whole of South-East Asia. At great sacrifice to herself she is fighting—just as we are fighting in Malaya—to defend the ideals of democracy which we cherish, and which the many young nations in that area have adopted. In this struggle she deserves the support of all those who value freedom.
In Korea, the armistice negotiations still labour on, though perhaps the prospects are a little brighter than they were a few weeks ago. The issues under discussion at Panmunjong remain largely the same from day to day. If an armistice is, as we hope, ultimately arranged, then we must trust that it will be promptly followed by a conference upon the future of Korea, to be attended by all interested parties, and that the successful outcome of such a conference might herald the general relaxation of tension throughout the Far East. I make no reference to what the noble Lord said about bacteriological warfare, for the reason which he appreciates.
May I new transport myself mentally back to Europe, almost as rapidly as I was recently physically transported, and deal with some of the matters raised with regard to Germany? It is our intention to complete the German contractual negotiations as quickly as possible and thus to establish our relations with the Federal Republic on a new basis of equality. Indeed, we hope that these contractual arrangements and the accompanying Treaty setting up the European Defence Community will be signed within the next few weeks. Some complex and technical matters, including the important issue of the allocation of Germany's financial contribution to defence, are still in the course of being worked out, and it is therefore impossible for the moment to give a precise date.
But meanwhile, we and our Allies who share our responsibilities in Germany have made is clear, in full agreement with the Federal German Government, that, while these steps are necessary to promote European unity and peace, we also 158 desire to end the present division of Germany by such means as will safeguard the liberties of the German people. The recent Soviet Note was by no means free of doubt on this last essential point, and we have, therefore, had to ask the Soviet Government to clarify their proposals. The terms of our request for elucidation are set out in the relevant White Paper which your Lordships will have seen. If the Soviet Government shows itself ready to promote the reunification of Germany in conditions of general freedom, as that much distorted word is understood in the free world, Her Majesty's Government will warmly welcome such a solution. The proposed contractual arrangement has, after all, come into being only because of the impossibility hitherto of negotiating a Treaty; but if we are ultimately able to negotiate a Treaty it would clearly supersede any contractual arrangement.
Nevertheless, our past experiences over the negotiation of a German (or, indeed, an Austrian) Peace Treaty have not been encouraging; and we cannot allow the completion and signature of these negotiations to be held up on the chance of reaching any early agreement with the Soviet Government. It is satisfactory to note that this seems also to be the view of the German Bundestag. From the account of the important debate in that Assembly on April 3 on this subject, it seems that Dr. Adenauer received a substantial vote of approval for his policy by a show of hands. The main theme of his argument in the debate was that German reunification could come only by negotiating from strength with Western help. It could not happen spontaneously nor be effected by Russian instrumentality.
The resolutions adopted at the end of that debate by the majority Parties—no reference to which I have so far seen in the newspapers of this country—are, I think, of so much interest as showing the identity of German and Allied policies in this matter that I shall venture to read them to the House. The first is this:The Bundestag reaffirms, in agreement with the declaration of the Federal Government of September 27, 1951, that the reunification of Germany in a free and united Europe is the supreme objective of German policy.The second is:The Bundestag considers the exchange of Notes between the Soviet Union and the three 159 Western powers of March 10, 1952, to be an important contribution towards the clarification of the pre-conditions for the realisation of this objective, confirming the policy of the Federal Government to restore an all-German democratic constitutional State.The third is:The Bundestag requests the Federal Government to approach the Occupying Powers again with a view to persuading them to work for free elections for an all-German national assembly, on the basis of the election Ordinance approved by the Bundestag on February 6, 1952, and under international guarantee, and with the proviso that freedom to take decisions in the fields of internal and external policy shall be guaranteed to the State organs which will be formed as a result of these elections.The last is this:The Bundestag expects the negotiations of the Federal Government with the Western Occupying Powers, concerning the withdrawal of the Occupation Statute and those concerning the security pact to be continued and the results to be presented to the Bundestag.I think that those resolutions are worthy of your Lordships' attention, as showing to how great an extent we march side by side with Western Germany in the policy which we are advocating and pursuing.
The reunification of Germany presupposes the creation of an all-German Government by free, secret and democratic elections throughout the whole of Germany. The formation of such a Government is also a condition precedent to the completion of a Peace Treaty with Germany. But in our and our Allies' view, conditions in Eastern Germany are not such as to ensure free, democratic, and secret elections in that area in the sense that we attribute to those words. At the instance of the Federal Government, the three Western Occupying Powers, therefore, proposed in the United Nations General Assembly that a United Nations Commission be set up to carry out a simultaneous investigation throughout Germany into the possibility of holding such elections. The German Federal Government, the Allied High Commission, the West Berlin Magistrat and the Allied Kommandatura in Western Berlin have all undertaken to give the Commission all the facilities which they have requested. On the other hand, the Soviet Control Commission and the German authorities in the Soviet Zone and Soviet Sector of Berlin have made no reply to 160 repeated requests from the Commission even to discuss the facilities they require to carry out their task. Nor have they put forward any alternative proposals of their own which would provide for real freedom of elections in the Soviet Zone. It remains open to the Soviet Government, if their desire for the reunification of Germany is sincere, to give a favourable answer to the United Nations, which in our view is the proper body to satisfy itself that the requisite conditions exist.
But elections are not the whole story. It is equally important to make certain that, even after elections have been held, the resultant all-German Government has complete freedom of action, both internally and externally. As the noble Lord pointed out, any limitation on such freedom of action would be inconsistent with German eligibility to become a member of the United Nations, and might well result in the creation in Germany of a situation similar to that which has hitherto proved so insoluble in Austria. In our reply to the Soviet Government Note, as the White Paper shows, we have therefore concentrated, first, on the necessity for free elections, leading to the establishment of an all-German Government, and upon the right of that Government, both before and after the conclusion of a Peace Treaty, to continue, should it so desire of its own accord, the policy of integration with the West which has hitherto been so successfully pursued by the Federal Government. There would be little use in agreeing to discussions with the Soviet Government about Germany or to all-German elections unless these two conditions were first met.
As regards a German defence contribution, the preliminary interchanges of opinion crystallised some time ago now into an agreement that Germany's contribution should be made through the medium of a European Army which must itself: first, strengthen the joint defence of the North Atlantic area; secondly, be comprised within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation framework; and, thirdly, promote the closer mutual association of the countries of Western Europe including Western Germany. The North Atlantic Council agreed at Lisbon that these conditions were fulfilled in the present plan for the European Defence Community. The Treaty establishing that 161 Community has still to be signed and ratified, and so has its counterpart, the new contractual agreement with Germany. The actual recruitment of Germans will, therefore, not start for several months to come.
But bear in mind in this context that the European defence forces are to be under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and form an element in the N.A.T.O. forces. It is most important not to forget that. The build-up of the N.A.T.O. forces, on the other hand, is to be effected in accordance with the Temporary Council Committee (the so-called "three wise men") plan, which was approved at Lisbon The rearmament of Germany is thus, in our view, taking place in circumstances which do fulfil the conditions laid down by Mr. Attlee in February, 1951, and which are reproduced in the White Paper. I say that for these reasons: because, in the first place, the German forces will have to be built up from the beginning, from ground level, whereas the N.A.T.O. Powers, on the other hand, have already had a considerable precedence and will continue to hold that start for at least several months to come in both the rearmament and the build-up of their forces. In the second place, once German rearmament does start, it will take place in accordance with the plan for the time-phased build-up of all N.A.T.O. forces, the whole purpose of which is to make the best use of available resources in the common interest of defence. Further, the European Defence Community has been so designed as to prevent the reemergence of a German military menace. Lastly, the European Defence Community Treaty and the new contractual arrangements have been negotiated with the Germans themselves and will require to be ratified by their Parliament.
Anxiety is sometimes expressed as to the menace which may be constituted by the setting up of any new German forces. May I just point out that these European defence forces will include all the land and air forces of member States except such as are earmarked for overseas territories, for special international missions, like Berlin or Korea, and for internal security and police duties. There will be no national unit in the European Defence Community larger than what is a very small division of some 13,000 men, plus equally small supporting services. That 162 is a very important aspect. Each German division will thus depend for tactical and what is called logistical support on the Army Corps, the formation immediately above it; and the Army Corps is not a national but an integrated formation comprising various nationalities. The same principle will apply to the European Air Forces—
THE MARQUESS OF READING
Probably the answer is that, as in our own Army and, I think, in other cases, an Army Corps has no fixed establishment of divisions. It takes into its sphere merely the number of divisions which is appropriate for the action which is to be taken at the moment.
§ EARL JOWITT
May I ask a question at this point, as I am anxious to follow this most interesting speech? What about the timing? The noble Marquess said just now that it would be several months before any Germans were recruited. Then he said—and rightly, as I understood it—that the plan as a whole, when it is finalised, has to be considered by the German Parliament, as it has by the French Parliament. That must be done, of course, before a single recruit can be called up.
§ EARL JOWITT
Does the noble Marquess mean that he anticipates that all that will be done within a matter of a few months?
THE MARQUESS OF READING
It is, of course, impossible to give any detailed time-table but, granted that the ground is adequately prepared, these matters would now advance with—I am not going to say anything more detailed than "reasonable speed." Recruitment will remain a national responsibility but will be supervised by the Board of Commissioners, so called, who are the supra-national authorities, the supra-national executive agency of the E.D.C. That supra-national agency will also control the training and administration of the European Defence Community forces. Indeed, it is intended that only those countries with overseas commitments of the kind to which I have referred should retain a national defence administration at all. 163 Moreover, the production, import and export of war material by member countries, as well as scientific military research, will be subject to authorisation by the Board of Commissioners, which will devise and execute common armament research programmes, financed from the common budget.
The principal positive safeguard against future German aggression is surely the grouping of the N.A.T.O. nations in a defensive alliance, of which the forces of the European Defence Community will themselves form an integral part. As I have said, they will be placed at the disposal of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Training and territorial location of the European defence forces will be carried out in accordance with his requirements. There will be liaison at all levels between the European Defence Community and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation agencies, and joint meetings of the two Councils whenever a member of either considers that its territorial integrity or political independence is threatened. In this way, of course, the United Kingdom, no less than the United States, will be in close touch through N.A.T.O. with the working of the European Defence Community.
Although the United Kingdom will not be a member of the European Defence Community, we have announced our intention of associating ourselves with it as closely as possible, politically and military, and of linking British forces, particularly air forces, with those of the European Defence Community. I do not propose at this moment to reiterate the special reasons which make it impossible for this country actually to become a member of the European Defence Community. They are by now well known to and generally accepted by the member countries, whose recognition of their validity was no doubt greatly influenced by General Eisenhower's firm support of our attitude. But, my Lords, as my right honourable friend said in his broadcast last Saturday,We should be prepared to go a long way in giving the European Defence Community our backing and our guarantee within the framework of the Atlantic Pact,and I am sure that our friends were encouraged and reassured by that forthcoming statement.
164 The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, referred at the end of his speech to discussions now in progress at The Hague between representatives of the Government of Israel and the German Federal Government. Her Majesty's Government have been informed of these discussions, the object of which is to determine the question of a payment by Germany to Israel in pursuance of the declaration made to the Bundestag by Dr. Adenauer of September 27 last. In the concluding passage of that statement the Federal Chancellor said:The Federal Government is prepared, in conjunction with representatives of Jewry and of the State of Israel—which has admitted so many homeless Jewish refugees—to bring about a solution of the financial aspects of the restitution problem in order thus to pave the way towards clearing a psychological atmosphere, blackened by untold suffering. The Federal Government is deeply imbued with conviction that the spirit of true humanity must revive and bear fruit. The Federal Government considers it the foremost duty of the German people to foster this spirit with all its power.Any such payment would, I understand, be based upon the calculated cost of resettlement in Israel of Jews driven out of Europe by the Nazis. It would, however, obviously not be in the nature of an ordinary commercial indebtedness, but rather in the nature of some measure of reparation, of moral even more than material value, for the enormities committed during the Hitler régime. Her Majesty's Government welcome the fact that this meeting is taking place, and recognise Dr. Adenauer's initiative in the matter as a genuine step towards restoring Germany's reputation in the eyes of the world. We await the outcome with much interest, and although Press reports have appeared which indicate a hitch in the discussions, we still greatly hope for a satisfactory settlement.
I hope that I have covered the ground which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, included in his speech. Perhaps I may now come on to that of the noble Lord, Lord Layton, and he will forgive me, I know, if at the outset I say just this. We are always glad when the noble Lord participates in a debate of this kind, because he himself has given so much time, thought and labour to these various organisations, their devising and their maintenance. Therefore, we always delight in hearing him. He will not misunderstand me if I say now that there is 165 one voice from those Benches which in a Foreign Affairs debate many of us will continue for a long time greatly to miss—namely, the wise, kindly and human voice of the late noble Earl, Lord Perth, by whose side I sat for so many years on that Bench. As I say, the noble Lord, Lord Layton, has great knowledge of these matters, and from that point of view it is a satisfaction to Her Majesty's Government to have his support in so many of the undertakings which we are carrying on in these various international fields within the European organisation.
My Lords, I have covered a certain amount of what the noble Lord has already asked, but he referred to the proposals which my right honourable friend made at the recent Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Paris, and to his proposal that there should be a remodelling of the Assembly and the Committee so that they could serve as the ministerial and Parliamentary institutions of the Schuman Plan, the European Defence Community and any future supranational organisations of a similar kind. If these plans are accepted—and as the noble Lord knows, they are at present being scrutinised by officials—they would enable countries like the United Kingdom, whose aim is to establish close links with the European communities, to be associated, in an appropriate way, with the Parliamentary and ministerial institutions of those communities. As regards the executive agencies of those communities, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government, in the case of the Schuman Plan, to appoint a delegation to the seat of the High Authority as soon as the Authority comes into being. The task of the permanent delegation will be to enter into negotiations with the High Authority and to transact business with it. We should be thus able to associate ourselves with the work of the Schuman Community in all its aspects. We are not, of course, pooling either our own coal or steel, but we are anxious to maintain the closest possible contact. The noble Lord will, I am sure, agree with me that until this organisation is in being and actually working in practice, it is very difficult to define with any precision exactly what the day-to-day work of this delegation is going to be, and how it is going to fit into the general scheme of things. At the same time, we are already, 166 of course, full members of the Council of Europe and all its various committees and organisations, and there again we desire to give all the help and assistance that we can, short of committing ourselves to any form of federation.
The noble Lord referred to the question of the Protocol on Human Rights. Her Majesty's Government were actually the first Government to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights. My right honourable friend signed the Protocol to this Convention in Paris on March 20 last, and we are now waiting to receive the certified copy of this Protocol from the Secretariat of the Council of Europe, so as to have it printed and laid before Parliament. As soon as we receive this, the usual consultations between the Departments concerned will be undertaken with a view to ratification.
The right reverend Prelate took a somewhat different line from the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the noble Lord, Lord Layton. There again, I think that to some extent, in what I have already said, I have covered part of the ground that he traversed, and I certainly do not want to go over it twice. The right reverend Prelate talked about the dangers of negotiating from strength, and suggested that that is an unwise policy to adopt. I cannot help thinking back over my own life—and indeed over the period of life of a good many of your Lordships—and remembering two occasions upon which we have sought to negotiate from relative weakness. One was in 1914 and the other was in 1939. The results of those negotiations do not seem a very favourable precedent for attempting to negotiate from weakness.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
I hope the noble Marquess will forgive me for interrupting, but I did not deprecate negotiation from strength. In fact, I said that negotiation from military strength was compatible with negotiation at a top level. What I said was, that we must decide when to stop our mounting of strength.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
My Lords, with that statement of precision, which perhaps I had not quite appreciated from the way in which the right reverend Prelate put it before, I would agree. Of course there must be a time 167 when we must stop. I would agree with him, too, in what he said in the course of his speech, that rearmament by itself is not enough, particularly when dealing with an ideology such as Communism. But rearmament is at least something, and is not an asset lightly to be disregarded in that context.
The right reverend Prelate urged consultation. My right honourable friend, speaking only yesterday, I think—almost in anticipation, it would seem, of the right reverend Prelate's speech—indicated his willingness for consultation at the right time and in the right conditions. What he said in summing up was:Serious negotiations on any occasion—Yes. Time-wasting contortion on every occasion—No.That, I think, represents an attitude which will commend itself to your Lordships' House. We are not turning our back on any genuine opportunity of fruitful negotiation. But when it is urged upon us that we should have more understanding, and should not think that there are really so many difficult problems confronting us, while I hope that view is sound I must say that I should feel a little more optimistic about it if sometimes for a few minutes even the smallest corner of the iron curtain were lifted, without the stage set having already been prepared behind it for visitors, and if there were some sign, some time, of a relaxation of the propaganda which the right reverend Prelate thought was one of the matters that might be talked out between countries. I should feel a little more optimistic if the prospect of a relaxation of the propaganda looked a little more hopeful than it does when we see the sort of material that has been turned out lately, on the topic, for instance, of bacteriological warfare—and turned out by order of the Government. And at the same time, be it remembered, every opportunity is being taken to stir up trouble in other countries. I would beg the right reverend Prelate to reassure his mind on this—that we are not being obstinate about any form of negotiation. We merely do not want to be confronted with the sort of thing that has gone on with respect to the Austrian Treaty, or with the sort of thing that went on in that interminable tribulation at the Palais Rose in Paris years ago, when not even an agenda could be prepared. If we 168 could get a sign that really fruitful negotiations can be conducted, I do not imagine that Her Majesty's Government would be reluctant to accept.
If I may be allowed to refrain from doing so, I will not argue with the right reverend Prelate the question for and against German rearmament at this stage. But I ask him to remember that this desire, this readiness on the part of Dr. Adenauer to come into the European Defence Community, is not a personal foible of Dr. Adenauer's. It has received, as I told your Lordships earlier in my speech, the assent of a substantial majority of the Bundestag; and, presumably, those persons are as much in touch with the opinion of their constituents as Members of another place in this country are with theirs. For that reason, the Bundestag having, as I say, approved, one cannot say that the country itself is in any way opposed.
I shall, I am afraid, have to ask for your Lordships' indulgence in order to speak again at a later stage. For the meantime, I will say only one thing more. When we are looking at the whole of this situation, European and otherwise, do not let us forget how recently these great international organisations, which we have been discussing this afternoon have sprung into being. Surely the marvel is not that there are still difficulties to be overcome, that there are frictions to be eliminated, that there are adjustments to be made—the marvel is that in so short a space of time so many countries, differing in history, in culture, in language, in climate and in people, should have advanced in common and voluntary accord so fast and so far.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I regard this debate as one of the most important that has taken place in this House in the present Parliament. I need hardly emphasise that our domestic and economic welfare depends entirely upon the way in which our international difficulties are dealt with by the Government, and therefore this debate, on the eve of the Recess, is a timely one. It has been a remarkable debate. We have had a number of extraordinary speeches. We have had a speech from the noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford, and I should like to congratulate him on the extreme courage which he showed in making it.
169 After all, in this House noble Lords are entitled to say exactly what they believe, and the noble Duke has not minced matters in any way. He has said a great many things which, can assure him, are in the hearts and minds of a great many inarticulate people in this country.
I will not pretend that I agree with everything he said, but I think the noble Marquess was rather hard on him in the reprimand which he uttered regarding the statements made by the noble Duke about the United States of America. I do not think that the noble Duke intended to be either ungracious about the United States or unappreciative of what the United States has done. Indeed, as I understood him, he paid a tribute to the altruism of the United States and their motives, but gave voice to the thought that they were perhaps setting about the attainment of their motives by methods of which he did not approve. I little thought that I should find myself in agreement with the noble Duke to any great extent, but I feel it right to say that many of us in this House do appreciate the great courage made manifest in the speech which he delivered. And it does require courage to make a speech which one knows in advance is not going to be popular with the audience which will listen to it. I should like to say the same about the speech of the right reverend Prelate. He also said a number of things which were not altogether acceptable in this House but which I believe needed saying.
I am very glad indeed that the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, is back in this country, and I understand that he is to make a statement later about bacteriological warfare. It is very timely. The noble Marquess knows that a great deal of propaganda is being made about the alleged use by the United States of bacteriological warfare. No doubt, the noble Marquess has seen written statements which have been issued and which are extremely circumstantial giving, as they do, dates and places, the evidence of people and so on. These statements undoubtedly are likely to make a great impression on any unguarded person, and I think it is necessary that they should be refuted if we can possibly refute them. I am therefore very glad indeed that the noble Marquess is going to speak on the subject.
170 The key to the pacification of the, world, for which we so urgently long, and to an improvement in our economic position is the dissolution of East-West fear and suspicion. Recently the Soviet Union have made peace proposals. Mr. Eden has stated that the Soviet Note is evidence that they are becoming impressed by the growing strength of Western arms and by the success of the Lisbon Conference. He has also stated that because of Western rearmament there is less tension in the world, and that the danger of war has receded. That, of course, is a tribute to the effect of rearmament. But if that is accepted, it does not follow that an accentuated and bitter armaments race will still further improve the situation. On the contrary, in my view an accentuation of the armaments race must accentuate the danger of war. I do not wish to elaborate that argument at the present time, but we all know that in the past, as the armaments race between different nations has developed so the danger of war has increased. So far as I know, there is no record of an arms race ever having led to anything but eventual war. While the position may well be as Mr. Eden has stated, that at the present moment the effect of our rearmament has been that we have received offers from the Soviet Union, nevertheless, let us not assume that by our continuing along this path either the offers will improve or the situation will improve.
Is not the easing of the present tension an indication that we and our friends can now afford to make a gesture towards peace without being misunderstood, and without its being thought that we are making it out of fear? I believe that we could have afforded to treat the Soviet Note with greater respect—to call their bluff, if you like to put it that way—but with an attitude of being prepared to go much further along the road towards meeting them than we have done. The reply to the Soviet Note seemed to me somewhat to discourage, if not entirely to close down on, further discussions. The effect upon the world, such parts of the world as are outside the East-West sphere of influence and the parts inside, is extremely important. Are we not in danger of leaving the initiative about peace proposals to the Soviet Union? I am not arguing whether these proposals are entirely sincere or not. I 171 imagine that Mr. Eden feels there is some sincerity about them, if they have in fact been actuated by the effect of our own and our friends' rearmament. I do not assume that they are necessarily sincere, but these constant peace proposals by the Soviet Union are undoubtedly having a psychological effect upon a great many people, and are creating the impression that it is the Soviet Union who are pressing for peace and making one proposal after another, only to be rebuffed by the Western Powers. I do not suggest that that is the position, but I suggest that that is the impression which has been made. I hope, therefore, that we shall find ourselves able to make a rather more favourable response to the Soviet approaches than we have done up to now.
The Soviet Union has organised an Economic Conference in Moscow to encourage the development of East-West trade. Here again it may well be that this is only propaganda, and I am not arguing about whether it is or not. But the impression created in many parts of the world, as well as on a good many people in this country, is that we have unreasonably cold-shouldered this conference and that some good might come out of it. I have been reading the American Press and there is no doubt that articles by eminent publicists like Walter Lippmann, the Alsopp brothers and others, are taking the view that the Russian proposals ought to be taken more seriously than they have been taken so far, and that it is not sufficient merely to rebuff them on the assumption that they are insincere. I ask noble Lords to take note of the fact that the Manchester Chamber of Commerce has sent a telegram to Lord Boyd-Orr, who is head of the British delegation at the Moscow Conference, indicating that they are ready to do business with the Soviet Union and asking for details regarding the types and qualities of textiles which are desired. The Manchester Chamber of Commerce has 5,300 members, and since the opening of the trade conference in Moscow last Thursday the Chamber has been deluged with inquiries from members. We have to take that kind of thing seriously, and I think we are making a mistake to assume all the time that all this is nothing but propaganda.
172 The British Note in reply to the Soviet proposals stipulates that there shall be free elections throughout Germany, under conditions which safeguard the national and individual liberties of the German people, and a free German Government which can participate in discussions on a Peace Treaty. I cordially agree, and I am in complete agreement with what the noble Marquess said on the subject. But have we thought out what is likely to happen if, as I believe may well be the case, the Soviet Union accept this proposal? They have nothing to lose by accepting it and acting upon it. If they accept it, what then will be the position? Are we to go on, in spite of their acceptance of this proposal, to rearm Western Germany? Almost every noble Lord in this House is somewhat unhappy about the rearmament of Western Germany, with the possible exception of my noble friend Lord Pakenham. I feel that most of us are somewhat apprehensive. I myself do not feel at all convinced that Western Germany, assuming that they agree at all to rearmament, will be rearming because of a deep love of Western democracy. If they agree to rearmament they will have their own reasons for doing so, which may well conflict with ours. I feel that there will always be some danger of aggression on their part to recover their lost territories.
Here I want to say that I appreciate fully what the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, has said as to the steps that are being taken to incorporate the German Army into a European Army. I believe that, given the rearmament of Germany, we are doing all that we possibly can to avoid their taking independent action. I realise that it is not intended that there should be a German General Staff. But I am by no means certain that we shall be able to hold this position. I would ask the noble Marquess whether it is not likely to be the case that, in due course, however integrated a German Army may be into a European force, the German Army will, in fact, be the strongest force in the integrated Army, and that there will be no effective means of dealing with a German force which breaks away from the integrated European Army. I would ask, also, whether we are prepared to state categorically that any adventure by such a German Army, breaking away from the integrated European Army for the purpose of, say, an attack on Poland 173 or Czechoslovakia, would be regarded as aggression and dealt with in the same way as we have dealt with the aggression in Northern Korea. If we were prepared to make a statement at a meeting of the Security Council as to what our attitude would be in the event of German aggression against some of their former enemies—realising, of course, that it would have to be within the framework of the United Nations Organisation—it would certainly help in world pacification.
Moreover, as a number of your Lordships have already stated, nobody can contemplate indefinitely a West German Army facing an East German Army, with the possibility of fratricidal combat. Here we have clearly a position of unstable equilibrium. It must come to an end soon. I think we are putting ourselves in the wrong by not encouraging the movement for unity more than we have done, and by leaving the initiative in this movement to the Soviet Union. I believe that the German desire for unity will grow and become stronger than anything else, including loyalty to the Western Powers; and certainly things may change very rapidly once Western Germany has secured her independence. I feel that perhaps there is a danger of our regarding the position as static. The position is really dynamic, and great changes may well take place within a very short time. We should be looking ahead and visualising this extreme likelihood, whether it comes about as a result of negotiations with the Soviet Union, or by action on the part of East and West Germany.
I want now to turn to another aspect which may well become one of the danger points in the next few years—namely, the Polish western territories which are being taken from the Germans. In the reply of the Government to the Soviet Note there is this statement:There are several fundamental questions which would also have to be resolved. For example, Her Majesty's Government note that the Soviet Government make the statement that the territory of Germany is determined by frontiers laid down by the decisions of the Potsdam Conference. Her Majesty's Government would recall that, in fact, no definite German frontiers were laid down by the Pots-dam decisions, which clearly provided that the final determination of territorial questions must await the peace settlement.Here is a grave source of future disagreement, because undoubtedly the Eastern 174 Powers, and Poland in particular, do regard these frontiers as being broadly settled. There is no doubt that in the past they have been strongly encouraged so to regard them. I would refer to the many speeches made by the present Prime Minister in another place in the years 1944 and 1945, when he stated, very clearly indeed, that the three great Powers had agreed to compensate Poland for the loss of the territories which he was obliged to hand over to the Soviet Union west of the Curzon Line. I would remind the House of speeches made by the late President Roosevelt on the same lines. I would further remind your Lordships of a vote in another place, which was a unanimous vote of something like 450 to nil, whereby the principle of compensation to Poland was ratified.
We have it, further, quite definitely in the Potsdam Agreement of August, 1945, where the three great Powers clearly agreed to the sealing of the area at present occupied by Poland which was formerly part of the German Empire. I agree that that was subject to the fact that the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland should await the Peace Treaty. But the term "final delimitation" has been interpreted by the permanent Court of International Justice as meaning, not that the whole of the territory was in the melting pot, but merely that the actual frontiers were subject to adjustment. It is in that sense that certainly the Polish people and the Soviet Union understand the term "final delimitation"; they never understood that the whole question of these territories was subject to review. Moreover, we ourselves have encouraged the Polish Government and the Czechoslovakian Government to act on the assumption that these territories were, broadly, finally ceded to them by the fact that we agreed to proposals for the compulsory evacuation of the German population from those territories.
On November 20, 1945, the Allied Control Commission for Germany agreed at the meeting in Berlin that the entire German population should be moved from Poland—a number of 3,500,000, of which 2.000,000 were to go to Soviet-occupied territory and 1,500,000 to British-occupied territory, and they even agreed as to the numbers that were to be transferred each month. It is difficult 175 for me to understand how, in the light of certain arrangements and the agreement at Potsdam, it can now be said that the whole question is open. Obviously, there may have to be adjustments of frontiers here and there, but it cannot be seriously suggested that, having agreed to the transfer of 3,500,000 Germans to those territories, we nevertheless regard these territories as being in the melting pot. Moreover, in November, 1945, nobody visualised that the Peace Treaty would be deferred for so long a time as it has in fact been. It was always contemplated that there would be a Peace Treaty with Germany in the course of a year or two, and I very much regret that that has not been possible. But if what was thought probable in 1945 had, in fact, taken place, it is inconceivable that in November, 1945, we should have agreed to the transfer of the German population from those territories over a period of some twelve months and yet regarded the whole question as open and subject to agreement at a Peace Treaty.
In the meantime, the Polish Government have acted on the assumption—as I believe they were entitled to do—that this territory has broadly been ceded to them, under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement; and there are to-day some 7,000,000 Poles who have been settled in this territory, in addition to 1,500,000 former Germans of Polish origin who were not transferred. Therefore, to throw the question of these Western territories into the melting pot would mean once more disturbing a population of something like 8,500,000. Vast capital resources have been put into the territory by the Polish Government. They have spent large sums of money in rebuilding the area, which had been almost totally destroyed by our bombs as well as by the Germans themselves. All this is in the process of being rebuilt. We can hardly ignore all the efforts that have been made to restore that territory, as well as the great numbers of people who are now living there. These are some of the problems.
I think it would be kinder to the Germans in particular if we gave them to understand quite clearly that there is no hope of their regaining these Eastern territories except by friendly negotiations between themselves and the Polish Government. We ourselves must accept the 176 position that by the Potsdam Agreement these territories were transferred to Poland—rightly or wrongly, if you like—and noble Lords will remember the great difficulties we were in at the time in arriving at an agreement between the Soviet Union, Poland and ourselves. The Russians were insisting upon regaining the territories of the Curzon Line. We felt a moral obligation, as did the United States, to compensate the Poles for the loss of those territories, and it was a most difficult and complex piece of negotiation. As I say, it is unthinkable that we should contemplate going back on it, or even leaving the position in uncertainty.
In spite of these difficulties, I believe that to-day is auspicious for a world settlement. I think that the noble Marquess was rather splitting hairs when he spoke about "negotiating from strength." Nobody really wants to negotiate from strength in the sense that we desire to impose our views on other people. We want to be strong enough to be able to negotiate on equal terms, and it may well be that this phrase "negotiating from strength" is a mistaken or a misleading one, just as I think "unconditional surrender" was another. However, if we all understand that what we mean is that we do not desire to impose our views on other people, nor will we permit other people to impose their views on us, and that we want to negotiate on equal terms, then I do not mind the phrase "negotiating from strength." I believe that we have reached that position to-day, and that therefore the time has come when it is possible for us to make a gesture ourselves and not leave all the gestures to be made by the Soviet Union. All nations to-day are suffering from the diversion of so much of their material—human and otherwise—to warlike purposes. This position is going to become worse. There is a yearning throughout the world for men and women to be allowed to attend to their own affairs, to repair the ravages of war and to increase the resources of the world so that all may have an opportunity of enjoying a better life. I hope that Her Majesty's Government will do all in their power to give a lead, to enable the people of this country and the world to fulfil their national and legitimate aspirations.
§ 6.7 p.m.
§ LORD VANSITTART
My Lords, I have not inflicted myself upon you for a good eighteen months, but when I saw the Duke of Bedford's Motion down on the Order Paper I thought that I would come down to-day to say a few words upon Anglo-American relations, a subject which gives me a little anxiety, particularly in this delicate year of a Presidential election. Having listened patiently to the noble Duke, I think that the best service I can render to those relations is to show our American friends that we do not take the Motion very seriously. He has simply joined the mischief-makers, and I have consequently to refute both him and them. I do so only because their activities are creating on the other side some consequences which we may later deplore I shall be as impersonal as possible because I am not here to pillory persons but to check a tendency.
The first thing that strikes one about all anti-Americans (and, incidentally, I have a very poor opinion of people who begin by saying "I am not anti-American" and then emit a stream of hostility, as the noble Duke has done to-day) is that they usually know very little about America. Thus one of their most prominent spokesmen has recently said—and the noble Duke has said something very much like it to-day—that the Americans have not the experience, the sagacity or the self-restraint for world leadership. I really do not know where people who talk like that get their credentials for such sweeping assertions. For my part, I had spent the first twenty-five years of my career in diplomacy, including five years as head of the American Department of the Foreign Office, before I would have ventured any generalisation at all on so vast and varied a people. Nor, incidentally, do I think that the word "self-restraint" comes so well from lips so harsh to Allies.
Let us look at the real state of affairs in the United States. MacCarthyism is everywhere discredited among thinking people, though Taft, to his shame, has patted it on the back. A friend of mine, Senator William Benton, has been trying to get him expelled from the Senate altogether. The loyalty oath of the University of California has been rescinded, and of those in public service who have appeared before loyalty boards those who have lost their jobs number 178 .009 of 1 per cent., and I think you will find the percentage is lower than here. There is not a single word of truth in the insinuations which appear in our Americaphobe Press here, to the effect that the fear of the informer has penetrated into private life. That is downright falsehood. American liberties go on unimpaired. I have just seen a pronouncement by a distinguished Hindu Liberal, one time Mayor of Bombay and, if my memory serves, twice imprisoned by us for civil disobedience and, therefore, not likely to condone anything in the nature of Imperialism. He said exactly this:Nowhere did I find in the United States any trace of the tension, hysteria, or warmongering of which we hear so much abroad.But, say the Yank-baiters,the Americans are engaged on the most tremendous rearmament programme ever seen,"—and those are exact words. Well, is that so? Their leader has gone on to say that mankind has never known an arms race of this intensity which has not been followed by war. Mankind has known nothing of the sort. I think people who talk like that—I really hoped that most people had outgrown the puerile superstition that wars are brought on by so-called arms races—have never paused to think what an arms race is. May I tell them in just twelve words. It is the point at which weaker nations take heed of their defences, and both the great world wars started because the weaker nations started too late.
§ LORD SILKIN
May I interrupt the noble Lord? I said that, too, and therefore all the noble Lord's strictures apply to me. What I meant to say, and what I thought I did say, was that the arms races had never prevented a war.
§ LORD VANSITTART
That is different. I was not alluding to the noble Lord because I did not hear that passage in his speech. I was referring only to generalisations that I have heard elsewhere. I think we ought to see how far the charge of arms racing lies against the United States. There has in fact been a very great lag in American arms deliveries, and the delay is so great that it has occasioned much disquiet in Western Europe.
The real truth is that Russia for long past has been engaged on a rearmament 179 programme and on the production of war material to which there is no parallel in peace time. It far surpasses the wildest dreams of the Kaiser's imperialists or militarists. It is about threefold of what the Nazis were able to count on at the height of their power in peace time. If we are talking of arms races why should we stop at the Soviet Union? Let us look at their satellites. Take Poland, which has been practically absorbed into the Soviet system. The Polish arms budget shows an increase of 72 per cent. as compared with last year, and an increase of 660 per cent. as compared with 1948. Even that is not the end of the story. The Security Budget, which includes the secret police and the frontier police, shows an increase of 611 per cent. Yet the critics of the United States here will persist in talking of "the myth of Russian military aggrandisement"—those again are exact words.
In a recent kick at the United States it has been said that our main danger is not Communism but the fear of Communism. Well your Lordships can see for yourselves how clever that is—if only we had stuck our heads a little bit further in the sand, and said that we were not afraid of the Nazis, they would never have overrun Europe and 30,000,000 people now dead would be alive. That is what the late Mr. James Agate—not a very pleasant person—used to call "clotted nonsense." The same author goes on to say, after having accused the United States Congress of baying for war—not very tactful either—to insult the American military leaders. He has recently written:The more genuine the Russian peace offers are found to be, the more stubbornly will the Pentagon resist a conference to discuss them.He added this:We should of course welcome a conference however inconvenient it is to the American Chiefs of Staff.
§ LORD VANSITTART
I said that I would not mention names. If the noble Lord wishes I will give him any reference he likes afterwards. I said that I was not out to pillory anybody. Because very great harm has been done on the other side I feel obliged to mention these things because they are profoundly unjust and because the noble Duke joined in 180 criticising the monumental patience with which the American leaders have carried on these nine pregnant months of negotiation at Panmunjong. I do not think one can be more patient than that. As this sort of thing has been going on for eighteen months I wonder how it is that people come to think they can insult friends without grave consequences. They have given their own answer of course. They say: "Americans like to be told the truth roughly." Now that is sheer insular naivety. There is no one who likes to be told the truth roughly—there are very few who can bear it gently. We are a free country, and so are the United States, and I hope that we shall not fail in that freedom, and also in courtesy, in criticising each other. I do beg most earnestly that the more malevolent forms of misrepresentation like that may be avoided, because they may carry you whither you would not.
My childhood lies far back in the past century when people used to bind their own volumes of Punch. I can remember as a boy coming across a copy a good deal older than I was, in which one man said to another: "It appears the Americans have taken umbrage," and the other replied, "The deuce they have. Whereabouts is that?" The knowledge of some of the critics is just about equal to that of the Victorian questioner. But the Americans have taken umbrage, and we must realise that. Here, for once, I fear that I must make a slight departure from my rule of not mentioning names—I could not make out my case without doing so. There has been a great volume of criticism in the United States of the more persistently American-phobe of our Press here, to which I have alluded before in the House. It has been going on for a long while. One of those organs is described by a leading and respectable American organ as beingthe most maliciously and obsessively anti-American organ in the world to-day.The American paper goes on,If we go down"—and I hope your Lordships will notice those words, because it is in those terms that some Americans are thinking: in defence not offence—the fault will lie largely with the people who have thus disseminated these libels and slanders about American imperialism and warmongering.181 I think that should be realised. The article adds further that to tug at the pillars of one's own temple is "the liberalism of suicide"—and I think that phrase is just. As I have been criticising the Press of the Left I should add in fairness that many Americans have also taken considerable offence at the platform given to Mr. Pritt by The Times for disseminating these stupid falsehoods about American germ warfare, more especially as none of these vermilion donkeys seems even to know that cholera is water-borne and not a fly-borne disease. However, let that pass.
Now let us come to a little bit of the truth. The Americans, in the only serious effort at collective security, have provided 90 per cent. of the man-power required. Their expenses for their army alone—I am not talking of every department—in Korea now amount to some 9,000,000,000 dollars. They have also had over 100,000 casualties, and have lamented every one of them. In the First World War there was what is called in show business a "smash hit." It was a song called "I didn't raise my son to be a soldier." There are many people who still feel like that. Of course, there are wild talkers there, but so there are here. No sensible American wants to extend the war unless the Communists insist. For every one who wishes an extension of obligations there are 10,000 who do not—and, indeed, there are many who would like to reduce them, and especially in Europe. I think Senator Taft is one and that is why I dread his success, which might have a vital effect or our destiny. Our clumsy novices play their part in creating isolationists by talk which allows them to misrepresent us by calling us broken reeds and ingrates.
There is one other point I wish to mention. In the event of a Republican victory—it would not matter whether by Taft or Eisenhower—we might find that by the operation of the rule of seniority the Congressional committees might come under the chairmanship of men whose record speaks for itself but not for international co-operation. In particular we might find that there was an isolationist in the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. Again I decline to mention any names; it is much more tactful that I should not. But the warning should be borne in mind. The late Government did their best to keep in 182 step, and they were wise and statesmanlike to give that undertaking about the extension of the war if it became unavoidable. But the storm raised here from the ranks of unwisdom almost undid the good effect produced by that statesmanlike course. Secondly, the Americans are right in their attitude about Formosa. It is a key point, and it would be folly to hand it over to the Communists or to let them acquire it.
I might have stopped at this point, but the noble Duke said a good deal about Formosa with which I could not possibly agree, and I am afraid I must go on for a few minutes more. In the first place, it is rather dangerous to talk about these matters unless one knows something about them. A number of slender reports have come out of Formosa in the last year or two, but there is one now which has appeared and there is no excuse for not reading it. It is called Report from Formosa, by Mr. Maclear Bate. It is a valuable book, clear, concise, and factual. It should be obligatory reading for those who wish to hold forth on these subjects. Having said that, I would go a little further back. Time was when Chiang Kai-shek was acclaimed as "Our Brave Ally"—O.B.A. for short. We behaved badly to him in closing the Burma Road and worse still at Yalta. But we promoted O.B.A. to G.C.B., one of our highest distinctions, the citation being "For outstanding services in the Allied cause." He came over with his wife and was acclaimed by both Houses and in the Press; and there were many banquets and receptions. I took no part myself in these events, but I remember them distinctly. It is no use pretending that we did not behave like that, because we did.
Well, my Lords, he lost—and what a crime it is to lose! From that time the situation changed. When he was winning he was O.B.A., but, having lost, he was identified with infamy. One leading anti-American described him as having been "vomited" from China—rather strong language and not very delicate. Even Mr. Attlee, in a recent broadcast, spoke of the "corrupt and reactionary forces of Chiang Kai-shek." That requires a little clarification. I have known in my time a good deal of corruption in many countries with which we have always determinedly and wisely associated 183 ourselves in the defence of the West. Here, again, I will tactfully not particularise. In fact, in many countries there is very little else but corruption. There is Peron's Argentina—which happens to be in occupation of British territory, which is more than Chiang is. There has never been anything but corruption in Persia—but we and the Americans pursue Mossadeq with many offers which I hope we and they will not be tempted hurriedly to renew. There has never been anything like the corruption of the Wafd, and yet we have been going after them with the idea of associating Egypt in the defence of the Middle East. I do not quite understand myself this pharaonic distinction between the chief butler and the chief baker. I cannot follow it at all on any ethical basis.
Now for the word "reactionary." "Reactionary," again, is a curious word. Surely the name of Borodin conveys something to your Lordships' minds. He was the leader of a Communist delegation sent to help to frame and execute the principles of the Kuo-Min-Tang. He was invited by Sun Yat Sen. Another name that must convey something to your Lordships is that of Eugene Chen. He was born in Trinidad and was educated here, and many said he was a progressive person. Again, look at the sequel. The Communists permitted such atrocities that Chiang threw the Russians out, closed the Russian Consulates and executed the more prominent Communist sadists; and everyone said: "What a resolute man." These are things of the past, but they ought to be remembered before people talk about "vomiting" and the rest of it. It may be that the noble Duke, who described Chiang as "corrupt and reactionary," thinks that Marxism is reactionary. In that case he would be at one with Nehru. But what most people mean is that he lost. Noble Lords on the Left also have lost, so they would be reactionaries, anyhow for some years, according to this reasoning.
But they do not go nearly so far as some of the extremists, because they want to disarm the poor man too. If you look at a map, you will find that Formosa lies parallel to the coast of South China for quite a long way. Chiang has only about 500,000 men, of whom about 300,000 are battle-worthy, and about a million Communist troops are immobilised to 184 watch him on the coast. If you disarm him, you are therefore going to liberate something like 1,000,000 men for use in Korea or Indo-China. That is not very intelligent. Moreover, any action of that sort would precipitate a colossal massacre which might not stop short of seven figures. Nobody here would wish any such solution as that but, if anybody did, I should be compelled to say that it was a very sad modern version of an old theme which has brought this country into infinite danger and damage so often. It is a verse composed by a member of your Party. It is this:In self-imposed GethsemanesTo this our creed ascends:That we should love our enemiesAnd hate our friends."—especially ex-O.B.A's. I wonder which ex-O.B.A. occasions the most disquiet to the noble Lord who brought forward this Motion to-day: the victorious Georgian or the defeated Chinese?
I am the last person who wants any further entanglements in the Far East, because I take a much graver view than does anybody else on either side of the House, not only of the possibility but of the probability of a Soviet attack on Western Europe. Therefore, of course, I want every available man in Europe. Suppose, then, that the Communists insist on another diversion. Suppose they were to invade Indo-China. It is in their power to do so; they have enough men in the vicinity, and the roads have been built. Indo-China is the key to Asia. If you lose it you lose also Siam, Burma, Malaya and India. If you lose that, you lose Asia, and if you lose Asia, you lose Europe; and so you have to defend Indo-China. But who is going to do it? The French have not the men to spare; neither have we. Already this Island is most dangerously denuded. The Americans cannot do it. They have nothing to spare, least of all in the year of a Presidential Election. It is quite useless also to think that you would be able to check anything of that kind by the use of air and sea power. You could not. You would have to have more manpower.
It is just as well sometimes to ask ourselves: "Where, in the utmost emergency (which we all hope will be averted) will it come from? Who is to provide it?" It is well sometimes to think of those things and not to be too rude. 185 Above all, do not let us assail each other, without real cause, in a desperate struggle on vital issues. Let us say to ourselves sometimes as that American newspaper said: "If we go down." In the First World War, a friend of mine was on a ship with a large contingent of coolies. The ship was torpedoed. There was plenty of time for everybody to get away. The ship sank slowly, but the coolies would not believe that so big a ship could go down. When it was attempted to remove them, they got out their knives, and the last thing that my friend saw as he pulled away was the ship at an angle of forty-five degrees going down by the bow, and high up on the stern were the coolies knifing each other for the fittings. It might be well to think of that sometimes, too.
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF HALIFAX
My Lords, one of the great values of such a debate as your Lordships are having this afternoon is the opportunity that it gives to members of your Lordships' House to speak to us on certain parts of the problem that the whole debate covers, with knowledge that it is particularly their own. That is as true of my noble friend who has just sat down as of anybody. Whether or not we wholly agree with everything that he has said, he has again delighted us with a speech that I suppose nobody but he in your Lordships' House could make. The other great value of such a debate as this is the opportunity that it gives to your Lordships to review what I may call the general diagnosis of the situation that we are all of us constantly attempting to make. In that task we have been assisted this afternoon by an admirable survey by my noble friend, Lord Reading, who speaks for the Foreign Office. We look forward in a moment or two to hearing the noble Marquess who leads the House.
If I intervene for a few moments, it is to make such attempt as I can to contribute in perfectly general terms to that general diagnosis which it is the object of such a debate as this to forward. As I see it, the broad purpose of any foreign policy, whether conducted by noble Lords who sit on this side of the House or by noble Lords who sit on the other side of the House, remains. That purpose is to strengthen the international order through 186 the United Nations and by every other means, and to secure such an adjustment of national interests as may promise general acceptance of stability and therefore of peace and good order.
It is not necessary to emphasise how very much more difficult has become the task of achieving that purpose, which it is so easy to state. Half a century ago, I think it is fairly true to say that all nations shared a common background of principle. They did not always live up to it, but the broad distinction between right and wrong in international behaviour was fairly common ground and generally acknowledged. Moreover, nations talked very much the same language, in that broadly they wanted the same sort of world in which to live; and as part of that world Treaties were generally regarded as important and as things to be observed. We are all painfully aware how far the wheel has moved, making the general acceptance of those primary conditions of international conduct no longer true. So while to-day the United Nations makes praiseworthy attempts to make articulate and effective the collective conscience of those who seek peace, that does not and ought not to conceal from any of us the sharp fashion in which we have moved away from an era of conventional and, on the whole, fairly respectable diplomacy, into finding ourselves plunged into a perfectly naked and unabashed system of power politics.
There is the same sort of difference between the present sluts of affairs and what may have been true fifty years ago as—translated into ordinary, individual life—would exist between a conventional visitor to a private house, who feels himself embarrassed by the frown of his hostess or the frowns of his is fellow guests, and a bully who forces himself into some social occasion and does not care anything for frowns unless they are backed up by physical violence. That is the essential difference, over a period of years, between the two methods of procedure. That is the fundamental reason why those who want peace and who want orderly living have no option but to make their principal argument for peace the driving into the minds of those whose purposes are not so sure, the conviction that war for them would be unprofitable business. And that means rearmament, 187 although everybody, no doubt, would agree with the right reverend Prelate that rearmament by itself can never be enough.
There are several other factors that make the successful pursuit of a reasonable foreign policy to-day more difficult. Never before, I suppose, has the reconciliation of the conflicting elements in the problem been so difficult. How hard it must be for those on whom final responsibility rests to decide exactly where the line ought to be drawn between the claims of rearmament and the limits of economic capacity! The noble Lord, Lord Layton, referred to the national sentiments of old enemies, and how great a part that had to play in all that we are trying to do in Europe. Every one of us knows how powerful must be the instinct of national sovereignties in conflict with the necessities of what ought to be and is desired to be done in Europe. There is the growing conviction of world unity—growing, as everybody perceives, with the shrinkage of the world. But this greater unity of the world itself has to face the fact that, as things are, the world appears to be irreconcilably divided.
In spite of all that, I was very glad to-day, having much less knowledge, to accept from my noble friend Lord Reading his view that, looking back over the last year or two, we can reasonably chalk up on the credit side of the account a considerable measure of achievement. I am not sure whether he mentioned this fact or not, but I am sure it was in his mind: in my belief we seem to have learned one very great thing, perhaps the greatest thing of all—namely, that the front on which this struggle is proceeding, from Korea to Berlin, through Indo-China, Malaya and the Middle East, is one front, and every part of it affects every other part. That is a great gain. Most competent observers, I think, will endorse—I am not sure that my noble friend who spoke last would share this view, but I think others would—the sentiment that the Foreign Secretary expressed a few nights ago, when he said that in his judgment war was less likely now than it was two years or even one year ago. Certainly there have been plenty of opportunities for war, if anybody had wanted it. I can well suppose that those responsible have had many anxious 188 moments in the last few weeks or months. I conclude that very definite progress has been made both with the North Atlantic Treaty side and the European defence side, in harmonising and marrying their mutual relations to one another. Then, there are surely signs that responsible people in the Middle East are learning the danger of unleashing forces that they can only very uncertainly control. In Korea, whatever may be the underlying purpose inspiring Communist thought in all this armistice business, I think there has been substantial achievement in making it plain that the United Nations are not going to pull out of Korea before they have satisfied themselves that the lesson that aggression is unprofitable has been thoroughly learned.
On all that basis of opinion and of fact, we can with reasonable assurance plot our course. I think that everything that has happened, and is happening, goes to show that we have not been at fault so far in reading the signs of the times, and that our course has been well chosen. We shall not look for quick results. I anticipate that infinite patience is likely to be a large element in the wisdom that we have to try to exercise. We must not allow emotion and imagination, which are very good servants but bad masters, to usurp the place of reason. I venture to say that, because, to my simple mind, no other explanation is possible of the kind of contribution that the noble Duke made to us this afternoon, or the contribution that is, from time to time, made by a section of the supporters of noble Lords opposite—a section very articulate but not, I hope, substantially large. The noble Duke spoke of the "American Alliance." It may be a matter of words, but I am not aware that we have an alliance with America. The United States and ourselves, and many other people, are loyal members of the United Nations, serving a common purpose and cause. I venture to think that the noble Duke is echoing statements that found expression a few weeks ago in another place, and also, if he was correctly reported, in remarks made by Mr. Bevan not very long ago, when he informed the world that in his judgment America's economic policies were doing to Europe more harm than Stalin could ever do.
My Lords, I am bound to say that I do not distinguish greatly between the 189 noble Duke and the others in this regard: the gravamen of attacks of that sort is that we are being pushed into new commitments in the Far East by war mania in the United States—attacks which my noble friend who spoke before me so rightly and so conclusively analysed and condemned. All that is being said in the face of the most explicit assurances of the Prime Minister and the President of the United States and of every impartial, informed appraisor of United States opinion that I have ever been able to meet—and I was very impressed with what my noble friend told us of the observation of his Hindoo friend, who surely was not likely to be an unduly indulgent critic. I permit myself only two or three further observations in that field. The first is that if we are ever to see the breakdown of the general solidarity of the foreign policy that has been one of the best legacies of the war in this country, whichever Party has been in office, then the ordinary citizen is entitled to ask that such a breakdown should be on the basis of some genuine and distinct difference of opinion, and not merely the result of some prejudiced and invincible suspicion in ill-informed minds. The next thing I should like to say is this. It is one of the strangest pieces of irony that people who profess to be, above all things, anxious to keep this country out of a major war, should do the very thing—by trying to weaken and divide the forces of the United Nations and to drive a wedge between the solid buttresses of the United Nations—to make that war more likely.
The third thing I want to say is this. I think that those who have made a study over the last years of United States policy in the Far East, and of our own, will be more surprised at the almost complete harmony that prevails to-day between the United States and ourselves than at the fact that minor differences still exist as to the best method of achieving common ends. When the history of these days comes to be written, it will surely record as a very strange spectacle indeed the attempts that have been made over many months, both in the United States and here, to tell those who may in certain circumstances be our potential enemies what we should do and what we should not do in a wide range of perfectly hypothetical circumstances. It is certainly a 190 very novel way of preparing for such trouble, and I think it is something which, if the common sense of our people were able fully to be informed about it, they would most unhesitatingly reject. I conclude, therefore, by saying this. I do not believe that the right way through our troubles is to cast suspicion on, and to impugn the motives of, our leaders, on whatever side of the House they may sit here, or the leaders of friendly nations with whom we are working elsewhere. We are more likely to survive our present dangers, and we shall be more wise, if we follow the general counsels of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, who said in a recent speech that his purpose was to proceed with the building up of our strength, and to make it plain that at all points and at all times we were building up that strength for the purposes of peace and of order, and to take care at every point to preserve the closest possible unity between ourselves and other nations who were like-minded.
§ 6.55 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Earl has held our attention as closely as he always does, and I can render him no more signal compliment than that. His speech will be studied far and wide. He will forgive me if I do not follow him along the line which he has taken this evening, except to say that I understood him to make no criticism of the policy of my own Party, There is nothing, therefore, in his speech which requires any kind of controversial reply. But I personally shall read and re-read the noble Earl's speech, if only because it will afford some very good material for a number of most interesting lectures. If I do discharge those lectures in a famous university without acknowledgement, I hope that the noble Earl will be kind enough to forgive me.
The subject with which I should like to deal—and not at any great length—is that of Germany. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has already expressed (and it seemed to me that he did so with very great effect) the official attitude of the Labour Party. No doubt, the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, will amplify that with supreme authority when he winds up for the Opposition. I would speak rather in a personal sense, as one who for a number of years has 191 been very closely connected with this issue. The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, was kind enough to suggest, in a good humoured way, that I was perhaps the only person in the House who was happy about German rearmament. I am not happy about German rearmament. I am not happy about British rearmament. But I am least of all happy about Russian rearmament. I am sure that is the reason why all these other rearmaments are—as, in my view, they are—so necessary.
I take three aspects of the German question today—I will handle them all very briefly; indeed, I will only just mention the first, which is the approach to Western Germany, the right approach of what I still call the Western Allies to Western Germany. That seems to me to present a relatively simple problem. Then there is the achievement of German unity which, I agree with the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester and other noble Lords, is a difficult problem. Next there is the question of Germany's eastern frontiers, which I agree with Lord Silkin is a very difficult problem indeed. But I will say practically nothing about that last problem this evening. I certainly shall not attempt to make any kind of reply to the arguments deployed with such skill by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, on behalf of what might be termed the Polish point of view. I would say only this—and here I think he will agree with me completely, because he said it himself in another way—that no sane person in Britain or Germany, or anywhere else, would wish to risk a war in this connection. If any change is to be effected it must be by peaceful means and friendly discussions. As I say, I agree entirely with Lord Silkin on that point. I am bound to add—I do not think this statement can be disputed, though of course one can cast responsibility back—that the present frontier arrangements have caused, and are still causing, great suffering to millions of people, millions of refugees to whom the right reverend Prelate has rendered such signal service over a long period of years. But I end this part of my remarks by reaffirming what is said in the White Paper, and what was repeatedly said by our own Government when we were in power: that this issue 192 must clearly await the Peace Conference. I do not think I can add anything useful on that.
I come now to the subject of the approach to Western Germany. Clearly the right approach must be the Christian approach. That means a friendly approach. That, I would say, has always been true. It was true even during the period when it was our duty to control Germany, but whatever may have been the situation a few years ago, to-day, surely, this friendly approach can mean only an approach which normalises our relations with Germany. That means an approach which brings about complete equality of status between us and them. After all, there can be no second—class friend; least of all can there be a second-class Ally in a partnership which to-day—though I hope it will not always be so—is still threatened from without. If the Germans are to be treated as real equals that means that they must be allowed to rearm. I will say a word about that point later, but I should like at this point to reply very briefly to the right reverend Prelate by saying that his strongest objection, as I thought, to German rearmament seemed to me to be based in logic on the view that the Germans are not willing to rearm. That seemed to me the core of his argument; at any rate it constituted a large part of his argument. I will say something about that later. If the Germans wish to rearm, and we do not let them rearm when every other nation is armed, we cannot seriously say that we are treating them as equals. It would be complete humbug, if we denied them that essential right of a free nation.
That argument, which I submit is a moral argument, would apply even if the Soviet Union did not exist, or if the Soviet Union were immensely beneficial—and let us hope that one day that will come about. But to-day, in view of the threat from the East, the strategic arguments for German rearmament are overwhelming. In essence those arguments have already prevailed. German rearmament will assuredly come. I do not think anyone really doubts that in his heart, whether he likes it or not. The question is how fast and how far should it be integrated with Western rearmament; and, more important than all, in my view, by what mood in Germany is it to be accompanied? I have paid many 193 visits to Germany and it was always in my mind, as it was in the minds of the administrators, that Germany would become strong and free, whatever we did, whether we wanted to hold her down or lift her up, and that the essential task was to see that when that time did arise there was a purified mind and higher purpose in Germany.
I repeat, therefore, that German re-armament should flow, and must flow, from a policy of friendship with Germany. It should not be regarded as an expedient, as reluctantly making use of the Germans—which I believe to be the policy which offends the right reverend Prelate's moral sense so much. I should like to persuade him that, so far as we on this side have been concerned (and I am sure the same is true of noble Lords opposite), that is not the point of view adopted—namely that Germany is to be used for our own purposes and with complete neglect of her interests. But that does not mean (and this is something which, as an ardent friend of Germany, I think I have a right to say) that we in this country are not entitled to request that Germany should make her contribution to the common defence. That seems a reasonable request between friendly Powers, but it is a request which can be presented only when Germany has achieved equality or is on the high road towards that equality. Otherwise, it is a request which cannot be made with reasonable hope of success or with much moral backing behind it.
The problem of German rearmament may be taken as a symbol of the general approach to Germany. I do not think it would be so simple to-day if it were not for a single historic event which symbolises the whole attitude of a great nation. In view of the understandable suspicions among Germany's neighbours, German freedom of action to-day, including German rearmament, is accepted by most people in the West only on the understanding that Germany is to be part of an integrated action. If that prospect did not open itself up, I believe that there would undoubtedly be a great deal of heart-searching, for here is a difficulty which perhaps we have not always faced with absolute frankness in our discussions in this country. I am not sure that people are all quite clear in their minds about it.
194 When I say that German economy is to take its place within an integrated framework, we are inclined to take that expression as meaning no controls on Germany, except such as are imposed on other countries as well—controls all round. I believe that from the British point of view it would be extremely awkward if it were simply a question of Britain and Germany, because, for reasons well known in this House, I do not think that we in this country are ready to accept a very high measure of control over our activities by foreign countries or by any international grouping. Some would like to go further than our Government went, or this Government are going, but undoubtedly in the country there is a very marked reluctance, particularly in view of the overwhelming claims of the Commonwealth, to place ourselves under an international organisation to the extent to which we are expecting Germany to place herself under such an organisation. It seems to me, however, that this dilemma has been liquidated by the act of Mr. Schuman, representing our great Ally, France. To use the noble Earl's expression, when history comes to be written the offer of reconciliation between France and Germany will prove to have paved the way to a true European reconciliation. I am not saying anything to-day which has not been said by my noble friends or by the late Government. I hope the Government will find it possible to be associated as closely as possible with all that goes on in this connection, because our special position in this country is beginning to be widely appreciated abroad.
I come now to German unity. We all want German unity: I think that is common ground. May I risk delaying the House for a moment to suggest that there are five forms that German unity may take? First, there is German unity under four-Power control. Whatever its merits in the old days, that means subordination of Germany to four countries, and I do not think any of us takes that very seriously as a plan for the freedom of Germany in the future—so that can be regarded as obsolete and out. Then there is the idea of German unity as part of a truly united Europe. Without dragging him into this, as he has nobly abstained, I might say that perhaps this appeals to my noble friend Lord Stansgate. A Germany within a completely United Europe. 195 not just Western Europe, but Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals—that is no doubt a Europe never to be lost sight of, and which we hope will be realised one day. But very few of us regard that as an immediate possibility. Then we may find a united Germany in association with Soviet Russia—a nightmare for all of us if it came to pass. We may find a united Germany midway between East and West, poised in some kind of independent or neutral position. And, finally, we may find a united Germany in association with the West. Obviously, that is the solution that we in the West prefer—a united Germany in association with ourselves.
Approaching my final point, may I emphasise that it is surely the Germans themselves who have the moral right to choose what form their unity is going to take? They have that moral right, and they will soon have the right in practice, to make that choice. The statement of my noble friend Lord Henderson is so extremely convincing from my own view that I need not amplify or improve on it. As regards the latest Russian offer, I will say only that it is obvious that the idea of the withdrawal of Allied troops from Germany is a bad business from the Western Allies' point of view. That is quite clear. The reply we have made, in agreement with the Germans, is perfectly all right, so far as it goes. It seems to me that we are absolutely right in pressing, as I think all noble Lords have argued, for complete freedom of speech and democratic rights within Eastern Germany. But the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, raised an interesting question as to what we would do if the Russians accepted. I am speaking for myself, but I think this endorses what my noble friend Lord Henderson said. If the Russians did accept, it would clearly be our duty and our pleasure to try and cooperate in bringing about this complete freedom inside Germany. But, in the last resort, this freedom of Germany could not be a question only of freedom of speech in Eastern Germany, or all Germany; it must mean freedom on the part of the Germans to choose their own foreign policy, whether in the first few months or a little later. So that, to repeat my point in slightly different form, in the last resort the Germans must make this choice: whether to be associated with 196 the West, or whether to run after other gods.
Here I should like to say a few words on the question of German rearmament. Surely, here again, in the last resort the Germans must be allowed to choose. I cannot speak for them. I cannot say whether they are going to choose to be rearmed as part of the European community, although I believe they are. I believe the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, in his admirable survey, gave us information—which some noble Lords possessed before, but which others perhaps did not—all of which pointed to the extreme probability that they would, in fact, desire to rearm within a European framework. I appeal to those of very deep liberal sentiments who are not happy about this, and ask them whether, when they are ready to extend freedom of action to other countries all over the world, the Germans are to be the one country to be denied what is always understood to be an essential hallmark of freedom. I do not say that what we have to do is to go running after the Germans, or that every time we have an argument with them they are in the right—that would be absurd and unworthy. I would say only that our policy towards Germany—and, on the whole, it has been a national policy—with all its faults, has been sustained by an idea; by a moral purpose that has sometimes appeared to waver, but which has always persisted. I say that to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester, who criticised that policy, and who knows some thoughts I may have had myself at different times.
But that policy will reach its culmination and its true justification only if in the near future we prove to the Germans what they should know already and what I think they are inclined to recognise already: that our ways of life are on a higher plane than those of the Russians; so that they make the choice which we ourselves prefer and which we believe to be best not only in our interests but in theirs, and in the interests of Europe and the world. Perhaps I may add this final reflection. It is only about fifty years ago—certainly not more than fifty-two years ago—since we were closer to Germany than to any other great European country. But if you take the history of Anglo-German relations since 1905 (and the House will forgive me for choosing that date, because I was born 197 towards the end of that year) you will find that for the first nine years we were members of a rival Alliance. Then for four years, from 1914 to 1918, we were fighting them. From 1918 to 1929 we were occupying them. From 1929 to 1933 we were wrangling with them over the liquidation of the last war—reparations and disarmament. And all the time unemployment was mounting and savage unhappiness was carrying Germany into appalling chaos.
Then for twelve years there was Hitler. One need not say much about that, except that for six years we were, very rightly, fighting them again. Since 1945, for seven years we have been occupying them and controlling them in some greater or lesser measure. It does not surprise me that after all that there is little good will between our two countries. What does surprise me is that there is such a great volume of good will—and there is a great volume of good will. I look forward to the time when we pass to a relationship of normality, friendship and peace in the true sense of the word. It will not be an exclusive relationship. It is no use seeking some sort of bilateral relationship; it must be a relationship of good will, equality and Christianity between ourselves and Germany, and a similar relationship between all the countries of the world—as close and intimate as all of us in this House would desire.
§ 7.17 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, will forgive me if I do not follow him into the sphere of Germany, though I would say that I do not think there is anyone in the House who has not been impressed and moved by the sincerity with which he has spoken. I intend to intervene for only a few moments this evening, for I know there are many other speakers who still wish to address your Lordships: indeed, I have only come into this debate at this time to speak on two specific questions. I had originally intended, as your Lordships know, to speak earlier in the debate and to range over the whole field. But I now lead a double life, as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and Leader of the House, and to-day this debate has coincided with a memorial meeting to that great Empire Statesman, Mr. Senanayake. For that reason I was unable to be here to speak earlier. How- 198 ever, I have no regrets because, as your Lordships know, we are fortunate to have in this House at the present time as representative of the Foreign Office the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, who has already won such golden opinions in his office and in the House, and I am quite certain that he has given your Lordships a very full and authoritative account of recent events.
There are three matters with which I propose to deal, But, first of all, I should like to take this opportunity, since it is the first Foreign Affairs debate we have had since his death, to pay a sincere tribute to the noble Earl, the late Lord Perth, who for so many years played a distinguished part in our discussions, We shall sorely miss the noble Earl's contributions to our debates. I do not say that all of us always agreed with him—that is inevitable. But his speeches, as I heard them, always seemed to me to be inspired by a very peculiar spirit of moderation and broad humanity which gave them a character of their own. Also, a course, the noble Earl had a lifelong experience of the subjects of which he spoke, which enhanced greatly the value of what he had to tell us. The noble Earl had the respect and admiration of us all. We shall remember him not only as an eminent servant of the State, but as a very great gentleman, in the widest sense of the word.
Now I should like to come to the first real question on which I wish to speak—it has already been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in his opening remarks. I refer to the suggestion which has been made both by the Chinese and by the Russian Government, that the military authorities of the United Nations have made use of bacteriological warfare in Korea. My Lords, this suggestion may seem so fantastic and so remote from probability that it is not worth answering; but it is perfectly true (I believe somebody has already said it this afternoon; I rather think it was Lord Silkin) that if a story is told often enough without contradiction there is always a risk that, sooner or later, somebody will believe it, however unlikely it may be. That indeed is a favourite method of Communist propaganda. It is a method with which we are all now extremely familiar, and therefore I feel that Her Majesty's Government should state here and now, without any equivocation at all, 199 that there is not one single word of truth at all in this story.
What is now possible, in a theatre of war like Korea, is that, behind the Communist line, where medical facilities are probably of a fairly elementary kind, epidemic has broken out. Further, it is possible that, in order to explain any untoward development of this kind, the Communist authorities have attempted to unload the blame on their enemies. The authorities on the spot may even believe this, because I am afraid that many of them are ignorant and profoundly suspicious. Then the main Communist propaganda machine in Pekin and Moscow has taken up this point quite cynically as part of its ordinary line of propaganda. The whole machinery of what has been euphemistically named "The World Peace Movement" has been put to work to boost this story. It has been helped by Communist agencies of every kind: the World Federation of Trade Unions, the World Peace Council, the Women's International Democratic Federation, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the International Union of Students—bodies with blameless, respectable names but, I regret to say, Communist agencies just the same. A rather obscure body called "The International Association of Democratic Lawyers" has been put out to conduct what has been described as a fact-finding inquiry.
What the Chinese and Russian Governments have entirely refused to allow throughout the whole of this episode is the holding of any really impartial investigation of the charges. The International Committee of the Red Cross, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, I think said this afternoon, telegraphed to the Chinese and North Korean Foreign Ministers offering to conduct an inquiry into these allegations. An investigation by this great international body, whose reputation for standing above politics has never, so far as I know, been seriously disputed, would soon have put the facts beyond all possible doubt. But the offer was curtly rejected on the, to my mind, utterly absurd ground that the International Committee of the Red Cross was in fact a Swiss national body which had assumed an international name, and therefore could not be expected to act without bias.
200 Then there was an offer by the World Health Organisation, also, as your Lordships know, an institution of the greatest fame and reputation. They suggested that they should give assistance to victims of plague in North Korea, but their offer was similarly turned down. That is, I think, the best proof of the complete falsity of these charges. The Communists simply cannot afford to agree to an unprejudiced inquiry on the spot. The bacteriological propaganda campaign is evidently just one more measure of ordinary Communist propaganda. It is just another effort to divide and weaken the free world. It will, of course, fail, as these other attempts have failed in the past; but I am bound to say it is none the less deplorable and disgraceful.
My Lords, there is one other question about which I should like to speak to you, and that is the one which was raised in the speech made by the noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford, who touched on the question of relations between this country and the United States. I am only sorry that the noble Duke is not here, but I had no idea that he would be leaving the debate. I feel that the speech which he delivered to your Lordships to-night cannot go without some comment from the Leader of the House. There have possibly been many times in past history, from the War of American Independence onwards, when pretty bitter attacks have been made in this country (and indeed in this House) on the American Government and the American people—though, looking back, most of us would probably agree that even then those attacks were unjustified. I am afraid that I could not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, in what he said about the noble Duke's speech to-day. Indeed, I felt (and I am sure other noble Lords did, too) strained and sad to hear such things now, when the bitterness of those far-off days should have given way to a spirit of comradeship and good will which, to my mind, presents the greatest hope for the peace of the world.
I must say that I was amazed at the general tempo of the noble Duke's remarks this afternoon. If I may say so, they were so complacent; they were so wrong-headed and, to my mind, so utterly defeatist. There was something which, said by a man of his position and responsibility, I really found shocking. I 201 did not take down his words, and he will correct me if I have mis-stated him, but he said that American diplomacy regarded war as a panacea for all problems. I really do not know where he got that from. He produced no evidence at all of statements of members of the Administration there which would have given the slightest colour to this extraordinary conclusion. Moreover, my Lords, though he made it clear that we ought not to allow our policy to be dictated by the United States—and I think we shall all agree with him in that—he had no hesitation in telling the American Government and the American people exactly what their policy should be. He propounded, to my mind, a very strained view, that it is foolish and even evil to negotiate from strength. I do not know whether the noble Duke would subscribe to a corollary that it is always wise to negotiate from weakness. I really cannot believe that he would support such a view as that.
Of course, I would entirely agree with him, and with what I think the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, also said, that no one likes or approves of armament races for their own sake as an end in themselves. But surely, if the Western Powers are rearming now, it is not as an end in itself it is to put themselves in a position where a true balance of power exists, when it is to no one's interest to go to war. If only we can achieve that position we may hope, and hope with some confidence, that negotiations will fruitfully begin—but not until then. As I understood it, that was the broad line of the argument which the noble Earl, Lord Halifax, delivered to us in his speech this afternoon.
§ LORD SILKIN
Would not the noble Marquess agree that there is a difference between negotiating from strength and negotiating from equality after each side is strong enough to maintain his position? That, I understand, is really the point at issue. Negotiation from strength by either side implies a certain amount of dictation. What we wanted to achieve, I thought, was that there should be equality of negotiation between the parties.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I should not dissent very far from that, for that is what I meant by a true balance of 202 power. But the difficulty is that when we started our rearmament programme two years ago under the late Government, there was not such a balance. The balance had swung down too far the other way, and now we are desperately trying to recreate it. I should entirely agree that if two great Powers are each trying all the time to be stronger than the other, then there is never the basis for negotiation. It is a question of timing. But that, unhappily, does not appear to be the view which the noble Duke put to us this afternoon. He, as I understand it, is against rearmament altogether, and, for that reason among others, he rejects any community of policy with the United States. All this indicates a frame of mind which I, persorally, find entirely beyond my comprehension. Even as far back as 1859, men of vision like Disraeli showed a comprehension of these vital facts which was far beyond that which was exhibited, if I may say so, by the noble Duke this afternoon, The other day I came across some prophetic words which he spoke at Aylesbury in 1859, and I should like to quote them to the House, because they seem to be peculiarly appropriate to our debate. He said this:England's geographic position, her laws, her language and religion, connect her as much with the New World as the Old. And although she has occupied not only an eminent, but, I am bold to say, the most eminent, position among European nations, for ages; still, if ever Europe by her shortsightedness falls into an inferior and exhausted state, for England them will remain art illustrious future. We are bound to the Communities of the New World, and those Great States which our own planting and Colonising energies have created, by ties and interests which will sustain our power and enable us to play as great a part in the times yet to come as we do in these days, and as we have done in the past.I think that a very remarkable expression of view a hundred years ago, and I commend those wise words to the noble Duke. One would have thought that there was no one to-day in any Party who would, not subscribe to them almost in their entirety. One would have thought that anyone and everyone would realise that in the First World War and in the Second. World War, and in the difficult years which have come on us since the Second World War, it was the United States—which was once a British colony and is now the most powerful nation in the world—who had, by her generous helping hand, assisted not only us, but also that 203 exhausted Europe of which Mr. Disraeli spoke a hundred years ago, and had so enabled free institutions to survive in those old countries from which her main population is drawn. Without the help of the United States, free Europe would have been overrun by Hitler. Without it, it would to-day, in my view, be being overrun by Soviet Russia. It is a melancholy commentary on the vagaries of human thought that anyone in this House should have deemed it fit at this moment to put down a Motion the only effect of which can be to impair the close relationship upon which peace and, indeed, our very survival must depend.
We in this House know the noble Duke and we recognise and respect his independence of view, even if we do not share those views. But I would beg him and others who feel inclined to speak in a similar way, to remember that words spoken here go far beyond the confines of this House. I should be the last to say to your Lordships that we should always agree with everything that the United States does. She herself, I am sure, would not expect us to do that. As the Foreign Secretary rightly pointed out in his broadcast on Saturday, even when she was lending us and the other European nations after the war the vast sums which alone enabled us to tackle the terrible problems which war had left, she never sought to impose her policy on us and she never attempted to interfere with our freedom of judgment, either in our internal or in external affairs.
The noble Duke attacked the United States policy in China. I would remind him and the House that when we, rightly or wrongly, recognised the Communist Government of China—a course to which the United States themselves were strongly opposed—they never withdrew or even limited the great sums of money which they were at that time lending us. In such circumstances, how foolish and how wrong it is to turn on so faithful a friend! By all means, let us take a line of our own—that is the right of every free and independent nation. But let us never forget, at this time when freedom is so sorely threatened, the basis on which that freedom stands. First, as I see it, there is the maintenance of the British Commonwealth and Empire. That, for us all, comes before everything else. But, closely interwoven with it, there must 204 be an ever-widening community of interest between that Commonwealth and the United States. That must be the foundation of the policy of both the countries concerned. I deeply regret that the noble Duke has tabled this Motion to-day, and I hope most sincerely that this debate will show beyond any doubt that, though this may represent his own views—which he has a right to express—it does not represent the views of your Lordships in any part of this House.
§ 7.33 p.m.
My Lords, I am sure that the noble Marquess has rendered a great service, not for the first time, by reminding your Lordships that this House is a sounding board; and whereas we may understand each other's point of view perfectly well, what we say here about foreign Governments with whom Her Majesty is in friendly relations can do immense harm if we are intemperate and reckless in our charges. While I entirely agree with what the noble Marquess was good enough to say about the fallacy and stupidity of attacking the United States in the way in which it has been done to-day, he did not take it upon himself to rebuke the noble Lord. Lord Vansittart—who I am sorry to see has left the House. We are all glad to hear and all appreciate, enjoy and understand the eloquence of Lord Vansittart. But Lord Vansittart should not go out of his way to make an uncalled-for attack on the Argentine, with whom at the present time we are engaged in very delicate negotiations on which our Sunday joints will largely depend and who, apart from that, have long been a great market for British goods and British investment.
We have no real quarrel with the Argentine at all. Yet a noble Lord who has held a great position in the Civil Service of this country goes out of his way to abuse the Argentine and, for good measure, in spite of the improved relations with Egypt, proceeds to admonish the Wafd, the great popular Party in Egypt, for their alleged corruption. Just to make quite sure, in case we might hope to get some future arrangement with Persia, he further abuses Persia. Lord Salisbury makes a practice of attacking certain nations. After all, we are in full diplomatic relations with the Russian Government. We have a Treaty of Alliance with them. There are certain differences which, I 205 believe, will eventually be overcome, and his own colleague, the right honourable gentleman, Mr. Eden, has himself said that matters are looking better. Why, again and again, does the noble Marquess and his followers in this House—I am referring to the Leader of the House, and not the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, whose speech was extremely interesting and moderate—abuse the Governments with whom he happens to have some difference of opinion? I much preferred him when he used to abuse his own Government—
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Is the noble Lord attacking me for what I said about bacteriological warfare?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I have not said much more about the Russian Government than I have said to-day. In any case, anything that I or the last Government have said about the Russian Government has been nothing compared with what has been said about us.
Does the noble Marquess mean that we on these Benches have attacked our own Government in such harsh language? I was in the process of saying that I much preferred the noble Marquess when he sat on this side of the House and could not find hard enough things to say about his own Government. It is our privilege to abuse our own Government and I propose to abuse the present Government when they deserve it. I am at present abusing the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, and I think with good foundation. But, for goodness' sake, though we may use the hardest language we can about enemy Governments when we are at war, let us when we are at peace curb our language a little! I should have been glad if the noble Marquess had rebuked the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, for his gratuitous attack on the Argentine. Many of us in the course of our travels have heard the stories of corruption in Latin countries and elsewhere. We have heard about the Chinese mandarin who objected to be insulted by a bribe—who had to be grossly insulted. These public charges ought not to be made in his House against people with whom we have to live and 206 trade and with whom we are on friendly terms.
In this connection I should like particularly to draw attention to what I think is a very stupid and childish action on the part of Her Majesty's Government: I refer to the useless and puerile restrictions that have been put on the movements of certain foreign diplomats in this country. Here we are hoping for better relations and for the beginning of fruitful negotiations to relieve tension—and we put on restrictions such as this. We have unimpeachable sentiments in the speeches of the Foreign Secretary, the Leader of the House and the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, and yet we put these stupid, irritating restrictions on the movements in this kingdom of the diplomats of Russia and certain countries beyond the Iron Curtain; and I want to make the strongest possible protest against it.
We all know the apologia for this unprecedented action. It is that foreign diplomats in Moscow and. I believe, in Bucharest and in the capitals of one or two other countries beyond the Iron Curtain are restricted in their freedom of movement, in that they have to ask permission to go more than twenty-five miles from the capital. But that applies to all diplomats in those countries. I have made inquiries, and I am informed that in Moscow these restrictions apply to the Chinese Ambassador, the Polish Ambassador, the Czechoslovak Ambassador, and so forth. It applies indiscriminately. I think it is stupid and ill-bred on the part of the Governments of Hungary and Roumania to put those restrictions on diplomats. It is not only stupid but very vulgar and very ill-bred—and those are my chosen words. It is equally contemptible that we do the same; it is lowering ourselves to the same level.
What makes it worse is that we discriminate. We do not tell the American, French and Spanish Ambassadors that they are to travel only within twenty-five miles of London without notifying the Foreign Office. I see that the Spanish Ambassador was at the Grand National the other day. If this rule had applied to him, he could not have travelled there without asking the permission of the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, or one of his officials. We put these restrictions on because the countries concerned have put similar restrictions on 207 our diplomats. That is unworthy of Her Majesty's Government and of the traditions of the Foreign Office: and the sooner these silly, useless and unnecessary restrictions are raised, the better in the interest of international amity and the peace of the world. These little things do very great harm. The Russians have been the most ridiculous sinners in this respect. One of the Russians' first blunders was refusing to send a contingent of the Red Army to take part in our Victory Parade in, I think, 1946. I have told Russian diplomats so. If they had sent a contingent, it would have been given a most wonderful and tremendous reception. But, in any case, why should the British Government follow suit and the Foreign Office lend itself to this useless and puerile practice?
I ventured to quote from the Foreign Minister just now. I may say that Mr. Eden carries the confidence of a great many people in this country who are not members of his own Party. What he says on foreign policy carries a good deal of weight. His language is always temperate—and I wish the noble Marquess the Leader of the House would follow his example. Mr. Eden has made some remarks on Germany recently which have been quoted already. But I wish to address myself for a moment to the remarkable and brilliant speech of my noble friend, Lord Pakenham, on this German question, and also to noble Lords who adorn the Government Front Bench. If we look impartially at this problem of Germany and of Russia, I think it becomes obvious that the Russians are desperately anxious to prevent at any rate Western Germany, and still more—as Lord Pakenham pointed out—the whole of Germany, coming into the orbit of the Western system. We have heard from the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, about a return to the balance of power. I have always been in favour of the balance of power while the United Nations organisation is developing, and I think our ancestors were quite right in their belief in it. But the balance of power would, from the Russian point of view, be upset if Western Germany were integrated, armed and brigaded with the West: and they will go to very great lengths indeed to prevent that happening.
208 To prevent its happening they are prepared, apparently, to make great sacrifices. One of the sacrifices would be to evacuate Eastern Germany. If they agree—as I believe they will if the matter is handled properly—to free and secret elections in Germany, once those elections have taken place Eastern Germany is lost to Russia, just as Austria will be lost to Russia. The Communist Party in Eastern Germany is not strong enough to hold the country within the Russian orbit. But rather than have Germany allied with the West, the Russians want a neutral, free, independent, sovereign Germany allowed to have its arms, but neutrally aligned as between the East and West Camps. Those who want peace also want this: a neutralised Germany, armed only for home defence but not aligned with either the Eastern or the Western Camp. If she becomes a member of the United Nations—which, again, is her sovereign option—then she undertakes the mutual obligations of the United Nations.
Even assuming that all the noble Lord says should come to pass—if all goes that way—how could you, either morally or in fact, prevent Germany two or three years hence from deciding to join the West or the East, whichever suits her?
I am coming to that point. I agree with my noble friend. I think it is a sovereign right, and it is only a matter of time before Germany acquires these rights by herself. We all know that. We all know that we can obstruct the process and create a great deal of difficulty and danger while doing so. But eventually the right of Germany to decide on her own foreign policy—that is what it comes to—must be granted. My noble friend argued most brilliantly and far more cogently than I can along those very lines. He said that we cannot have second-class allies and second-class friends. If we admit Germany again into the concert of Europe, we must allow them the same rights as we should to other members. As my noble friend clearly pointed out, there would be certain options open to them: to join the East, to join the West, to remain neutral or to remain divided. To take the longest view, in the general interests of world peace it is far better to have a united Germany with the sovereign attributes, 209 upon which both my noble friend and I are agreed, allied to neither group or camp. I do not warn Germany admitted on the condition that she joins us. This is sometimes used as an argument both here and on the other side of the Atlantic. It should not be a condition of her unity and her sovereignty that she automatically sides with the West. The balance of power is upset, and the balance of power—I believe that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who admires it used the term twice this afternoon—is what we have to achieve in this difficult period through which Europe is going and until the United Nations are fully functioning.
This really will be the last interruption. Does the noble Lord leave it to the Germans to decide whether they remain neutral or join the East or West?
Yes. It cannot be otherwise. We do not want an unwilling ally. There is already a great deal of opposition in Germany to rearmament. The noble Lord talks about the Christian approach to Germany. I wish we could make a Christian approach to all our problems; but Pastor Niemoller, who certainly makes the Christian approach, is not, I think, in agreement with rearmament. We have to leave this to the German people themselves. An unwilling ally is no good to any one. If there is a facade of great military forces in Germany integrated into a European Army—call it what you like—a united Germany, with this military facade, willing or unwilling, will upset the balance of power again in Europe and will give rein to the hotheads and the warmongers who exist in far too great numbers in all countries, even in this country. Certainly as regards the United States of America there are hotheads there. I guard myself here by saying: "Thank goodness the hotheads in America are not in power!" But they are very noisy in the U.S.A. and carry a great deal of weight. You will give these people fresh means and temptation for an attempt at a dictated settlement which will only bring on a Third World War, to the ruin and damnation of us all.
I regret that I was called out of the House for part of the time, but no reference was made while I was present to a remarkable statement of the retiring 210 Indian Ambassador in Moscow. I quote from The Times of April 7, under date April 6, from Reuter. Mr. Radhakrishnan, the retiring Indian Ambassador, was received by Mr. Stalin. He is apparently the first foreign Ambassador who has been received by the Prime Minister of Russia for more than two years. He was also received by Mr. Stalin in January, 1950, shortly after he arrived in Moscow. Therefore, he apparently holds the unique record of having seen more of Mr. Stalin than any other Ambassador has. This Indian Ambassador, I am certain, representing as he does the Congress Party in India, is not a Communist—I hope no charge of that sort will be made against him. He is a man of 72 years of age and, so far as I know, a very distinguished Indian statesman who is retiring in order to become the Vice-President of the Indian Congress. That is why he is retiring from the post of Indian Ambassador in Moscow. This is what he said after his interview:There is no outstanding problem now dividing the world that cannot he settled by discussion and negotiation. It would be unwise to bang the door against every approach and give up the task as impossible. No effort should be wasted, and every effort should be made to get the top people together.I ventured to speak, with the approval, I know, of some of my noble friends, of the regard and confidence extended to the present Foreign Secretary, but I must say that I find a great disappointment in the attitude of the Prime Minister in the field of foreign affairs. In the last two General Elections Mr. Churchill has come out into the open and made a tremendous parade of his ideas that there should be a meeting of what we call the "Big Three," the heads of the three great Powers, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1950, out he came with this great proposal, that if he were returned to power he would at once take steps to bring about this meeting, and he felt that if they had talks at the top level there was no problem that could not be solved. He agrees with the retiring Indian Ambassador in Moscow. He did not win that Election.
Then, in 1951, at the last Election, we had the same thing. Out he came again with a proposal for a. meeting of the "Big Three"—and now what has he done about it? He has been in office for six months, with a fairly comfortable little majority in another place. I am 211 sure he is supported by a wonderful team of good men in his Ministry who will do anything he wants them to. Why has he not implemented the policy that he adumbrated at those two Elections? We have heard talk about Election pledges, but, believe me, this is a matter on which millions of people in this country not only feel very deeply but are most disturbed. They do not like this apparently irresistible drift towards the awful catastrophe of war. They are worried about it. Quite apart from Party questions, quite apart from political alignments, there are millions of people in this country who feel that not enough is being done to bring about a settlement of such great questions in the world as divide the great Powers. I only hope that the statement made in the very important speech by the Foreign Minister in Glasgow over the week-end, and reechoed by the noble Marquess who spoke for the Foreign Office earlier in the debate, shows the beginnings of a new trend of policy in this direction.
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
My Lords, I shall not detain your Lordships for more than a few minutes. Then you will be able to hear a speech from the noble Lord, Lord Winster, whom the House always awaits with keen interest on Foreign Affairs. I have only three points to make. The first concerns the United Nations Organisation and the second the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and, thirdly, I have one or two observations to make on the words that fell from the noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford.
I spent three months as an alternate delegate at the United Nations in Paris at their most recent Assembly, and on returning to this country I found that most of my fellow citizens, if not my fellow members of this House, were extremely vague about the present, let alone the future, of that great body. Just to give it some dimension, let me say that probably the oldest and the saddest delusion of all democracies is that if the nations of the world got round a table, they would automatically and instantaneously agree. It is very sad to reflect upon that old delusion. But the fact that they do not agree does not detract from the work of the organisation concerned, although many in reading their newspapers may be 212 tempted to throw away the page where they read of strong attacks on us by other Powers—perhaps not immediately represented in Korea, or not perhaps contributing a great deal to the funds of the Organisation—and abusive exchanges.
Let me put this simile, although it may be a somewhat recondite one. Every time a great new medical discovery is made—as when penicillin was discovered—it is immediately heralded as a new drug which is going to cure all the ills of mankind. There follows a period of stunning disillusionment when it is discovered that it makes some people better, does not affect a larger number, and makes a certain number of others definitely worse. Thus it is with the United Nations. We are just coming out of the period of disillusionment, and we are beginning to realise that while the United Nations can effect things for the good of the world that no previous organisation could do, yet it cannot effect a range of certain other things, while in a more limited range, as I have said in my simile, it may do a little more harm than good.
A short history of collective human disapproval would make very depressing reading. Looking back over this century we have nearly always seen that the person who was disapproved of was strengthened in his regime. But the United Nations, with the moral power of sixty constituent nations, in its collective disapproval shows that there is at least a stirring, if not more, of what may be called a world conscience. Its history has not been a long one. Its achievements may not have been very spectacular. But it has jumped many fences that might well have brought down an untried horse. If you test those apparently small achievements—small only beside the vast cosmic problems such as one finds in Korea—they add up to quite a lot. There is the Palestinian refugee problem, the setting up of the United Kingdom of Libya, and the settlement of Italian property in Eritrea. The more that body can get into the habit of agreement, even though on the smaller rather than the larger problems, the better chance there is of that habit becoming settled and the greater hope of getting, a chain reaction and then agreement upon agreement, until eventually we reach agreement on some of the things which 213 affect the world as a whole. If anybody is tempted, in spite of that, to complain of the pressure groups and the like, it is not the United Nations that he is criticising but the world as it is and the nations as they are.
My second point is a very brief one. Because the United Nations at this moment cannot hope to be entirely effective for the purpose of keeping world peace, we have recourse to what the United Nations Charter allows for—regional agreements. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, I believe, can be made one of the great democratic achievements of the twentieth century, as General Eisenhower has said he hopes it may be. It will be too brittle a thing if it remains a purely military Alliance, and I shall welcome its spreading its purview over more and more spheres. There is something which I think it is very important for us in Britain always to recollect. We have never been a great land Power, but we have always been a genius in alliance, and I believe that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can show that our genius for alliance and leadership of ideas is still very great.
But in that Alliance we must have the right balance. I was one of those who took exception to the appointment of the American Admiral, as did many of my noble friends, not wishing the distinguished sailor the slightest disrespect, but because I thought we could not have a proper Alliance unless we got the right balance. We in the free countries of the world are faced with the Powers on the other side of the iron curtain. In a democracy, men rule by the consent of those they rule. We must always take the man in the street with us. In the case of N.A.T.O. and the United Nations, the man in the street from many countries has to come with us. But the Russians and their satellites—who are, of course, not a people but a regime—do not have to convince anybody; they can make their own decisions. Therefore, it is of the very first importance that, if N.A.T.O. is to become a powerful democratic community, the man in the street must be behind it. He cannot possibly be behind it if he cannot comprehend its exact nature. For many centuries successive Governments have endeavoured to teach the people of this country something of the realities in 214 regard to something with which we are much more closely connected—namely, the British Empire and Commonwealth. It has been a very slow process, and we cannot say that any Government have been very successful. But if we are slow in teaching our fellow citizens the great importance of this Alliance, we can, I think, all agree that those who try to disrupt the Alliance are doing the greatest disservice to this country.
My Lords, in a few moments I shall bring my remarks to an end, as I know there are many other noble Lords who wish to speak. But I should like to say this in winding up. We can, I am perfectly convinced, have in the latter part of the twentieth century that "Peace in our time" which was denied to us in the first part. But it is not a supine state; it is something that has to be maintained by continuous labour and by the hearing of heavy burdens; and the further you carry burden; the greater the temptation is to lay them down. All democracies, by their nature, are tempted as time goes on to do what we all do in our heart of hearts—lean towards comfort rather than security. Anyone who preaches the comforting doctrine that we are not really bound to hear these burdens, and that we are not really in any danger, is doing this country a monstrous disservice. I quote from the Economist of March 22. Speaking of Mr. Bevan's announcement in the foreign affairs debate in another place, the paper says that he hasconstantly resorted to a line of argument which is as seductive to uncritical minds as it is dangerous to the safety of the free world. It is the thesis that rearmament is not really necessary for resistance to Communism, because Communism is simply a product of poverty; therefore the only way to resist it is by promoting a higher standard of living everywhere.To use that argument is as grossly material as anything that Marx ever wrote, Lenin ever preached, or Stalin ever practised.
The noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford, has to-day, I think, run the full gamut of all those who think they can: persuade themselves that danger does not exist. He said that there was no proof positive that Russia wanted war. Russia does not want war; Russia wants the world, and only war if she has to resort to it. How much more com- 215 forting were these people in the thirties who said that Hitler was not a menace! The noble Duke produced an argument which I was most surprised to hear in this House. He said that the British were virtually indefensible in an atomic war, and that some kind of neutrality was therefore the only means of salvation. The old idea that evidence of peaceful intention begets peaceful intention in others, was dusty, dishevelled and discredited when the Pyramids were new. If there were anything in the argument that poverty is the sole cause of Communism how would one account for the few happenings that have taken place in recent years? Did the flare-up in Korea happen because the South Koreans were so ground down by poverty? Oh no. No doubt they did live under difficult circumstances, but they were attacked by their northern neighbours, using Russian tanks. If we had lost the Berlin air lift, a large part, if not all, of Germany might well have come under Communist influence. The living standards of those Germans would not have had anything to do with it.
They had a very substantial Communist Party in Australia, a country, I would remind your Lordships, which has one of the highest standards of living of any country on earth. No, you cannot combat what is a faith—which Communism is— by purely material means. Hunger, poverty and disease are good growing weather for Communism. They are not the sole or even the major cause. You can defeat something which is a faith only by opposing it with a stronger faith. In the last war, I think the thing of which I am prouder than of any other was that, in the depth of our extremity in the fighting in the desert, we went to the help of Greece, at enormous cost to ourselves in men and materials. By so doing, we showed that when free men had put up a fight against Hitler we would go to any length to help them. Had the United Nations not taken up the challenge in Korea, its entire authority would have disappeared. But, happily, it did. We must show not only that we hold that faith but that we are prepared to maintain it, whatever burdens we have to carry.
§ 8.12 p.m.
§ LORD WINSTER
My Lords, even if I had proposed to follow the noble Lord who has just spoken on the subject of his remarks, I should certainly not now do so, because I should despair of endeavouring successfully to rival ideas which he has put forward with such insight and with passages of such real eloquence. I propose, however, to deal with rather different matters. If we look back upon the years which have elapsed since the war, I think we must agree, without any distinction of Party, that the period has not been one of the halcyon periods in foreign politics. When I think of those years, there sometimes comes into my mind the story of the personage who was asked what he had done during the French Reign of Terror. He replied: "J'ai vécu." I think that is about all we can say of the recent years. The Foreign Office is still standing intact and we are still here. To-night it is not my purpose in any way to offer criticism of what has happened during those years, because they have been singularly difficult times foil those in charge of foreign affairs. But we are bound to admit that the successes are few and far between, if, indeed, they exist at all. I say "successes"; I do not say "triumphs," because I think that in diplomacy there can be nothing worse than a triumph for one side. Good diplomacy is when both sides come away reasonably happy.
But in the disputes with which we have been concerned I am sure that neither side is very happy: there is no Peace Treaty with Austria or Germany; a settlement with Persia is no nearer, while as to Egypt there are signs which give grounds for faint hopes but there is still a long way to go. In the Middle East there is no prospect of reconciliation between the Arab States and Israel. In the Far East, I am afraid I cannot discern any policy at all. All I know is that our bold step of recognising Communist China has merely exposed us to contempt if not, indeed, to outright insult. They certainly will not recognise us in any tangible way at all. But in this scene of disappointments and difficulties, I feel that there is one bright spot. One thing upon which we can build is—I understand I must not call it an alliance—our firmer understanding and co-operation with the United States of America, which one section of 217 opinion in this country unhappily deplores and would seem almost to be determined to do what it can to upset. We have had an echo of that to-day in the speech of the noble Duke which has been constantly referred to in the debate. Lord Silkin said it was a courageous speech. It seemed to me the speech of a man with the courage of his convictions, but also the speech of a man whose mind is firmly closed not only to the convictions but to the ideas of other people.
I particularly noticed—I will not say I deplored—one passage in that speech when the noble Duke spoke of the "lack of imagination" of those who direct American policy. My Lords, America is the country which found a way to give us fifty destroyers, found a way to carry Lend-Lease, gave us the Marshall Plan, sent General Eisenhower here to give us this lift in Europe, with his ideas and his foresight. She is the country which has helped Turkey and Greece and every country in need and in trouble, in particular those countries prepared to help themselves. It may be possible to criticise America for a good many things, but I think that to criticise America for lack of imagination in face of that record is to level the last charge which could or should be brought against her. But the noble Duke's speech is but one instance of many speeches and writings to the same effect—I will not give very many quotations, for a number have already been mentioned to your Lord- ships to-day. Only to-day I read in a fortnightly publication that our reply to the Soviet Note is "muddled and almost incoherent," dictated by compliance with American wishes and killing the possibility of negotiation with Russia.
At every turn we are represented by this section of opinion as following weakly in the wake of a misguided America along dangerous paths to disaster. We must not imagine that these trends of opinion are not followed in America. We have to remember that in America a member of either House of Parliament is regarded by the Press as a person of considerable importance, and these things do not go un-noticed over there. But I have remarked another thing in recent times. While the American Press has, up to a point, ignored or put into their right proportion such statements as those to which I have referred, a 218 different note is now creeping in. I recently noticed in an editorial in a most responsible American paper a statement that whilst such views have in the past been regarded as those of "a troublesome but not too important minority," yet warning must be given that such ideas may come to prevail more generally, "particularly in foreign policy—namely, that the United States, not Russia, is the chief menace to the free world," and that Britain ought to shake herself free of Western rearmament. If it has reached that pitch already in responsible American newspapers, then indeed it is a good thing that such warnings as that tittered to-day by the noble Marquess the Leader of the House have been given. They are indeed timely.
I should like next to look at some features of the Russian Note of March 10. May I preface my remarks by saying that in view of her record I entirely understand the views of those who see great dangers in rearming Germany? But I also think that if in foreign policy you are confronted by two great dangers, you must decide which of them you think is the greater and deal with that, and deal with the second greatest when you come to it. If we have to deal with the greatest danger which confronts us, then we cannot be too choosey about the allies that we call in to help us combat that danger. The Russian proposals are remarkable. They represent a variation from the Potsdam Agreement, which hitherto Russia has been using to keep Germany divided and to communise Eastern Germany. The Note also reverses their previous furious objections to German rearmament. At face value it offers German unity; an end of occupation; no restriction on the development of a peace economy: no restriction on trade with other countries; defence forces; the right to produce war materials; civil rights for former officer; and other ranks, and an amnesty for Nazis except those who are actually in prison. In fact, it offers everything except a revision of frontiers—and who knows whether or not; that card may also be played? I noticed what the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said on that subject, but I feel we must confine ourselves to the fact that frontiers were not defined in the Potsdam Agreement. Although from one point of view I feel we should echo Lord Silkin's view, that a revision of 219 frontiers should be accomplished by peaceful negotiations between Germany and Poland, I cannot help feeling that on the Polish side negotiations would really be conducted by Russia and in those circumstances I am not sure whether they would be so peaceful, friendly and reasonable. These Soviet offers are surprising and are also well calculated to scare the French. While, on the one hand, they appeal to the Germans, who prefer a simple programme of neutrality and independence to what they regard as complicated schemes like the Schuman Plan and the European Defence Community, on the other hand, they appeal to those with militaristic instincts and ambitions.
I have quoted these proposals at their face value, but what is their real object? Are we seeing Russia's third attempt to bring off a deal with Germany? It was tried with the German Republic at Rapallo, and again with Hitler. I feel that Russia, seeing a Western Germany and her industry coming into line with the Western Powers, and seeing the Ruhr being internationalised, is trying once again to bring off a deal, and she dangles proposals before Germany which are certainly calculated to upset such European equilibrium as has been achieved so far. I feel sure that what Russia really wants is to keep Germany out of the European Defence Community, to break up N.A.T.O., and to prevent the formation of a European Army. These are the three guiding principles which dictate her foreign policy.
The one thing Russia wants to prevent is the one thing that General Eisenhower wants to see, and that is that proposals for a European Army should be initialled by May 1. I can only say that if we are to negotiate with Russia on these proposals, the West will be on much firmer ground for negotiation after the proposals for a European Army have been initialled, as General Eisenhower wishes. The Soviet proposals are calculated to upset the European balance of power and to prevent what I would call a European solution to the German problem, by re-establishing the old traditional Germany, with the possibility of alliance with Russia in the background. Nor should we forget M. Schuman's warning that what Russia wants is to make Germany a Russian arsenal, receiving raw 220 materials from the West and shipping armaments to the East. I think there is also great force in his advice that in dealing with Germany we should never leave Germany to herself—in other words, we should make the solution a European one and not a bilateral one.
Surely Russia must regard it as vital that Germany does not join in with the West. To that Russia would prefer even an armed and independent Germany, which she knows will never go Communist, but a Germany outside the Western community, susceptible to the pull of the European community but also susceptible to the pull of Russian economic and military influences. Russia is certainly taking a gamble when she puts forward these proposals but she prefers the risk of a gamble to seeing Western Germany become part of N.A.T.O. If she could bring off her gamble I believe the damage done to the Atlantic Powers would be almost irreparable—and not only to the Atlantic Powers but also to the free world.
What are the German reactions to these proposals? They may be very dangerous, as no doubt Russia has calculated. There are many Germans who do not want rearmament and who believe that Russia does not want war. They would like to stay out of the European Defence Community, as an armed neutral between the Eastern and the Western blocs. They believe that going in with the West will prevent unification and will not give security. There are German industrialists who prefer German unity to joining in Western defence. They see also that Russia controls vast markets between mid-Europe and the China Sea. These same industrialists have to deal with the Schuman Plan, which takes the Ruhr out of exclusive German control and puts it on an internationalised basis on behalf of the European Defence Community. After the industrialists, there are those who think that complete independence must inevitably follow the unification of a nation of 70,000,000 people and that this would make Germany able to ignore any alliance, either with the East or with the West. Such a Germany, they think, would be strong enough to get along without alliances and hold the balance of power in Europe. Again the French must quail at such ideas as these. Then there are the German Socialists, who favour negotiations with Russia, and other 221 Germans who would prefer a united Germany to one interminably divided between East and West. These are some of the reactions which must be taking place in Germany. In mentioning them, I should like to emphasise what must be Dr. Adenauer's difficulties when he has such complicated cross-currents to deal with and how much we must admire him for the good faith with which he is facing this particularly difficult situation.
What are the three Powers to reply to these proposals, which are adroit, embarrassing and perhaps even dangerous? They are adroit because they say to the Western Powers: "We are prepared to give up old claims and negotiate on terms which we have always hitherto rejected. What are you prepared to give up?" That is why I find them adroit. But we are entitled to ask what are the tests of her sincerity. There is Austria, where Russia blocks the way to a Peace Treaty; there is the refusal to admit the United Nations Committee to the Eastern Zone; there are the Korean negotiations, dragged on at the instigation of Russia; and Mr. Malik is pushing the idea of bacteriological warfare for all he is worth in America. I do not want to look these proposals in the mouth too much. How glad I should be if I could say that I believed these proposals were sincere and honest, and put forward in good faith! How glad we should all be if that were the case! But, to take one point only, how can we believe in the sincerity of Russia when she puts forward these proposals and at the same time makes these preposterous charges about bacteriological warfare through the mouth of her representative, Mr. Malik?
Of course, we are not entirely our own masters in drafting a three-Power Note. I should halve liked to see a very simple reply, merely laying down that the Russian proposals can be considered only after free secret elections have taken place, not under international supervision but under the supervision of the United Nations. There may be a snag, in that such elections might be the end of Dr. Adenauer's Government, and might produce a Government not quite so easy to deal with. Nevertheless, I feel that that is a risk we must take, and that our real answer is to say, first of all, that there must be these free elections. Certainly it is a difficult thing to reply about, because 222 we have rather to drive three horses at the same time. We have got to press on with the contractual agreement; we have got to press on with the European Defence Committee; and at the same time we must carry on these negotiations with Russia.
The three purposes present some contradictory elements. My personal opinion is that the reply sent by the three Powers does not rebuff the Soviet Note, as has been suggested by one noble Lord this afternoon. I find no rebuff in it. Far from that, I find that it is too long and I think it raises too many points over Which the Russians might, with that skill of which they are masters in such matters, drag out the affair interminably. What we want is simply this. Russia has forced upon us, in self-defence, the creation of an Atlantic community, and we must see that idea put through. We cannot accept the Russian idea of a rearmed Germany, completely foot-loose and outside the Atlantic Pact, bound by no European Treaty or obligation, and at complete liberty, if they wish, to place all their military and economic resources at Russia's disposal. I should like to see a reply which bluntly stated those facts, and did not argue over this and that point. I believe that it would be folly to give up a policy which has forced Russia to take this new line. And in taking the line I have indicated, there would be firm ground, for all Europe fears an uncontrolled revival of German militarism.
The final fact which confronts us is that the German problem, which has been in the melting pot since 1945, is now coming to the boil; and definite decisions must now be taken. There is a real prize to be won here either by the forces making for peace or the forces making for war. But the lesson of the proposals, I feel sure, is this: that where Russia is concerned, in spite of the doubts which have been thrown upon the wisdom of negotiating from strength, nothing succeeds like rearmament; and that peace will be best ensured by strengthening the Atlantic Alliance and furthering the cause of European unity. If Russia has, indeed, realised that her old methods have not been working, I am sire that it is not because of any change of heart on the part of those who direct her policy but because they have seen that the West has 223 been integrating at increasing speed; and although it is true that Western Defence has still many obstacles to overcome, yet defensive force is being accumulated at an accelerating pace. It is those considerations, I believe, which have produced the Soviet Note of March 10.
§ 8.36 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Winster, will forgive me if I do not follow him in the details of his interesting speech. I propose to detain your Lordships for only a few moments. I was interested in something that fell from the lips of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham. He said, rightly, that international relationships change over a period of years. He said that at the beginning of this century we were probably on better terms with Germany than with any other country in Europe. That is substantially true, of course. On the other hand, we must not forget that in the year 1898 Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary in Lord Salisbury's Government, offered the hand of friendship to Germany, and that hand was rejected; and that in the year 1900 Germany started on her new naval law. It was as a result of that rejection of the hand of friendship by Germany that Lord Lansdowne, the Foreign Secretary in Lord Salisbury's Government, concluded the entente cordiale with France (which was taken over by Sir Edward Grey when he came in in 1905), and in the year 1904 concluded the Treaty of Alliance with Japan. The noble Lord is quite right in saying that international relationships change very quickly.
I will not detain the House, but perhaps I may interrupt the noble Lord on that point. It would not be a complete statement to say that Mr. Joseph Chamberlain held out the hand of friendship to Germany. What he had in mind was an Alliance, and the terms of that Alliance were not, in all ways, attractive to the Germans.
I will not argue the matter. He put it in the form of an Alliance but, as the noble Lord will remember, the Germans were not prepared to talk at all. However, it is a small point, because by 1900 they had already decided on the new German naval law. I can see myself, on the general proposition 224 put by the noble Lord, in the year 1902 walking down a pavement in Pekin in the uniform of a British officer and being swept out into the street by French and German "Tommies" coming hand in hand down the pavement towards me. The noble Lord is quite right in saying that international relationships change, and sometimes very rapidly. We cannot say what the next twenty or thirty years will bring about.
I come now straight to China and the Far East. If I may have the attention of the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, he will remember that I put a Question to him on February 20, in which I asked whether, in certain circumstances, Her Majesty's Government would intervene in the Chinese civil war by giving military, naval, or air assistance to the Chinese Nationalists in the Island of Formosa. The noble Marquess, in his reply, referred me to a Statement of the Prime Minister—a Statement which was received with gratification in most quarters of the House—namely, thatHer Majesty's Government have no intention whatever of intervening in the Chinese civil war, and have assumed no commitment of any sort in that direction.As I said at the time, in commenting on that answer, I received that assurance with gratification, but I also said that the remainder of the answer to the Question required further study. When I did have time to study it I found that the Prime Minister had said that he repeated that Chiang Kai-shek, and those who fought with him against the Communists and had taken refuge upon the Island of Formosashould not be invaded and massacred there while the United Nations forces possessed such overwhelming naval superiority.It was because of that statement that I put my Question, because I assumed that, if any attack on Formosa came from the mainland, the Prime Minister had by this statement committed British naval forces in China waters to operate with American forces to repel the attack. I understand (and the noble Marquess, if he wishes, can confirm it again) that in those circumstances no British naval forces would be used, because if they were used it would constitute an intervention in the civil war now going on in China.
There is only one further point that I wish to make, and that is this. I had it 225 in mind to say a good deal, but there is now only one further point. It falls to the noble Marquess, from time to time, in the course of the very interesting and informative speeches that he makes in your Lordships' House, to make important statements, such as that on the question of intervention in the civil war in China, to which I have just referred. He has made a very important statement to-day. We all hope, as I have said before in your Lordships' House, that arising out of the conversations which are now proceeding in Korea a truce will shortly be concluded; and it is necessary, whilst we are awaiting that truce, which we hope will come about, to consider the steps that are to be taken when the truce is concluded. In the last debate which took place in tins House I said that I hoped that when the truce was concluded, and discussions were entered upon with a view to settling the various tremendous problems that arise in the Far East, so far as British policy was concerned it would not be settled by a United Nations Commission upon which Britain played a minor part. I still hope that will not be the case.
I noticed that the Foreign Secretary, in a review in another place, which was re-ported in the Press on February 6, used these words, which rather perturbed me. He said:If an Armistice is secured there should be a session of the General Assembly of the United Nations to consider the practical issues which will have to be dealt with.I do not know whore that is going to lead us. Perhaps the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, when he replies, will say exactly what is meant by that. In any event, to-day, he has given expression to what I consider to be a very important statement. He said (I took his words down as accurately as I could): "If a truce is concluded, a conference will then take place upon the future of Korea by all the interested parties." That is a very important statement. That is the first time we have heard that a conference is to take place and that in that conference all the interested parties will take part.
Very well. I naturally accept the correction. At any rate, the noble Marquess said he hoped 226 it would take place and that at the Conference would be represented all the interested parties. I wonder, when the, noble Marquess used those words, "all the interested parties," whether he had in mind the countries which were to be represented, apart from the United Nations itself. Of course, it is interesting, seeing that Korea is not merely a peninsula jutting out into the China Sea. Korea is a strategic point in the North Pacific, the importance of which has been recognised by China, Japan and Russia for several centuries. I wonder whether in his reply, the noble Marquess could elucidate a little more the sentence in which he refers to the interested parties that he hopes will take part in this conference.
I will not detain the House any longer. All I hope is that steps are being taken now to co-ordinate, so far as is possible, the differing policies on matters affecting solutions of these burning questions in the Far East, and that all steps are being taken to co-ordinate the views of ourselves, and the Commonwealth, and the United States. I hope that we may be able to walk together in this matter and that Britain will have a clear-cut policy and be prepared to stand by it. I also hope there will be taken into consideration, when these vital problems are discussed, the facts of geography and of history that surround them, for if indeed we are going to swim about in an ocean of "isms," and plunge hither and thither "with the wraps off," then inevitably disaster lies ahead.
§ 8.49 p.m.
§ LORD AILWYN
My Lords, I have no intention of inflicting upon your Lordships the speech I had hoped to make. I will confine myself, if your Lordships will allow me, to a very few remarks about the Far East. The noble Viscount will forgive me if I do not follow him entirely in what he has just said. I wish to say that I regret very much the attacks that have been made at various times in different quarters in the Press and Parliament on a great man, General Chiang Kai-shek. I am not concerned to defend over-zealously the Kuomintang regime, in so far as its operations were concerned over the last year or two of its existence. There seems little doubt that corruption became rife, and so corroded the administration that disintegration resulted. If fear that that is unhappily true. Corrup- 227 tion is not an unheard of ingredient in Governments in Asia or, for that matter, in Governments elsewhere. Corruption —of course there was corruption. And it may not have escaped the notice of certain noble Lords who generally occupy the Benches opposite, but who are not now there, that the Chinese Communist official Press is reported to have said just lately that corruption has increased since the Communist liberation." Be that as it may, it is manifestly unfair to lay the whole blame on the shoulders of Chiang Kai-shek for whatever corruption there existed in the Kuomintang. For the last year or two lie was completely preoccupied with the problem of military survival, and the campaign of denigration of this great man is not only unjust and unworthy, but serves only one cause—that of his Communist enemies. It is not the first time I have had to speak in your Lordships' House in defence of a man I consider to be an outstanding figure in the world and a great patriot.
With regard to the present situation in China, nothing has happened since our recognition of Mao Tse-tung's Government twenty-seven months ago to make me modify the opinion which I have given on various occasions that we rushed precipitately into de jure recognition of that Government. I understand that the position of our luckless compatriots out there has steadily deteriorated, and that to-day trade has been brought to an almost complete standstill. Many of your Lordships will be aware of what can only be described as the reign of terror which is going on at present in China. The campaign, which started as a witch-hunt and persecution in the matters of such things as anti-bribery, tax evasion, stealing State property, fraud and theft of State economic secrets—called five cardinal sins—has apparently reached such a pitch of terror as to cause a spate of suicides among Chinese business men, many of them men of substance and distinction. These unfortunate men, rather than face the disciplinary action and dire penalties which are threatened unless they "confess"—to use Communist parlance—prefer to throw themselves off high buildings, with the macabre result that pedestrians are shy about walking on pavements for fear of what may crash on top of them. The atmosphere in Shanghai and Tientsin is described as 228 having again become thick with fear after the lull which followed last year's nationwide purge of "counter revolutionaries." There are anonymous denunciations of "law-breaking capitalists," loaded police vans rumbling through the streets with sirens screaming, investigation teams poring over the books of private enterprises, probing for fraud and so on—all the sombre, sordid, sinister horrors of the Communist régime and a police State.
It is not difficult to imagine how much all this adds to the tension under which those foreigners who still remain in China are living. These things are happening under a Government which received a certain amount of welcoming acclamation from certain sections in this country and again from certain noble Lords who are accustomed to sit on the Benches opposite. I remember a very interesting speech by the late Lord Lindsay of Birker —one of those thoughtful speeches we all used to enjoy so much—in which he said that in his opinion Mao Tse-tung and his followers were people with whom you could, as he described it, "play ball." There have been similar expressions of opinion from time to time from certain noble Lords opposite. Well, we know now that Mao Tse-tung will not play ball, and Heaven knows! we have given him ample opportunity. So far as I know—and perhaps the noble Marquess who is to reply will be kind enough to confirm this—Her Majesty's chargé d'affaires in Pekin is still not allowed personal access to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I believe he is permitted to make representations to the Chinese Government only in such minor matters as negotiating exchanges of diplomatic representatives and things of that sort.
What have we gained by recognising the Central People's Government of China? Insult and humiliation, together with intolerable restrictions and difficulties imposed on our nationals. I went into all this at some length in the Foreign Affairs debate in your Lordships' House last July, and I do not wish to recapitulate any of these things. It seems to me that the only solid advantage of having a representative in Pekin to-day—cypher though he may be; and I am not, of course, referring to him personally in any way, because he is an excellent diplomatic representative—is the moral support that his physical presence in 229 Pekin must bring to our hard-pressed and gallant countrymen still out there, to whom your Lordships, I am sure, would wish to send a word of sympathy, admiration and encouragement in their heartbreaking existence.
For the rest, it is difficult to pick out a single bright spot in the area of the Far East. Tibet, Malaya, Korea, Indo-China, everywhere is the menacing hand of Communist China. The noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, is not here, but would he still hold, I wonder, that the term "aggressor" is an unjust one to use as regards Mao Tse-tung's China'? Does the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, still hold that the Malayan war is exclusively an indigenous affair'?
Yes, most certainly. There is no evidence at all of direct help from China in the Malayan war. It is bad enough, but the Chinese are not intervening.
§ LORD AILWYN
I can only say that I think there are very strong indications of Chinese coming over the Siamese border into Malaya.
This is very important, and I hope the noble Lord will excuse me. I thought he was referring to official Chinese intervention, as I was. There may be volunteers.
§ LORD AILWYN
I will not pursue the matter with the noble Lord. That was not my intention or my understanding of what the noble Lord had said. I do not know whether noble Lords opposite still consider that Mao Tse-tung is going to play ball. My Lords, with great respect, wishful thinking is not going to get us anywhere at all. It seems to me it matters little whether Communist China is under the thumb and direction of Moscow or not. The stark fact is that Mao and his réegime are infected with the deadly virus of hate, hostility, ruthless ambition and determination to achieve their aim at whatever cost, and anybody who tries to read anything else into what some are pleased to call the Chinese brand of Communism is just failing, in my humble opinion, to face up to realities. The threat is clear and unmistakable and, in my opinion, it would be unwise to ignore it.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ EARL JOWITT
My Lords, I should like at the outset of the very few remarks I am going to make to identify myself completely with what the noble Marquess the Leader Of the House said in regard to the loss we have sustained by the death of Lord. Perth. For six and a half years I was responsible in this House for conducting on behalf of the then Government matters concerning the Foreign Office. They were nearly always conducted in that small Chamber which we have loved long since and lost, I am afraid, for ever, There, for merely geographical reasons, I had to sit within a few feet of Lord Perth, and I got to know him exceedingly well. I profited from his wisdom and his experience. I knew him to be not only a very knowledgeable person, but one of the most delightful men I want ever to meet. We certainly all agree there.
I was responsible in some sense for initiating this debate, though finally I got my noble friend, Lord Henderson, to make the opening speech—and I am very glad I did, because it was an opening speech of exceptional thought and care. But I confess that one of the reasons why I wanted to have the debate was that I might get an absolutely explicit statement—which I have received—from the noble Marquess the Leader of the House in regard to this question of germ warfare. I therefore gave him notice of at least a fortnight, so that he might make the fullest inquiries and get the most authentic information. I think that the perfectly emphatic and unambiguous statement he made about this matter must. in the mind of any reasonable person, lay this rumour to rest—I hope finally. If only for that reason, I think it was worth having this debate.
Our foreign affairs debates during the years when I was responsible for conducting them in this House were fortunately nearly always non-Party. I feel strongly that in an exceedingly difficult time like this it is very desirable, if possible, that we should have what I may call a bipartisan foreign policy. I believe this country will speak with tar greater weight in the counsels of the world if we can speak in that way. Speaking for myself I feel that, as one of my noble friends has said, the present Foreign Secretary commands a very large measure of support, not only on his own side, but on the 231 opposite side of the House, too. From a somewhat long experience in this matter, I would venture just to say this. The relationship between the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister must, of course, always be a very close one. I believe that as a general rule it is better that the Foreign Secretary, having carried the Prime Minister with him, should tell the Cabinet what he has done, rather than go to the Cabinet and ask what he should do. There are, of course, exceptions; but, broadly speaking, I think that that is a sound rule. I think it is essential, therefore, that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary should work closely together.
I also think that it is essential that the Prime Minister should not overstep his proper sphere and intrude upon the sphere of the Foreign Secretary. There have been two occasions in my political life when I have suspected that that was being done; and on neither of those occasions was it to the advantage of the community as a whole. I hope that Mr. Eden will have a free and unimpeded run in his task, because the task which he has to do is one of immense difficulty. It is, as someone once truly said, not a question of avoiding risks—risks surround you whether you look to the right or to the left, behind or in front of you. The problem before the Foreign Secretary is to know which risks he has got to take.
I am going to detain your Lordships for only a few minutes, but I think it is right that someone with such authority as I have on behalf of this body should say something about the relationship between this country and the United States of America. I welcome, of course, frank expression of opinion from any quarter, even though I profoundly disagree with it. In a democracy we do not seek to muzzle people, and it is much better that we should not. All I ask is that those who make speeches should consider carefully the consequences of what they are saying. And I would ask this: What would be the result if the United States of America did decide no longer to interest herself in Europe? There are difficulties to-day; we sometimes find the Americans very difficult; they, I feel quite certain, must often find us almost unbearable—and it is as well that we should tell one another so from time to 232 time, because, after all, that is the hallmark of friendship.
But compare those little pinpricks with the consequences of America's coming to this decision: "We are going to get out of this tangled business; we will have no more of it." I ask any noble Lord in any quarter of the House to consider what the consequences would be. What would the consequences be to Europe? What would they be to France—one of the greatest homes of civilisation to-day? I must say that I have been deeply oppressed by the difficulties which France is facing with regard to her war in Indo-China. What would be the consequences for all the European races—the parent stock of the many races inhabiting America? My Lords, we all know: as things are to-day, the whole of Europe would inevitably fall under Communist control. Therefore, I say it is well that the people of America should know that these few odd voices who are heard in our debates and elsewhere are not the authentic voices of either of the great Parties in this country.
§ EARL JOWITT
That is really what I wanted to say, and I think it is useful that it should be said. But I want to say something as a corollary to that, about China. Of course, we are not satellites of the United States. We have a right to our own point of view and to express it. I think it is only fair to say—and I know the Americans pretty well—that they have always recognised that; and the fact that we have divergences of opinion about this, that or the other matter, has never interfered with their friendship for us. If it is the fact that there is a party in America—not the Administration—that contemplates extending what is a war of defence in Korea into a kind of adventure, with the idea of reconquering the whole of China, of gaining over Communist China, that is an adventure in which, speaking for myself, I would have neither lot nor part. I think that that should be clearly said. I believe that in saying that I speak not only for this body but for the overwhelming mass of people in this country. But there is no ground to suppose that any such scheme is in contemplation, and certainly no ground for supposing that any responsible member of the Administration is lending himself to such a scheme.
233 Talking about China, I may say that I came across rather an interesting fact the other day. The late Field-Marshal Lord Wolseley, in The Story of a Soldier's Life, dealt with the war of 1860 in China. I think it worth while to call your Lordships' attention to his views. I quote from pages 1 and 2 of Volume 2. He there wrote:There is no nation numerically as great as China, whose customs and modes of life are so generally common to all parts of that vast Empire. To me they are the most remarkable race on earth, and I have always thought and still believe them to be the great coming rulers of the world. They only want a Chinese Peter the Great or Napoleon to make them so. They have every quality required for the good soldier and the good sailor and, in my idle speculation upon this world's future, I have long selected them as the combatants on the one side of the great Battle of Armageddon, the people of the United States of America being their opponents. The latter nation is fast becoming the greatest power of the world.I am bound to say that that is not a bad prophecy for a mere soldier in the year 1860, or thereabout, and I thought it was so interesting that I have brought it to your Lordships' notice.
In the main, this debate, like other debates, has been non-controversial. In the old days we used to have one perennial subject of controversy: whether we should or should not have recognised Communist China. Of course, it is open to the Government, if they think we are wrong, to withdraw that recognition, but I must warn them that, if they do withdraw that recognition, their chance of a bi-partisan foreign policy in this country is finished. I rejoice that no suggestion whatever has been made that that recognition should be withdrawn.
The other subject matter of controversy to which I must refer used to be Persia. I used to come in for a good deal of criticism about Persia. Even now we hear a lot about Persia. The Minister of Works, in a Party political broadcast a week or so ago, referred to our "scuttling out of Persia." The noble Viscount, Lord Swinton, in one of the passages of a notable speech the other day, said that "Persia" or "Abadan"—I have forgotten which; perhaps it was both—would be found written on Mr. Morrison's heart. I always wonder why it is that the Tory Party criticise us for having, as they say, "scuttled" out of Persia, but they have never committed themselves to saying what they would have done. When 234 the time came, when our men were being manhandled and put out of Persia, would they have occupied the country or not? There was plenty of provocation for it, I quite agree. I presume they would have consulted our American friends, because what is the good of being friends with people unless in a time of difficulty you can take their opinion? I presume they know what answer they would have got—and we did get. It would be very interesting to me at some time or other if, instead of saying, "You scuttled out of Persia," they would be good enough to tell us whether they would have occupied Persia. If they do not want to commit themselves now, then they had better not talk about "scuttling," because the one, to my mind, is; the corollary to the other.
But I do not want to go into these controversial matters now. I am quite content to say this. If you are going on as you have done recently, abusing us by saying that we scuttled out of Persia and that "Persia" ought to be written on Mr. Morrison's heart; if you are going to say things of that sort, then, in order that your criticism may be at least coherent, you ought to say what you would have done. Otherwise, I suggest that you had better leave it all alone. For the rest, in Persia, as in other countries, in the main we are glad to see that you are doing what we were doing. You are carrying on our policy, and I am happy to assure noble Lords on the opposite side that, so long as they carry on our policy, we shall have nothing to object to in theirs.
§ 9.17 p.m.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
My Lords. I can address your Lordships again only with the leave of the House but, in asking for that leave, I can assure your Lordships that it will not be for long, because we have: all indulged in a fairly exhaustive, and possibly equally exhausting, discussion during the many hours we have been sitting. I do not propose to go back beyond the point at which I last spoke, and to take up the earlier speeches. I am not going to deal with all the speeches, but I must say something about the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, who followed me. He seemed to think that we had been very cavalier in our treatment of the last Russian approach. I should have thought that anybody reading the White Paper 235 would think that we had approached the situation in a very reasonable way. We had made certain inquiries for elucidation which, in our view, were necessary in order that we might know exactly where we stood. I am afraid that I cannot understand the noble Lord's theory that the Soviet Government are always vigorously rebuffed by the West whenever they make an offer, whereas when the West make an offer it is always received by the Soviet Government with open arms. The experience that we have undergone in the past year has not been like that.
The noble Lord went on to talk about our failure to give sufficient encouragement to the present economic conference which is going on in Moscow, and about which we have heard in the Press. The only thing I wonder about is that there is in London, and has been for some time, a large Russian trade agency, and, if all the facilities for trade with Russia exist and can be picked up so easily in Moscow, one wonders a little why they have not been picked up with equal facility, or even with more facility, in London. Why is it necessary to resort to Moscow before you can arrive at any satisfactory discussion on these trade matters? As to the Polish frontier, I propose to say no more than is said in the White Paper in our Note to Russia. We have always taken the view, and we take it and express it quite unmistakably in this Note, that Potsdam settled nothing definite about frontiers; it made a provisional arrangement, subject to such final and definitive arrangements as might be made when a Peace Treaty was concluded. And that is the position that we still maintain. Certainly, I do not propose to move from that in any way or to expatiate upon it any further.
My Lords, it is not for me to comment, except with admiration, upon speeches from two such authorities upon foreign affairs as the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, and the noble Earl, Lord Halifax, who, particularly in any aspect which deals with America, carries, I suppose, a weight which scarcely anybody else in this country could possibly hope to carry, both with opinion here and with opinion in the United States. If I say nothing about the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, it is not from 236 any lack of enthusiasm for it, but simply because of an experience which has not always come my way—namely, that I think I agreed almost in entirety with everything he said to-day. So perhaps we had better leave the atmosphere uncharged with further discussion.
The noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, took exception to the restrictions which have been imposed upon diplomats from the iron curtain countries. He also took to task my noble friend the Leader of the House for being rude to Russians and to other persons. He then proceeded to say that what was being done by the Russians and the satellite countries to our own diplomats was "vulgar," "ill-bred" and a few other things—which in its own little way is, I should have thought, possibly being slightly rude to the Russians as well. But I will not go into that. His point was that this action was unworthy of this country, and that it was a very cheap form of reprisal, if I may put it in that way.
My Lords, we have got a little tired of our diplomats being treated in this unattractive way in these countries, and it seemed to us that the moment had come when we might introduce some measures which brought home to the representatives of those countries some of the disabilities which resulted from being treated in that way. We are not prohibiting them from visiting the country. All we say is, "if you want to go beyond a certain distance you will have to get permission to go." We are not doing this alone; it is not an example of the isolated petulance of this country. We were one of nine countries which brought these new measures into operation either on the same day or within a very short space one from the other. We did not do it without reflection, and we do not regard it as unworthy that we should take any steps which are open to us to show that those who represent us in other countries cannot be treated in quite so high-handed a way without the equivalent persons in this country being subjected to some inconveniences, though not so extensive as those which are handed out in the countries behind the iron curtain.
If I may say so, my noble friend Lord Tweedsmuir gave us some very interesting and illuminating comments, both on his own experiences at the United Nations Assembly and elsewhere. Again, if I 237 may presume to say so, I listened to Lord Winster's speech with even more pleasure than usual, as I always find him a most stimulating speaker to listen to. My only surprise in the matter is that occasionally the voice seems to be coming from a quarter of the House whence I do not expect it to come. None the less, it is always welcome, interesting and informative. The noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, asked me various questions on the subject of the Far East. So far as I can I answered his original Question specifically. If I go beyond that I shall be getting into a hypothetical field, and one into which I do not propose to be driven. The same applies to his question as to who would be present at any conference that took place. The question of who would be the interested parties, would be a subject for discussion amongst those responsible for bringing the conference together. But we should hope that those who could prove a direct interest in the proceedings would have an opportunity of expressing their view.
The noble Lord, Lord Ailwyn, I think, asked me only one question, and that was as to the position of our representative in Pekin. I believe that he was accepted in the capacity of a chargé d'affaires, but I gather that he is normally referred to as the British negotiating representative. It appears to be the case that, as yet, he has never had actual access to Chou En. Lai, the Foreign Secretary, though I do not think it is accurate to say (here I speak at large, without checking the point), as the noble Lord said, that he can make representations only on very minor matters. What the result of the representations may be is a different matter, but I do not think there is any particular restriction on the type of matter that he is entitled to raise.
The final speech came from the noble and learned Earl on the Opposition Benches, Lord Jowitt. We shall all agree, I think, with his view, that so long as no real point of fundamental principle arises to divide us (and we hope that it will not), it is to the advantage of all Parties in this country that we should, as nearly as possible, be at one in our foreign policy. We shall certainly welcome all the assistance and support that we may get from noble Lords opposite. At this stage of the night I do not propose to follow him into the somewhat 238 arid wastes of Abadan. At the same time, there are things which might be said from this side which would not advance the bi-partisan policy. Therefore, although we have discussed this matter in the past, both here and on public platforms (I have read some of the speeches made), I think that at this time, and at the conclusion of this long debate, we should perhaps do ourselves and the House no great service by entering into a long discussion as to what was meant by "scuttling"—whether somebody scuttled, and where and what.
My Lords, we have had perhaps an unusually long debate for this House, but Her Majesty's Government are very much obliged to the noble Lords who in conjunction put down this Motion. I think that it has provided an opportunity for a very far-ranging and, I hope, useful debate.
§ 9.29 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, in view of the comments made by the noble Marquess who has just sat down, I do not think there is any need for me to detain your Lordships after what he termed an "exhaustive and exhausting debate." There is one thing I should like to do—namely, to repeat the apology which I made at the beginning of my speech for not having been on parade at the regulation hour. I think it is perhaps unnecessary for me to assure the House that my belated appearance was quite unintentional, and I am very grateful to the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, and to my noble friend Lord Pakenham, for the bright exchanges in which they indulged to fill in the gap. My Lords, having thrown myself thus on the mercy of the court, I hope that I am now going to be let off with a caution. Accordingly, I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
My Lords, I think the noble Lord, Lord Layton, suggested that it was unreasonable to expect that Germany would remain in a permanently unarmed condition. I could not help feeling that he was about fifty years out of date in his thinking, and still picturing the state of affairs in which it is possible for a nation to protect itself from devastation by armies inside its frontiers. Your Lordships have sought 239 to fight to the bitter end, in two wars, to make the German people sick of war, yet you seem unable to realise the measure of your success. A very large number of the German people are now exceedingly sick of war.
Moreover, I regretted to notice throughout the debate no serious comment on my suggestion that an unarmed Germany should be made a demilitarised area under the protection of the United Nations, including Russia and China. Your Lordships rather gave me the impression that you had never thought of the idea, and did not want to think of it, yet had no good reason against it. I felt rather the same thing with regard to my suggestion about Korea, Japan and Formosa. The right reverend Prelate said that partnership with America was most desirable. I could not agree with him more, but it needs to be the right kind of partnership with the right Americans. He also said—and up to a point I heartily agree with him—that any problem is capable of being threshed out. Again, it all depends on who does the threshing. You need people with a good knowledge of human psychology, people who can handle patiently and effectively the most difficult persons—people who really think they can get somewhere by their threshing, and are confident that it is worth trying. If you have not got people with those qualities, you can thresh until the cows come home, or until the dogs of war get loose, and you get nowhere. That, I am afraid, is rather what has been happening.
I have been a little surprised at the concern and indignation some of your Lordships have felt about Communist rumours that the Americans were using bacteriological warfare. I am delighted to hear that they are not, because it is a devilish method of warfare. But atom bombs and napalm bombs, to which we have given our blessing, are just as bad. I understand that our own Government are engaging in research into this matter, and that they do not consider it in the public interest to disclose how much money they are spending on it. I really wonder what all the fuss is about. I have been reminded of American generosity as exemplified in the Marshall Plan. I should like to say most cordially that generosity is one of the leading and most lovable characteristics of the whole 240 American nation. A good deal of the relief was, I am sure, the outcome of unselfish, spontaneous generosity. A good bit more was the result of enlightened self-interest, and none the worse for that. It obviously paid Americans not to have other parts of the world in poverty, open to objectionable political doctrines and never likely to be a good American market.
But there is another point of which I would remind your Lordships. Owing to the curious economy which the United States and other nations have, it is literally one of the main props of their economic system that they have to give away some of their goods abroad. I will not worry your Lordships with the technical details; they are easily ascertained by careful study. I rather think it was the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, who suggested that in 1914 and 1939 we negotiated from weakness. I think that if he will consult some contemporary-records, or some of the documents of that time, he will discover that some of our chief political leaders and chief military leaders on both occasions assured us that this country was very well prepared for war. And, indeed, had it been otherwise, seeing that we were not attacked, they would have deserved to be impeached for landing us in a war for which we were not ready. Of course, no country, obviously, is as ready for war in peace as when war has started.
We were reminded that this country has a genius for making foreign alliances. I am afraid that I myself would say rather that we have a genius for meddling in affairs which are no business of ours—but that is a matter of opinion. In addition to always being exceedingly powerful in at least one arm of the Services, we also had alliances, and in consequence we were never weak. I never suggested that we should negotiate from a position of weakness. But if you take the fully Christian position, you do not negotiate from strength, you negotiate from righteousness, which may involve martyrdom, and I fully realise that most people in this country are not prepared to tread that pathway.
May I interrupt the noble Duke for a moment? I do hope that he will not confuse righteousness with hypocrisy.
§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
What I suggested was that we should negotiate from a position of approximate equality, and not a position of that dominance which approaches the resented position of the bully. Anything approaching accurate equality is quite impossible in these days of atomic weapons. It has been suggested on more than one occasion—I think Lord Silkin was one of those who suggested it—that our rearmament has made Russia much more reasonable. Now there are certain times when the gravest issues are at stake in the world, when it is highly inexpedient to say too much in public even of things which may appear to be true. What I mean is this Assuming, for the sake of argument, that it is true that the Russians have been intimidated by our rearmament into being more reasonable, from the point of view of ordinary sensible human psychology, what is more calculated to make them utterly unreasonable in the future than for prominent public men in this country to say so?
I suggested that in certain matters, especially with regard to war, American statesmen are not good world leaders. I was judging by the results of their foreign policy and the probable results of their policy, and in doing that I was working on a lifetime of experience in dealing with human psychology, social problems and, sometimes, very pronounced types of criminals. Their methods do not seem to me to be calculated to produce the best results. With regard to their methods in giving world aid, I have already expressed my opinion of their generosity. But American correspondents of mine, who are certainly not Communists, frequently report that there is great fear among liberal-minded and non-Communist people about expressing their opinion lest they should be victimised and charged with un-American activities. I have already suggested that Formosa should be made a demilitarised area. Naturally, if that were done, adequate provision should be made for the protection from massacre of Chiang Kai-shek and his followers. It is further 242 suggested that we want to make it generally known that war is an unprofitable business. I think that every intelligent Government now realises that, with the world in its present state, war is an unprofitable business. They do not need to be told that. We want to go on a step farther from that recognition and do away with war by disarmament, with adequate safeguards.
Then the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, was indignant with me for suggesting that the Americans treat war as a panacea. I would say that many nations and many individuals have that tendency. The war in Korea was started on what I called a weak and confused issue, and without adequate preparation. If those who believed in war had wanted to prepare the ground properly, long before things got too bad the Americans should have asserted that they felt the integrity of Southern Korea to be a matter of great importance; then they should have ordered Syngman Rhee to stop imprisoning the delegates of Northern Korea, as he is said on one occasion to have done, to stop making provocative speeches and to redress carefully every grievance of the other side. If they had done that, in my opinion there would have been no war. It was suggested that the United States had come in on two great wars and had thereby been our deliverers. I suggest, however, that they would have served the world more truly if they had come in as mediators to bring those wars to an earlier end. If they had done that, then, whatever the difficulties of the present day, I think they would have been less serious than they are now and many more good men would have been left alive.
The noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, criticised me for suggesting that Communism could be defeated by raising the standard of living, and said that that was a very low material viewpoint. The standard of living can include not only bread and butter but also cultural and even spiritual issues. Certainly there are other non-violent ways of dealing with Communism. What I said was that killing Communists was not the remedy. One noble Lord spoke of the Chinese persecution, which naturally is of great concern. In all cases where there is persecution, it is well to remember that 243 it is greatly intensified by war. Therefore, the sooner the war in Korea is brought to an end by wise measures, the greater is the possibility that the persecution, both of Europeans and of non-Communist Chinese, will cease. The noble Lord, Lord Ailwyn, asked the question: What if the United States decides not to interest herself in Europe? That was a good rhetorical question, but it is not quite so good if we look carefully into it. The noble Lord's suggestion was that if the United States did not concern herself with Europe by rearming it, Soviet Russia would inevitably occupy the whole of the Continent, whereas by taking an interest in Europe the United States would be able to protect it from Communist aggression. All courses of action in these days are highly dangerous and uncertain, but I do not think it is quite certain that Russia would occupy the whole of Western Europe if we were not so closely allied to the United States. It is even less certain that if we had America on our side she could prevent 244 Western Europe from being utterly devastated, as Korea has been devastated, by being turned into a battleground.
There is a third alternative again, which the United States might more profitably follow—namely, that larger areas of Western Europe should be demilitarised in the way I have suggested. That would expose them to less risk of war, while still giving them all the protection that is possible in existing circumstances. I think those are all the points I desire to make and I do not wish to detain your Lordships any further. Therefore, I ask leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD SIMONDS)
My Lords, the noble Duke puts me in a difficulty, because he did not move his Motion, and therefore he cannot withdraw it. With your Lordships' permission, I shall treat the Motion as not moved.
§ House adjourned at fourteen minutes before ten o'clock.