§ 2.45 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON rose to call attention to the international situation; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. Since our debate on the international situation about six weeks ago, two major events have occurred. Soviet Russia refused to walk into the Summit Conference in Paris, and Soviet Russia has walked out of the Ten-Nation Disarmament Committee at Geneva. We hope, though we cannot be sure, that the suspension of the Nuclear Test Ban Conference will not be a third blow.
§ A disappointing and depressing situation has been created. It had been hoped that 1960 would be a year of progress towards peaceful co-existence. Instead it has become another year of frustration. No one can predict when another Summit Conference will take place. No one can say when the disarmament negotiations will be resumed. The question is to be taken back to the United Nations General Assembly, in the autumn; but apart from that we cannot be sure about Soviet Russia's intentions regarding the future. In view, however, of the fact that Mr. Khrushchev has called disarmament "the most important and urgent problem of our times", it seems reasonable to believe that, although he has suspended the disarmament talks, he does not intend to end them.
§ Whatever the Soviet motives or pretexts for their shock action, I do not think it can be doubted that it was a deliberate move forming part of the new shock tactics which Mr. Khrushchev adopted when he wrecked the Summit Conference. Nevertheless, I do not believe we are entering upon a period of acute crisis. Formal negotiations may be at a standstill but the process of negotiation has not been denounced by the Soviet Leader. The problems are still with us, and both East and West know that these must be solved by negotiation if they are to be solved at all.
§ I have said that the occasion for the changing Soviet tactics was the breakdown of the Summit Conference. Enough time has elapsed since then to enable us to take stock of the situation. I do 728 not claim to be an expert on what goes on behind the scenes in the Kremlin, or for that matter on the machinations of the Pentagon and the State Department; but it is quite clear that both President Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev have an opposition to contend with; and it was the strength of the opposition in both camps that caused the two leaders to take actions which led to the final collapse. I do not believe that President Eisenhower, if he had been free from internal pressures and urgings, would have gone to the lengths he did to justify the policy of aerial reconnaissance over the territory of other countries. Nor do I believe that he would have sanctioned the declaration of a world-wide alert on the eve of the Paris talks if he had not been under powerful pressure from the military, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Central Intelligence Agency. These cold-war warriors are to be found in both Power blocs and unless we are careful their influence will continue to increase and the possibilities of easing tension and achieving coexistence could disappear, perhaps for ever. Not only can these misguided and, indeed, reactionary elements take confidence from the ending of the brief period of courtship between the United States and the Soviet Union which followed Camp David, but they can take credit for it also.
§ My Lords, whether we blame President Eisenhower or Mr. Khrushchev, or both, for the U2 incident, which was the ostensible reason for the breakdown, we must agree that the U2 was an excuse and not a reason. It was clear to Mr. Khrushchev weeks before the four-Power meeting was due that, except for the possibility of the ending of nuclear tests, all the doors that might have led to progress in other fields had virtually been closed. The first stage of the ten-Power disarmament discussions promised little hope of agreement; indeed, they never really got down to serious negotiation. The hopes that had been offered by the Prime Minister of a study of the possibility of negotiating an agreement to limit and control armaments in an agreed area in Central Europe had been dashed, largely, we assume, by the pressure from Dr. Adenauer.
§ And even the possibilities of an interim settlement on Berlin, giving time for a 729 new attempt to find a solution of the whole German problem, which had seemed to emerge from the Foreign Ministers' Conference in Geneva last year, had been ended, again, presumably to meet the will of the Federal German Chancellor. It was only when Dr. Adenauer felt confident that the Western Powers were committed to no concessions by negotiation which could lead to an easing of tension in Europe that he gave his approval to the Conference.
§ My Lords, if there was nothing the West were prepared to negotiate for, Mr. Khrushchev's prospects were obviously discouraging, and when the U2 incident occurred he saw that he could get more out of playing this up for all it was worth than by returning virtually empty-handed from Paris, with nothing to show the critics of his policy of co-existence. The Prime Minister has said that there is no evidence to suggest that there has been any fundamental change in Mr. Khrushchev's policy. I think he was right and I do not believe that this view has been invalidated by the Soviet walkout at Geneva. The fact that the Soviet Prime Minister did not immediately sign a peace treaty with the East Germans and thus precipitate a new crisis was encouraging and significant. There is no doubt that his Communist friends in East Berlin—and, I have reason to believe, in Prague, Sofia and elsewhere—hoped and expected that this is what he would do. The Soviet attitude in the Geneva test conference and their new proposals of June 3 on disarmament were equally encouraging signs that the situation was not much different from what it had been in the months that preceded the Summit failure, in spite of some rather insulting speeches by Mr. Khrushchev.
Since Paris the Prime Minister has said on several occasions that
The Summit meeting which did not take place was a great disappointment, but it is only an incentive to keep our heads and go on with our work.
These are good sentiments, but they are just not enough unless translated into constructive action. Is there Western determination and unity of purpose to retrieve lost ground? My Lords, a paralysis seems to have come over Western diplomacy since the knock administered at Paris. In the Far East, American diplomacy has, as Mr. Hagerty aptly said, "been clobbered". The disarma
ment talks have been brought to a standstill not only by the Soviet walk-out but also by the absence of any Western constructive response to the Soviet proposal of June 3. As the Guardian's diplomatic correspondent wrote on Saturday,
The Russians can claim with some justice that so far the Western delegations have not given any clear and detailed reaction to their latest disarmament proposals.
The Times Geneva correspondent wrote on the same day that
The Geneva talks have got into an ugly rut, and nobody looks for progress along present lines.
§ Then, also, our relations with our European friends continue to worsen and the Government seem to think that this is the fault of everyone but themselves.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, there is a danger of a mood of complacency setting in that is quite inappropriate to the present situation. Of course, it is easy to explain that the months leading up to the American Presidential election are inevitably a fallow period. It has always seemed to me a tragedy that this is so. But surely it puts an added responsibility upon the other leaders of the Western Alliance. I would appeal to the Prime Minister and the Government to exert their influence to ensure that efforts are made through the various channels available, including the United Nations, to get discussions and negotiations between East and West back on the rails. There are certainly incentives to "go ahead with our own work", as the Prime Minister said, and we want to see some evidence that that is being done, My Lords, I have already referred to the decision of the Soviet Union and her Allies to walk out of the Ten-Nation Disarmament Committee. We must all have greeted their decision with extreme regret. Following so soon after the breakdown of the Summit Conference, it represents a further step away from the détente for which the world had been hoping. It is difficult to understand, let alone excuse, Mr. Khrushchev's tactics in recalling his representative on the very day when the United States delegate had returned from Washington to present the Western reply to the proposals submitted by the Soviet Union on June 2. The intention of the Soviet Union is clear: to make maximum propaganda from the apparent reluctance of the West to put forward new 731 proposals for drastic reductions in arms and armed forces.
It may well be that the Soviet Union will obtain a sympathetic hearing in the United Nations Assembly, for nations not represented in the Ten-Nations Committee have been watching with concern the hesitant approach of the Western team, both before and after the Summit meeting. Mr. Eaton, the leader of the American delegation at the Geneva talks, returned to Washington at the beginning of last week to report to Mr. Herter that even his Allies in Geneva were "disturbed" by the inflexibility of American policy on disarmament. He was quoted as saying that he was alarmed at the possibility of the Russians winning a propaganda victory unless the West shifted its position. When Mr. Eaton returned to Geneva after his consultations he had gained approval for a new plan. Mr. Zorin should at least have had the courtesy to hear this new plan and give it the consideration it deserved before taking any precipitate action.
But, my Lords, however much we may regret the Russian decision, it was taken, and we have to see what lessons can be learned. I am concerned that the West should not suffer a propaganda defeat in the United Nations in the autumn, but I am even more concerned that we should begin to make some progress in disarmament, which is the world's greatest need. This is certainly not the time to wash our hands of the whole affair, or to assume that the Russians are not sincere in their desire for disarmament. Whether they are sincere or not still remains to be proved. It is unfortunate that the West did so little to put them to the test. In my view, the conduct and leadership of the Western delegates during the nine abortive weeks of negotiation left much to be desired.
Senator Humphrey, the Chairman of the Disarmament Sub-Committee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on June 21 that the United States had beenimproperly prepared for the four major international arms control conferences held in the past two years.He gave it as his view that, either through inaction or through inability, the United States is permitting the weapons development 732race to proceed much faster than the race for effective means of control.And this is not an isolated view. There have been many—I think too many—statements by Americans in responsible positions which have suggested that the need of the time is to rearm, and not to disarm. I must say that it is my impression that the Americans have been dragging their feet on disarmament—and, it would seem, dragging us, too.
They have not, of course, been alone in this. During the first six weeks, in March and April, the Soviet Union did little more than repeat Mr. Khrushchev's speech at the United Nations Assembly in September. They did not table any detailed exposition of the Khrushchev plan. They provided very little for the West to get its teeth into. It is now clear that they were keeping the ball in play until the Summit Conference. When it did not take place, they nevertheless put forward the plan which they had up their sleeves. In many respects it marked a real step forward. They were much more detailed in what they had to say about controls; they were much less rigid in insisting on a four-year programme; they agreed to study a cut-off in the production of nuclear weapons for military purposes; and they very wisely gave a good deal of priority to the abolition of the means of delivery of nuclear weapons.
The case for the last was powerfully argued by Mr. Jules Moch on behalf of the French Government. On the very first day of the meeting of the Ten-Nations Committee he urged his fellow delegatesto tackle while there is still time the means of carrying these weapons—satellites, missiles, aircraft, aircraft carriers, submarines, launching ramps, et cetera. Once the vehicles have been banned and destroyed, the military stocks will appear worthless.I regret that the British delegate did not at once welcome this aspect of the new Soviet plan, as well as other more encouraging aspects. Of course there was much that was unacceptable. Obviously, the abolition of foreign bases can only be gradual, and must keep pace with reductions of armed forces: but we should have grasped at the more hopeful aspects.
As I have said before, we were disappointed with some aspects of the original Western plan. A most serious 733 defect was their reluctance to envisage really substantial cuts in man-power levels. The first ceiling of 2½ million is higher than the present American figure and the same as Russia's will be at the end of the year if her present reorganisation is completed. Even the second-stage figure of 2.1 million for the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. does not represent a significant cut. I say this to the Government: I do not believe that the Russians will enter into detailed negotiations of controls, which are essential, unless a more substantial reduction is the goal. There is another thing which must be said. No disarmament treaty will be worth the paper it is written on unless China is a signatory to it and is bound by its obligations. Can we expect China, one of the greatest Powers in the world, to accept an agreement worked out in her absence? She has made it abundantly clear that she will not. We believe that both China and India, the major Asian nations, should be brought into future disarmament talks.
When Mr. Eaton returned from Washington he brought with him a new plan, some details of which have been published in the Press to-day. There is one very welcome feature: the force levels for the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. proposed for stage two is now 1.7 million compared with 2.1 million in the original Western plan. But the problem of the means of delivery of nuclear weapons is dealt with, not in terms of abolition, or even reduction, but only of inspection and control. This is very different from Jules Moch's plea that the carriers of nuclear weapons should be abolished, and it is once again control without disarmament. One can understand the Americans' concern at the possibility of surprise attack; but, whatever measures may be devised—unless they are on a regional basis, such as our own proposal for arms limitation and control in Central Europe—they have a chance of acceptance only if they are accompanied by actual disarmament. The Russians have made it very clear that they will not accept control without disarmament; and essential measures against surprise attack are a form of control, not of disarmament.
My Lords, it is now urgent that the Western Powers should reconsider the whole position, in order to submit to the United Nations Assembly a new plan 734 which will offer new hope. We beg the Government to give some effective leadership in this matter. Surely it is not too much to expect the Western Powers to put forward a plan which in its early stages envisages not only a really substantial cut in armed forces but also the abolition of the means of delivery of nuclear weapons, and a start on the road to the eventual liquidation of overseas bases. Any plan must include fully effective controls at every stage; but another plan which highlights controls and plays down disarmament will get us nowhere.
In the long run, it may be no great disadvantage that the disarmament negotiations should continue in the United Nations. After all, there were bound to be difficulties in a committee made up of a team from N.A.T.O. and a team from the Warsaw Pact Powers, with no neutral participation. Countries like India, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Tunisia and others have as great an interest in disarmament as we have, and a committee which includes some non-committed representatives stands a better chance of finding a middle road, particularly with the present coolness in East-West relations. Another proposal I would ask the Government to consider is this: could not the United Nations appoint a distinguished neutral as a permament chairman? The business of a daily rota in Geneva seems to have been totally unsatisfactory.
My last point on disarmament is this. I believe that the major step to get disarmament negotiations into the field of action will have been taken when a test agreement is signed. This should continue to be No. 1 target for Western—and Eastern—diplomacy. We say to the Government: "Press on with a test agreement". The rewards are twofold. An end to all tests would be enough of a goal in itself, but the establishment of a control system, on which we can build when the time comes for real disarmament, is almost as important.
My Lords, I have already had something to say about China in connection with disarmament, but I want to go further. Lord Montgomery of Alamein has often had things to say with which I have been in total disagreement. The comfort and support he has given to Dr. 735 Verwoerd and the South African Government have, I believe, been most ill-judged. I feel too, that he has been lacking in critical appreciation of some of the developments in China to-day. Nevertheless, he has had some very wise things to say about the attitude of the Free World to China. I think that he was absolutely right when he said:I can see no hope of peace and stability in Asia so long as these two great nations, the United States and the Peoples' Republic of China, carry on in the present way".I also agree with him when he says that—the first approach will have to come from the United States.
China is potentially the greatest Power in the world. Within a generation her population will have reached the thousand million mark. Industrially, she is moving forward at an incredible speed. The whole pattern of Chinese society is being moulded to strengthen the power of the State. In many ways she is an aggressive expansionist Power, as Soviet Russia was in the Stalinist era. Her pressures are causing fear all along her Southern borders. I should be the last to suggest that we should give in to her pressures: that would only whet her appetite for further expansion. But I am convinced that a policy based both on her exclusion from the councils of the world and at the same time on deliberate provocation, as I believe it is in the case of the off-shore islands, is utterly foolish. The support of reactionary régimes and provocative policies is beginning to turn against the West, as events in Korea and Japan have shown.
The argument at present proceeding between the Soviet Union and China has profound implications for the West. Peking claims that Mr. Khrushchev's policy of peaceful co-existence is a retreat from Marxist-Leninism. The Chinese have proclaimed their faith in revolution and have virtually accused Mr. Khrushchev of revisionism. They appear to believe in the inevitability of war with the non-Communist world. Mr. Khrushchev has taken a very firm stand in support of his policy of peaceful coexistence and his belief that war with the capitalist Powers is not inevitable. It is a matter of great significance that, in spite of the propaganda he has made out of the U2 incident, he is still prepared boldly to defend the policy of negotiation. 736 Is it not obvious that we should want Mr. Khrushchev to win in this argument? Yet the policy of continued support for Chiang Kai-shek plays straight into China's hands. Why, the Chinese argue, do the United States continue to recognise Chiang as the spokesman for China unless they wish to support his counter-revolutionary intentions?
I am convinced that there is no chance of any improvement of the situation in the Far East until there is a change in United States policy to China and, in particular, until China is brought into the United Nations. None of us forgets the outstanding leadership and effort of the United States in Korea. We can have nothing but admiration and gratitude for the decisive part she played, and sympathy for the bitter human cost it entailed. But if there is one experience which has a continuing influence on the American mind, it is Japan's treachery at Pearl Harbour. Yet neither that nor its vast consequences have prevented the United States from aiding Japan's political and economic recovery and accepting her as a member of the United Nations.
But, my Lords, wrong though I believe the United States Government to be in their China policy, they are at least logical and consistent. The continued timidity and ambiguity of the British Government, however, are both wrong and illogical. What sense is there in our according recognition to the Communist Government of China, while at the same time refusing to support the recognition of the same Government in the United Nations? Indeed, there we accept a discredited rival as the legal representative of China. It is absurd. And it is time that we woke up to the absurdity of our position and took a lead in putting the matter right. Year after year we have supported the postponement of the decision to admit the Peking Government to membership of the United Nations and to take her rightful place there. Do the Government really believe that relations with China will improve without her admission to the United Nations? The history of the last few years has shown that things have got worse, not better. If the United Nations is any good—as I believe it is—and is to serve its designed purposes, it is better for countries to be inside, not out. We do not want to see this country 737 again sitting on the sidelines when this issue comes up at the United Nations in the autumn. We ask for an end to be put to the Government's ambiguous attitude and for a lead to be given in favour of China's admission.
Finally, my Lords, is it not a tragedy that our relations with our Continental friends have become so strained? The suspicions of British motives go very deep indeed. Any suggestion that we should join any of the European institutions of the Six is considered to be an attempt to break up the unity and cohesion which they have forged for themselves in the past years. This is a sad situation. But it is of the Government's making. They have seemed almost hostile to the Six when it should have been recognised as one of the most hopeful developments in Europe since the war. The Government have constantly over-dramatised the political and economic dangers and have sought to "gang up" against the Six instead of coming to terms with a situation which has come to stay. It is difficult not to reach the conclusion that the European Free Trade Area was launched as an expedient to force the European Economic Community countries to join the Free Trade Area. It has failed in that objective.
The Continent of Europe has in part been suspicious of Britain because, though joining with them in N.A.T.O., we have always sought to preserve for ourselves a special position, with our own independent nuclear deterrent. It has always been recognised that there were certain political advantages for us in holding this superior military status, but technical and financial considerations apart, it is probable that even the political disadvantages have outweighed the advantages. For one thing, it has provided a justification for the French efforts to become an independent nuclear Power, too, thus adding to the danger of the spread of nuclear weapons. From now on the best policy for all of us is interdependence and not independence.
THE EARL OF HOME
Perhaps I may interrupt the noble Lord for the purposes of clarity. Is he saying on behalf of his Party that we should not ourselves possess a contribution to the nuclear deterrent?
§ LORD HENDERSON
I do not want to commit myself on behalf of the Party, although, as your Lordships know, a statement has been issued recently on this particular point.
§ LORD HENDERSON
I am keeping strictly to the position of the Party. I was saying that from now on the best policy for all of us is inter-dependence and not independence. I am convinced that a significant contribution to the unity of the West, so vital at the present time, can be made through a much closer relationship with our Allies in N.A.T.O. There is a need for much greater political cohesion. It is hopeless for members of the Alliance to take actions which affect us all, such as the U2, without consultation. I am convinced, therefore, that one of the most urgent tests of British statesmanship is to come to terms with our Allies in Europe; to improve our relations, individually and collectively, with the Six and to treat them on a basis of equality. If we do that, we are much more likely to carry them with us in our policies for dealing with other world problems. Nothing weakens the authority and effectiveness of an alliance of free nations more than disunity, and it ought always to be one of our major aims to remove as speedily as possible differences which threaten to undermine Western unity. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.22 p.m.
My Lords, we are again indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson for initiating, with his unchanging clarity and sincerity, this debate on a subject which I suppose, in the long view, is the most important subject of debate in any Chamber of any Parliament of any country in the world. Before I enter on my few remarks I should like to say that I cannot help reflecting that the traditional wording of this Motion is perhaps almost amusing. The noble Lord, who is regarded with the warmest esteem in every quarter of the House, is good enough "to call our attention to the international situation". Personally speaking, it had not slipped my mind that there was an international situation; nor, I believe are others of your Lordships under the impression that the 739 situation vanished when we dealt with this matter about a year ago and has suddenly and rather unexpectedly reemerged owing to the remarkable vigilance of one of your Lordships.
Nevertheless, we are grateful for the reintroduction of this subject, which cannot and must not ever be left too long unexamined in public debate. Indeed, I think there is a new precedent for this glimpse of the obvious, since only last week we had our attention called, not to the trends or the merits or shortcomings of the British Press, but to the fact that there was a British Press—a state of affairs of which I am sure almost all your Lordships, with very few exceptions, were probably aware. So to-day we attend to the sober reality that, however provoking it may be, there are in the world a number of contumaceous foreign nations who, being most unreasonable, do not subscribe unquestionably to the policies of Her Majesty's present Conservative Government.
My Lords, looking back over the past decade the most encouraging thing to my mind is that the tension and mistrust and simmering dislike between nation and nation have not gathered such momentum as to boil over into catastrophe. It may be that this is due in part to some resurgence of tolerance and of the humane and civilised qualities in human co-existence. And it may, at the same time, be due to a slowly increasing realisation and fear of the ghastly finality which a new war would bring about. In either case we have cause to be grateful. But so long as fear and apprehension assume a major rôle, and faith and confidence a minor rôle, in our appreciation of what is to come, then for so long will our way be dangerous and hard, calling for concentrated and continuous care, both in our relationship with other nations and in our attitude and reactions in the kaleidoscope of all international interplay.
Both as citizens of the British nation and Commonwealth and as citizens of the world, we all wish the greatest success to the Government, no matter what their political colour may be, in their sincere efforts to promote a reliable peace and to recapture an international 740 prosperity. For without the first there can be no confidence; and without the second we should be stepping backwards into the the perilous old world in which excesses of over-privilege and of under-privilege inevitably led to strife and turmoil. Indeed, a few of the perhaps more far-sighted are already looking forward to a degree of world government, although to some of us that goal seems perhaps a little politically indigestible while nationalism in its more regrettable aspects has yet to be educated towards greater tolerance and greater international understanding. Without this, little general progress can be made.
We cannot be happy or complacent about the present state of international affairs. To pinpoint any communal or general failure or weakness which is shared by the major Powers to-day, wheher they are in alliance or whether they are in contention, is, I think, particularly difficult. And yet logically, there must be something which we are all doing wrong: some lack of comprehension; some blindness which repels, instead of some inspiration which attracts and compels. I would suggest, with deference, that the failure among nations to-day derives basically and universally from a lack of a sense of direction; and it is to that failing that I would urge the Government to concentrate their attention.
Of course, the great religions and the great philosophies, and even the Arts and Letters, can provide personal fulfilment for many, as they have done in the past. But in this new age of marvellous scientific progress in the upper ranges, and of new political consciousness in the lower ranges, of civilisation it is possible that these two modern manifestations can offer only sensations of progress and of climbing, rather than sensations of arrival and fulfilment and satisfaction. It seems to me, therefore, that one of the most important aims of foreign policy to-day is to try to give confidence in a tranquil future; and that of course, cannot be achieved by the present atmosphere of indecision, of improvisation and of shifting both policy and programmes as matters merely of expediency.
In our relationship with the United States we are dealing with a wonderful 741 people. But their standards of evaluation of riches, and of power, are no longer the same as our own. Their sophistication, in diplomacy as in war, continues to be of a different degree and, of course, of vastly less experience than our own. The common language which we used to share with them is diverging into two quite different languages, because the characteristics of our two nations are developing in different ways; and, in my opinion, there is considerable evidence that what we used to consider to be a great bond between us—the bond of language—is in fact a delusion which leads to false assumptions and sometimes to disappointment and irritation. We are not the same nation. We are no longer the same stock. I should welcome a little more independence of thought and of action in our dealings with this great and valued Ally, which we must clearly remember is a foreign Power and which like ourselves, though I think in rather greater degree, is suffering from a lack of sense of direction.
For reasons more of history than of present development (as in the case of America), France and Germany and Italy are also drifting in the international sea, trying out ad hoc policies from reasons of enforced expediency, and subconsciously, or perhaps even consciously, longing for a broad and far-reaching and inspired lead to be given: the sort of lead which fifty years ago we in this country seemed to be particularly capable of giving, and which I think we can be capable of giving again.
Russia and China alone give the impression that they know what they want and are proceeding with discipline and determination to get it. It is a sinister impression, and if I thought it were a true picture I should be very much alarmed. But I am convinced that the apparent strength of both these huge nations is based upon the totally unreliable foundation of ignorance—upon the ignorance of millions of illiterate or semi-illiterate peasants or manual workers, whose natural personal aims are no less humane, no less benevolent and pacific than those of the peoples of the West. By a continuing imposition and exploitation of ignorance and of subservience, their leaders can give to the world an impression of mass solidarity, whereas I have an instinct, even a faith, that, in the quickening evolution of civili 742 sation, particularly through communications and transport, this ignorance and subservience cannot last for long. The whole structure is built on sand; and when it collapses, as it must, then at last the world can go forward in a general co-operation in the improvement, the prosperity and the peace which I think is basically desired by all human beings all over the world.
My Lords, I am not forecasting some far-distant Utopia. The developments which I have outlined I think may come quite soon. It is surely our duty, and immeasurably to our interest, that we should bend all our efforts to the abolition of this poisonous ignorance in the darker pants, particularly of the Communist world. In plain terms, therefore, I urge the Government to turn their fuller attention to the uses of overseas information, of propaganda and of enlightenment. In our foreign policy we are certain that our long-term objectives are worthy ones for the good of all mankind as well as for the good of this nation. We have a clear conscience, so that we have every moral right to take all possible steps towards the achievement of these objectives.
But what steps do we take? We mould ourselves in the pattern of a past world, when force and violence and engines of war achieved political ends. We seem to be unable to shake ourselves out of this dream. We spend hundreds of millions of pounds on some contrivance which will inevitably destroy vast numbers both of our enemies and ourselves, without any political gain or solution, and totally unrelated to the old days of national victory or national defeat. And our place in the military array of the nations of to-day can be only a small place, however nostalgic we may feel about our mighty past, about which, of course, we are rightly proud.
I am not advocating pacifism. I do not ask that we should withdraw from our share of protective military necessity. But I do say that if the Government would have the foresight to devote the cost of one Blue Streak programme or of one sizeable industrial wage claim—and I am talking here not of one million, but of hundreds of millions of pounds, such as we expend to-day on a single project—on forcibly projecting the truth into the dark and backward corners of 743 the world; if they would realise that our political enemies of to-day are infiltrating and debauching whole populations of backward mentalities with the conviction that the Western imperialist system is all that is evil, then I think we might start to make progress.
I, and many others of your Lordships in this House, have seen in the Middle East and the Far East whole villages gathered round the local radio loudspeakers which, in their own language and with seductive entertainment and amusement thrown in, are controlled by anti-Western organisations spraying verbal, infectious, poisonous and lying propaganda over millions and millions of ignorant and fallow mentalities. The result is not fully shown, but when it is it will be appalling, unless we take urgent and, I think, lavishly expensive steps to counter this insidious warfare and fight it on its own ground. The small grants made to the B.B.C. Overseas Service and the various information departments, all of whom are doing magnificent uphill work, are really quite ludicrous. Taken overall, and including all the information broadcast even to our own Commonwealth and our own staunch Allies, the available funds are, I understand, less than 1 per cent. of what we spend in a year on defence.
I seriously submit that if an expenditure of £100 million on some military object is calculated to produce an effectiveness of a potential of, say, x—and even that is a doubtful proposition in these days of forward leaping science—then the same expenditure of £100 million upon advertisement of our benevolent and humanitarian aims will, I say, reap a hundred times that reward. And it will achieve it constructively, with added value to life instead of destroying life. And it will achieve it lastingly into the future, instead of deliberately causing a blasting and instantaneous destruction.
My Lords, surely the aim of any foreign policy worthy of the name is peace and prosperity. In past ages we had rather obscure and indefinite ideas that, even if the rest of the world was tormented by violence and poverty, this country at least, and somehow, could prosper in isolation. That hypothesis is totally unreal to-day. We must work 744 internationally for international good and personal survival. I therefore ask this Government, and any successive Government, to give to the world a really inspired and inspiring lead in switching over from the outdated faith in physical force and material destruction upon which we are still relying, to a new faith in the education of men's minds and better instincts.
§ 3.37 p.m.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
My Lords, following the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and preceding the noble Lord, Lord Strang, and my noble friend the Leader of the House, I am more than ever conscious of my boldness in entering this field of foreign affairs. I have only two qualifications for so doing. The first is that I think those who have had some contact with Russia, both during the war and constantly since the war, are entitled to say some few words. My second justification is that I can assure your Lordships that I will be brief. Indeed, I wish to cover only one aspect of the wide field so ably and clearly ranged over by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson.
I rejoice—and I believe the majority of your Lordships on all sides of the House will rejoice—that Her Majesty's Government have made it very clear that neither the U2 incident, as accepted by the Russian leaders, nor the walk-out at the Disarmament Conference, are going to divert us from the disappointing, exasperating and patience-testing task of hammering out some basis of co-existence with the Communist world, allied to essential security against aggression. The U2 incident did not kill the Summit. The Summit was doomed before that time, probably for the very reason of internal stresses within the Soviet Union which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, deployed to your Lordships in his speech. I think the U2 was just a bungled operation of a type which, let us face it, all and every military Power has to carry out so long as they possess armed forces. So long as military forces exist, espionage in some form or another will continue. Anyone who has touched the fringe of official Russia knows that that is so—knows that the microphone is a built-in piece of household equipment like the refrigerator or the cooking stove. All of us know of the true stories of 745 the microphones built into the chandeliers of residences which are being prepared for foreign use in the Soviet capital. Those things are nothing new; they are part of the way of life of the cold war.
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question? He is a distinguished member of the Air Force. Has he ever heard of a country that claimed, as of right, to make a military reconnaissance of a country without their leave, despite the Chicago Convention?
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
No. I do not say that everyone always confine their actions to matters over which they have absolute right, so far as espionage is concerned.
I am not asking that question at all. We know all about chandeliers. I am asking the noble Lord whether it has ever happened that a State has claimed the right to carry on espionage until it gets its way.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
I should not think a State has ever claimed the right, but I doubt whether there is a single State on either side of the Iron Curtain that has not carried out espionage.
Can I ask further—this thing is the most serious in the world to-day—whether the noble Lord is aware that we ourselves have signed a convention not to do it, and the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham, the other day said we abided by that Convention? Does the noble Lord now pretend that we are entitled to break our own word?
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
I do not think it will help us really to go too deeply into these things. Perhaps the noble Viscount may remember before the war a certain civil pilot who rendered great service to this country—and it has been made public since in books—by taking photographs over Germany while he was giving a joy ride to German staff officers.
746 It seems to me that there are only three courses in the future, two of which I think we must reject. One course is to rely upon the hopes of a disillusion within Russia of the Soviet system, which it seemed to me my noble friend Lord Rea was rather hoping might come about in the future. I believe new generations have grown up within the Soviet frontiers who, in their limited knowledge, sincerely think that the Soviet régime is superior to the Western form of life. They see great technical achievements. I think that a policy based upon the hopes of an internal explosion in Russia in any possible time which we can estimate in the future, would be a very unwise thing for us to rely upon.
The second line seems to me to accept the inevitability of a drift to war between the West and the East, which my noble friend Lord Henderson said was very much the line of China at the present time. That, I would agree with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, is, I believe, not necessarily in the minds of the Russian leaders, and certainly it would be a hopeless policy for this country to accept. Therefore one comes back to the third course before us, which is to go on hammering out a way of life which will allow peaceful co-existence with essential security, always, I hope, being reduced in terms of arms as the risks of war recede; as hopes of successful co-existence rise so can we see the level of essential armaments reduced. That seems to me the only line of hope for us to follow.
I wonder whether we have been concentrating too much attention and too much reliance upon the few at the Summit and have paid too little attention to the many in the foothills of the Communist world. Our chosen leaders meet, and then they part on the heights. But it is the will of the masses in the plains below, living ordinary lives, which must be got at, developed, and made to count. It is the will of those wishing for a peaceful life. If one goes to Russia one sees fathers with families, loving their children just as much as the fathers in this country love their children; one sees the devotion of one human being to another, and I am sure none of us thinks that the ordinary folk in this country wish to see the ordinary folk in Russia killed, or the ordinary 747 folk in Russia wish to see the ordinary folk in this country killed. If we can get at the will of those in what I call the foothills and plains, I believe we should start on a firmer and wider foundation towards co-existence than any number of words spoken at the Summit.
We have the advantage in a democracy that in a short term, of hours possibly, certainly days, public opinion can express itself and sway the policies of a Government and direct the line and conduct of the Government and the nation. We saw it in 1914; we saw it in 1939 at the outbreak of war. Many of your Lordships who were companions with me in another place saw the upsurge of public opinion in a matter of hours at the time of the Hoare-Laval Pact. In a free democracy public opinion can express itself literally in a matter of hours. But in a dictatorship country, where free expression is replaced by Government direction of thought and opinion, the process of public expression is far slower. But I believe that in the long run truth will out and that opinion strongly held by increasing numbers of people must burst out. Indeed, if one did not feel that, would there ever have been a 1917 revolution in Russia? It was the final outburst of public revolt at a system which had oppressed for many years past, and if it happened then it could happen again.
Therefore I believe that no leader of even a Communist country can for all time ignore the opinons or do without the support of the masses of which he has command. So it seems to me that our task is to convince, by all means possible, those in the Communist foothills and plains that our ordinary folk wish to live just as peacably with them as we believe they wish to live with us. If we can increasingly get that across to more and more ordinary folk in the Soviet countries, so will hopes of co-existence rise, for eventually, even in Russia, leaders, as I say, depend upon public support and would hesitate to embark upon violent, reckless policies so contrary to the wishes of the masses which they govern.
Translated into practical terms, this means greater efforts to get our ordinary folk to know the ordinary folk in Russia 748 and the Russians to know ourselves. It means trying to get into the hearts and minds of the ordinary folk. The noble Lord, Lord Rea, spoke of the B.B.C. I do not think we want propaganda as such, saying that our way of life is much better than theirs. I think we want personal exchanges between the people of this country and the people of Russia on a much wider and new basis as compared with what has happened in the past. Hitherto exchanges of visits to Russia have been largely those of experts in politics, or various forms of delegations.
Herein lies the value of tourism. We sometimes talk lightly of tourism, but it is probably one of the great new industries of the age. I believe we are only scratching at the beginning of the exchange of persons in the form of visits to other countries. I was looking at some figures of British European Airways, of which I am a board member, on our one year's experience on the Russian service. We and the Russians have carried approximately 7,000 passengers in the first year of operation. Your Lordships may say that that is not very many; but still, it is a start, and if we can develop that to a far greater extent, and if questions like accommodation for tourists in Russia can be tackled by the Russians, then I think we shall gradually get more and more people from this country visiting Russia.
I should like to see a geographical spread, rather than a functional spread, of people going from this country to Russia. At present we get the specialist in science, the specialist in medicine, the specialist in engineering. Has an ordinary general practitioner from Somerset or an ordinary school teacher from Yorkshire, gone there? I should like to see just ordinary folk, and not these experts, going. It costs a good deal to get to Russia. The cheapest return summer fare is £85, unless one goes on an inclusive tour, which is slightly cheaper. This is a lot of money and is beyond the means of many of the simple folk whom I think it is important we should try to get to Russia. It is not for the Government to give money; but I believe that here is an opportunity for our foundations, our industrial enterprises, our corporate bodies and, if you like, our newspapers to encourage and support financially visits to Russia by representative ordinary folk who are not selected for 749 their official positions but just because they are very ordinary. They have only to go there. They have no need to talk politics. They have to smile and to keep cheerful, and they have to be reasonably dressed, as they are, and they will be the best ambassadors for co-existence that we could possibly send.
Thus I believe that, working from below, we can help towards the ordinary man in Russia realising that there is in this country a wish for a climate of peaceful co-existence, which he will envy and which I believe, in the long run, if sufficient Russians felt like that, their leaders could not ignore. In this way, working from below rather than from above, believe there is a possibility of ordinary men and women from this country playing a greater part towards the achievement of co-existence than merely reading newspapers, criticising the Government of the day, or expressing hopes in general terms. I believe that there is a task for every man and woman in this country, beyond reading and talking, to help towards achieving peaceful co-existence, if we will but give them an opportunity of fulfilling that task in some such way as I have been hold enough to put before your Lordships this afternoon.
§ 3.54 p.m.
§ LORD STRANG
My Lords, over the wide range of international affairs it is not easy to choose a topic upon which to address your Lordships. But, it is true, I think, that there is no doubt that the most important issue at this moment is the general state of international relations; and the seriousness of that situation does not require any emphasis. It is not merely that human freedom is in increasing peril, owing to the increasing strength of the forces of tyranny. Side by side with that, there is the explosion in world population; there is the explosion of nationalism, the thirst for independence and the urge for industrialisation. In all this turmoil the prime task of our foreign policy can be simply stated: it is to ensure our survival. By comparison, nothing else matters.
In the past 400 years we have ten or a dozen times been brought to the brink of disaster; and most recently a bare 20 years ago. Nothing in our own history, nothing in the history of our times, suggests that we shall be immune from that possibility in the future. In the past 750 we have escaped—by skill, by courage, by endurance, by luck, by the errors of our adversaries. Through all vicissitudes our salvation has depended, in the last resort, upon the fibre of the British people. At times, unfortunately, there has been a temporary failure of resolve. In the 1930's, in the face of a manifest peril, our people declined to attend adequately to their own security. Having survived in 1940, thanks to a recovery of their prowess, rewarded, it must be admitted, by the beneficence of fortune or by a miracle of providence, the British people learned their lesson. Wisely, in the late 1940's they faced realities one more; they recognised a no less manifest peril. Wisely, they established their security on a collective basis. They must not now faint-heartedly, reverting to the comfortable illusion of the 1930's, throw their security away again in the 1960's, whether along the road to Aldermaston or anywhere else.
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, has not the objective of British foreign policy as stated by the noble Lord a rather selfish ring? Should it not at any rate include the promotion of the peace of the world?
§ LORD STRANG
I am not stating the totality of British policy; I am stating the priorities; and there can be no higher priority than self-preservation. Clearly, it cannot stand alone. Our foreign policy has been marked by two things—by the service of our own interests, but equally by the service of the general interest. That is why over the years, broadly speaking, it has been successful.
In all this, on the whole, the policy of the Government has been sound. In a situation so menacing, so confused and so uncertain, they can, like everybody else, hardly fail to make mistakes. But having made mistakes they have been right, I think, to try to repair them. As for the Opposition, their latest policy statement is, if I may say so, a gallant and creditable effort, though it must be admitted that in places it bears the marks of having profited in some degree front the ingenious and somewhat equivocal draftsmanship of Mr. Facing-both-ways.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, that sounds like what is called a direct attack. Perhaps 751 the noble Lord, Lord Strang, may remember that the emergence of the present difficult situation would not have happened but for the abandonment by the Government of Blue Streak.
§ LORD STRANG
There might have been occasion to intervene on this, but I am talking about something else at the moment.
So, my Lords, what are we to do? Here, I am not quite sure that I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson. I see no good alternative but just to go along, patiently pegging away, trying to get Governments and peoples to behave better and to come to what agreements they can. I believe that that is what the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, had in mind and has indicated in the speech to which we have listened with great interest. We can, I fear, look forward to nothing better than competitive co-existence; and competitive co-existence, as Mr. Khrushchev has defined it, is just the cold war writ large. As Mr. Mikoyan said recently, the Communists are going to "make the capitalist States jump about like fishes in a pan". Thanks to the deterrent, war—even, I think, major conventional war—is unlikely. But tension with formidable Soviet forces in the background as a imminent threat will, I fear, continue, and one cannot at present foresee any substantial reduction of tension.
In that situation it seems to me that there is not much to be gained by what so many people advocate—bold initiatives or dramatic leads; spectacular meetings and visits, or elaborate blueprints drawn up as though foreign affairs could be planned. The last thing we should do is to run after the Russians. That would be playing their game. Nor ought we to be rattled or flustered by their present tactics; or react too anxiously or too feverishly to their attacks and outbursts; or welcome too fulsomely any move for a more conciliatory approach. I believe that the watchword should be calmness and confidence. That is why I feel that the plea of the right honourable and learned gentleman the Foreign Secretary for a code of conduct is a useful, if modest, initiative on the right lines.
As for disarmament, even before the Communist walkout from the Geneva 752 meeting the prospects were not bright. We went through all that before, in the 'thirties. Then it was the Germans who walked out. At that time we completely failed, although the problem then was easier than it is now. The problems that beset us to-day are very similar to those which baffled us then. It is, as it was then, a question of trying to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable: how to marry disarmament and security; how to combine disarmament and control. There is another sober reflection: that the conclusion of a disarmament agreement may be the prelude to disaster rather than a guarantee of peace. The Washington Conference of 1922 and 1923 appeared at the time to have been crowned with success. There was a spectacular measure of naval disarmament, combined with onesided arrangements for demilitarisation in the Far East. The Times called it:A great day for all time in the history of the world.Modern historians take a different view: in their judgment the Washington Treaties laid the basis for Japanese predominance in the Far East and opened the way for the Japanese aggressions of 1931 and 1941.
The sad fact is, my Lords, that any disarmament agreement is apt to work out to the benefit of the aggressive, the expansive, the unscrupulous Power; and this the Russians very well know. That is why it seems to me to be absolutely essential for the Western Powers to enter into no disarmament agreement with the Soviet Union which does not embody the safeguards upon which they have wisely continued to insist; that is to say, comprehensive disarmament, by defined and balanced stages, under continuous and effective verification and control. It is no good signing a disarmament agreement if by so doing we sign away our own security. Subject to that, let disarmament discussions go an, if we can get them re-started; for whatever the prospects, it is better to go on talking of disarmament than not to talk; and certainly we must press on with the talks on nuclear tests. It may well be that, as the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, has suggested, the best hope for disarmament is that it will come about of itself, as tension relaxes. So much for the general situation.
753 I want now for a few minutes to touch on a subject which is more topical—I refer to our relations with Continental Western Europe. We are being urged in some quarters to join the Common Market. If that means anything, it means, in fact, that we should accede, if we can, to the Treaty of Rome and become a full Member of the European Economic Community. The Treaty of Rome is a highly complex instrument which did several kinds of thing. It laid down a number of measures for immediate adoption by the Six Governments who were parties to it; it laid down a definite programme of action to be carried out over a period of years; it established a number of common institutions, and it sot forth a number of general objectives to be achieved in due course after they had been worked out by agreement later. The more immediate objectives of the Treaty are economic—the Common Market, full economic integration, and the creation of an economic entity which will act as a unit. The ultimate objective is political—a federal union. Decisions are to be taken in some cases by unanimity, and in other cases by a variously weighted majority.
In the present stage there is a balance between national and supra-national procedures. I believe that in this the policy of Her Majesty's Government, although a good number of people do not agree with it, has been consistent: on the one hand, the widest, closest and most intimate co-operation with Continental Western Europe on an inter-Governmental basis; on the other, hesitation, except in specified cases and within defined limits, to agree to subject themselves to majority decisions. In this I believe—though again a great number of people do not agree—that Her Majesty's Government have been wise. I will try in a few words and with all respect to our Continental friends in Western Europe to explain why I think so.
In the first place, it would be dishonest of us to seek to join the European Economic Community—in other words, to accede to the Treaty of Rome—unless we were prepared to face ultimate political integration with the Six. The European Economic Community, it has been authoritatively stated, is something which involves the 754entire economic, social and political life of each member country.That is the result we should have to contemplate if we joined the Six as a full Member of the Community and as a Party to the Treaty of Rome. Although it was the French, under the fervent proselytising impulse of Jean Monnet, who promoted the idea of an integrated Six-Power group, it is true that President de Gaulle and his Prime Minister are now being cautious about the long-term political aim. They have never really very much liked integration, and they have only recently come round to it as part of a political objective; that is to say, a rapprochement with the Federal German Republic of Dr. Adenauer. But, in spite of that, there is, so I am told, little sign that at the working level French officials are being any less determined to pursue the political objectives of the Treaty of Rome. Political integration still remains the final objective.
If we were parties to the Treaty, that would mean, if political integration ultimately came about, that economic, social and political decisions closely affecting our national life could, on occasion, be taken against our vote, and we should be obliged to give effect to them, however distasteful they might be. I do not say that this would necessarily happen, but it might happen. That, to my mind, is the real difficulty about the more distant objectives of the Six. Short of that, the more immediate objectives raise difficulties enough. The internal and external tariff arrangements; the special arrangements about agriculture and their impact upon our relations with the Commonwealth, would present most complex problems. But these difficulties might not perhaps prove insurmountable. Nor, conceivably, would the harmonisation of social policies or the free movement of capital, though the free movement of labour might be a harder nut to crack.
No, my Lords, it is the proposed political integration, the creation of common sovereign political institutions, the surrender of sovereignty in important spheres in national life which is the real obstacle, and it is a formidable one. That eminent French statesman Monsieur Paul Reynaud once said, in his characteristic, mocking way:In Great Britain there is the House of Commons, and above that, nothing, and then again, nothing, and then God!755 Indeed, when one thinks how jealous, and rightly jealous, the House of Commons is of its powers and privileges, it is hard to expect that it would consent to remit a whole range of future decisions intimately affecting the economic, social and political life of Great Britain to be taken by a majority of Continental representatives, conceivably—not necessarily, but conceivably—against the British vote. There would in that case be a wide breach in the supremacy of Parliament. With the intimate relationship that exists here between Government and Parliament, it is no easy thing, even as things are at present, to govern the British people. It is an increasingly hazardous task to guide our economy, so precariously poised upon its insecure export basis and so subject to the impact of world-wide forces.
Could we, without the most serious reflection, commit our policies in these matters to the possible hazards of inter-European decision? Of course, my Lords, we may in the end have no alternative but to join the Six. It may become clear that the disadvantages of not accepting the Treaty of Rome will far exceed the disadvantages of going in—that is to say, if the others will have us. This is a point which will demand the most anxious thought. But until that time comes, if it ever does, there are possible middle courses to explore. We may try, as a more immediate step, to reduce to a minimum the damage of trade discrimination between the Six and the Seven by measures affecting trade in specific commodities, within the framework of G.A.T.T. Or we could go further and try for a long-term settlement on future relations between the Six and the Seven; try, that is to say, for agreement upon a single cohesive European system. Can this be done without frustrating the political objectives of the Six or without requiring that we ourselves should join the Treaty of Rome? Could we join the Coal and Steel Community and Euratom and stop short there? These, my Lords, are the questions which the Government are now quite rightly examining. They deserve every sympathy and every encouragement in their efforts to find the solutions best designed to serve our own and the general interest.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for one moment? He must surely realise that this attempt to examine the possibility of joining one or other part of the Common Market is one thing which is arousing suspicion throughout the Continent now. We must make up our minds whether we are going in, or make is clear we are keeping out. All that we are now making clear in Continental eyes is that we are trying to sabotage it.
§ LORD STRANG
My Lords, I would not disagree. What I have been trying to say is that, if we want to go ahead, we have to contemplate the possibility of joining the Six. It may be that there is no middle way. But what I am saying, in addition, is that if we do contemplate joining the Six, we ought to be pretty clear in our own minds what the effect on our internal life will be; and my view is that it is much more serious than most people imagine.
My noble friend Lord Boothby did not really interrupt me: I have finished my speech. I should like simply to say that it is proper that those who address your Lordships should remain in their places after they have spoken. I trust that your Lordships will not accuse me of discourtesy if, on this occasion, I leave before very long to fulfil an important and long-standing engagement. But I am grateful to have had the opportunity of speaking thus early in the debate.
§ House adjourned during pleasure, and resumed by the Lord Chancellor.
§ 4.18 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Strang, has in recent years, since he came to this House, made many important interventions in our debates, and I think he has done us a great service to-day in analysing some of the questions and implications of a United Kingdom association with the European Economic Community. As I am, by leave of the House, going to wind up this debate, as well as speak now, I do not intend to develop that question, except to remind your Lordships that we are part of the Seven, and therefore any arrangement we may make with the rest of Europe would be as one of the Seven countries.
On the last occasion when we debated foreign affairs in this House on a Motion 757 of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, we were on the near approaches to the Summit meeting. That episode, as the noble Lord has recalled to us, was a failure. The post-mortems are fresh in our minds; the consequences flow and, as this debate has already shown, will continue to flow for some time to come. In certain places in the world I have seen the failure of the Paris Meeting hailed as a propaganda success for Mr. Khrushchev. My Lords, if it is a triumph to raise the hopes of countless millions of persons and then dash them to the ground—because that, and no less, is what was done—then human and civilised values have gone very sadly awry.
If we were to see into the hearts of men—and I believe that this is as true of Asia as it is of Europe; of the small countries as it is of the large—I do not think the ordinary people are interested in, or are thinking in terms of, propaganda. What they want is security and the right to live the lives which they choose, in peace. If their modest hopes are callously broken, and treated with indifference, then bitterness and disillusion will follow, and there will be an increased loss of confidence and insecurity in the world from which every country, including the Soviet Union, will suffer.
Not content with ending the Summit Meeting before it had begun, Mr. Khrushchev has now brought the Disarmament Committee's discussions to an abrupt end; and this exhibition, this second act of boycott, was timed, as I shall show your Lordships in a moment, to forestall any discussion of Western proposals which he knew were coming and which he knew were designed to bring the Russian and the Western positions closer together. I shall return to that, and shall give your Lordships a short account of what actually happened on the spot. But in the meantime I want to try to answer the question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson: Following the failure of the Summit, and following the boycott of the Disarmament Committee, what should be the action of the United Kingdom and the West?
My Lords, the first reflection I have to make on the failure of the Summit and the breakdown of the Disarmament Committee is that the world remains a dangerous place. I therefore agree with 758 the noble Lord, Lord Strang, that the first priority must be given to security, and to the security of the United Kingdom. I have stood at this Box before, following debates in which we have been urged to disarm unilaterally in this country, and to abandon our contribution to the Western deterrent. I should like to recall to your Lordships that weakness has not saved the peoples of Hungary or Tibet from aggression: nor has neutralism saved the frontiers of India from invasion. So long as Communists practise aggression and include the parade of force, and the use of force, as an instrument of international policy, so must we say, quite calmly, as Lord Strang advised, that the defences which guard the Free World must be geared to that threat, and there must be no chink or crack in our defence shield. The physical shield of N.A.T.O., of S.E.A.T.O. and of C.E.N.T.O. is defensive, in the sense that the democracies would never start a war. But lest that be interpreted as weakness, it is all the more imperative that it should be understood in Russia why we maintain a nuclear deterrent and a system of alliances, and keep them effective, efficient and, my Lords, alert. The answer is this: we do it for the sole purpose of making it clear beyond doubt that surprise attack can never pay. Nor can calculated aggression bring the prize of victory: and when that is finally understood by the Russian leaders, then we shall be nearer to co-existence and we shall be nearer to peace.
My second reflection, following the failure of the Summit and the breakdown of the Disarmament Committee, is that it is necessary to say once more that no propaganda will separate us from the United States of America. The accusation that America is a nation following a policy of colonial imperialism just makes us laugh. The accusation and suggestion that the United States is an aggressor makes us angry. Twice, when Europe has lain prostrate and exhausted after fighting against tyranny, the United States has been the shield behind which we have recovered the will and the means to live. Nor, I think, my Lords, if such accusations are aimed at Asia, will those people be deluded by the Soviet propaganda: because if it had not been for America's unselfish assistance to the sub-continent of India, for 759 instance, there would now be widespread starvation where there is life.
The noble Lord, Lord Rea, said, quite rightly, that we should think independently—and, of course, I can tell him that we do not always agree with the United States. When we think they are wrong, we say so, and we seek to influence their thinking and their actions—and sometimes not without success. But I would repeat that we will not be separated. No propaganda so directed is anything but a waste of time and when that is understood in Russia we shall be nearer co-existence and nearer peace.
My Lords, one further reflection. I myself have never had any illusions about the doctrines of Lenin. They included force; they named the target—and our social pattern and our structure of democracy was the target to be destroyed. At least that was straightforward: one knows where one is when that is said. But one of the most disconcerting features of Communism has been this: that it also lays down the doctrine that conciliation may be used as a tactical weapon; and one of the terrible difficulties of doing business with the Russians has been the difficulty of knowing whether their moves towards peace are true, or whether they are manœuvres in a cold and relentless campaign of aggrandisement. While history, therefore, compels us to be on our guard, I nevertheless do believe that we should be at fault if we concluded that, after 40 years of revolution, the word of Lenin remains absolute law. Mr. Khrushchev himself, in Bucharest last week, spoke as follows. He said:Therefore, one should not ignore the specific situation, the changes in the correlation of forces in the world, and repeat what the great Lenin said in quite different historical conditions. … If we act like children and study the alphabet, and compile words from letters, we will not go very far".So far, so good; and that may be hopeful. The question is: is this just another verbal device, or does it presage a change in the Communist practice? My Lords, if it is the latter—and we profoundly hope it is; and we give Mr. Khrushchev the benefit of the doubt—then the response of the West will not be grudging. Because let me impress upon your Lordships that we are eager 760 to find areas of co-existence, whether they are, in the words of the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, areas of co-existence which are promoted by the exchange between Russia and this country of ordinary persons—the more of them the better—or whether they are areas of co-existence which are devised by agreement between the United Kingdom Government and her Allies and the Government of the Soviet Union. It is because we have felt for many years now that we could find an area of co-existence in the field of disarmament, and that if Russia and the West could agree, and could be seen to agree, even over a limited field, the relaxation of tension would be world-wide, that we have pursued the question of disarmament diligently and constantly—and we intend, in spite of setbacks, to persevere.
It has always seemed to me that the arguments for disarmament are even more compelling from the point of view of Russia than they are from the point of view of ourselves and our Allies in the Free World. The size of a country in the nuclear age is no longer a protection against complete devastation, and Russia has much to lose. The risk of miscalculation, if the small circle of those who have fissile material or bombs and rockets is extended, is as great for Russia as it is for any other country. And, finally, unless major financial resources are diverted from military purposes and invested in basic developments in agriculture and industry, the future of the countries of Asia, of which Russia is one, is bleak indeed. Their social and economic problems are vast. One is sometimes too tempted to think them insoluble. My noble friend Lord Casey, I understand, will be talking on this subject later. The equation between population and food is running seriously against the great countries of Asia. If Russia seriously desires to raise the standards of her own people, which she admits are low, and earn a surplus to assist the under-developed countries and her neighbours in Asia, then surely there must be the strongest reasons for Russia to begin the process of disarmament, and begin it now.
In his general professions and in his conversations with the Prime Minister, Mr. Khrushchev seems to accept the overriding need for disarmament. So, too, do we. We have said that we will 761 apply ourselves to any disarmament plan, provided that it conforms to certain principles, which the noble Lord, Lord Strang, has mentioned, but which I should like to re-state for the sake of clarity. They are that nuclear and conventional disarmament must run concurrently; that the essence of any disarmament plan must be effective inspection and control by an international body, and that at each stage of phased disarmament the balance of power roust be roughly preserved. I think that these principles are accepted, broadly, on all sides of the House. But we have reached a point in opinion in this country, I believe, where abstract discussions on the merits of general and complete disarmament are not going to get us any further. We must apply ourselves to the details of a definite plan, of which the essential feature is that at each stage it should include machinery for inspection and control. And I say "at each stage" because without such provision there can be no confidence; and if there is no confidence, then there can be no disarmament.
It is always at that point—and this time it has been at that point—when it seems that we are getting within reach of agreement, that the Russians have been hesitant and evasive, and in this case have broken off the talks. Your Lordships may be interested to know what happened in the Disarmament Committee. The Russians broke off the Committee's discussions without notice. They used the Polish Chairman to end the meeting before any of the delegates who already had their names down to speak were able to do so. Mr. Zorin himself had asked Mr. Moch nine questions last Friday, and Mr. Moch had promised to reply on Monday, and had his replies ready. The Polish Chairman denied him the opportunity of making them. Knowing that the Minister of State had been back in London, and that Mr. Eaton had been back to the United States, and were returning with positive proposals after consultation, nevertheless the Russians, through the Polish Chairman, closed the meeting, although Mr. Zorin knew perfectly well that these proposals were designed to bring the Western position and Eastern position more closely together.
My Lords, that is a straightforward account of what happened, and it is very 762 difficult for the world to avoid the conclusion that at the moment when it seemed that we were reaching a position in which we might get effective results, Russia applied the veto to the proceedings. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, was inclined to think that the Americans had dragged their feet and had been rather slow in replying to the Russian disarmament plan. But, of course, the Russian disarmament plan of June 7 was very different from the Russian disarmament plan which had been put forward before. In many ways it was a great improvement on the previous plan, but there were significant differences, and the West would have been very blameworthy if they had not taken time to give them full consideration.
Let me remind the noble Lord of some of them. In the latest Russian plan they had put nuclear disarmament right at stage one and the abolition of bases in foreign territories in stage one. These were matters which needed most careful consideration. So the West was responding, not to the original Russian plan but to a new Russian plan and to a new position. Therefore, new proposals could be expected from the West in reaction to them.
I think that it is worth taking a moment to remind your Lordships of the kind of alterations in the latest United States proposals which were designed to come near to those of the Russians. The noble Lord talked about the level of manpower and personnel in the military forces. The United States position is now that there should be 2.1 million established for the United States and for Russia in the first stage, and 1.7 million in the second. This in itself is an advance. Again, they have agreed on the types and quantities of armaments in agreed relation to established force levels to be placed in storage depôts by the participating States in their own territories under the supervision of an international disarmament control organization pending their final destruction.
Again, the production of fissionable material for use in weapons shall be stopped upon the installation and effective operation of an inspection system necessary for verifying this step and agreed quantities of fissionable materials shall be transferred to non-weapons use. 763 Again, there are measures for the control of budgetary expenditure on armed forces; and in stage two an international peace force within the United Nations shall be progressively established and maintained with agreed personnel strength and armaments sufficient to preserve world peace when general disarmament is achieved. It was proposals of this sort which were not even allowed to see the light of day on the table of the Disarmament Committee.
The Prime Minister has replied this afternoon to Mr. Khrushchev's letter and to the situation which the breaking off of the Disarmament Committee has raised, and no doubt your Lordships will have the text of it available soon. I would only draw your Lordships' attention to two points. First of all, the Prime Minister reminds Mr. Khrushchev (I need not give the quotation):You yourself have admitted the need for patient negotiation on disarmament.It was but a short time ago that Mr. Khrushchev committed himself to that. Then the Prime Minister, towards the end of his letter, goes on to say:The Conference resumed on June 7 when you presented your new plan. You claimed that this plan included features which took account of Western views. This surely proves that neither our original plan nor the Conference meetings could have been as sterile as you now suggest. I told you in my last letter that we would consider your plan most carefully and like you we thought it best to be discussed in the 10-Power conference. It had been under discussion for not quite three weeks when you broke off before giving us the chance, in our turn, to make fresh proposals to you which would take into account your new proposals, even though it was known to your delegate that we were about to do so.Then at the end of the letter the Prime Minister says:That is the situation as I see it. I hope you will reconsider your decision in the light of the views I am now expressing so that negotiations on disarmament can be restarted as soon as possible.My Lords, as I have said, at the end of this debate, by the courtesy of the House, I shall have the opportunity to take up and express a view upon any questions which your Lordships may wish to ask or any matters which may be raised, and I shall listen carefully to any suggestions that your Lordships make. But against the background of the boycott of the 764 Summit Meeting and the breakdown of the Disarmament Committee, what is the rôle of the United Kingdom Government? I am not sure that I need have said anything of what I have said except one word, and that is "persevere"; persevere with our contribution to the system of defensive alliances; persevere with the conference of nuclear tests—because we believe, with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that the questions remaining to be solved are easily soluble with goodwill and that that could open the way again to talks on wider disarmament; persevere with disarmament discussions, either in the Committee of 10, if the Russians will rejoin, or in whatever body is thought appropriate within the scope of the United Nations; and persevere, by our example, particularly, to the point of sacrifice in helping the under-developed countries of the world and showing them that the free world and the free system is infinitely superior to that of the Communist system, which carries out so much propaganda to capture their allegiance, but having captured it, in the most callous way destroys the true values of life.
So we believe that it is time the world got down to work—there have been enough words—to try to provide mankind with the very simple needs which he has craved from the beginning of time: food, work and, above all, security. The United Kingdom Government are anxious to get ahead with those tasks while there is yet time.
§ 4.42 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, it is not my intention to cover the wide ground covered by my noble friend Lord Henderson, but to offer only a few observations. There has been wide disappointment at the ending of the Summit Conference. I think that many people put their hopes far too high. I confess that I never thought you could do more than get a beginning: that possibly you might have got some easement, and possibly some approach to some particular matter such as the abolition of atomic tests. I never thought that you would get very far at a Summit Conference, particularly when, although professedly a conference of the greatest Powers in the world, one Power, China, was left out. My hopes were not very high, either, on the Disarmament Conference. I thought that you would get a 765 certain way, but I was sure that you were likely sooner or later to break down on the question of security, in the same way as every well-meant effort towards disarmament at the time when the father of my noble friend Lord Henderson worked so hard, broke down on that same question.
I do not think it is profitable to go into the reasons why the Soviet chose to break up these meetings. I do not think it is much good trying to grope about behind the Iron Curtain to find out the reason: it may be some internal matter, or it may be something to do with the fact that the Soviet Government at present are being chastised by China. This is very awkward for them: it is like Frankenstein getting into trouble with his monster. But there it is.
The question everyone will now ask is: where do we go from here? I was impressed by what the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, said as to the need for dealing with the ordinary and small people. I think he is quite right. But if that applies in regard to ordinary, common people as contrasted with rulers and Governments, it perhaps also applies to the comity of nations. It may be that we should turn to the smaller nations.
I do not think we are likely to get a Summit Conference for a long time now. You cannot do much with the United States of America in Election year, and I think that whoever succeeds the present President will take some time to work himself in. I think, therefore, that you must rule out a Summit Conference for some time. I feel that we ought to consider more the other States of the world. We have become a little too much obsessed with the size of Russia, of China and of the United States, and have forgotten that there are other nations, as well, which in some ways are quite as big and quite as important. We think of the potentiality of China—and their strength is only a potentiality at present—but we are apt not to remember the potential strength, besides the actual strength, of Canada and Australia, and other great nations, like Brazil. We must remember that all those nations have as great an interest in the establishment of peace as the big nations. I suggest that a little work among the foothills might be useful.
766 I now revert to the point that I made about disarmament conferences breaking down on the question of security. We had a most useful analysis by the noble Lord, Lord Strang, on the question of going into varieties of the European Community. He pointed out that it might involve a large surrender of sovereignty, and it might involve practically surrendering our way of life. I believe that there is an urgent need for a surrender of sovereignty but that surrender of sovereignty should be the least possible that is needed. It is in the field of defence and international relations that I want to see that surrender of sovereignty. We talk about disarmament. You cannot, to my mind, get effective disarmament unless you have an alternative way of settling disputes and unless you have an international body with sanctions to enforce those decisions.
Now it is quite true, as the noble Lord, Lord Strang, pointed out, that it would be difficult for our House of Commons to accept the rulings of an international body, and still more difficult, I think, for the country at large necessarily to accept the kind of social ideas that obtain in some of the countries on the Continent. I am not enamoured very much of a United Europe; I want a United World. I think that, much more important than our linking more closely with the European nations is the union of Europe, Asia and Africa, for I see there the danger of a real clash in the future. We have our peculiar position in the Commonwealth, that we can work in a family party with cur Asian and African friends.
Therefore I turn from these particular European organisations to the United Nations. Can we not try to make the United Nations more like what the world wants? I was one of those who was present at the foundation of the United Nations. At that time we were compelled to go on the basis of individual sovereign States. We had to submit to the Veto, strongly objected to by many of the smaller States, particularly in our own British Commonwealth. It was an optimistic assumption at that time that there was sufficient good will in the world for sovereign States, without any diminution of their sovereignty, to join together to form a world organisation. We were very soon disillusioned, mainly through 767 the Russians desire to upset the whole position.
I think the noble Earl the Leader of the House was wise in his suggestion that we should never assume that there has been no change in Russia. I realise that it is difficult to know what lies behind a particular Russian speech, but I think it was sufficient that Mr. Khrushchev pointed out that Lenin was not absolute Holy Writ but had to be read in the light of modern circumstances 40 years after the Revolution, in a very different world—how different perhaps we do not realise. I do not think we ever realise quite how different the world has become, owing to the nuclear weapon and the means of delivering it. After all, Lenin was born in the era when barricade fighting in the Revolution was still possible. To my mind, that went with the machine gun, and it has certainly gone to-day.
What I think you have to consider is not that you are likely to get a conversion of the leaders of the Soviet Union to the kind of conception of the way of life of the West. What you have to look at is what they regard as their self-interest. For many years the old self-interest of Russian Communists was survival. They regarded themselves as the hope of a new world order. Their one fear was that they would be overwhelmed by the capitalist States, and the question was: could they survive? I think your Lordships will find that that attitude of mind has changed now. Mr. Khrushchev said, "We feel we are succeeding"; and they do feel that they are succeeding. In fact, on their line of material prosperity, they think they are on the way up, and they think they are strong enough for their ideas to conquer the world without having to make war. That is significant, because they must also realise perfectly clearly that if there were a war their civilisation might be destroyed equally with ours. It may be also that they are a little apprehensive of a great nation to the East of them. They may not feel quite so certain that they are going to be the rulers of a Communist world. Therefore I claim that they may well think that it is worth while, if they can, to purchase security because they believe their way of life will succeed.
I believe that our way will succeed, and that our way of life will be secured. 768 We have temporary defences like N.A.T.O. and the rest. They are admittedly devices, because we could not get full security under U.N.O. I believe that what we need now is to work, not entirely apart from the summit Powers, but to get a world opinion—and it is forming in many countries—to try to rid us of this fear of war. I think that, despite their brave talk, the rulers of Russia are not free from fear. I do not think that those who control the United States of America are free from fear. If we could rid the world of that fear, we should have a much better chance of settling some of the other questions which affect us. But unless we get rid of this fear, the fear that prompts people to imagine that they can get protection by all sorts of strategic positions, I do not think that we shall be able to deal with Berlin. I think that Berlin and even the satellite countries are less an exercise in Communist penetration than the formation of a kind of bursting layer against attack from the West. In the same way, there is the trouble in regard to the attitude of the United States of America over Formosa. There, the question is fear of China.
Therefore I want to see a really strong move forward for total disarmament, coupled with a surrender of sovereignty to a re-made United Nations. As it is to-day, the United Nations is an impossible instrument for world government. It could be made a real world instrument. You could have a rule of law; you could have courts, and you could have an international police force, though that, to my mind, should not be made up of national contingents but of one force owing allegiance only to the world. I find, in going about other countries, that there are many people coming to the conclusion that this idea of world government or the rule of law is no longer the idle dream of some visionary but the only practical alternative to the way we are going.
There are people who say, "Well, it is not practical." If you look at the world as it is to-day, and if you came from another planet you would not think it very practical. There are those who say, "Of course, it is very good, but it will take a long time." I question whether we have much time. We are very optimistic and think that things will 769 last for our time. I am old enough to remember many things that were thought would last our time, and they have gone. The time is urgent, and I believe people are ready for a move of that kind. Above all, it is something in which you could get the enthusiasm of young people. Young people's enthusiasm sometimes runs very finely to patriotism. It may run to mere aggression and imperialism. But youth must have an ideal and the ideal must be a positive one, not just the absence of war. I should like to see propaganda and a lead made on an idealist basis to attract the minds and hearts of the youth of the world, and within this security we can then begin that tremendous task of raising those enormous sections of the world that live on the borders of poverty.
At the present moment there are two things that we might do. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Rea; we could do a good deal more in the way of, not exactly propaganda, but information. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, that we might do a good deal more with talks and meetings between peoples—between the ordinary people. But I think, too, that we could do more by trying to get a move forward in the United Nations, not allowing it to be a mere forum for disputes, not even praising all the lesser things that are done when the big thing is a failure. To-day, although there is nationalism—I agree still in the flood in Africa; not so much in the flood, perhaps, in Asia—those who are attaining their freedom are to-day realising that it is a pretty chilly world for the isolated small State, and it may be that they would be willing to surrender part of their new found freedom provided everybody is agreed to surrender part.
I want to emphasise that, in my view, that is the hope of the world to-day, and I am happy that in these last few years have seen acceptance of the idea more and more in different countries and in our own country, and in detailed working out of the idea. The alternative is spending immense sums on armaments, living in a world precariously balanced, with the danger at any time of an explosion that can destroy our civilisation. We have our ideals for our civilisation. It is worth while remembering that although we disagree with them, the Russians have 770 their ideals and they want them to conquer. But we are realising, I think, on all sides to-day, that while you may have competitive co-existence, competitive co-existence among fully armed nations will end only in suicide and destruction.
§ 5.4 p.m.
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, the broad picture of the international situation has been so ably and splendidly put to us by many speakers, by the noble Earl, the Leader of the House, by Lord Henderson and by Earl Attlee, that I feel it would be out of place for one such as myself to attempt anything in the nature of following up that broad and sweeping picture. I am, indeed, tempted to follow the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, who, I think, knows that I have been interested for some eight or nine years in the world government movement. What puzzles and bewilders me is just this: suppose that to-morrow you could wave a magic wand and have this world government, would you not merely have projected the ideological division of the world as it is now into a world government, into a world police force. That seems to me the great difficulty. I would agree, always let us keep at the top of the mountain the vision of world government as something to aim at when we perhaps negotiate with the Russians; but I just cannot see its coming about except in a form which would tend possibly to divide, more than unite, the world as it is at this present moment.
§ EARL ATTLEE
May I put this to the noble Lord? I see his point. I quite agree that there are grave injustices in the world to-day, but, as we have seen, we are powerless to end them. We cannot try to end them by world war. Get rid of war and you may have a better chance of ending them. They can be ended only by consent and action.
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
I would agree with the noble Earl. I feel that we are sufficiently removed from the sabotage of the Summit Conference to make anything in the nature of a post-mortem rather a waste of time. I would attempt only to add a footnote about the past on the question of espionage, raised by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye.
The U2 incident, significant as it certainly was at the time, I think tended to blur our vision as to the permanent 771 realities. There has been dismay expressed that U2 flights could take place without reference to other Powers, and the Americans themselves have indulged in a heart-searching process and have come to the conclusion that all is not right in regard to the liaison between the White House and their Central Intelligence Agency. It seems to me that, from the point of view of pure intelligence, this represents a misunderstanding as to how intelligence works. Somewhere at the top the knowledge must be pooled and interpreted, and of course put to use. But the methods by which you achieve that knowledge must be the methods by which one hand does not know what the other hand is doing. I am quite certain that anybody with experience in intelligence work would confirm that that is the position. So far as we have to consider espionage, I suggest that it is just the same manifestation of fear and war psychology the world over, whether it be conducted 60,000 feet in the air over enemy soil, or on the ground on enemy soil, from the shelter of an Embassy.
In my view, the Summit which never took place served two purposes. First, it served to warn us of the mentality of those with whom we have to deal. Secondly, to me, it suggested that all is not quite right with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. And with that in mind I am confining my comments to the rather parochial aspect of the North Atlantic Treaty. I would first perhaps support the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in his suggestion that there is one way in which we could help Atlantic unity, and that is by conveying a little bit more the impression that we welcome a new political unity in Europe. We are obsessed, as it seems to me, by failures. We are obsessed by the failure of the Summit; we are obsessed by the failure of the United States in Japan; by the failure to halt the naked and callous and cynical aggression of the Chinese in Tibet, and so on.
In all these obsessions we have overlooked the wind of change that is blowing across Europe, across the water—the wind of change which is as strong as any wind which is blowing in Africa to-day. I wonder how many of your Lordships noticed that in a recent broadcast to the French nation the French 772 President closed by talking of the advent one day perhaps of an imposing confederation. I well realise that there may be extremely practical difficulties in joining any political set-up. But this impression of cold indifference to what is happening in Europe is no contribution, I am suggesting, to the wider strength of the Atlantic alliance that we all seek.
In trying to answer the question which the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, posed, "Where do we go from here?" I have made a very close study of the Labour Party's statement which was recently put out. Indeed, I find it useful to use that statement to some extent as the text for my own views, which are in no way necessarily at variance with that statement. Whilst we on this side of the House might feel in disagreement with some of the points raised, we should not overlook the fact, first of all, that the statement reaffirms a faith in collective security through our alliances; that the United Nations, through its own division, is incapable of providing us with that collective security; and, more significantly, that if N.A.T.O. were in any way to be weakened by inner rivalries, then those rivalries would be reflected in any negotiations between East and West.
Will the noble Lord forgive my interrupting him? He has not overlooked, has he, the fact that for the first time the statement comes out for world government?
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
I have by no means overlooked that, and I would say that it is significant. But I am speaking only in reference to the North Atlantic Treaty with which I think the statement was largely concerned, and I would say that, with much so clearly and so soberly stated, it would be wrong for us on this side of the House in any way to exploit any differences and difficulties that the Opposition are experiencing. Indeed, rather should we welcome statements when and where it is clear that the interests of the country have been placed first.
I am therefore claiming to look at the future of the North Atlantic Alliance, but not in any Party spirit. It is in that non-Party spirit that I find myself rather bewildered at certain complications and doubts which are introduced into a situation which, if we 773 stick to essentials, to my mind should be so simple. If we all agree that, in a world which has not yet mastered the art of how to destroy armaments, N.A.T.O. is the cornerstone of Western Defence, then surely the old adage, that a good team adds up to just a little bit more than the individual contribution of the members of the team (in this case the team is a "Rugger" side of some fifteen players) surely applies to N.A.T.O. as a factor absolutely vital in either its success or its failure. It is against that kind of background that I find certain doubts which are raised as entirely artificial—a doubt, for instance, posed to us in this question: should we or should we not be an independent nuclear Power? If, by "an independent nuclear Power", is meant a Power that not only makes its own nuclear armaments, but also reserves the right to use them without reference to other Powers, then I should hope indeed that we are not such a Power.
I submit that the only questions we have to ask are the kind of questions which a Supreme Commander would ask first of all, is a nuclear deterrent technically effective? Secondly, are those who have to use it well trained in its use? And thirdly, is it credible to a potential enemy?—by which I mean, is it regarded by an enemy as effective against him in regard both to its technical considerations and to its political control. I personally do not mind if Luxembourg produces a nuclear weapon, provided that those conditions are fulfilled. I realise that in saying that I am at variance with the Labour Party policy. But I hasten to add that it so happens that the Americans are far better able to manufacture the nuclear weapon, and for that practical reason I would not quarrel with the Opposition view that manufacture of a nuclear weapon should be confined to the United States. Whether it follows from that that our own contribution should be mainly in the form of larger conventional forces it is not, it seems to me, for any one political Party to judge; it is again a matter for the Supreme Commander to say what he wants and for the Government of the day to meet those wishes, so far as may be possible, and so far as may be compatible with our own rather peculiar kind of obligations.
As I see it, our difficulty stems from a confusion in our mind about two inter 774 national conditions. On the one hand, the international situation is interpreted as a challenge, mainly ideological, finding its expression in the determination of the Western Alliance to defend its heritage against the Communists. On the other hand, it is also interpreted—and to my mind too often interpreted—as a rivalry, more material than ideological, between the two giants, the United States and the U.S.S.R. That is where this latter aspect of the international situation tends to obscure the former and, to my mind, more realistic aspect, so that the public becomes muddled. I suggest that that confusion is reflected in one sentence in the Opposition Party statement—I quote:We must also seek to obtain from the United States an undertaking that they will not use their strategic deterrent without the agreement of N.A.T.O.I should hope so! The whole concept that Western defence can be classified, on the one hand, as strategic under some independent, separate control of the United States, while the defence of Europe as a whole is more a tactical matter for S.H.A.P.E. in which the Americans play only their incidental part, is an extremely dangerous kind of situation.
Two years ago I was wandering about that great American installation Wheeler's Field, in Libya. In my innocence I had imagined that it was something to do with N.A.T.O. After all, there was, and still is, only one potential enemy. Of course I was wrong, and the United States Commander, who seemed quite horrified at my mistake, was quick to remind me that I was wrong. He asked me to remember that his Force was part of the American Strategic Air Command. The top leadership may be satisfied that they understand the chain of responsibility, but for the layman such as myself it is conditions of that sort which are the background to a whispering campaign—a campaign which may be malicious, and may be misinformed, but which nevertheless is there—that the United States calls the tune and exercises a governing control over Western policy. By "Western policy" I mean the policy of fifteen Powers. I have searched through this enormous publication: Facts About N.A.T.O. put out from the Palais de Chaillot, and from beginning to end I 775 can find not one single reference to the American Strategic Air Command. Somehow, this suspicion that political control is over-concentrated in one Power has to be broken down. It is an unfortunate impression, because in the minds of the public it creates a psychological resentment; and anything the United States can do to remove it will be not only in their own interests, but in the interests of the great Alliance which they have so faithfully supported since the days when Senator Vandenburg first passed his resolution through Congress in June, 1948.
Then there is the proposal that in this one respect, of the tasks for which N.A.T.O. is responsible, the machinery should be both streamlined and rationalised. The fact that a Moroccan or Libyan base is geographically outside the defined area of the North Atlantic Treaty, and therefore lies outside the control of either the Central or Southern European Air Commands, to my mind is not the point. The point is that the potential target in each case is just the same. As for political control, I would agree with the Opposition view that we should spell out clearly that the first H-bomb is never going to be dropped by us, which must mean that political control can be vested only in the Presidents of the United States and France and the British Prime Minister, to whom that Standing Group in Washington must be in a position to turn at every moment of the night and day for both consultation and instruction once a situation of real crisis is around the corner. If we could be satisfied that the very top of the machinery was so designed as to cover decisions and situations of that nature, I believe that below the highest level we have no very difficult questions to answer.
If we place ourselves in the position of a citizen of one of the smaller Powers of the Alliance, let us ask what is his interest. Is the man in the street in Lisbon or Athens ever really going to demand his exact fractional share of every move that has to be made? Is it really to be a case, as the Prime Minister put it, of one finger on the trigger but 15 on the safety catch? I do not believe it for a moment. Nor do I believe that the conduct of Atlantic defence would be possible or credible if it were so. What 776 matters is that the man in Lisbon or Athens, or elsewhere, should trust his representative on the Atlantic Council, and that that man in turn should have the confidence of the Standing Group and accept its rulings with a good will. Where there is trust and confidence no problem arises. When there is no trust and confidence then, of course, no treaty organisation is worth the paper on which it is written.
I have only once paid a visit to S.H.A.P.E., in the days of General Gruenther, but I certainly came away with the impression that S.H.A.P.E. under General Gruenther, and the wider organisation under the noble Lord, Lord Ismay, was such that the seeds of trust and confidence had certainly been well and truly sown; and for that reason I am not suggesting that there is any drastic need for revision of the machinery. The fact that although the unanimity rule governs proceedings, the Veto as understood at the United Nations has never once had to be exercised, is a fact which, I think, speaks for itself.
I would suggest that in one respect a greater loyalty is demanded, not from the N.A.T.O. staff but from the Governments of the member States. Your Lordships may remember that in 1956, a Committee of three was set up to put forward recommendations for strengthening the organisation on the side of non-military co-operation. I cannot help feeling that Governments have rather lost sight of that part of co-operation and of their recommendations—and I am not necessarily thinking of Her Majesty's Government. For example, there was a recommendation that disputes between member States should be submitted to the "good offices" procedure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation before resort was had to any international agency. Well, Turkey, Greece and Great Britain had their differences about Cyprus, and one member, Greece, took the difference straight to the United Nations.
But I am not stressing any point of detail in regard to the working of that 1956 Committee. Instead, I want to make one rather different proposition. It is that although good brains, hard work and foolproof plans and friendly co-operation are all there on the around in Paris, at the Headquarters, in Kolsaas, in 777 Norway, in Izmia and elsewhere, those things are not yet supported by the determined and collective will of the great free community that they represent. In terms of reality, that means that we cannot expect Aldermaston marches on behalf of the North Atlantic Alliance. There are, in this country, several organisations. There is the British-Atlantic Committee, the European Atlantic Group, under the presidency of the noble Lord, Lord Bessborough—and if he were present I hope he would agree that I am an active member of it—and there is the Atlantic Treaty Association itself. All these meet a certain social and intellectual need, but they mean absolutely nothing whatever to the British public. I see here a great challenge, merely to stir men's minds—and I think in terms of millions—to a sense of mutual loyalty in freedom.
I just want to offer one thought as to our duty in that particular matter. Your Lordships may remember that a year ago a formidable Atlantic Congress was held in London. In one of the subcommittees a resolution was passed that a new division of N.A.T.O. should be set up which would be the focus for member States to use in counteracting the ideological assault against the West. The noble Lord, Lord Rea, referred to that assault. In that committee we were reminded that the Soviet Union spends the equivalent of no less than 2,000 million dollars a year on it. I did not quite agree with that particular recommendation, for it seemed to me to assume too much and that results could be obtained by striking a kind of balance sheet of rival ideologies and hoping that Governments would get on with its distribution. I wonder whether any of the recommendations of that committee were ever looked at again, because there were a lot of experts on it. At least one need certainly emerged—the need for a small, specialised group at N.A.T.O. (not necessarily a large department or division) to study this particular aspect of public relations of N.A.T.O. Personally, I can think of any number of measures which might merit their attention—I will not bother to list them. I only make the point that I am fairly certain that as yet no committee of N.A.T.O. has given the matter very much thought.
Finally, there is the question of feeding our own moral and psychological 778 needs. Here I would beg that we be not shy or scornful of the methods of mass psychology. What I am going to say may be a matter of letting my own imagination run away with me. It may even invite ridicule. I ask your Lordships to suppose that every family in this land and in the 14 other lands concerned were to have put in front of them, to sign, a simple statement of faith setting out the proposition that freedom, with its known limitations, was judged to be something a bit better than Communism, with its known material creeds. Suppose that that statement could set out the terms of an ideology of freedom beside which Karl Marx would look out of date. Assume then that millions subscribed to it, and that Western leadership could go to the next Summit fortified by it, not timidly in any sense of apology but proclaiming it as a faith from which they can negotiate. Would that kind of operation not be considered worth while?
Inside your Lordships' House it may sound eccentric and like a figment of the imagination. We have to remember that we do not speak for life in its millions in the fields and factories of Europe or on the other side of the Atlantic. Of this much I am quite certain: that unless the North Atlantic Organisation can be armed with a moral conviction, the finest machine for military and political co-operation will avail us absolutely nothing. If asked to translate that into action, I would merely ask that at the Headquarters of the Atlantic Alliance a few good men sit down to work, plan and advise on how that apparently forgotten factor can be injected into the stream of our free and tolerant ways of life under democracy.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, I agree with a good deal of what the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, has said in the speech he has just made to us—a position in which I do not always find myself. But I rather disagreed with him when he said he believed that attempts to diagnose the reason for the failure of the Paris Summit Conference were futile and of no value. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in a speech for which I thought we were all very much indebted to him, did make such a diagnosis. He placed the failure of the Summit Conference in the very forefront of his argument; and I, 779 for my part, felt that he was very much in the right to do so.
The noble Lord then, of course, went on to discuss the problem of the more recent failure of the Disarmament Committee. I felt that his analysis of that was very true, and I found myself quite unconvinced by the reply made to him by the noble Earl who leads the House, who, in effect, asked your Lordships to believe that the whole thing was going very well and that the only reason the Russians walked out was that the Americans were just putting forward a very reasonable and likely scheme. Really, I should have thought that he and his colleagues were putting their heads into the sand like a set of ostriches if that was their impression of the situation. After all, it was only a day or two ago that the Foreign Secretary himself issued a statement to the effect that statements that the Committee were failing were completely unfounded—which just shows how incapable some of those who lead us in the area of foreign politics are. The Times pointed out in a very forthright leading article that it was quite obvious the Foreign Secretary had completely misjudged the situation when he made that remark. However, I do not propose to go further into that side of the subject.
I want to add something in respect of the admirable analysis that my noble friend Lord Henderson made on the failure of the Summit Conference itself, which I personally think was a much more disastrous business. But before doing so, as the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, is again in his seat, I should like to say how very much I agreed with what he said about the importance of getting the ordinary people of all these countries more into contact with each other, so that they may understand each other's point of view and bring pressure to bear on their Governments. Because I am quite sure that, even in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the Government are becoming susceptible to the public opinion of the people there, and the important thing is that those people should realise what is going on outside and have an informed opinion. This is not easy for them, and if they can meet the people from Western Europe in their own cities and in their own homes they are very much more likely to be able to 780 get an insight into the feeling and doing of the West.
The noble Lord suggested that only the "V.I.P.s", in effect, went backwards and forwards. I do not think he is quite right about that. There has been an increasing momentum of movement of quite ordinary people, such as school teachers and industrial workers, and general practitioners as well as specialists, visiting the U.S.S.R. over these last few years; and to some extent there has been a reciprocal arrangement. I myself have had the opportunity of meeting quite ordinary school teachers from Russian schools and other people of that sort of status in this country over the last years. There are organisations which give a great deal of time and energy to arranging these interchanges. I do not think there is anything like as much, particularly of the ordinary Russian people coming here, as one would wish and as would be valuable. But it is, I think, significant that in the U.S.S.R. itself (this is perhaps a point which has not been emphasised as much as it deserves to be) the Government make elaborate arrangements to see that the ordinary people who live in the deep country of Russia, right out in Kasanstan and parts of Siberia, have an opportunity of going to Moscow, Leningrad and other great centres of culture to see what is going on.
Anyone who has had the very interesting experience of visiting the great exhibition in Moscow, where an attempt is made to show in the pavilions the industry and agriculture which go on all over the U.S.S.R., must have been impressed by the number of ordinary country people, from all over the vast nation, who are brought there. It is no doubt true that a good deal of it is done for propaganda purposes, but I think it is a valuable and significant contribution which is being made to the knowledge of all those people; and it cannot in the long run fail to make them wish to go even further abroad, to see what in fact goes on in this country, and also in America, about which they are told so much. And, after all, many of them are very shrewd people, and they must have suspicions that perhaps what they are told is not quite 100 per cent. true. So I very much appreciated the argument which was addressed to your Lordships by the noble Lord.
781 I felt that the analysis given by my noble friend Lord Henderson of the Paris situation was a very accurate and reasonable one. He described the failure as being possibly due to a deliberate move by Mr. Khrushchev; and no doubt that is right if one looks at it only in respect of what happened at the last moment. But I do not believe that the Russians came to their decision not to enter the conference chamber until the last stage. I think that was Lord Henderson's view: if I understood him aright, he put the blame pretty equally on both parties, and possibly even more on the West than on the East; and I found myself very much in agreement with that analysis of the situation. As he said, the Western Powers had made it perfectly clear that they were not prepared to make any real concessions at Paris, and in this situation the Russians could hardly get anything that was worth having out of the discussions. They no doubt felt that failure would be used very much as propaganda against them; and it was not, I think, very surprising that they decided that it was not worth their while going on, especially as they were presented with this magnificent opportunity of the aeroplane that was brought down, which gave them a splendid excuse for getting away.
I thought that my noble friend Lord Henderson was absolutely right when he said that this failure puts additional responsibility upon the Western Powers, and perhaps particularly upon our own Government, which had played such a very prominent and important part in bringing the Summit Conference into being. I think that my noble friend Lord Attlee is absolutely right when he says that the failure of the Conference has struck dismay throughout the world. Certainly it has done so into a very large number of people in our own country.
I think it is worth while spending a little rime attempting a rather deeper analysis of this failure than perhaps we have so far had. Of course, it was clear all along that there were powerful forces at work, particularly in the United States, which disliked the whole proposal from the start and were determined to do their best to wreck it. My noble friend Lord Henderson suggested that there were very similar forces at work in the U.S.S.R.; and I think my noble 782 friend Lord Attlee felt that that might be right. It may well be that it is. I myself have not seen very much evidence in support of it, but of course it is not as easy to discover what goes on behind the scenes in the Kremlin as it is to discover what goes on behind the scenes in the White House and in the Pentagon.
In respect of that, my Lords, President Eisenhower has himself made it quite clear that he was from the start very doubtful about the advisability of entering into the Summit negotiations. In effect, he said that the English were a bit naïve about; these things, whereas the Americans were more sophisticated and more knowledgeable, and that he had felt it right to placate Mr. Macmillan. That was really what his statement at the Press conference came to. I must say that I feel that, unless he was determined to do his level best to carry the thing through and make a success of it, he ought not to have entered into it; he ought not to have gone to Paris.
One cannot help having a great deal of affection, and, indeed, admiration, for President Eisenhower. I have expressed this view before. As much as I frequently disagree with his views, one cannot help feeling admiration for his integrity. His frank, and sometimes even naïve, disclosures at Press conferences continually throw a great deal of light—and often rather unexpected light—on American foreign policy; and I think it is all to the good that one should know what is going on. I hate the way that these decisions are clouded over and covered up, and I think that these Press conferences which President Eisenhower holds, which no doubt strike fear into the hearts of many people in the State Department, are very valuable from that point of view, for they enable us to get a pretty good idea of what is going on. Sometimes of course, they also make us feel that the President himself is rather a "babe in the woods", both in respect of American politics and in respect of international politics. I suggest that, in these circumstances, it should have been perfectly clear to our own Prime Minister that the only chance of success at Paris was for him to take over the lead, and to give a real lead. And I regret to have to say that, much as I admire the energy and initiative which he displayed in the earlier stages (to which, I think, the arrangements for holding the Summit 783 conference were very largely due), I feel that he rather threw in his hand in the later and critical stages.
What is the object of holding a Summit conference of this kind? Surely it is to enable those men who have the supreme direction of affairs in their respective States to meet together unshackled, or to a considerable extent unshackled, by past commitments of policy, and to hammer out, within the area of the particular subject matter under debate, new methods of making progress. Of course, it is a process which is quite different from the normal processes of diplomacy. Indeed, I submit that if a Summit Conference is entangled up with normal diplomacy, then it is almost certain to fail. When we reach the unusual position in foreign politics that calls for a Summit Conference, it means that the situation has become too serious to be left to the diplomats; and this seems to me to be exactly what went wrong on this particular occasion. During the weeks and months between the beginning of the year, when the decision was taken, and the meeting of the statesmen in Paris, all sorts of diplomatic discussions went on, discussions which really led to a hardened situation in which it became perfectly clear that the sort of discussions which ought to take place at a Summit conference had, in effect, become impossible.
Consultations with Dr. Adenauer in regard to Germany, to which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, particularly referred, were, of course, one of the most important aspects of this matter; and I think that we ourselves, our Government, must accept responsibility for a great deal of what went on in these respects—certainly just as much as anybody else. I think that our own Prime Minister ought to have been more sensitive to what was going on, because, as I have said, he was very much the originator of it; and at that stage he ought to have exerted himself to see that the position was kept fluid, so that really fruitful and effective discussions should remain possible. My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, said that he thought it would be a long time before it is possible to hold another Summit Conference, but I suggest that if proposals for another such conference are made, then these matters should be 784 borne very strictly in mind. If they are not, and if the thing goes forward on the basis of everything being tied up in advance, in the way it was on this occasion, then the failure of the second Summit Conference will be just as inevitable as the one that failed in Paris.
If one wanted to look at a particularly important aspect of this by way of illustration, one would naturally pick on Berlin. Berlin was, of course, one of the outstanding items on the agenda for the Summit, and it was clearly, also, one of the most difficult. What I have just been saying about decisions being taken, in advance of the meeting, by the Western statesmen who were going to the Summit and Dr. Adenauer, is particularly true of this item, and adds point, I suggest, to my criticism. The Western Powers made it clear enough that they would stand pretty well "pat" over Berlin. Mr. Khrushchev had made proposals—and he had made them long enough before the Summit Conference for there to be no argument that he had taken us by surprise, or anything of that kind. He made proposals which, whether one felt that they were right or not, were quite clearly constructive in character, for the solution of the Berlin problem upon the lines of inter-nationalisation of that great city. That, at any rate, was a matter which one might have taken up and discussed as a serious and possible proposal for easing or dealing with an awkward and dangerous situation.
What counter-proposals have the Western Powers ever put forward for the handling of this difficult problem? What constructive suggestions have ever been put forward as an alternative to the terms which Mr. Khrushchev proposed, I think something like a year, or more than a year, ago? Or, indeed, what constructive proposals have been forthcoming from us, and from the West, for the handling of the German problem as a whole—which, after all, is perhaps the most difficult and crucial of all the problems of international politics at the present time? Here we are, fifteen years after the end of the war, with an East German State very much in existence; a State certainly among the half dozen or so of the strongest, or potentially strongest, States in Europe—and yet it is not even recognised de facto by any of the Western 785 nations, although its de facto existence is only too clear and obvious to everybody. There was a time when our foreign policy was more realistic and more elastic, when this sort of situation would have been completely impossible. Is it that we no longer approach these problems of foreign policy in a spirit of realism, or is it chat we do not want to offend Dr. Adenauer?
I feel that this absence of any constructive policy is not in the interests of the West German people themselves, who are just as much worried and upset by the indeterminate situation which exists. Obviously, it is not going to come to an end unless something more realistic is put forward for discussion from this side of the Iron Curtain. Indeed, if anything, the Germans are farther away from reunification now, in 1960, than they were in 1950, and this is due to a considerable extent to the wooden and unrealistic policies; which we have been pursuing in alliance with the Americans.
My Lords, the noble Lord is not overlooking the fact that it is the Russians who are holding down the Germans and preventing them from uniting?
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, it is completely unrealistic to advance this argument that the Russians are holding them down. Russia was invaded by the Germans in a way that, although we suffered a good deal in the war, we cannot understand, unless we have seen the devastation caused by the German armies; and to suggest that the Russians are going to throw in their hands and reunite Germany without any sort of guarantee of security or realistic treat-merit of this problem is just the sort of wooden treatment of this matter of which I am complaining. If we are going on as we are, the position will be the same in 1970 and 1980, and this is just what we want to avoid in the interests of the German people themselves. This whole policy is a stupid one.
I should like to add my little word to what my noble friend Lord Henderson said about the importance of bringing China back into the comity of nations. He put the position very effectively indeed. The noble Earl the Leader of the House said that when we disagreed with the Americans we were not at all nervous about telling them so and 786 of making our point of view plain in a vigorous way. We recognised the Chinese People's Government quite ten years ago, and there are large sections of opinion in the United States which realise the unrealistic character of the policy which their Government has been pursuing. With a real lead from this country and real pressure, and possibly with the advent of a new President of the United States at the end of this year, it might well be possible to bring this absurd and dangerous state of affairs to an end. I hope that the Government will pay attention to this possibility.
§ 5.53 p.m.
My Lords, the periodical review of international affairs initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, is invariably interesting and desirable in every way. However, there is a tendency in these reviews to refer mainly to recent developments—in this case, to the recent failure of the Summit Conference and of the Disarmament Conference. So far all the speeches have been broadly on these subjects, and no doubt they will continue to be so to-morrow. Therefore perhaps your Lordships will bear with me if I say a few words on another subject altogether, although it comes well into the general scope of foreign affairs.
I should like to say a few words about the impending, visit to London, in a fortnight's time, of the Spanish Foreign Minister, Senor Castiella. As noble Lords will be aware, this gentleman was in London not so long ago, when he met General Eisenhower when the President was in this country. His visit to General Eisenhower was described in one newspaper as "gate-crashing". The fact is that the State Department was anxious that Señor Castiella should meet the President at the most convenient point in Europe, and it was arranged that he should come to London. Therefore, in my opinion, the statement in the newspaper was inaccurate and comparatively offensive. But an opportunity now arises, on the initiative of the Government, on which I congratulate them, of improving Anglo-Spanish relations, which have been neglected for so long. I would congratulate the Government, not only on their initiative but also on their foresight, though perhaps that is rather a dangerous word to use in this connection.
787 We hear a great deal nowadays of the "wind of change", an expression the Prime Minister used in connection with affairs in Africa. I suggest that in the last ten years, quite a "wind of change" has blown through Spain—perhaps not a gale, which is never quite the best thing, but a wind of force 4 to 5, a nice sailing breeze, a much more profitable kind of wind. Anglo-Spanish relations have been hampered by misrepresentation in the Press and by what one can almost describe—I think it is hardly an exaggeration—as a conspiracy of silence on the part of the Press agencies such as Reuters and Associated Press. These Press Agencies are very powerful, and if they decide that they are not going to report news from a country, even the national Presses cannot do much about it. Luckily, the soaring volume of tourist trade has been a considerable counterweight. A great many people go to Spain nowadays, and, on their return, they are able to explode the myth of oppression and despotism which has been fostered by the Press over the years. There have also been trade delegations of different sorts between the two countries, and we remain to-day Spain's biggest customer. Membership of O.E.E.C. is also a great help in fostering good relations between the two countries.
I have promised to speak briefly and so I shall, but I should like to comment on the recent visit of a certain Member of another place to Spain. I do not think I should be going too far to describe it as a "stunt". I would compare this event with the recent Parliamentary delegation to Madrid. The Member of another place to whom I refer gave an interview to the Daily Mail, which occupied most of the front page, and of all the bits of sensational journalism I have seen for some years, this was about the worst. I am sorry that the noble Earl, Lord Arran, is not in his place to put me right if I misquote. Mr. Edwards led off by saying that his visa to Spain was refused. But he did not need a visa, a fact of which he must have been well aware. On his arrival in Spain he was called upon by the police, who invited him to accompany them to the police station, owing to the fact that the circumstances of his visit had in fact been reported before it ever 788 took place. Of course, that made them a little suspicious. He was made to "sit on a hard bench". No doubt he could have remained standing, if he had wanted to. At what point benches become hard I do not know, but I hardly think that in our own police stations they are very luxuriously upholstered! He later stated that "he was not actually tortured". There it was in the Press, and that is the sort of thing that one has to put up with.
On the other hand, the members of the Parliamentary delegation reported that they were not only impressed, but surprised—and that is the operative word—at what they saw. In particular, Mr. Arthur Woodburn, a member of the Labour Party, wrote two articles in the Edinburgh Evening News of June 7 and 8 which some of your Lordships may have read. I read them, and I thought they were very fair. I think that any of your Lordships who would like a short résumé of conditions in Spain to-day, economically and from the point of view of education, development on scientific lines, et cetera, could do worse than to read those two articles. He gave a fair report of what he saw.
I would mention also that the picture of General Franco sitting in his mountain fastness, seeing nobody but just issuing edicts from time to time as he sees fit, is rather absurd. Most of your Lordships will be aware that Barcelona and that part of Spain contains people who are not the easiest people in the world to speak with. Recently General Franco spent three weeks in Barcelona, and as a result of his visit made a great many concessions to local government which had not been made before: in other words, easing control from the top, which he deemed to have been too strict up till then. I hope your Lordships will forgive my mentioning that, because no doubt you read about it in the Press.
I very much hope that Señor Castiella will be welcomed here as the representative of a friendly State. He was recently awarded the highest decoration with which the President of the French Republic was able to present him; and, what is more, he was similarly decorated by the Belgian and the Greek Governments, both countries which can be said to have suffered as much as any at the hands of the Germans during the war, which seems to discount a current story 789 that SeÑxnor Castiella is "pro-German." I can hardly see those Governments decorating a man who was.
In conclusion, I should like to quote the words of Mr. Winston Churchill (as he then was) in the House of Commons on May 24, 1944. The concluding words of his speech were [OFFICIAL. REPORT, Commons, Vol. 400, col. 770]:… I shall always consider that a service has been rendered at this time by Spain, not only to the United Kingdom and the British Empire and Commonwealth, but to the cause of the United Nations. I have, therefore, no sympathy with those who think it clever, and even funny, to insult and abuse the Government of Spain whenever occasion serves.I should like to associate myself with those words, and I hope that Parliament, the people of this country, and especially the Press, will give a suitable welcome to this representative of an ancient culture and civilisation, a Christian State, and a potential ally in peace and war.
§ 6.4 p.m.
§ LORD PETHICK-LAWRENCE
My Lords, we have had, I think by general consent, a most interesting and valuable debate covering a large number of subjects, and we still have quite a number of speakers left to complete the tale for to-day. Therefore I think I shall best serve the interests of your Lordships by dealing with only one point in the short remarks that I propose to inflict upon your Lordships, and that is with regard to China. At the present time the world stage is engaged with the disputes between the West and the East, the existing N.A.T.O. Alliance, on the one side, and Mr. Khrushchev's Soviet Republic on the other. That is undoubtedly correctly the case. But I venture to suggest to your Lordships that if we try to predict the future, in quite a short while it may well be that another country may come into the picture and take a prominent place on the stage, a country which is much more important than any of the countries occupying the stage at the present time; and that country, of course, is China.
We have to remember, so far as population is concerned, that the population already existing in China is far greater than the population of the two joint countries, the United States and Soviet Russia, rolled into one; and that in the course of another ten years it is quite likely that it will be double the total of those two great countries together.
790 China is a country with an old civilisation. China has the most industrious population in the world, and it may well be that not only will that country exceed in population, but it may also exceed in industrial output and in military power, those two nations in the world as they are to-day. As to prosperity, with a population of 600 million, 700 million or 750 million, as it may well be, they may become one of the wealthiest countries, at the same time.
That being the case, I want your Lordships to think carefully about what our attitude as a Western Alliance should be with regard to this important country. One or two references have been made to this matter earlier in the debate, and I want to stress the point strongly. Before I go on, I want to tell your Lordships that I am one of those people who have had in the course of their lives great friendship with the people of the United States. I have many friends there still, and I have paid them a great number of visits. I am a great admirer of much that the Americans have done: of their courage, their generosity and their hospitality; and I believe that the people of the United States have prominently at the back of their minds the desire of doing good to the people of the world, although sometimes perhaps tinged with a desire to be foremost in a way that we do not always like.
I listened with the greatest interest to the speech of the noble Earl, the Leader of the House, when he said that it must be perfectly clear to the U.S.S.R. and to other people that we were not going to be pushed out of our fervent and determined alliance and friendship with the United States by any propaganda or any efforts on the part of the Russians or any others to dislodge it. But I feel—and I was delighted to hear the noble Earl say this—that we must recognise that the United States, like other countries, is sometimes wrong, and that when they are wrong we should not hesitate to say so; and I gathered (I hope the noble Earl will correct me if I go beyond what he said) that not only would we tell them if we thought they were wrong, but that we would act on that presumption. That is the point I want to stress in the few remarks I am making.
Are we, or are we not, going to act contrary to the United States when we believe them to be wrong? In the main, 791 when you have allies you endeavour to go along with then in all they do. That is perfectly right and natural. But there come times when you feel so strongly about a matter that you cannot support your ally when it is making a grave mistake. The United States Government has not hesitated to take that action with regard to this country when it differed from us. I think it belongs to the true character of friendship that you should not allow that friendship to override important decisions, but that you should state your view and act in accordance with the expression of that point of view. That is what I have to say about this matter of China and the United States at the present time.
Of course, China is an aggressive country at the present time, but I would remind your Lordships of something which, perhaps from my greater age, may not be as fully evident to other Members of your Lordships' House as it is to me. I lived for nearly 30 years in the 19th century, and during the whole of that period the Western world was attacking China, depriving it of territory and depriving it of rights. These count-tries had wars on China to compel the Chinese to take opium and other things which they were trying to keep out. One of my earliest recollections is as a boy in the Sixth Form—this is 60 years ago—and the master telling us about the opium war against China, and how wrong he thought it was. That was only one illustration of the aggression which the European world attempted against China.
China has learnt in the hard way that they must stand up against the European world. They learned the lesson too well, and they themselves are being aggressors at the present time. I do not write off the aggression of China at all. I disapprove very strongly of that aggression, but I also disapprove of shutting China out of an assembly which is designed, not as a band of brothers, not as a band of people who are all agreeing with one another, but as a body that is intended to thresh out the problems of the world, the international questions which divide nations and in which one nation can state their case and another nation can give an answer. By the exclusion of China from the United Nations, not only are we imposing upon China a brand of 792 inferiority, but we are preventing China from being arraigned before a tribunal and forced to state her case.
That seems to me to be a grievous error which the United States are making. They have a blind spot. Just as Nelson turned his blind eye to the telescope when he did not want to get the signal that he thought was going to damage his victory, so I think the Americans are turning one end of the telescope towards Formosa and seeing it much bigger than it is, and turning the other end towards the mainland of China and seeing it much smaller than it is. They really come to the perfectly ridiculous position that this little tiny island, some 20 miles off the mainland, is China, and that the whole mass of the mainland is an unimportant body that can be neglected altogether. That seems to me to be fantastically wrong.
Our Government in this country, out of a desire to defer to the United States, has for all these years accepted that doctrine and allowed it to prevail. That has been bad enough up to now, but if we allow it to go on into the future we are jeopardising the whole security of this country and of the world, in this desire to "kow-tow" to the United States. I know the noble Marquess who is to speak early to-morrow has been conscious of the difficulties—as I am conscious of them—of taking a firm line. I realise the attitude I have mentioned may have been desirable in the past, much as I regretted it. But I think the time has now come when the Government should, in the next Assembly in the autumn of this year, give up that shameful attitude of running behind the United States and accepting the false doctrine which they have put forward. I hope very strongly that our Government will this autumn take a firm line and say, "No. This thing can no longer be permitted." I believe I say that with the support of the great mass of people in this country. Certainly it is not only my own Party which is taking that view. If the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, wishes to interrupt I will sit down.
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for allowing me to intervene. Am I not right in saying that the situation is that if Communist China comes to the United 793 Nations, the United States walks out? In face of that situation, what does the noble Lord propose we should do?
§ LORD PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I do not think the noble Lord is in the least right. I remember an occasion on which the United States, at one time, at any rate, went so far as to say that they would oppose China's admission but that if it was carried by the United Nations they would have to accept it. Whether that is true or not, I think it is unlikely that the United States would walk out of the United Nations. It would be exceedingly foolish, and I think we must stand by and do our duty in this case.
As I was saying when the noble Lord intervened, this is a matter of supreme importance. It is a matter for the prosperity of our own country. It is a view which is held by nearly everybody in this country. A man with whom I do not always agree, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, who was in China recently, stated his view about it very strongly. If we fail this time, we are taking a risk on behalf of our own country. We are jeopardising the future of the human race for a cause which has no merits whatever. I beg the Government, when they come to the decision to be made next autumn when the General Assembly meets, to abandon this old method and to strike out on the right line of one friend to another when he knows his friend is wrong.
§ 6.19 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, I should not have presumed to intervene in this debate, especially at this late hour, had it not been for the fact that I have for the last eighteen months been a member of the British delegation to the Council of Europe and to the Western European Union. That has encouraged me to make a few brief remarks concerning our relations with Europe, and perhaps with a little more reference to the Commonwealth than has yet been heard in this debate. I feel that the question of how to strike a balance between Europe and the Commonwealth is a matter which is troubling British public opinion, and to that extent is handicapping the prosecution of our foreign policy in this field.
My own view is that this question of British participation in Europe, of which we have already heard something 794 this afternoon, is not only one of the major problems we have to face in our foreign policy, but also one over which we have perhaps a somewhat greater degree of control than is so often the case nowadays. No one can be satisfied, or even complacent, about the way in which the situation has developed so far, with Europe divided into separate trading blocs, and, I am afraid, Britain appearing somewhat hesitant over what to do next.
I do not want to-night to go over the past, but I believe that in this matter the Government have perhaps been over-influenced by what one might almost call mirages created by rather extremist and vocal opinion in this country. By this I mean that the pendulum seems to swing between, on the one hand, those who feel that any kind of economic or political entanglement in Europe is a betrayal of the Commonwealth and surrender of sovereignty and independence, and, on the other, those who argue that unless we throw in our lot, without any strings attached, with Europe (which in present circumstances really means the Six), we shall cut ourselves off, as it were, from the main trunk and become a rapidly withering limb of the tree. I think it will be agreed that as a result of these conflicting pressures, which in my view represent only a minority opinion, a climate has been created in which we have acted indecisively and given to the Six the impression that at best we are half-hearted and at worst actively hostile. This last, I am certain, is quite untrue. However, it has created an atmosphere of scepticism and mistrust, and I think it is only very recently that we have seen signs that this is becoming dissipated. I say this because I was very encouraged at the meeting of Western European Union about a month ago in Paris by the friendly reception given to the fairly cautious announcement by Mr. Profumo, that Britain was prepared to re-examine her position with regard to joining "Euratom". I therefore feel this is surely the moment to take advantage of this extra spark of good will.
On the other hand, we must face the facts. There was a time just after the war when the leadership of Europe was Britain's for the asking. In fact we were looked to for that leadership; and at that time any suggestions and conditions for co-operation would, I think, have 795 been gladly accepted. But sometimes from genuine difficulties, sometimes through prejudices perhaps of both political Parties, we held back: we saw many buses going by which we did not take. And I am afraid that the longer we wait the more will the Six, who pare already successfully formed and functioning, feel inclined to press their own conditions upon us. A split-personality approach to this problem cannot lead to a clearly defined or positive or well-integrated decision, and I am quite certain that what is needed at this moment is a positive decision.
As the noble Lord, Lord Strang, said, this may well entail some sort of political as well as economic tie-up with the Six, because the Six itself is developing in a political way, and I doubt very much whether, in the long run, it will be prepared to associate with us, or indeed the European Free Trade Area, on anything much less than that kind of basis. The noble Lord, Lord Strang, in his most excellent speech told us something of what that would involve, and I agree with him that that decision must be very carefully thought out and weighed. But I do not think a decision can be delayed very much longer, as the last bus will have gone. As has been said, it does present the most tremendous problems. There will be difficulties at home, perhaps with our industries. On the other hand, there will be advantages. But I feel that if we admit that our safety, and perhaps even our survival, depends on a united Europe, some of these sacrifices must be accepted and must be made. Nor should we forget that other countries in Europe have also had to make sacrifices. I think that tremendous praise is due to the unknown experts who have been labouring for many years to try to solve the problems and technicalities involved.
In addition to the effect it would have on us we have also to consider the effect on our relations with the Commonwealth and, of course, on our relations with the European Free Trade Area. As to the Commonwealth, I think, speaking personally, it must be said at once that if one is faced with a complete and absolute choice between the Commonwealth and Europe I would choose the Commonwealth. But fortunately we are not faced with such a choice; indeed, 796 the reverse is the case. For the facts are that, just as the United Kingdom is at the heart of the Commonwealth politically and economically, it is also geographically, and to a certain extent racially, I suppose, part of Europe, as the record of the last two wars shows. Moreover, in the last two wars the Commonwealth fought strongly, as did the Mother Country, to save Europe and freedom. So I think it is quite unrealistic, to say the least, to say that it is impossible to develop European unity with the Commonwealth. That is happening all the time, and I believe that it is increasingly advantageous for both sides.
It is not quite a parallel, but we see, for instance, across the Atlantic, Canada, which combines its traditional independent status within the Commonwealth with its many close ties with the United States. I see no reason why the same kind of thing should not apply to the relationship between members of the Commonwealth and Europe. Of course we have to ensure that the system of Imperial Preference is not undermined, but I think I am right in saying that this represents a good deal less than half of the total Commonwealth trade nowadays, and I doubt very much whether it can present an overriding difficulty. Indeed, the speed at which it proved possible, under the pressure of events, to set up the European Free Trade Area, without apparently upsetting the Commonwealth to any great degree, would seem to indicate that some of the difficulties were more imaginary than real. One must also remember that the Commonwealth itself is trading increasingly with Europe, and that is building a new bridge of co-operation. At the same time I also feel that the Commonwealth would far prefer to see Britain as a partner in a strong and united Europe than as a relatively weak outsider, which we might otherwise become.
As the noble Earl the Leader of the House said at one moment this afternoon, we have also, of course, to consider our commitments in the European Free Trade Area.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
Association. At any rate our aim must 797 surely be to bring it into the fold, as it were, of a single European association. I must say that at one time I rather thought, perhaps irreverently, that the fact that Six and Seven added up to thirteen had caused some sort of superstitious hesitancy in the mind of the Government. But I am glad to see from the latest negotiations that have been going on that I am wrong in this, and I hope that our colleagues and friends in E.F.T.A. will work with us to achieve this aim.
As I have said, I cannot believe that the interests of the Commonwealth and of ourselves, and those of the Six and the Seven are mutually exclusive. If the political will is there they can be reconciled. I cannot help thinking that to some extent the difficulties may have been exaggerated because the Government were not quite certain how far to go. I hope that the noble Earl or the noble Marquess (whoever is going to deal with these points) will be able to give your Lordships some information about them to-morrow. Possibly Her Majesty's Government have been uncertain as to public reaction in this country. My own impression—it is a purely personal one, based on conversations I have had with people—is that opinion generally is increasingly in favour of a closer association with Europe, and I think that this view is probably stronger and more widely held than people sometimes realise. There is nothing very novel in it. We have always had our Allies and friends in Europe, who again have been increasingly influenced by the commitments that I have mentioned—the last two wars and the fact that we are a member of N.A.T.O.
If I may say so, as a good Scotsman, although I delight in the fact that the character and vigour and customs of the Scots are as strong to-day as ever, at the same time I recognise perfectly that the Act of Union which destroyed, or at any rate diminished, Scottish political independence, produced far greater advantages for the Scots than anything it took away. It was based on mutual self-interest, just in the same way as I think our relations with Europe must be to-day. If anybody feels that we are perhaps going to lose too much of our national character and sovereignty, all 798 I would say is that one has only to look at France, who is now a full member of the Six and whose national vigour and character appear to be increasing daily. Come what may, the Six are going ahead with their plans in full integration. I believe that they would like to see us in, even at this late hour; but they are not going to wait while we keep making up our minds, or while we dilly-dally and dither. I think, too, that it makes us look ridiculous. I do not know whether any of your Lordships read "Beachcomber's" column in the Daily Express about three weeks ago. It contained this sentence:The time has come to consider whether a gesture of our non-approach to the Six might not be the best method of ascertaining whether a gesture of approach would be welcome, sufficiently well welcomed to warrant a second gesture of non-approach.He was only pulling our legs, but I think there is a certain uneasy ring of truth in that.
May I conclude, my Lords, by saying that the question of our relationship with Europe has not perhaps hit the headlines as it should do. But one thing, to my mind, is quite certain—namely, that if it is not solved, it certainly will hit the headlines. I am quite certain that, with common sense, give-and-take and patience, it can be solved; for the bastions of the free world at the moment, so far as one can see, are surely the Commonwealth, a United Europe and the United States of America; and I feel certain that Britain is uniquely placed to work in the closest possible association with these three. I hope that Her Majesty's Government will press on ever more urgently to achieve this association.
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF CRAVEN
My Lords, I am not going to keep your Lordships very long, but first of all I should like to identify myself completely with every word spoken by my noble friend the Marquess of Lothian. Secondly, I should like to identify myself with a lot which was said by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham. We should remember that Spain has fought Communism and beaten it, and that they do not ever want to see it again within their confines. Not only have they fought Communism and beaten it, but they also during the last war kept their neutrality. I think these 799 are two points that we should always remember.
§ THE EARL OF CRAVEN
Could I ask the noble Lord whether he has ever been to Spain? Perhaps he would be able to give me a reply about what he saw if he has already been there.
§ THE EARL OF CRAVEN
The international situation is certainly grave, and we want something better than a status quo. The world is split into two ideologies: the one of freedom and the other of slavery. One of these must conquer. They cannot co-exist. Conquest does not necessarily require a bloody war. A schoolboy's concept of the balance of power has grown up, but we have not followed it ourselves. To-day we in the West are faced with a growing Romulus—the Chinese nation. Every year China quadruples the extent of her industry, and she will soon possess atomic capacity. For Remus, the other twin, read Russia, with sinews and muscles harnessed to the wheel of slavery, more than one-third of the world's population jumping to the crack of the whip.
We know little about interior tensions and forces in Russia. They must be there and capable of rending the machine apart; but while domination and tyranny hold, the danger grows ever greater. Raw materials are in centralised profusion, unlike the set-up in the Free World. The other face of the coin has little cohesion other than fear of a common destiny without unity. America is likened to Russia in industrial power and potential, whereas all that faces China is disunited States, except for the flimsy framework of N.A.T.O., S.E.A.T.O. and C.E.N.T.O.—an illogical mass of twitching nerves in the shape of petty States.
Part of this mass has had the courage to unite. Hence we have the federal nucleus of she Common Market. Its natural and historical ties of culture were with the Outer Seven long before the New World was known or Siberia 800 saw the genius of Ghenghis Khan. The Russians love chess. Well, the checkmate is solid European unity and a new balance of power will be born. Dormant industrial skills lie hidden in the soil, ready to produce a tap wrench for world problems. Our home front longs for peace without scares and credit squeezes—an expanding front with the promise of a future to climb, instead of a shrinking pattern of markets. We lack full-bodied and vigorous growth with the compensating virtue of balance in industry and trade. Our peoples must have sounder money, lower taxes, cut tariffs; they want freedom in travel, and cultural exchange with their neighbours. We need the wisdom of comparison to solve the problems of education and youth. This enrichment of our culture can flower only in the soil of federal integration. We must release world pressures on the United States of America.
The Outer Seven and the Commonwealth look to us for a lead; but all that is in sight is a morass. If we make the decision to join the Common Market they will rejoice in relief, because their own industry will find new outlets and greater inspiration. Canada does more than 24 per cent. of its trade with Europe. What about the opportunity of solving the dilemma of the Republic of Ireland, with honour on all sides? What about Spain, for that matter? Sovereignty with Europe might solve her problems at the same time. Economic failure in Britain is unthinkable yet it is a possibility unless we resolve the Common Market problem. The cold war is an economic war and united we will stand, a body which has received a transfusion. Hope and expansion will be reborn.
Our duty is to preserve the dignity of man and the development of the individual. Furthermore, the protection of the family is a sacred duty, and when the State is hard-pressed it usually encroaches upon the privileges of its fundamental units with the hunger of self-cannibalism. We must overcome our national desire to dominate and allow the best man to lead. We must be prepared to relinquish a part in order to gain the whole. Integration will mean the development of space research and the salvation of the Blue Streak. 801 We shall develop nuclear marine propulsion and the shoe will not pinch. United industrial capacity will transform the activities of research and new horizons will open for investment facilities and unheard of industrial processes.
We shall see enormous new releases of energy and an ever-increasing potential. We shall also be able to develop without fear, and with plenty of money at the back of it, a vertical-take-off aircraft, supersonic flight and such things as those. I once said in this House that we went to war for Poland—some of your Lordships here to-day may remember that—but Poland is still in captivity. Be that as it may, Europe—not England alone—has a duty as an elder brother to fulfil her obligations in underdeveloped countries. United, our aim and our purpose will be single-minded. The spirit of adventure must be re-awakened. And let us not be misled by the cry to carry trade and credit into the camp of the enemy. The cold war is an economic war—oil, for instance. Cheap oil from the Soviet Union will bring only a harvest of dragons' teeth from oil-producing areas, a harvest worse and more untimely than the Suez crisis. All for what? I will tell your Lordships—for a paltry and passing fortune for a profiteer or the vindication of a political ideology.
Disarmament will be the reward of unity. An international police force will become reason only when viewed as a fire brigade, capable of extinguishing little more than a squib unless it retains the safeguards of Western ideals and excludes the membership of Communist States. International peace through Socialistic World Government is a fallacy. History proves it in the petty jealousies and incompatibility of men. Human relations are an ever-changing pattern of bridging and filling of difficulties.
§ 6.44 p.m.
My Lords, I want only to ask a question, not to raise a general debate, because we have had a very interesting debate this afternoon. I have been very unlucky with this question. I have tried three times to ask it but I have not yet had an answer. It concerns the Summit Con 802 ference which, when I first raised the question, was about to collapse, and did collapse. Although I very much wanted to ask the question, your Lordships took a different view, under the Rule, and decided that the question of the collapse of the Summit Conference was not of sufficient urgency to justify an immediate reply. That Question was carried without a debate and so I must not challenge it; but I hope we shall not bear that too much in mind on future occasions.
Before I mention the reason for this question I should like to give a little diary. In 1944 the Americans, under Mr. Adolf Berle, whom I believe we all remember, called a conference in Chicago to deal with the question of the law of the air: I called it "space", and so did Mr. Berle; and it is called "space" in the Treaty. But the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham, did not think it ought to be called "space". He thought it should be called "atmosphere", and I am quite prepared to accept the amendment.
I regard with intense gratitude the work of the Prime Minister over the last five years. I believe that the world owes an enormous debt to the Prime Minister and to the President of the United States, although I am not so sure that other great Europeans were as helpful as they might have been at every moment. That was how I felt, and therefore I share the general feeling of deep disappointment that the Summit Conference broke down. People can offer a thousand reasons as to why that conference broke down and why Khrushchev did what he did. I do not want to enter into that at all.
The breakdown of the Conference synchronised with the flight of a machine which went very high and was shot down by some sort of Russian weapon at a height of 74,000 feet. I thought that that was a very disturbing thing. Your Lordships will know what trifle started the war in Cuba, and there was a war about Jenkin's ear—though I do not know what it was about and my noble friend Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor is not here to tell me. I said "Let us brush this aside and get on with the Conference" and then came the President's announcement. I must go back 803 for a moment to the Chicago meeting. In his opening speech there Mr. Berle said:The contracting parties realise that every State has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the air space"—,that is the offending word—above its territory.For some reason the Russians did not come to that Conference. There was some quarrel—I believe they were having trouble with Switzerland. That statement was repeated at the Conference by Mr. Berle and was signed by 50 or 60 countries—by nearly everybody. When, therefore, it appeared that stray aircraft were flying I thought there must have been a slip—perhaps something like the friends of the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, who had a Kodak camera and took photographs over Germany—which no doubt was strictly forbidden by company orders.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
My Lords, I believe noble Lords will remember the incident as it has been written about in several books. The person concerned was Wing Commander Cotton who started a photographic reconnaissance unit with a civil aircraft and took most valuable photographs of Kiel docks which were of great use to us at the beginning of the war. On one occasion he was actually asked by German staff officers whether he would give them a joy-ride around the country. They did not know he had a camera in front of the aircraft. He did most valuable work.
The case of which I am speaking is rather different. Here were some officers who, like Erskine Childers, did an enormous amount of work with their cameras but were not under War Office orders when they went to take photographs. This U.2 man, Captain Powers, was under the direct orders of the U.S. War Department. That was his allegiance. It is impossible that he might have been doing it on his own, like Commander Crabbe who measured a Russian warship in Portsmouth Harbour. Captain Powers was under Service orders when he took those photographs. People said, "For goodness' sake! do not make trouble at the beginning of this Conference". I should never have mentioned it, but on the next day, or a day quite near it, this was said—and I will quote from The Times: 804Mr. Herter fully admitted that the United States was conducting extensive aerial surveillance over and around Russia and the clear suggestion was that these operations would continue unless the Russian Government agreed to safeguards against surprise attack.That was the case. I thought that was a very shocking statement. I was not alone; many others supported me. And no one would challenge now that clearly the Pentagon, or the Air Force, claimed the right and say: "This is our practice." The first point is, "Do we agree with this?"
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, I thank the noble Viscount for giving way, but he surely is not quite accurate in pinning responsibility on to the American military authorities. Surely this was an intelligence operation under the Central Intelligence Agency. Therefore, surely it comes under the category of "espionage". Espionage is something that we all recognise lies outside any constitutional agreement that may be signed. Espionage is something which we all know exists and which every nation carries out, and it is in that category that this flight took place, under the charge of the Central Intelligence Agency.
My Lords, these are the arguments that were put forward to justify it. I should still like to know whether anyone knows of another State which practises and advertises this practice of aerial espionage. The Russians do not do it. Mr. Eisenhower said they did not, and Mr. Khrushchev in a tirade—Mr. Eisenhower makes speeches while Mr. Khrushchev, of course, makes tirades—said that on his heart and honour he had never done it; and I believe him.
What is to be our attitude? Undoubtedly the Americans regard this as a legitimate form of action. Do we agree with it or do we not? If your Lordships will forgive me for speaking on this matter for a minute or two, let me ask what was this man, Captain Powers, doing? He was photographing for the purpose of bombing. He was not, of course, photographing to see whether they were selling oranges but to see where it would be necessary to drop his bomb. And, of course, it is a far more important matter to get a correct target map than to sit in an aircraft and pull a trigger or, better still, 805 to put some acid in a tube in London which poisons thousands of people miles away. The job is frightfully important. It is important for economy. Think of the cost of these things when they are dropped! When you are beyond the borders, 500 or 1,000 miles away, a millimetre out in aiming means that you may be 20 miles out when you drop your bomb. To have this information is a great economy.
I look at it in quite a different way. What was he photographing? He was photographing suitable targets for destruction; that is to say, targets and material of one kind and another that might be used to destroy us. That would be, for instance, a steelworks; it would be the people who operate the steelworks. I take as an example the Nova Hut, which I am told is the biggest steelworks in Europe. A few hundred yards from the works there are the flats where the people live, and if you bomb the works you bomb the flats. Many people will tell you that it is quite as important to destroy the industrial worker as it is to destroy the industrial works. But you cannot destroy the industrial worker when he is in bed unless you destroy his baby and his wife with him. And the criminal thing is that this preparing is doing more than half the work for these foul assaults, which will be by H-bombs, on many thousands of women, children and working men. That is how I feel, and I should like to know what the Government feel.
There are two excuses. There is the excuse made by the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, that it was espionage; and other people have little bits of "dog Latin", which the Lord President used, and so on. But it does not affect the fact that this is what a man in the American Senate said quite truthfully; and I wish we could get more reports—
I do not know that you do. I look up my Latin in the Library, in the phrase book, and I find it more than adequate for our debates.
THE EARL OF HOME
I was not referring to the difference between Latin and "dog Latin". But the noble Viscount 806 does not appear to know the difference between the Lord President and the Lord Privy Seal.
My Lords, would the noble Earl answer a Written Question if I put one down as to what is Latin and what is "dog Latin"? If he would do that I should be very grateful.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I will answer that Question if the noble Viscount will learn the difference between the Lord President and the Lord Privy Seal.
My Lords, I make a great difference between the two, but in the noble Earl's presence I will not disclose what it is. But that is the first answer: everybody is doing it so why make a fuss? I was not going to make a fuss, but then, suddenly, Mr. Herter makes the speech, a report of which I read, and Mr. Eisenhower makes a speech. Mr. Eisenhower made quite an appealing speech. He did not pretend that he was not doing it but someone else was. He came out as a true American, as George Washington. He said, "I cannot tell a lie. I am doing it." That shocked many people. They said, "What a betrayal! "But I say that that did more for the American good name and was more of a contribution to peace than any other speech on the subject, because at any rate one was starting on a level of truth. I consider that what he has done is probably to reduce these forms of preparatory murder somewhere within limits.
The difference is, of course, this. The State Department would go on with it. We think it a great embarrassment, and the Government had to decide how they are going to compromise the thing. I got an answer from Lord Hailsham (from the Lord-whatever-he-is) and he put in a lot of "dog Latin" and poured it all over me. He said, in effect, "We adhere to the convention, and any decent-minded man would do so and would not raise a question like this in the House of Lords." And when I asked what that was, he told me that we were observing our plighted word given at Chicago in 1944. When I said I was glad to hear that, he thanked me—and I think it was the first time, though I hope not the last that we shall enjoy these cordial relations.
807 What is going to be the difficulty that will arise in this business? The first difficulty will be a smashing blow at N.A.T.O. Captain Powers had a round tour. He started from Pakistan and went to Turkey and then to Norway; and immediately protests came from all those partners of ours in N.A.T.O. We are bound to protect them if they are attacked. Mr. Khrushchev said, "If you use your bases to put spies over my country I will bomb your place." That is what he said. So Mr. Lange, who was greatly distressed—I do not know whether it was one of the reasons why the Prime Minister went to Norway—and Field Marshal Ayub Khan came out with a violent protest to the United States. I do not know what answer they gave him. As to Turkey, they said, "We had no control whatever over the Adana". Then they had a revolution and I do not know what the end of the whole business will be. It is embarrassing to us to have our allies going about dropping bombs.
What are the Government going to do? I ask the noble Marquess this: suppose you had an Imperial Conference sitting: would you dare to ask them for an opinion on this thing, and whether we should tolerate it? Would India tolerate it? Would Pakistan tolerate it? What about Africa? Would you get a single voice raised in Africa saying, "Well, you know, be sensible; as the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood said, it is commonly done"? You could not, you dare not, put this question before the Commonwealth. And if it went on, and if the Russians did retaliate, then the Commonwealth would be in ruins—that is clear. Now what will happen? What will the Government do? They have invented a "Convention". That means that if you foolishly ask such a question, you are referred, with a puzzled frown, to the "Convention". You blush, and as soon as decent withdraw from the Chamber. This is the dilemma.
We believe that this is wrong. We have signed a treaty and we are standing by it. Many Americans believe that the treaty should govern these relations. But this is Election Year and if your Lordships read the debates in the Senate you will see that there is not a ghost of a chance of getting a reasonable view of this accepted. Quite the reverse. As a matter of fact, when Mr. Eisenhower 808 asked, I think it was (I usually get the figures wrong) for £l7 million for defence, they said, "Here is more", and gave him 1,200 million dollars. Now they will not move. It is useless asking any American Ambassador to put that before his Government.
This is causing great moral disturbance in our country. It has caused this incident or that incident. You cannot ask for it to stop, because nobody could give you satisfaction. On the other hand, what do we think? Everyone in this House believes it is wrong. I strongly suspect that there will be an effort to make the best of all worlds. We saw it last week. The Press Association—quite a respectable organisation—said there was a wonderful, non-stop, all-the-world-round flight of bombers, many of which were armed. There would be Americans; there would be ours. Suppose something goes wrong, and they call at one of their American bases, and the Russians turn angry and come and bomb it? How can you sort it out and say, "This was done by the State Department or the Pentagon; it was not done by the Air Ministry"? You cannot, of course, do anything of the kind. You get into a position of prevarication and moral uncertainty, and it is for that reason that I ask the question I do ask in the knowledge—and this is the agonising part of the whole thing—that it is impossible for the noble Marquess to answer it.
§ 7.4 p.m.
LORD ST. JUST
My Lords, on one of the last times I spoke in your Lordships' Chamber I followed the noble Viscount who has just resumed his seat in a debate which I think was connected with St. James's Theatre. On that occasion he spoke just before me, and treated the House in a very amusing way to the entire life of the theatrical profession from the days of musical comedy upwards. I always find it difficult to craw the debate back again on a serious subject, although I know he has been very serious to-day in what he has said, though he has a rather curious and charming way in which he says it.
I should not have joined in this debate but for the fact that people in my age group, roughly 35 to 40, who were in the Forces for some four years in the last war, have a certain right on these occasions, although we may not have Foreign 809 Office knowledge, to come in and say a few words about what we think is happening in the would at the present time. I want to channel my remarks down to only two countries, Germany and Russia. The noble Lord, Lord Chorley, spoke earlier in the debate about the question of Eastern Germany. I think everybody agrees with what he said, but the way in which he said it was, I think, possibly a little unfortunate. We all, I am certain, wish to see Germany back as a united country.
Since the war, I have spent a period of about a year in Western Germany. It is very interesting, studying a race Which you have been fighting against in a war and which now appears on the same side. The thing that struck me all the way through the conversations I had with various people in Germany was the fact that this great problem of Eastern Germany, and of the Berlin situation, always cropped up. We know that everything that human power can do has been done by respective Governments to try to get this situation put right, and no doubt they will go on persevering as hard as they can to get an agreement on this point in the end. But one thing should be remembered—and I think it is an important point: that is, that the main farming land of Germany is in Eastern Germany. We know that the prosperity of Western Germany is great at the present time. They have the industry, and their life is very prosperous. But the price of such corn-modifies as food will never be brought down in Germany, I believe, until the land which now belongs to Eastern Germany is united with them. A situation arises here that arises also, in a sense, in regard to China. These satellite Communist countries, such as Eastern Germany, have Governments which are far more virulent in their philosophy than, say, Russia itself; and so it does, without any doubt, produce a very great problem.
I found that on the whole the Germans were, quite naturally, very optimistic about things. I think there is still a slight trend in the German character which is frightening, and that concerns the future of leadership, and where they are likely to go. Through the past history of Germany—over the last 50 years, at any rate—we have seen this cropping up, and one starts asking oneself: after Dr. 810 Adenauer goes, who comes in his place? We see it in the same way, in a sense, in Spain, and certainly in Portugal, with Salazar. Who will come after? I think that that is the time when trouble in certain ways may crop up.
Having said those few words, I want to go on to the question of Russia. I do not pretend to have great knowledge of Russian politics, and I certainly, therefore, do not intend to get involved in it. But throughout all my life I have had a certain amount to do with the Russian people, regardless of whether they are White Russians or so-called Red Russians—and I do not believe that it makes very much difference, because a Russian is always a Russian, and their ways remain very much the same. If I may carry on the argument the noble Lord raised earlier on in his speech concerning getting at the ordinary people of Russia, I would say that I am quite certain that one of the best ways of getting at these people is through the arts. It is a point that I have always concentrated on in your Lordships' House, because I think it is very important. The Russian people are very emotional; I think they are basically very religious, too.
I saw this not long ago, when I talked to one of the Anglican monks who went out as a member of the English Church delegation to Russia. This monk said that it was amazing to feel the depth of religious feeling in Russia at the present time. As your Lordships know, three representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church have come over to this country and I believe attended a debate in your Lordships' House the other day. I believe that one of the ways of getting close to the ordinary Russian man and woman is through music, ballet and pictures, and the greater exchange we can get on these lines, the greater chance we have of gettingg to the Russian people, because, as I say, they are very emotional and react quickly to anything connected with the arts.
I should like to ask the noble Earl the Leader of the House one question before I sit down. It is a small point, which possibly he could answer. Some months ago I was in Portugal, in Lisbon, and had the privilege of meeting socially a number of officials of our Embassy there, men who, as everyone in our 811 Diplomatic Service knows, are doing a remarkable job. This was not put to me, but it cropped up in our conversations. I gathered that there was strong feeling in the Foreign Service at the present time about the question of entertainment allowance, which is now working in a new way. I understand that this is causing a great deal of difficulty and arousing strong feelings. I cannot quite understand why it should be necessary in our Foreign Service, where everybody goes through high examinations and is carefully selected, to submit these people to filling in forms saying how many persons they have entertained—forms which have to be sent back to the Treasury. I think this puts these officials into a rather difficult position.
§ 7.13 p.m.
My Lords, I am sure that I speak for all my colleagues when I say that I hope we shall often hear from the noble Lord, Lord St. Just, who has just spoken in a most interesting way. He raised the question of whether he was entitled to address your Lordships in view of his relative youth. I can assure him that all of us hope that he will speak again and again.
It is always an honour to wind up a debate, even if only on the first day, for one's own Party, and to me it is a special honour in view of the exceptional effectiveness of the speeches from this side of the House this afternoon. My noble friend Lord Henderson has already been widely acclaimed. Later on I am going to say a little about my noble friend Lord Attlee, but I should like to say what magnificent moral strength was revealed by my noble friends Lord Stansgate and Lord Pethick-Lawrence. If the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, is looking for the kind of national fibre that he requires for the formation of a sound foreign policy, he need not look further than the more experienced members of the Opposition Front Bench.
Perhaps I can hardly pass over without comment the remarks made about Spain though my position is somewhat delicate. I feel rather like Sir Winston Churchill (if I may be allowed to make the comparison) who, when asked which side he was on in the Spanish Civil War, said, "Both sides". I am not sure that that is a true story, but I have heard it told. Certainly in regard to Spain I am 812 in the position of disliking all forms of dictatorship and of regarding the Spanish people as one of exceptional distinction. I had the pleasure and honour of being received by General Franco just before Christmas, when I raised with him same of the criticisms of his régime raised in your Lordships' House, including the particular criticism made with considerable force by my noble friend, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough. I put it to General Franco that it was not easy for Catholics abroad to defend the Spanish régime in its treatment of Protestants, and General Franco listened with great patience and courtesy to my observations. I had the impression that he and his Foreign Minister, who will shortly be welcomed in this country, are anxious to alleviate the lot of Protestants, and I will Madly do anything in my small way to assist that process. I assume that those who would avail themselves of my service, if it were suggested, would join with me in some sort of deputation to Lord Brookeborough to try to alleviate the lot of Catholics in Northern Ireland. I think that that would be a "fair do". But, as I say, I did not rise to deal with these topics in the main.
It seems to me that the biggest issue which came up this afternoon was one raised by the noble Lord, Lord Strang; and it was also implicit in the speeches of my noble friend Lord Henderson and the noble Earl, Lord Home, and in the speeches of the other chief speakers. The noble Lord, Lord Strang, said (I did not take down his exact words because I was not expecting them) that the main object of foreign policy was national survival, and then went on to lay emphasis on security. Certainly no one would question that that is a very important purpose. Certainly any Foreign Office which was not concerned with that would hardly deserve any emoluments at all. I ventured to ask the noble Lord, because it seemed to me a point of supreme importance, whether he did not rate with that the promotion of world peace; and he gave the answer that peace was also an object of foreign policy but that national survival came first. I think that I am probably speaking for most noble Lords on this side when I say that I do not think one could put one of these objectives before the other. I should say that they are inseparably bound together, survival of 813 our country in the modern age and the peace of the world.
I would go further, with my noble friend Lord Attlee, and say that we shall not have national survival or the peace of the world unless we can establish a firmer system of international law, and ultimately a system of world government, in the way we have not seen hitherto. As I see it, both these objectives are intertwined, and one cannot say that one is more important than the other. My noble friend Lord Attlee made out a practical case for world government with a clarity and force which I cannot equal, and with a far greater authoritiy than I, or most of us, could command. I do not want to labour his points. To do so would be only to blunt their edges.
But if I may, with the greatest respect, I would say to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, who is to speak to-morrow, that I hope he will be able to say something, something quite full and considered, on behalf of the Government in regard to world government. Last time I remember assaulting the noble Marquess in a manner which perhaps stopped little short of discourtesy, and possibly passed beyond it. I hope that I shall not fall into that error this afternoon, but I hope that, when he speaks to-morrow, the noble Marquess will be fully prepared, as he was not on the earlier occasion, and as the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, was not on the occasion when he was also asked about world government, to come down to the House and inform us where the Government stand at the present time with regard to world government.
The noble Marquess may say that my remarks are not sufficiently weighty to call for that kind of answer, but I imagine that he can hardly set aside the opinions of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee; and I should hope that he would not altogether set aside my own. At any rate, I hope that he will answer the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, quite fully to-morrow afternoon, after a night's reflection and an opportunity to speak to his colleagues. If that is beyond his province, then perhaps we may look to the noble Earl who leads the House when he speaks at the close of the debate.
The noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, who spoke, as always, with much thought and knowledge, referred to the need for a moral backing for any foreign policy in 814 this country. I feel that that is absolutely right. But I turn to a leading article that appeared in that fine Conservative newspaper the Daily Telegraph on Monday. In an article headed "Christians and Weapons", the Daily Telegraph said this:Yet there remain—on the touchlines, as it were, of the struggle between unilateralists and their opponents—a great majority of decent and thoughtful people who are appalled by nuclear weapons but see in the threat to use them the only sure way of stopping aggression which would lead to war, which in turn could lead to Communist domination of the world.These people are on the touchlines at the moment, but of the majority of the people it may be true—and perhaps this would be true of most of us in this House—that they are committed to some such strong policy as that being pursued by the Government, with certain improvements suggested immediately by the Labour Party. But basically we cannot, as Christians, be happy and cannot avoid some distress at the thought that this is to settle down as our national policy—if it is to settle down as such.
We must all agree with what was said by the noble Earl the Leader of the House to-day, and has been said by him on earlier occasions: that when faced by a Communist threat (and I do not deny the severity or horror of that threat) it is not just a question of whether we wish ourselves to survive. We carry responsibilities which must be discharged in one way or the other, and many people feel—it is the view of the Government, and perhaps the view of most people at the present time—that this responsibility can be discharged only if nuclear weapons are possessed either by us or by the United States of America; or, at any rate, by members of the N.A.T.O. Alliance. But could any Christian (we do not have to go into the different denominations here, I imagine) imagine himself actually giving the order to use the deterrent? That is, to me, the appalling dilemma of our times. It may be said: "Well, we had better get some hard-hearted person to do it" so that the noble-minded parties would be at one remove from it and would not have to give the order. My Lords, I think that few of us would wish to shelter under that sort of defence. As I say, I cannot imagine any Christian being happy about a foreign policy that 815 depended in the last resort on the use of a deterrent. I do not say that merely from what might be called the old pacifist point of view—and I can see the case for the old pacifism. But these new weapons introduce a new dimension of horror and add enormously to the distress and the moral dilemma.
Therefore, if any noble Lord asks me (and I think this would be true of many, whether in the Labour Party or elsewhere; there may be more in the Labour Party, but there may be many in other Parties or in no Party) how one can reconcile the national duty, on the one hand, to defend ourselves and those for whom we have responsibility in other parts of the world, and, on the other hand, the fact that this can be done, apparently, only by a method so inhuman and evil that we can hardly stand over it, I see no solution, unless it is at any rate in national terms. So long as national sovereignty remains as now, it seems to me that we shall be condemned to facing this dilemma and failing to solve it to falling down, morally speaking, in front of it.
Therefore it seems to me that, in addition to the material arguments—and, heaven knows!, there are moral arguments also: the argument that unless we can introduce a world government the whole world will blow itself up is a moral argument—and the material calculations involved in that question, world government provides the only way out of this frightful and otherwise moral dilemma. Therefore I add my much less important plea to the immensely authoritative words that fell from the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, earlier.
Perhaps I may be allowed to add this final sentence—and I do not think it will be misunderstood. It would be an affectation—and we live close together in this House—to disguise the fact that the Labour Party have been troubled by deep divisions in recent times. I do not myself think that there is there ultimately reason for shame, because the reason seems to me right, in the fact that, when confronted with a great issue, the moral dilemma of our age, or perhaps of any historical period, a political Party composed of human beings should be stricken and unable to see daylight clearly.
§ THE EARL OF CRAVEN
Would the noble Lord sooner see us conquered by Communism, or would he sooner use atomic weapons under those conditions? Would he see our children driven into the Communist camps?
The noble Earl would have interrupted me still more relevantly about five minutes ago, but perhaps he was wondering whether it was convenient to intervene. I dealt with that point earlier, and I said that I thought it was an insoluble moral dilemma so long as national sovereignty remained on its present basis. If he asks what is the practical answer, it seems to me that the only practical answer is to work for a system as soon as possible, and redouble our exertions so that we bring about a system, which removes this dilemma: in other words, so that we bring about world government. Does the noble Earl understand the attempted logic of my argument?
If the noble Earl could not follow the argument put on that point by the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, then he will not for a moment follow it from me. But the House undoubtedly wishes to proceed elsewhere. Should the noble Earl wish any guidance from me he can have it in very large doses, so he may have brought upon himself more than he expected.
I was only saying, in conclusion, that in my opinion it is no shame to the Labour Party that they have been deeply disturbed and puzzled by the dilemma of our time. The House may not be aware that more than half of the members of the Parliamentary Party, Peers and Commons together, on the Labour side, have signed a plea, under the leadership of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, that the Labour Party Constitution be amended so as to include reference to world government; and the reference to world government has in fact appeared in the new Statement of Policy. These are big developments, and I hope that noble Lords opposite will not think that I am bringing them up in any Party spirit. This is a matter where we must all make the best contribution, according to our lights. I hope that the Government, 817 when they speak on these matters tomorrow, will give us some encouragement to think that their thoughts are also moving in this direction. Because, when all is said and done, we all labour here together, undoubtedly, under the the consciousness that world destruction may not be far away. But we also labour under the consciousness that human beings are not intended to be defeated. I think we are all aware that there is a way, if we can find it; and I do not think that there is any way which is likely to be more helpful than the manner of 818 discussion which has been adopted by the House of Lords this afternoon.
§ Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(The Marquess of Lansdowne.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to and debate adjourned accordingly.
§ House adjourned at half-past seven o'clock.