§ 2.50 p.m.
§ EARL DE LA WARR rose to call attention to the problem of hunger and malnutrition in many parts of the world, to discuss ways and means of contributing to its solution; and to move for Papers. The noble Earl said: My Lords, in venturing to lay before your Lordships the Motion that stands in my name, I think that I should first declare my interest. Two years ago the Government asked me to be Chairman of what, once appointed, was to be a purely unofficial Committee for conducting the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. Its task, in common with similar committees appointed by 30 or 40 other Governments, at the request of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, is to supplement, by mobilising voluntary effort, the already considerable work being done by F.A.O. and other such bodies. That, my Lords, is the extent of my interest.
It is hardly necessary to do more than remind your Lordships of the facts and figures of the world food situation. It has become a platitude to speak of half the world's population as being either hungry or malnourished, but, unfortunately, platitudes have a way of calling forth boredom rather than action. I know that that figure of one-half has been questioned by Professor Colin Clark, who says that the proportion is only 15 per cent. But, of course, 15 per cent. is not inconsiderable: it means some 450 million people. In fact, 15 per cent. is an agreed figure as representing those who are actually starving or hungry, and it is well known that the major part of the problem is one of malnutrition, amounting to 30 or 35 per cent., and the two figures, of course, add up to 50 per
cent. Therefore, the hard fact remains that, to borrow a very graphic phrase used by the Duke of Edinburgh:
Out of 3,000 million people living in the world to-day something like 1,500 million are existing on a diet that would reduce you and me to skin and bones.
§ But the picture does not really end there. The position is becoming worse every day, because by the year 2000 the world population will have doubled—and that is a conservative estimate, taking into account certain results accruing from increased use of birth control. Worse still, it is likely that the main increases in population will take place in the areas of greatest food shortage. I have got those figures off my chest—and I say "off my chest" because I know how familiar they are to most of your Lordships. But there they are: they stare us in the face in their tragic, stark and, I would emphasise, dangerous significance. They may, of course, tempt some to throw up their hands in despair, to say that the problem is far too large to be soluble: that, after all, the hungry have been with us for centuries, and that it is just a fact of life that has to be accepted. That may have been true in the past, but to-day it is quite definitely not true. My Lords, I should like to make this fact the main theme of my few remarks. If your Lordships are left with a feeling that our problem, however large it may be, however long-term, is finite and therefore worth tackling, this debate will I think have performed a useful function.
§ Let there be no shadow of doubt on this point. We have in our possession the technical and scientific knowledge that would enable us to remove from the world the curse of hunger and malnutrition; and, at the rate at which agricultural science is advancing, to meet the needs of a growing population. This fact has been confirmed and asserted again and again by every kind of scientific, agricultural and nutritional expert. The technical side of the problem, therefore, presents us with no insuperable difficulty: methods of land reclamation or improvement; the use of machinery, irrigation, fertilisers; new and a better seeds; new protein crops, pesticides, fungicides; the prevention and cure of plant and animal diseases; better breeding and management of stock; better methods of conserving crops once 242 they are grown and harvested. I do not know how many of your Lordships realise that something like 35 per cent. of crops in certain areas are wasted through weevil and other pests after the crops have been harvested. Then, last, but very far from least, there is better and greater knowledge of nutritional needs, to ensure the proper balancing of diets. All these methods are known and are available to us.
§ My Lords, the problem before us is how to put them across to hundreds of millions of simple and frequently extremely primitive people who need them, and how to multiply one hundredfold work which has been carried out over a long period and which has proved to be practicable and effective. Perhaps before I deal with what we should do and how we should do it, I should first be clear on what we should not do. First, we should not expect too much assistance from the surpluses of the West. They are all too frequently not composed of the food that is wanted. It is not possible to change those who for centuries have lived on maize to a diet of wheat. However large the surpluses may seem to be, they are quite inadequate to make any effective contribution for any significant period. Above all, when the crumbs cease to fall from the rich man's table, when such surpluses cease and all the food that is grown in the West, whether it be this variety or that, is needed at home, then the hungry are left just as hungry and as helpless as ever.
§ Surplus dried milk may be very useful to deal with a particular famine or disaster. But how much better, surely, looking at the problem from a long-term point of view, to teach people to keep their own cows and to conserve their own milk supplies! I think we have to face the fact to-day that, while "soup kitchen" charity has its uses in dealing with famines or disasters, it provides no permanent solution to this great problem and is completely out of date. Both the nature of the problem itself and the independent mentality of the newly independent nations demand constructive remedies, rather than temporary relief.
§ Secondly, my Lords, of course, money is needed—it is needed in large quantities, in the form of loans, in the form of grants. But money alone is not enough. If proof is needed of this, we should look at the disappointing results of the 243 astronomical sums that have been distributed by the United States in South-East Asia and other undeveloped countries. Incidentally, I do not believe that it is necessarily the most expensive schemes that are the most effective. Large capital works are not very much good unless there is the skill and the will and the knowledge to maintain them, and to make the best use of them.
§ Those are two rather negative comments. It is not difficult to say what does need to be done, because, as I have already said, so much of the ground has been trodden before, and our task is mainly multiplication of past effort. Above all, I would say that the education or advisory officer is the key to the situation. As it is no use having political independence, and then continuing to be tied to foreign advisers, so the first need is to increase facilities for training indigenous advisers. European advisers will, of course, be needed for some time, but, I think we shall all agree, in ever-decreasing numbers. The farm institute, therefore, must be put at the head of our list. Scholarships at agricultural or veterinary departments of universities are needed also. But the greatest immediate need is for a great number of men of diploma, or lower standard than that: men who have not grown too far away from those whom they are being trained to help.
§ Then there must be more short courses for actual farmers and, at least equally important, for their wives. I do not believe that any country, particularly a primitive country, can possibly advance on the basis of men alone. We need more rural community centres, the centres where a survey of a given area is carried out and its needs assessed. Workers would then be stationed there who would help to establish whatever is needed—it may be school gardens, it may be fishponds; it may be schemes for poultry and small livestock; it may be courses in cooking, nutrition and home hygiene. Another very good scheme which must be extended has been the giving of garden tools and seeds to schools, in order to give the children a grounding in growing and—what is equally important—using the right kind of foods.244
§ Co-operative societies, sometimes for growing and sometimes for marketing crops, have produced most impressive results in some areas. We need more of them. Competitions between individual farmers or between villages have proved of tremendous value. We need more of them. We need more demonstration farms. They may be attached to farm institutes; they may be attached to some existing mission school or settlement; or they may be on well-chosen, selected individual farms. I am not sure that that is not the most valuable of all. I think the Overseas Visual Aid Centre in London has done extraordinarily valuable work, and that sort of work ought to be extended. To-day we cannot even omit to think of wireless, or even television which is beginning to be available in some village centres. In China I am told they have called in the playwright and the travelling theatre, possibly modelling their programmes on our own "Archers" here.
§ My Lords, all these schemes—probably there are many others of which your Lordships can think—have three points in common. First, they are concentrated in their objective of helping the hungry to help themselves—the only sure way of helping anybody. Secondly, they are slow. But then, my Lords, anyone who thinks that we are going to be able to solve this problem either quickly or easily is just living in a world of fantasy. Thirdly, they have nothing new or original about them. That may seem dull, but of course it is merely another way of saying that they are sound, proved and what is needed; that is, if we are looking for permanent remedies rather than for salving our consciences by giving temporary relief. The only thing that is wrong about them all is their total inadequacy, and that the whole free world, the United Nations, Governments, and individuals are still only playing at facing this colossal problem.
§ I know how much our own Government have done in making loans and grants, in sending personnel to Colonial and Commonwealth countries, in being actually the second largest contributor to F.A.O., and also in their contributions to such bodies as the Colombo Plan Authority. But, my Lords, the hard fact remains that the problem is as yet barely scratched. If we want more done we 245 still have to create the climate of opinion to ensure that more is done. It is up to us, every one of us, to do everything in our power as individuals to increase our own national effort by word, by deed and by our own efforts and contributions, and thus ensure that the United Kingdom contribution to solving this world problem is worthy of its magnificent record of service in undeveloped lands.
§ I am glad to be able to tell your Lordships, if you will allow me, something of the effort that this country has already made on a voluntary basis. No fewer than 72 of the great voluntary societies of this country are affiliated to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. I have a note here that there are 700 local committees, but looking into the office this morning I find that I have to amend that figure to 750, so fast is the rate at which it is growing. Already between £5 million and £6 million have been either given or promised to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, and I think that is a good sign of what people in this country are beginning to feel about the important and urgent nature of this problem.
§ If I have not detained your Lordships for too long, and if your Lordships will forgive my mentioning in your Lordships' House the work of a particular campaign, perhaps I may be allowed to give your Lordships some specific examples of what has been done and promised. The Counties of Somerset and Devon, and the East Central Area of Scotland, have each promised to collect between £50,000 and £60,000 for farm institutes in Tanganyika—a total of three, costing £150,000. Sheffield have made themselves responsible for a farm training school in Kenya. As a first contribution, the Women's Institutes of the country have done the same for Uganda, and have now just decided, as a next step, to make a very large contribution towards the setting up of a university farm in Trinidad. One individual, Mr. Harold Samuel, has himself given us a farm institute in Northern Rhodesia.
§ Cheshire have undertaken to raise £150,000 for a scheme, including the necessary plant and machinery, to increase milk supplies in Hyderabad. Glasgow and the Clyde Valley have undertaken to pay for a similar scheme, 246 costing over £100,000, in India, again, in Anand. Middlesbrough have undertaken to set up a diesel engine fitter school in Jordan. Northern Ireland have made their first contribution of £100,000 to a large irrigation scheme. Young farmers' clubs in this country have initiated a scheme to extend similar clubs in Jamaica. I should mention here, perhaps, that the Ford Company, in addition to making other generous contributions, have presented them with their millionth tractor for use in giving mechanical instruction. Nottingham are giving a large sum, over £40,000, for fishery training and development in Northern Rhodesia; and Southampton a similar sum for what you and I may feel to be the somewhat peculiar development of sheep dairy farming in Libya. Many cities have offered to collect very large sums, but we have found, for the most part, that both voluntary organisations and area organisations prefer to be identified with specific projects.
§ I hope your Lordships will forgive me for mentioning these points, but they add something concrete to these remarks. My only regret in giving your Lordships this very short list is that it entails omitting so much work that has been done by so many other organisations. I should say that between 250 and 300 projects have already been very carefully vetted by us, and a great number of them have already been adopted, either by affiliated voluntary societies or by local civic committees. I realise only too well that, alas! however large these contributions may seem to be, they are only a drop in the ocean. But they have this merit: they are concrete, they are definite, and they show the way in which more advance can be made. They wave no magic wand, but they show the determination, not of thousands but of millions of people in this country, to help, and to help in a concrete and solid manner—above all, in a manner which will make a permanent and constructive contribution to this problem.
§ Finally, my Lords, may I close by repeating that we may be dealing with a large problem, a vast problem, but that it is one capable of solution? We have the knowledge, we know the way, and the question remains: have the Free World, have our own Government, have we as individuals, the will? In the hope, my 247 Lords, that we in this House have the will, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.15 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I am particularly glad to be the first speaker to thank the noble Earl for putting down this Motion, and for giving the House a chance of discussing what is, after world peace, the greatest of all our problems to-day—the problem of world poverty. We are also grateful to him for his speech and for the very detailed way in which he described the projects for which he is enlisting support in this country. From this side of the House, I should like to say that we give our wholehearted support to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign and to the efforts the noble Earl and his Committee are making in different parts of the country. This, of course, is not a matter of Party politics, and our hearts are just as much with the noble Earl as those of his supporters who may share a different political loyalty.
My Lords, the noble Earl may disagree with me here, but I cannot help thinking that possibly the most important task of the campaign is to bring before the public the facts about world poverty.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I am delighted to find that the noble Earl agrees with me, because it has always struck me that it is only by the knowledge of these facts that we shall ever get a sufficiently urgent public demand for effective action against it. If people up and down the country were to know as much about poverty in other countries as they know about slums in their own country, and if they were to feel the same horror and shame about malnutrition and under-nutrition as they feel about overcrowding and insanitary conditions in our own towns, then it would be very much easier for Governments to act with boldness, decisiveness and generosity—and I know that the noble Earl opposite will be the first to agree with me in that statement.
My Lords, this campaign offers a splendid opportunity to create the climate of opinion about world poverty to which the noble Earl referred: the sort of climate of opinion that we once had in this country about slavery and 248 the slave trade. The Press and broadcasting—which, after all, command the most important channels of communication with the public—could surely do no better service than to give this campaign the prominence it deserves. Public opinion is all-important in a field where effective action must be Government action. Nobody under-estimates the immense value of voluntary effort and the tremendous contribution that all the projects to which the noble Earl referred will make. But, however successful voluntary effort may be, however valuable in supplementing public effort, the main responsibility for coping with world poverty must fall on the Governments of the developed and developing countries.
What we are, I think, entitled to expect of our own Government—and, indeed, of other Governments, too—is that each should pull its full weight in a world-wide scheme to fight poverty. The machinery is already there: so-called bilateral and so-called multilateral channels for inter-Governmental co-operation already exist. What is required is more effective and more generous use of all the existing channels. This has been recognised by the United Nations in the appeal that it is making to its members to join in a programme for what it has termed "The United Nations Development Decade." I hope that the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, when he comes to reply will say that our Government have accepted, at any rate in principle, the target set by the United Nations for this ten-year development programme. I will not go further into this matter now because my noble friend Lord Henderson has a Motion on the Order Paper, and I hope that your Lordships may be able to discuss it at a fairly early date.
My Lords, we need first and foremost, as I have already said, to stir the consciences of the privileged minority of nations and individuals, and charity is always most effective when it starts at home. But we have also, I think, to admit that self-interest is a much more powerful motive in national policy than humanitarianism. So it is extremely fortunate that the privileged minority have just as much an interest as the underprivileged majority in putting an end to poverty. We cannot increase our own production here unless we increase our exports. It would take only a very small 249 rise in the purchasing power of the 2,000 million inhabitants of the underdeveloped countries to open up valuable new markets for us and for the other old industrial countries. So that here we are fortunately confronted with a mixture of conscience and self-interest—a combination that will prompt Governments to take the necessary action. That is all I want to say in general terms about this problem.
I should like now to consider what I hope the noble Earl opposite will also consider later: What changes are needed in our policy if we are to tackle this problem in the urgent and constructive way it deserves. I could not have agreed more with the noble Earl opposite when he said that what is wanted is not relief, not charity, but constructive measures to stimulate economic growth in poor countries. These were not his actual words; I think the words which struck me most were, "We have got to do something to help the hungry to help themselves". I should like to deal with Government policy, beginning with commercial policy. I think that is the right and logical order, because trade is more important than aid for the economic growth of these countries. That is a fact which is sometimes lost sight of. We must keep a proper sense of perspective and proportion. I hope that our failure to get into the European Economic Community will suggest to the Government that we should follow a much more liberal policy about world trade. The United States Government undoubtedly want to liberalise trade. I hope that we shall take the opportunity of what is now called the "Kennedy round" to negotiate through GATT to lessen discrimination against the import of foodstuffs and raw materials from developing countries. We must help them to sell their goods in order that they may be able to buy those which they need to develop their own economies.
One thing has always struck me. Why should it not be agreed between the importing countries to allow tropical foodstuffs, such as tea, coffee and cocoa, which do not compete with temperate agriculture, into the countries in Western Europe and North America with a nil tariff—that is, duty-free? That is one thing that I hope we shall press for. We have nothing to lose by it. The Ameri- 250 cans have as much to gain by it as the countries in the Commonwealth. The Latin American countries will be able to send their goods to Europe. It may be more difficult for us to admit the manufactured goods which compete with our own industries, but we must recognise that developing countries are going to industrialise (if they have not already done so, like India and Pakistan), and if we do not allow them to export their manufactures then they will fail to reach the point where they can dispense with our aid and become valuable markets for our goods. That is the whole object of aid: that it will be possible for them to dispense with it. We can do this more quickly by stimulating trade with the developing countries. Violent fluctuations in world commodity prices are more damaging than trade barriers to primary producers.
We should strain every nerve to get an agreement between the consuming and the producing countries in order to make a stable price level for commodities. I hope that the Government will address themselves to that end.
I should like next to say something about aid. In this field I think that most people will be far from satisfied that the Government are doing all that should and could be done at the moment. This is true in three respects. First, capital aid: this has been increased but it is still insufficient. Secondly, technical aid: there is a net loss of British technical skill in the new Commonwealth countries. Thirdly, the relationship between the two: the Government are failing to co-ordinate these two complementary forms of aid. To take first the last point—which, although important, is clearly the least important of the three—instead of putting all technical aid under one administrative umbrella like the United States, there is in Whitehall a really extraordinary divorce between technical and capital aid. Technical aid is the responsibility of the Department of Technical Co-operation, for which the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, speaks in this House. The latter is divided between the Overseas Department, the Commonwealth Relations Office, the Colonial Office, the Foreign Office and the Treasury. I cannot imagine any better way of making sure that the limited amount of money available in 251 loans or grants is not used to the best advantage of the receiving countries. What we want is a Department of Overseas Aid that will take over the Department of Technical Co-operation and the aid functions of the other Departments.
Now just a word about capital aid. I do not think we can be proud of the volume of our capital aid at the present time; that is, the aid we are giving, in loans or grants, to developing countries or the international agencies that assist them. The figures that I have for 1961 show that we are spending less on capital aid than two European countries with lower standards of living than ours—France and Germany, both poorer than the United Kingdom. These figures, in dollars, are from a publication of O.E.C.D.—the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. I hope that the noble Earl will be able to give the 1962 figures, though they may not yet have been worked out. The 1961 figures are: France, 952.7 million dollars; Germany, 573.6 million dollars; the United Kingdom, 445 million dollars. If I am not wrong, the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, in the debate we had not long ago on the subject of aid said that we are already spending 1 per cent. of our national income on aid. I hope that the noble Earl will interrupt if he disagrees with me, because this is a very important matter of fact and I want to get it absolutely right. I should like to be sure that I am not misinterpreting the statement of the Government spokesman.
I have seen other figures for 1961 which show a lesser percentage than 1 per cent. I think that the figure probably depends on how one calculates the national income. I hope that the noble Earl will say what the Government's view is about the percentage of our national income that we spend on public aid. I hope that it is Government policy to reach at least 1 per cent. per annum in aid, because this is the policy of the United Nations. It is the minimum figure asked for in the years of the development decade. I hope that we shall declare that this is our policy, to set an example to other countries and to show that we do accept what the United Nations regard as a fair share of the financial burden of the developing countries. I hope that the Government are planning for an in- 252 crease in their aid expenditure in the next financial year. I am glad that the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, is to reply, because, of course, he speaks for the Treasury and many of these matters are financial matters. I hope that this increase in aid is one of the things about which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is meditating at the present time and that his meditations will be fruitful.
If we are going to expand production in the next twelve months, which the Government intend to do as one of their major aims, we could afford to spend more on aid without either cutting Government expenditure in other directions or increasing taxation. But a really substantial and sustained increase in aid—and a substantial increase is not much good unless we are going to continue it over quite a long period of time—will depend on whether we can avoid another crisis in our balance of payments. The balance-of-payments difficulty is one that is facing all Western countries. It is not peculiar to this country. Even the United States has been having the same trouble recently. I very much hope—and perhaps the noble Earl can say something about this—that the Government are discussing with their partners in O.E.C.D., both European and North American, how to prevent imbalances of overseas payments from stopping or reducing the flow of aid to developing countries. Many suggestions have been made, and I will not go into them, but I think that this is one thing that ought to be most carefully studied without a moment's delay.
Finally, I come to what I regard as the most urgent problem of all for us at the present moment: the problem of providing technical skill for the developing countries while they are training their own technicians. The noble Earl put a great deal of emphasis on the need for technical skill. Let us look at our own performance, because that is the thing that matters most of all. I am afraid that we are failing diastrously in British Africa. To take an example of the professions that have been depleted so rapidly, the number of doctors, engineers and agricultural officers who are leaving the countries in British Africa every year is far larger than the number we are sending out to replace them. Unless we can stop this drain of skilled technicians, the legacy we shall leave East and Central Africa 253 when this whole area becomes independent—and that will happen fairly shortly—will be one of dire and deepening poverty. The social services that we have built up in the course of years will be run down. Agriculture and nascent industries will decline. How can you keep the Uganda cotton industry going with one fully trained electrical engineer? How can you keep the livestock industry going in Kenya, when half the "vets" will have left within the next year?
To leave this vast area of Africa in poverty and distress would surely be entirely unworthy of the fine record of British rule in Africa. It would undo much of the good work we have done there already. Of course, as the noble Earl said, we should help these countries in Africa to train their own people, if possible with crash training programmes, in the required professional skills, but the immediate necessity is to stop the exodus of British technicians. It can be stopped. The French have done so, and surely nothing that the French have done recently need give us an inferiority complex. Look at what the French have done! Apart from Guinea, where circumstances were different from those elsewhere, French administrators and technicians have stayed in all the independent French African countries. I was in Dakar last December and I was really astonished by the number of senior officers in Senegal, three years after Senegal had become independent. How is it that French Africa has kept the French personnel that the African Governments wanted to retain? The French Government has made this possible by the simple, but admittedly expensive, expedient of giving its overseas officers similar conditions of service and prospects of a career to those enjoyed by the civil servants at home.
Just to give your Lordships an example of the order of cost of doing this, France spends £95 million a year on its Over-sea Civil Service. We spent only about £15 million a year on the technical branch of our Oversea Civil Service—I am not taking the administrators into account. We shall have to increase very considerably what we are spending at the moment. That is obvious. The fact is that, unless we are prepared to guarantee the careers of officers and to meet the extra cost out of public funds, they will 254 continue to leave the service of African Governments. How can you expect men of forty to look forward to nothing more than a two-year or three-year contract with an African Government, or to stay on in the service of such a Government, when he knows that he will lose his promotion and ultimately his job as soon as an African can be found to replace him? I think that the Government ought to accept responsibility for the careers of technical officers in the Oversea Service.
This may seem a bit hard on the administrators, but they realise, as well as we do, that they can be spared more easily. In considering the future careers of these technical men, there are really no reasons why, when they are no longer wanted in Africa, they should not be seconded for service in other Commonwealth or foreign countries—for example, in Latin America. The Latin American countries are crying out for agricultural experts, medical officers and engineers, the very people who are doing such invaluable work in British territories.
My Lords, before the noble Earl continues, is he aware that in some countries in Latin America engineers are not allowed to practise unless qualified as engineers in the local language?
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I was just coming on to the noble Lord's point and I am glad that he mentioned it. Language qualifications are obviously essential, but I should have thought that anyone who has the ability to become an expert in tropical agriculture or tropical medicine would have the ability to learn enough Spanish to get along with the people with whom he has to work.
My Lords, I think that the noble Earl misunderstood me. In many cases these people have to pass their examinations again in a foreign language.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
That is a matter of local law. It may be that local law would be altered because many of the Latin-American Governments are most anxious to get these experts. I see that the noble Lord does not agree, but I have it from an authoritative quarter that that is the case.
I cannot help feeling that these Latin-American countries would be just right for men whose expertise is agricultural 255 or tropical medicine and so on, because they would find themselves working under much the same conditions as they had when working in the tropical areas of British Africa, or indeed in Asia. I firmly believe that if this responsibility for stopping the drain of technical officers is not accepted in the very near future irreparable damage will be done to the economies of these countries in East and Central Africa. I apologise for detaining your Lordships at such length, but I am sure all your Lordships share with me the view that this problem is one of the greatest with which any country has to deal. I very much hope that the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, when he comes to reply (I am glad he is speaking early on, because this may mean that he is going to say something about policy rather than just answer the points made in the debate) will be able to tell us that the Government are going to make an even more constructive contribution towards the solution of this problem of world poverty.
§ 3.42 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF DUNDEE)
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord De La Warr for introducing this Motion, and also to the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for, if I may say so, his very thoughtful and, I think, almost entirely well-informed speech. I do not know whether I can reply now in detail to any of the questions that he has asked, but I have taken a note of them. Both noble Earls have rightly distinguished between the humane desire to relieve hunger and starvation and the equally humane, though less emotional, business of long-term planning for the future. If you see a child who is hungry your natural instinct is to get hold of some food and satisfy its hunger. Then, if you afterwards discover that when this child grows up he is going to have no prospect of being able to earn his daily bread, the business of providing him with an opportunity of doing so is, of course, quite different and a much wider question than any single immediate act of charity. So it is with the greater part of the world at the present moment.
I will not go into the question of percentages or a definition of starvation, but 256 probably more than half—more like twothirds—of the word's population want more food than they have, and they usually lack the physical means and the experience to provide themselves with it. They also want a higher civilisation than they have at the moment; and there again they often lack the administrative ability and background to achieve it. They want much greater economic progress than they are able to attain by their own unaided efforts. At the same time, they want political independence from those to whom they owe such advancements as they have in economic progress and civilisation. As for liberty and personal freedom, I think the desire for these is there, too. But, of course, people who are hungry, frustrated and discontented are very apt to be deceived by the flamboyant claims of a dictator who represents that he will give them more to eat and a better life. One reason why we must help them is that it is necessary to establish the minimum of economic security without which the desire for liberty may often disappear.
In all these underdeveloped countries (as they are called), as my noble friend Lord De La Warr told us, the population is increasing very rapidly. If it goes on increasing at the present rate, as it probably will, it will more than double by the end of this century, and in some of these countries it will probably treble. The reason why the population is increasing is very largely the improved medical science which they have derived from the advanced countries—from their contacts with us and others—which has greatly lowered the rate of infant mortality and has given greater protection to human life. But the doctors have been practically more successful so far than the vets. The increasing human population is not balanced by an increase in their cattle and in their crops, and so the immediate prospect is that if there is no change in the balance, this very rapidly growing population will have less and less, instead of more and more, of its own food to eat. That is the problem with which we have to deal.
I thought it would be convenient to your Lordships if I intervened at this early stage in the debate in order to give a short outline (I have not time for a comprehensive account) of what our own country is trying to do, both publicly 257 and privately, to help our fellow human beings in other parts of the world, in co-operation of course with other advanced countries, because this is a problem which must be dealt with internationally. We have both at the same time to take immediate steps to deal with emergencies and to look to the future; and some of what we do to help the immediate present cases of urgency cannot be planned, because they result from unforeseeable accidents, like famine or war.
Last year we collected, mainly by private appeal and subscription, which was helped by the Government, £460,000 to relieve the suffering occasioned by the earthquake in Iran. The Government last year also gave a special contribution of £57,000 to relieve famine in the Congo resulting from the war and the chaos which has been rife there owing to recent political events. We gave another £20,000 to the relief of famine in Algeria resulting entirely from the war which had been raging there. Your Lordships will remember that last November we had a debate on the refugee problem, which is in many ways closely connected with this problem. My noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood was not able to be here in that debate, but I am glad to see that she is here now and to know that we are going to hear her speak in this debate. I mentioned then what wonderful work she had done by raising on behalf of this country £9 million out of a world total of 80 million dollars for the World Refugee Year. I also mentioned to your Lordships, and I shall not repeat now, the various figures of Government contributions towards all the refugee organisations, mostly under the auspices of the United Nations, such as the £2 million which we gave last year to the Palestine Refugees Agency of the United Nations.
Another recent corporate endeavour, mainly for short-term, temporary purposes initiated by the United Nations, has been the World Food Programme, which was to run for three years, beginning in January, 1963. It was planned a year before that. It aims at raising 100 million dollars. I wanted to mention this because we voted for it in December, 1961, when it was arranged at the United Nations, but we hesitated at first about contributing to it, partly because it is supposed to be mainly in kind and we are a food 258 importing and not a food exporting country, and partly because we doubted whether any financial contribution we might give might not cut across the other aid which we were supplying in other ways. But when we found that so many Western countries, including France and Germany, were willing to support the scheme and that there were 32 nations altogether who have come into it who have made some larger and some smaller subscriptions, we decided we ought to come in with a financial contribution, and we made the same contribution as Canada, that is, 5 million dollars.
The largest contribution is from the United States of 50 million dollars, and then Germany has promised 8 million dollars, and Canada and ourselves have promised 5 million dollars each. Our contribution of 5 million dollars is to be half in the form of shipping services and the remainder in the form of food, probably dried skimmed milk and dried egg, because it was represented that these were the kinds of food of which we were most likely, on the whole, to have some surplus. That is the three-year programme. There is the five-year programme of which my noble friend Lord De La Warr is the chairman in this country, the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. That was intended to last five years, having been launched on July 1, 1960. Its purpose is to improve nutrition standards and to raise living standards of the populations. It has been described by the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation as a people-to-people movement, involving both developed and developing countries. One of its essential features is that it aims to stimulate the people and the Governments of developing countries to do more for themselves.
I should like to congratulate my noble friend on what he has done, and on the figures which he gave, which are a little in advance of mine. I was glad to hear him mention the sum of between £5 and £6 million, and I was also glad to hear the examples which he quoted. There are a great many which are worthy of our admiration, particularly the project for improving production in Pakistan and the great irrigation project in Crete. There are many others I will not go into now, and I was glad to hear my noble friend mention them.
259 As your Lordships probably know, the Government have made substantial contributions to the Campaign. In 1960 we contributed towards the initial headquarters expenses of it. We subscribed more than 10 per cent. of the amount provided for headquarters costs in the Food and Agriculture Organisation budget of 1962. We gave more money to the U.K. National Committee in 1961, and again in September of last year. We commend and admire the work which the Committee have done, and I should like to congratulate my noble friend upon it. The Freedom from Hunger Campaign has a range of five years; the World Food Programme a range of three years. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, mentioned the United Nations Development Decade, which has a range of ten years, in which the Governments and peoples of all nations will concert and intensify their efforts to accelerate self-sustaining economic growth in the less developed countries.
All the aid efforts of Great Britain are directed towards these objectives, and we are the largest contributor, after the United States, to the aid programmes of the United Nations and its Specialised Agencies, to which the noble Earl referred. The most important of these are the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance and the Special Fund. I must apologise for all these long titles; they are not invented here, but they seem to like inventing them at New York. It is sometimes very difficult to remember which are which. But the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance is a very large one. The Government have increased their contribution, which is all on a temporary basis, by 25 per cent. this year to a total of 10 million dollars, and we hope that other countries will follow our lead. The development of agriculture is the largest single category of projects which are financed from these programmes, and that reflects the priority assigned to agriculture by the United Nations Organisation. We have always been the second largest subscriber to this. The total regular budget for the present period 1962–63 was about 31 million dollars, and the United Kingdom pays just over 10 per cent. of this.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said a good deal which I thought was relevant to the subject about trade in general, and 260 I shall not add much except to say that I think I agreed with all that he said. The greatest object of all of the Common Market was to enable Western Europe to do more for the Free World as a whole. The set-back, temporary perhaps, that we received was a blow to these hopes, but we must try to do our best, in spite of it. We are certainly anxious to do all the things which he recommended—that is to say, to push on with the "Kennedy round", if we can achieve it, which I hope we can—in the more difficult circumstances which have now arisen, to take more imports from developing countries to enable them to do more trade with us. I have always agreed with what he said about their not being able to develop or to buy from us if the price of raw materials, primary products, remains as low as it is. We approve of measures to try to stabilise them. We have adhered to a number of international Commodity Agreements on coffee and cocoa, and I mention the Wheat Agreement, too. Of course, that is an older thing, and it does not apply so much to the under-developed countries, but it is very important to the stability of world prices. There are other Agreements, on oil, tin and sugar; and most of these organisations, as your Lordships know, have their headquarters in London.
I do not think the noble Earl mentioned the International Development Association. Your Lordships may remember that we had a Bill in 1960 establishing that Association and providing for our contribution towards it. It is under the same management as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, but the difference is that the International Development Association lends money on what are called soft loans, either at low rates of interest or on no rates of interest at all. The initial resources of the I.D.A. were 1,000 million dollars over five years, and of that sum the United Kingdom is to provide 131 million dollars, or £47 million, up to November, 1964. That is much the largest subscription, after the United States, and a very large proportion of the credits which have so far been provided by the International Development Association are for irrigation works and other capital expenditure which are highly important to food supplies.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, before the noble Earl passes from the 261 I.D.A. may I ask him this question? I heard a short while ago that the I.D.A. had almost used up the initial funds which had been contributed by its members. Is that the case; and, if so, are the Government considering making a further contribution to the loan fund of the I.D.A.?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
I can certainly get information on that point for the noble Earl, but the figures I have here show that up to December 31, 1962, the I.D.A. had committed 367 million dollars, which would be very far short of the total of 1,000 million dollars up to the end of 1964. However, I will look into that point and let the noble Earl know.
I do not want to make a long statement now; I just want to say a little on the question of technical co-operation, which I think perhaps is the most important contribution that our country is able to make in this matter. Technical aid is furnished mainly through the Department of Technical Co-operation, which was established in July, 1961, under my right honourable friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation, largely to continue our work in helping the less developed areas in the world previously carried out by the Colonial Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Foreign Office. I noted what the noble Earl said about co-ordination, and I will not pursue that now. Here we have, at any rate, a little more co-ordination than we had before, and the aid which is given for increasing the efficiency of agriculture and developing the natural resources of the less developed countries is recognised as one of the most important functions of this Department.
The Secretary appointed an Advisory Committee in November, 1961, to advise him in dealing with problems of the provision of technical assistance in agriculture, animal health, forestry and fisheries, and this Committee has already submitted its Report, which will be published as a White Paper in, I hope, a few weeks' time, together with comments of the Department. I cannot say what the Paper will contain, but I hope that it will greatly augment the already large assistance afforded by the Department in the field of natural resources, which includes the support under the Overseas Service Aid Scheme of 1,250 men and 262 women in agriculture and related activities for Commonwealth and dependent territories, and a further 50 or so under technical assistance arrangements with developing countries generally.
Most of this bilateral aid in the form of technical assistance goes to members of the Commonwealth with whom we have special links and the British dependent territories, but some is going, and I hope more will go, to certain foreign countries, particularly to Latin America. I was glad that the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, mentioned Latin America, because the great importance of that is that we cannot, from a world point of view, leave it entirely to the United States. We and other European countries must come in and help. The Technical Co-operation Department are arranging now to send a mission of British experts in tropical agriculture to the Bolivian Government to work in the Eastern Province of Bolivia, where efforts are being made to expand food production. We are also hoping to provide assistance to other Latin American countries, such as Brazil. I have great hopes that in future (and, as the noble Earl said, it all depends on our balance of payments and increasing our export trade), if our efforts to improve the economic situation are successful, we shall be able to give more priority than we have done to Latin America.
I think that perhaps what is least known of what we are doing, because its results are so much in the future, is the education in the agricultural sciences which we are providing here in this country to students from foreign countries. I think that the universities and technical institutions of Britain are playing a magnificent rôle in training the future leaders of the developing countries. This year there are over 60,000 foreign students, mainly from the developing countries of Africa and Asia, at British universities and technical institutions. We have a Committee, too, on methods of improving Latin American studies, and I hope that it will stimulate a greater interchange of students between here and Latin America. But next year, and I hope for many years to come, the total of foreign students here is likely to increase.
Some of the students are at present engaged in agricultural and nutritional studies. One example I should like to mention to your Lordships is Queen 263 Elizabeth College, of London University, which has lately started an academic post-graduate diploma course in nutrition which lasts a full academic session of three terms. That course is designed for agricultural, veterinary, scientific and other graduates or for suitable non-graduates with sufficient background, and it has a strong emphasis on the practical application of nutritional knowledge. The first course, which started last October, consisted of students from eight different countries, and a great deal of personal supervision is given to each student. There is another course that I should like to mention. Just this week the first of a proposed series of advanced annual courses of study in food science and applied nutrition began at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with 20 students of 13 nationalities. This project was described the other day at Geneva as one of the most imaginative schemes of its kind.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, could the noble Earl amplify a little the very impressive figure of 60,000 foreign students in this country? Could he tell us approximately what proportion of these are studying agriculture, nutritional and veterinary sciences, and so on?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, offhand, I cannot; but I will certainly see whether I can get some figures.
I think that what impressed your Lordships most about the noble Earl's remarks was that he showed how almost every kind of education, economic, practical and administrative, was so very relevant to this problem of hunger and malnutrition. It is not only the people who are engaged in immediate agricultural science who can help: engineering and every other kind of scientific attainment is also necessary for the economic progress of these countries. I think the ability to satisfy immediate hunger, to relieve suffering, is very rewarding, because one has the satisfaction of seeing its results immediately. To provide study is not so immediately rewarding, because in order to envisage its results it is necessary to project the imagination perhaps one or two generations into the future. But I believe that the British reserve of experience and knowledge, both in administration of 264 every kind, and in agricultural science, both temperate and tropical, constitutes the most valuable contribution which we in this country can make to the problem of world hunger. We are increasing now, and shall continue to increase, year by year, our work in conquering hunger and in trying to build a better material future for the human race.
§ 4.12 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF COVENTRY
My Lords, "the captains and the kings depart". We have had three very erudite speeches, first from the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, the sponsor of this debate, and then from the Government Front Bench and the Opposition Front Bench, and now we come to humbler people. I should like to say at the outset how delighted I am to be privileged to make my maiden speech on what I feel, and I am sure your Lordships will agree, is a matter of outstanding importance. In this vast concern of the relief of world famine it is my belief that the Church has a very important part to play, and the purpose of this short speech will be to show the three or four ways in which the Church can give a notable contribution.
Before I come to that, however, I should like for a few moments to try to put in a slightly wider setting what we have been thinking about, and if your Lordships may at first consider my remarks to be irrelevant I hope in the end you will feel they have been immensely relevant. Some months ago Mr. Dean Acheson made a speech which somewhat antagonised many people and indeed hurt and wounded the vast majority of people in this country, not least when he said a sentence to this effect. He said that Great Britain had lost an Empire but not yet found a mission. I suppose nobody in his senses could dispute the truth of the first part of the remark, though I would be among the foremost of the people who claim that in doing this we have achieved greatness—lasting greatness. It will, I think, be the verdict of history that we have been the greatest empire builders and at the same time the greatest empire ceders of all time. Indeed I believe it will come to be felt as regards our imperial mission that nothing became us better than the manner of our concluding it, not in the dust of conflict, not in the bitterness of defeat, but in the giving 265 of freedom to those who in the course of time have shown themselves worthy of it.
There may be those who think we did this prematurely, but the fact remains that we had before us a clear-cut objective and we have achieved that objective, even though in the doing of this in the eyes of the world we threw away our Empire. Furthermore, I would say we have been great empire builders because we have sent some of the greatest of our sons to give the best years of their lives in the service of India and the Sudan, to mention but two. All this is abundantly true, and I would fight to my last breath those who glibly and unimaginatively decry our great past.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that up to a point our imperial work is done and our objective has been achieved. Therefore this could be, and I venture to say it is, a dangerous moment for our people unless we learn to refute, by action, the second part of Mr. Dean Acheson's sentence by discovering a mission. I believe that part of that mission is to be found in our contribution to the vast world problem of famine relief. This can be one of our finest hours if, having trained many countries for self-government and freedom, we now train them and other nations for industrial self-development.
In this vast, long-term project I feel that the Church, as I said earlier, has an important contribution to make, and I would place it under four headings. First, I would underline what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said: that we must produce the men. I believe that the Church has an important part in finding the men—the missionaries, if you like—of the future, the men who will be concerned about the total man, not merely his soul but his body, and not merely his body but his soul. In the past I feel we have sometimes tended to think of missionaries, men with a mission, only in terms of preachers or doctors. That impression has been greatly exaggerated, though there is an element of truth in it. The fact remains that in the past several hundred years we have healed the body, preached the Gospel and taught men's minds, and the result of those missionaries' work has been found in many different directions, not least in the removal of superstition, in the improvement of hygiene and in the peaceful 266 development of countries towards independence. The fact, indeed, that there has been little bloodshed in many of these advances is to no small extent due to the heroic men with a mission who left their homes and the security of their homeland to devote the best years of their lives to the welfare of the undeveloped races.
But to-day a new kind of missionary is needed: technologists, men of skill, and also with the ability to communicate their skill in such a manner that it is acceptable to primitive people. They must have, if I may put it so, the know-how to communicate. Then they must be men with the love of God in their hearts, who will go out not merely for self-interest, not even merely for humanitarian reasons, but with a deep seated concern for their fellow men. The Church's work must be to help to produce such men. Too often in the past we have tended to think of vocation only in terms of the ministry; but all technology must be considered as a vocation, a calling.
In this, two types of men are needed from this country—though I should be the first to agree with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, that in the long run the leadership must come from the countries themselves; it must be an indigenous leadership. Nevertheless, as the sponsor of this debate put it quite rightly, for a few years at least they will need the help of men from this country, and it may be for even more than a few years. Two types of men are needed: first, young men at the very outset of their career. Here I should like to pay tribute to a movement called V.S.O., Voluntary Service Overseas, the result, as has so often been the case, of a letter to The Times signed by, among others, the Lord Bishop of Norwich. As a result of that letter to The Times, whereas in the years 1958 to 1959 18 such young men and women volunteered for work overseas, in the last year 345 young men and women volunteered for that work.
Not all these young men and women are concerned with schemes for famine relief, but many are—in Basutoland, India, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, to mention but a few. There is every indication that more could be obtained—school-leavers before going on to university or college; industrial apprentices, 267 graduates—without in any way lowering the standards. For many—and I underline that word "many"—are being moved to-day by a feeling of wanting to go out to help; in other words, to do something unselfish before settling down to the more routine careers that lie ahead of them. Surely here is a splendid alternative to National Service, an encouraging answer to those cynics who spend their time decrying the youth of today. I believe that there is plenty of the spirit of adventure and unselfishness in the young people of to-day, provided always that they are given the right leadership and the right openings for their natural desires for adventure and selflessness.
The immediate need is, of course, for more financial support. Surely there can be no greater or more fruitful investment. In addition to V.S.O. there is what has come to be known as the Peace Corps, Government-sponsored in the United States of America and in other countries. The idea behind the Peace Corps is the sending out of trained teachers. The idea behind V.S.O. is the sending out of individual volunteers, to live with and to work with the peoples of the countries to which they are sent. Both these movements have value, and both afford a magnificent opportunity for young men and women with vision and vocation. Both should be strongly supported by the Government and by private backing.
But in addition to the services of young men on the threshold of their life, there is urgent need for the short-term seconding of older, senior, more experienced men to give leadership overseas for two or three, or more, years. This is perhaps the most important single contribution in manpower that can be made in this world campaign for famine relief—the loan of experts; that, together with, on the other side, the training of potential experts from overseas. This has its real problems. Chief among these is the problem of their reinstatement. I put it top of every list. This must not be done on a basis of charity. If, as I hope, we believe that backward countries will be trained and developed only by highly-qualified experts; and if we believe that health brought to one part of the world will in the long run bring health to the whole world; and if we believe that it is our duty, as Christians, to care for the 268 under-developed, then it is our duty to ensure that those men and women who go overseas shall be reinstated, not only without loss, but also with the due financial increments and heightened status which their increased age and experience overseas demand.
This question is being most carefully looked into in the realm of education. I have recently been sent an admirable pamphlet issued by the National Council for the Supply of Teachers Overseas, which outlines a scheme that protects qualified teachers' incremental rights. For instance, the Hampshire L.E.A. have agreed that teachers seconded from their authority will be guaranteed places in Hampshire on their return. I feel like saying "Well done, Hampshire". I suggest that their example might well be emulated and followed by other L.E.A.'s and, if necessary, under Government direction. In the world of medicine the Porritt Working Party Report has recently suggested that comparable facilities for the secondment of medical specialist personnel be made. I should like to know whether Her Majesty's Government intend to implement these proposals, and how soon that can be done.
Alas!, as yet, so far as I can tell, the world of industry and commerce has not been so far-sighted as the two spheres of education and medicine. Far too many business men still look on service overseas as a waste of a man's time. Surely they are wrong, for service overseas not only broadens a man's experience and builds up his character but, in addition, enables him to help to restore a disgracefully ill-proportioned world economy. Could not groups of leading industrialists be persuaded to get together and work out how to make it easier for technologists and skilled men from private firms to go overseas for a while, without jeopardising their future careers? But, if this is to happen, there has to be a complete change of mental climate.
This leads me to the second way in which I feel that the Church can help: by bringing about a change of thinking. Until recently men have not—let us face it—given much thought to this appalling problem of world famine. If they have, they have tended to think of it as something that could be resolved by charity; or else they have tended to think that it 269 could be a problem resolved by short-term schemes or private effort. I feel that again that is wrong, for no amount of private effort, and certainly no short-term scheme, will be adequate. It can be resolved only by long-term schemes and, as we have heard from the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, by Government aid. We have to recognise, and to help this nation to recognise, that the provision of medical facilities and of technical accomplishments, with the raising of educational levels and of standards of living all over the world, must in the long run, be of universal benefit. After all, when a limb is gangrenous, the whole body suffers. A sound world economy depends upon sound national economy, not only in the West, but elsewhere.
The third task in which I think the Church has an important part to play is in the development of the will to change. It is often rather tritely said, "Where there's a will, there's a way." The trouble too often is that in the black spots of the world there is no will, largely due to prolonged under-nourishment. This will to progress and to reform, and to change old habits, has often been undermined by under-nourishment and has been swallowed up by a specious kind of national prestige which puts the emphasis on short-term and rather glamourous projects which bring prestige for a time but do not bring economic improvement or higher standards of living. In short, technical knowledge must be implemented by a will to assimilate this technical knowledge. The Church ought to help to produce this will to be different, this will to move out into new and better ways of life. That, of course, would involve propaganda, literature, preachers and lecturers in an all-out attempt to change men's thinking. "Where there's a will, there's a way"—and it is undoubtedly part of the Church's task to create and develop this will for self-development.
Finally, it is the Church's task ever to hold before the world, and no less before this campaign, the right motives. We do not enter it merely as a preventive of war, though nothing is so conducive to war as jealousy and the feeling of resentment accruing from the discovery that nations are living in the shadow of malnutrition while the Western countries have "never had it so good". Nor do 270 we enter this campaign merely as a result of enlightened self-interest, although, as I pointed out earlier, the improvement of standards of living in backward countries is bound in the long run to improve standards of living all round. No, my Lords, we enter it surely because, as Christians, we believe that it is God's will that all His children shall have the chance of a full, free and happy way of life. In the name of Our Lord we reach out the right hand of fellowship and seek to use our minds for the alleviation of suffering and the improvement of education and medicine.
My Lords, this Chamber has witnessed many great occasions when the leaders of this country have been called upon to initiate some great humanitarian project that has brought enlightenment, freedom and development to vast numbers of people. I venture to say that never has this country been called upon to take its share in a project more far-reaching, more wholly according to the will of God, or more beneficial in its permanent effects for good in the lives of millions of world citizens. Here is something that may not immediately improve our own material well being—although I believe that in the long run it will. The glaring and terrifying fact is that vast numbers of people are living, if not in actual hunger, at least at a level of constant undernourishment. This ought to make us pause and think at any time, but most emphatically at a time in world history when the standard of living in the West has never been so high. Surely we owe it to our less fortunate brethren to ensure that this unequal state of affairs shall be put right as soon and as effectively as possible.
The challenge to our generation is to make it possible for some of our best manpower, brains and equipment to be put at the disposal of these backward nations, so that they may be helped to advance to that level of well-being which is consistent with God's will for mankind. In this immense project the Church has an important part to play, and, as a Churchman, I am proud to have been given the privilege of making my maiden speech on this all-important subject.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ LORD BOYD-ORR
My Lords, there have been many excellent speeches already, and my contribution will be as 271 brief as possible. The present food position of the world to-day is, as the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, stated, that one half of the people are suffering in health, and some suffering premature death, because owing to their poverty they cannot get sufficient food to maintain themselves; while, at the same time, in the wealthy Western countries there is such an abundance of food that unmarketable surpluses are causing economic difficulties.
It is interesting to reflect that the present world food position is not unlike that which existed in this country and in America in the early 'thirties. At that time, owing to widespread unemployment and low wages, there was extreme poverty: one half of the people in both countries were suffering from malnutrition because they could not get sufficient food to maintain their health. This so shocked the conscience of the people that there was agitation: there were public meetings; articles were written in the Press; and a Parliamentary Committee, led by the late Eleanor Rathbone and consisting of members of all Parties, tried to force the Government to do something about the improvement of nutrition—especially in regard to children. What was the result? The late Mr. Walter Elliot, the then Minister of Agriculture, and his associate, the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, who was also in the Ministry of Agriculture, put through a plan for free or cheap milk for schoolchildren. That put the surplus milk in this country into the empty bellies of children and brought about an enormous improvement in their health. Then the school meal system was expanded, and the unemployment "dole" was increased. At that time 2s. 6d. a week was paid per child. This sum was increased, so enabling the poorer people to buy more food. In that way the food position in this country saw gradual improvement from the middle of the 'thirties to the beginning of the war.
In the United States—where they had been ploughing back food into the ground, destroying it, or dumping sugar into the Atlantic—they brought in the Food Stamp Plan, which enabled those living on low incomes to buy food at half-price. By that means they, also, put surplus food into empty bellies. The result was that it was good for business; 272 the farms had an expanded market; the business in the shops increased, and there was general economic stimulation and increased employment.
During the last war an interesting development took place in this country. The noble Earl, Lord Woolton, was given the job of running the food and agricultural policy of the country. Being an experienced businessman, he marshalled the facts, and discovered that the women and children were suffering the most. He therefore brought in a rationing scheme which gave priority to women and children in relation to the health foods—milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables. He also arranged the prices so that the poorest could buy their rations. That, my Lords, was the first time in modern history that any Government had tried to bring about a food and agricultural policy based on the needs of the people.
In my opinion what we need to-day is a policy such as that which Lord Woolton adopted in this country, but on a world-wide scale. Noble Lords may remember that there was an attempt to do just this. The noble Viscount, Lord Bruce of Melbourne, the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, and others went to the old League of Nations in the early 'thirties, at a time when unemployment and poverty were still increasing, and suggested that the Governments of the world should get together and co-operate in a world-wide plan to double food production in the next 20 years and so abolish hunger. This was not so much from a humanitarian point of view (although that was kept in view) as from an economic angle. It was pointed out that if that were done there would be an enormous market for industrial products—because food is the biggest trade in the world, and half the population of the world earn their living from its production. It was believed that world trade would be doubled and redoubled, and that employment would be solved by creating world wealth. It was a long-term investment to increase the world's wealth and to bring about more employment. The idea was that we should get out of our difficulties in that way, instead of by the method then adopted, of decreasing imports, decreasing production, with land going under cultivation and factories closing down.
By 1938, my Lords—there was a good spirit in the world at that time—22 273 nations were sending delegates to a conference. As well as those from America and from Russia, there was the late Lord Astor; and financiers, economists and scientists were engaged on working out a plan to bring about international co-operation to double world food production and so achieve prosperity in the world. The outbreak of war put an end to that scheme, but America revived it later with the Hot Springs Conference, from which F.A.O. originated. F.A.O. put forward pretty much the same proposals as the noble Viscount, Lord Bruce of Melbourne, and the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, had done. The majority of the nations of the world were in favour; and Russia offered to come in if Britain and America also agreed. But, unfortunately, the scheme fell through.
The position to-day, my Lords, is a little more serious than it was in the 1930's. At that time the population of the world was increasing by less than 20 million a year. To-day it is increasing by 60 million a year. It is estimated that if sufficient food is to be provided for the people of the world by the year 1980—seventeen years ahead—it will be necessary to double the present food supply of the world. There are some who think and say that, due to this explosion of population, it will soon become impossible to provide sufficient food to feed all the teeming millions of human beings. My Lords, with present engineering and agricultural science, the food supply of the world could be increased ten times. It is physically possible to increase it ten times. The difficulty is the political situation. But we could supply sufficient, even though the present explosion of population continued for a hundred years. And, of course, we are not sure that it will continue. I believe that, with the new scientific methods of birth control, and the education of the people of the world, it will slow down. In any case a hundred years is far enough to look ahead. Nobody has the slightest idea what the world will be like a hundred years hence.
I am just reminded that the wonderful speech by the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Coventry was a maiden speech. I should like to congratulate him, as I am sure all your Lordships would wish to do. It was a speech to which listened with the 274 greatest interest and the greatest sympathy. I hope that he will often attend the House and give us more speeches like that, to arouse the consciences not only of the Members of this House, but also of the people of the world, to what is needed to make the world a much better place, and to apply practical Christianity in politics.
As I was saying, we can produce the food. This world-wide movement will raise a good many million pounds, and it will create improvements in localised areas as a demonstration of what can be done. I hope that the main result of the campaign will be to inform the people of the world of what the present food position is and to shock them with the fact that these people are hungry although the food can be easily produced, and to induce them to put all pressure on Governments to unite in a world food policy that will put an end to hunger.
My Lords, it is not only the technical experts that are needed. Men in countries like India have their own agricultural research places, and their own policies for agriculture. But if the world's food supply is to be increased to meet human needs in the next 20 years, it will require enormous quantities of industrial products—fertilisers, pumps, agricultural implements, and so on. As the noble Viscount, Lord Bruce of Melbourne, pointed out, the production of these would lead to an enormous market for industrial products. Where is the money to come from? For we should need thousands of millions of pounds to free the world from hunger in the next 20 years. I have suggested that it might come by combining a world food policy with disaramament, and getting nations to agree to cut their military budget by, say, 10 per cent., and put the whole saving into an international World Development Fund, beginning with food. It would be possible to do something with £4,000 million in the first year.
My Lords, I had hoped that this great nation, the centre of the greatest and best Empire there ever was, would take the lead in this matter, because it was largely British scientists who developed this new knowledge of malnutrition, and showed how the disease of malnutrition could be cured by more food; it was British people who led the movement in the 275 League of Nations, and it was some British people in Washington who prompted the American Government to call the Hot Springs Conference. This country has done well with that. The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, has said that we have not been ungenerous. Indeed, of all the countries in the world we have been the most generous in supporting these measures. What a wonderful thing it would be if the Government of this country decided to suggest cutting the military budget by 10 per cent. if Russia, America and all the other countries would do the same! They would be astonished at the response they would get from other countries. If they do not do it, as is possible, perhaps America or Russia may make the offer. In that case I hope that this Government will back them.
My Lords, there is the position. There is no need for world hunger. Efforts are being made to cure it, but it will need a much greater effort than is being made. But this campaign that is being carried out will, I hope, do a great amount of good in different areas. At the same time, I hope that it will call the attention of the decent-minded people of the world to the problem, and will get them to do as they did in 1932 in this country—bring pressure to bear on Governments to co-operate to put an end to hunger.
If they did that, look at what the consequences would be. The revolt of the black people of Africa is not either for Communism or for free enterprise—they know nothing about that. It is a revolt against poverty. Whichever nation helps them to get rid of the poverty will be the one they will follow. If we got such a scheme going, with that great development of world trade, doubling and redoubling world trade and economic prosperity, we should be entering into a new era. Most important of all, if we could get Russia and America to come in with other countries to co-operate on a world-wide scale for the mutual advantage, we should have taken a great step forward to world peace and to the economic prosperity and high standard of living which modern science has made possible. This country has already done a great deal: the Government have been generous. But they might take the lead in the big jump forward, and so introduce the wonderful new era 276 of world peace and world economic prosperity, with the abolition of much of the disease and hunger that exist at the present time.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, we have listened to two very remarkable speeches. What the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, who has just sat down, did not tell your Lordships, although many of us know it well, is that there is nobody in this world who has done more for nutrition, for agriculture, through the Food and Agriculture Organisation, than he has himself. He was its first Chairman; he was its inspirer; he was the man who really put across to the United Nations and to the United Nations Agencies the vital importance of food and agriculture in the development which he has been talking about to-day. We are privileged, I think, to have had him discussing in this debate with us those ideas and tracing back in a most fascinating manner the way in which he and others like him (of whom the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, was one) have, all through these very many years, been working for this very same end—the end we are now discussing and in which all of us are so passionately interested. I should also like to offer my congratulations to the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Coventry for his remarkable speech. He has certainly put forward the point of view of the Church and of those people in the Church who support him. I am quite sure that he has sounded a clarion call in your Lordships' House to-day, and I hope we shall hear his voice many times on other subjects, as well.
The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, mentioned the refugee debates and the refugee appeal. I was reminded of them when I was thinking about this debate and of taking part in it. I was thinking that in your Lordships' House we have done a great deal, through these great humanitarian efforts, to speed on the work of the United Nations and of its Agencies, when they have been engaged in a campaign such as the World Refugee Year Campaign, or the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. In this campaign, the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, we are not appealing for the homeless, the stateless or the refugee: we are appealing and working for people 277 who suffer from poverty, malnutrition and lack of knowledge; those who are without the machinery, the equipment and the skill to help themselves. They live, as we know, in underdeveloped countries—emerging countries as they used to be called in the United Nations. Although they are emerging and underdeveloped, they are, many of them, very old civilisations indeed—civilisations with long traditions and primitive traditions behind them. It is to those nations that we want to give that help which can bring them up to a better standard of living.
I believe that this campaign by the Food and Agriculture Organisation is one of the most important campaigns that the United Nations has inaugurated. Just as their campaigns for world health, and for children under U.N.I.C.E.F. have been of extreme importance, so also is this particular campaign, under F.A.O. I think the right reverend Prelate was right when he said that this strikes a note to which people all over the world will respond, and particularly those in this country. I know, too, something of the work of the Voluntary Services Overseas, and of the great number of volunteers who come forward and who would like to go and help in under-developed areas; people who would like to make their contribution not, in fact, in money but in kind, in that they will go and work and help in Africa and in other countries. I hope that that spirit, which permeates the universities and many schools and technical colleges of the country, will be encouraged.
The noble Earl, Lord De la Warr, stressed, quite rightly, that what we are looking for are permanent solutions, not just giving relief; because, although that assistance may be very necessary, what we want to get away from, really, is the idea of paternalism. What we want to do is to put them in a position of doing things for themselves; so the idea of permanent solutions is one which I feel very keenly is a key principle in this campaign. I should like, as I am, I think, the only person here who represents the Committee in Scotland, to say one word about what we are doing in Scotland in the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, because we have adopted various projects which we are hoping to finance—and they are highly practical projects. In Nigeria, in Tanganyika and 278 in Nyasaland we are going to undertake to finance difference schemes of a practical character. One is to establish a farm institute in Tanganyika to enable hundreds of Tanganyikan farmers to attend courses in better farming methods; and that has been supported by the area of Dundee, Angus, Perth, Fife and Kinross.
Of the 9 million population of Tanganyika, 98 per cent. live off the land, and the very successful farm institutes in Kenya, to which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, referred, have encouraged the authorities to want to do the same kind of work. I believe that that would be very important. We are going to support a fishermen's institute to train Nyasa fishermen in commercial methods, so as to raise their standards of living and to increase the supply of high-grade animal protein and other valuable foods. This is estimated to cost about £30,000, and it is going to be supported by the North-East of Scotland, where the great fishing industries are located. The Government of Nyasaland have applied under the F.A.O. Freedom from Hunger Campaign for an institute for fishermen, and that we are going to try to finance from the North-East of Scotland, where we have a great fishing industry. Glasgow and the Clyde Valley are undertaking a scheme costing over £100,000 to help to increase the productivity of dairy herds at Anand, just North of Bombay, to provide other improvements in animal feeding throughout the year, and to improve the milk and water supplies. These are practical projects, my Lords, and if they are to be achieved it will be hard to raise all the money we want, but they should lay the foundation for education and training in the highly technical matter of food production.
Now there are many other schemes. There are schemes in Uganda, there are schemes in Madagascar, and there are many schemes which the committee under the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, are working out and which different parts of the country all over the United Kingdom are going to support. If they succeed—and I hope they will succeed, with the help both of private individuals and of the Government—they will provide permanent plant in the countries concerned which the people, the nationals, of those countries will finance 279 and operate themselves. This will help people, both those who consume and those who produce, in a far better way than their depending, as the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, has said, on the distribution of surplus food and animal feeding stuffs, which varies from year to year and which, in any case, is given in the sense of charitable giving rather than as a method of teaching people how to help themselves. Furthermore, in many of these areas, as noble Lords who know Africa better than I do will agree, there is under-employment. There is a tremendous number of people who are under-employed; and if we can improve the system and give them better and more work, then we shall be doing something really valuable in that way, too.
I have spoken about Scotland, my Lords, because the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, who is Chairman of the Committee there, cannot be here to-day and because we are very anxious to play our full part in the United Kingdom appeal. I think this is one of the best ideas that the Food and Agriculture Organisation has had, and the response to it, both here and all over the world, is very encouraging. Your Lordships will no doubt be approached, as I think many of you were during the World Refugee Year, to help in the localities in which you are living, and I hope very much that you will do for this campaign what you did for the campaign for the World Refugee Year.
The problem of malnutrition, of lack of food, is something that has been with us for generations, in every age at all times; but this, as the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, has said, is the one age in which we really could cure it, because we have the knowledge and the skill, and in my opinion we could have the money, to do it. It is only to-day that we have the scientific knowledge which could be applied, and that is what we are hoping to do. While large schemes of irrigation, and so on, can be done by the countries themselves and can be financed by these great loans from the United Nations, the significance of those great schemes depends on the individual people who are working in the field. It is for those practical people, the people who are actually doing the job, that the Food and Agriculture Organisation and 280 the Freedom from Hunger Campaign is working. I hope that we shall have as great a success as we had when we backed the United Nations Refugee Year. I beg to support the Motion introduced by the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr.
§ 5.1 p.m.
§ LORD SALTER
My Lords, I should like to join those who preceded me in thanking the noble Earl for introducing this subject of debate and for the contribution he himself made to it. I would also add my congratulations on the eloquent and inspiring speech from the right reverend Prelate. I rise, in a brief intervention, to emphasise one aspect of the problem of those concerned with supplying financial resources for the underdeveloped countries, which I think is of great importance and has received inadequate attention. In a practical experience covering nearly half a century and extending over a range of countries as wide as to include Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, China and Iraq one conviction has been burned into me: it is comparatively easy to discover the policy which, if implemented, would increase the prosperity of the countries concerned; it is much more difficult, but usually not impossible, to find the money that is required for that purpose. But what is the most difficult and most essential of all is to secure a form of collaboration with the recipient country that will secure that that money is not wasted either by corruption or by incompetence.
I am afraid that it is true that a very considerable proportion of what is now being supplied in the way of monetary aid from advanced industrial countries is in very large measure being so wasted. Let us not deceive ourselves: what is so wasted not only will not benefit the recipient countries, but will certainly damage rather than improve the political relations between those countries and the countries from which the money has come. This is an extraordinarily difficult problem; and it is much more difficult now than it was before the war.
My Lords, I referred to certain countries in which I had experience. Some of those efforts were successful and some were failures. But in every case success or failure rested upon the extent to which it was possible to combine the experience and wisdom of people who came from other more advanced countries, with 281 those actually in need of aid. The first four countries I mentioned—which were first also in chronological order as well as in my list—were those whose Governments before the war not only willingly accepted but positively welcomed association of their own Government, their own officials with those who came in from other countries.
One of the greatest difficulties of those who are now engaged in supplying money from advanced countries to underdeveloped countries is the excessive national sensitiveness that has now so much increased. The recipient countries are in nearly every case, sometimes with some justification and for reasons of which we are all aware, very suspicious of financial aid being the channel for political influence. This great sensitiveness as to political strings to financial aid is one of the very great difficulties anybody now concerned in the problem has in securing that the money is devoted to properly selected projects and so expended on those projects that it will be fruitful and lead to the desired economic effect.
It is in this connection that I want to make one or two humble suggestions of technique. In the first place, I think it is desirable to make a much bigger effort than at present to utilise, both nationally and in co-operation with other countries, the very carefully selected help of the substantial number of people who have now had relevant experience. A great many of those who have been engaged in apparently similar work would not in fact be useful for this purpose. But some of them are both of exceptional ability and insight and have sufficiently wide experience to make it posible to help the Government to find the best conditions under which, and the way in which, financial aid should be accorded. Of course the exact procedure and the exact scheme will differ with every country. But I think that with a more deliberate and sustained effort and with the exchange of experience between countries from whom aid is coming we could do much more than at present to avoid the danger that the money will be in large measure wasted.
I should like to repeat one suggestion I have already made in this House in the past as elsewhere. There is no doubt that, 282 in the delicate negotiations with the recipient countries, a person who approaches the recipient country as a representative of a banking institution has a great advantage over an official representative of a Government. In the former case, the natural and correct assumption is that when he asks for a careful choice of projects and suitable safeguards in expending money on those projects he is primarily concerned with the successful result of the investment and not with some indirect political objective. This will enable him, with less resentment and less obstruction, to secure the precautions and safeguards that are needed if the scheme is to be successful. Having said that, I wonder whether it would not be possible to make more use of the World Bank in the supply of assistance of the kind we have in mind. The World Bank has the double advantage of being both international and also a banking institution. I think it would for this reason be possible for the World Bank normally to secure very much better conditions for the choice and administration of the project than it would be for the political representatives of a capital-advancing country.
I must not be misunderstood. I do not mean that this problem can be dealt with to a much greater extent than it has been already by the World Bank out of its own resources and at its own risk. The very important work that Bank is doing is entirely dependent upon its behaving like a prudent banker. It must not involve itself in risks and go farther in the amount of money it supplies to a given country than would a prudent banker, and it is of the utmost importance for its very valuable work that it should neither pass those limits nor be suspected of passing those limits. Beyond those limits much financial aid is required and that must be forthcoming from the taxpayers of the world and at their risk.
I think that it would be possible to devise a technique by which the World Bank, having negotiated in what it should invest it own funds, should then also act as the agent of the capital-providing Governments concerned in negotiating conditions under which further sums would be forthcoming at the cost and the risk of the taxpayers concerned. With such a technique the 283 World Bank would in effect be holding a first mortgage, whereas the taxpayer would have a second mortgage on the resources of the borrowing country. This suggestion is too technical, and the hour is too late, for me to develop it at any length, but I would commend this for full consideration by the authorities concerned, and I would ask the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, if he would bring this suggestion to the attention of the Department of Technical Co-operation and to the other Departments concerned in this problem.
That is all I have to say in the way of definite suggestion, but I would conclude with this general remark. I think that it is true that Marx's confident anticipation that the disparity between rich and poor would increase has been frustrated by the fact that, side by side with the development of our system of private enterprise in this country, and in other similar countries like America, a deliberate, developing, Government policy of taxation, of control and of the expenditure of money raised from taxation on social benefits and social welfare has complemented the ordinary processes of the development of our industrial and financial system. This I think has prevented Marx's prophecy from being realised and made it indeed, in retrospect, look ridiculous.
If that is true, as I believe it is, in the development of a particular country like ours, I think that it is equally true to say that, in the absence of some similar social and collective policy, the tendency of the working of the world's ordinary economic system would be not to reduce the disparity between the prosperity of the more and the less fortunate countries but possibly to increase that disparity. At present we have nothing organised and arranged in the way of a collective and carefully worked out policy to supplement, with aid judicially given, the working of the normal economic system of the world in relations with those underdeveloped countries.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, perhaps I ought to start by declaring my interest, which is that I am a member of one of my noble friend's 750 committees. If it is not too inappropriate for 284 a curate to talk like this to a Bishop, I would add my congratulations to the right reverend Prelate on his maiden speech, which I thought was as impressive and arresting as his new cathedral. I would entirely agree with the first remarks of my godfather, Lord Salter, who has just sat down.
Only the other day I was reading, as I am sure many of your Lordships must have already done, the harrowing and scarifying book by Cecil William Smith, The Great Hunger, the story of this country's treatment of the famine in Ireland in the 1840s. I should like to think that this book is required reading for anyone engaged in the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, because it describes almost every possible misdemeanour, mistake, miscalculation and misunderstanding which could occur in the handling of this sort of problem.
On the face of it, the problems of the 1840s are hardly relevant to the international problems of the 1960s. The famine in Ireland was precipitated by potato blight which, as we know, can now be dealt with as a matter of course by an application of Bordeaux mixture. It was aggravated by the system of land tenure in Ireland, which hardly applies in many other countries. The effects of the famine were diseases—dysentery and typhus—which could not be dealt with then as they can be now. But, my Lords, despite everything that makes the Irish famine appear so different from the problem of world hunger that is before us now, the fundamental lessons are there and they need to be learned and to be applied.
In 1840, the absurd and iniquitous economic doctrine of laissez faire was rampant, and it bedevilled very much all such generosity as was shown by this country to the hungry of Ireland. But the real point was not in the faults of laissez faire but in the mistake of assuming that a sound economy alone would solve the problems of hunger. For it is more than an economic problem. In 1843, just before the famine broke, a man by the name of John Bennett Ross, a citizen of my own home town, put on the market some of the earliest artificial fertilisers, and out of this humble beginning grew up the great agricultural research station at Rothamsted, one of the oldest and largest in the service of 285 this country. And I am tempted to say that if only we had known in 1840 what we know at the Rothamsted Laboratory to-day, 1½ million Irish need not have died. But this knowledge alone would not have saved the day. Hunger is more than an economic problem; and it is more than a problem of agricultural research.
All over the world, great and impressive development projects are maturing and unfolding. We have water building up behind the Kariba Dam, the great Indus Basin scheme, the Mekon Delta survey, and so on. All these, as they mature, will provide higher water irrigation, tackling and easing all sorts of problems; providing the means for tackling hunger and malnutrition. But power and water alone do not produce enough; nor do they necessarily produce enough for the people who need it most. Once again, hunger, is not just a question of technical development. Whatever aspect there may be to it, the problem of hunger is, above all, a personal problem. This is obvious if one thinks about it, but I believe that it needs to be stated. A person who is hungry has a personal problem, and it has to be tackled at a personal level.
As I see it, the great value of this campaign, of which the noble Earl is Chairman in this country, is that it serves to bring economics, politics, technical aid, agricultural research, medical facilities, educational programmes all into focus upon particular projects that can be understood by lay people in personal and human terms. Thanks to this campaign, we can now see that in certain parts of the world—in Brazil, for example—there are people whose problem will be solved if they have better sickles, while in some other places the need is to get out arid dig fishponds; the fishermen in Ceylon need outboard motors for their boats; there are girls in certain high schools in Kenya who could well be taught to cook eggs; there are shepherds in Libya who could be taught to make cheese. In these terms the problems of hunger, which sound so daunting when viewed in global figures, can be grasped by any sensible person in this country. And when it is seen, as it were, refocused in everyday terms, the problem can be seen to be capable of solution.
286 It is easy to make people weep with pictures of emaciated children; it is easy to put some money in a tin or to sign a subscription list. But this campaign must, and does, aim further and higher than that. This campaign must so stir up and concern and interest the imagination and generosity of people in this country that their support will be given and sustained, until they are satisfied that sickles have been provided; that the outboard motors are doing the trick; that the fishponds are working; that the Libyan cheese is a success; that the girls in Kenya are cooking their eggs. It must raise support to higher levels, and see that it is sustained. None of this can be done from a desk. Fishponds have to be dug, cows have to be milked, corn has to be reaped, far away from any office or committee room. All these projects need the supervision of patient, painstaking, energetic, devoted people, to apply the resources, the research, the skills and the tools which we have to offer in such a way that the people who need them can use them.
This imaginative and personal attention on the spot can, I believe, be provided by us. My reason for believing this is the experience of most of the voluntary agencies who have the job of mobilising and deploying whatever services the younger generation of this country have to offer. I believe that we have a much larger reserve of intelligent, keen and willing young people than we give ourselves credit for: people who are ready to give their services in the administration of these projects on the spot, and well capable of doing it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that among many of our younger people, especially the younger generation, the hunger to serve this sort of cause which the noble Earl has introduced this afternoon is almost as intense as the physical hunger which so many millions are enduring. I like to think that where this campaign succeeds it will satisfy hunger of both kinds at once. I am sure, therefore, that we must both wish and work for its success.
§ 5.26 p.m.
§ BARONESS SWANBOROUGH
My Lords, I am sure all noble Lords will agree with me that the country has been shocked by the realisation of what hunger means, brought to them by the Freedom 287 from Hunger Campaign. I should like to speak from the point of view of the individual who is interested in community effort and those who work in voluntary organisations; in other words, those who, realising the horror that world hunger really means, are trying to play their part in combating it, and trying to add their strength to the contribution of Her Majesty's Government. I believe that the thing that stands out most forcibly in all that has been said to-day, and especially in the wonderful speech of the right reverend Prelate, is that, as Sir Francis Drake said, it is not undertaking the job that is so important as the carrying through right to the very end. This is something which those of us who realise the immensity of the job must bear in mind closely.
As the last speaker said, it is easy in many areas to stir the feelings of people on an emotional basis. The child mortality rate, which is fifteen times higher in many areas than in the advanced countries, makes an impact on mothers and grandmothers which stirs them to an extent that they are ready to do anything they possibly can to help. But this alone is only going to touch the very top of the feelings of people. It is not until they realise that children will never have milk from the time they are weaned and, in consequence, disease will be rampant because of the absence of the right foodstuffs that the people of this country will be ready to work as hard as ever they should to help the Government and to help the hungry to help themselves. We are one of the advanced countries. Surely, then, this is the place from which we should start off.
Are we our brother's keeper? To anyone who is at all thoughtful, the answer to that question is obvious. If that is so, how are we to proceed to act as our brother's keeper? If one out of two people in the world suffers from malnutrition, as we have heard, then not only nations but every single individual must find himself absolutely obligated to take this problem seriously. The vastness of the subject not only demands generosity and great financial contribution, but it especially demands basic wisdom which must be seated on fundamental beliefs. This is no appeal to be dismissed from any conscience with a cheque. This is a 288 real problem which concerns men, women and children in the whole of our country, and confronts them with the need both for thought and action.
We have often before been asked to help in all sorts of international situations, but I agree with previous speakers that we have never, in the whole of the history of our country, been brought face to face with so terrible a reality as that which is before us now: that for every single person in this country who is well fed there is a person somewhere in the world suffering from malnutrition, who has a shortened life, and an unhappy and unhealthy life in the bargain. The advice of all of those who have studied the problem, and especially that great man the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, is that if the hungry are to help themselves they require help to develop their basic resources of land and water which have been very badly neglected. They need the opportunity of having less primitive tools than they are using now, and they also need to be helped with some of the modern techniques.
This presents to all of us a much more difficult prospect than the undertaking of a straightforward relief operation. It means a great deal of constructive thought, and this thought must be allied to continuous effort and to a definite lead. Leadership in this sense is neither the responsibility nor the prerogative of the few, but I believe it is the obligation of the very many. Leadership in this direction is a national obligation. We know we have a strength which has always been latent in the people of this land, and on which we as a country can rely. Other nations are not always fully aware of this strength, in spite of the fact of having glimpsed it. It is a strength which has generated leadership, not in one or two inflated chiefs, but with real courage in tens of thousands of individuals, and this is the leadership which must now be invoked.
To back up this local leadership, those who are in high places will accept, I am sure, the obligation of setting an example: first, in making sure that there is a really effective committee in the locality—and "effective" is the operative word—secondly, in being satisfied that such a committee is supported by all those who can, by such support, really strengthen the effort; and, thirdly, 289 by arranging that help of a constructive type and advice of an understandable nature is provided. Generosity and unselfishness will come in response to the emotional appeal, an appeal which must touch all who have a heart. But the long, heavy haul will have to be kept going, stimulated and upheld by those who have human understanding which will ensure the ultimate success of what is the result of international acumen. There is no human being who cannot understand, if he wishes to do so, what hunger really means; and as a result of this realisation we must act as a nation: we must undertake, we must carry through and, above all, we must complete.
§ 5.33 p.m.
My Lords, I am glad that this debate has not added currency to the emotional idea that two-thirds of the human population is hungry, and that it has kept on a more scientific and realistic basis. Professor Colin Clark of the Oxford Agricultural Research Unit says that ideas of that dimension of food shortage are nonsense, and I believe he is right. The proposition is based on two fallacies: first, that people know the quantity of food in the world, and, secondly, that people know how much food individuals need and that all people need the same amount. As regards the first fallacy, three-quarters of the population of the world live on the land, eating their production. In the emergent countries of the world, one of the status symbols of the new bureaucracies is to have the most abundant statistics of all forms of production in their country. In these figures one will find details to the nearest and last ton of almost every crop grown in accessible jungle villages. Anybody who has ever lived in such places knows that these figures are not worth the paper they are written on.
Of course, anybody who then divides those figures by the total population of the world, sees how many calories it produces, and then says that the world is short of food, is starting from an erroneous basis. Those peasant cultivators in normal limes grow sufficient food for their needs, and sell the surplus for cash in the towns. Sometimes, of course, there are crop failures, sometimes local, sometimes widespread. Then the surplus vanishes; and sometimes we get worse—we get famine. At the same 290 time, there is an increasing population putting a strain on the local agriculture. This increase in population leads to people flocking to the city lights, where there are no jobs, no money, and therefore there is hunger. In times of local crop failures sometimes there is lack of food locally, but generally the cities can be supplied from elsewhere. But it is mainly lack of money, and not lack of food, which dictates who goes hungry in the world to-day. These unfortunates figure very largely in the accounts of travel writers and social workers, but they are not a large proportion of the world population—nothing like two-thirds or a half. I prefer to call them the submerged tenth, and I may remind your Lordships that we had a submerged tenth in this country when I was a boy.
Another fallacy is that each man needs so many calories, and that all people are engaged in a heavy and active life. The requirements of different races, by long breeding and so on, are vastly different. Compare the enormous output of any Chinese coolie on a comparatively small number of calories. The life of a peasant cultivator is not one long series of days of back-breaking, hard toil. He has bursts of activity, particularly at seed time and harvest, and very long periods of comparative inactivity, when he engages in gossip and contemplation. So it is a great fallacy to assume that he must have a very high diet in order to maintain his activities. In ordinary times the peasant cultivators are not hungry, and in the parts of the world we are talking about they do not need a large proportion of their diet merely in order to keep warm, as we do. Their diet, of course, is not perfect—but whose is? By and large they cat enough to carry on the types of lives they have lived for hundreds of years, and they become used to the food which they grow for themselves. They suffer from tropical diseases. So do we, if we go and live in the same place and lead the same lives as they do. Nevertheless, to deal with the increasing number of people on the land we must go on making efforts to improve the agriculture—efforts which have been outlined by every speaker today. But there is no breakthrough such as Mr. Khrushchev sought to make in the Kazak Steppes. It is just a steady plugging forward of improvement of land, and this will perhaps enable us to 291 keep pace with the increasing population who live on the land.
The problem really boils down to two elements. First, there is the natural catastrophe, and then there is what I have called the submerged tenth. As regards the catastrophe, the first remedy for crop failure is transport. The great famines in India in my grandfather's day were banished when the railways spread all over the country. Chinese catastrophics have always been more disastrous because of the extraordinarily little supply of transport in that country. The situation is improving; they are building more railways; but even now the railways are almost hundreds of miles apart and transport is to a very large extent dependent on the human coolie. Formerly, with the best will in the world, food from outside could never reach the starving areas in sufficient quantity to avert disaster; and that may still be true in China. Nothing that any country or any person can do can stop disaster in China or in parts of China when floods or drought cause these crop failures. But in other parts of the world, India and so on, there is no reason why there should ever again be a disastrous famine, because not only is the transport now there, but the will to give will be there. The countries of the West will be most generous should such a catastrophe ever appear again.
Then we come to what I believe is the real problem, which is the submerged tenth—those who cannot buy food because they cannot earn enough money—and I was glad to see my noble friend Lord Dundee put that problem at the forefront of his speech. At the same time, I would remind your Lordships that most of these countries that have a submerged tenth also have a tenth of the population who have "never had it so good": a "Cadillac" civilisation imposed on a submerged tenth. That is a real problem in most of these countries: maldistribution of money, which leads inevitably to a maldistribution of food wherever there is nothing organised in the shape of a Welfare State.
The problem is aggravated by an insatiable desire for city lights; those who could get some sustenance from their native villages flock to the towns. I have seen it in Brazil, where the hinterland of 292 Rio de Janeiro at one time was almost depopulated by people flocking to the city lights, but the same problem exists in practically every great city in the world—in Calcutta, San Paulo, Johannesburg and Hong Kong. The people flock in and cannot be employed when they get there. The problem is, how can they be kept out? If you adopt some sort of pass system to keep people out of cities you are immediately called inhuman by all the humanitarians in the world. If you were to distribute food in these cities in adequate quantities free, all the more would flock in to get it.
I do not believe there is a real solution; there are only a number of palliatives. You are up against the impossibility of employing for a money wage the vast population of the East who are really surplus to the requirements for cultivating the land. Gandhi's solution was to abolish the cotton mills and have tens of millions earning a pittance on hand-spinning and hand-weaving. I sometimes wonder whether that was not a solution. The Chinese seem to be operating through a vast public works programme carried out by hand coolie labour, and, of course, as with all Communist States, maintaining an enormous proportion of the population on the Government payroll, either as soldiers, secret police, spies and the like.
Industrialisation is only a slight palliative. Every year India produces enough new hands to man every factory in the United Kingdom. Improved agriculture in these countries in order to produce food at a lower cost to enable people with still less money to buy is, of course, an essential step. Family planning, which is now being openly advocated in India—a thing which I never thought I should see—may in time show results. Relief organisations, whether from the United Nations or the Church, are helping in odd corners, but it is wishful thinking to think that they can make much of an impression on the general problem, which is one essentially of lack of jobs and lack of money.
Fifty million people in Britain cannot cure all the ills of the world, and so we have to ask ourselves what we can do. We can see that the various main relief organisations do not lack supplies of food and clothing for the fields in which they are operating. We can try to channel some agricultural surplus into the hands 293 of local Governments to be sold at lower prices, and the resulting money will enable those Governments to employ people for wages on public works. We can help to provide agronomists to train local agricultural students. What is very important, we can continue to provide to the emergent nations the badly-needed example of honesty in public life and administration; and we should do our best to try to see that, by some means or another, they redress their topsy-turvey civilisation in which there are Cadillacs at the top, in quantity, and starvation at the bottom. We can, by example and precept, try to ensure a reasonable market for the products of industry and tropical agriculture; but, there again, it is only a very small contribution to the problem. All these are palliatives. It is our pleasure and duty to help. But a solution to the problem of under-employment and lack of the means to buy food which besets so much of mankind can be found only on the spot by the individual Governments of the countries concerned.
§ 5.48 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, the spectre of hunger has often been with me, not because I have to tighten my belt but rather because I have to let it out; and it is in a kind of spirit of atonement that I have journeyed six hours to-day to speak for fifteen minutes, missed my last train and have plenty of time to speak to you, because I have nothing else to do for the rest of the day. However, I hope not to keep you very long.
I should like to say how much I agree with one point in the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Coventry, when he spoke of our having reached a point of change in our history. I am often conscious of the life's work of two grandfathers: one proclaimed the Empire while at the same time staying in his own house, and the other was doing what he could to liberate it. In the end it was the liberator who won. There have always been those strains in our people, the imperialist and the liberator, and I often think that one of the most attractive titles we give ourselves is that referred to in the well-known song, "Mother of the Free". I am not less interested in these countries which are becoming free because they cease to be under our thumb, but, indeed, rather more interested.
294 There is one point in the speech of the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, which I should like to take up. It was thrown out almost casually, and was on the subject of women. I have a feeling from my experiences with tribes in Africa that woman is still a slave, and until she ceases to be a slave and is taken into account on a level with the rest of mankind I do not think that the tribes will advance very far; nor do I think they deserve to do so. There is a tendency to suggest that the bartered bride should become a cash crop in the sense that she should be bought for money instead of thirty head of cattle which are kept uselessly for the purpose. But that is not sufficient. She is a person of dignity who has got to come into her own. Although we have abolished slavery among men a long time ago we have not abolished it among women.
There is one point on which I would, if I may, disagree with the noble Earl, and that is the difference between under-nutrition and malnutrition. I am not familiar with the thesis of Professor Colin Clark, but I heard it stated by the noble Earl that the figure that 15 per cent. of the world's population are undernourished, hungry, is universally accepted. I cannot agree that the other 35 per cent. are in any way comparable. One knows the history of this country where the English farming folk lived principally on bread and cheese, and the Irish almost exclusively on potatoes. Many robust Japanese I have come across lived almost wholly on rice, other people on mealies. I have been outstripped on safari in the height of my youth and strength by people who lived on milk alone, a few of them with the addition of some ox blood. This is malnutrition! Of course it is malnutrition by any possible medical standard, but it is not the same as the balloon tummies of the starving children who are hungry. That is quite different; I think there is a most important difference, as the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, pointed out. There is a distinction which is important because it brings the field of what is extremely urgent down to much more manageable proportions, and I think its focus is very largely in the Indian sub-continent.
To-day almost all the illustrations came from Africa, which is my principal 295 interest, but as I happen to be going to India later, in April, as a guest of the Government and also as a guest of three Provincial Governors, I have been looking hard at the problem of India. I would compare the problem of India with that which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, when he spoke of the subject of the Irish at the time of the potato famine. Their position at that time was as occupiers of very small holdings, one acre or less per family. That is what is said in the book which he recommended us all to read. The failure in their case was total failure of the crop and complete lack of food. It is one of history's pleasant revenges that descendants of the one million (or whatever the figure was) who found their way into the slums of the United States have had the satisfaction of seeing a gentleman of Irish blood sitting on the throne of the most rich country in the world dispensing that country's incurable surpluses of food.
However, compared with India it seems to me that the position is almost absolutely different, except in the matter of holding. Twenty per cent. in India have only 2 acres, another 20 per cent. less than 4, and so it goes on; nobody has much more than 26. What can you do with holdings of that size? What is the state of the cattle industry of 200 million which is split up among people who have these miserable holdings? How can one do anything about creating dairy herds with one cow or half a cow shared with your neighbour, especially if there are no incentives for doing it because the animal cannot be slaughtered for food. The animal is sacred, with the consequence that millions of utterly useless beasts roam unthwarted over people's allotments throughout the country. If that side of things alone, the size of the holdings, and the manner in which cattle are held, were changed, the entire difficulty about food in India would disappear as a result of that factor alone, so great is the size of all the stock held.
There are many other things. In preparation for my visit I got works by Indian as well as British authors, either co-works, British-Indian, or wholly Indian. They explain all that could happen without any enormous revolutionary 296 change in method by something which everybody knows; for example, the Japanese method of transplanting rice trebles the crop. They do not do it, and cannot be persuaded to do it, except in small instances. The re-manuring of land, produces fodder for cattle which doubles the cereal crop, and it would make unnecessary any fallow, of which there is 20 per cent. at any one time. Twenty per cent. of the harvested crop is eaten by pests. Fifty per cent. of all the manure is burned—they have no other fuel. They could have quick-growing trees which would provide firewood in three years. That could be done. Irrigation is one of the obvious things that has already been mentioned. There is also the persistence of usury on what is regarded as a universal scale. It swallows up everything, and the average rate of so-called interest, I am assured by these writers, is somewhere in the region of 36 per cent.—and may be 100 per cent. They are all involved. They have incurred these debts for a marriage or a funeral, or something unproductive, in the agricultural sense, and they are, as it were, slaves to these habits and ways of life which nobody but themselves can cure.
However, a cursory reading of these Indian writers' reports on their own agriculture tends to confirm what the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, said earlier; that by simple methods, by simple, obvious attention to economic good husbandry, they could multiply their food supply so as to feed double the population three times as well in a comparatively few years. That is the thing which is really borne in on one by any study of the subject. It is true that most of these people I have read are also in favour of birth control. Some of them comment that, whether it was to be effective or not, it would require an educated population to administer it at all in any form that is understood in the West. Your Lordships had a debate on that subject some time ago. I must say that I hope that we in this country shall never advocate the administration of contraceptive pills to Asians because of their large numbers, especially since it is plain from everybody's studies that they could feed themselves, and many more, if they went about things in the proper way. There 297 is something I want to ask in preparation for my visit. It seems to me that the great overriding necessity—and it leads to a course of action where we might help—is that they must remove their surplus people from the land. It is impossible for them to have good husbandry on these tinpot plots. They must be got off the land and given something else to do. We have a duty, I think, in this respect.
My Lords, I am rot one who denigrates the Empire or its works. I think your Lordships will be pleased to hear that when I had prepared a paper for an Indian statesman a little while ago it was read in the presence of Dr. Prasad, the first President, who has lately died. He was a man who was often in his late Majesty's gaols, in the days of his nationalist activities, and he said, "It is a good thing for India that we were subjugated by the British Empire and not by any other". We have said that sort of thing, but it is nice when somebody like that says it. Therefore I do not denigrate the Empire.
Nevertheless, there was a time when, in pursuance of the policy of providing markets for Manchester's cotton goods, the mills in India were to a large extent brought to extinction. I think the time has come for a restitution to take place, and I wonder whether the Government have any policy in pursuance of something like this. I noticed that in the Prime Minister's personal pamphlet on the subject of the Common Market he said words to the effect that we in this country ought to concentrate on sophisticated types of productions—supersonic aircraft, computers and that sort of thing—and, I presume, by inference, to leave the production of simple manufactures to others. Is there anything that we are prepared to buy consistently if the Indians produce it? Is that policy being worked out at all? I know that it was in relation to the Common Market, if the dependants in the late Empire, the underdeveloped countries of the new Commonwealth, were to be offered associate membership.
I must confess that I am most interested in this business of the "Mother of the free" helping those to whom we have given birth to stand on their own legs. Is there anything we can buy? I shall be going to stay with Mrs. Pandit, the Governor of Bombay. What can I 298 say in discussion with her about our view on the purchase of textiles, whether they should compete with Manchester and so forth? Is there any range where there can be a division of these things? And in Benares, where I shall also be staying, what can I say in regard to brass work? I think that one of the things we must do in regard to India and Africa, if we are to help, is to decide what we are prepared to buy.
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl for one moment. India has already put out of business a great many of the mills of Lancashire.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, I understand from the noble Lord's interruption that he rather dislikes my efforts to get us to purchase more from India.
No. The noble Earl suggested that something should be done. I say merely that it is past history—it has been done.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, I am not one who likes the idea that goods from abroad should suddenly displace our own people from work. What I am suggesting is that the whole matter should be thought out and planned. Have we a plan for transferring our activities to more sophisticated products and for purchasing the simpler ones from abroad, from people who need to sell them? I should like to know the answer to that question. Later this week we are to have a debate on the Common Market. Perhaps that would be an opportunity.
I must end with an experience in connection with Africa. Forty years ago I went to a cattle-owning tribe in Africa and tried to cure their stock of pleuro-pneumonia. The cattle had multiplied and the grass had got bare. It was exposed to the sun. The ungolden hooves of thousands of unwanted cows had pounded it into dust. They had burned the bush and scrub and destroyed their catchment areas, trodden in the springs. Not long ago I went to stay with Sir Richard Turnbull in Tanganyika. He knew this tribe much later. I said, "Surely they could go into the Matthews Range"—referring to a well-watered area of 8,000 feet. He said, "They destroyed the Matthews Range years ago." Those people had been left as a kind of zoological survival of the past, and all we have said is, "Thou shalt not kill." There 299 was no market for their beasts, which we had propagated. I asked whether there was a market and was told that it would be exceedingly difficult to reach it, as it was far off. Moreover they have got rinderpest, and England will not accept canned meat from countries where rinderpest or foot-and-mouth disease is endemic. If the animals are to be sold in the Persian Gulf they have to be slaughtered in a certain way. And they cannot go to India because of the Hindus. What are we to do—bogged down with these people, milling around, destroying their habitat? What are we going to do about providing a market for their products, to buy the things which they produce? I cannot see any other real way of helping them than by buying something that they can produce. What should that be? That is the point on which I should like to end.
§ 6.6 p.m.
My Lords, the two noble Lords who have spoken last have reinforced my own views for me. The noble Earl's Motion requires very deep thought indeed because of its highly emotional content. It has been my experience that it is so easy to be led away by one's own emotions and to consider the emotional side rather than to get down to real cause and effect. For example, malnutrition and hunger are the effects of a cause. The application of our standards to conditions where those standards may or may not apply has been touched on, and it is a most cogent point. On the other hand, I should not be quite so hard on F.A.O. for their statistics, because generally when one tackles them in any way they will admit fully that their statistics are nothing like as accurate as they want them to be. However, they say—and I agree with them—that you have to start somewhere. They will frankly admit, if you tackle them, that in many cases they are not much better than a wild guess. Therefore, I think we must be quite careful, and we want to see that our objective is not obscured by our emotions.
I would say that most people, not only from the point of view of geography but from that of general knowledge, have only the vaguest idea of where the countries are situated which have all 300 this malnutrition and hunger. I must admit frankly that I myself am fairly hazy about them. I would suggest that the time has come to switch the propaganda from the highly emotional, almost horror types of pictures, to facts, figures, maps, information on what we are doing, and so on. The horror pictures are wonderful fund raisers, I think we should now have got beyond that and should point out that the publicity is not just a stunt. Eventually people think that the methods used at present are a sort of stunt way of tackling a problem, and I think that that factor really ought to be thought about.
Quite recently the Scotsman produced a map (I am not quite sure of its context) on which the countries of the world were depicted in different colours, and the different income groups and incomes of people living in those countries were also shown. The income in the lowest group, which I suppose one might take as applicable to the countries in which malnutrition was liable to occur, was under £50 a year. I do not think that one should take the figure of £50 a year as a fact because, as I think has already been mentioned, a family grows its own food and lives very largely entirely independently of any money in the sense that we understand it. Perhaps they sell a few surplus items for a little cash, but, apart from that, a family really exists without dependence on cash at all. Therefore, it is very easy to be misled by the statistics that are produced.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
Perhaps I may help the noble Lord. I think it is a fact that when a certain area is quoted as having £50 income, it is not necessarily £50 cash. It is the value of what the family is producing by way of food or kind. I do not think it is related strictly to cash earnings.
No, but the point there is that nobody has the foggiest idea of what any family is producing. It is the wildest guess, and cannot be anything else.
My Lords, I should like to discuss very briefly the question of surpluses. It has not been mentioned in your Lordships' House as a cure for malnutrition and hunger, but it is put forward by the farming fraternity and also by the French Government. The Americans, who are 301 the richest country according to my map, with £600 per head per annum, have the largest surplus; Australia, New Zealand and Canada have the next largest income, reckoned to be between £400 and £600 per head per annum. They are all food producers and all produce surpluses. The American surplus costs the Americans in storage alone some ten million new francs per day—I have that figure in francs, which, if I have done the calculation correctly, is some £700,000 or a sum of that order. Yet with Brazil (with an assessed income of some £50 per head per annum) practically on the doorstep of the United States, the Americans have found no way of utilising their surplus in that direction. I think that is good evidence that the problem is not so easy as appears at first sight.
Other facts that come out when one starts examining this problem are these. The amount of food that comes on to the world market as surplus is a very small proportion of the food that is produced. It is said—I do not know with what accuracy, but with the accuracy of official statistics—that the wheat surplus amounts to 15 per cent. of world production and that the world market price is less than 70 per cent. of the cost of production. In regard to secondary cereals the figure of surplus is 5 per cent., sold for less than 70 per cent. cost of production; as to sugar 12 per cent., sold for 40 per cent. cost of production; as to beef 10 per cent., sold for 45 per cent. cost of production; and as to dairy produce 10 per cent., sold for 55 per cent. cost of production. These figures were given by M. Pisani, the French Minister of Agriculture, and your Lordships will find that the rough average figure is not much more than 12 per cent. per year. Therefore, if one takes a 10 per cent. a year surplus to try to feed a population of somewhere about half the world—even if you could do it—it would not go very far at all. I therefore think that these ideas want radically overhauling, because I do not think they are valid.
The population of the world is said to be increasing at the rate of 45 million a year, and the production of food is said to be increasing at a sufficient rate to feed 35 million a year—producing an imbalance of about 10 million. Various countries have taken up the question of family planning and birth control, and Dr Sen, 302 Director-General of the F.A.O., told me that in his opinion a cheap and reasonable method of birth control would probably be the greatest single weapon that could be produced to combat world malnutrition and hunger.
My Lords, I should like to say one or two things on various points made in the debate so far I was most interested to hear what the noble Earl said in introducing his Motion One of his points was that it was necessary to recruit technicians at diploma level, or lower. I am greatly interested in this statement because I maintain that in a large number of cases the adoption of simple, good farming methods could practically double the crops in these areas. This does not require somebody with a B.Sc. I agree that such a man has his place in leading the country, but that is a long-term project What I think is necessary is the organisation of courses of, say, two months or six weeks in which farmers' sons would be taught how to handle the particular problems that face hot countries—problems of soil conservation, irrigation and dry land farming. If such people were available, even with limited qualifications, I believe that, provided they were practical farmers, an army of technicians of that type would do far more good than the vast amount of money one would have to spend (and it will be necessary at a later stage) in higher education. This aspect of the problem is often overlooked, and so I was pleased to hear the noble Earl mention that point.
In regard to the training of farm students, I should have thought that, in the context of Africa, Rhodesia would be a much better place to send university students. The climatic conditions there are so much nearer to those with which they would have to contend than if they were sent to this country, where all they would do would be to freeze to death. In hot countries of course, the limiting factor in food production is that of water.
On the question of displacing people from the land, I have sympathy with my noble friend Lord Hawke, but I think the answer is to put those people on to public works. Instead of giving them enormous bulldozers at vast expense, let the men do the job, coolie-fashion, as they have always done it. Get away from the idea that one must 303 have the trade union there, with a bulldozer and all the modern plant so often considered essential. You can shift just as well with a bucket as with a bulldozer, and it would employ these displaced persons in a very useful job. Furthermore, the countries of the Six, in their structural alterations, will have to face up to a very large number of displaced farmers. There is a source, I should have thought, for the recruitment of people who are often used to living at a pretty low level of existence and who might make adequate instructors, at non-diploma level, in order to help in forwarding a project which we all so much desire.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ LORD SANDYS
My Lords, this will be a very memorable afternoon's debate, one on the Motion introduced by the noble Earl on the basic freedom, freedom from hunger. Many great heights have been reached during the course of this debate, and one of the high points, I feel, has been the speech of the right reverend Prelate, which has really synthesised all our views. If I may say so without impertinence, it has been a great privilege to listen to him. Freedom from hunger has been the subject of the entire discussion this afternoon, and at this point in the debate I find it very difficult to introduce any new material.
We live in a very exciting age, in which science has opened up new horizons for human endeavour. In the fields of agriculture and fisheries there appear to be immense opportunities. The facts of the problem of feeding the world's population need no repetition. Efforts to increase world food production on an heroic scale are demanded, if the needs of double the world's present population are to be met by the end of this century. In this connection, the debate held in your Lordships' House on June 28, 1961, on the regulation of birth and world peace is, I feel, particularly germane. I shall read this, together with to-day's Report, with renewed interest, since it is one of the really important issues of our day.
To the casual observer in outer space human activities on this planet must appear totally incomprehensible. For while the resources of the great Powers 304 are so largely devoted to space research, satellites and rocketry, a high proportion of the world's children are obliged to suck tobacco leaves or lick lumps of clay because it is not their day to eat. Emotionalism has been condemned, and rightly so, by my noble friend Lord Hawke and others, but I feel that this should not go unsaid, particularly in view of the remarkable speech by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr. His suggestion that £4,000 million could be raised by a 10 per cent. cut in world defence budgets is a proposal which obviously has the greatest significance. May we hope that this is taken up in the councils of the world?
In the very limited compass of my own experience, I should like to discuss some problems of the Arid Zone. When stationed in 1953 in Cyrenaica, at Barce, the scene of the very recent earthquake, there was ample evidence of the Libyan Government's concern to increase food production—experimental farms, participation of experts from Point 4, new machinery and so on. But, in spite of this, there were no really substantial results. One saw expensive equipment idle and rusting, and one wondered why. I was baffled until some months later when I came across a group of Arabs near Msus, at work with flails. They were threshing with a traditional type of threshing flail. This struck me as being absolutely fundamental to the problem—the method of harvesting used in Libya and many other countries for centuries before the advent of the combined harvester.
The Middle East does not always take kindly to the ways of the Middle West, however good the intention. It is something imposed from outside, something slapped on like a poultice, which to begin with does not stick. However, results, particularly in Libya, have proved very encouraging as trade figures to-day will show. The primitive farmers, the primitive cultivators, may not have heard of the Dust Bowl of America. But, even so, they have a very wise rustic instinct to be suspicious and to be unwilling to grasp something new which has not been proved, and seen to be proved, in their own experience. This is one tiny example of the problem.
Readers of the national dailies which concern themselves particularly with the 305 Freedom from Hunger Campaign may, as a result of all the publicity, wish to suggest that, to rush in with machinery, fertilisers and so on is the best answer. It is not. As has been proved time and again, pilot projects are invariably of very great value. There have been a hundred instances, particularly in the post-war era since this machinery madness has overtaken us, when a pilot project could have saved the taxpayers many millions.
In the Near East there are many individuals—and I suppose it is invidious to quote from those whom we know—who in the past have been responsible for very important pilot projects. I will call to mind just one of them, who is probably well known to many of your Lordships: the late Mr. Wilfred Jennings Bramley, who, in the desert near Cairo, in his own garden, proved that the desert could blossom as a rose. As a result, many years later, President Nasser and his régime have founded the Liberation Province, really on Mr. Jennings Bramley's original idea. The enormous success further down the Nile Valley of the Gezira scheme, founded by really devoted groups of civil servants, the success of the marketing scheme which has continued and has proved one of the unique blueprints of a successful co-operative venture—all these show how, in a gradual way, the Freedom from Hunger Campaign can contribute. But I feel that this breakthrough, this sense of urgency, these crash programmes, are not necessarily the answer. The answer is, above all, the stimulus that comes from plans in the slow process of precarious accomplishment.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I am sure that many people, besides those few of your Lordships who have listened to this debate, will be grateful to the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, for introducing this subject, and particularly for the extremely restrained, balanced and knowledgeable way in which he dealt with it. It would have been so easy for him—and I am sure he was tempted to do so—to treat this matter with the emotion which the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, and the noble Viscount, Lord Stonehaven, so deprecate, but which it is so understandable to use in a subject of this sort. But he has not done so, 306 and I do not think any other of your Lordships who have followed in this debate have fallen into that error, if indeed it be an error, either.
I personally am most grateful to him and to all the other noble Lords who have taken part. I think that, in a curious way, perhaps, I am more grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, than to anybody else, because until he rose to speak I felt that everybody, not only in this Chamber but outside, was agreed about the need for urgent action, long-lasting action, and about the real suffering which is taking place at this present time in very many parts of the world, simply because people do not have enough to eat. But the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, brought us back to earth, and he made me, at least, realise that there still are people like himself, even people who have travelled as widely as he has, who do not understand this point.
I only wish that he had been with me, not only in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, but in other parts of Brazil, where some of these people who flocked into Rio and Sao Paulo come from. A place comes to mind on the borders of Bolivia, where, when I was there not many years ago, there was, and I am quite sure still is, real hunger among the people who are living on the land, on potentially fertile soil; people who do not have enough to eat. There are people who live across the border, in Bolivia itself—one of the countries in the world with the least dense population, with soil of colossal fertility, with climate ranging from the tropical, where all the tropical fruits of the earth could be grown, with ample rainfall, and deep, rich, alluvial soils, to the temperate climates of the higher areas where wheat, rye and barley can also be grown, and where, as your Lordships know, the potato actually originated. In that country, with those vast number of acres per head of population, you to-day have people who, to allay the pangs of hunger, actually chew the leaves of coca so that they do not feel that hunger—and who, even when they have food offered to them, because they have become addicts no longer want to eat that food.
I even wish the noble Lord had come with me to my own estate in the West Indies when I first took it over not very 307 many years ago. I remember being told by the manager, slightly apologetically, "I hope you don't mind, but when we have the one day of the week when we cut bananas, when there is urgent effort and people have to work hard to get the bananas down to the boat on time, I have taken it upon myself to provide the workers with cocoa and bread". Then, by way of apology, he said, "I'm doing that because, although it costs a bit of money, it really pays in the long run, because, come about ten o'clock in the morning, you see these people walking slower, cutting slower, working slower, because they're hungry. They haven't had any breakfast; they have had no food, and their bellies are empty. By giving them this food, even though it costs a few pence per head, you", he said to me, "will benefit in the long run". That, my Lords, is an example, not of starvation, not of famine, but simply of a group of people in a relatively civilised part of the world who simply do not, in the normal course of events, have enough food to eat in order to do the sort of job they are expected to do.
My Lords, are these people working for a money wage for a European plantation owner, or are they owners of the land themselves?
§ LORD WALSTON
When they are working for me they are working for a money wage for a European plantation owner. Most of them have a bit of land of their own on which they grow a little food, and during the appropriate season, if the weather has been reasonable, they have a surplus of bread fruit, and they have too many yams; but for many months of the year those things are gone. I do not, for a moment, say they are urgent cases of starvation; all I am trying to say to the noble Lord, and to others who feel like him, is that, setting aside any statistics of hunger, of malnutrition, of disease caused by lack of food, there is a vast number of people throughout the world who simply do not have enough food to do the sort of job that they want to do and that they ought to do in order to improve their standard of living.
I know it is easy for us sitting here—well fed, over-fed, about to go off, as many of your Lordships have already 308 done, to eat too much this evening—to say that this exists only in the figments of the statistics of F.A.O., and the minds of a few emotional exaggerators: but, my Lords, it does not. This sort of thing does exist throughout the whole world. It is not, I think I can safely say, under our own eyes in this country, but it exists in Europe, it exists even in parts of the United States, and undoubtedly it exists in the most widespread form in Asia, in Africa and in South America, also. So I hope it is realised, as I know almost every one of your Lordships who have spoken realises, that this is a very real problem, and that it is not one that can simply be dodged by saying that it is only an exaggeration of the statisticians.
The speeches to which we have listened, all of them in their way, have, on the whole, had two themes. Those two themes are that given the fact that this state of affairs exists it should be dealt with, on the one hand, by technical assistance, and, on the other hand, by money. I think the speeches of those noble Lords with very great knowledge and experience, to which we have listened, have helped a great deal to bring our thoughts back to the problem of how both technical assistance and money can be used to the best advantage. The noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, in opening, rightly said that we have moved beyond the soup kitchen mentality; it is out of date. He was backed up by my noble friend Lord Listowel, who pleaded for trade rather than aid—another way of putting the same point. My noble friend also made the point, as other noble Lords did, that voluntary effort was admirable and in every way to be encouraged, but that this problem is far too big for it to be solved in every way by voluntary effort alone. It needs governmental and inter-governmental action in order to attempt to begin to put it right.
While I certainly do not wish in any way to deprecate the work which Her Majesty's Government are at the present time doing, the effort that they are making and the money that they are giving, I must (and I do not think this is putting it out of proportion) repeat the figures which the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, gave in his very interesting speech concerning our contribution to F.A.O. I know very well that that is by no means the end of our contribution to 309 this problem, but it is a significant part. He said that we gave 10 per cent. of the total budget of F.A.O., which was a total of 31 million dollars last year. In other words, our contribution is approximately £1¼ million, which works out at something like a halfpenny per head per month from this country. As I say, we give more in various other ways—
§ LORD WALSTON
—but we must not be led astray by talk of millions. Ten per cent. of 31 million dollars sounds a very large sum of money, but a halfpenny per head per month in the context of world hunger is a very small figure indeed. Again, he gave us the figure of 60,000 students. I am delighted that there are so many, and, as I said in my interjection, that is an impressive figure; but, with all respect, we do not know how relevant that figure is to the problem of world hunger until we know what it is that those 60,000 students are learning. Undoubtedly, any form of education is going to improve the standard of living of the countries under discussion, but there is a very great deal of difference between training lawyers to go back home and settle, and sometimes instigate, disputes between neighbours, and training engineers to make the roads, training doctors to cure sickness and training agriculturists to grow the food. My suspicion is that a very large part of those 60,000 students are over here learning things that are of value, undoubtedly (it is better that they should be over here than not), but not things which, in any way, either directly or indirectly, are going to help solve this problem of lack of food throughout their countries.
Then we listened to the right reverend Prelate's magnificent maiden speech on which I am happy to congratulate him from these Benches. He made it clear to us that this is a problem which must affect our consciences as well as our pockets. The other point he brought out which impressed me was the need for the individual man who went out to be the right sort of person. Just as I am sure the right reverend Prelate will agree with me that it is no good sending out merely a missionary—land he must be a good man—so it is no good sending out people who are merely technicians; they must also be good men, able to understand the 310 actual physical and economic problems of the area to which they go. We were also privileged to listen to two speeches from the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, who, as your Lordships know, has done more than anybody in this country, and possibly in the world, to make people realise the facts of this problem and to tackle it in a hard-headed Scottish manner, in no way emotional or statistician-like, and the noble Lord, Lord Salter, who with his very wide experience spoke of the problem of money. This is as one might expect from men of their background and experience. Without money, all these ideas come to nothing: they cannot be achieved at all.
I will not weary your Lordships by repeating so many of the things that have already been said, but I should like to add slightly to the comments on these two main problems—those of technical aid and the actual supply of money, both to provide the technical aid and to make it possible for the recipient of technical aid to put it into practice. The two sources of technical aid must be, on the one hand, voluntary effort, and, on the other, from the Government, directly or indirectly. It was very good to hear both the right reverend Prelate and, I think, the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, speaking of Voluntary Service Overseas. This organisation is doing very fine work. I think they would be the first to agree that the work is small in regard to number, though very high in quality. Your Lordships have heard the numbers that were given. But while it would be a mistake to hope that Voluntary Service Overseas will expand so rapidly that it loses its individual character and the real feeling of pioneering spirit that marks it now, I am sure that, given the necessary funds and organisation, a very great expansion could take place. This would redound to the benefit not only of the receiving countries but of this country also. I hope that the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, will reinforce and reiterate the Government's desire and determination to see that V.S.O. does not suffer in any way from a lack of funds or facilities.
On the other side there is the supply of technicians, of whom we have many in this country. Some of them are being fully used. As those of your Lordships who listened to the debate last week will remember, we are losing many of 311 our technicians to the United States for higher pay; but there are still some here, and we have many who formerly worked in our old Colonial territories and who are now out of a job. I think they have great experience and a desire to use it. There are technical difficulties, of course, but this is not the occasion to go into them. But if we are in any way sincere in our desire to tackle this problem, then that is one of the sources to which we must go; and we must not be put off by any difficulties which may be thought up in Government offices. Such difficulties do exist, I know; but they can be overcome; and they must be if we are to get the results that we require.
To turn to the money side, it seems to me that we are faced here with the paradox in that the best way, to my mind, of ridding the world of malnutrition is to increase the price of food. That may seem perilously like the unfortunate dictum of Trevelyan in the book mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, The Great Hunger, who said, when he was told of the rise of price of food in Ireland and the hardships that it was causing: "This is admirable. It is good that the price of food should rise because that will tempt out more food from the places where it is hidden and put it on the market". That is not the sort of rise in price I am thinking about. The cause of hunger, as we have heard, is lack of money. And lack of money is due to the abysmally low price of primary products, mainly food, in the countries where this malnutrition already exists. Until the price which the primary producer receives for his maize, rice, vegetable oil, sugar, or whatever it may be, is raised, he will never be able to afford either the investment necessary in order to grow more and more efficiently (and that includes communications which the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, currently mentioned as being one of the prime causes), or be able to afford the actual consumption of food himself.
It was interesting to observe that in Germany, in the months and years immediately after the war, when there was a great shortage of food and very great hunger and starvation, the people who were suffering from the food shortage, at a time of high black market prices, were the people living in the towns—even the 312 rich people in the towns. The people who grew fat at that time were the primary producers—the farmers—and the reason was that they needed to sell only a very small proportion of their total product in order to get their essential money, and the rest they could eat themselves. While I would not suggest a similar sort of imbalance should take place throughout the world so that the people in the towns go hungry while the farmers grow fat, it is certainly high time that there was a shifting of the balance back from the present bias in favour of urban factory production and, in the wider sense, the accumulation of wealth by the middle man, the entrepreneur, to the other side, that of the primary producer.
We shall never rid the world of hunger until we achieve a situation where the primary producer, wherever he may be, receives higher prices in relation to the prices of manufactured goods than he does at the present time. When that time comes, not only will he be able to afford to retain more of his own food, he will be able to save enough money so that he can invest in the fertilisers, the better type seeds, and so on, which the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, has already mentioned as being essential to agriculture and proper production. In that way he will eventually become creditworthy. Although I am certainly not in any way against a system of special credit to agriculture and under-developed areas (and Lord Salter's World Bank suggestion is undoubtedly one of the greatest importance, and one that must be followed up), the real solution to this problem is for the primary producer throughout the world to be creditworthy so that the banks of the world, whether they be private banks or the World Bank, or institutions which provide Government finance, may feel that he is sufficiently creditworthy to enable them to advance money to him, whether on a small scale or a vast scale, for dams, irrigation schemes, transport and other projects which will enable more food to be produced both for himself and for the rest of the world.
This debate, as the right reverend Prelate and the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, have brought out, has provided a challenge to everybody who is not completely blinded by his own selfishness. Are we prepared to continue to allow hardship through lack of food to 313 exist in a world where already in certain areas there are over-production and problems of surpluses? It provides a challenge to us, not only as individuals, but also as part of the whole Western World. We have to ask ourselves whether, in this world, of which we are proud, which has many achievements to its credit and to preserve and defend which we do so much, the fact that in this country and in the United States Governments and politicians are worrying over what to do with surpluses, how to restrict production, how to guarantee a reasonable standard of living to the farmer without imposing an undue burden on the taxpayer, how to move people away from farming and have soil banks, or whatever it may be, whereby farmers produce less, can be reconciled with the undeniable, even though occasionally denied, fact that vast millions in the world do not have enough food to eat. How can we bridge that wide gap between the surplus producers and the would-be consumers? I have grave doubts in my own mind whether, if we fail to meet that challenge, we deserve to survive.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I can speak again only by leave of your Lordships, but with your Lordships' indulgence I will trespass on your Lordships' time just to make one or two brief points, before giving way to my noble friend Lord De La Warr, to exercise his legitimate right of reply, which he can do without asking.
I should like, on behalf of your Lordships, to offer the congratulations of the House to the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Coventry for his wholly admirable maiden speech to which we all listened with so much attention. I hope that we shall often hear him again. He spoke of the action of the education authorities in Hampshire in encouraging teachers to go overseas, particularly to Nyasaland, and I was very glad to hear him mention this matter. These arrangements are part of the general pattern of co-operation of local education authorities in a plan to which my noble friend Lord Eccles gave impetus when he was at the Ministry of Education, two years ago, and which has been followed up intensively by my honourable friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation, 314 whose Department helped to negotiate the co-operation between Hampshire and Nyasaland which the right reverend Prelate mentioned. It is our policy to promote these arrangements wherever conditions are suitable, and I hope that this particular example is only the forerunner of others.
The right reverend Prelate also spoke of the Voluntary Service Overseas and asked whether we ought not to give it some more money. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, asked the same question. I think that last year the sum provided by the Government was £25,000, and I am glad to be able to tell the right reverend Prelate that this year, although the figure has not yet been decided, it will be at least double that amount. I hope that perhaps it might be more than double.
I was particularly glad, if I may say so, that the right reverend Prelate stressed the religious aspect of this subject and the part which the Church has to play in it. I wish that that could be stressed more often, because I believe that if it were not for religious belief there would not be any of this concerted effort in the world to relieve hunger at all. Indeed, I think that it could be argued that the whole moral origin of all this international endeavour to deal with the problem proceeds from a dozen words:Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these…ye have done it unto Me.There are two points which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, asked me about, on which I will touch briefly. I said that I would try to get something on them by the end of the debate. One was about medical aid, and the other was about ex-Colonial officers and the methods of inducing them to stay on, which I think is very important. On medical aid, the noble Earl may be aware of a Report on Medical Help to Developing Countries which was prepared lately by a Working Party, under the chairmanship of Sir Arthur Porritt, the President of the Royal College of Surgeons. This Report laid stress on the need to create conditions in this country which would encourage British doctors to go overseas, both to teach in medical schools and to reinforce the public health services. And I can 315 say to the noble Earl that it is the intention of the Secretary for Technical Co-operation to accept and implement the majority of the recommendations for action by the Government where it is involved.
In the last two years the Department has arranged and paid for post-graduate training for 265 doctors and 170 nursing sisters from overseas, in addition to 170 doctors who came from dependent territories for post-graduate training at the expense of their own Governments. There are 1,385 medical staff who are designated under the Overseas Assistance Scheme at a cost for the coming year of £1.6 million. And in the last two years my right honourable friend's Department has recruited 131 doctors for service overseas.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, before the noble Earl passes from this point, may I say that he is, in fact, replying to a question asked by the right reverend Prelate? But none the less I am grateful to him for his encouraging answer.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, it was the noble Earl, certainly, who asked about the Overseas Service Aid Scheme, and he contrasted our position with that of the French. It is the case that the French Government always was the direct employer of its overseas service, and these officers remained in its employment on the independence of their colonies. We, on the other hand, have had a positive policy of encouraging the colonial territories to build up their own services and to take over British officers in their service after they attain independence. Our programmes are therefore directed to encouraging overseas Governments, when they become independent, to go on employing these officers and to inducing the latter to continue to serve the Governments who wish to keep them. Under the Overseas Services Aid Scheme, which operates in Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya, to which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, particularly referred, British officers may 316 go on in permanent pensionable employment for as long as they and their employers wish, with British funds meeting the difference between the salary of a local officer and what it costs to make it attractive for a British officer to continue to serve. I think that was arranged some time ago when Mr. Iain Macleod was Secretary of State for the Colonies. The same scheme applies to officers re-engaged on contract, where either side may prefer such an arrangement. This scheme is, I think, a valuable form of assistance to many overseas Governments. It will cost the British Government about £14 million in the current year, and I think it is estimated that it will cost considerably more in the future.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Walston, that many of the overseas students here are not directly or even indirectly concerned with agriculture. I do not know whether it could be argued that a good training as a lawyer might indirectly help food production. Personally, I think it could be argued that it does, but I will not press the point here. There are, however, a large number of post-graduate students who are engaged specifically in agricultural studies—there are nearly 7,000 of them. And the number of students who are engaged (I tried to get a quick estimate) directly in agriculture and forestry, medical sciences, veterinary science or basic sciences connected with agriculture is between 5,000 and 6,000. There are also a substantial number engaged in forms of education which will directly be concerned with agricultural improvement. So I would suggest—and I think the noble Lord would agree—that all forms of university education in this country will at least not have the effect of damaging the economy of the country to which they belong and to which they will return.
I have been most interested to hear the speeches of all noble Lords in this debate. Some of your Lordships, like the noble Lord, Lord Salter, have stressed the various difficulties of administering aid, which certainly need to be stressed. There is the difficulty of inefficiency or corruption, and the other difficulty the noble Lord mentioned of "chips on the shoulder", and suspicion on the part of those who are receiving aid that it may have some political strings attached to it. These are all great difficulties which have to be considered and overcome. Others 317 of your Lordships have thrown doubt upon statistics, I think often with very good reason. My noble friends Lord Stonehaven and Lord Hawke gave reasons for thinking that some of the published statistics on this subject are of little value, and it was for that reason that I was particularly careful not to give any. I know how much ground for possible error there is.
However, I think it is true to say, in general, that in order to maintain a reasonable standard of living in the underdeveloped parts of the world we shall have to double the present production of food by 1980, and double it again by the year 2000. I do not think that is an unreasonable proposition on which to base one's argument. But I would very much commend the warnings which some of your Lordships, including the noble Lord, Lord Sandys, have given about the possible waste of money by doing something too hurriedly. I think your Lordships will find some valuable advice on that if you read the speech of Mr. Freeman, the American Secretary for Agriculture, at the Agricultural Committee of the O.E.C.D. last November.
The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, the noble Lord, Lord Walston, and others referred to the need for trade rather than aid. I think I would agree with that, and I might say that we have a good record in providing less developed countries with increased opportunities for trade. We have kept an open door to products of the Commonwealth. We have supported the efforts made by international negotiation to secure the elimination of restrictions upon the exports of less developed countries. We have removed our fiscal duties on tropical products; and we shall, as I said earlier in reply to the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, play a full and active part in the "Kennedy Round", which is expected to give special consideration to the trade problems which are particularly important to less developed countries.
I have been most gratified to hear so many speeches in this debate from those of your Lordships whose knowledge of this subject is so great, including the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood and many others. I think this debate has been well worth while. We are all 318 grateful to the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, for raising it, and I can assure your Lordships that everything that has been said in the debate will be carefully studied and considered by the Government.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords, the noble Earl said that I have the right of reply, but I think that we have had a magnificent debate and there is really nothing to add. I am quite sure that the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Coventry is by now quite tired of being thanked for and congratulated upon his speech, but I should like to add my humble thanks, not only for his speech but also for the splendid work that he and the committee in Coventry are doing on our behalf. I think the happiest comment on his speech was made in the Tea-room, when somebody leaned over and said to me, "I like that Bishop. He is pretty well as good as his new cathedral!" It has been a very happy experience working again with the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr; I think we started over thirty years ago. I am sure that both he and I felt particularly happy at having the widow of the late Walter Elliot, who actually brought us together, joining in to-day and supporting us. I should like to thank the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. I only wish he had taken the opportunity of announcing here not only an increased grant to V.S.O., but also that a little more was to be given to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign.
I hope your Lordships feel that this has been a useful debate. I think we have established what I was hoping to establish—namely, that we are dealing with a vast but nevertheless vital problem. It is true, of course, as many of your Lordships have said, that this problem cannot possibly be solved by individual effort alone; but I think the whole basis of this F.A.O. contribution and of that of all the member Governments is that no one entity will be able to solve it. They have made immense contributions themselves. Various Governments have made great contributions, our own Government especially, as have the World Bank; every sort of entity has made its contribution, including all the individuals who have been called upon to help by the thirty or forty national committees that have 319 been set up by their various Governments. The fact is that this is a problem that calls for "all hands on deck", and if this debate has done something to make public opinion realise that, I am sure that as a House we can feel 320 extremely proud. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes past seven o'clock.