§ 2.57 p.m.
Lord ST. OSWALD
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question of which I have given Private Notice:
To ask the Leader of the House whether, in view of the unique and inspiring achievement of the moon landing by the American astronauts and its importance to human history, it would be desirable for this House to convey their admiration to the Senate of the United States of America?
§ Lord SHACKLETON
My Lords, I hope the House will agree that I was justified in allowing this Question on grounds of urgency, and certainly in relation to timeliness. Speaking personally, I very much welcome the noble Lord's suggestion. He and I have both had a great interest in this subject for many years, so he is perhaps not surprised that I should be so much in agreement with him. Strictly speaking, what he proposes would probably best be done by a Motion on the Order Paper. On the 772 other hand, if the House is in general agreement and there is no dissentient voice, I would certainly be willing to make the feeling of the House known by conveying a message to the Vice-President, who is the President of the Senate, to indicate our great admiration for this achievement. And whatever anyone may think about the best way of spending the money, I personally hope that this will be a real and vital unifying force for the whole of humanity.
§ Lord BYERS
My Lords, I am quite sure that my colleagues on these Benches would wish to be associated with the action that the noble Lord has proposed.
My Lords, I am certain that what the noble Lord has suggested would equally meet the feelings of all our colleagues on this side of the House in admiration for an extraordinary technical and extraordinary human performance.
§ Lord SNOW
My Lords, I should like to support this suggestion, if I may, speaking as one whose belief in the future of space exploration is not unqualified. Nevertheless, I suggest that this is probably the most remarkable single technological achievement yet made by man, and also an example, which is more important, of really astonishing and enduring human courage, which helps to make us for once feel proud of belonging to the same species. I hope that this particular pride may give us the courage to attack more mundane problems, such as too little food and too many people.
Lord ST. OSWALD
My Lords, in thanking the noble Lord for his response, which does not take me entirely by surprise, I wonder whether I might add two observations which I did not think appropriate to include in the substantive Question but which I hope will be allowed under the Rules of Order. First, I should like to say how particularly and personally pleasant it is for me to have been able to address this Question to the Leader of the House in the person of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, knowing and sharing with him, as I do, his philosophical and cordial enthusiasm for this kind of endeavour, especially when it is crowned with triumphant success as in this case. Second, the universal nature of 773 the achievement was most beautifully expressed some years ago in certain words themselves a reflection of Zen Buddhism, which I beg leave to repeat:One moon and one only is reflected in all waters,All moons in the water are one with the one moon.
§ Lord SHACKLETON
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Lord. We have gone so far out of order on this occasion, when clearly the House is tolerant in this matter, that I think I should be safe in saying that there will be no dissentient voices. I therefore greatly welcome the noble Lord's initiative. It is not for me to discuss what the future space policy of this country should be, but I noticed yesterday that at the time the astronauts blasted off from the moon a certain Member of Parliament, quite properly called Mr. Moonman, was on his feet in another place. I will certainly convey in the warmest way possible the feelings of your Lordships' House.