§ 3.5 p.m.
§ Debate resumed (according to Order) on the Motion moved on Tuesday last by Lord Tweedsmuir—namely, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I rise to continue the debate on the Address, and to-day we are going to direct our attention to foreign, Commonwealth and colonial affairs. Before I do so I should like to say that, as most noble Lords know, for twelve years in Opposition I have stood at this Box and taken part in Foreign Affairs debates. In the early years the Government spokesman was the then Leader of the House, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and he was followed by the present Prime Minister, who was then also Leader of the House and later on became Foreign Secretary. To-day we have a new spokesman on Foreign Affairs, the noble Lord the new Leader of the House. I think he knows that he is personally held in warm esteem, certainly by those on this side of the House, and we have respect for his Parliamentary abilities. I should just like to take this opportunity to associate myself with those who have wished him well in the carrying out of his new and onerous responsibilities.
My Lords, it is not surprising—indeed, I think it is appropriate—that the Queen's Speech opens with a reference to the Test Ban Agreement signed in Moscow shortly before the Summer Recess. This achievement was welcomed in all parts of the House. It gave gratification and satisfaction not only to the peoples of the signatory countries, but also, I believe, to all the peoples of the world. During the weeks and the months that have elapsed since then, practically every Government has adhered to it. The only exceptions that 130 I can recall are France, Communist China and Cuba. The Test Ban Treaty was a valuable though limited step in the right direction. Its immediate positive consequence is to end the danger of radio-active fall-out—a great blessing to the human race. It will also be useful in helping to halt the nuclear arms race. It will help discourage efforts for eves larger, more costly and more destructive nuclear weapons; and it will help to make more difficult the development of nuclear weapons in any country which has not begun to test. These are all rewarding results for the prolonged efforts that went to achieving the agreement.
But that is not all. I have said on many occasions in past debates that a test ban agreement was likely to provide a breakthrough on the road to general controlled disarmament. I believe there is now a better prospect of further advances and further agreements. A decade and a half have already been devoted to discussion and negotiations with a view to securing agreement for general world disarmament by stages. On the whole it has been a rather barren and chequered period, but now a new drive should be opened. Governments should seek to take full advantage of the new opportunities provided by the noticeable easing of East-West tensions during recent months.
I regret, therefore, that the gracious Speech makes no specific reference to disarmament. This is a surprising omission. The 18-Nation Disarmament Commission will be resuming its work in Geneva in the near future. Moreover, the British, American and Soviet Foreign Ministers had talks during their recent visit to New York, and it is reasonable to assume that they discussed the prospects of further agreements. I want to be fair, however, and say that the Prime Minister has made some amend for this omission. In his speech in another place on Tuesday he mentioned three possible areas of agreement. The first and the most likely is an agreement for observers over the whole of the NATO and Warsaw Pact areas, including Russia and America. The second is probably an agreement for the non-dissemination of nuclear weapons, and that the existing nuclear Powers would not in any circumstances transfer nuclear knowledge or nuclear control to any country which has 131 not got nuclear weapons now. His third point was the possibility of getting agreement to include the destruction of some nuclear delivery weapons in the first stage of disarmament.
He made no reference, however, to a non-aggression pact or non-aggression declaration between NATO and the Warsaw Pact Powers, but this is a fourth point which should, I think, be actively considered. I realise that there has been West German opposition to this idea because of fear that it would involve recognising the East German régime; but this would not be so. Both West Germany and East Germany have signed the Test Ban Treaty. The American Secretary of State, in submitting the Treaty to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said:It has been suggested that, by subscribing to the Treaty, a régime might gain recognition by parties to the Treaty that do not now recognise it. No such effect can occur. In international law the governing criterion of recognition is intent".So, my Lords, it would seem that West German fears are groundless.
I think the principal advantage for the West of such a joint declaration would be the acceptance by the Communist countries that NATO is not "an aggressive, Imperialist Alliance", with the consequent moderating effect on their anti-Western propaganda. Early success in negotiations along these lines would make an important contribution to further relaxing East-West tension and to creating a more favourable atmosphere for achieving agreements in the wider field of general controlled disarmament. I would urge that when the Disarmament Conference resumes it should do so with the Foreign Ministers of the member nations present. It is important that a new impetus should be given to its discussions, and the presence of Mr. Butler and the other Foreign Ministers at the opening would, I believe, be the best way to ensure a new impetus.
My Lords, as we have all realised from time to time, it is seldom that we can discuss foreign affairs without some aspect of defence having to be referred to. We are to have a Defence debate next week. I do not intend to anticipate that debate to any great extent, and my remarks 132 will be brief. As we all know, the question of Britain's independent deterrent has been brought to the forefront of Parliamentary discussion as the result of recent Ministerial public speeches and by the announcement by the Prime Minister on Tuesday that he intends to put the question of Britain's independent deterrent to the electors. As noble Lords will no doubt have noted, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party promptly accepted the challenge in a speech which he delivered in another place yesterday.
The Prime Minister, when still Foreign Secretary, told the Blackpool Conference of the Conservative Party that Labour would abandon all control by the British Government over Britain's nuclear arms. He gave no authority for this assertion. The simple truth is that it was not a statement of fact. He went on to say thatUnder a Labour Government, Britain's voice would no longer be heard in those Councils which are concerned with matters of peace and war in a nuclear age.Mr. Brown made it clear yesterday that a Labour Government will not destroy the nuclear forces left behind by the present Government; that it will not maintain thereafter the illusion of being an independent nuclear Power but will aim, instead, at taking part in some form of Atlantic Alliance Nuclear Organisation.
My Lords, the Prime Minister misunderstands the source of British influence in the world if he thinks that it will depend on our trying to keep an illusory independent deterrent into the future. Britain would not become either a satellite or a camp follower of the United States by adopting the policy outlined by Mr. Brown, to which I have referred. On the contrary, an effective share in the total Western deterrent would be better than a partial share in a partial deterrent. As Mr. Gordon Walker said in Paris a week ago:What we are interested in is the share proper to a great Power in the whole Western nuclear weapons—which means the American nuclear arsenal. Upon this, whatever we may say or do, depends our ultimate safety.If, on the other hand, the proof that a nation is not a satellite or a camp follower is to have its own nuclear weapons, what is the argument against Italy, Japan or Germany exercising their 133 independence in the same way? That, it seems to me, is a direct provocation to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The suggestion that only a nuclear Power would have a ticket of admission to the conference table does not bear examination. We live in a nuclear age—that is true: but nuclear Powers are not the exclusive deciders of human affairs; they are not the dictators of human destiny. It would be a bad thing for the world if they were. They do not dictate to the United Nations; they are not alone at the Geneva Disarmament Conference. It would be an intolerable situation if the great majority of nations were excluded from international conferences in which their interests were concerned—or, if present, were ignored—because they did not belong to the nuclear club. That is not the case, and we all know that it is not the case.
There are many factors which go to creating and strengthening British influence in world affairs: our economic strength, our industrial capacity, our commercial enterprise and the skills and the qualities of character of the British people. To suppose that all these would count for little if we did not retain the illusion of independent nuclear power is ludicrous. A Labour Government would seek to strengthen all these factors, and would use British influence to the full as a great nation. At the United Nations, at the Geneva Disarmament Conference, in the chancelleries of the Powers, great and small alike, Britain's voice will be heard. And it will not be the voice of a satellite or a camp follower.
I welcome the sentence in the gracious Speech thatthe Government will continue to support the freedom of Berlin and to seek solutions of the problems of European security and Germany".It is important that this purpose should be actively pursued; and I hope advantage has been taken of Foreign Ministers' talks and through normal diplomatic channels to seek common ground for a mutually acceptable agreement on West Berlin. For many months there seemed to be signs of easing tension in Berlin and it has been disappointing to note recent incidents of interference with the free passage of United States' convoys Berlin-bound. The latest case, that of November 5, might have developed to a more serious extent. Fortunately it ended peacefully and satisfactorily and 134 without any concession by the West. Moscow must surely appreciate the consistently firm attitude shown by the Western Powers in defence of West Berlin and of their own rights.
Several proposals, as noble Lords know, have been canvassed from time to time with the object of facilitating agreement on West Berlin. I will not repeat them to-day except to mention two of them. First, the establishment by the four Powers concerned of an international access authority to govern access between West Germany and West Berlin on the autobahn and through existing air corridors. East Germany should be given the right to appoint officials with local responsibility to co-operate with the international authority in ensuring rights of access. This measure of de facto recognition may be internationally necessary to get an agreement. The second point is the association of a United Nations "presence" in Berlin, both by way of a token force and by the siting of one or more United Nations' Agency offices.
The problems of European security and Germany—which, I suppose, really means the problem of reuniting the two parts of Germany—are interlocked. Great progress on the problems of European security will have to be made before the question of unification will have any chance of being solved. Here again many proposals have been put forward. I will only cite some of them, without any elaboration of detail, because I have dealt with them fully on previous occasions. They include, first, acceptance of the German-Polish frontier; secondly, a non-aggression pact or declaration, to which I have already referred; thirdly, denial of nuclear weapons to both East and West Germany; and fourthly, the creation of a nuclear-free zone in central Europe. These provide likely lines of approach to a package deal, and I hope they were in the minds of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary when they approved this paragraph in the gracious Speech. Of course I recognise that efforts over the years have borne little fruit, but if the world is to get away from the constant fear of nuclear war and is to end the cold war and develop peaceful coexistence, we must make early progress towards agreement on Central European problems.
135 The Queen's Speech also tells us that the Government will continue their efforts to provide peace and stability in South and South-East Asia. We support this intention, as we supported their efforts to bring peace to Laos. Two areas call for special attention. First, I must express our concern at the antagonistic attitude which the Government of Indonesia have adopted following the establishment of Malaysia. Malaysia is a new State bringing together Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak. This is not only an experiment in independence; it is also an experiment in co-operation. From this side of the House we want to extend a warm welcome to this new member of the Commonwealth. But not only must we welcome it; we must confirm that we will stand by the defence obligations which we have undertaken.
The Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, during the weeks leading up to the declaration of Malaysia made every effort to allay the concern of the Governments of Indonesia and the Philippines. He readily accepted, and we applaud his doing so, the suggestion that the United Nations should undertake an inquiry to ensure that the establishment of the new State represented the interests of the majority of the people. He was even willing to work out a basis for a larger grouping to include Indonesia and the Philippines. But the Indonesian reply was to start a virulent verbal onslaught to play upon the feelings of their people to such an extent that the British Embassy was raided and burned. This was intolerable behaviour. We must make it clear that, while we shall seek by every possible means to maintain friendly relations with Indonesia, we will not tolerate any attack on the State of Malaysia. It is, I think, not inappropriate to ask that some of our other friends within the Western Alliance who have close relations with Indonesia should use their influence to ensure not only that peace is maintained in that part of South-East Asia, but that a new era of co-operation is opened.
Then there is Vietnam. It may be that it is too early to be able to judge clearly the effect on future policy of the South Vietnamese Government of the recent coup d'etut, but it seems likely from what is known of some of those 136 involved that it may lead to an improvement in what has become a very dangerous situation. The recognition of the new Government by both the United States and this country should be welcomed.
The Labour Party has many times condemned the Government of Diem for their incompetence, for the evidence of nepotism, for their destruction of any opposition elements and for their failure to create a situation in which the people of South Vietnam would themselves maintain the struggle against Communist subversion. The Diem Government created all the conditions helpful to the Vietcong and it was because of the weakness of the Diem Government that the Americans were required to become more and more involved directly in the struggle. Some two or three years ago when the Americans had 5,000 men to assist in training they had built up a force of 30,000 which had willy-nilly become involved in the battle itself. At the same time it was a battle that seemed in danger of being lost.
It is to be hoped that the new Government will be able not only to restore law and order to ally communal and religious feelings, but to create a new and more democratic system which is, after all, the best basis for surviving Communist infiltration. We must still support the concept of the Geneva Conference of 1954 of eventual reunification between North and South Vietnam on the basis of free elections. But a stable administration in South Vietnam might be the first real step in that direction.
Finally, I should like to say a brief word about the United Nations Development Decade. In 1961, the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution designating the 'sixties as the United Nations Development Decade. The object was to double the rate of growth of the national incomes of more than 100 low-income countries by 1970 as compared with 1960, with continuing momentum thereafter. Each developing country was called upon to set its own target for the Decade, and the developed countries were called upon to pursue specific policies designed to help them to achieve their targets. Since the adoption of this resolution, however, very little has happened that would not have happened in any case.
137 In June last, the United Nations Parliamentary Group, which represents all political Parties at Westminister, sent to the Foreign Secretary a request that Britain should put forward at the General Assembly a proposal for a United Nations Five-Year Plan as the means of stimulating practical action. The basis of the plan was to be specific targets established by the developing countries in the fields of food, health, education and training. These targets were to be ready by 1965 and, in aggregate, they would represent a definite and measurable goal which all countries, bilaterally and through the United Nations system, would co-operate to reach by 1970.
The developed countries, under this proposal, would likewise establish targets dovetailing with those of the developing countries, thus constituting an international programme which would function in parallel with measures to expand trade and investment. The idea was that it should be a people's programme, in which non-governmental organisations of many kinds, professional, industrial and voluntary, would co-operate with their respective Governments. The outcome of this proposal is a resolution which is now before the General Assembly, co-sponsored by Great Britain and ten other countries. It appears to be conceived as an expansion of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. It proposes a five-year "World Campaign against Hunger, Disease and Ignorance", but it is exclusively to non-governmental organisations that the resolution appeals to carry it out, though it does ask that States should facilitate their efforts.
Thus, what was intended to be a major offensive against hunger, disease and ignorance, realistically organised to make an effective impact on these evils, is reduced to a proposal that the responsibility for such a world campaign should be delegated to non-governmental organisations, whilst the Governments, upon whom rests the responsibility for making good the Decade resolution, undertake no further commitments. We urge Her Majesty's Government, before this resolution is finally voted upon, to reconsider their position and to arrange for its amendment in such a way that the purpose of the United Nations Parliamentary Group's important proposal shall be achieved and not frustrated. 138 I hope that the noble Lord the Leader of the House will personally bring this appeal to the notice of the Foreign Secretary.
§ 3.34 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, my noble friends and I welcome the allusion in the gracious Speech to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and we trust that this Treaty will lead to a measure of general disarmament. The United Nations comes in for a slight mention in the gracious Speech—a sort of "soldier's farewell", one might say. Over the last few years I have felt that the reputation of the British Government at the United Nations has somewhat gone down. I am not at all sure that this is entirely their fault. Having been on the receiving end of some of the brickbats, as a delegate from this country, I know how difficult it is sometimes to answer some of the criticisms that are made. But very soon we shall cease to be a colonialist power, except in regard to a few small islands. Then I hope that our representatives will be able to stand on their country's own merits.
Nevertheless, some of the pungent criticisms that have been made of the United Nations by Ministers, not least by the former Foreign Secretary, have upset some of the new States, including States of the Commonwealth, who are perhaps rather more sensitive to criticism than are some of the older States. I believe that a great deal of trouble about the United Nations' operations abroad is that there is no permanent force which is solely the concern of and subject to the United Nations. I would remind your Lordships that on February 20 of this year we had an interesting debate in your Lordships' House, in which general support was given from all sides of the House to the idea of the creation of such a force, although speakers were not very clear about the exact time and differed on whether the force should be created in the immediate future or in the distant future. Even the then Foreign Secretary did not pour cold water on the idea, though he was one of those who thought that it should be a creation of the more distant future.
I am wondering to what extent the British Government have advanced the idea of this force at the United Nations. 139 Many of my friends in the Liberal Party who have studied these matters regret, like the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that there is no mention of the United Nations Development Decade in the gracious Speech, and they are rather concerned that at the United Nations Great Britain is actually sponsoring a resolution to put the onus of the work for the Decade on voluntary organisations instead of on Governments. They feel that this is definitely a step backwards and that such a Decade can be really effective only if it is a matter of governmental and even international co-operation. Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, would care to give the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and me his views on this suggestion.
NATO is dealt with in twelve words in the gracious Speech. I regard NATO as the very bulwark of our existence, so far as material and worldly things are concerned. I believe that, however well we may do in other parts of the world, unless we are strong and resolute in the North Atlantic area all will be lost, and any successes that the Communist Powers may have in other parts of the world are due to the fact that they feel that we are very strong in this area and that they must probe elsewhere.
Last week the NATO Parliamentarians' Conference was held in Paris. There was a delegation from your Lordships' House as well as from the House of Commons. We were privileged to be led by the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, and the Conference was held under his presidency. He is the first British Parliamentarian to achieve this important position and I should like to pay my tribute to him for the way in which he has led the delegation over the years and for the way in which he presided over us in Paris. Like the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, I have been going to these conferences for years. This organisation is becoming more and more important as a sounding board for opinion throughout the Parliaments in the North Atlantic area, but I must say that this time I was rather distressed to feel that there was a decline in the sense of importance with which the North Atlantic partnership is considered. The Political Committee, of which I am Chairman, actually 140 made this point of view clear in their report. They said:After a year of disappointments in the movement for Atlantic partnership, the Political Committee is convinced that positive action should be taken to resume the momentum of progress towards unity. For psychological as well as political reasons, it is important that we achieve a concrete advance towards Atlantic solidarity in the near future.Meeting the representatives there, one could not help feeling that this decline was a sad state of affairs. The reasons for the decline are threefold. They are partly due to the inability of the United Kingdom to join the European Economic Community, mainly because of President de Gaulle's attitude; his insistence on the right of France to decide independently on major questions of war and peace, together with his recent declaration that the NATO treaty is out of date—although he has not specified in what way it is out of date. It is also due, to some extent, to the determination of Britain and France to "go it alone" as independent nuclear Powers.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, I was disturbed at the reference by the Prime Minister at the Mansion House the other night to this question. I do not recall whether the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, quoted the exact words, but he referred to them, and I will quote them. The Prime Minister said:We won't get to the peace table by grace and favour. The world is not like that. We shall get to the peace table as of right, because we are a nuclear Power.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!
§ LORD OGMORE
Very well: I am glad to hear that, because now we know where we stand. The Labour Party and the Liberal Party believe this to be a disastrous point of view—at any rate, I can say that the Liberal Party feel that way, if not the Labour Party. I think it is disastrous, but it is also largely illusory. We have not at the moment an independent British deterrent. The whole of our V-bomber force has been assigned to NATO, it will be a considerable time before the Polaris submarines come along, and even then they are going to be assigned to NATO. So I 141 cannot see that this can be called an independent nuclear deterrent. But even if it were, it is a direct incitement to all other countries to insist on becoming nuclear Powers. That is most dangerous. As I see it, the danger of a nuclear war would come from the fact that there is a proliferation of these weapons, with the possibility of a local war or border dispute, say, between Israel and Egypt, flaring up into a terrible world war.
I feel that the Conservative Party are making a great mistake in making a Defence issue of this kind, or, indeed, any Defence issue, a political question. In the great days of the Liberal Party—at any rate, the days from 1906 onwards, as some of the older Members of the House will remember—Mr. Balfour, who was then the Leader of the Conservative Party, actually sat in on the Committee of Imperial Defence. In those days they did not play Party politics over these great questions. If Mr. Balfour had not sat in on the Committee of Imperial Defence, Mr. Haldane would never have been able to get through his great reform of the military forces by which were able to put into France in August, 1914, the divisions which came to the rescue of the French.
We also discussed at the NATO Conference the question of the political control of nuclear weapons. I raise this subject to-day for one reason, and one reason only—although it is important from the point of view of the Alliance—and that is that the Press, both in America and in this country, made headlines of it, but they got the wrong end of the stick. The Conference did not, in fact, condemn the multilateral nuclear force; they did not condemn these ships which are to be mixed-manned. That was the heading, and the Secretary of State in America was rung up, I suppose as usual in the middle of the night, and asked his views of the condemnation by the Parliamentarians' Conference. As I say, we did not condemn it. It was said, quite rightly, that it was basically a political matter. My Committee considered it. We said that there had not been proper discussion upon it and it should be carefully considered by the member Parliaments during the coming year; that members of the Conference should raise it in individual 142 Parliaments and then come back next year to the Committee, when we hoped to be in a position to make a decision upon it.
I was honoured by an invitation to take part last week in a television show in France, going out to America, with my Rapporteur, Mr. Lindsay, an energetic Parliamentarian, Mr. Kasim Gulek, the leader of the Turkish delegation, and Dr. Kliesing, a member of the Bundestag of Germany and the President this year of the Conference as a whole. I can only say that none of us on that programme—that is, an American, a Turk, a German and myself—was against this particular force. Mr. Lindsay and I said that we thought it should be considered further and more fully. The Turk was all for it. As he said, he was next door to the Russians, and any force of a kind like that would be welcome. And Dr. Kliesing, the German—and I think this was most interesting—said that the Germans also would welcome such a force, although he was not prepared to say that this would be the final control of the nuclear weapon that they would want. But basically we felt, as a whole, that, to be realistic with these nuclear weapons, it was no good having a Committee which decided at the very moment of tension—
My Lords, perhaps I may interupt the noble Lord. I was a member both of the Military Committee and of the Political Committee at the NATO Conference. My view is that the majority of both the Military Committee and the Political Committee were against the multilateral force.
§ LORD OGMORE
That was not my impression, and it is not borne out by the recommendations, of which the noble Lord has a copy, and which I have before me. The one recommendation which deals with it says:Considering the question of devolving control of nuclear weapons is primarily political, and Considering this question bears on the problem of developing a global defensive strategy; Recommends: that proposals for the multilateralisation of the control and use of nuclear weapons be debated next year by the NATO Parliamentarians' Conference and hopes that in the meantime they will be subjected to Parliamentary debate in member countries.That is what I said. But the important thing is that we felt, and the Conference 143 as a whole felt, including the noble Lord, Lord Teynham—at any rate, he did not dispute it—that what is required is that there should be developed within NATO, under the NATO Council, a unified strategic planning system aimed at the development of a full strategic consensus among the members. That is how the various members of NATO can assist in the political control of all nuclear weapons. At a later stage, if or when the actual weapon has to be launched, it is only realistic if it is in the hands and under the control of one man, and that man must be the President of the United States.
§ LORD OGMORE
The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, may object to it, but, quite frankly, nobody has ever put up a realistic alternative. The former Prime Minister expressed this in graphic terms when he said:Otherwise you will have one finger on the trigger and fourteen thumbs on the safety catch.That is the situation. I think the proposals we made this year at the NATO Parliamentarians' Conference were very realistic; that is to say, that we all have a say in the planning stage and not afterwards.
I should like to say a few words about the Commonwealth. Here again there is no doubt that there has been a considerable decline in sentiment with regard to the Commonwealth. It is largely because of the attempt by the British Government to enter the European Economic Market. This has affected sentiment, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, and perhaps to some extent in Canada. I think the Government were right to make that attempt, but obviously they were in a very difficult position because they could not at the same time negotiate with the other European Powers and come into the open and tell the Commonwealth countries what great advantages they would have—as I believe they would have had—if we had gone into the Market.
Now, at all events, I think it is necessary for us to give a new impetus to the Commonwealth feeling, and to do everything in our power to restore and, in fact, increase the Commonwealth feeling of 144 amity. There are many ways in which we can do that. One is to do all in our power to increase world trade. The old protectionist idea so far as the Commonwealth is concerned is largely inapplicable to these days. The Commonwealth is so big and its trade so diverse that it is only an increase generally in world trade that is going to help the Commonwealth very much.
As to South-East Asia, I give full support to Malaysia. We believe that the Commonwealth will have to have a regional defence plan in Malaysia, and I regret, as others have done to-day, the report that the United States have supplied certain equipment to the Indonesians. We hope that that will be found to be untenable, and I do not think we should develop that any more. I agree with the Leader of the House that it will be better to wait until we hear what the Americans have said. But we can say a bit about West Irian. I have a Question down about this. Although I am a great supporter of the United Nations, they are no more infallible than any other human agency. They are just as likely to make mistakes, and I must say that their actions with regard to these unfortunate people in West Irian take a bit of understanding; and there has been little explanation.
When I asked a question (and the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has also been pursuing the Government on this point) at the end of last Session, we were told: "Really, this has not much to do with us: this is a decision of the United Nations." But, after all, the British Government are a member of the Security Council, and they are responsible. They must take their due share of responsibility for what goes on. Unless the United Nations officials make reports on what is happening in West Irian, some of these unfortunate indigenous people, who are rather primitive, will be seriously and damagingly exploited by the Indonesians.
We welcome the new States, and as there are going to be Bills relating to them there is no need to say much to-day about Kenya, Malta, Nyasaland and Zanzibar. I should like to say a word about one State which has not been mentioned at all, and that is British Guiana. We support the Government in general terms. I think that Mr. Sandys 145 is perfectly right in general terms. It would have been fatal, in my view, to give independence to British Guiana at this moment, when their Parliament is based on the British electoral system. All it has done up to now is to produce chaos, and if they had gone on to independence bloodshed would have been added to chaos. Twice the British have had to take over from the Guianese Government, and it is due to the fact—at any rate, it is one reason—that the British electoral system works extremely unfairly in British Guiana, as it does here. Mr. Sandys has recognised this fact. He has said that the British system is useless so far as British Guiana is concerned, and he proposes proportional representation. We support him in that. We only hope that Her Majesty's subjects in Great Britain will have the same blessings of proportional representation as Her Majesty's Government are now bestowing upon Her subjects in British Guiana. All I would say to Mr. Sandys is: do not stop and tarry with the good work. Go on with it until it reaches the people in this country.
I should like to say a word about the High Commission Territories, which again are not mentioned in the gracious Speech. My view—I have studied this very carefully, and I wish that I could think otherwise, but I am afraid that I cannot—is that, from an economic point of view, probably Swaziland, but certainly Bechuanaland and Basutoland, have no real economic future outside the South African region. Any attempt at this time to warp or twist their economies, as it were, to ignore the facts of life and to ignore the South African scene, is futile. Possibly on a sort of siege basis it would be possible for Swaziland to continue without recourse to the great markets of South Africa, but I am perfectly certain that it is not possible for Basutoland and Bechuanaland to do so. Therefore, we must live with that fact of life.
That is the long term. In the short and medium term, it means that we must do everything possible to protect their political, social and economic development. I believe that we should encourage the United Nations presence there in every way we can, retaining of course our own responsibility, guaranteeing, with them, the frontiers and retaining 146 the right of political asylum. I mention this now because it is coming up very soon in the question of the boycott of South Africa. To what exent are the British Government justified in trying to prevent the High Commission Territories from trading with the rest of South Africa'? I say that we have primarily, so far as the High Commission Territories are concerned, to think of the future and the wellbeing of the inhabitants of those territories. We must do nothing that is going to affect them adversely, either in the long or in the short term. We shall have many opportunities to discuss the individual items, or many of them, in the debates on the Bills that are coming up, and on the Motions that will no doubt be raised. That is all I propose to say to-day, and I look forward with keen anticipation to the subsequent speeches.
§ 3.57 p.m.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, may I first of all thank the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for the good wishes that he has extended to me? He has initiated debates on Foreign Affairs in your Lordships' House for, I think, the whole twelve years of these three Conservative Governments. I do not remember his ever having made a speech on any of those occasions on which he had not obviously spent a great deal of time on research, a great deal of thought on his own personal position and that of the position of his Party and the policy to be followed by his Party, always guided by his chief consideration, which is the welfare and interests of Britain. Indeed, this is a common factor of all the debates on Foreign Affairs in your Lordships' House, and it leads inevitably to a great deal of common ground between the three Parties. To-day has been no exception and there is not much in what he and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, have said with which I would disagree except on what was said about the deterrent, with which I profoundly disagree. We shall have an opportunity of discussing this next Tuesday in the Defence debate, and I would rather not say anything more about that today, except to say that I do not understand what Lord Ogmore meant when he said that the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party were playing politics. There is a fundamental disagreement between the 147 two major Parties on this issue, and I should have thought that it was right that it should be aired, and right that it should be put before the people of this country so that they can make their decision upon it.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I do not object to that at all. I think it is quite right to air these things. But I understood—and the noble Lord will correct me if I am wrong—that the Conservative Party intended to make the independent nuclear deterrent one of the planks of their programme for the General Election. Is that so or not?
§ LORD CARRINGTON
What the Prime Minister said, as I understand it, was that he wished the people of this country to make their decision upon whether the policy which the Conservative Party advocated was right or that which the Labour Party advocated was right; and this seems to me the proper way in which democracy should work. If I misunderstood what the noble Lord said, of course I apologise.
Both the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, commented on a number of omissions from the gracious Speech and also on some subjects which were dealt with in rather shorter terms than they would have liked. Yesterday in the debate we had some noble Lords opposite complain, on the other hand, about the length of the gracious Speech. I do not think we can have it all ways. If all the subjects which everybody would have liked to be mentioned were included in the Speech it would be of impossible length. But it does not, of course, mean that these are subjects to which the Government does not attach great importance. I hope, too—otherwise my speech will be of impossible length—that both noble Lords will forgive me if I do not follow them and answer them in exact detail on every point they made. I certainly will study what they have said with great care, and it may be that my noble friend Lord Lansdowne will answer one or two of the points which I have not the time to do, but I have a number of things I should like to say and I do not want to keep your Lordships for too long.
My Lords, since the House adjourned for the Summer Recess the Nuclear Test 148 Ban Treaty, to which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, referred, has been signed in Moscow. It was ratified and brought into force by the three original signatories on October 10. Over 100 States have already signed or acceded to it, and I know the whole House will join with me in paying tribute to the strenuous and determined efforts of Mr. Macmillan to bring this Treaty about. In spite of all the disappointments and set backs over the long years of negotiations, he never gave up, and this is one of his many achievements which will always be remembered.
At the same time it is important to keep this Treaty in perspective, as Mr. Macmillan himself has always done. Some people have hailed it as a green light for reaching speedy agreements on all East-West issues. Others have tended to criticise it on the grounds that it does not go far enough; that it really has little or no significance. The truth, I think, my Lords, lies somewhere in between these two views. We must remember what the Treaty does and does not do. It is not a measure of disarmament in the strict sense of the term. It does not directly reduce the risks of war. It is not a comprehensive agreement banning all tests, for the Soviet Government have been unwilling to accept inspection, which is of such crucial importance for disarmament. But it does constitute a major agreement between East and West affecting nuclear weapons. As such, it is an important measure towards the relaxation of tension. I think that it also carries significant advantages in its own right. It removes, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, widespread and worldwide fears of pollution of the atmosphere. It should reduce the rate of military expenditure in an almost incredibly expensive field. And although it will not of itself prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons, it should certainly help to do so.
This Treaty is a landmark and it has undoubtedly improved the atmosphere in more senses than one. Time alone will tell whether it is, in point of fact, a turning point, because it does not follow automatically that enduring solutions to other East-West problems will readily and rapidly be found. All the Members of your Lordships' House will recognise the efforts of successive British 149 Governments to try to achieve such solutions, and it remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government to continue to work for them in the closest association with our Allies.
As your Lordships are aware, we have maintained continuing contact with the Soviet Government since the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was concluded, and various subjects for possible agreement have been under discussion, some of which were mentioned by the noble Lord opposite. One is the establishment of observer posts in the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries; another is non-dissemination of nuclear weapons; a third is some form of non-aggression arrangement, though I need hardly add that the United Nations Charter does, in fact, already cover this. And there has been a further positive agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, one which Her Majesty's Government warmly welcome, relating to the stationing—or rather nonstationing—of weapons of mass destruction in outer space.
It is far too early to say whether, and when, further solutions can be achieved. What is certain is that the Soviet Government judged it in their national interest to conclude this Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and that they will be guided by considerations of national interest in any future negotiations I do not think we can expect radical changes in Soviet thinking or in Soviet objectives. The continuing threats of interference with Western access to Berlin should serve to remind us of this basic truth, and I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that this has been a very disappointing set of circumstances. If the Soviet Government really want to come to terms with the West on measures to reduce tension and the dangers of war, then they will always find us ready to sit down with them at the Conference table. But if they disregard our own vital interests or if they indulge in actions which give us reason to suspect that they are not genuine in their wish for agreements, then they can hardly blame us if the atmosphere becomes colder.
The exchanges which have taken place, and any which may take place in the future, have been and will be based on the fullest consultation between all members of the Atlantic Alliance and, where 150 their interests are also involved, with our other friends outside as well. This is of fundamental importance. Any weakening of the cohesion of NATO, to which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, referred, and of the free world alliances as a whole would be a weakening of our power to deter aggression. In whatever way the contacts between East and West may develop, our purpose must be the constant strengthening of the free world.
My Lords, I should like at this point to say one or two words about Europe, since Europe is fundamental to our security. I was glad of the opportunity earlier to-day to assure the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, that the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards Europe remains unchanged. In the words of the gracious Speech, Her Majesty's Government will continue:to work for the strength and unity of Europe",even though our entry into the Communities is at the present time barred. The Government have been working for European unity in many ways in recent months. For example, last month, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary attended a meeting of the Council of Western European Union at which, for the first time since the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations in January, Ministers of Britain and the Six sat round a table and discussed their common problems and interests. As a result of that meeting, which owes much to the initiatives taken during the summer by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade, the seven Governments of Western European Union have begun once again to discuss matters together in terms of common interests and possible ways of pursuing them. We hope that the work which was set in hand at The Hague will be continued and, indeed, will grow. Future meetings will take place every three months and they should enable the Western European Union once again to play a significant part in European affairs.
But, of course, Europe does not consist only of the Six, nor is our European policy confined to developing close relations with them. We have a specially close economic relationship with the members of EFTA, who are also among our closest friends in the political sense. At a time when the European 151 Community has been passing through a crisis of confidence, EFTA has been developing a growing sense of purpose and solidarity. By the end of 1966, tariffs among the seven members of EFTA in the industrial sector will have been completely eliminated.
The members of EFTA are European nations with a full sense of their European responsibilities, and they will therefore seek to progress in cooperation—not in rivalry—with the Community of the Six. One forum in which the Six and the Seven, as well as other free European nations, can look at the European problem as a whole is the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Here, too, Her Majesty's Government can claim to have taken some useful initiatives recently. Last May my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Industry went to Strasbourg and proposed that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, where 17 countries are represented, should address themselves more closely in future to the political problems of European unity. Next month the Foreign Secretary will be attending a further meeting of the Committee of Ministers, at which the problems of Atlantic partnership and European economic integration are to be discussed. We hope in this way to involve as many as possible of the European countries in discussion of the problems presented by the divisions in Europe.
Relations between the Atlantic Alliance and the Soviet bloc, and the future of Europe, are, of course, of vital importance to us. But our interests and our alliances are worldwide, and I should like for a moment or two to turn to other areas and other problems. First, the Middle East. There is, as all your Lordships would agree, urgent need for peace, prosperity and stability in that area. We cannot, and should not, seek to impose these from outside. But we can, and should, do everything possible to help, both by trade and by the intelligent use of aid, to create the economic conditions in which the Middle East can prosper and in which true political stability can be maintained. I might in passing mention one field of technical assistance in which we are doing some work. For many years the Middle East 152 Development Division, situated in Beirut, has made its experts available to advise the various countries at their request. Our technical assistance effort in the area is being expanded by the Department of Technical Co-operation. Hundreds of people come to this country for training and we are making experts with many different skills available to go to the Middle East.
I started talking about the Middle East because there is one area which gives cause for immediate and serious concern. This is the continuing conflict in the Yemen, which has caused all of us concern because of the danger of the conflict spreading. As your Lordships will know, despite the agreement of the U.A.R. and Saudi Governments to disengage, the Republicans have depended, and still depend, on U.A.R. forces in very substantial numbers, whereas U Thant's Report of October 28 to the Security Council on the second two months of U.N. observation of the situation is thatno military assistance has been provided to the Royalists from Saudi Arabiain that period. Even after a year's conflict, neither side in the Yemen has been able to gain a decisive military position. In these circumstances it is regrettable that foreign intervention has not ended, since its continuance increases the difficulties in the way of the Yemenis themselves arriving at some form of political settlement, which is probably essential if the conflict is to end.
Nevertheless, the agreement of both the Saudi Arabian and the U.A.R. Governments to support the United Nations Yemen Observation Mission for a further period until January 4 shows that both the outside Powers most closely concerned still hope that progress can be made. And the U.N. Secretary-General, who has stated that he regards the problem as primarily political, has just sent a distinguished international civil servant in the person of Signor Spinelli to the Yemen as his personal representative. It is the hope of Her Majesty's Government that this will contribute to a peaceful settlement and to the emergence of a national authority in the Yemen commanding general acceptance. Meanwhile we have been encouraged by a reduction in the extent of incidents on the border between the 153 Yemen and the Federation of South Arabia. The Government hope that it may in due course be possible to settle the outstanding border questions which have been such a source of friction between the Yemen and her neighbours throughout the years.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
My Lords, may I ask my noble friend a question? I am grateful to him for giving way. Would the Government consider sending a formal Note to Egypt embodying the very careful phraseology in the important statement my noble friend has just made?
§ LORD CARRINGTON
I think our position is well known to all the Governments on the Yemen. We have made this fairly clear, and perhaps what we should do at this moment is to see how Signor Spinelli and the Secretary-General get on. But I will certainly consider what my noble friend has said.
I should like now to turn to South-East Asia where the most immediate problem is that which arises from Indonesian hostility towards Malaysia. I agree very largely with what the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said and I am glad that there is this not only bipartisan approach but also tripartite approach to this matter, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore also supported what Lord Henderson said. The hostility arises because we have promised Malaysia our support and we intend to honour our promise; because we have promised our support, the hostility has been extended to Britain as well. It reached fever point in mid-September. British and Malaysian diplomatic and consular premises in Indonesia were sacked. British subjects and commercial enterprises were victimised. And an Indonesian economic boycott was instituted against Malaysia. These outbursts have not been repeated, and the Indonesian Government have expressed some regret for them. Nevertheless, retaliatory measures are still in force against British enterprises in Indonesia, and full compensation for the September disorders has yet to be agreed. Nor has there been any relaxation of Indonesia's policy of "confrontation" against Malaysia. "Confrontation" means all forms of hostility short of actual war. It ranges from making travelers between Malaysia and 154 Indonesia go via Bangkok to organising guerrilla raids into Malaysian Borneo. Its purpose is expressed in President Sukarno's slogan, "Devour Malaysia". Its excuse is the Indonesian objection to Sarawak and Sabah achieving self-government within the Federation of Malaysia.
Why did the withdrawal of British rule from our last remaining Colonies in South-East Asia precipitate this explosion of Indonesian resentment? The Indonesians contend that Sarawak and Sabah were forced into Malaysia against their will and without consultation with Indonesia. In fact, as your Lordships are aware, the Secretary General of the United Nations was invited by the Manila Conference Powers, including Indonesia, to make an independent investigation of popular wishes in Sabah and Sarawak, and this Commission reported on September 14 that free and impartially conducted elections had left no doubt about the wishes of a sizeable majority of the peoples of these territories to join in the Federation of Malaysia. This verdict was the condition which Indonesia herself had proposed in order to enable her to welcome Malaysia. Instead, she broke off diplomatic relations and intensified confrontations. The Indonesians said that they wanted to eradicate British colonialism from Malaysia. But Indonesian relations with Sarawak and North Borneo as long as these territories were actually British Colonies had been so harmonious that, only a year ago, we did not need a single British soldier in either territory. It is difficult to resist the conclusion that the real Indonesian objection was not to colonialism—which no longer existed—but to the exercise of self-determination by the peoples concerned.
As for the argument that Indonesia ought to have been consulted before Sabah and Sarawak were allowed to opt for Malaysia, I need only quote the words of Dr. Subandrio, the Indonesian Foreign Minister. On November 20, 1961, he said in the General Assembly of the United Nations:When Malaysia told us of their intentions to merge with the three British Crown Colonies of Sarawak, Brunei and British North Borneo as one Federation, we told them that we have no objections and that we wished them success with this merger so that everyone may live in peace and freedom.155 Finally, there is the argument that Malaysia is a threat to Indonesia. Naturally, the Indonesians do not mean that ten million Malaysians could ever menace the hundred million people of Indonesia. Their suggestion is that British Forces based in Malaysia under the terms of our Defence Agreement with Malaysia might be employed against Indonesia. I should like to take this opportunity of assuring the Indonesian Government as earnestly and as solemnly as I can that Her Majesty's Government have no such intentions. British Forces, in common with those of Australia and New Zealand, are based in Malaysia to assist in the defence of South-East Asia against outside aggression. It is through no choice of ours that these British forces have recently, and for the first time since Indonesia achieved her independence nearly fourteen years ago, had to be diverted to assist in the defence of Malaysian Borneo. The remedy lies in Indonesian hands.
So far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned—and I am sure that the Malaysian Government feel the same—we will not allow our justified indignation about recent events to deter us from welcoming any sincere Indonesian initiative for the restoration of friendly relations. Nobody has anything to gain from the present quarrel, and we have no intention of aggravating it. On the other hand, we have undertaken to assist in the defence of Malaysia against external aggression. As long as the Malaysian Government want our help we shall honour that obligation.
Our immediate policy, therefore, is to persuade Indonesia that there are no obstacles to friendship and co-operation with Malaysia, but formidable impediments to aggression. In this task I am confident that we can count on the sympathy and co-operation of our friends, both within the Commonwealth and outside. Nevertheless, I cannot hold out much hope to the House of early success. Time must be allowed for tempers to cool, and the choice between conflict and negotiation lies with Indonesia rather than with ourselves. I can only assure your Lordships, and with them the Indonesian Government, that Her Majesty's Government will be as persistent in their efforts to promote a 156 peaceful solution as they will be resolute in opposing any resort to force.
Before leaving South-East Asia I should like, if your Lordships will allow me, to say something about the situation in South Vietnam where a military coup d'état has overthrown President Diem, who perished, with his brother, Ngo dinh Nhu. The leaders of the revolt, the Revolutionary Military Council, quickly assumed control of all important centres. A provisional Government has been formed headed by Mr. Tho, the former Vice-President, a widely respected Buddhist leader, who has been joined in the provisional Government by many of the proven public servants of the former régime. The Revolutionary Military Council has liberated all political and religious detainees, and by various measures is attempting to rally the population to renewed efforts against the Viet Cong insurgents. They have promised early elections, when conditions permit, but have said that the national struggle will continue to demand some restrictions on the full exercise of democracy.
As soon as it was clear that the new Government was in effective control of South Vietnam, Her Majesty's Government recognised the new régime—this was on November 8. At this quite early stage the House will not expect me to express any firm view on the policy of the new Government, but encouraging assurances have been received from the provisional Government about the nature of their foreign policy and their intention to honour treaties and agreements concluded by Vietnam. I thus foresee no difficulty in establishing and maintaining friendly relations with the new Government. Recent events have in no way diminished our sympathy and support for the Vietnamese people in their desire to pursue their own destiny in peace and without outside interference.
I think the House will know that the obstacle is the continuation of armed Communist intervention from the North; and it remains the objective of British policy to play our part in helping, both in my right honourable friend's capacity as co-Chairman of the Geneva Conference on Indo-China, and in other ways, to bring this intervention to an end. It is not enough to contain the Communist challenge. Provided that we 157 and our Allies maintain our unity and our sense of purpose we shall do this, as we have done in the past. But I believe that we can achieve much more, for there are a number of factors in the Communist world to-day which should gradually contribute to the improvement of East-West relations. Among these factors, which must have formed the background to the Soviet decision to conclude the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, are the realisation of the uselessness of high-risk policies, the pressure of domestic demand on the economy, the beginnings of a way of life resembling that known in the West, the interest of the younger generation in technical progress rather than crusading ideology and the nascent reassertion of national personalities in Eastern Europe.
My Lords, I should like finally to refer briefly to the question of our general relations with the uncommitted and developing countries, which is of such importance both in its own right and in the East-West context. Here. I think that sometimes—too often—our motives are misunderstood or wilfully misinterpreted in certain quarters. None of us would make an apology for our colonial policy; we should all agree that it has been a singularly successful and enlightened one. The Communist Powers have acted quite differently. They have swallowed up or held in subjection numbers of formerly independent countries. They have given independence to none. We genuinely desire to bring colonial territories to independence—our whole record shows this. We wish to do everything we can to help developing countries to achieve a decent standard of life for everyone.
That is why we fully support the work of the United Nations and its Agencies in the economic and social field, to which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, referred earlier on. That is why we attach the greatest importance to the work of the GATT. Both the United Nations and the GATT will be getting to grips with the problems of trade and development in a new way next year. There is the United Nations Conference on trade and development, and "the Kennedy Round" in the GATT. Her Majesty's Government will work in both these organisations for policies by the industrialised countries as a 158 whole which take the fullest account of the needs of the developing countries. Here again I believe that the prospects are improving, and that more and more people in these countries are coming to be aware of the identity of our interests and theirs, in that we wish them to be both free and prosperous and are prepared to take the measures required.
It would be foolish for me to pretend that my future lot as Government spokesman in your Lordships' House on Foreign Affairs will always prove a happy one. If politics is the art of the possible, foreign affairs at times gives the impression of being the art of the impossible. When we think of the allegedly insuperable problems which have been solved, or at least alleviated, in recent years—Austria, Trieste, Cyprus, Laos, to name but a few of them—then we believe that with patience, and determination and effort we shall continue to achieve success in working for better relations throughout the world.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, we are grateful for the careful speech of the noble Lord, who has covered a great deal of ground, as indeed did my noble friend, Lord Henderson; and one can rejoice that over great areas there is no controversy between the Parties—a notable reference is to Malaysia. To-day, perhaps the most difficult point for a Foreign Secretary of this country is that he has to work with the knowledge that he represents a Government that are largely repudiated throughout the country. Nevertheless, I should like to give our best wishes to Mr. Butler, our new Foreign Secretary. He does not come quite new to this work. I recollect him as the most patient stonewaller there ever was, defending the policies of Mr. Neville Chamberlain—not a very happy introduction, perhaps, to foreign affairs.
I would put a plea in to-day that the Foreign Secretary should be allowed to do the work of the Foreign Office. There is always a danger when you have a Prime Minister who has been Foreign Secretary that he will be his own Foreign Secretary. I think it important that the Foreign Secretary should be able to do his job, and the Prime Minister do his job. The Prime Minister should not 159 constantly be brought in; he should be kept out except for special occasions. I know, of course, that that runs contrary to the policy of the present Government, who have a curious habit of never letting anybody do their own job: someone is always brought in from outside. I do not know how many people we have not had meddling with foreign affairs.
In colonial affairs, industrial affairs, and so on, always someone is being brought in to do the job that ought to be done by the Minister. We have either Lord Hailsham—I do not know what to call him at the moment, Lord Hailsham or Mr. Quintin Hogg; I do not know which he is at present—or Mr. Butler always superseding. I want to see that work done by a proper Minister, and, in spite of the extraordinary proliferation of Ministers that we have to-day, there is this extraordinary habit of there being Ministers of State all over the place. One Minister is never allowed to do his job on his own. Every Minister now thinks he must have not only an Under Secretary, or two or three, but a Minister of State. I do not know why it is. Someone was suggesting the other day that we should look into the machinery of Government. I should like to look into the machinery of this Government to see why it is always necessary to have two or three extra Ministers. There is a Cabinet of 22—at least 6 too many, in my view.
There is not very much about foreign affairs in the gracious Speech—naturally, because the people concerned with Elections do not think that the general public are interested in foreign affairs; and, as this is mainly an Election manifesto, it has not much to say. The noble Lord the Lord Chancellor made a curious statement last night when he said that he would like to have the whole record of the Conservative Government over the last twelve years fully set out. Would he? Would be like to have the full details of Suez set out? We should. Would be like to have the whole matter of the negotiations on the Common Market fully set out? I thought the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, raised a rather awkward one to-day, because this is one of the things the Government want to forget. Judging by my correspond- 160 ence, a very large number of life-long Conservatives, who were outraged by the idea of the Common Market, went so far as to say that they would never vote for the Conservatives again. I think, on the other side, they rather hoped that the Common Market was decently buried. Lord Gladwyn has pulled the corpse out.
We ought to know a little more about this because at the time of the advocacy of the Common Market we were told that unless we went into it it would be absolutely fatal for our prosperity. Everything was going down the drain—we should lose our position and everything. Why is it now, now the Common Market has apparently vanished from the scene, that it is all right? What has become of all the arguments about how we must go in for the sake of our trade and everything else? Now, apparently, it is quite all right: never mind about the Common Market. We did hope at one time that, as a revulsion from the Common Market, some attention might be paid to the Commonwealth in this development. I do not find very much "fat" in the gracious Speech about that either, other than little vague remarks. If we are not going into the Common Market, as I hope we are not, if we have some regard to the rest of the world, particularly the British Commonwealth, we should like to find something a little more positive and constructive than the amiable platitudes of the gracious Speech.
I should like to have seen something rather more positive as to what we are going to do to assist the world movement for raising standards in the underdeveloped countries. So far as I can make out, there will not be much left with which to help the underdeveloped countries considering the wonderful programme of expenditure on every possible thing that is put forward in this Election address. Where is the money to help the starving peoples of the world going to be found if everything is going to be spent on this programme, new schools, new everything—even a new Foreign Office, I notice. I should not have thought that was necessary, but apparently they are going to have it.
I find in the gracious Speech absolutely no clear inspiration for the future on the subject of foreign affairs. And yet we have the Prime Minister saying 161 that the whole world is looking for a lead from this country. When is that lead coming? When shall we get any real move forward? It is all very well to talk about the agreement on tests, which is very good as a start, but the great importance of that is the fact that we have got Russia to agree to something. What I should like to see is a follow-up.
I do not think the present situation is at all satisfactory, particularly in the United Nations, where there is this constant clash between the various blocs— the Afro-Asian bloc, the South American bloc, and all the rest. It is high time that that organisation was carefully reviewed. I think we want a new start there. My own view is that, unless within a very short time we get a real move forward in obtaining something like a rule of law in the world, the United Nations may go the way of the League of Nations. There is a great deal of public opinion throughout the world to-day which seeks to make much more of a reality of the United Nations.
I myself have recently been in Japan, in India, and in Europe on this subject. It is something in which this country could be influential. I do not believe that because we have not got this or that deterrent we have no influence. I still believe that v e have an enormous influence as the most experienced democracy in the world. I should like to see that start coming even in the short time which the present Government have left to themselves. It may be that it will have to wait until they have gone, but I should like to see that start made by Britain because I do not think there is a great deal of time to waste.
I do not want to go over all the points which have been so well covered by my noble friend Lord Henderson. His surveys are always so careful and well-informed. I would make only one or two points. I do not think we want to be complacent over the present situation in the world. On the other hand, there are certain big advantages. A few years ago the Communist bloc looked as if it was completely united. It is not so united to-day. It is rather in the position similar to that which occurred in the Middle Ages with the great schism when there were two Popes. 162 There are at least two popes now in the Communist world, one in Peking and the other in Moscow. I do not say that we should necessarily rejoice at that, though it does make them a little less monolithic and a little more susceptible to considering other friendships. We ought to take advantage of that so far as possible.
Particularly there is a distinct relaxation amongst the younger generations in the Communist world from absolute separation from the West. I think there is a growing interest in the West, particularly among the young people, and the more we can take advantage of that the better. We do not want to be too suspicious. People are always afraid, somehow or other, that if we have any contact with the Communists we shall be corrupted. I always reply as I used to reply when people said that it was dangerous to mix with Tories, that they corrupted you. I said, "It is much more likely that I shall corrupt them", which often happened. I think the change is also noticeable in the wheat deal of the United States of America with Communist Russia. Only a few years ago we were repelled from any trade at all with Russia on the ground that we would be dangerous people supporting the Communists, and now we find America getting rid of some of her surpluses there. That is a bit of a relaxation and a good precedent.
Therefore, I hope that in the near future, as we have failed to get a united Europe by a Common Market, we shall keep on trying to extend our interests all over the world, and in particular in one area that has been neglected a good deal of late years, and that is South America. In the old times we did a great deal to develop South America—we lost a lot of money there, it is true—but it is one of the areas of the world where there is a terrible amount of poverty and distress in the midst of potential wealth. As we have now acquired a reputation rather different from that of the old Imperialist days, we can offer help without being suspected of wanting to paint part of South America red. I hope that we shall assert our influence there, as being less suspect than others, because that is one of the parts of the world—that and South Africa—which are most in need of European help in technology, expertise, the art of Government, 163 the application of science and the rest of it. The rest of the points I think I will leave to somebody else. I do not intend to deal with Commonwealth matters; my noble friends will be dealing with those. But I would stress again the immense importance I attach to our close co-operation in everything with the Commonwealth—old Commonwealth and new Commonwealth.
§ 4.43 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, my noble friend, who has just sat down after, as usual, a fascinating and stimulating speech, indicated that he would leave the Commonwealth to subsequent speakers. I propose to deal only with the Commonwealth and not to touch in any way upon foreign affairs. In doing that I shall quite deliberately leave out what at the present time is to my mind the most important area of the Commonwealth—namely, Central and Southern Africa and the High Commission Territories—because I believe that we are shortly to have an opportunity of discussing those vital areas, and if I were to include them it would overload the various things that I wish to say to-day. So, with one small exception, I shall omit all reference to that part of the world.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, made mention during his speech of British Guiana, and he apparently—and not altogether surprisingly—gave approval to the new Constitution, the new arrangements which the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies has brought into being. I say "not surprisingly", because, of course, we all know that for a long time the Liberal Party have been in favour of some form of proportional representation. So it is quite reasonable and consistent that they should approve of elections in a Colony in which that system is followed. But, my Lords, it is peculiar, to say the least, that a Conservative Government, which in this country has always turned its back upon proportional representation, should, against the will of the majority Party, impose this form of election upon one of Her Majesty's Colonies.
The situation in British Guiana is not an easy one—there is no point in pretending it is. But the last thing that we want to do is to appear to the world at large, and to British Guiana in particular, 164 as gerrymandering the voting system in order to bring about a desired result, and in order to ensure that the present Government, which was elected in a perfectly legal and correct manner, on a perfectly normal franchise, is put out of office. That cannot be the right way to ensure stability in what is a very tricky part of the world, and a part of the world where we must do our best to ensure that the right form of influence from this country should be seen and should be felt. I suggest to your Lord ships that the action of Her Majesty's Government at the present time with regard to British Guiana will not only bring our own repute to lower levels than it is at the present time, but fail completely to ensure to that country the stable Government which it must haw, if it is to prosper and if it is to gain independence.
Let me just remind your Lordships of what happened at the last election in British Guiana in 1961. There was a majority there for the People's Progressive Party—not an overall majority: they did not get more than 50 per cent. of the votes; that is perfectly true. But they were comfortably the largest single Party. As a result of that, due to the system of constituencies, they secured a substantial majority in the House. That, my Lords, is surely nothing which is extremely wrong or reprehensible, because, if I may remind your Lordships, in the 1959 Election in this country the Conservative Party failed to get 50 per cent. of the votes. It got close to it, but did not quite achieve it. It is a minority Party ruling this country and, because of the way in which constituencies are limited in this country, it has an entirely unproportional and unrepresentative number of Members in Parliament, and therefore has formed Her Majesty's Government. This is the way that we believe democracy should work this is the way it has worked in this country, and this is the way we have laid it down it should work in British Guiana.
I grant that the Opposition Parties, and those people who disagreed with the Government in British Guiana, did not behave with quite the same restraint with which the Opposition to Her Majesty's Government in this country has behaved during these past difficult years. I grant, further, that Her Majesty's Government 165 here have behaved with somewhat more regard—though not sufficient—for the wishes of what is called the minority, but in fact is the majority, than has been the case with the People's Progressive Party. But for all that, my Lords, I do not think that that is sufficient reason for Her Majesty's Government at this stage to tear up the existing form of electing Government in British Guiana, and substitute this other system which, as I say, not only will fail entirely to give the stable government which that country needs so much, but appears to the world at large simply as a rather devious means of ensuring that there shall be a change of Government there; and that a Party, perhaps rather more acceptable not only to Her Majesty's Government but possibly to the American Government, may take the reins of power.
I will turn from British Guiana to deal, very briefly, with one particular problem in what is still, but only just still, the Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland; that is, the position there of Federal civil servants. I do not want to go into very great detail on this matter, but I hope I can convince your Lordships, and Her Majesty's Government in particular, that many of the Federal civil servants, whose jobs have now, through no fault of their own, come to an end, are going to be put to a severe financial disadvantage as a result of the break-up of Federation—a disadvantage for which they are in no way responsible and which, had they not joined the Federal civil service but had remained in the territories, where many of them were, they would not have experienced.
All I will do is to read out certain figures showing the relative positions of two civil servants, one of whom remained in the territory, in this case Nyasaland, and did not join the Federal civil service, and the other of whom did, as he was asked to, join the Federal civil service, and both of whom, hypothetically, have decided that they wish to give up their work in that area because of the changes that have taken place. The example which I will give is that of a civil servant aged 41 and in receipt of a salary of £2,000 a year, who has worked for ten years in the Government's service.
The one who remained in the territory will now be entitled to a lump sum compensation of £8,540; the one who has 166 joined the Federal civil service will be entitled to no compensation of any kind whatsoever. But, in spite of that, the Federal civil servant will have contributed something in the neighbourhood of £1,000 as contributions towards his pension, while the territorial civil servant will have made no contribution whatsoever. The territorial civil servant will receive a pension of £400 a year in addition to his £8,500 lump sum compensation, whereas the Federal civil servant will receive £333 6s. 8d. per year. Finally, the territorial civil servant will receive a passage back to the United Kingdom for himself and his family, assuming he is of United Kingdom origin, whereas the Federal civil servant will receive passage only to any place in the Federation itself, even though he may have been recruited in the United Kingdom originally. Without going into any further detail, I think it As clear that the position of the Federal civil servant to-day, if he does not wish to go on working for one of the territories, is substantially worse than it would have been had he remained with the territorial Government. That is a form of injustice to which I do not think we should happily agree, and I hope Her Majesty's Government will look into the matter with sympathy and with urgency.
Now I should like to turn to the rather more general matters affecting the Commonwealth. I would start by quoting from an article in the Evening Standard of November 12, where it is written:It is becoming a habit with the Tory Party to make automatic obeisance to the Commonwealth, rather in the instinctive way that a cinema audience rises for the National Anthem before making a wild dash for the exits.In the Queen's Speech to Parliament to-day it is said that the Government believes in the importance of the Commonwealth, will take all possible steps to strengthen links with it, and is convinced that the development of trade between Commonwealth countries is a Good Thing. It is possible for a brief moment to be convinced that such beliefs are the root and inspiration of the Government's commercial policies.But the experience of recent months has taught that, in certain quarters of the Government, belief in the association of Commonwealth nations goes no further than a firm conviction that such nations exist".My Lords, I do not always—in fact, I do not often—agree with the things 167 which are written in some of the organs of Lord Beaverbrook, but I regretfully agree very strongly with what has been written there.
Far more than pious words such as are contained in the gracious Speech are needed to make the Commonwealth into a reality. Some money is needed—but it is not only money. Some of this can be done simply by good will and by action, but it certainly cannot be done only by words. Unfortunately, there are no votes in the Commonwealth during this coming Election, and so perhaps it is asking too much of the Government at this stage to turn their thoughts to the Commonwealth. But, in spite of the fact that they will not win any more seats, or that they will not fail to lose any seats, by doing this, I hope that they will give very serious attention to the whole problem of holding the Commonwealth together and creating from it a real force for good and for peace throughout the whole world.
I said that some of these things need money and some do not. First of all, let me deal in very general terms with the need for money. More money is needed for the development of the whole of the Commonwealth, and particularly those areas which are now emerging into nationhood. I know perfectly well that if one looks at the figures one will see that increasing amounts of Government money are being devoted to just this sort of thing, and I am very glad that they are; but I do not think that we should console ourselves or fool ourselves with such figures into thinking that we have done all that we should do or all that is needed. Because, my Lords, hand in hand with the extra money which we are giving to the Commonwealth in these ways, and to the general round of developing countries, there has been—it has been referred to before in your Lordships' House—over the past decade a very serious change in the terms of trade, particularly as it affects the primary producing countries of the Commonwealth.
I do not know whether any of your Lordships have read a paper by Sir Sydney Caine, Director of the London School of Economics, entitled Prices for 168 Primary Producers, but if you have you will have noticed, on page 11, a very significant table in which it gives the movements of the prices of manufactured goods, those exported from countries like our own, the rich countries, to the poorer countries, the primary producing countries, and the prices of primary commodities. In the period from 1955 to 1963, there has been a rise in the prices of manufactured goods of about 9½ per cent.—just under 10 per cent. The price that those countries have to pay for our manufactured goods has risen by nearly 10 per cent. On the other hand, the price for primary commodities, food products, has fallen by 6 per cent., for non-food agricultural products by 12 per cent., and for nonferrous base metals by some 25 per cent. In other words, the prices of the main exports of those countries to ourselves have all fallen by substantial percentages, while the prices of our exports to them have risen by nearly 10 per cent. That, as the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, pointed out to your Lordships on a previous occasion, has far more than swallowed up all the aid that we have given to them. Therefore we cannot sit back and smile smugly and say, "Look at the millions we are giving them", when, in fact, with the other hand, we are tucking away more than we are giving them.
I once more urge upon your Lordships that the only satisfactory long-term answer to this problem is to enter into long-term agreements with Commonwealth countries for their primary products. If your Lordships wish for an example I would refer you to the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement which has not only brought stability to those countries of the Commonwealth which produce sugar but which, it is worth reminding ourselves, does at the present time confer a very real benefit upon this country, not (owing to the rather complicated and curious manner in which it works) to the consumer of this country; but into the Exchequer maw goes a very substantial amount of money. This is because, as your Lordships will know, the price of sugar to-day on the world market is in excess of £100 a ton whereas the price of sugar which we buy under the Commonwealth Agreement is under £50 a ton. So it would not be right to think of this as being 169 a disguised form of charity to the Commonwealth countries; it is going to be good for their business development and their industrial and agricultural development, but also good for us commercially as well as in other ways. So, my Lords, I would once more urge upon the Government to give serious thought to this matter as a means of helping the Commonwealth.
The third point I would put to the Government—and this would cost a very small amount of money—is that, as we give these countries technical aid, we should bear in mind the fact that many of those which are facing independence for the first time, or have faced it in the last ten years, experience similar problems one to another. But there is at the present time no clearing-house to supply information on the problems which will arise and how they have been met in other countries. I am thinking, in particular (although it could apply to other aspects) of agriculture and agrarian matters. There are many countries in the Commonwealth to-day which are going through a transition from tribal ownership to some more modern form of agriculture. This is a very difficult transition indeed. It took us from the Norman Conquest to the time of the first enclosures to achieve anything like success in this respect. These countries are now being forced to do it in a matter of a few years.
Surely it would be of help to them if there were a Commonwealth bureau of agrarian affairs which could collate the information which has already been received from countries, inside and outside the Commonwealth, through the studies which have been carried out at universities, in this country and elsewhere, on the historical pattern of movement in land ownership and many things of that kind. To set up such a Commonwealth bureau would be not only a very great help to the countries themselves but an additional means of bringing the Commonwealth together in a functional manner.
My Lords, let me turn, finally, to the position at home; because we can, by our actions here, do a great deal either to make or to break the Commonwealth. What is more, this can be done at little or no cost. We must not forget that immigrants into this country come from 170 the Commonwealth; and if we say that we like the Commonwealth then surely we must care for those people who come to this country, which is what the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, called on Tuesday the heart of the Commonwealth as opposed to the head of the Commonwealth. We must care for them and make sure that in their contact with their own countries, when they return or when they write home or talk to their friends about life here, they do so in such a way as to strengthen rather than weaken the bonds of Commonwealth.
Here, I would refer to an article in The Times of November 7 entitled "Facing the Failure of Integration." I hope that any of your Lordships who has any interest whatsoever in the Commonwealth will, if he has not done so, read this article. All I will do is to read two short extracts from it. The first extract is under the general heading of "Birmingham Harlem." It says:Integration at school has had few lasting effects. A West Indian boy said: 'As soon as you leave school you go one wav and the white boys go another. You do not mix.' A teacher said: 'You can see prejudice growing in a secondary school. There is none in the junior forms, but by the time they become school-leavers it is there'.That is not a very pretty picture. The article continues:A social worker said: 'Housing is the most important thing—so many racial problems would disappear if we got decent housing. I think the other thing needed is an enormous amount of research. We are just in a hell of a mess and it needs a research team to look into the problems'.The writer of the article goes on:The fact that a West Indian is clever or not is irrelevant, whether he is a good one or a bad one is irrelevant. The fact that he is a West Indian brands him as being a member of the working class used to brand a white man.That is written by somebody with a very close and deep knowlege of the problems of integration, and it is not a view which can lightly be dismissed. We must have far more research than we have at the present time into all the problems which are connected with the integration of members of the Commonwealth who come to this country. Research takes a long time and it will be many years before we get results. It is an indictment of the present Government that they were not alive to this beforehand and that they thought 171 they could solve the problem simply by the Immigration Act. We should have been having this research many years ago.
While waiting for the results of this research, however, there are things which can be done and should be done. I have referred on previous occasions to a small and modest scheme for trying to bring teachers from different parts of the Commonwealth and from this country together in a course which will enable them to understand each other's problems and do their job of teaching their own pupils better. Government support and finance to a modest extent was asked for this scheme. At first we received a blank refusal. At the second attempt we were given to understand that money might be forthcoming in the next financial year. My Lords, we are still waiting and hoping for that. We are not despairing; but I do ask the Government to urge upon their colleagues who are responsible for this form of grant, and, above all, the Minister of Education, to view it with urgency and sympathy as a very small earnest of the Government's sincerity when they talk of the importance of the Commonwealth. It will cost only a few thousand pounds.
Secondly, there is the Committee now sitting, under the chairmanship of the noble Baroness, Lady Reading. As noble Lords will know, the Committee made an Interim Report in July, 1963. That report points out the importance of housing in dealing with this question of integration. It says:But present-day conditions are so had that some immediate improvement is essential. We use the words 'some improvement' quite deliberately, because we consider that action should be taken now, rather than it being deferred until perfect standards of housing are attainable.The Report goes on:Some local authorities provide hostels for single men, but we strongly recommend that more should consider doing so. … First, designs for hostels and some estimates of costs on a realistic basis should be provided for local authorities. … Second, the only grant at present payable in respect of hostels is one of £5 per bedroom per annum. This is too low to be any real inducement to local authorities to provide hostels, and we strongly urge that this grant should be drastically reviewed.These are examples of how the Government can help, if they are sincere, and 172 we are still waiting to put their sincerity to the test.
Finally—I do not want to detain your Lordships unduly long even on an important matter of this sort—there is above all the need in the Commonwealth countries for trained personnel, not only of the higher classes of technicians, such as teachers and scientists, but for people who work in banks and offices and people who work as plumbers, electricians and motor mechanics. We can train them in this country. The trade unions have already been approached and are prepared to co-operate; the employers have been approached and are prepared to co-operate. The Governments of the "giving" countries of the Commonwealth are prepared to cooperate. All that is needed is some financial help and a strong lead from the Government of this country, for the Government to say that they will cooperate with private industry and all individuals prepared to help. In this way not only shall we give to the countries of the Commonwealth the trained people, of which they are so much in need, but once more we shall forge links between this country and the rest of the Commonwealth which will live for many years after the financial benefits of new roads, hospitals and docks have been forgotten.
These are some of the ways in which the Government, without undue expenditure—because I do see that in Election year the Government are chary of giving money away to people who have no votes in this country—can refute the article I have quoted from the Evening Standard, and can show that they do mean what they say when they talk about the importance of the Commonwealth. If they do nothing whatever, they cannot avoid the accusation of sheer hypocrisy when they say they believe in the Commonwealth. Let them show in the next six months, or in whatever time they have at their disposal, that they are prepared, at least in these modest ways, to match with small but sensible deeds the fine flowery words they have used.
§ 5.14 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I rise this afternoon to make some observations arising from the paragraphs in the gracious Speech referring to the intention of Her Majesty's Government to bring 173 forward proposals arising out of the Victoria Falls Conference on the dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and to the introduction of Bills to provide for the independence of certain territories. In the latter connection, I had intended to make certain comments on the amendment of the Kenya Constitution at the recent Constitutional Conference and equally on the Constitution of Zanzibar. However, the Kenya Independence Bill has now been introduced in another place and, I understand, is expected to come before this House in the next week or two. Therefore, I shall defer my remarks to that occasion. This also applies to Zanzibar.
I also understand (I learned it this afternoon) that we are to have a debate on the Central African Federation some time in the coming weeks, but, for reasons which I think will be evident, I feel that I cannot defer making my speech on certain aspects of this matter as I had planned to do this afternoon. I should like to ask my noble friend who is to reply to this debate for information and assurances in regard to some of the steps which have been taken over the past three and a half months for the transfer of powers from the Federal Government to the three Territorial Governments of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and on the arrangements which are being made to secure continued co-operation between the three Territories in certain fields. I should also like to say something about the independence of Nyasaland and its relation to the question of independence for Southern and Northern Rhodesia.
The Victoria Falls Conference set up two Committees, one dealing with what one might call the past and the other to deal with what one could call the future. Committee A was to work out detailed arrangements for the reversion of Federal functions to the territories, for the disposal of the Federal Public Service, the Armed Forces and the Judiciary and for the means of dealing with Federal liabilities and assets, including the public debt. Committee B, the so-called Committee on Inter-Territorial Questions, was to work out detailed arrangements on matters referred to it by Committee A for the return of functions and in regard to the possibility of collaboration between the Territories in particular fields, We have 174 heard very little in regard to what has occurred in these two Committees. It is true that an Order in Council was made on September 27, providing for the transfer back to the Territorial Governments of a number of departments some time before the ultimate dissolution of the Federation itself on December 31. These transfers were made, I understand, by agreement by the Federal Government and the three Territorial Governments, but I cannot help feeling that it is regrettable that the Order in Council was issued only three days before October 1, after which date Section 2(2) and (3) of the Act for the dissolution of the Federation would have required that the Order in Council should be subject to Affirmative Resolution in this House. Having regard to the interest of Parliament in these matters, I should have thought the Government might have waited just three days to enable Parliament to debate and to pass judgment on these proposals.
It should also be noted that these wholesale transfers of departments and, of course, of personnel were made before any final satisfactory arrangements could be reached for the future of the 35,000 members of the Federal Public Service, to which the noble Lord, Lord Walston, has already made reference. It is true that, according to a memorandum issued by the Federal Government, terminal arrangements for the Federal Public Service had been agreed between the Federal, British, Southern Rhodesian, Northern Rhodesian and Nyasaland Governments, and that these included such matters as temporary secondment, the termination of service of officers not to be absorbed in the Territorial Civil Services, terminal benefits and other arrangements.
A copy of this memorandum was given to me by a small deputation of European and African representatives of the Federal Public Services Associations about a month ago. They regard it as very unsatisfactory. They also allege that in this matter they were not accorded the degree of consultation which they were promised by the then First Secretary of State, Mr. Butler, in a debate in Committee in another place on July 16, when he said that there should be full consultation and agreement with the Federal Public Services Associations. The Associations submitted to the First Secretary 175 a memorandum containing their complaints and their criticisms. The reason why I feel it necessary to enter into this matter at some length this afternoon is that a full delegation is arriving in London on Sunday to put their case to Members of both Houses of Parliament and of all Parties. They have also requested an interview with the Colonial Secretary, who has now taken over the functions of the Central African Office. I understand that this request has been refused, but I would earnestly beg my noble friend to urge upon Mr. Sandys that he should reconsider this decision. The future of thousands of Federal public servants is involved, and this includes as many as perhaps 3,000 for whom it will probably not be possible to find further employment.
There are two main issues involved, apart from such matters as exchange and currency control, which in the case of Federal public servants recruited outside the Federation might prove to be most serious. The first objection is that the arrangements proposed would draw a distinction in terminal benefits between those officers who cannot be found pensionable employment in any of the Territories and those officers who do not wish to accept such employment. The Federal Public Services Associations contend that all persons are entitled to the full termination benefits, and that to draw any distinction amounts to coercion, since it seems to be intended that officers should be impelled to take employment which otherwise they would be unwilling to accept. They contend, further, that Territorial employment is not comparable with equivalent employment, as was suggested in paragraph 4 of the Memorandum sent out to the members of the Civil Service.
I will not go into the point in great detail, but what the claim amounts to is that comparable employment to what was a non-racial service which is being broken up is not being offered, and civil servants are being asked to enter into what are, in fact, or will be, three racial services. In the case of some of them, both Africans and Europeans, it is also a question of morality and conscience. Furthermore, there appears to be a contravention of Section 40(2) of the Constitution, which was introduced, as I remember at the time, at the specific 176 request of the British delegation to the 1953 Federation Conference, that there should be complete equality in treatment, so far as race was concerned, of all members of the Federal Public Service. This was a condition under which they were originally recruited.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? I think he is perhaps giving a somewhat wrong impression when he talks of a racial service. My understanding of the situation out there is that there is no racial discrimination, nor is there proposed to be. There is what is called localisation—that they shall employ, so far as possible, people of the country—but, so far as race is concerned, I understand that there is no discrimination whatsoever.
§ LORD COLYTON
I am coming to all these points in my speech. So far as the Northern Territories are concerned, experience has shown in every territory in Africa that when after independence the African majority has political power, it has not proved possible for the vast number of expatriates, or, indeed, any European civil servants, to remain in office. The Federal public servants are convinced that this would be the position in a few years in Northern Rhodesia. In Nyasaland the position is rather different, because expatriates are going to be taken on only on contract. But Federal public servants who agree to continue in the service of the Northern Rhodesia Government may well find themselves placed in a difficult position in a few years' time when they may have to leave and when the difficulties of obtaining other employment will have been greatly increased.
So far as Southern Rhodesia is concerned, the boot appears to be on the other foot. Here it is the African civil servants who feel, rightly or wrongly, that, just as European civil servants may be discriminated against in Northern Rhodesia, they may be discriminated against, perhaps under some future Government, in Southern Rhodesia. And, in particular, they feel that, even if they are transferred to equivalent jobs in Southern Rhodesia, they will tend to be overlooked when it comes to promotion. So far as that goes, even European Federal civil servants in Southern Rhodesia are affected, 177 because in a number of Southern Rhodesian Departments most of the posts at the top have already been filled by comparatively young men.
The second issue to which the Associations have taken strong exception is that, quite apart from the question of pension, there is no provision for compensation, except perhaps in one or two hard cases. By that they mean compensation on the same basis as is given to members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service in other territories, and even, as the noble Lord, Lord Walston, probably knows, to local officers when the West Indian Federation was broken up. Their argument is that hardship will be caused to many officers who lose their permanent career on the break-up of the Federation; that it is an accepted principle in British territories that compensation should be paid in cases like this; and that the main ground for their being refused compensation is partly because the Territories wish to force them into their own service in the future, and also to save themselves money. The Federal public servants feel strongly that this is a matter which concerns the British and Federal. Governments alone and is not one which should be influenced by the views of the Territorial Government. As I have said before, they expect that as many as 3,000 individuals will not be offered further employment, and that includes Europeans in the North and members of both races in the South. They also feel that there will be many others who will not wish to transfer to the Territorial services. They consider that all these people should be given an element of compensation, in addition to the pension already provided by the Federal Public Service regulations.
So far as Federal civil servants in Northern Rhodesia are concerned, the position is that much more unacceptable because it appears that at this very moment a scheme is being worked out to pay full compensation on the usual Colonial service basis to expatriate officers who are already serving in the Northern Rhodesia territorial Service. As I have said, they consider that these proposals smack of coercion, and they are likely to have the opposite effect of what is desired by driving people out who are disgusted with their treatment. 178 Indeed, I understand that technical civil servants are already leaving in large numbers and will have no difficulty in getting jobs elsewhere.
I appreciate the problem of reopening a matter which has already been agreed to by the five Governments—although I understand that it was most reluctantly on the part of the Federal Government. On the other hand, I do not think it should be impossible to find a way of implementing these provisions which would be acceptable to the Federal civil servants. It would, for example—and I offer this suggestion to my noble friend—be possible to lay down that anyone deciding not to take up Federal civil service should have the opportunity of explaining his motives in private to a small committee or tribunal consisting of representatives of the Federal Government and the British Government. If he could satisfy them that his objections to doing so were valid he should then be given the full pension available to him under the regulations. I also consider it is most important that there should be further discussions among the five Governments in regard to this matter of the payment of compensation in addition to pension so as to bring the treatment of Federal public servants in line with that of the British Overseas Service.
There is one further point in this connection that I raised in a question to the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, in our debate on July 25, but to which, in fact, no reply was given. I should like to ask my noble friend who is to reply to-day whether he can give an assurance that Federal civil servants will be granted the benefits of the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1962, whereby pensioners of former British Overseas Service Territories will be given increases based on rises in the cost of living on the analogy of the Home civil servants, and paid for by Her Majesty's Government in cases where the successor Government has not introduced such increases. This right, your Lordships will remember, largely through pressure in this House was made applicable to British officials of the Sudan and Egypt, and it seems to me almost axiomatic that it should also be made applicable to members of the former Federal civil service whether they be in Southern 179 Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia or Nyasaland. Indeed, in this case it seems to be absolutely essential, as there will be no successor Government with any funds to meet such increases. So far as members of the three territorial services are concerned, I presume that on attaining independence, as indeed also in Kenya and Zanzibar, they will be added to the list of territories covered by Schedule 3 of the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1962.
As regards the other matters arising out of the break-up of the Federation, I hope my noble friend will be able to give us a good deal more information than we have at present. A very large number of functions have already been transferred to the Territorial Governments including, in the case of Nyasaland, the railways and harbours, and throughout the Federation irrigation work, other than Kariba, trunk roads, tourism, prisons, aviation, other than Central African Airways, large sections of agriculture, the health services, Customs and Excise and income tax. I can hardly agree that these are matters of minor importance which can appropriately be dealt with by the Negative Resolution procedure, as has now been done.
Nevertheless, there are still a great many matters on which we are quite ignorant as to what progress is being made. What is being done, for instance, about the public debt and, in particular, the replacement of existing Federal guarantees, which is particularly necessary in the case of external loans held in the United States and listed on the New York Stock Exchange and which presents great problems? Are Her Majesty's Government, as I believe is essential, to be associated with the renewal of these guarantees? What is happening in regard to the guarantees of the funds raised for the construction of Kariba, some of which were guaranteed jointly by Her Majesty's Government and the Federal Government, and others by the Federal Government alone? The agreement for the establishment of joint control by the Governments of Northern and Southern Rhodesia of the Kariba scheme, which was announced on October 31, and its development as a single entity, which we all welcome, contains no reference whatever to the renewal of financial 180 guarantees of loans. Can we be told to-day whether Her Majesty's Government will continue their association with all or part of these guarantees?
Then again, what is happening about future inter-territorial collaboration in other fields? What are the arrangements to be for the Rhodesian railways, for Central African Airways, and for continued collaboration in such important fields of health as malaria control and tsetse control? There are many fields in which this collaboration should continue, and I am sure that Parliament would like to know what is being planned, and not simply be presented with a fait accompli which we should then be asked to endorse with a rubber stamp. Already agreement has apparently been reached for the break-up of the Central Bank of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and Northern Rhodesia is to have a separate currency and a separate bank. The Customs Union is also to go, and Northern Rhodesia is planning to introduce customs tariffs against Southern Rhodesia, as well as the rest of the world, to protect certain embryo industries. Is there to be a joint Court of Appeal for the three Territories, such as existed before federation? The Lord Chancellor told us on July 25 that this was a matter for the Territories themselves, but, surely, so long as they are not independent it is a matter on which Her Majesty's Government also should have something to say. Is the right of appeal to the Privy Council to continue? The announcement on November 5 of the new Northern Rhodesian Constitution, but of which we have no details, says nothing whatever on this point.
The gracious Speech foresees legislation to provide for the independence of Nyasaland. It says nothing about independence for Northern Rhodesia or Southern Rhodesia. According to the agreement reached by Dr. Banda, Nyasaland is to receive its independence on July 6 next. Since this House last met I have been receiving a series of most alarming reports about the erosion of law and order in Nyasaland. I had occasion to draw the attention of the then First Secretary of State to some of these cases earlier in September, and since then I have received further particulars of a whole series of arrests and imprisonment of Africans in Nyasaland 181 on the most trivial grounds, some of them arising out of alleged disrespect for Dr. Banda or refusal to take up membership of the Malawi Party. I have just seen a letter from Mr. Kumbikano, who represented the Nyasaland Africans in the Federal Assembly in 1953, which reads as follows:The erosion of the rule of law in Nyasaland is widespread and can only be compared to the bad old times before the establishment of British protection ever this country when the rule was 'Survival of the strongest only'.Then he goes on to deplore the state of the Church, and in particular the Church of Scotland in Nyasaland under existing conditions.
Is this really the sort of Government to which we intend to hand over on independence? Does the present Colonial Secretary adhere to the criteria which were laid down by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer when, in opening the 1962 Lancaster House Kenya Conference, he said that our responsibility could not be dischargedunless we can be sure that when the time of independence comes we shall be handing over authority in Kenya to a stable régime, free from oppression and free from racial discrimination.When the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition was yesterday inveighing against democracy in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, I wondered what he would have to say about the sort of democracy now being practised by Dr. Banda in Nyasaland and which is threatened to be pursued by Mr. Kaunda in Northern Rhodesia. Speaking of the Bill of Rights as a means of protecting minority groups, Dr. Banda, at his first Press conference after becoming Prime Minister, described it as just a piece of paper, and went on to say that any European who did not realise that was living in a fool's paradise. The continued acts of violence which are now being perpetrated against the African National Congress by the majority U.N.I.P. Party in Northern Rhodesia can also only lead to the conclusion that in that country, too, they are heading for a one-Party dictatorship.
Knowing and hearing of these things, is it at all surprising that in Southern Rhodesia both the Government and the Opposition, Europeans and moderate Africans, should wish to take a slower road to full majority rule? And is there 182 any reason why on this account Southern Rhodesia should be deprived of its right to full independence at the dissolution of the Federation? After all, except in the most limited field it has been fully independent for nearly forty years. Is it surprising that Southern Rhodesian leaders are getting restive in the absence of any reply by Her Majesty's Government to their demands for independence, more particularly having regard to the barrage of assaults which are launched upon them in the United Nations? I would only say that Her Majesty's Government are to be warmly congratulated on staunchly resisting these onslaughts, both on Southern Rhodesia and on themselves.
I would ask Her Majesty's Government to disregard these assaults made upon them in the United Nations, and I also ask them to take action in the very near future, as soon as possible after the dissolution of the Federation, to grant independence to Southern Rhodesia. I think it is most regrettable that a man of moderation like Mr. Ian Smith, the Deputy Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, commenting on his recent talks in London, should find himself forced to say:We might be driven into a position where we might have to resort to action which we would be very reluctant to take.How can Her Majesty's Government contemplate granting independence to Nyasaland, and presumably later to Northern Rhodesia, in the face of this violence and erosion of law and order, and the certainty of a one-Party Government, to which I have already referred, and at the same time deny it to Southern Rhodesia, where both Parties in Parliament are committed to advance to full African political and Parliamentary equality by peaceful and orderly means?
I beg Her Majesty's Government in this matter not to allow themselves to be influenced by pressures, external or internal, or by any considerations of electoral advantage, but to go ahead and grant independence to Southern Rhodesia in the full knowledge of our experience elsewhere all over Africa, from Ghana to the Republic of South Africa, that a system of balanced and orderly progress towards a multiracial 183 democracy is the only one which corresponds with the real interests of the country and its peoples of all races.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I think that your Lordships would expect me, in winding up this debate for the Opposition, to pay our tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for what should be the highlight of the debate, his first important speech on foreign affairs. We envy his quick mastery of a largely new subject and we followed with great interest his extended tour of the world's trouble spots, and I am sure I am speaking for all noble Lords when I say that the very high standard set by one of his predecessors, the former Foreign Secretary, has been admirably maintained.
My noble friends Lord Henderson and Lord Attlee have put the point of view of the Opposition about the Government's handling of foreign affairs, and they have put that point of view with much clarity and objectivity. It has therefore fallen to me, following in the steps of my noble friend Lord Walston, to put the point of view of the Opposition about the Government's handling of our relations with our Colonial and Commonwealth partners. But, first of all, may I say this? I listened with great sympathy to what the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and my noble friend Lord Walston said about the future of the Federal Civil Service in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and I am sure your Lordships will study their case with the utmost possible care. At the same time, on November 27 we are having a debate on Central and Southern Africa initiated by my noble friend Lord Walston, who has spent a great deal of time lately in that part of the world, and I propose to reserve my observations for that occasion; and we certainly will not cast blame on the noble Marquess if he reserves some of his fire for the later debate.
In scanning the gracious Speech for some reference to the Commonwealth, I must admit that I was a little puzzled at the following words: that the Governmentwill continue to take all possible steps to strengthen the links between the Governments, and peoples, of the Commonwealth.184 How can a Government continue to do something that it has not even begun? The fact is—and I noticed, with interest, that this was also the view of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore—that there has been a steady deterioration in Commonwealth relationships ever since the present Government started its talks with the Community about entry into the European Common Market. The failure of the Government to secure terms of entry which would compensate our Commonwealth partners for their trade losses made them feel they had been badly let down by the Mother Country. But we knew, and they knew, at that time that our differences were economic, not political, and that no country would leave the Commonwealth for a purely material reason. That, of course, put us in a very strong position.
The situation to-day is far more serious because the differences between us are political. The Government are pursuing policies that are putting an unprecedented strain on relations between the new and the old Commonwealth countries. In the last four years of Conservative administration the Commonwealth has become more deeply divided and disunited than it has been at any time since the war. Let us not forget—it is important to remember this—that the vast majority of the Commonwealth countries to-day (no fewer than 12 out of 16) are new countries and non-European, and that 12 of the Prime Ministers who come to the Prime Ministers' Conferences are either Africans or Asians, or men or women of non-European descent. The most powerful sentiment of all these new countries is their antipathy to colonialism and neocolonialism. They are judging us and the value of their relations with the old Commonwealth countries by the speed with which we divest ourselves of our remaining colonial responsibilities in Africa and elsewhere, and by the active and genuine sympathy we show for the political aspirations of the dependent peoples still under European rule. If we seem to be dragging our feet or lacking in sympathy for other subject peoples we shall lose all the goodwill we have earned by what has very rightly been referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, as our enlightened colonial record. We are also running the risk of breaking up the Commonwealth by placing our African and Asian partners in a position where 185 they find themselves with a painful conflict of loyalties in having to choose between the Commonwealth and their closest friends.
Let me give just three instances in which I believe the policy of the present Government has brought and is bringing these dangers ever closer. They are, first, British Guiana; second, Southern Rhodesia; and third, the High Commission Territories in South Africa. There have been several references to British Guiana in this debate. They have not been altogether favourable to the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and I am afraid I must follow in the same vein. The Secretary of State has just imposed a new Constitution on this Colony the terms of which are set out in a White Paper. I very much doubt whether this Constitution is workable, and I am quite sure it was unwise to impose any Constitution not acceptable to, or, at any rate, not acquiesced in, by both the main races, Indian and African. Those are my two objections to this settlement.
The most important innovation in the new Constitution is a system of proportional representation for the Legislative Council. In this country, as has already been said, the main Parties have always regarded proportional representation as a system incapable of sustaining a stable Government, and that is why we refuse to accept the case of the Liberal Party, even when it is put so eloquently by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and other colleagues of his on the Liberal Benches. That is also why we have not hitherto introduced proportional representation into a single British Colony. Yet we are now introducing this system into British Guiana, a Colony which in the last eight years has shown a continuous record of political instability. There has been racial violence, arson and murder, and the Constitution has been suspended for a period of time. Only last summer two battalions of British troops were sent to Georgetown to help keep order. This is obviously a country, if ever there was one, that requires a strong Government that is able to keep law and order. Yet we are introducing into this country a system that is more likely to lead, as it has done in so many other countries where it has been applied, in much more sophisticated countries than British Guiana, to a complete paralysis of the Executive.
186 Of course, the Parties in British Guiana will judge the new Constitution by their own advantage. But British business interests can be relied on to be objective, for their only interest is stability; and the voice of British business in British Guiana is the firm of Booker Brothers, which, as your Lordships know, has very widespread interests in that country and can be said to represent the interests of British business there. The chairman of Booker Brothers has described the new Constitution (and here I quote) asa contrived system of political chaos".An even greater drawback, if that were possible, than proportional representation in this Constitution is that it has already proved not to be acceptable to both races. Dr. Jagan has explained and affirmed his dissent. He takes the view that the Secretary of State, instead of producing a compromise Constitution, has produced a Constitution heavily weighted in favour of the Opposition. I think that all of your Lordships, on both sides of the House, will agree that, whatever the merits of the Constitution for this country, no Constitution will work, in the long run, with lack of support of both races, Indians and Africans. But this one, as I have already pointed out, has alienated the race with a numerical majority, the Indian supporters of Dr. Jagan. Even the Africans, who benefit by the Constitution, are unhappy about the Secretary of State's decision, because independence has been postponed sine die.
Of course, we cannot fix a date for independence without a reasonable prospect of stable government—I believe that everyone, on both sides of the House, would agree about that. But we might at least have said to the political leaders in British Guiana that independence would be granted as soon as the two main Parties had agreed about the Constitution. That would have given the strongest incentive to form a Coalition under the present Constitution, or to work out some alternative. What I think the Government have failed to realise is that it is only by facing both Parties with the prospect of early independence that they can be expected to behave in a responsible way. That is what I think my noble friend Lord Attlee did with so much success in the case 187 of India and Pakistan and this calculated risk of giving independence should be the model for other British dependencies.
I cannot help feeling that the Secretary of State was in a bit of a hurry. I cannot help wishing he had postponed last month's Constitutional Conference, as both Dr. Jagan and Mr. Burnham wanted him to do. There were very few things they ever agreed about, but they did about that: they wanted a Commonwealth good offices mission to go to British Guiana to try to find a modus vivendi between the races. This, was something that both sides desired, and a chance—of course, nobody could say that it would do the trick—of bringing the two races together. But the Secretary of State has rejected this offer in favour of an imposed solution which has made the racial division even deeper. I can only hope—this is, I think, the only hope anyone can express—that the leaders and people of British Guiana, for whom I and others who know them have much affection and respect, will prove me entirely wrong by behaving with a much greater sense of responsibility than we in this country deserve to expect of them.
Whatever may happen in British Guiana, I again think your Lordships would agree that the real test of British policy in relation to the dependent Commonwealth will come in Africa. And here may I tell your Lordships something which I learned in Africa?—I did not know before, though there are some of your Lordships who may know it already. It is that the loyalty that African countries feel towards their fellow Africans, which is expressed in the policy of pan-Africanism, is even stronger than their loyalty to the Commonwealth. And this means that if we force them, by our policy, to choose between Africa and the Commonwealth, they will choose Africa. That is exactly the position we have to avoid. We must not put them in this position of a conflict of loyalties in which they have to choose between two loyalties, both of which are genuine but one of which is stronger than the other. Yet that is exactly the position towards which we are drifting by our policy, and even more by our lack of policy, in Central and Southern Africa.
188 The winding up of the Federation, which had lost us the good will of the Africans by its imposition and then of the Europeans by its dissolution—a case of killing two birds with one stone, which is a remarkable achievement for any Government—has, at any rate, cleared the way for independence for the two Northern Territories, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. They should be independent, one hopes, next year. I do not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, about these two territories. I take the view that when a country is given freedom, that means freedom to choose its own form of government, and I do not see any reason why we should think we should dictate the form of government it chooses.
They very fact of independence for the Northern Territories has sharpened the claim of Southern Rhodesia. I am glad that the Prime Minister gave nothing away to Mr. Smith during his recent visit to London, when no doubt the question of independence, among other mattes, was raised. But this negative attitude to Southern Rhodesia is insufficient and inadequate. The future of Southern Rhodesia is a matter of profound concern to the whole world, but especially to Africa, to the Commonwealth and to the United Nations. They are entitled to know where Britain stands, and what the positive policy of the British Government is. It is only by stating our policy with the utmost clarity and firmness that we can avoid the misunderstanding in Southern Rhodesia that independence can be gained by minor concessions about discrimination or African political advance. That could be a very serious misunderstanding indeed.
I was hoping that a statement of this kind about policy in relation to Southern Rhodesia would have been included in the gracious Speech, or, at least, since it was not in the gracious Speech, as a main feature in the Speech made by the Prime Minister in another place. I must admit I was astonished at the way a statement of this importance was made in another place. It came out, apparently quite by accident, in reply to a question put by the Leader of the Opposition at the tail end of the Prime Minister's speech. With your Lordships permission, I will read question and 189 answer. [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 684 (No. 1), col. 53]:MR. HAROLD WILSON: Will the right hon. Gentleman now give a pledge that there will not be independence until there is a democratic Constitution?THE PRIME MINISTER: I thought that implicit in what I said. In fact, I did say that we accept the principle that majorities should rule".May I ask the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, to answer these two questions when he comes to reply to the debate? The first is: Does the Prime Minister's statement in another place represent Government policy? The second is this: Is this policy in fact to withhold independence from Southern Rhodesia until there is a democratic Constitution? I think it is fair that I should put those questions to the noble Marquess who is answering for the Government as it will give him an opportunity for putting in your Lordships' House as clearly as possible, and with his authority, what has already been said in another place. I think it is particularly important that this statement should come from the noble Marquess as a senior Minister in the Department now responsible for Southern Rhodesia, since the change of responsibilities under the new Government, and that it should not be left as it is at the moment to a chance reply made by the Prime Minister in the course of the debate in another place. Once we have stated our intention about majority rule as the condition of independence we can surely from that point seek the co-operation of both races in Southern Rhodesia to obtain independence as quickly as possible, and we shall also be able to answer our critics in the United Nations and to reassure the Commonwealth about the risk of a split.
I am only a little less anxious than I am about Southern Rhodesia about a clear policy in relation to the High Commission Territories, Bechuanaland, Swaziland and Basutoland. I am sure that we can tell these Territories not only that we are aiming at independence—they all know that—but what the conditions of their independence will be and what sort of form it will take. For instance, may I ask the noble Marquess this question? Do the Government take the view that these three Territories, with their small population and scanty resources, will be politically viable? Can they become separate nations? If not, 190 do the Government contemplate, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, seemed to suggest, a special relationship with the United Nations or possibly with other African countries? Another question that I should like to address to the noble Marquess is: what arrangements can be made about defence and continuing economic aid, without which the independence of these territories would be a complete sham? I hope that the Government will state their intentions about the future of these territories at the earliest possible moment—if not to-day, if the noble Marquess feels that he has not had time enough for discussion with his colleagues, then in the debate on Wednesday week.
I think it particularly important for the reason that South Africa has already made a bid for their allegiance by offering them the economic advantages of inclusion in a South African Bantustan. Their economic and tribal ties are of course closest with South Africa. It is surely our responsibility as the Mother Country that we must be able to offer them real political freedom without the indignity and the horror of apartheid. We know that this talk of political independence is not something that just comes from hotheads on the political left in this country. We know that the people of these territories, in spite of their economic and educational backwardness, are already asking for independence. An example of this was the report of the Basutoland Constitutional Commission which has asked for independence for Basutoland in 1965. I understand that the Secretary of State has already rejected this proposal. In any event, that was what I read in the Press, and I should like that confirmed or denied by the noble Marquess.
If this is the case it was surprising that he did it before the proposal had been discussed by the Legislative Council in Basutoland. Is this the way a young Parliament should be treated? Whatever the merits of this proposal, the representatives of Basutoland are surely the people who are entitled to consultation before the Government here make up their minds. But if this is the case—I hope it is not; this is based on a newspaper report which I hope the noble Marquess can tell me is incorrect—it is a glaring example of the 191 inept behaviour of the present Government in its treatment of Africans.
I believe that the breach which we see to-day in the unity of the Commonwealth can still be healed if the Government switch quickly to a constructive Commonwealth policy, which was what my noble friend Lord Attlee asked for at the conclusion of his remarks. What we need now is a speed-up in the decolonisation of Africa, an expansion of Commonwealth trade and a substantial increase in economic aid, in money and skill, for our Colonies and our independent colonial partners; otherwise, we shall go on drifting towards a head-on collision between the old and the new Commonwealth countries. I hope that when he comes to reply the noble Marquess will tell us that the Government intend to move much more quickly than in the past, and in the right direction.
§ 6.4 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS AND FOR THE COLONIES (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, referred to the proliferation of Ministers and expressed the view that it was right that Ministers should do their own job. In winding up this debate I find myself in the difficult position of having to do the jobs of what, until quite recently, were no fewer than four different Departments; but I will, nevertheless, do my best to draw together the threads of this interesting debate and, so far as I am able, to answer the questions that have been put to me by noble Lords.
Perhaps I might first refer briefly to British Guiana, as the affairs of that country have been mentioned by several noble Lords—indeed, in each case, except that of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, strictures have been addressed at Her Majesty's Government. I think the noble Lord, Lord Walston, was implying that the solution that my right honourable friend proposed was dictated by some sort of idea of election rigging. I believe the noble Lord, Lord Walston, is fully aware that what my right honourable friend was really seeking to do was to break the appalling deadlock, which has arisen in British Guiana, as Lord Walston knows so well, 192 out of racial mistrust. This is the whole nub of the problem. I think no one would disagree about that. It was in an endeavour to break this deadlock that my right honourable friend suggested the solution which has been criticised this afternoon.
I do not want to go into great detail. At one time I had intended to give your Lordships a brief account of exactly what has taken place, but the time is getting on and I think it is not necessary for me to do so. I will just tell your Lordships that the whole idea behind my right honourable friend's solution is simply to break this deadlock of inter-racial difficulty. As we all know, what has happened is that the Parties have become increasingly identified with the two main races, and until this situation can be eased I am afraid that the prospects for peaceful arrangements in British Guiana are pretty thin. I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, came out wholeheartedly in favour of the proposals of my right honourable friend.
Reference has been made to the High Commission Territories. If your Lordships do not object, perhaps I may take things in a rather haphazard order, and I should like to say a word or two on this subject. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, referred to these Territories. It might be helpful if I were to go into some detail to tell the House what the position now is, and also particularly to correct some misinformation which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has received. So far as Swaziland is concerned, your Lordships will remember that a White Paper was published at the end of May. This White Paper represents an attempt to reconcile different points of view on certain aspects of their new form of Government, these differences having persisted now for some three years. The Constitution which it is proposed to make by Order in Council will institute a Legislature of 32 members who will be both Swazi and European, and predominantly non-official; and also an Executive Council of whom half the members will come from the Legislature. I must remind your Lordships that Swaziland has never had either a Legislature or an Executive Council, and the present arrangements are simply a first 193 step which will be followed by further constitutional advances.
The other two Territories, Basutoland and Bechuanaland Protectorate, have had Legislatures and Executive Councils since 1960 and 1961 respectively, and very valuable experience has been gained. Here also the Legislatures have been predominantly non-official—in Basutoland only 4 out of 80 members are officials—and non-officials on the Executive Councils exercise responsibilities of a Ministerial nature. In Bechuanaland, Europeans and Africans have worked very well together for the benefit of the country, and in Basutoland the Legislature has provided a means of bringing together Chiefs and political parties in the responsibilities of government. With the reservation I have mentioned about Swaziland, all three Constitutions (and this is a point I would draw to the noble Earl's attention), have resulted from the work of local constitutional commissions, and in Basutoland and Bechuanaland Protectorate local reviews of their Constitutions have recently taken place. In a short while my right honourable friend expects to receive recommendations which will again have resulted from the work of local commissions for further constitutional advance. All three territories are now, in varying degrees, approaching the stage of self-government. When this stage has been reached, the constitutional means will exist whereby their peoples will be able to express their wishes about their eventual status.
I want to emphasise that Her Majesty's Government have no desire, nor any interest, to impose any prearranged solution, and, as in other territories, it will be a matter for the inhabitants of each territory, in the full appreciation of all their circumstances, to agree what form of final status would be appropriate for them. Should any of them at that stage wish to continue in some form of relationship with the United Kingdom, that would be a matter for negotiation, in which any proposals for commitments to be assumed by Her Majesty's Government, whether by Treaty or otherwise, would require very careful scrutiny.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, referred 194 to the relationship of the Territories with South Africa.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, before the noble Marquess passes from the constitutional commissions, may I ask him whether I was correct or incorrect in supposing that the Basutoland Constitutional Commission had recommended independence in 1965 and that this recommendation had been turned down by Her Majesty's Government?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am sorry; I did not mean to duck this question. The position is that there has been a Commission in Basutoland set up by themselves, and for this reason Her Majesty's Government are in no way committed to the findings of the Commission. We have had a sight of the recommendations, and they will be discussed in the Legislature in Basutoland. This is the proper procedure. Thereafter, when they have been discussed, these matters will be referred to Her Majesty's Government. That is the situation.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I am very much obliged to the noble Marquess. Then I can take it that these recommendations have reached Her Majesty's Government and that no decision has been taken pending discussion of them by the Basutoland Legislative Council?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
That is in part correct, because, clearly, until we come to discuss these proposals we are not going to make any decisions. First of all, it has got to be discussed in their own Legislature and then, when they see fit, they will bring it to us for discussion. This is the position, so that it would not be proper for us to express definite views before these matters have been discussed in their own Legislature. I think perhaps I should also add that there are certain things we do not fully understand, and we have just drawn the attention of the Basutos to certain difficulties which we see; but we have not gone into any discussion at all with them so far.
I should like to pursue the thought raised by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. It is perfectly true that the economies of these three Territories are very closely 195 linked with, and in varying degrees dependent upon, that of the Republic. I would not this evening like to pronounce as to whether I am firmly convinced that these territories are viable or not. I think Swaziland has a quite considerable potential, but it is not too easy to see the form that economic development will take in Bechuanaland and Basutoland. But the Republic, as Republican spokesmen have made perfectly clear, has a close interest in the good will of the peoples of the Territories. Each of the Territories, in exercising its right to self-determination, will therefore at the appropriate time need to find, through negotiations with the Republic, a basis for the future conduct of their mutual relations. Meanwhile, the administration of the three Territories remains the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government. There is no question of any transfer of that responsibility to any other authority without the agreement of the inhabitants of the Territories. I hope that these few remarks may perhaps have helped the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Marquess for giving way. I take some comfort in the noble Marquess's assurance, but could he go a little further? Is the British Government prepared to obtain the presence of the United Nations in these three Territories in order to reinforce the authority of the British Government, and to make quite sure that never will their frontiers be violated? I feel that it is difficult for the United Kingdom Government alone to give that entire assurance.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I appreciate the point the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, is making, but I must remind him—and I hope I can say this without any arrogance—that we have been a long time in these Territories. The relationship between the Territories and South Africa is perfectly amicable. I have no reason to believe that there is any need for us to call for outside assistance at the moment. I do not think the situation calls for this, although I will certainly bear in mind what the noble Lord has said.
So as to get this short review of the situation in this part of the world into 196 perspective, perhaps I might be allowed to make a few observations about the Republic of South Africa. I feel that, without some such observations, what I have said about the High Commission Territories may appear out of perspective. And it is all the more necessary to say something in view of Dr. Verwoerd's observations concerning these Territories. As we all know, the South African situation is one of extreme difficulty and delicacy, and it is likely to be discussed in the Security Council in the very near future. For this reason I do not suppose your Lordships will expect me to go into the question in any great detail. But I should like to say this. Nobody should be in any doubt about the British Government's abhorrence of the policy of apartheid. The problems faced by the South African Government are certainly complex and difficult, but we have never believed that apartheid could or should be the answer to them.
We do not under-estimate the strength of feeling which South African policies have aroused all over the world, nor the urgency of the need for the South Africans to bring about a radical change in the form of their Government. At the same time, I feel that we should not forget that there are cases where the remedy proposed can be worse than the disease, and certainly violence is no answer; nor, in my opinion, is economic blockade. I hope that no one has so simple a view of the problem as to imagine that a solution can be reached overnight, or that there is only one possible line of approach to this problem. As for coercion, would such action produce the intended result? Would it be within the competence of the United Nations, or within the terms of its Charter?
What we have to do, I suggest, is to convince the European population of the Republic before it is too late that it is in their own long-term interest to change their policy. I myself have no doubt that on their present course they are in fact heading for disaster. But I submit that we cannot hope to persuade them to make the necessary changes if we seek to substitute for their Government's obstinate and dogmatic application of apartheid an equally obstinate and dogmatic insistence upon one alternative formula. I suggest that we must 197 ourselves be open-minded about the possible lines along which a solution may be found. Outsiders can encourage, they can suggest, and they can urge the South Africans to put their house in order, for it is certainly true that the policy of apartheid has worldwide repercussions. But in the end, my Lords, a lasting and peaceful solution such as we all seek to South Africa's problems, and to assisting the realisation of which I feel the energies of all self-respecting men and women should be directed, must be a solution accepted by all the people, by all the races of South Africa.
My Lords, I feel that this question of the High Commission Territories is one which we must watch very closely. But all the time, surely, the one important thing that we have to bear in mind is that we are responsible for the High Commission Territories, and we must take great pains to be certain that nothing we do prejudices their future or is harmful to their lives. This is something which I feel we must perpetually keep in the forefront of our minds, so long as we are responsible for the peoples in these Territories.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, addressed himself principally to the question of Central Africa. I know full well the reason why the noble Lord made the speech that he did to-day, but of course it is true that there is to be another opportunity when there will be a full debate on this subject; and for this reason—I hope he will forgive me—I will not go into all the points which he has raised to-day. I should, however, like to make a few observations which may be helpful on the question of the Federal Public Service.
An announcement was made on September 18 about the terminal arrangements for the future employment, retirement, terminal benefits and the pensions of past and present officers of the Federal Government. As the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, well knows, these arrangements were formulated after extensive discussion in committee in Salisbury, and were approved before they were published by all the Governments concerned. The basis of the settlement is that those officers who become redundant in consequence of the dissolution of the Federation will receive compensation for the abolition of their office, 198 and this will be in the form generally of an additional one-third of their pension. If an officer is offered continued pensionable employment in his home territory (and I am sure that for many officers such continued employment should be available) but does not wish to accept this offer, he will be entitled to his earned pension only, but not to the additional one-third. I do not think, my Lords, that this smacks of coercion, as the noble Lord described it.
In order to secure the terminal benefits and pensions of Federal civil servants for the future it has been agreed between the British Government and the three Territorial Governments that the Federal Pension Fund will be retained and administered by a pension authority and trustees, and that the four Governments will share in making good any deficit in the Federal Pension Fund to the extent necessary for honouring the terminal benefits of Federal officers. The Governments concerned have also agreed to give sympathetic consideration to cases of hardship, to which the noble Lord referred, which may arise among officers and employees to whom no further offer of employment is made.
I must remind your Lordships that this settlement—as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, of course himself said—has been accepted by the Governments concerned, and they consider that it provides equitable treatment for the individual officers involved, while at the same time (and this is important) seeking to secure that as many Federal officers as possible should be able to continue their careers in one or other of the three Territories, thus avoiding disruption of the public services. Officers are being asked to accept voluntary secondment in the first instance to a Territorial Service for a period not exceeding beyond May 31 of next year, on their Federal salaries and conditions of service.
Although, as I have said, this settlement has been accepted by all the Governments concerned, it is of course perfectly true, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has told us, that the Federal Public Services Association have, since the agreement was announced, made representations to the British Government. My right honourable friend sees no ground for suggesting to the other Governments concerned that there 199 should be a review of the settlement which has been accepted by them all. If the Commonwealth Secretary were to receive a delegation from the Federal Public Services Association, as they have requested, it would have to be on this clear understanding. I think, my Lords, that this is perfectly clear, and I do not wish to hold out any false hopes to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, although I appreciate that he has gone into this matter in very great detail. But I must remind him that all the Governments concerned went into it in equal detail, with equal care; and this is the solution which has been agreed by them all.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who is very well documented on this point, also referred to the United Kingdom Pensions (Increase) Act. I have some notes here, and I hope that this comment may be helpful to him. The Pensions (Increase) Act, 1962, and the Overseas Service Regulations made under it provide for the payment to overseas officers of pensions supplements by the British Government to bring the pensions increases awarded to these officers up to the level they would have received had they been home civil servants. Overseas officers in the public services of Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Kenya and Zanzibar will be eligible for these pension supplements. Members of the Southern Rhodesian and Federal Public Services will not be so eligible as they are not members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service and they were selected for appointment by their own Governments and not by or on behalf of the Secretary of State. Former members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service who were transferred to the Federal Civil Service will be eligible for these supplements in respect of that part of their final pension which derives from service in Northern Rhodesia or Nyasaland, or any of the other overseas territories scheduled in the Overseas Service (Pensions Supplements) Regulations, 1963. The Governments concerned have agreed that a pensions authority should be created to be responsible for Federal pensions and to administer a pension fund to meet them.
I hope that these points may perhaps be of some help to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. If there are any other points that are not clear, I should be only too 200 pleased to write to him; or, in the subsequent debate, my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire will certainly be far more capable than I am of enlarging on this rather complicated matter, and of giving any further information the noble Lord may wish to have.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for giving way. I am sure he will not expect me to say I am at all satisfied with his answer on the main theme, which I shall continue to follow up with the Federal Public Service officials when they come over next week, and which, of course, I will pursue in our debate on Central Africa at a later date. But, in regard to one point, I should like to ask my noble friend a question. I see his view that the Southern Rhodesian civil servants have never been members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service. Therefore, I take it that his view is that the Southern Rhodesian Government can undertake to provide them in due course with increases to meet the cost of living. But what about the ex-Federal civil servants? There is no successor Government at all which can undertake that task. Therefore I would urge that Her Majesty's Government should take this matter into consideration—as, incidentally, they took into consideration the position of ex-Sudan Government servants and ex-Egyptian Government servants.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I take the point that the noble Lord makes. But, as he will remember from my earlier remarks, quite a number of these Federal civil servants will in fact have the opportunity to take up employment in the territories. I also said—and I must remind the noble Lord of this—that, in the event of hardship, where they are not offered alternative employment the Government will take very sympathetic note of the situation. I do not think the noble Lord can press me any further than that.
I should like to touch on one other point which the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, mentioned in his interesting and well-informed speech. He referred, I think with sadness, to what he described as—I do not want to misquote him—the lawlessness which he maintains had been breaking out in Nyasaland. I know that there has been criticism of the 201 administration of this country, and particularly in regard to the administration of justice. But much of this criticism appears to have been ill-founded, and I should like to call your Lordships' attention to a document which has recently been produced by the Deputy-Governor's Office in Nyasaland and which is now available in the Library. It is entitled, Rule of Law in Nyasaland, and it appears to answer very effectively the main criticisms made. Perhaps I might suggest that those noble Lords who are sufficiently interested should take a look at this document, which is now available in the Library.
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has obviously gone to a great deal of trouble in the preparation of his remarks, I should like to give him a little more information. Perhaps I can help him upon the question of the dissolution programme, and just run very quickly through the position as it is up to date. I would remind your Lordships that at the Victoria Falls Conference in June the Governments concerned agreed, as the noble Lord said, to the setting up of representative Committees to work out detailed arrangements for the speedy and orderly reversion of Federal Government functions to territorial responsibility, and for possible future collaboration between the Territories in particular fields. These Committees have been working steadily and very fast to meet the target date of December 31, which was set by the Conference for the dissolution of the Federation.
I cannot at this stage, when many recommendations from the Committees are still under consideration by the Governments, inform your Lordships of the final outcome; but certain agreements, as the noble Lord is aware, have already been made public—for example, that relating to the Federal Public Service, about which I have just spoken. The Northern and Southern Rhodesian Governments have announced their agreement in principle that the Kariba project should continue to be operated and fully developed as a single entity under the joint ownership and control of the two Governments. This is agreed in principle. The Territorial and Federal Governments have also issued a joint statement regarding the arrangements for transition to separate currencies. 202 They have also agreed to maintain, for a transitional period after dissolution, the existing legislation relating to currency, banking and exchange control, and the authority and functions of the Central Bank of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
The noble Lord asked what functions have already been transferred to the Territorial Governments and what functions will be transferred by December 31. These matters were, in fact, covered by the Order in Council made on September 27, to which the noble Lord referred. If the noble Lord will look at the Schedule to this Order, he will find listed all the powers which are being transferred to the Territories, on a phased programme from October 1 to December 1. The remaining functions will pass to the Territories under the final Order in Council, which will be the Order in Council dissolving the Federation, and here, no doubt, will be an opportunity for the noble Lord to consider these points further.
I do not wish to detain your Lordships long, but I should like to refer to other points that have been raised in the debate, some of which, I am afraid, I have not yet reached. The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, I was particularly glad to note, referred to South America, and he urged us to consider the importance of this part of the world and how much could be done to help in the development of Latin America. I do not think it is necessary to remind your Lordhips, but I should like it to be on the Record, that British trade with Latin America runs at the rate of something like £500 million a year, and our investment in Venezuelan petroleum is one of the largest investments of its kind in the world. There are now two independent members of the Commonwealth in the Caribbean, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and there are still many British territories in the area at various stages of constitutional development.
During the past few years we have increased the scale of our effort in Latin America. We have managed to make available some development aid, and we have also inaugurated a programme of technical assistance. Further, we have expanded our activities in other fields, and are at present considering, with our partners in the Western European Union, ways and means of achieving a wider 203 degree of co-ordination. I am sorry the noble Earl is not in his place; but perhaps he will be interested to read these remarks in Hansard to-morrow.
My Lords, I have spoken much longer than I intended, and even now I doubt whether I have covered all the points that have been raised. I should, in conclusion, like just to make one observation about the new Federation of Malaysia. My noble Leader referred, naturally, to the difficulties which Malaysia is having from Indonesia, but there is, I am glad to say, another side to the coin. From the information that I have there is every indication that Malaysia has got away to a good start. The concept of Malaysia was of a partnership; and the confidence we always had in it, and in the will and ability of the elected leaders in Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to co-operate in making it a success, is being justified. I think it would be out of place for me to discuss the internal affairs of those independent territories, now constituent parts of Malaysia, but from all I have heard the auguries are good. So while, on the one hand, we are naturally regretting the dissolution of the Central African Federation, we can, I think, look with a reasonable degree of hope to this successful Federation in South-East Asia. My Lords, if I have failed to deal with the many points raised—
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I am sure the noble Marquess would wish me to point out that he has not replied to my question about Southern Rhodesia, and he will also remember that I gave him notice I should raise the question of Southern Rhodesia in debate.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I apologise. I thought that I detected a certain weariness, and for this reason felt that I should not carry on further. The noble Earl put two questions. The answer to the first question is, Yes. The answer to the second question is that first of all we must reach the stage of dissolution. There must be one step at a time.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, with great respect to the noble Marquess, that is not an answer. The answer must be "Yes" or "No". Is the present 204 policy of the Government—which is what the Prime Minister said—not to give Southern Rhodesia independence until it has a democratic Constitution? Is that the policy of the Government or not?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I am sure the noble Earl can understand my answer. He asked me whether the remarks of the Prime Minister represented the policy of Her Majesty's Government, to which I replied that they did. As regards the second question, I must repeat my reply. We take this one step at a time, and we have not yet reached the stage of dissolution of the Federation. I hope the noble Earl will not question me further. I do not think I have anything more to say and I apologise for detaining your Lordships for so long. I think it has been a very interesting debate, and for my part I listened to every speech with the greatest interest. I only hope that, so far as I was able, I have been of some help.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Shackleton, I beg to move that this debate be adjourned until Tuesday next, November 19.
§ Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Lord Henderson.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.