§ 2.47 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON rose to call attention to the international situation; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, our debate to-day is taking place against the background of fast-moving events in many parts of the world. This country has been directly involved in developments in South-East Asia, East Africa and Cyprus. At this moment British military forces are engaged in police or peacekeeping operations in the countries of five members of the Commonwealth. These forces are doing a fine job. Their efficiency, discipline, tact and patience have been outstanding. We can all be proud of the way in which they are doing their duty. In Cyprus they have had a particularly trying responsibility. Since Christmas Cyprus has become an island of tragedy. Fear and suspicion between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot 875 communities have plunged the island into violence, death and destruction. I believe that if the British forces had not been there to undertake the functions of damping down fighting, promoting truces where local incidents of violence occurred, helping the wounded and getting food to cut-off villages, the situation would have deteriorated to a far greater degree; the record of death and destruction would have been far greater than it is, and the danger of war involving Turkey and Greece might already have reached flash point. My Lords, I think the world should be thankful that British troops undertook their difficult and onerous duties.
§ I am not going to spend time in reviewing the development of the crisis over recent weeks. During that period efforts were made to get agreement about the introduction of an international peace force. Three or four different sets of proposals were put forward, but each one in turn failed to gain acceptance by President Makarios. From the start, he was obdurate that the force must be under United Nations control. I think the Government had a reasonable case for seeking at the outset to deal with the trouble under Article XXXIII of the United Nations Charter, but it seems to me they persisted far too long in this endeavour. I have read nothing to suggest that at any moment during the protracted discussions President Makarios gave any indication that he would be satisfied with anything short of the matter being taken to the Security Council. That has now been done by the British Government. This action, however, seems to have caused annoyance and bitterness among the Greek Cypriots on the ground, as they say, that the British Government deliberately forestalled similar action which they knew the Cyprus Government had decided to take, and that they did not inform the Cyprus Government of their own intentions.
§ The Security Council is now in daily session on the Cyprus crisis. The Secretary-General is reported to have taken the initiative in preparing a draft plan for an international force, which he has circulated to members of the Security Council. I hope the noble Lord the Leader of the House may be able to 876 give the House some information on the actual or potential developments at the United Nations. I do not feel that I want to press the Government, or to make any suggestions of my own, on any particular aspect of the problem now that the matter is the subject of discussion and negotiation at New York, but we should welcome any information which the noble Lord may feel able to give us.
§ My Lords, we on this side of the House are anxious that a solution to the problem of an international force should be found speedily, and the sooner that force can be put into Cyprus the better. But, of course, this is not the only part of the problem. A settlement has to be found for the political and communal differences and difficulties which are the root cause of the outbreak of violence in the island. Again, the sooner agreement is reached on the ways and means of bringing about political peace between the two communities, the sooner will the crisis be resolved. The Security Council and the Secretary-General are well aware of this; and we can only hope that all concerned will eschew delaying or obstructing tactics and ensure that agreed plans are rapidly formulated and promptly put into operation. I will make only one further observation on this subject. When the Cyprus crisis has been settled and peace restored in the island, there will be an opportunity to consider some of the lessons which this unhappy chapter has to teach. I will mention only one, and that is the need to strengthen the peacekeeping machinery of the United Nations. A permanent peace force should be created and made available to the Security Council for the maintenance of peace and security; but, as I said, we can discuss this and other lessons on another occasion.
§ Then there is Malaysia, which is being denied recognition as a sovereign and independent State by Indonesia. The British Government are right to stand firmly against aggression by Dr. Soekarno and his Government. We fully support their decision and their action to defend Malaysia. Easy slogans can be dangerous weapons, and that of "neo-colonialism" is one. Malaysia has as much right to exist and be independent 877 and secure as has Indonesia itself, and Dr. Soekarno will delude himself if he thinks he can influence Britain to desert this new member of the Commonwealth. A new State is entitled to expect its friends to stand by it if its larger neighbours try to destroy its fabric and weaken its resistance. It is most satisfactory, therefore, that President Johnson has reaffirmed United States support for the peaceful national independence of Malaysia. I hope the American President will not leave President Soekarno in any doubt about the United States position.
My Lords, the Washington communiqué stated that both the President and the Prime Minister
expressed their sincere hope that the leaders of the independent countries in the region would by mutual friendship and co-operation establish an area of prosperity and stability.
An essential condition of such an achievement is, of course, the ending of Indonesia's policy of confrontation and its recognition of Malaysia as an independent soveriegn State. When that is forthcoming there may be a real prospect of making progress with the concept of bringing Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines together in the suggested Maphilindo. In view of the extract I have quoted from the communiqué, perhaps we can be told whether that idea is favoured by the United States and British Governments—"Maphilindo", composed of three equal and independent partners. The British troops have been doing a fine job in the jungles of North Borneo and Sarawak—a job which could not possibly have been done by other than conventional forces. We hope that the ceasefire will be maintained by Indonesia's regular and irregular forces, that co-operation will replace confrontation, and that the threat to the political and economic stability of the region will be permanently removed by a peaceful settlement.
§ We congratulate the Government on responding so promptly and efficiently to the requests from the political leaders of Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya to help in bringing to an end the mutinies which were spreading within their armed forces. This assistance was provided without strings of any sort being 878 attached. As might be expected, critics were soon chanting the word "Neocolonialism". We must take care not to increase, or seem to take any advantage of, the embarrassment created for these new countries which, so soon after their independence, were forced to turn to the former colonial Power to rescue them from temporary internal difficulties. It is up to them now urgently to tackle the problem of reorganisation of their own armed forces, perhaps on a Federal basis, and thereby enable our forces to be withdrawn. If they would like military missions from this country to help them in this vital task, such assistance should be made readily available. But the clear fact remains that the British Army was able to stop the contagious spread of violence and mutiny and to help in the restoration of law and order. Membership of the Commonwealth has its value and advantages.
§ It has been suggested that Mr. Chou En-lai's visit to Africa triggered-off the trouble in East Africa. Whether it had any influence in the Zanzibar coup I do not know; but I think his visit to Africa did not provide the political profits which had been hoped for. As noble Lords will be aware, invitations to visit some of the East African countries were later withdrawn and his visits cancelled. Of course, both Peking and Moscow are interested in Africa and they will seek to advance their interests wherever and whenever they can. But although some Communist leaders played a decisive rôle in the Zanzibar coup on January 12, it would, I suggest, be unwise to conclude that the disturbances in the other East African States were directly attributable to Communist activities. It seems to be the view of the Governments concerned that the causes of the mutinies were dissatisfaction with Army pay and Army promotion. I do not believe that the Communists have made deep inroads into these former British territories. The principal problems for these newly-independent States are the appalling poverty of their people and the desperate shortage of trained, experienced Africans in the Administration. It is to cope with these problems that outside help may be sought, for the key to political stability is economic and social improvement. I hope therefore, that the Government will look sympathetically on any new request for assistance in this field.879
§ Another problem that had its place in the talks with President Johnson and the Prime Minister last week was the problem of trade with Cuba. We believe the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary were right to stand firmly against American pressure on Britain to join them in an economic boycott of Cuba. The fact is that there is a basic difference of view between the two Allies on this issue. We can well understand the widespread and deep-seated feeling in the United States, especially following the grave Cuban crisis that was so firmly and so successfully handled by the late President Kennedy. We have no sympathy with the attempt by Cuba to stir up trouble elsewhere in Latin America; and we regret that Cuba is now, to all intents and purposes, within the Communist bloc. But we believe, like the Government, that the situation would be aggravated if we were to pursue a policy of economic war.
§ We are a nation that lives by trade. Interference with legitimate trade in peace time can be a hazardous enterprise and can easily lead to reprisals with no good purpose having been served by either operation. Indeed, the British refusal to prohibit trade with Cuba has led to a minor reprisal being taken by the United States against this country. Fortunately, that action is of very limited consequence. No doubt the United States Administration had little choice in the matter in view of a Congress decision. The important thing is not to allow this episode to damage Anglo-American unity in any way. It would be best to agree to disagree on this issue, and leave it at that.
§ My Lords, I want to say something now about East-West relations. Last week's meeting of the Prime Minister and President Johnson took place at a moment in world affairs when East-West relations were better than they have been at any time in the last 18 years. Immediately after the end of the last war, the world was plunged by Stalin into an icy period which we have come to refer to as the "cold war". Time and again the world has been brought to the brink of conflict which has, in my opinion, been avoided only by the military preparedness of the Western nations. The contest between the Communist and non-Communist worlds has been accompanied by an arms build-up of fantastic proportions. 880 At the expense of a massive scientific campaign against want, poverty and disease, the best brains, the finest scientific research facilities, a large segment of industry, an inordinate proportion of the nation's budgets and the lion's share of international aid have been devoted to the arms race. I believe we are now moving into a new and different period in which talk of co-existence between the West and the Soviet Union may be too narrow and limiting a context. Co-existence is a bleak, cold war term. What we seek is general co-operation to reduce tensions, to remove the causes of disputes and to make headway in the field of disarmament.
§ Much has happened to change the situation. New men have brought new ideas. Mr. Khrushchev took some time to complete his process of de-Stalinisation in the Soviet Union. He no longer believes in the inevitability of war with the non-Communist world. In the United States, Mr. Eisenhower and Mr. Dulles were succeeded by President Kennedy and Mr. Rusk; and President Johnson seems determined to steer the same course as the late President. It is, of course, true that two uncompromising leaders are still in power: Mao Tse-tung in China and General de Gaulle in France. Both are struggling to increase their power in the world and aspire to nuclear independence; both have refused to sign the Test Ban Treaty; neither is involved in the disarmament negotiations at Geneva; each has set out to challenge the basic policies of their respective alliances.
§ China, in particular, seems bent on carrying the struggle with the Soviet Union into Africa, Asia and Latin America. There are no longer two world blocs there are at least three. And though in ideology there is more in common between Communist China and the Soviet Union, in international policies Khrushchev has more in common with the West. The common feeling is that foreign policy seems to be drawing China and France closer together. This new relationship may bring de Gaulle more influence in Africa and Asia and may bring China into the United Nations, from which she has been excluded for so long. Let me say here that it seems practically certain that either this year or next the Peking Government 881 will be voted into the United Nations. Ironically, this will have been influenced and aided more by a French than by a British initiative, although it is something like 14 years since this country recognised the Peking Government.
§ I know how sensitive the Americans are on this issue, but the facts have to be faced, and part of our responsibility as a friend and Ally is to encourage and help her to face it. I believe that the loyalty of the American Government to the United Nations is such that it will accept the decision of the Assembly when it is taken. One has to be a realist, and it may be that Election year is not the best time to press this issue to decision, but I do not believe that it can be successfully postponed beyond next year. Nor should it be.
§ The events that followed the Cuban crisis and, in particular, the signing of the Test Ban Treaty and the establishment of the "hot line" between Washington and Moscow, seem to indicate that neither side is really prepared to run the risk of war. Modern weapons are so destructive that only a madman would contemplate war as an instrument of foreign policy. At Cuba, two men, each with the power to unleash nuclear war, stood face to face on the brink of world annihilation. Nothing will ever be quite the same again in the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. That is something to the world's good.
§ This improvement in East—West relations has a bearing on disarmament, which has proved for so long to be a very intractable problem. Recent statements by Soviet and Western leaders have emphasised the need to find new areas of agreement that would diminish the causes of tension and enable progress to be made in the field of disarmament. The 18-Nations Disarmament Committee has now resumed its work again. It is, of course, too early to pinpoint the next step away from the arms race. What is significant is that the spirit created by the patrial test ban Treaty has not been dissipated, and that there has been a marked absence of the frustrating cold war propaganda exercises. It is essential that the new momentum should not be lost and that negotiations should be 882 carried resolutely forward to other areas of agreement.
§ It is encouraging that both the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. have decided this year unilaterally to reduce their defence expenditure. But it is regrettable that other countries, including our own, are still involved in the upward spiral of defence expenditure. I regret, therefore, that it has not been possible for Her Majesty's Government, together with others, to agree with a proposal that was made some weeks ago by the Leader of the Opposition, that there should be an agreed freezing of military expenditure at the 1963–64 level.
§ There are, as noble Lords will be aware, specific proposals before the Disarmament Committee, which have been submitted by the United States which is responsible for five items, and by the Soviet Union, which is responsible for nine items. We welcome the announcement made yesterday by the Prime Minister that next week the British Foreign Secretary will attend the Disarmament Conference and that he will submit British proposals for consideration. This is not the time to discuss the American and the Russian proposals in detail, but one of President Johnson's proposals deserves special attention. This is that the United States and the Soviet Union and their Allies should agree to explore a verified freeze of the number and characteristics of strategic nuclear and defensive vehicles. President Johnson has stated that the Americans, for their part, are convinced that the security of all nations can be safeguarded within the scope of such an agreement and that this initial measure, preventing the further expansion of the deadly and costly arms race, will open the path to reductions in all types of forces from present levels. Such a valuable practical proposal should be taken under prompt examination by the Disarmament Committee.
§ But my immediate concern is to ask the Government whether they have given consideration to a practical measure put forward recently by the Leader of the Opposition. His proposal was for a freeze on nuclear weapons in Central Europe. The idea is that, starting with an area including East and West Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia, and possibly including also Hungary on one 883 side, and one or more of the Scandinavian countries on the other, there should be an agreement not to manufacture nuclear weapons in the area or to permit any nuclear weapons to be brought in from outside. There must, of course, be an effective system of control of this nuclear freeze. We should need international inspection teams in factories, to ensure that no nuclear weapons are being made, and on railways, roads, canals, airports and seaports, to ensure that none is being brought in from outside. If NATO and the Warsaw Pacts could establish a joint inspection team in Central Europe it would be a pilot project which might pave the way for world-wide inspection.
§ A nuclear freeze could also be accompanied by a general scaling down of manpower and conventional weapons in the area. Such an inspection system might also go a long way towards providing warning against surprise attack, to which the Western Allies attach such high importance. Moreover, a plan on these lines might prove to be a practical contribution to a "package deal" for settling the German problem. This problem is, I believe, being considered by the Four Powers' Ambassadors Group in Washington, and I ask the noble Lord the Leader of the House whether Mr. Wilson's proposal will be brought to their attention for their consideration.
§ My last point is this. Perhaps the most important, immediate task before the world and before the Disarmament Committee is to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Time and again, I have stressed to your Lordships the grave dangers that lie before us if more and more countries gain nuclear capabilities. It is not just China and France, but other countries, such as Egypt, Indonesia and India, which might feel bound to accept the British Government's viewpoint that no country can rely for its defence upon collective agreements with its Allies. I am not going to pursue the matter now because this aspect of Government policy will be fully discussed in the coming Defence debate. I refer to it now only in its connection with the Disarmament Conference's aim at getting a ban on the spread of nuclear weapons.884
§ I believe that the arguments which the British Government uses to justify its policy can just as reasonably be used by other countries, and we may find some of them wanting to transfer from the non-nuclear club to the nuclear club. Not only are these arguments an encouragement to the spread of nuclear weapons, but, more importantly, they may prove an obstacle to securing an agreement to stop the spread. To my mind, the need to get this agreement is overriding. If the efforts end in failure, it will be a heavy blow at the prospects of new successes at the Geneva Disarmament Conference. If that were to happen, it would not only be a bitter disappointment: I think it would be a world tragedy. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.20 p.m.
My Lords, we are once more indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, not only for initiating this debate on foreign affairs, but also for covering his canvas so fully—as he always does, rather in the manner of a Canaletto, or even of a Grandma Moses—offering a wide choice of detail, of which subsequent speakers can take their pick, to analyse as they like. I do not aspire to be more than an impressionist in this debate on this vast field of international politics, applying so far as I can just a general slant rather than a particular analysis on the detailed problems which unfortunately have arisen in so many quarters of the globe to-day.
But, before I come to the two or three points that I hope, with your Lordships' indulgence, to put forward in not too unfriendly criticism, I should like to make one generalisation which I think has been made before on occasions of this nature. Any reservations which the Opposition Parties may have in regard to details of Conservative foreign policy are, I suggest, basically matters rather of domestic and internal interest, such as might arise within a family—they are in one sense unimportant. It is for this reason, I think, that this debate should not get out of proportion (I am sure it will not), but should be treated as a matter of grave responsibility, so that it does not give any possible impression abroad of seriously divided counsels and fundamental dissention on Party lines as inevitably happened over the unfortunate Suez affair.
885 I have every confidence that no Government to-day would again so seriously misjudge an international situation as was done at Suez: and I would have it on record that I think, whether or not this nation desires a change of Government in the country, we present in support of the United Nations ideals a united national front, broadly speaking, in the general British attitude, in the same way as British politicians travelling abroad—and we are, in a sense, travelling abroad this afternoon—are careful to refrain from airing our internal differences at home as if they were indications of internal weakness and breakup. Therefore, I should like to pay tribute, because it is well merited, to the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Leader of your Lordships' House for their recent handling of delicate and immediate difficulties and dangers, even if we reserve the right to criticise the Government in a broader way later on.
I now turn to one or two specific circumstances where I would ask the Government not to stop up their ears like the adder, but to remember that, if they should by chance find themselves changing places with noble Lords on my left, they will no doubt be at least as critical on what is known as the Temporal side of your Lordships' House as perhaps they consider themselves infallible sitting alongside right reverend Prelates on the Spiritual side. The most urgent, most dramatic, and perhaps, in its potentialities, the most immediate danger in our problems to-day lies in Cyprus. I think it would be irresponsible at this juncture to say much more than that the people of this country are behind the Government in their intention to settle this grievous problem with speed, with justice and on as permanent a basis as can be achieved. The principles, which we hope will always be uppermost in all actions taken by our country in its difficult responsibilities, are those of the ideals expressed in the Charter of the United Nations and the Charter of Human Rights. No majority faction must oppress a minority faction, and no minority faction, or a majority one for that matter, should, in its grievance, be allowed to resort to banditry and violence, and, I think, still less to aggravate the matter into an issue of 886 world significance between the contrasting ideologies of the East and the West.
We are—and I am sure all your Lordships agree—deeply grateful to America for her disinterested willingness to come in with her help to keep the peace, and I must confess that I feel some relief that the body which is now looked to for authoritative action is the United States rather than NATO. Of course, I have immense admiration for NATO, but its disinterested and pacific existence is basically a defensive one—defensive in the West against possible aggression from the East. I think this bare fact might in itself arouse some query and doubt in the Eastern bloc if NATO comes into action, whereas the United Nations is not vulnerable to an accusation of partisanship, and it seems to me wise and diplomatic to give every assurance to the possibly suspicious and possibly strategic counter-planning elements in the Eastern bloc that we are indeed disinterested in settling this Mediterranean dilemma. I hope, as I am sure we all hope, that both Greece and Turkey, distressed and disturbed as they may well be at the difficulties of their one-time nationals, now citizens of Cyprus, will continue their rôles as responsible, civilised and senior members of the comity of nations in respect of a sovereign territory—that is, Cyprus—whose independence should be as inviolate as their own.
Two nights ago many of us had the pleasure of seeing Sir Alec Douglas-Home on television, and I am sure it gave us great pleasure to see him again making the sort of statements with which he pleased us so much here. He was asked whether he thought partition was a good thing, and your Lordships may remember (and it was reported in the Press) that he put it very low in the order of priorities, almost at the bottom. Under pressure from his interviewer, he went on a little further, and, if I may say so without impertinence, I think he went a little further than he meant to, when he said partition was quite impossible and was out of the question. I should like to give him an opportunity of going back on that if he wants to, and again put it round about bottom of the list, but not right out of the picture, because the problem is extremely difficult to solve. If we do not put partition right out of the picture, there is 887 just the possibility of another solution, which indeed might be even worse but it is still a possible solution: that is, that since we see that Cyprus cannot rule herself, we should, not ourselves, but through the nations of the world, withdraw her independence, partition Cyprus, and make part of it a dependency—colony, dominion, what-you-will—of Greece and the other part a dependency of Turkey, so that those two countries alone are solely responsible for that part of Cyprus in which their nationals live. That would take us out of the picture, and it would take the United Nations out of the picture as soon as things settled down. I offer that only as a thought. It is not a policy which I endorse; it just seems to me a possible solution.
To turn now for a moment from Cyprus to Cuba, I have little to say except this. If Russia, with whose national policies we disagree to quite a large extent, hypothetically happened to be a small island the same size as Cuba, it would seem to me to be retrogressive, illiberal and wrong to take advantage of her comparative vulnerability by denying to her the ordinary give-and-take of international co-existence so as to bring her to her knees. And so it is, to my mind, with Cuba. If Cuba or Russia, or both of them, were in a state of war with this country, then sanctions and boycotts would of course follow. But we are not at war. It may be said that Cuba, as a danger spot, demands certain forceful repressions in the interests of world peace. Nevertheless, I should be sorry to think that those in Russia or China who would like to see Great Britain expunged for exactly the same opinionated reasons—that it was a danger spot—should exterminate us to-morrow, and perhaps attempt to exterminate the United States the following week.
We have, of course, the very greatest sympathy for the anxiety of the United States in having found herself, as the result of modern progress and inventions, in a position as near to potential enemies as this country has been for a thousand years. But that is a penalty of progress, and the basic principles of co-existence as expressed by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary must command our support. I do not take very seriously the small sanction which 888 has been put out against this country in the last few hours, amounting to about £4,000 worth of trade. I think it is probably a gesture brought about by pressure and that it need not be taken seriously. As the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, it is something that will pass, and we should forget it.
But as this general policy of live and let live, or of helping to live, applies to Cuba, so, in my opinion, should it apply (as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said) in its general terms of co-existence to China. Until republican China is accorded a place in the United Nations, as Lord Henderson said and as we in this country (I think of all Parties, since we recognise her in diplomatic status) have advocated, then the United Nations Organisation itself is crippled and incomplete. The conception of a World Organisation to represent all nations in the search for international peace and international prosperity remains tragically unrealised and unbalanced if this world club blackballs and excludes a State of 600 million people—not very far short of a quarter of the whole world's population.
There is one other area in the Far East to which I should like to refer in just a little more detail, and that is Indonesia. I agree entirely with every word that has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson. Hostilities between Indonesia and Malaysia are tragic and regrettable, and I think that nobody in this House would withhold full support from Her Majesty's Government in their determined backing, both moral and military, of the new entity of Malaysia whose component nations and races have given us all confidence and every reason to hope that their future may be prosperous and of great and real value to the progressive world.
In this matter, my criticism is really one of regret about what could have been done in the past, but was not done, and what might be done in the future. It is not levelled at present policies. As your Lordships know, Indonesia was Dutch territory until the end of the war, when the Dutch yoke, as they regarded it, was thrown off, in bloodshed, turmoil, violence and immense bitterness—particularly bitterness. The new and independent Indonesia emerged, scarred and wounded, lonely and inexperienced, 889 and deprived of that middle section of its economy—that important middle section, the technicians, the engineers, the accountants, doctors, managers and all that was based on the know-how of Western civilisation and represented by hundreds, or possibly thousands, of Western experts, of whom I imagine the majority were probably Dutch.
This middle section was (admittedly by the action of Indonesia itself) torn out of the country, as a major organ might be torn out of a living animal. The country was left semi-paralysed, but with potential riches in the fantastic fertility of its soil; with an immense export potential: with an unparalleled climate; with an inexhaustible labour population supply which goes up by a million a year, but with only a handful of able men—many, I think, not of real Indonesian stock—at the top to take over management politics, the Services and administration in general. There was a huge void in that field which, by the laws of economic nature, should by degrees, and not too slowly, have been filled by experts from the advanced countries of the West—or perhaps I should say chiefly of the West—and which, had it been filled, would have quickly brought Indonesia to the position of a prosperous, confident and emergent nation, rather than one restless in turmoil and always with the secret word "Irian" on her lips looking to that West Irian which she later took, and which ambition we did very little to control.
But, of course, this void was not filled. It has not yet been filled. The reason for the continuing vacuum is, I think, the uppermost and paramount and lasting bitterness against the Dutch—for whom I am sure all your Lordships, like myself, have a great admiration—and, furthermore, because the Dutch were Westerners with white faces, against all Westerners with white faces, no matter whether they are Dutch, American, Scandinavian, Swiss, German, or British. As a result, of course, Indonesia sank in frustration and ineptitude, and her backward people, who need not have continued to be backward, have inevitably borne down now towards the primæval violence and 890 irresponsibility which is only too apparent. It is a great tragedy, and I think that we could have averted it, not perhaps alone—almost certainly not alone—but in co-operation with Australia, the European countries and America, by a sympathetic and diplomatic and very tactful persuasion, building up Indonesia, under her own sovereignty, to a prosperous and stable country, beneficial not only to herself, but also to those who might have built up a very substantial and profitable trade with her.
If I might here introduce a personal point, I had the honour ten years ago to lead a British Parliamentary delegation to Indonesia, and there we found this vast country whose extent is quite surprising (it stretches as far as from Aberdeen to Constantinople, with 80 million population) just lying fallow, inert, restless, and a prey to any unscrupulous Eastern nation big enough to exploit it. I am very surprised that none has. It was left festering until the present outbreak almost inevitably arose. I found President Soekarno to be quite an able but, frankly, a very worried man, torn between both national and personal pride, from which he suffered, and, on the other hand, the unadmitted realisation that his country must certainly find outside help, help which he would probably rather die than ask for from the Western European countries. Many of your Lordships must have met his present Foreign Minister, Dr. Subandrio, who was Ambassador in London for some time—a far-seeing, liberal-minded man, who could have worked internationally, I think, with both success and popularity.
It is tragic that none of the so-called advanced countries in the West applied themselves, jointly or singly, to the political rescue of this unfortunate nation. Although it seems too late now to take action—and it is, at the moment, because there is a war on—I would still urge Her Majesty's Government not to pigeonhole this State as of inferior importance just because it is remote and, I think, admittedly rather unfamiliar to us. I still would urge that with great diplomacy and tact there is a possible achievement to be made there, even through the curtain of steel and bullets, and that friendship between Indonesia and Malaysia in the end is, I think, in all 891 probability desired in a general way throughout Indonesia underneath the bitterness and nationalism, which by now should nearly have run through its dreary course. The bogy of British colonialism, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, is an inflated bogy in that part of the world. I do not think it is taken very seriously. It is put out by that third bloc to which he referred, and does not have a tremendous influence on those out there.
I should have liked to speak of France, but I do not want to take up your Lordships' time. As, I suppose, to several of your Lordships, France somehow seems to me a sister and a brother and almost part of myself. I am convinced that we and France, with our complementary differences, are by development as much one nation as we might have been—and I do wish we had become—on the prodigious and historic offer of Sir Winston Churchill about twenty years ago. Many of us perhaps do not completely realise the full extent of inaccessibility to the spirit and to the heart of a person or a country which has suffered the depths of unmerited and unmentionable humiliation, whilst being at the same time conscious of supremacy in so many fields, which I think has been the position of France. Of course, politically we are at odds at times. I freely admit, if I am not interrupted, as a keen supporter of the Common Market for universal benefit, that we are at odds with France to-day. But to-day is not to-morrow, and even the bitterest family quarrels become resolved in the end in happiness and fade into triviality. I look to this rather transparent cloud of difficulty with France to pass quickly, and I stay constant and patient in my faith in Franco-British concordance.
Finally, I should like to say a word—and not much more than a word—about the national nuclear deterrent, not in the sense of a Defence debate speech but merely shortly and as an integral aspect of foreign affairs. Those who, like the Prime Minister, believe in it are not accused—certainly not from these Benches—of being in the least stupid or insincere. Of course, there is a very attractive case in its favour. It is almost too obvious. But there are things to be said from the other side. May I quote the words of the Prime Minister 892 on January 16 in another place [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons (No. 32), Vol. 687, col. 460]:… I have said time and again that the fact that we have nuclear power gives us influence and authority in the councils of the world.Surely, the inference there is that countries which do not have nuclear power have not power and authority and influence in the councils of the world. But in the same speech he added these words in answer, I think, to an interruption from the Opposition [col. 460]:If the right honourable Gentleman believes that we are encouraging General de Gaulle to have a nuclear weapon, he will believe anything.Surely, that is a contradiction. Surely, according to the Prime Minister himself, Germany, Italy and China, following France, must obtain independent nuclear weapons at once if they are to be counted with any weight in the councils of the world. And, of course, we are setting the example of having a national private nuclear weapon.
The case against the possession of a nuclear weapon is really very simple, but I am not going to weary your Lordships with details which I am sure you have heard too often. If we should be attacked by Russia with her vast nuclear force, what material, moral or military advantage is there in hitting back, even if there are enough people left in this country to hit back? We could hit back at only a comparatively small area with our small nuclear power. I take it that we should not be the attacker, that we do not propose to let this thing off first. It would be only after the great weight of Russia's attack on us first that we should let fly with our comparatively small nuclear power. Is this hypothetical circumstance in any way a deterrent to Russia? The fact that we hold nuclear power surely itself makes us a target. And compared with the enormous nuclear production of America and Russia, we are financially crippling ourselves in order to offer an almost derisory contribution, just to be members of the nuclear club. Our unchallenged expertise is in the field of conventional warfare. That is where the money should go; and it is badly wanted there, as all your Lordships know.
893 Finally, and at the same time, with respect to the right reverend Prelates opposite, reminding your Lordships that the Episcopal Bench in Assembly has condemned the possession of a national nuclear weapon, I would quote the words of one who is a recognised military expert; Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir John Slessor. These were his words:We should in fact be able to exert far more influence in the Alliance, and contribute more effectively to the Allied deterrent, if we placed our excellent nuclear force unreservedly at the service of the Alliance as the hard core of a NATO striking force for use in the direct defence of Europe against invasion.That is all I have to say. I ask this Government to reassess, and to continue to reassess, informed public opinion on this matter—not hysterical, not emotional or nationalistic opinion, but informed opinion—in the careful consciousness that more arms mean more war; less arms mean less war; and that disarmament, like charity, begins at home—in every home.
§ 3.42 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD CARRINGTON)
My Lords the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has, as is customary, made a most interesting and helpful speech, as indeed has the noble Lord, Lord Rea. I was interested that Lord Rea should say that all Parties in this House have, in essence, the same foreign policy, because I think, listening to the speeches of the two noble Lords, if they are any guide to their Parties, that is abundantly true, though I would perhaps except the last part of Lord Rea's speech. But I am particularly grateful to-day to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, because he has chosen to have a Foreign Affairs debate this week. Though there is usually difficulty in some part or other of the world at any given moment, there do at this particular moment seem to be more problems than is usual: Cyprus, Malaysia, Viet-Nam, Cambodia, Cuba, Panama, East—West relations, disarmament, Kashmir, East Africa, Zanzibar and Rwanda, to name just a few of the trouble spots in the world. It would be an impossible task in a speech of any reasonable length to cover the entire field, and I will, with your Lordships' permission, confine myself to one or two aspects and not be led into discussion 894 of the nuclear deterrent with the noble Lord, the Leader of the Liberal Party, a duet which he and I have played unceasingly over the last five years.
One of the continuing themes which run through the debates on international affairs in your Lordships' House is the problem of how this country, with her limited resources and her seemingly almost unlimited responsibilities, can best contribute to the maintenance of peace and political stability in the troubled areas of the world; and if I devote most of my remarks to-day to this aspect of our policies, it is not, of course, because I do not realise the supreme importance of our relations with the Communist countries and with our partners in the West. Nor is it because I wish to suggest that political stability in the developing countries can be attained without economic prosperity. We shall be devoting a great deal of attention to this problem this year, particularly at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which we are determined should lead to practical results of real benefit to the developing countries. But peacekeeping operations of various kinds have been very much in our minds recently.
The first question I think one ought to answer is: why is Britain so heavily involved in peace-keeping operations, and why is it so often British troops which have to undertake the task of maintaining law and order in troubled areas of the world? It is true that as a Permanent Member of the Security Council, Britain has a special and continuing responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. We fully accept that responsibility and we strongly support the United Nations in carrying out its functions as a keeper of the peace. But our responsibilities go further than this. The United Nations Charter in Article 33 enjoins the parties to any dispute which, if it continues, is likely to endanger peace to seek a settlement, in the first instance, by peaceful means of their own choice, including resort to regional arrangements. And it is often at this stage that we become involved, more particularly when the dispute affects a Commonwealth country. And, my Lords, this is not because we have any special national interests to serve.
895 It is astounding that anyone should seriously suggest that when we respond to the invitation of a Commonwealth Government to help them to restore law and order, we are doing so with the ulterior motive of undermining that country's independence and re-establishing our own imperial rule. Such a suggestion could be entertained only by those who are ignorant of our record in transforming a dependent Empire into an independent Commonwealth, or those who are determined to be hostile. It is precisely because we are willing to help our new partners in the Commonwealth to maintain their independence, and to protect them from internal or external threats to that independence, that we are ready to send our troops in when we are asked to do so and when it appears to us that there is no other immediately effective way to deal with the situation. It might be more satisfactory—and the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has said this earlier this afternoon—if some kind of permanent international force under United Nations command could be relied upon to move swiftly into action and bring about a just and peaceful settlement of disputes which cannot be solved by less drastic means. But, my Lords, the conditions for establishing such a force do not exist.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, to whose wisdom and statesmanship in his difficult task I should like, in passing, to pay tribute, made it clear in a speech at Harvard last summer why he thought it premature to try to create a permanent international force. He said:I doubt whether many Governments in the world would yet be prepared to accept the political implications of such an institution and, in the light of our current experience with financial problems, I am sure that they would have very serious difficulties in accepting the financial implications.I think those words also illustrate the difficulties of applying existing United Nations procedures for setting up an international force to deal with every new "brush-fire" crisis as it arises. It is no use simply saying: "Send for the United Nations" every time fighting breaks out. Some people seem to think that there is smile special magic in "going to the U.N." and that the very act of dumping your troubles in U 896 Thant's lap automatically solves them. It is, alas!, not so. You have to try to be sure that one of the Permanent Members of the Security Council is not going to veto the operation. And even if you then go to the General Assembly under the Uniting for Peace procedure, there still remains the problem of paying for a peace-keeping force.
Admittedly, in a real crisis—and the Congo was a case in point—a way had to be found, and was found. But the plain fact is that in a number of cases where local disputes have flared up in various parts of the world, the Soviet Government have been more interested in exploiting them for their own ends than in helping to find the solution and to pay for the means by which it can be brought about. It is difficult for the United Nations to pour oil on troubled waters in which the Soviet Union prefers to fish. I am not trying to put all the blame on the Soviet Government. If the Russians have withheld financial contributions from the United Nations peacekeeping activities for long enough to put at risk both their own right to vote in the Assembly and the solvency of the organisation as a whole, they are not the only Government to have done so. If they have insisted on judging every dispute in terms of its political implications rather than of its implications for international peace and stability, and have sought to make capital out of the troubles of others, it must be said that some other Governments have done the same. And until all the members of the United Nations are prepared to live up to the Charter, and to renounce the use of force, or the threat of force, or the exploitation of force, to further their own national interest, we shall have to go on dealing piecemeal, as best we can, with each international crisis which arises.
As for Britain, our policy is clear, and we have pursued it consistently and to the limit of our resources. It is, first, to settle every dispute in which we are ourselves involved by peaceful negotiation and not by force. Secondly, it is to contribute our full share—and in recent years rather more than our share—to uphold the authority and effectiveness and financial capacity of the United Nations Organisation in its task of keeping the peace, even if there are occasions when we have to disagree with some of 897 the ways in which that task is being carried out. And thirdly, it is to take whatever active part it seems right for us to take in restoring order, maintaining stability, and protecting security in countries who need our help and who ask for it.
My Lords, with that background, you may wish to have from me an account of our attempts to find a just and lasting settlement to the problems of Cyprus. It would be useful, I think, if I began by emphasising the reasons why we should be interested in the island's difficulties at all. We have, of course, strong historical ties with Cyprus, which is a member of the Commonwealth. Secondly, we have a particular responsibility for upholding the settlement which was arrived at after very difficult and protracted negotiations and enshrined in the Treaty of Guarantee which was signed on August 16, 1960. Under this Treaty we are, together with the Governments of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, bound to uphold the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus and also the state of affairs established by the Basic Articles of its Constitution. We are therefore explicitly bound by this Treaty to take a special interest in the affairs of Cyprus.
But our interest is wider than that. By its geographical situation, Cyprus is in a key strategic position in the Eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, because of the connections between Cyprus and Greece and Turkey there is an inherent danger of any crisis in Cyprus involving the risk of a clash between Greece and Turkey. In common with the other countries of the West, and indeed of the Free World, we have a strong interest in the maintenance of peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean, and above all in the solidarity of the Western Alliance. What is at stake in Cyprus for the West is the risk that two members of the Alliance may be involuntarily drawn into conflict.
Britain does not have an individual axe to grind in this matter. Our rights over the sovereign base areas in Cyprus have not been challenged. These bases are an important military interest; they play a vital rôle in the effectiveness of both NATO and CENTO, and we are satisfied with the way that the settle- 898 ment relating to them has operated since 1960. We have throughout borne in mind the basic principles I have outlined and have sought to promote a solution of this problem acceptable to all the parties concerned.
It would not be useful, I think, for me to go into the past history of the difficulties of the two communities in Cyprus or even the events which led up to the present troubles. As you will be aware, my Lords, just before Christmas inter-communal violence on a large scale broke out in Cyprus. There appeared a danger that the conflict on the island, if it was allowed to proceed unchecked, might degenerate into something more widespread and more dangerous. On December 24, together with the Governments of the other two guarantor Powers, Her Majesty's Government issued an appeal, with an offer of good offices, to the Government of Cyprus and to the Greek and Turkish communities to put an end to disorders. This appeal failed to check the degeneration of the situation, and on December 25, together with the Governments of Greece and Turkey, we informed the Cyprus Government, including the Greek and Turkish elements, of our readiness to assist, if invited to do so, in restoring peace and order by means of a joint peace-keeping force under British command. The Cypriots themselves accepted this offer and, as your Lordships will be aware, the peace-keeping force was established accordingly.
I have seen some criticism of this British initiative. The Government would, in my view, have been totally irresponsible if they had not offered the services of British troops. We could not stand idly aside and watch these massacres while British troops were available in the island. The chief virtue of establishing a peace-keeping force in this way was simply that British forces, together with those of Greece and Turkey, were available on the spot. Moreover, under the United Nations Charter it is for the parties concerned to seek first a solution by peaceful means of their own choice. Like the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, Mr. George Ball, the United States Under-Secretary of State, was good enough, when he left London on Sunday evening, to pay generous tribute to the magnificent rôle which British troops 899 in Cyprus have played; and I am proud—and I know all your Lordships are—to think, and know, that this tribute is justified. It is indeed largely due to their patience and courage that we have been able to hold the situation so long.
However, as we have always made clear, we cannot reasonably be expected to carry this burden alone. Our troops have played an essential rôle in dealing with the immediate threat to peace, but the peace of this area is of international concern, and it would be too much to ask the troops of any one nation alone to cope with the situation for more than a limited period. This is not so much a question of the number of troops we have available but because a broadly-based force would be better able to maintain peace in the interests of us all.
It was for this reason that, in conjunction with our American Allies and in co-operation with the Governments of Greece and Turkey, we formed the plan of making up a force which would keep the peace with contingents drawn from various Allied countries. This course was not, and was never intended to be in any way under the control of the North Atlantic Council. Any suggestion that we were plotting some sort of "NATO invasion" of Cyprus is, of course, quite absurd, and I am glad the noble Lord, Lord Rea, said what he did. The reasons why we chose to try to form a force made up of contingents contributed by our Allies in NATO were in effect quite simple. In trying to reach a solution to the whole of the Cyprus problem it has been necessary to secure the agreement of all the interested parties to the next move. This applied particularly to the formation of a peacekeeping force. The Allied force as suggested in the joint British/American proposals seemed to be the most likely type of force to secure the acceptance of the other parties to the dispute. And in fact the agreement of Greece, Turkey and Dr. Kutchuk was secured. It was only Archbishop Makarios who felt unable to accept.
Secondly, the Allied force idea had the advantage that under it it seemed probable that we should be able to form a force more quickly than under any comparable scheme, since contingents would be both near geographically and supplied by countries with a direct 900 interest in the solving of the problem. I should like, if I may, to express Her Majesty's Government's appreciation of the way in which our Allies responded to the approaches that we made to them. As I have said, this problem is one of major concern to the countries of the West. But as I have also said, the idea of an Allied force proved unacceptable to Archbishop Makarios, who has insisted on greater United Nations involvement in the Cyprus problem.
We did not try to force this plan on the Archbishop, and this, I think, effectively gives the lie to those who have affected to believe that we have some sinister plan to draw Cyprus into NATO. In fact, we went some way in a revised version of the Allied force idea to try to meet the Archbishop's desire for some form of link between the force and the Security Council. In spite of this, the Greek Cypriots felt unable to accept the plan; and so we took the next logical step and took the matter to the Security Council on February 15.
There have been criticisms that we did not immediately go to the United Nations. But we have all along borne our obligations under the United Nations Charter fully in mind, and our actions have been entirely consistent with the provisions of that Charter. We first of all tried to settle the matter by local means, and only when that had failed did we turn to the Security Council. I should not like to minimise the difficulties of taking the Cyprus issue to the United Nations. It cannot be assumed that all the members of the United Nations would be as interested as we have been in the maintenance of peace and would be prepared to look with equal impartiality for a just solution of the problem. That is one of the difficulties. Another is the problem of the financing of peace-keeping operations in the United Nations. We can only hope that these difficulties will not prevent or delay a solution. We have, however, asked the Security Council to consider this urgent matter and to take appropriate steps to ensure that the dangerous situation which now prevails can be resolved with a full regard to the rights and responsibilities of both of the Cypriot communities and the Government of Cyprus, and of the Governments party to the Treaty of Guarantee.
901 As your Lordships know, the Security Council is meeting at the present time and I would rather not say anything further which might anticipate its conclusions. Our own position has always been clear: that we cannot continue to keep the peace in Cyprus alone. In view of the dangerous situation in the island it remains essential to get the peace-keeping force going quickly. The immediate problem is now, as it has been all along, to do this. But this is only one aspect of the problem. I have spoken of it first because it has been uppermost in all our minds in the past few weeks. But the other side of the problem is, in the long run, the more important since the maintenance of a lasting peace depends upon it. I refer, of course, to the necessity of finding some way of securing a long-term solution to the problems that have beset Cyprus.
Here again, the basic principles guiding our policy which I outlined earlier apply. Our interests, which are at one with those of the people of Cyprus themselves, of Greece and of Turkey and of the West, may be summed up in one word—namely, peace. This is no selfish interest, and we have never sought, and do not wish to seek, to try to impose any solution on anybody. We have not pre-judged and will not attempt to pre-judge the issue. We have tried, and we shall continue to try, to proceed with the agreement of all the parties concerned. But some way must be found to secure the lives and property of the people of Cyprus themselves, and to enable the two communities on the island to live together in peace without fear.
Immediately after the Christmas troubles the situation in Cyprus with regard to law and order was desperate. The first priority was to arrange a ceasefire, and this was done. As your Lordships will remember, my right honourable friend the Commonwealth Secretary visited Cyprus, and it was due to him that that bloodshed was stopped. A Political Liaison Committee was set up composed of representatives of the parties interested. This could not, however, be anything more than a purely temporary solution to the problem of administration in Cyprus. It therefore seemed to us that the way to make 902 progress was to convene a conference of the interested parties in London as soon as possible. At the same time, the Secretary-General of the United Nations was invited to send a representative to Cyprus to observe the progress of the peace-keeping operation. U Thant appointed General Gyani to undertake this task. I should like to say that General Gyani's presence in Cyprus has proved particularly helpful, as your Lordships will have noticed, in the last few days.
We hoped by this means to find an early solution, but, in the event, the gap between the positions of the two communities and their ideas on the longterm future of Cyprus proved too wide to resolve in the time available. Meanwhile, on the island itself tension was again rising, and against this background we found that the work of the conference was making no headway. It was obvious that some time would be needed before any political solution could be worked out, and we therefore had to concentrate again on the first aspect of the problem, which was peace-keeping. However, we did not neglect the long-term aspect, and in the joint United Kingdom-United States proposals there was provision for an impartial mediator who would assist the parties concerned in finding an agreed solution of the differences between them. The mediator would have been appointed in a personal capacity, and would have acted as an independent agent.
The matter of Cyprus is, as I say, now before the Security Council; but the same principles which have guided our own policy will also, we trust, guide the Council's deliberations. I refer primarily to the need to proceed with the full agreement of all the parties concerned and the need to keep the peace. It would be idle to pretend that the task of the mediator will be easy. The gap between the two sides is wide. There will have to be patience and forbearance and the real will to live together in peace and tranquillity. In the long run, it is for the people of Cyprus themselves to resolve their own future. Let all of us hope that they will have the wisdom to accept a just mediation.
My Lords, I turn now (I am sorry to have taken so long about Cyprus, but I thought it was important to get this on the Record) to the problem of Malaysia 903 and Indonesia. I think I should first of all say something about the most recent developments which followed the initiative of Mr. Robert Kennedy, about which I made a statement in your Lordships' House on January 28. I think it should be borne in mind that I am describing developments in which the leading rôle is that of the Malaysian Government, and not of Her Majesty's Government. Our own rôle is limited to the provision of military assistance at the request of the Malaysian Government, an obligation which we shall continue to honour.
Following their acceptance of Mr. Kennedy's original proposal for a ceasefire, the Indonesian Government announced a "standstill" in their military operations against Eastern Malaysia. They did not, however, as the Malaysian Government had naturally expected them to do, arrange for the withdrawal of their guerrilla groups who had been infiltrated into Malaysian territory. On the contrary, the Indonesian leaders argue that the cease-fire gives them the right to keep their guerrillas on Malaysian soil, and, according to the most recent Press reports from Djakarta, even to supply them by air from Indonesia. This, naturally, is not an interpretation acceptable to the Malaysian Government. So far, therefore, the cease-fire is most imperfect, though it certainly represents some improvement on the situation which preceded it. There has, for instance, been no widespread military activity during the last ten days, only isolated encounters between the security forces and guerrillas which have resulted in a certain number of guerrillas surrendering or being taken prisoner. The Malaysian Government have just announced that they estimate the number of Indonesian guerrillas remaining on their territory at about 200. This is less than the number of such guerrillas who have been eliminated since operations began. As these guerrillas are isolated, hungry and increasingly demoralised, they represent little immediate military threat and give little trouble to the security forces. On the other hand, the fact that they are still there at all inevitably casts doubt on the good faith of the Indonesian Government and on the sincerity of their professed desire to reach a negotiated settlement.
It was in these circumstances that the Foreign Ministers of Malaysia, Indonesia 904 and the Philippines met in Bangkok about ten days ago. One of the principal objectives of this meeting was to reach precise agreement on what was actually meant by the cease-fire earlier accepted by Indonesia. But I am sorry to have to tell the House that, as the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting on February 10 makes clear, there has been only limited progress on this point. The Indonesian Government persist in their refusal to withdraw their forces from Malaysian soil. The Malaysian Government were accordingly compelled—and I think your Lordships will agree that they have no alternative—to reserve their position in the communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting. The main results of the meeting, therefore, were agreement to maintain the cease-fire and agreement that it should be supervised by the Government of Thailand, which has throughout played a most helpful mediatory rôle in the negotiations. But the precise terms of the cease-fire have not been agreed, and there seems to have been no progress towards a political settlement. I understand that a further meeting of the three Ministers is likely. I can only hope that by then the Indonesian Government will be disposed to adopt a more constructive attitude and thus enable further progress to be made.
As your Lordships will recall, one of the main excuses put forward by the Indonesian Government for their hostility towards Malaysia is the allegation that Sabah and Sarawak were included in Malaysia against the wish of their inhabitants. From time to time, therefore, the Indonesians have suggested that they might be able to bring their so-called "confrontation" to an end if only they could be satisfied on this point. It is, of course, for the Malaysian Government to decide how far they are prepared to take this argument seriously. It may be worth recalling that before Her Majesty's Government transferred their responsibility for Sabah and Sarawak to the Government of Malaysia, the wishes of the peoples of their territories were elaborately and repeatedly consulted. These consultations, culminating in free elections based on universal suffrage, were naturally held while the territories were still British Colonies. Nevertheless, the Secretary-General of the United Nations 905 carried out a final investigation and declared himself fully satisfied with the results. It is hard to see what better proof of popular wishes anyone could reasonably demand than two years of repeated and careful consultation, followed by a final confirmatory investigation by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. I think no one outside Indonesia questions his impartiality or his competence in matters of this kind. In any case, it was the Indonesians themselves who invited U Thant to investigate; and if they will not accept an unfavourable verdict from an umpire of their own choice, your Lordships may well ask whether there exists in the world anyone from whom the Indonesians will accept the unpalatable truth.
To-day, of course, all this is past history. Sabah and Sarawak are now part of independent Malaysia, and our own rôle in this dispute is that of affording support to our Malaysian Ally. It is the Malaysian Government who have to negotiate with Indonesia in the hope of arriving at a generally acceptable settlement. It is they who will have to decide, for instance, whether President Macapagal's proposal, which he calls "Maphilindo", for a closer association among Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines would offer a basis for the settlement of the present dispute. All I need say on the subject is that this is entirely a matter for the free choice of the countries concerned. If Malaysia decides, of her own free will, to join, as an equal partner, a free and voluntary association of this kind, that is entirely her affair, and Her Majesty's Government neither could nor would object. On the other hand, if Maphilindo is used, as similar slogans have been used in the past, merely as a cloak for Indonesian imperialism, then the outlook for this otherwise hopeful project will be sad indeed.
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government wish the Malaysian Government well in their difficult but important task of negotiation; and I think your Lordships will agree that Malaysia's chances have been considerably improved by the agreement reached between my right honourable friend the Prime Minister and President Johnson in Washington. At the end of this meeting, in the words of the communiqué: 906the President reaffirmed the support of the United States for the peaceful national independence of Malaysia.The unmistakable purport of these plain words will be very welcome to us all, and I am confident that this assurance of American support will in no way lessen the readiness of the Malaysian Government or, in so far as our interests are affected, of Her Majesty's Government to negotiate sincerely for a peaceable and reasonable settlement of the dispute with Indonesia. Without this assurance, it might have been a long time before the Indonesian Government were themselves ready to consider a negotiated settlement.
Even now, we must not delude ourselves by expecting an early or easy solution. President Soekarno's "Crush Malaysia" campaign has raised a ferment in his own country which he may find it difficult to appease, even when he wants to. It is a ferment that has already had deplorable repercussions on British business enterprises in Indonesia. Officially these have not been nationalised or expropriated, but merely placed under "protective supervision". Sometimes this supervision is exercised by teams of Indonesian officials, sometimes by representatives of the Communist trade unions, but it is always a grave impediment to the proper discharge of business.
As your Lordships would naturally expect, Her Majesty's Government have made repeated representations to the Indonesian Government about this interference. These representations have had no effect. Indonesian actions against British firms are prompted by no economic or commercial motive: they are simply measures of retaliation for the British Government's promise to defend Malaysia. There is thus little hope of any improvement in the situation of British enterprises in Indonesia, or, indeed, in Anglo-Indonesian relations as a whole, until agreement has been reached—if it can be reached—in the Indonesian dispute with Malaysia. The future is entirely dependent on this. It may be a long time before the issue is satisfactorily determined, and I think there will be many obstacles to overcome. Nevertheless, now that Anglo-American unity on this crucial issue has been emphasised, I think we can be confident that progress, however slow and 907 gradual, will be made in the end. Meanwhile, your Lordships will also have noticed that there has been some improvement in relations between Malaysia and the Philippines as a result of the recent meeting between the Philippine President and the Prime Minister of Malaysia in Phnom Penh.
As your Lordships will have noticed, I have confined myself to the problem of peace-keeping, and, in particular, Cyprus and Malaysia. I realise very well that I have not answered a number of the questions put to me by the noble Lords, Lord Henderson and Lord Rea, and I have no doubt that your Lordships will ask questions about a great number of other matters. My noble friend Lord Dundee will, however, be winding up the debate and will deal with these points. All I would say, in conclusion, is this. Her Majesty's Government have felt it their duty, both in Malaysia and Cyprus, to honour their treaty obligations and to support the rule of law and order. If, in the course of doing so, we have met with difficulty, and sometimes with misrepresentation, that is only to be expected, but I have no doubt that the whole House will support the Government in their difficult task of restoring order and tranquillity in Cyprus and in maintaining our obligations to the Government of Malaysia against the Indonesian "confrontation" policy.
§ 4.19 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I should like to be the first to express our gratitude to the noble Lord, the Leader of the House, for his admirable tour d'horizon. I suppose if the Government encourages us to say en principe—the noble Earl, I think, was the author of this important expression in French—we shall be forgiven if we say tour d'horizon. I should like to start on that entirely unpartisan note. Because it is such a tour d'horizon, it is an exacting task which the House expects the main Government spokesman in a Foreign Affairs debate to carry out. I think we are fortunate that, although the Leader of the House is not Foreign Secretary, he is nevertheless a Minister in the Foreign Office, and therefore speaks in these debates with all the authority and firsthand knowledge which that post gives him. I am sure we shall all forgive the 908 noble Lord for dealing mainly with Cyprus, because that is the problem in which he has personally been most deeply involved. If he talked more about the conditions of a solution than about a solution, that was not his fault, because discussions for a solution, which we all hope will bring peace to Cyprus, are still in progress.
My noble friend Lord Henderson, in the usual clear, balanced and unpartisan way in which he introduces these debates, drew the attention of the House and the Government to the international situation. Although debates on these occasions are mainly concerned with our relations with foreign countries, it is impossible to discuss foreign relations—and even the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, found this—without making some reference to Commonwealth countries as well as to foreign countries. The steadily growing number of independent Commonwealth countries means that the Commonwealth is playing an increasingly important part in world affairs. This is a development which I am sure we all in this House welcome. Indeed, it is impossible to talk about any of the main trouble spots in the world to-day—Cyprus, Borneo or East Africa—without bringing into the discussion one or more members of the Commonwealth. The fact is, of course, that all the Commonwealth countries are deeply involved by their own national interests in the policies of their foreign neighbours.
I shall therefore make no apology, in talking for a short while about Africa, which is what I propose to do, for including the Commonwealth in Africa. I suppose none of the five continents to-day is changing more rapidly than Africa, and the question many people are asking in this House and elsewhere is whether these changes indicate a drift towards Communism, whether it is towards the Russian or the Chinese model; and, of course, as a corollary, whether it will mean the abandonment of that policy of neutralism which most of the African countries have adopted since they became independent. It is most important that the right answer should be given to this question, and, clearly, the only right answer is one that corresponds with the facts. It is because there has been a great deal of talk in the Press, in Parliament and 909 elsewhere about Communist plots and Communist influence in the last few weeks in Africa that I believe everyone—and I am sure your Lordships will agree with this—should try to ascertain the truth.
It is undoubtedly true that Mr. Chou En-lai's visit represented the first big effort of Communist China to get a foothold in Africa. His object was to see if he could change the direction of the wind of change. But I agree entirely with my noble friend Lord Henderson that he has been unsuccessful in his task, and I believe that this is a conclusion which any objective observer would draw from the facts of the African situation. My Lords, one rather surprising thing has happened. When General de Gaulle recognised Communist China, it was widely assumed that France's ex-colonies in Africa would immediately follow suit, because in many instances they have in the past followed French foreign policy. But, my Lords, they have not done so—not one of them up till now—and the explanation is quite simple.
First, instability in other parts of Africa has made them very nervous about close relations with some of the greatest specialists in revolution. Secondly, most of them have already recognised Formosa and have received technical aid which they do not want to lose. They realise that this is a convenient way for the United States Government to channel American aid. It is true that the Union Africaine et Malagache, to which most of these French-African countries belong, is much closer to France than any of the former British territories in Africa are to this country, hut, judging from the statement of the President of Madagascar, they are taking an extremely independent line. I should like to quote a few words from a statement he made to the Press in Paris. These are his words:I do not agree with the French Government. Recognition of Communist China may be in their interests, but it is not in ours.My Lords, that puts the position of these countries in a nutshell.
The plain fact is that the policy of these French-speaking territories is 910 determined by their own national interests, and not by those of France. So long as the Peking Government prefers to support revolutionary movements rather than constitutional authority, most of them—I do not say all of them—will not welcome large Chinese missions to their capitals. Moreover—and this is another reason why they are not at all enthusiastic about Communist China—Communist China has little or nothing to offer them as compared with the West. What they want, like everyone else in Africa, is trade and aid, and for that they must look to Europe and America and not to poverty-stricken China—because China is still extremely poor.
My Lords, it was by a remarkably clever piece of timing that a Commonwealth Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore, is making an African tour hard on the heels of Mr. Chou En-lai. His credentials as a Socialist and an anti-Imperialist make him persona gratissima in Africa. His main object, which will be most useful to us in this country in the present mood of Africa about neo-colonialism, is to convince African Governments that Malaysia is an independent country and not a neo-colonial puppet of Britain; which, as the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, pointed out, is something that is disbelieved in other parts of the world besides Africa. Nobody knows better than Mr. Lee Kwan Yew what it is like to deal with Communist China. He has been doing it himself and maintaining a rather precarious political position in Singapore for a large number of years. He will be speaking from a personal experience possessed by no African leader, and the warning that he will be able to give them will be most salutary at a time when much thought is obviously being given by African leaders to a closer relationship with Peking.
If, as I think everyone will agree, Peking has made no appreciable advance in West and Central Africa, it may well be asked whether recent events in East Africa have been Communist inspired. In my opinion, and of course I know that there is more than one opinion about this, this is not the case. But I would ask noble Lords who hold the contrary view to review the facts and to 911 reconsider their judgment. I am quite sure that those who exaggerate Communist influence upon recent events in East Africa—and I am sure that nobody does it deliberately—are doing a real disservice to this country and to the Commonwealth in Africa. The Prime Minister's statement in a television interview, that these events in Africa show that African nationalism is a ready tool of Communism, was hardly helpful. It reinforces the impression which the Prime Minister has unfortunately made in African countries, of lack of sympathy with African Nationalist aspirations. At a time when Africa is playing an increasingly important part in Commonwealth and world affairs, it is a pity that the Prime Minister is not taking more trouble to improve his image in that Continent.
I remember Mr. Macmillan's reputation in Africa very well indeed. I was in Africa during his African tour. Mr. Macmillan's speech on the "wind of change" in South Africa, and, of course, his subsequent liberal policy in British dependencies in Africa made a very great impression. I can think of no Conservative Prime Minister of this country whose reputation was higher in Africa than Mr. Macmillan's, and I wish that the present Prime Minister had as high a standing as his predecessor.
My Lords, Her Majesty's Ministers have, after all, access to more information than any of us, and rash generalisations are therefore less excusable. They are damaging for this reason: they undermine the tender plant of confidence which has been slowly growing in all the East African countries since independence. Sir Isaac Wolfson, who has just made a big investment in sisal in Tanganyika, and the World Bank, which is lending money to Tanganyika and has just sanctioned a new loan for roads, are restoring the confidence of investors in these countries which I am afraid the words of the Prime Minister have done something to undermine.
My Lords, what part, in fact, did Communism play in the revolts against lawfully constituted authority which have taken place in East Africa? I would submit that there is no evidence to suggest that the mutinies in Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda were due to 912 any cause other than dissatisfaction with Army pay and prospects of promotion. There was no political unrest underlying these revolts. The military did not attempt to take over the government of any of these countries, to establish a military dictatorship, or even to impose their policy on the existing Government, because they had not got any policy. There was no plan for a coup d'état, Communist or otherwise. All they wanted was to press their own professional claims, so to speak.
The revolution in Zanzibar was quite a different matter. It was obviously a political revolt, which resulted in the replacement of one Government by another. We know that at least two of the leading personalities in the revolutionary movement—the present Prime Minister and Foreign Minister—have close links with Moscow and Peking, and they, no doubt, obtained what support they could from their friends. But, my Lords, the most important figure in Zanzibar is the President, President' Karume, who is the bona fide leader of the African majority party. The driving force of the revolt—and I hope your Lordships will consider this carefully, because it is my considered opinion and, I think, the considered opinion of many other people—was not Communist, but racial and social. It was a revolt of the African majority, the "have-nots", against the rule of the Arab minority, the "haves".
Of course, we do not yet know—it is too early to judge—whether Marxian doctrines will prevail over African nationalism in Zanzibar, but it would indeed be surprising if the African nationalist movement in Zanzibar took a different turning from the African nationalist movements in all the neighbouring African countries. But whether or not this does happen, whether Zanzibar becomes a Communist-dominated State or not, depends considerably on whom the people of Zanzibar come to regard at the present time as their friends. Will it be the Russians, the East Europeans, the Chinese, who befriend them; or will it be the Commonwealth African countries, their immediate neighbours, and the British'? The Governments of Russia and China were quick to recognise the new Government in Zanzibar. The 913 Governments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika have done so, too. The African members of the Commonwealth—notably that wise statesman, who seems to have overcome with remarkable success his very great difficulties, President Nyerere of Tanganyika—have been pressing Britain to, follow suit. The last thing these African Governments want is a Communist régime on their doorstep.
My Lords, the economic difficulties of Zanzibar have been increased, of course, by independence, and if Britain and the United States do not act quickly the Eastern bloc will step in with trade and aid. The Government of Western Germany, the Bonn Government, have already recognised the new Government in Zanzibar, no doubt because they recognise that, otherwise, Eastern Germany will get in first—and this seems to show that Zanzibar is by no means wedded to the Communist bloc. What are the British Government waiting for? That is a question I hope the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, will answer at the end of this debate. There can be no doubt that the new Government of Zanzibar has established its authority, and there is no rival authority anywhere within the boundaries of that country. It has therefore qualified for de facto recognition, which is the qualification for recognition required by Governments all over the world. It is the de facto authority in Zanzibar, so why do Her Majesty's Government delay in recognising this Government and in helping it to overcome its political and economic difficulties? I cannot believe that the Government here really want to connive, by their indecision and delay, in the setting up of the first Communist-dominated State in Africa.
In conclusion, my Lords, I should like to say something, quite shortly, about Rwanda. I am sure your Lordships will have read with horror and dismay about the massacre of the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda, which has been going on since Christmas and has not been completely stopped. One reliable estimate (perhaps the noble Earl will give us his estimate, which will no doubt have a greater chance of accuracy) is that 35,000 people have already been killed since the massacre began. This is a human tragedy of enormous magnitude which touches 914 the conscience of Africans and Europeans alike. What conscience requires is that the killings should stop and that the survivors of this unfortunate tribe should either be settled outside Rwanda or repatriated to their own country when conditions make it possible for them to return.
The main question, of course, which is still undecided, is whether it will be possible to safeguard the Tutsi minority in their own country, or whether the only way to avoid extinction is to move them out to a neighbouring country. I myself believe that it would be unwise, if our main object is to help the survivors (and I am sure that this is the main object of all of us), to debate in public the question of responsibility for the killings. It cannot do these miserable survivors any good if accusations of genocide are hurled at the people and the Government of Rwanda. The Rwanda Government certainly wants to protect the surviving Tutsis, although whether it can is quite a different matter. Responsibility for what has already happened is surely a matter for the conscience of those concerned, for the conscience of everyone throughout the world: and the final verdict will be pronounced by history. I would certainly prefer to leave it at that.
My Lords, what I hope will be recognised by the Government here and by the Governments of countries that belong to the United Nations and to the Organisation for African Unity is their own moral responsibility for the future of the Tutsi tribe. I trust that the noble Earl will be able to say that the British Government will give a lead, because the British Government should give a lead, by accepting their own share of this international responsibility. I am very glad to see that the World Council of Churches has sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations a cable expressing its deep concern, and has even decided to allocate one million dollars to relief work in Africa, especially for Rwanda. I am sorry, of course, that we have not the verbal support of any right reverend Prelate in this debate, but it is gratifying to see that three Prelates are present at the moment, and I am sure that I have their moral support and their full sympathy in the plea I am making to the Government.
915 My Lords, the United Nations, which has already played an active and a considerable part, should be warmly congratulated on what it has done, and in particular for the admirable work of Monsieur Dorsiville, their representative in the Congo, who has visited Rwanda and Burundi. I am sure that it would help the Tutsis if the British Government would say three things: first of all, that they are not indifferent to their fate—and I think an expression of concern is the first and most important thing of all; secondly, that they will support to the very best of their ability the political and humanitarian efforts of the United Nations to come to the assistance of these people; and, thirdly, that they will follow the example of the World Council of Churches by giving some financial aid towards the maintenance of the Tutsi refugees in the neighbouring countries to which they have fled. Whatever their ultimate fate—and that is still undecided—these wretched people must be given at least shelter, food and medical care while they are in neighbouring countries. Your Lordships will remember how Mr. Gladstone at the age of 85 emerged from retirement to express his feelings about the massacre of the Armenians in Turkey. This is a comparable disaster; and the humanitarian tradition of this country, which has always helped the victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes and famine in any part of the world, would surely be enhanced by a generous gesture by Her Majesty's Government towards the African victims of man's inhumanity to man.
§ 4.40 p.m.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for his speech to-day. It was a downright speech which will do a great deal of good. I was particularly glad to hear his statement in regard to support for Malaysia which I think is of great value. I believe that Sukarno will be ended when he realises that no other country is going to support him. At the formation of Malaysia itself every country in Asia was represented—and I think I can say that this is true of those outside the Communist bloc—with the exception of the Philippines and Indonesia. When it is clear that he is getting no support, then I believe he will eventually give up this effort the origin of which it is difficult to appreciate. I 916 think, too, that the visit which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, referred to, of Mr. Lee Kwan Yew to Africa will be of great value. I have not heard very much of what has been happening; it appears to me—but I do not know if it is true—that there is a sharper appreciation in South-East Asia of what Communism means than there is in Africa. It may be that they have more experience; but Mr. Lee speaks with force and with great clarity on this subject.
I was going to transfer the subject matter of this debate to another part of the world from that which was dealt with by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. I will then have the advantage of speaking about a very much larger number of people. I will take the area with which I used to be associated, where I had representatives, administrators and High Commissioners, the area of South-East Asia. The people there represented a population of about six times that of the whole African continent; that is, a population of nearly two-thirds of the world, and really a centre of world population. When we think they are mostly tending to double in population every twenty or thirty years it presents a problem on the long scale such as to make one's mind boggle at what is going to happen.
The point we have reached to-day, on a broad angle, is that after 400 years of varying degrees of European dominance, this dominance is ending. It has left a very real impact and it will take a long time before the people in South-East Asia and Europe can properly reassess their relationships. It is no good pretending what British colonialism was. The fact is that the people there believe that their whole history has been distorted by the European impact, that they have been used as pawns in the game of politics in Europe; and there is some truth in that. If I may give an example, I will mention that when Napoleon overran Holland, the Governor General of India, supported by Stamford Raffles, seized Java. The connection with the people of Java was quite obscure, and those people felt that they were being used as pawns. They have been prevented from development of economic and industrial strength because it did not serve the industrial development taking place in this country. That is the view 917 of many; I do not necessarily support them, but there is a great deal to be said for the other side. Of course, it will be many years before this complex evolution will receive anything approaching a fair assessment.
But, my Lords, I think it is important that we should try to regain or establish an uninhibited and natural relationship with the people who live there, and I believe there is a rôle for us to play. To do this we must make a very conscious effort to understand something of the aspirations, the anxieties, the ambitions and fears which surround their lives. In the first place, they have, almost wholly, a common dislike of foreign domination. That applies just as much to Communism as to any other form of foreign interference. Secondly, they are forming—and we should note this—what I would call a "nation-State". We know a lot about nation-States. We have seen them in Europe. To them it is an extremely exciting experience to form this nation and to give it a place in the world. They are naturally extremely sensitive about any comments made in regard to the ability, achievements and work of the nation. Ideally, every nation should consist of people of the same race, language and religion. But, in fact, this very rarely happens. The best example of a realistic approach in Asia is Thailand.
We are perhaps unduly afraid of the word "nation". We know, as Burke said, you cannot indict a nation. Of course you cannot. We know that anyone who is acting in the national interest is not really subject to any rules of conventional morality or reason. We have seen this happen, and I think we are unduly concerned. But we have, to some extent, taught this. We have taught the principle of voice of democracy; and people hesitate to say that anybody speaking in the name of the people can be wrong. But, of course, they often are wrong, and this is something which we have to reckon with. This is the inevitable course of events. And we need not be unduly disturbed by it. What they wish is national unity and independence. It was just that which President Diem of Viet-Nam failed to get, and as a result he eventually lost his life. He could not hold the country together. 918 These countries want to achieve economic and scientific development; they want to establish social organs in many cases not dissimilar to those in this country. Perhaps, also, they want security and to avoid being drawn into the conflicts of the big Powers. That leads them to neutralism. I think we cannot blame a country of 20 million or more people if they do not want to be drawn into other nations' conflicts.
The important thing is that a nation-State, in a strong form, has enough strength to form a bulwark against Communist penetration. I do not know of any other bulwark, in the long run, to withstand the type of Communist penetration which is now going on all over the world. The Communists, of course, have been clever enough—and this is where we have gone astray—to ally themselves with national movements. I do not know why we have allowed them to do that and have not done it ourselves. This presents, from the point of view of foreign affairs, an extremely difficult position, first, because all countries East of Afghanistan have been concerned with foreign affairs and defence in only the last 25 years. That means that they have had very little experience in dealing with foreign affairs. I would hesitate to encourage people to say that all international problems should be handed over to the United Nations. I think that every nation must, to some extent, exercise its own measure of self-defence.
The second point that makes foreign affairs difficult is that almost every country is divided by bitter internal struggles which do not turn on foreign affairs but on other matters, but they have their reflection on the country's foreign relations. I must say I believe that to a considerable extent this is the position in Indonesia. I believe that Indonesia today is deeply torn by the unstable conditions and other circumstances which exist there. But, of course, we must recognise that her conduct is really intolerable by any civilised standards. If any other country were to behave like this it would be accused of unprovoked aggression. But she has got away with it—I do not know for how long she will go on doing so. I do not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Rea, that the Western Powers could have 919 done a great deal more to help. Much has been done. The problem is that the Indonesian President has never really been very impressed with economic arguments. I believe that even his friends would agree that he shows indifference to economic arguments.
The third thing which makes foreign relations difficult in South-East Asia is the relations between China and the U.S.A., which I think for most countries seem to make for an unreal situation. But we must recognise that the United States are doing a tremendous task and are getting very little thanks for what they are doing. I do say, however, that it is essential to encourage them to establish some kind of relationship with China. I do not make any suggestion about what it should be, but it is impossible to have two great Powers without any form of relationship at all. I am told that discussions are taking place at Warsaw, but I think that this should be carried rather further.
There is no simple answer to the developments taking place in South-East Asia. I am sure that we must give every assistance, but basically the States of South-East Asia must solve their own problems. I should like to suggest one or two points about which, small or great, I think we could do something, so as to take at least one step forward. May I start with the simple matter of nomenclature? It is some years ago that Thailand decided to change her name from Siam. One leading London newspaper continues to call Thailand, "Siam". It has an archaic, somewhat Victorian flavour to me, and surely a country is entitled to decide what its own name is. May I take another example? The Laotian statesman, General Phoumi, is referred to as General Nosavan by the same paper. I am told that Nosavan is someone from Sayan Bett. It is rather as if Earl Alexander of Hillsborough were called, "Lord Hillsborough."
But, more important than that, can we not get away altogether from the term "Far East"? I believe that this term is used only occasionally by commercial firms and by the military. It suggests that we are looking at this part of the world through the wrong end of 920 a telescope and seeing it a long way away. I would also suggest that we get away altogether from this "East—West" struggle. No doubt Moscow is East of Washington, but it is hard to say that Peking is East of San Francisco. To anyone living in South-East Asia, there is the natural feeling of being on the East side and not on the West, just as I suppose anybody living in North London would support Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester United. I should like to see these terms changed, and I venture humbly to make the suggestion—I daresay many could do better—that we should use something on the lines of "the closed world of Communism against the open world of human dignity", something which would give a conception which would have a wider application than the rather dreary "East and West," which in many ways is wholly misleading.
May I say a word in regard to the regrading of Embassies? Traditionally, Embassies in Europe are graded higher than those in Asia, but I would suggest to Her Majesty's Government that the further one is from London, the greater is the responsibility. Particularly is this the case where changes are taking place with great rapidity, and I would particularly commend to their attention the Embassies at Bangkok and Jakarta, which carry very high responsibilities indeed, and which I believe could be shown to be much more important than some of the higher graded Embassies in Europe.
I should like to say a word on our information services. I am fully aware that the B.B.C. and the other services have great technical difficulties. I know that the B.B.C. has a high standard, but it sounds very remote. In South-East Asia it is rather like hearing someone talking from Mars. I commend to them that they try to frame their message in a local framework, something that fits in to the scene, something that shows that they recognise that people living 10,000 miles away are real, something that shows that they understand something of their problems. I know that there are difficulties, but I am not convinced that sufficient trouble or sufficient care is being taken to overcome some of these difficulties, and unless people out there feel that the message 921 is about things they understand I do not believe that the voice of the B.B.C. will carry very much weight.
May I say a word or two on education? We have had in your Lordships' House two extremely impressive debates on education. I do not want to balance our home needs against overseas needs, but I do say that the value and importance of teachers overseas can hardly be exaggerated and that the demand is unlimited. I wonder, too, whether we appreciate the enthusiasm with which education is looked on in South-East Asia. May I give one or two stories of this from Singapore, which I happen to know better than some other parts of the area? Nearly all the school buildings are used by three schools—morning, afternoon and evening. Every school has a school uniform, spotlessly clean and very simple. Thirdly, there is no compulsory education in Singapore—and absolutely no malingerers. I understand that in some schools there is a punishment under which children are not allowed to appear at school for two, or possibly three, days. I do not know how successful that would be here.
Most remarkable was a political strike, which was organised against the holding of examinations. Such was the determination of pupils that they literally fought their way through a picket line in order to take part in an examination. That shows a resolution which I should not myself have been capable of at a younger age. We can help these schools enormously, and I was delighted to hear of the extension of the Voluntary Overseas Service, which is playing a vital part in this. I think it is a good thing that the teachers going overseas should be graduates rather than non-graduates. I have met one or two of these volunteers who had just left school and who were teaching in Chinese middle schools, and it is quite a difficult problem for young men of about 19. There is a tremendous field in education and I should like to feel that the long-term importance of this matter is adequately appreciated, bringing, as I hope it eventually will do, many of these countries to a wider and more competent appreciation of the English language, which can be one of the greatest binding forces which the world knows.
922 I would end by saying this. I believe that the Communists are making a mistake in trying to force these new States into their own shape. I am confident that we would not do that. We can help very much, in the way which my noble friend Lord Carrington has explained. I think we can say, with truth and integrity, that we have no difference of interests with the many evolving States in South-East Asia. They want strength, stability and peace. That is what we want. Indeed, there is no country that has so great a vested interest in peace as we have.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My Lords, I have some sympathy with what the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, said about references to the Far East as if we were looking down the other end of a telescope. I have often wondered what you say when you get as far West as San Francisco. It may be that it would be a good thing if the term were eliminated, because certainly it rather assumes that that is part of another world, which is not too good. Come to think of it, it may be that we ourselves in both Houses of Parliament are looking down the wrong end of a telescope when we refer to "another place", as if it were a distant bit of foreign soil. Perhaps we ought to reconsider whether we can find another name for that; but in the meantime it suits Parliamentary practice.
The House is once more indebted to my noble friend Lord Henderson for his able and comprehensive survey of Foreign Affairs. I know that he takes great pains and engages in great thoroughness in the preparation of these important speeches. We were glad to hear the exposition of the noble Lord the Leader of the House, with which, in the main, I think we shall agree. I was interested to hear the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Rea, speaking on behalf of the Liberal Party, though I thought he did not do the West justice with regard to aid to the developing and emancipated countries. After all, in the case of Indonesia, to which I think he referred in particular, the United States have given them a great deal of aid; and I am not sure that we and other countries have not done so, too. It is clearly desirable that the West should 923 give them aid, and it may be that we ought to have done more than we have about it. But there are two ends to it: there is the receiving end and the giving end.
My Lords, will the noble Lord forgive me for interrupting? I was not referring to financial aid so much as to moral aid and help in that sort of sphere.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My recollection is that the United States have given them a great deal of technical aid, and arms as well: indeed, we were complaining, or were inclined to complain, a little while ago, when the trouble began over Malaysia, that the United States had given them too much in the way of arms. But, as I say, there are two ends to this. The question is, first, whether the West gives enough aid, or whether it does it at all; and I think it has done a fair amount. The other side is the willingness of the emancipated or underdeveloped country to receive it, or whether it regards it as a danger of neo-colonialism and that sort of thing, arguments with which we are familiar. If we consider Indonesia now, such acts as interference with British businesses there as a result of Communist trade union activity—and the Government have now put supervising bodies on top of them—are not exactly encouraging. So, while I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Rea, that there is an obligation on the West to be helpful, there is also an obligation on the receiving end to make it practicable for the aid to be received in a co-operative spirit.
In these debates on foreign affairs my own approach is that I do not think foreign affairs are a fit subject for needless Party conflict and partisan speeches. If the Government are wrong, then everybody has a perfect right to say so, if he believes it. If the Government are right, then, as my noble friend Lord Henderson did on a number of occasions during his speech to-day, we should not fail to say so. The term "bipartisan foreign policy" is a little misleading, and is calculated, I feel, to prejudice possible co-operation about foreign affairs. I think that every individual, of any political Party, has the right to say what he thinks about foreign affairs and the issues of foreign policy, so long as he 924 does it in good spirit. I have exercised that right, and I propose to do so again. I think this is the right approach, at any rate for those of us who speak in a less directly responsible position, to the discussion of foreign affairs, with perhaps a little bias in favour of the British being right, which I do not think does any harm. But political Parties must speak for themselves, and individuals must speak for themselves.
We are dealing to-day, as both my noble friend Lord Henderson and the Minister Without Portfolio have said, with a very troubled world all over the place. I think the main trouble is too much nationalism in all sorts of countries—advanced, underdeveloped or newly emancipated. I do not like excessive nationalism, because I believe that it is inevitably dangerous to the peace, good will and fellowship of the world. Then in some parts there is even tribalism, which is perhaps more understandable, because it has a great historical background and practice behind it; nevertheless, it can be troublesome. These are two of the problems which face many parts of the world at the present time.
We have also the cold war—and sometimes the hot war. That cold war is stimulated by Communist countries, especially the Soviet Union and China, when they get a chance. It has been assumed, with some justification, that the disagreement which now exists between the Governments and the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union and China is a good thing for the Western World. Perhaps in some ways it is, if it prevents such a vast alliance that would obviously be a danger in numbers to the whole of the civilised world. On the other hand, the disagreement between these two great countries can be a menace to the rest of the world, because if they are going actively to compete with each other in stirring up mischief in various parts of the world, and particularly in the more underdeveloped countries—which, heaven knows need all the friendly constructive aid they can get—then it could mean more and not less trouble for the world. It could well be the case that if they were more in agreement with each other there would be less rather that more trouble in the world. This is 925 speculative, but I feel it is a thought worth mentioning.
There is also the problem that we have not full co-operation in the West. In the main, we have it; and even if from time to time there are minor disagreements between us, for example, and the United States or some other country, and between other countries and ourselves, there is nothing fatal about such disagreements. The most difficult country, I think, and the one that is really harming, and intending to harm, the Western Alliance is General de Gaulle's France. I remember that when France was falling in the war I made a speech in which I said—and I meant it: "I love France"; and the fall of that great country had a sad effect upon my mind. But I must say that General de Gaulle is really a troublesome man. He may mean well; but he is cold: he is not at all the customary Frenchman. He seems to take a delight in refusing co-operation, not only with the United States but with the British and with other countries as well. It is a very sad thing, because we have not been bad friends of France, and there is every wish in our country that there should be cordial friendship between us and the great French Republic. There it is. But it does not add to the influence, authority and power of the Western Alliance, and I wish that General de Gaulle could think again.
The trouble with France at this moment is that the French political Parties seem almost to be out of action. One hardly ever hears a separate or independent point of view put by any political Party in France. I never hear of the independent views of the Socialist Party. I and glad they have chosen a candidate for the Presidency. Good luck to them!, and it may be that we shall hear of him. But what has become of Guy Mollet, of whom we used to hear a great deal? Where is he? What has become of the other Party leaders, such as Jules Moch? And one must not concentrate on the Socialists entirely. There are plenty of other political Parties in France. Indeed, it is one of the curses of that country. So far as I know, de Gaulle, although he is something of a dictator—I will not go too far on that point—has not prohibited the French political leaders and Parties 926 from speaking up. Why do they not? It is not healthy for France that we should never hear from them, and that they should never say anything. I would respectfully invite them to come out into the open and say what they think for the good of their country, and what they believe to be for the good of the world.
Of course, France suffered from a bad thing: it had too many political Parties in the running of Parliamentary democracy, and they had a great deal of irresponsibility. Governments came and Governments went—especially went. When one Government had gone another Government came in which was much the same as the one that went out. I remember, as my noble friend Lord Attlee will, that on more than one occasion when an important international consultation was coming along it was made almost impossible by the fact that the French Government had fallen on the eve of it, or the day before that. That was bad. That was incompetence in the running of Parliamentary democracy. Consequently de Gaulle came, and up to a point that justifies de Gaulle. But de Gaulle will go one day, and I hope then that France will be able to run a Parliamentary democracy. If they keep to two Parties which are distinguishable from each other, that will be a good thing. I hope they will not go back to the somewhat chaotic circumstances which used to exist.
Africa is a great worry. There is Egypt, almost running a cold war on its own, with its information services so-called, and being mischievous in many ways. There is the trouble between the Arabs and Israel which I think is very sad. I wish that the Arabs, whom I like in many ways, as I like the Israelis in many ways, could get it out of their heads that they must destroy Israel at any price. There is, for example, the argument about water. I remember seeing part of the source of the water in the Jordan on the edge of Israel and Jordan. There had been referred to the Security Council by Jordan the question of an area of water. I think about a square mile or less, and there was serious argument in the Security Council as to whether it could be an early cause of war. This water supply is vital to all the countries—Arab countries as well as Israel. It is naturally a great 927 blessing to the Arab countries themselves. Co-operation between the Arab countries and Israel would be a great blessing in that respect and in respect of electric power as well.
There is also the Congo. Belgium came out, in one sense too soon and in one sense too late. They did not prepare the Congo for self-government, but just came out when they met enough trouble. Unfortunately, there is still difficulty in that country. Zanzibar, to which reference has already been made, is a little place. Perhaps we came out a little too quickly there. It is a small place, and no doubt there is a reality of problems between the Africans and the Asians. Nevertheless, these potential racial troubles can be exploited by Communist countries who may say, "Workers of all countries unite" but they are not backward in stirring up trouble between workers if there is a chance to do so and an advantage to their own political policy. It is a great pity that this happened.
Subject to anything I hear to the contrary, I am inclined to agree with my noble friend Lord Listowel that in the case of Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda—and I have visited all these countries—the main problem was the pay of the soldiers and the prospects of promotion. These three countries paid the British a great compliment by themselves inviting British troops to come in to help them to restore order, which they did successfully. Let us hope that their troubles are now over. But there can be no greater compliment than that. When people talk of neo-colonialism because our troops are there at the request of these emancipated Governments, it really is preposterous. This is a different story from that of Soviet troops going into Hungary at the time of the revolution. We did not go with tanks and machine guns and shoot people down wholesale. We went peacefully and, on the whole—indeed, I think, entirely—it was a peaceful operation in all three cases.
Malaysia has been referred to extensively by the Leader of the House. I have been there also. I was there when the bandits were being pursued in the jungle by very brave British soldiers and British policemen, and brave Malays as well. I can imagine the troubles they are having. It is a legitimate ambition 928 of Malaya and the other countries to get together so as to form a stronger combined State. Singapore, by itself, was not a healthy place. It was a useful military base, but it certainly could not be called a country. It was a difficult place to run politically, though the Government there has got on much better in recent times. But it was a legitimate ambition of Malaya and the other countries to form themselves into this Federated State of Malaysia, and I am glad they did. Why does Indonesia want to interfere? Why do the Communist bloc want to denounce this as a piece of British neo-colonialism? It is nothing of the kind. It is a legitimate effort on the part of Malaya and the other countries to form a stable State, economically and otherwise, which is all to the good.
It is anybody's guess how far in all these things external influence has been brought to bear. In some cases I certainly strongly suspect it, in others I am doubtful, and in others I am inclined to think not. But it is a terrible thing that trouble can be stirred up, irrespective of the merits, by external influences. It is contrary to the progress of peaceful causes in the world. There is great argument about whether the Labour Government, followed in this matter by the Conservative Government, should have given self-government and even independence to former colonial territories in Africa and elsewhere. It is not unfair that there should be argument on both sides about it.
The practical problem for the Labour Government (and the Conservative Government as well, much to my surprise, followed us meticulously in this process) was whether these colonial dependencies would be sufficiently patient for us to help them with political, governmental and administrative education. If it had been possible to transfer power to them department by department, there was much to be said for it. I think that those who know more about India than I do (though I have been there), would agree that India had some advantage when it became independent from the fact that over a good many years there had been an increasing participation of some Indians in the Government of India, either at the centre or in the States. Consequently, 929 India, as a whole, has made a success of its independence and self-government, and the fearsome prognostications which were made have proved to be untrue.
When I argued with East African friends who were actively in the nationalistic movement for independence I said that I perfectly understood their desire for independence—or, at any rate, self-government; and good luck to them! But, I added, "The question is, when, and whether, before you reach that point—because it will be a point of very grave responsibility for you—you will have argued out among yourselves, between your political Parties, what you want to do with the country when you get it and what economic and foreign policies you want to pursue". I said that the process of argument now would be a process of education, not only for the political leaders but for the country. The other question I put to them was whether they wanted independence all at once or spread—not over too many years, but over a limited number of years, so that they could get used to things as they went along. There was a great deal of wisdom, if I may humbly say so, in those observations and that attitude. But it did not go down. They were not having it. They were determined to go on talking about independence, and not much else. They would not contemplate taking independence by instalments.
Then British Governments, Labour and Conservative, had to face the possibility of considerable periods of rebellion, uprising and bloodshed; and anybody who knows the British knows that they are not good at suppressing countries of that kind for long; especially if the shedding of blood is involved. Therefore, I think it was inevitable that we should concede independence to those countries. It is also desirable that we should give them all the help we can, if they are willing to accept it, in technical matters, the art of government, and so on. But, on balance, I think we have been right; though, ideally, it might have been better if it could have come about the other way.
Now, my Lords, I should like to speak about Cyprus. This is a really disappointing trouble. We had a lot of trouble there before they obtained independence 930 and we came out. They settled between themselves a Constitution which was calculated to safeguard minorities and the general right of the people, and it is disappointing that Archbishop Makarios, both then and now, has not proved himself to be sufficiently broad-minded to try to steer the groups in Cyprus towards co-operation. It is a great tragedy and it is very difficult for one to speak quietly about him. It certainly convinced me—and I know that the right reverend Prelates will forgive me if I say so—that you should not make Archbishops into Prime Ministers. I think this was a great mistake on the part of Cyprus.
It was natural that the Government should go first to NATO countries, not for NATO occupation, but for the Armies of countries in NATO to give us help in the matter, because we ought not to have all this burden. It was natural that we should seek the co-operation of the Commonwealth. We must all hope that the Greek and Turkish Cypriots will be able to settle down together, but it is not easy. I was sorry to see in the Daily Herald to-day—a newspaper which I loyally buy and carefully read every day, and for which I have a great respect—an article by James Cameron which was so violently anti-Turk that it could be calculated to add to the troubles between the races in Cyprus, and not otherwise. I thought that it was mischievous, and though it might be pleasing to the Kremlin it was not pleasing to me.
In the relationship between Communism and the Free World, some good things have happened. Mr. Khrushchev is a much more human personality than Stalin was. That is a good thing, but he is still a Communist and has his little ways. It was a great thing that the Test Ban Treaty came off. Co-existence, so far as it goes, is an improvement on the situation as it was in earlier years. But co-existence is a merely negative thing; it says merely that we agree to live side by side in the world, but without true friendship, and without any real co-operation. We shall not get where we want to until co-existence is transformed into positive and constructive co-operation for the peace, security and prosperity of the world; and we must not mouth this word "co-existence" as if it were the solution of all 931 things. It is better than what we had before but it is negative and we need to move to a more positive state of matters.
Then there is the question of trade with Communist countries—and this is a matter which can be argued both ways. I thought that the Prime Minister the other day went rather far, especially for a Conservative Prime Minister, when he said, "The more the merrier!"; that he preferred a fat Communist to a thin one and that he wanted to make them fat and prosperous. I remember an Election. I think in 1924, when the hoardings had a poster with an ugly, bearded, red-nosed Russian on it—a Bolshevik—and it endeavoured to persuade the electors that if they voted for respectable Labour candidates they would be voting for this chap on the hoardings. It is a far cry from that to a British Prime Minister who says that he prefers a fat Communist to a thin one. In any case, the two Communist leaders, one of the Soviet Union and one of China, are not exactly thin, and therefore he need not worry about them.
We have to understand the United States point of view. The Monroe Doctrine to them is a very real thing. It is an uncomfortable feeling that there should be a Communist country in South America, and it is an uncomfortable feeling to them that other countries who are their Allies are doing trade with Communist countries and helping their economic stability. On the other hand, we feel that if we cut off all trade with these Communist countries it is not conducive to the spirit of co-operation and the possibilities of co-operation for peace in the world. I understand United States feelings. But they must remember that they themselves only recently, when Russia was desperately short of wheat, came to the rescue with supplies of large quantities of wheat to the Soviet Union. And all the thanks they got was that, in about a fortnight, Mr. Khrushchev was denouncing American imperialism with as much vigour as ever. Canada came to the rescue of Communist China with wheat. Therefore, there is plenty of this business going on, and it is anybody's guess as to whether or not this trade h as done positive good.
However, the tyranny over the people of Eastern European countries goes on, 932 and I am sure that we all wish them luck, and that they may at some time get their freedom and their right to say what they like. That is where colonialism really exists in the proper sense of the term. There was expulsion from Moscow of the Reuter's correspondent; who, so far as I know, had not done any great harm. He reported events as he saw them; some of the reports were displeasing, and out he had to go. It is, I think, a very great pity. However, the British Conservative capitalists take the view that business is business; that is their angle of it. They want to do business with anybody so long as there is money in it. Others, more enlightened people, want it to be done for different reasons of peace and co-operation. There is nothing new about the British Conservative capitalists in this way. They were also willing to do trade with Fascist countries before the war, including Nazi Germany—and that was not a good thing either. But the view the Labour Party takes is that, apart from strategic weapons and so on, trade between the various countries of the world is, on balance, a good thing; that is the line which the Labour Party takes.
There is another school of thought of unilateralism, which I think is diminishing. It is a curious thing that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament seems to have declined. There have been some internal disagreements among themselves and their influence has declined; their appeal to the young, I think, has diminished. In any case, unilateralism, disarmament by one country, is not, I think, a thing conducive to making the peace of the world. The noble Lord, Lord Rea, got very near it this afternoon when he said "Disarmament begins at home". That is a dangerous doctrine. If the Liberal Party stands for that kind of British disarmament, irrespective of what other countries do, it is asking for trouble for the country, and electorally as well. But that is what he said, speaking, presumably, officially on behalf of the Liberal Party. If this was the path to peace I would back it. It is not. It is tempting Providence, and it is tempting aggressive countries in particular if you disarm alone. Now the road, surely, is collective security, collective security by 933 friendly nations which believe in the cause of freedom and in the cause of peace. That is the line which should be followed.
My Lords, if I may intervene, that is exactly the line I was advocating, collective security of the Western Powers; we should subscribe to that rather than keep the thing ourselves.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
The last thing I want to do is misrepresent the noble Lord, but it is within the recollection of the House that when he talked about disarmament he finished up by saying that disarmament begins at home.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
I think he meant our home, and as I belong to this home I do not like it. I do not want to be put on the spot by aggressive nations.
There is another problem in international affairs, perhaps the biggest of the lot. We all, I hope, are fervent supporters of the United Nations. We have, from the time of the old League of Nations onwards, been believers in the United Nations. But it does not follow that when you are up against international trouble you then say, "United Nations. Send it to New York and it will be solved." That, I think, is a fool's paradise. Because there are limitations on what the United Nations as at present can do, and we have all got to struggle so that it can solve these problems adequately, fairly, justly and without prejudice, after hearing the parties to the case. But it is no good, as some folks do, saying, "Send this to the United Nations and it will be solved." In particular cases the position could be aggravated because of the veto.
That is not to denigrate the United Nations. It is right. What wants to be done is to improve it, to make it more effective, more efficient, so that countries need not be dragged to the United Nations or the Security Council but will want to go there, sure that they will get a fair deal and that useful things will be done. That is the real problem about it. We want a more certain and rapid procedure. We want a minimum of the use of the veto. We want, as my noble 934 friend Lord Henderson said, some sort of police force under the United Nations that can be used effectively and speedily to deal with at any rate relatively minor points of trouble in the world. I think it ought to be under the Secretary-General as commander-in-chief in a civilian capacity, so long as there is the right Secretary-General. Because I think if you have a committee to run it it will not work as well, especially in this complicated international organisation. That is certainly of very great importance.
The other great thing is the certainty of justice being done. That is profoundly important, so that nations have not only confidence in their own case, but confidence to go and argue that case and hear the case rebutted by other countries, and confidence that in this great Parliament of man, a sort of incipient federation of the world, they can be reasonably sure that they will be fairly heard, the issues will be fairly assessed, and justice will be done.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
My Lords, I understand it is not congenial to your Lordships to animadvert too severely on preceding speeches, but I must say that some of the sentiments which have come from the other side in this day's debate have set me writhing in my seat, and I am longing to answer them point by point and rebut the arguments. I see the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, already shaking his head as if, in spite of not having made a speech himself, he would not relish that.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
Then I am going to disappoint the noble Lord. I would say one word about the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, with the latter part of whose observations on unilateral disarmament not being the path to peace I agreed. I wish he had told that to his Leader in another place, whose views on the bomb are identical, it seems to me, with the officials views of the Liberal Party.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My Lords, that is not fair. The noble Earl is perfectly entitled to disagree with my right honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition in another 935 place, but it would be unfair to describe him as a unilateralist and one who says that the British should disarm irrespective of what other countries do.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
I thought the official line of the Labour Party was to get rid of the British H-bomb deterrent as soon as possible, unilaterally, and not wait for other nations to follow suit, and not even to secure an international concordat that the bomb should be abandoned by all who possess it. It is quite clear—I think everybody knows—it is going to be a supreme Election issue. The Labour Party and the Liberal Party are identified in wanting to dispose unilaterally of the British deterrent.
I felt, too, that from a former Foreign Secretary Lord Morrison of Lambeth's censorious words on France and its national leader were deplorable. He said that France was harming the Western Alliance. He said de Gaulle was cold and something of a dictator. I do not think such language has been used about the head of a friendly Power this side of the Iron Curtain since the end of the war, and I very much deplore that the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, in the course of his otherwise amusing meanderings, should have let fall observations of that kind. He will recall that at the time General de Gaulle settled, I hope once and for all, Britain's application to join the European Economic Community, he used words of great appreciation of this country. He used words which have appeared at times in our history but have not been uttered, so far as I know, at any time by statesmen since the end of the war. I am sorry I have not got them with me to quote them to your Lordships. But I know this: that I have never heard. Lord Morrison of Lambeth's voice ring out in patriotic eulogies of this country's endeavours in the world to the extent that was apparent from the speech of General de Gaulle at that time.
My Lords, I want to speak this evening about Cyprus, and I should like also to draw some conclusions about our military presence in that island and also in East Africa. Two ideas about Cyprus have been canvassed in the national Press in the last few days. One of them concerns partition, which I was glad the Prime Minister disposed of 936 last night when he said, I think, that partition was by far the worst solution for the island. Lord Rea this afternoon was of the opposite view. He said that partition must be kept in the realm of possibilities; and then he went straight on to say that he thought Greece ought to have one half of the island and Turkey the other half of the island. He was not too clear, I thought, as to whether the British bases should be retained or disposed of altogether.
My Lords, would the noble Earl forgive me? I did not go so far as that. I said that partition was, as the Prime Minister said, of a very low priority as one of the worst solutions. I suggested, for consideration only, a solution which I agreed was not a very good one, and only for consideration.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
Yes, but I thought that the noble Lord brought this point rather into the forefront, and I took down his words—namely, that Greece should have one half and Turkey the other. I think he will find he did say that, if he reads his speech in Hansard tomorrow.
We have heard a good deal in the course of the debate this afternoon about bipartisan foreign policy, the two Front Benches in both Houses agreeing largely with one another on foreign policy. But I may say here and now—and thank God for it!—that I did not agree with one single sentence that came from the noble Lord in the course of his address this afternoon. I am glad to say that Tory foreign principles and sentiments will be different from Liberal foreign principles and sentiments to the end of time.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
I hope that that is so, and that the electorate of this country will appreciate it as we go forward.
I agree that partition is the worst solution. Indeed, it is actively prosecuted against (if one can use that phrase) in Article I of the particular Treaty of Guarantee which embraces the Republic of Cyprus. The words are,The Republic of Cyprus … prohibits all activity tending to promote directly or indirectly either union—which is Enosis—or partition of the island.937 We have heard a good deal in the Press lately about the wickedness of Archbishop Makarios and the Greeks, and we have had some sympathy with the Turks expressed in various circles in this country in recent days. But in this particular regard of breaking the Treaty, I think that Dr. Kutchuk is more at fault than President Makarios. President Makarios has not actually talked during these tense days since Christmas about Enosis, the union of Cyprus with Greece; whereas Dr. Kutchuk and his followers have never ceased openly to proclaim their case which they are taking to the United Nations, for a partition of the island—and this directly against the principles established in the Treaty of Guarantee.
Another idea canvassed in the Press is that the British should go back to their bases if the Turks invade. I think this is a quite horrible idea, and I hope that in winding-up my noble friend Lord Dundee will be able to reassure us on that point. Cyprus is a Sovereign State and a member of the Commonwealth, and it seems to me quite unthinkable that the peace-keeping forces in Cyprus, which are now entirely British because the Turk and the Greek contingents are occupying their barracks and do not move out of them, could possibly withdraw in face of an even more provocative civil commotion, and even civil war, which an invasion by Turkish forces would set off. Of course the consequences for the Turks, if they obtained mastery of the whole island except for the sovereign base areas, would be far worse than for us in 1955 to 1957. The majority Greek population would make their lives absolutely hideous from the moment they took over control. I hope that that has been explained to the Turkish Government in forthright terms through diplomatic channels.
I regard the present Constitution in Cyprus as quite unworkable, and I have some sympathy for the Greek Cypriots in saying that that is so. They want to move with the times; they want to make amendments to their Constitution. They want even, as they told me when I was there last October, to move slowly from a Presidential system to a Parliamentary system on the British model. They want 938 to work increasingly towards the unification of their country, to make it a unitary State; and at every point they are blocked, resolutely and forthrightly, by the Turks, who are clinging madly—in a way that I suppose is attributable to human nature—to the guarantees that they were given under the rigid Constitution of 1960. The Turks were given a 30–70 position against the Greeks, when we all know that the population of the island is in more like a 20–80 ratio. They were given certain positions of autonomy and power in the changing of laws and in the local communities; and they are holding rigidly to the last letter of the law.
We all know that any country, or any group of people in a country, that resists change is in the end swept away, because change is fundamentally on the side of human nature. If the Greeks are identified with change they are going to win the battle in the end. It is those who resist inevitable change whose position is going to be worsened. I believe that we in this country should have acted about twelve months ago in anticipation of the certainty of these events. We did nothing. We allowed the situation to get worse and worse. It is true that we were not in control of the island, but only in control of our sovereign base areas. But we were the progenitor of this Constitution; we arranged it, and devised it. We were in charge of the island before the Constitution was devised. We had every reason—because Cyprus is a member of the Commonwealth and because we are the leading member of the Commonwealth—to step in in time to prevent these dire events. Yet we failed to do so.
As things are to-day, I agree wholeheartedly with the Government that the peace-keeping force must come first. It is no use, in the height of the battle, discussing the details of constitutional change, and I trust that we shall be able to get the Security Council to sanction this force's being predominantly British in character but possibly with Commonwealth additions. I see that one or two Scandinavian countries have been mentioned in the newspapers to-day as possible participants in this force: that they might send contingents, too. I certainly should have no complaint about that. I do, however, believe that 939 the presence of the Greek and the Turkish military contingents in the island is wrong for the changing state of affairs there.
These forces are either completely inactive, as they are now, and of no use to the peace-keeping forces at all, because they are back in their barracks; or, if they came out of their barracks and they started to act, the situation would immediately become much worse. Therefore, as they are either inactive or positively dangerous, I think that the proper thing is to remove them from the scene—or, rather, to request that they should retire to their respective countries. It is difficult enough to develop a wholly Cypriot mentality. We tried to do that years ago and failed. To keep these forces in the island is not the way to contribute towards it; if anything, it is the way towards tearing the communities apart. I think that, so far as possible, we must try to go back to first principles in the regeneration of the political spirit of the island. It seems to me that the more the island's problems are internationalised the worse they get.
In the early 1950's one of our Colonial Governors—I do not think I will mention his name—gave me his solution to the island's problems. Whether he put it up to the Colonial Office and whether it was turned down, I simply do not know. This was at a time when the feud between the Turks and the Greeks and the Greeks against us had got only to the stage of a chalked word Enosis on the roadway. It was a time when the Governor was absolutely in control of the island and all was relatively peaceful and quiet. We had our provincial commissioners in each area, we had district commissioners under them, and the island was governed like any Colony in the traditional way. That Governor's solution was to proceed immediately to a general election, knowing that the Communists would get in but would have no power at all except to be in charge of rural roads and village water schemes. The fact that they were running their local councils and dealing with these subjects would, in his view, immediately inspire the liberal elements, the conservative elements, the organised Greek community, the organised Turkish community, the British residents perhaps, to start forming Parties in order to get 940 rid of the Communists from the scene. In the process (this was his view) they would learn the gentle art of democracy, and, having got to a certain stage in that way, more and more powers could be relinquished to them until finally the island took its independence in the normal way. I think that if his solution had been adopted at that time, Cyprus would have been a peaceful and lovable place.
May I end with one set of conclusions about our position in Cyprus and in other parts of the world at the present time? The first Lord Baldwin of Bewdley said that power without responsibility—or was it responsibility without power?—was the prerogative—
§ EARL BALDWIN OF BEWDLEY
My Lords, perhaps I could help the noble Earl. I think he said that power without responsibility had been the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
Thank you very much. That, indeed, is what he did say. That puts in one's mind the possibility, indeed the probability, that responsibility without power is the prerogative of the harlot's client, who is often a much more mean-spirited creature than the harlot herself. In Cyprus, we stand to be shot at. We have no control whatever over what President Makarios does. He may take the issue to the United Nations; he may not. He may have a British force entirely; he may have a Commonwealth force he may have a NATO force. He can, in the last resort, decide on the future of his island.
So it appears in East Africa to-day, where we stand on guard at the beck and call of a Kenyatta, a Nyerere, an Obote. They may decide on federation; they may decide on confederation. They may each decide on a single Party or a multi-Party State. I think we are going to have to admit, if we look at this historically and seriously and gaze at our position in the world to-day, that British Forces ranged around the world, with one or two exceptions (and I would class Malaya as an exceptional case), are almost in the nature of technical mercenaries—highly organised, highly efficient, highly mobile, but mercenaries 941 technically in the sense that they are at other people's behest.
In 1958 we went into Jordan at the bidding of King Hussein; a few weeks afterwards we went out of Jordan at his bidding. In 1960 we went into Kuwait at the request of the Sheikh; and a few weeks afterwards we went out again at the request of the Sheikh. If the British are to be a world peacekeeping force, we are obviously much better than a polyglot United Nations force which is at the dictation of no organised set of people, just the unhappy result of world forces ranging upon a problem. Perhaps it is the destiny of the British people to be permanently a peace-keeping force, but I think noble Lords ought to realise the way things are moving. They ought to hoist in the probabilities of what is happening in the world as the flow of events takes place. I find all this gallant, quixotic, chivalrous, ethical, and unselfish on the part of the British; but I find it also fundamentally distasteful and unsatisfactory, largely because it lacks the element of will power and purpose behind it. It is happening haphazardly, the volition to do something is going, and our Forces are being used at other people's request and not necessarily for a fundamental British purpose.
This process, it seems to me, is not anchored in our national character—it does not emanate from our history; nor are we using our predicament to make certain and dependable Allies of the countries we help; nor are we making certain and dependable Allies of the countries we might call in to aid us in this process, notably the British Commonwealth. In conclusion, I should simply like to say that I believe that as a nation we ought to search our hearts as to where we are being led by the events of our time, and see to it that power and responsibility, both of equal stature, always stand shoulder to shoulder to guide us in the years to come.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, it is difficult to follow the noble Earl. He is at once so spirited and so melancholy. I think it is a combination that adds up to the great quality of chivalry. I had the impression, from his peroration, that 942 he would have preferred us to go to the aid of the Sheik of Kuwait or to the aid of various East African Governments when they did not want it, and to remain there in spite of appeals that we should go home. It seems to a large strand of public opinion in the country, as reflected in this House and the other place, that the best thing for a military Power to do is to help people when they ask for help and to go away when they no longer need it. This is the way of friendship, the way of common sense, and the way of constructive effort in the world.
The noble Lord the Leader of the House spoke this afternoon about there being no magic in calling on the United Nations. I want to take issue with him about this. I believe that there is, or should be, a certain magic in calling on the United Nations; but not in the sense that he was meaning. He asked: how could anyone deny that we did the right thing in using the troops who happened to be in Cyprus for the purpose for which they were used? How can anyone deny that we did the right thing in going to the help of the East African Governments when they had their mutinies? With that I entirely agree. Nobody could deny that this was the obvious thing to do: those East African countries had hardly become independent; it was only a few weeks since they had been our undoubted paternalistic responsibility. They got away to a false start, and it is natural enough that we should nip back in for a few moments and do the necessary job to get them started better on the right track once again. This is how I hope it will turn out to have happened when the situation has settled down.
Equally, in Cyprus these two communities started fighting each other. We knew the place; we had the troops there, and obviously it was our responsibility to prevent this fighting. But, my Lords—and here is the point—only provisionally. I think that when an ex-colonial Power, which is what we are in Cyprus and East Africa, does this, it is right; but it should as soon as possible convert the operation into a United Nations operation. By that I do not mean simply sending a telegram to Sir Patrick Dean, saying, "You hand it to them. We are going home." I mean 943 somehow tiding it over so that in the last resort, even if one could get the other members of the United Nations to agree, the British troops should simply put on blue armbands and be the United Nations force. It might remain an entirely British or preponderantly British force; or it might have a large British contribution, or a few Scandinavians and Commonwealth contingents added to what is virtually a British force under a British commanding officer. But as soon as possible it should be called "The United Nations force". It is a question of names, and there is magic in names. Using the name of a new, valuable and weak institution to cover the actions of old and powerful institutions like States which are outliving their usefulness, could be a very constructive and useful thing to do.
There has been some discussion of Cuba in this debate this afternoon, and, because foreign affairs is in the main such a lugubrious topic, I want to share with the House an account of something which happened recently in Havana which throws light on Anglo-Cuban relations. My noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth pointed out how strange it was that a Conservative Prime Minister should prefer a fat Communist to a thin one. The world is, indeed, a complicated place where the unexpected happens. Last week, Castro, having presumably taken a British bus, went to a bookshop in Havana. He tapped on the shoulder a young man who was leafing through books and said, "What are you reading there, comrade?" The young man told him, and Castro said, "That is very interesting. I am reading the memoirs of Sir Winston Churchill". The young man thinking to do well with his leader said, "But he was a colonialist, he was an imperialist", and Castro replied to him, "Do not be so narrow-minded. He may have been an imperialist, but he, too, led a small island against a great enemy". It is clear that the world is more complicated than we sometimes see; there is more in common between enemies than immediately strikes the eye.
Lastly, my Lords, I should like to talk for a moment about the relationship between the forthcoming Election campaign 944 and foreign affairs and their defence aspect. A hundred years ago the leaders of political Parties at Election time in this country could roar up and down the land, accusing each other of the most terrible things at the tops of their voices, without ever being heard abroad. It was fair game then. The only person you hurt was your opponent and, if you hurt him where it hurt most, you hoped to win the Election and that was the end of the matter. But now with the improved communications of the 20th century, with the enormous development of international contact, with the international alliance structures that we all have now, so that the relevant Ministers spend as much time talking to their foreign opposite numbers as talking to their own people, all the nations of the West are interlocked at many levels, and in this situation a complete electoral "free for all" has new effects. You can speak in Bury, Berwick-on-Tweed, London or somewhere in a most remote corner of the country, and you will be heard in Bonn, Washington and Moscow.
If you are a man as respected and trusted and well-known abroad as the Prime Minister of the present Government and his senior colleagues, you are very likely to be believed in those capitals. This places a quite extraordinary responsibility for their own words on the men who are leading this country at the moment. One can see the joy in attacking the Labour Party on its defence policy. The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, had a good old "go" at it just now. He said that the Leader of the Labour Party was a unilateralist. He said that Labour policy was to get rid of the hydrogen weapons, and I think his words were "as soon as possible", or even "immediately". I shall not bore the House by reciting the column-yards of Hansard which give a quite different impression. I think in the case of the noble Earl that it does not matter so much, but what does worry me is that the Prime Minister is saying the very same thing in the country.
It is fun, of course, seizing on what you think to be the weak point of your opponent in the hope of beating him 945 thereby in the Election. I do not believe we are going to be beaten by anybody seizing on this point. I do not believe it is a weak point, but there is no doubt that the Government do, and there is no doubt that what they are saying is being heard abroad. Assuming that Labour wins this Election, as, God knows! it is very likely to do, the people who are going to be hurt by any inaccuracy in Government statements about Labour policy are not the Labour Party; they are the people of this country as a whole. To a certain extent it is within the power of the present Government to decide whether a Labour Government shall be greeted initially in an atmosphere of trust and understanding by their earlier Allies, or whether they will emerge with a sort of albatross of misrepresentation hung round their neck by their immediate predecessors whom they will have beaten at the Election. As I said only last week in the House, and expect to say again, although I hope this Election will be fought as hotly as one wishes on home policy, and fought in a sprightly manner on foreign and defence policy, I very much hope that it will be fought with the greatest possible regard to accuracy in representing one's opponent's position and sense of responsibility, because the entire nation is at stake, not one Party.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I do not propose to follow the preceding speaker in his extremely interesting analysis about the coming Election and the tendencies; nor, indeed, do I want, except for one remark, to follow the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich. I was interested to hear from him that apparently no power on earth could ever reconcile himself and the Liberal Party, either in this world or the next. It seemed inconsistent for him to go on and apparently make it relatively easy to compose the differences between the Greeks and the Turks in Cyprus. I ought to confess that I speak as a National Liberal, and perhaps it may reconcile him to me if I say that I define that as a sane Liberal, which is why I sit on this side.
§ LORD MILVERTON
Perhaps I ought to begin a brief intervention in this debate by apologising for "gate-crashing" into what is generally the circle reserved for foreign affairs experts; but this, after all, is the century of the common man, and what happens throughout the world is now perculiarly the concern of every individual. I propose to confine my attention to three of the many points where local affairs have assumed international importance, because Wendell Wilkie's One World has now come true, and peace cannot be threatened or broken anywhere without the probability of the consequent violence threatening to become a world disaster. The three places I want to speak about are Malaysia, Cyprus and Southern Rhodesia.
To begin with Malaysia, the formation of the Malaysian Federation is the practical outcome (as I have mentioned before in a speech in this House) of an old dream that an alliance of the Malaysian States would be a natural development in the modern world, where unity is more than ever strength. As time went on, economic, ethnic and cultural affinity dictated such a move, as well as prudence, in order to preserve these States from being absorbed, one by one, in the Communist bloc. A generation ago it seemed natural that Indonesia would also be a closely associated ally; but, under the leadership of Soekarno, the Indonesian Government has developed imperial designs upon the independence of Malaysia, which is comprised of States which he aims at undermining by subversion and what he calls "confrontation"—a term to cover guerrilla attacks upon the lengthy common frontier of Indonesia with Subah and Sarawak: in fact, something just short of war.
My Lords, Malaysia is rich, well-governed and peaceful, while mis-government has reduced Indonesia to something near bankruptcy, staved off only by financial aid from the United States of America. I thought that the noble Lord the Leader of the Liberal Party in this House was a little unfair when he complained of the absence of a suitable amount of aid to Indonesia which might have saved her from going the wrong way, as she seems to have done. The United States has done a great deal for Indonesia, and many other countries 947 have given her friendly help. The appetite of Soekarno has obviously been sharpened by the easy acquiescence of the United Nations in his claims to the overlordship of former Dutch New Guinea, and he hopes to acquire Malaysia under the guise of a Federation which he says will include the Philippines, whose Government, in turn, has given the scheme somewhat hesitating approval in return for promised support of her own shadowy claim to the over-lordship of Subah, as an inheritance of the Sultan of Sulu.
One of the aims of Soekarno is, of course, to expel the British from their important strategic base in Singapore—thereby, incidentally, serving the Communist cause. One is glad that the British Government have firmly supported their friend and Ally, and have promised and given military support until such time as the new Malaysian Federation can defend itself. One should also remember that the people of the constituent States of Malaysia have emphatically endorsed its formation.
The United States Government, after sending Mr. Robert Kennedy to assess the situation, has thrown its influence into the task of persuading Soekarno to withdraw from this adventure. To all those who are familiar with the personal history of Soekarno, there can be no doubt at all that he cannot be trusted to honour any pledge, and that only unflinching resolve and the certainty of defeat can dissuade him from his intention to break the Malaysian Federation in order to gratify his ambitions—and, incidentally, to cover up his own incompetence of administration. One can only give unqualified support to the attitude taken by Her Majesty's Government, and heartily congratulate them on their firm resolve not to yield to the threats of war. The honour of the British Government is involved, and we acknowledge the friendly activities of the United States Government. So much of the peace and stability of South-East Asia depends upon it.
My Lords, to turn to Cyprus, the history of this beautiful but unhappy land is too well known to your Lordships for me to need to recapitulate it. The present position of crisis has been precipitated by the action of Archbishop Makarios in seeking to amend the Constitution 948 so as to eliminate the rights and guarantees which all parties, including Makarios, signed and agreed to in 1959. But this power-hungry prelate is anxious to be in sole, unqualified control of the island so that he can reduce the Turkish minority to the position of helots, or, alternatively, force them all to leave the island which is their home and where all their interests and possessions are.
There can be no question that the Greek Cypriots are responsible for the present bitter personal hatred which has provoked Turkish reprisals. After all, the Turkish Cypriots are outnumbered four to one, and the stories—only too true—of the brutal and inhuman massacre of Turkish men, women and children by Greek Cypriots are enough to account for the Turkish Government's determination, if need be, to exercise their rights under the present Constitution and, again if need be, to send troops to protect their kinsmen. One must remember that the Greek Cypriots control the Press, the wireless and all normal means of publicity, so one hears only their version, which steadfastly accuses Turkish Cypriots of starting the trouble—a story which is very hard to believe.
Makarios, my Lords, controls Church and State, and the standards of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus are those of medieval Europe. Its hold on the people is that of landlord and priest, and if unfettered political sway is added to that, any sort of tolerable human life for the Turkish Cypriot will become impossible, and any recognisable personal liberty for even the Greek Cypriot—the working classes, at any rate—will cease to exist. One should also never forget that Cyprus in hostile hands—say, Communist hands—would make Turkey's position extremely vulnerable. I need not go into details about that; it is self-evident. Cyprus, after all, is only 40 miles away from the Turkish mainland, and it covers their southern ports.
One welcomes the sympathetic appreciation of the American Government's representative, Mr. Ball, and the generous tribute he paid to British troops for their competence, courage, patience and restraint. The hope of peace in Cyprus is still impeded by Archbishop Makarios and one can reasonably recall what he said in church 949 in 1953 when his immediate hope was to get rid of British control. He said:We shall accept support from every hand, even dirty hands.In other words, his aim of unfettered tyranny, in his view, justified any means to achieve it. The Communists, of course, are willing to use him for their own purposes, just as he hopes to be able to use them. It may come out in the end that he will find he has been taken for a ride on a tiger.
May I turn now to Africa and Southern Rhodesia. That great man Abraham Lincoln is everywhere quoted in what he said about government of the people, by the people and for the people. He was speaking in a simpler age than this and probably had in mind a people in whom the belief in personal liberty was fundamental. Some of the other things he said are memorable, too:Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.And, again:With malice towards none; with charity for all; with firmness to do the right, as God gives us to see the right.The relevance of this is that it surely cannot be right, in the face of recent events over much of Africa, to abandon the achievements and progress of 60 years to the same chaos which threatens many recently independent States.
The murderous chaos in the Congo, the massacres of Rwanda, the need to call in British troops elsewhere to restore law and order, are warning signals for Southern Rhodesia. If the will is there on both sides of the table it must be possible to reach a sensible conclusion that will allow time for majority rule to become efficient as well as effective, and on those terms to grant immediate independence to Southern Rhodesia, which I think is the most dignified and honourable course for Her Majesty's Government to adopt. Full independence, incidentally, would also carry the advantage—and no mean one—of freedom from becoming a political issue in this country. The present Constitution could apparently lead to majority African rule, or African political predominance, in any case, in 12 or 15 years if they took advantage of its provisions. That surely, is a short enough time in all conscience.
950 Under deference to the sometimes biased, sometimes ignorant, and sometimes both, opinions and wishes of other nations we find ourselves rendered inactive and performing what is really a paraphrase of the old line: "Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would'." As I look at the international situation and the condition of interdependence of all nations I am increasingly impressed with the examples of indecision, the creeping paralysis which results from the absence of a common standard of values and from conflicting fundamental beliefs. The fear of international political repercussions puts a premium on inaction. We wait for Destiny to make a decision until Destiny imposes on indecision its inevitable penalty of failure.
It is not only in Africa that fetishism is rampant. The fetish worship of "One man, one vote" has infected our own judgment. Liberty will not grow on any soil; the ground has first to be conditioned before this sensitive plant will grow. In so many cases to-day liberty is the last thing that his country's independence has brought to the common man who has been beguiled by promises of a Utopia in which men may reap where they have not sown. Bernard Shaw, in one of his cynical statements, said:Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.There is nothing wrong with democracy in its right setting, and that implies a responsible and educated electorate which believes in personal liberty. But to take the machinery of Western democracy and sell it to a people whose traditions and standards are alien to its principles is bound, as we have seen, to achieve very strange results. That, my Lords, is the lesson that the international situation conveys to me. There is no such thing as a homogeneous standard of values covering all races; so peace on earth must depend on some power that can by control of force ban settlement by force and insist on settlement of differences by reason and compromise. The morale, of course, is that the closest co-operation with the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is of vital importance to us.
There are three encouraging things in the international situation: the firm and courteous emphasis laid by the 951 Prime Minister on our position and what we stand for; the speed, efficiency and success of the co-operation of our Fighting Services all over the world in maintaining law and order; and the refreshingly cool breeze of the Prime Minister's appreciation of the facts of life after the enervating hot air of "the wind of change".
In conclusion, may I remind your Lordships that town planning has been called the science of the second-best because one can never get a clean slate to start with; existing conditions deny the possibility of perfection. I suggest that this qualification of idealism applies with overwhelming force to international affairs. But it need not paralyse us completely and frustrate all efforts to better the lot of man by making a few decisions. There is still room, there is still need, for courage and decision: and that, my Lords, is the lesson the common man draws from contemplating the international scene to-day.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, I was very pleased to hear the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, saying a word for the Turks in Cyprus; but I was rather surprised that, so far as I remember, the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, criticised the Turkish minority in Cyprus for demanding all their rights. If you are a minority of only 20 per cent. of the population, obviously you hang on to your rights. On the other hand, I agree to a certain extent with the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, that the Cyprus Constitution has become unworkable. Apart from other amendments, I understand that President Makarios is demanding that all Bills in the Cyprus Assembly should be decided by a simple majority. Of course, if that were the case, the Turkish minority would be completely disfranchised. So we cannot blame the Turks for being extremely worried.
What it all boils down to, I feel, is that the trouble in Cyprus has been engineered from outside. I think that the Cypriot Communist Party are responsible for all the trouble and that probably they have had directions from outside. The object, of course, is to undermine the NATO Alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean and to make Turkey think that she cannot rely on 952 her Western friends. It is of course a tragedy that we have not been able to resolve the crisis. I feel that the Commonwealth should have a Commonwealth force—rather like the United Nations force we are trying to have—which we could move to any part of the Commonwealth in an emergency. It would be far more satisfactory to resolve the problems of the Commonwealth by means of a Commonwealth force. But, of course, we have no such organisation.
I presume that we are now going to have a United Nations force in Cyprus. We shall have to give this force every support in our power. I can only hope that, if they go to Cyprus, the United Nations will have more success than they have had in the Congo and in other operations. But I fear, because President Makarios (though I do not know him personally) is a very shrewd man, that once the United Nations are brought in, with all the lobbying and so on, everything will become extremely involved and in the end probably President Makarios will get his own way. In the end, probably the best solution—though from the point of view of humanity it is extremely cruel—is for the Turkish minority, which numbers about 100,000, to be taken back to Turkey. Of course, it is easy to say that. It would be appalling for the Turks to be uprooted from their homes. But, in the end, that would probably be the best solution.
One or two noble Lords have spoken about Africa and I should like to say something about that continent. I was extremely heartened to hear the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth. I do not know whether I am going more Left or if he is going more Right, but I agreed with everything he said. The last time I spoke on foreign affairs in your Lordships' House, a year ago, I pointed out that in Africa we were going to have more upheavals and that trouble was going to increase. Of course, that has been so. One of the causes is that both Russia and China now realise that they cannot have an all-out nuclear war, and they are therefore going to concentrate on subversion through the back door, so to speak. In the underdeveloped countries and the newly independent countries, we are going to have an appalling lot of trouble.
953 Some people have the opinion that Soviet Russia is now playing down subversion, but I do not agree with that at all. I think that we shall find that she is increasing her subversive activity. I was rather surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, thought that if China and Russia were divided, it would be more dangerous than having them united. I was unable to follow his line of reasoning there. As they now realise—and I think even China realises—that we cannot have an all-out nuclear war, we shall probably have a rapprochement between Russia and China in the future. I do not think that we in this country and the Free World generally realise the extent of subversion to which the Communists will go. It is so difficult for us. We abide by the law and all the international legal conventions. It is extremely difficult to fight Communist subversion legally. They can steal a march on us every time. So I think that in our diplomacy in regard to subversion, we shall have to be perhaps not quite so gentlemanly as is the West's custom.
I was very pleased to hear my noble Leader Lord Carrington say that we were going to take an interest in the United Nations Trade Conference, which is to take place in Geneva next month, because I believe that the Free World must do everything it can to help the underdeveloped countries with expert advice, investment, and in every possible way. We are often abused by countries that we help, but we must not mind that: it is understandable that if you give a man charity it often gives him a chip on his shoulder and he may abuse you. We have to be tactful about it, but I feel it is important, because our only chance of arresting Communism, short of war (which we cannot have) is to raise the standards of the underdeveloped countries.
The Prime Minister said, as we have heard quoted, that he prefers a fat Communist to a thin one. When it comes to trade and helping the Communist countries, I am not quite so sure about this. Take Cuba, for instance: we are going to send these buses to Cuba, and that is quite legitimate trade. But through Cuba to South America you are going to have great 954 subversion, and Cuba is a tremendous thorn in the side of our Ally, America. We have to make the choice, either that Cuba shall be starved out, or we shall trade with her and hope that in time the régime there will become milder and more like say, that of Yugoslavia, and perhaps mend its ways. But we shall have to take a great gamble in this respect. It is obvious that Cuba is an expensive satellite for Soviet Russia. I have no idea how much it costs Soviet Russia, but it must be a fortune annually; and Soviet Russia at the moment is in a bad way economically. If nobody helped Cuba, it is possible that Soviet Russia might get tired of supporting her and leave her in the lurch. I do not agree that we ought not to trade with Cuba, particularly, but I put forward those two points of view upon which the Free World has to decide.
When we come to trade with Russia herself, here, again, I am all for every form of connection with Russia, including cultural connections and the exchange of thousands of tourists, because the more ordinary people get to know each other the more difficult it is for Governments to make them dislike each other. But, here again, I am rather disturbed by some of Mr. Khrushchev's statements. At the present time he is anxious to have economic help from the West because, as I have said, Russia is in rather an economic muddle and she requires a great deal of capital for new factories and industries. If my memory is right, in December last Mr. Khrushchev made a very anti-West speech. He did not say again that he was going to bury us, but he did say that decadent capitalism would have to be destroyed by the Communist bloc, and all that sort of nonsense. I am frightened that if the West helps Russia economically, it may make Soviet Communism more arrogant. It will obviously make them more powerful; and are they likely to use that power to "put down" the Free World? Here, again, it is a complete gamble. I have no idea which course should be taken, but I think it is most necessary to bear these points in mind.
I was astounded when the noble Lord, Lord Rea, said that disarmament should start at home: in other words, that we ought to disarm before anybody else. 955 We tried that after the First World War, and look what happened! Fortunately, with our present Prime Minister, the nation can rest assured as regards its military safety, which could hardly be in better hands. Also I cannot believe that the Party opposite would throw away the nuclear deterrent just like that.
I will end by saying that it would help towards the stability of the world if only we could bring the Commonwealth more together. I have often wondered whether it would be possible—I do not suppose it is—to have some sort of wide rules of conduct for membership of the Commonwealth, in order that we could be a great power for good in the world. The United Nations must in the end come to be the supreme body, but I fear that this will take a long time; and if only our Commonwealth could really combine, and in this way back up the United Nations, I feel that we might get somewhere.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I will intervene only briefly in this debate, and I would ask your Lordships to bring your minds back once more to Africa. I was glad that the noble Viscount who has just sat down made mention of Africa and its importance in the world scene and its effect on world peace, although I would not go so far as he did in attributing all the difficulties that are arising and may arise in Africa to Communist subversion. Of course, the Communists will make such use as they can of the difficulties that exist, but I think we should be deceiving ourselves in a dangerous manner if we believed that these difficulties stem solely from Communism. If there were no such thing as Communism in the world, if Russia and China were wiped off the face of the world, there would still be very serious problems in Africa which we should have to face.
At the risk of simplifying the problems, I would say there are two. One is the conflict among Africans themselves in the newly independent countries. For many years now most of the Africans in these countries have been united against the colonial Powers, in an effort to get rid of the colonial Powers. Now that in most instances they have achieved their ambition, it does not mean to say that they are going 956 to be united in building up their new countries. They will not be united—of course they will not—any more than other countries are completely united. There will be frictions and antagonisms. They will take, and are taking, the form which is highly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. The result of that, as we have seen, is that some of these African countries have turned to a form of one-Party Government with ruthless suppression of the Opposition. Others, as in East Africa, even in the earliest weeks of their independence, have had to call in the aid of this country.
In one other, the Congo, in spite of the presence of the United Nations troops—to whom, I think, many noble Lords who have spoken have not given half enough credit—there has been bloodshed of the most appalling kind. But without the United Nations troops there, it would have been infinitely worse. Let us not forget that in June of this year United Nations troops will be withdrawn. What is going to happen then cannot fill any of us with equanimity or pleasure. So I suggest that Her Majesty's Government should give far more serious thought than they appear to be giving at the present time to these general problems of African conflicts within African countries and, in particular, the far more serious situation that is going to arise in the Congo when United Nations troops are withdrawn. I hope the noble Earl, when he replies, will perhaps be able to say something which may reassure us on this point.
The second point also concerns Africa. The conflicts there are not solely between Africans. There is also the conflict—we must not blink the fact—between black and white, between the Africans and the Europeans. Although in Central and North Africa that fight, which has been waged in one form or another over many years, has now been won, there is one area in Africa where it is still going on, and that is the area of South Africa, with Portuguese East and West Africa on either side, with the self-governing Colony of Southern Rhodesia placed in between, and, to the North of that, black Africa. Those two forces are to-day on a collision course, and it is very difficult to see what can be done to avoid a clash. When that clash takes place, it may well 957 involve the whole world. It is, in my view, the most serious situation which will confront us within the next three or four years, or possibly earlier. Serious as are all the problems in other countries—Cyprus, Malaysia, the Caribbean and elsewhere—I believe that unless we take thought and action within the next six months there will be nothing that can avoid a conflict there. But it is not at this stage inevitable. It can be avoided if the right action is taken.
Let us not forget that with regard to Angola and Mozambique, the Portuguese Colonies, we are on friendly terms with the Portuguese Government who, as many people often remind us, are our oldest Allies. Surely we can have some influence with them, if not on any grounds of morality, if not in the hope of preventing them or restraining the form of oppression which exists there—I am not saying it does not exist in other parts of Africa—if not for those reasons, at least to avoid the inevitable destruction of so many Portuguese when the time does come, and to avoid the inevitable loss of wealth and a repetition of what is going on to-day in the Congo. Surely we can exert some influence there.
So far as South Africa is concerned, I do not think we can exert any influence whatsoever upon the present Government of South Africa, but on the people of South Africa, the Europeans in South Africa—the majority of them good and decent people, not ingrained racialists, not people, as some of the other African people are, whom during the war we had to put into detention because of their Nazi sympathies. I am not talking about those people, but about the others. As I say, the majority of people in South Africa are fine and decent, and I hope we can still have some influence there. Even if we have not, let us not forget this problem, which will arise within the next nine months, of South-West Africa, the disputed territories at present being adjudicated upon by the World Court. When the judgment is handed down—and I think most people have a pretty good idea of what it is going to be—then there will be a real risk of the flash point having been reached.
We should now be giving the very closest attention to what is going on there. We should be studying it with 958 the greatest care, and have our best and most intelligent brains in the Foreign Office and in our other Departments of State concerned with these places giving their attention to this. We should be co-operating very closely indeed, not only with the United Nations as a whole, not only with the Scandinavian Prime Ministers, who took such initiative in September in this matter, but with the Americans, who have a very great interest indeed, and are getting greatly exercised over it, because we want our influence on these things. If we say that they are not at this stage important, and that we have many crises which we must deal with right now, then we shall be overtaken by events, the collision course will be set, and it will be impossible to avoid a head-on clash. But there is only just time, and it will be to a large extent a measure of the ability of the present Government to discharge their duties properly if they are able to avoid what at this moment looks like being one of the most dangerous and explosive situations that the world will have faced since the end of the war.
I apologise that an engagement for which I cannot be late will make it impossible for me to remain to the end of the debate. I can only say to my noble friend who will speak next, and to the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, that I shall read with great interest what they have to say, and I apologise to the House for having to leave shortly.
§ 6.58 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, I would detain the House very briefly at this hour—in fact I do not generally do so. My noble friend Lord Henderson opened this debate, as he always does, in a quiet, well-informed and objective speech, and he was followed by other speakers on the same line; the noble Lord the Leader of the House, my noble friend Lord Listowel, and others. That is how I should like to have foreign affairs dealt with. It has always been my desire that foreign affairs should be as far as possible above the Party battle. Now and again there are great issues, as we had in the time of Neville Chamberlain, where there is acute division, but, broadly speaking, it is best if you can keep foreign affairs out of Party controversy. That is our hope. 959 In this debate there has been only one exception—the strident Party note which was struck at once by the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich. Of course, he is in a difficult position; he is working his way back. I gather that he is even hoping to get a constituency, and he naturally must try to take the Party line.
I think it is unfortunate that the Prime Minister has also struck that note. We know that the Prime Minister has said, with great frankness, that everything said and done by the present Government must have reference to the next General Election. The other day he made a speech in which he tied himself as closely as possible to faith in the independent deterrent. I notice that this was followed up by an official publication, and the line is clearly to be the line so well put by the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich: that this Party here is indifferent to the defence of the country, and they hope to strike a note, to sound the big drum against all that. Yet I have never found anybody who will tell me the occasion when an independent nuclear deterrent would be used by this country acting alone, apart from the United States of America. We are not told against whom it would be used or how it would be used.
In fact another reason is given for it, and it is a rather disturbing reason. The Prime Minister seems to feel that unless he has, so to speak, an atomic bomb in his hand, he cannot speak with sufficient force. I entirely deny that proposition. In my time, when I was Prime Minister, I and Mr. Bevin had to go across and talk with President Truman. Neither of us felt inferior because we did not at that time possess atomic bombs. We did not think that this country's influence depended solely on weapons. We were conscious of other things, of great traditions and of great experience, and we were conscious, too, when we went there, that we were not only a little Britain, but a Britain the centre and leading State of a great worldwide Commonwealth. Therefore, I regret very much this kind of inferiority attitude.
I can understand it, of course. Unfortunately, the Government, which for a year was begging and praying our late enemies and friends whom we 960 rescued to take us at all costs into their Continental organisation the Common Market, naturally lost a good deal of feeling of confidence, and they do not speak with any great confidence now. Therefore they want to say: "Ah, we have this powerful weapon". I think that is all wrong. I do not think that the influence of this country depends on the possession or non-possession of a particular weapon. In fact, in the modern world the belief that you can obtain great influence just by these weapons is, I think, foolish and suicidal. Our one hope for the world must be that we get rid of these nuclear weapons altogether and, I hope, of national armaments altogether.
I should like to make one other point: that is, I wish that in these days our Governments called the Commonwealth Prime Ministers together more frequently. When I was Prime Minister I had a good many meetings attended by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, including those of the newly freed Asiatic countries, India, Pakistan and Ceylon. It was very good for all of us. Both sides—if I may call them sides, because we were all equal—all the peoples, Asian, European, Australian, New Zealand, and the rest, learnt from the other's point of view. And, with these emerging communities with inexperienced young Prime Ministers and younger Governments, I am sure it would have been well worth while if there had been meetings here in London of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers. They would then have learned the meaning of the Commonwealth; they would then have realised what I remember Mr. Peter Fraser telling some of our Asiatic friends:Remember that being in the Commonwealth is not a deprivation of freedom; it is freedom plus".Therefore, I wish that we had had greater discussions among the Commonwealth people.
There is a natural desire for independence when these countries first get free, but they have many common problems, and I do not think at present, particularly in Africa, there is sufficient contact between the Prime Ministers of the newly emerging countries. Tributes have been paid to Mr. Nyerere, who is, I think, a very wise man, and the more the others can get in and learn, the better. 961 Then there is Malaysia, with its difficulties; and there, I think, they are throwing up leaders well worth while. Many of these problems are common to these new countries as they are to the old.
We have had considerable discussions on Cyprus, a very difficult problem. In that island there is a minority of some 100,000 Turks. But, you know, that is only one of the problems in a world of minorities. We did not notice it in the old imperial days because we ruled people, as we thought, for their own good, and we did not consider these difficulties very much. As soon as freedom is granted, you find that there are old tribal jealousies, old difficulties between countries where at one time one tribe governed the other; and they have all to learn the lesson of toleration. Field Marshal Smuts used to say: "The English are the only tolerant people in the world". He did not say the Scots or the Welsh; it is the English. We put up with the Scots and the Welsh. We have had more Scots and Welsh Prime Ministers in the last fifty years than we have had English. I have been one of the few English Prime Ministers. We do not seem to mind. A bit of learning of the tolerance in this island would be good for many of these new countries, because toleration is civilisation's only hope in the world.
I do not want to detain your Lordships at great length, but we are seeing some very interesting things to-day, particularly in the work that is being done by our soldiers and soldiers of the Commonwealth in keeping the peace in very difficult circumstances. I agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, that a Commonwealth Force of this kind would be very useful. I look beyond that, too, for hope in the future of a United Nations Force. In fact, coming over in a fortnight's time is Mr. Per Haekkerup, the Foreign Secretary of Denmark, who is lecturing on that very subject. Many of us think that the only way out is the total abolition of national armaments and the creation of a World Force. I hope that we are going to see it. I shall not see it; but I hope that younger noble Lords will see the emergence of that force.
962 Meanwhile, in present circumstances it would be a great example if we could have a Commonwealth force available for occasions like this. I remember that at the time of the Korean trouble we set an example by having a Commonwealth Division: and it did splendid work in Korea. The Commonwealth can often pioneer the way for the world. I believe, looking around the world to-day—and there have been admirable speeches on many of the troubled quarters of the world—we can look particularly to the British Commonwealth for hopeful signs of co-operation between men and women of different nations, different civilisations, different religions, different backgrounds, who yet manage to co-operate. It is this example of co-operation I see in the Commonwealth, and that is why I wish that our present Government had done more during the last few years to pull the Commonwealth together.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF DUNDEE)
My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, began his speech by saying that he felt that foreign affairs ought to be above Party, and I was therefore a little sorry that the noble Earl immediately proceeded to launch a strong attack upon the Government's policy of keeping an independent British nuclear deterrent. I would assure your Lordships, as I think the Prime Minister said the other night, that it is not we on this side who wish to make a Party issue of this matter. We do not want to do it at all. If our opponents put forward a proposal to abandon our independent nuclear deterrent, and if we believe that that is an unwise proposal, contrary to our own interests, and to the interests of the world, we are bound to say so.
I would only ask the noble Earl, and the noble Lord, Lord Rea, who also raised this matter, to think of one question. I do not suppose their answer would be the same answer as the one which I would give. I would only implore them to reflect upon this. Do they really think that the chances of the United States and Soviet Russia arriving at a final agreement to abandon nuclear weapons and to proceed with nuclear disarmament would be greater than it is 963 now if Britain were to abandon her nuclear deterrent?
§ EARL ATTLEE
Can the noble Earl give an example of the kind of occasion on which a nuclear weapon of this kind could be used, or is useful for Britain? We have not had it yet.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
That is an entirely hypothetical question, and if the noble Earl wants to pursue that argument I would reply by asking: would Russia be more effectively deterred from making a nuclear attack if only America had the deterrent and not Britain? Is it not possible that Russia might miscalculate the reaction of America to a nuclear attack on us? But the reason I was giving was this: that I believe and we believe that our influence in the endeavour to achieve nuclear disarmament in this world is worth keeping. We believe that however anxious Russia and America may be to arrive at an agreement for disarmament, there will be more chance of their getting not only, as they have got, the Test Ban, but final disarmament agreement if Britain is at the conference table. It is not a question of our being, as the noble Earl put it, a great central leading country; it is not a question of pride or national vanity: it is a question of what we think is going to be best for the future of the world and for the cause of peace.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in opening this debate, did so in a speech in which I found a great deal to admire and hardly anything to disagree with. He rightly began by expatiating upon the two perhaps most urgent and topical matters which are now concerning us in foreign affairs, the question of Cyprus and the question of Malaysia. I think the Government's attitude and policy upon those two main questions has been sufficiently and fully stated by my noble friend the Leader of the House. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, then went on to say something about East-West relations, and disarmament, on which I should like to say a brief word or two, since, though not perhaps a cause of crisis at the moment, they are of equal importance to all of us. But first I should like briefly to thank all of your Lordships who have taken part in the debate, which I think has been a very reasonable and objective discussion.
964 The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, asked a number of questions about Africa, as did the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. If I understood him rightly, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, was inclined to be critical of the Prime Minister in his observations about Africa, because he attributed to the Prime Minister the belief that Communism was responsible for the troubles with which certain African States are now afflicted; and the noble Earl took some pains to show that the recent military mutinies in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika had not been, at least primarily, instigated by Communist intrigue. In this I think the noble Earl was right. He was probably equally right in what he said about the rather different state of affairs prevailing in Zanzibar. But I think that all the Prime Minister said about this was to call attention to the remarks of Chou En-lai at the end of his African tour, when he stated as his great conclusion that Africa was ripe for revolution; and I think the object of the Prime Minister was not to suggest that the revolution was caused by Chinese or Communist influence but to show how much Communist friendship was worth to Africa, since that was all they were interested in.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, may I intervene? What I referred to had nothing whatever to do with the Prime Minister's comment on Chou En-lai's position. I was referring to a comment he made in a television interview. I do not want to interrupt the noble Earl. Perhaps he would be good enough to look it up.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I do not think the Prime Minister would have suggested that the military mutinies in Tanganyika and Uganda were mainly or primarily due to Communist influence. But the noble Earl will probably agree that whenever anything like that happens, or there is a chance of anything like that happening, the Communists, who are very active in their propaganda and subversive activities, are the first to take advantage of it and benefit from it.
The noble Earl also asked whether we were doing anything about the horrible massacres which shocked world opinion so much in Rwanda a month or two ago, in which many thousands of 965 the Tutsi tribe were slaughtered in an operation which has rightly been described as an exercise in genocide. Our Ambassador has told the Rwanda Government that we deplore the massacres, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations has also been made aware of the deep concern which is felt in this country. The Secretary-General's personal representative, M. Dorsiville, is now visiting Rwanda and Burundi for the second time. The Rwanda Government gave formal assurances to him at the end of December that local authorities have been instructed to do their utmost to avoid abuses and to calm the population, and the Burundi Government, where most of the Tutsi reside, assured him that it would do its best to expel these agitators among the Tutsi in Burundi who had worked to arrange the raids on Rwanda against which it is thought these massacres may have been reprisals. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has allocated some £35,000 as emergency aid to the refugees in Uganda and in Burundi who have recently come from Rwanda, and he is looking into the possibility of the permanent resettlement of these Tutsi refugees in Burundi.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, before the noble Earl passes from that topic can he say (he has not referred to this) whether the Government will at any rate consider making a financial contribution towards the maintenance of these refugees, either through the High Commissioner for Refugees working through the United Nations, or by helping some of the Governments who are helping these refugees?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I am not sure whether we have not already done so automatically, but I will certainly take note of this point, and I am sure that it will be our desire to contribute our share to anything that the United Nations does in this regard.
I was going, if he will allow me to do so, to say how much I agreed with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth. He also said that foreign affairs were not a fit subject for needless Party conflict or needless Party speeches. I go even a little further than the noble Lord, and say that I do 966 not think that any subject is fit for needless Party conflict or needless Party speeches, although one is not always spared them. I also agreed with him when he said that he felt he ought to put a little emphasis on the fact that Britain was sometimes right in foreign affairs. I liked, too, what he said about nationalism and the growth of nationalism. We all agree, I think, that patriotism is a great and fine virtue. Nationalism does not mean quite the same thing. I think it is a tragedy that, at a time when interdependence of all peoples and nations is becoming so much greater in this 20th century than it has ever been before in history, a narrow, xenophobic nationalism should be so deplorably on the increase. His only criticism of the Government was a rather curious one, in defending the American attitude on Cuba. I am sure we all understand how they feel about it, and I think it ought to be said, and I am glad that the noble Lord said it.
As for the Prime Minister's remark about fat Communists, I do not think the noble Lord was quite correct in saying that we took a different line in 1924. I have an idea that this picture of the bearded Russian at the Election he was talking about was probably nothing to do either with the corpulence or with the spareness of any Communist figure, but was more likely to have been concerned with the Zinoviev Letter, which the noble Lord may remember had something to do with the Election at that time. I also greatly liked what he said to the noble Lord, Lord Rea, about tempting aggressive countries. But I have already said all that I want to say about that, in my opening remarks in reply to the noble Earl who wound up for the Opposition.
I think it was yesterday in another place, when the Prime Minister was asked about Ministerial scriptwriters—about departmental speeches being written by officials—that he pointed out to another place that any member of the Opposition could avail himself of exactly the same facilities as were enjoyed by a Minister from any Government Department in the way of being supplied with material for speeches. I would never suggest for one moment—in fact I know it is not the case—that 967 the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, does not write his own speeches; I think he does. But I felt that if he had taken advantage of this facility and asked for a brief from the Foreign Office, it would have been almost verbally identical with everything the noble Lord said.
The noble Lord, Lord Rea, and I think also the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, spoke of the need for helping underdeveloped countries. We are all agreed about that. We all want to do more, both multilaterally and unilaterally, and it is to our interest, and we think to the interest of the Communist countries, too, that we should, if possible, combine in doing it. When he was in Canada a few weeks ago the Prime Minister made a speech in which he suggested that one way in which we might try to improve relations between the Iron Curtain countries and ourselves would be to have a combined effort in supplying new and much-needed capital for these underdeveloped countries.
I think the most interesting recent development in Europe, at the Western European Union a few weeks ago, which was taken on our initiative, was the agreement reached to study the possibilities of co-ordinating the efforts of the Six and ourselves—that is, the Seven who form W.E.U.—in Latin America. Of course, the object of that is not to launch any kind of European initiative to interfere in the affairs of Latin American countries; nor is it an attempt to rival the United States programme of aid to Latin America under the Alliance for Progress. Our object is simply to help the Governments who are most active in providing assistance of all kinds to Latin America and in developing friendly relations with the Governments of that area to pursue these ends more effectively by common or co-ordinated action than they can do by their individual efforts. The initiative for this experiment in international co-operation was taken by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. We hope that it will not only bring useful results in itself but also point the way to similar attempts to develop common policies towards other parts of the world.
I should like to assure the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that our preoccupations with immediate crises have not in any 968 way distracted us from the vital task of working for a further improvement in East-West relations, and this policy was quite clearly expressed in the joint communiqué issued at the end of the Prime Minister's recent talks with President Johnson. It is in accordance with this policy that the British Government have expressed readiness to give more consideration to the idea which Mr. Khruslichev put forward in his New Year Message to Heads of Government, that agreement should be concluded on the peaceful settlement of territorial disputes. The Prime Minister pointed out in his reply that, although there were a number of shortcomings in the proposal as it stood, he wished to do what he could to follow it up. We are seeking agreements which will contribute effectively to this end. We are not interested in pious aspirations. If an agreement, as Mr. Khruschev suggested, banning force in settling territorial problems is to be concluded, we think that it ought to cover all territorial disputes; it ought to prohibit all aggressive activities across frontiers, including subversion and the clandestine supply of arms. It ought to contribute to the solution of such problems as Berlin and ought to have machinery to see that its provisions are observed.
When the Disarmament Conference was reconvened on January 21 in Geneva, the main feature at the opening session was the message from President Johnson outlining the areas in which progress should be possible in the immediate future. Our Government warmly welcomed this message. We hope that it will give a new stimulus to the Conference and that it will lead to a year of progress in the disarmament field. We are very ready to explore the proposals that President Johnson has made. The Russian representative also tabled a memorandum on measures to reduce international tension, and, although it may not contain very many new ideas, we hope that some of them may lead to progress; and we shall naturally consider them very carefully. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary is going to Geneva, and will address the Conference on February 25, Tuesday of next week. His intention is to familiarise himself with the work of the Conference at first hand and his 969 visit will, I think, serve to underline the great importance which the British Government attach to making further progress in the disarmament field.
One measure upon which we should particularly like to make progress is the establishment of observation posts over the NATO and Warsaw Pact areas to reduce the risk of surprise attack. I think an agreement of that sort would be in the interests of both East and West. Although the Russians are anxious to link it with more complex and sometimes unacceptable measures, it seems to us that the establishment of a system of observation posts would be of such value in itself, and so much in the interests of all the participants in building up international confidence, that we ought to persevere, for its own sake, in pressing for agreement on it. We have also undertaken in the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to try to extend it to cover underground nuclear tests, which is an important objective of our policy. We must, of course, try to get agreement on the effective verification of some of the underground events which existing techniques cannot positively identify as earthquakes or as nuclear explosions. We have affirmed our own readiness to take part in scientific discussions on the capability of a system of detecting and identifying underground seismic events.
But the ultimate objective, of course, is agreement on general and complete disarmament, and, although this may be remote, it should never be out of our minds. It is here the detailed discussions and working groups which we have suggested in Geneva should be of most use. Some of your Lordships have raised the question—it was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson—of a permanent United Nations peace force. He will remember that that was part of the proposals which the Commonwealth Conference of 1961 agreed to. That draft paper, better than any other document I know, represents the Government's views on disarmament. We agreed later in the year, in September, to the United States draft proposals, which I think in all respects were substantially similar to those of the Commonwealth and which were accepted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. I think 970 this agreed basis for the Western Powers is the right basis from which to start our negotiations. It seems to us that two years of discussion at Geneva have shown that it is more realistic than any rival, alternative plan.
We cannot, of course, tell with certainty how soon, if ever, real disarmament will be reached. It is only a few years ago that Russia as well as all the other Iron Curtain countries was patently insincere in everything they said about disarmament. They had no intention of doing anything practical. They used Disarmament Conference discussions purely for propaganda purposes, in order to gain what diplomatic or political advantages they could get out of them. It was a very frustrating and hopeless state of affairs. It is only within the last two or three years that we have seen what we hope is the beginning of a change in their attitude. Perhaps one of the most important factors in the change was the discovery at the end of 1962 in the Cuba crisis that threats of force in a world of nuclear arms are not likely to be successful or to gain the desired result.
But, of course, we do not know yet whether there has been a unanimous change of view among the rulers of Russia, or only among some of them. We do not know whether it will take a long time or a short time to achieve real practical progress. All we do know is that it will not be achieved without determined and tolerant perseverance on the part of the United States and ourselves. I can assure your Lordships that we intend to persevere, and shall neither be deluded by false hopes nor discouraged by obstruction and delay.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, before the noble Earl concludes, may I say that I gave the Government notice that I intended to raise the question of the recognition of Zanzibar. Has the noble Earl a chit somewhere dealing with that topic?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I can say something about that. We are in consultation with other Commonwealth countries, and other countries too, who may recognise the new Government of Zanzibar. We should like a little more time before we make any further announcement about it. I had 971 done my best to get a more definite answer for the noble Earl before the end of the debate, but, since he has pressed me to give an answer, I am afraid that is all I can say at the present time. We are in consultation with our friends about this matter, and we appreciate the arguments which the noble Earl has put forward.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, perhaps the noble Earl will allow me to put down a Starred Question during the next week, which will enable the Government to give a reply in one sense or another.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
I think that would be very much better, because certain factual events which may govern the decision will probably be a little more clear next week than they are now.
§ 7.41 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I have risen to ask leave to withdraw my Motion, but before I do so I should like to convey to the noble Earl and to the House the apologies of my noble friend Lord Attlee, who had to leave to catch a train. He asked me specially to express his regrets. Also, I want to thank the noble Earl for the way in which he has replied to the speeches which have been delivered. He is always very good in taking the points that have been raised and seeing that he gives an answer—I will not say a satisfactory answer, but an answer. I should also like to thank the ten speakers, apart from the two Ministers, who have taken part in this debate. We are always glad to have the active intervention of the Ministers—it is their responsibility—but it is also good that so many Members of the House took part in the debate. As the noble Earl has said, it has been a very good debate, covering a wide range of the world's problems, and I think it has been conducted on a very reasonable and responsible level. Having said that, 972 my Lords, I ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.