War Situation.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 25th February 1942.

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Photo of Sir Edward Campbell Sir Edward Campbell , Bromley

There have been a great number of speeches about Malaya, Burma and the Far East, and I would like to say, for the benefit of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sloan), who seems to be particularly unknowledgable on the subject, that those of us who have been interested most of our lives in the Far East and in that part of the world are to-day suffering a great deal more than a Socialist capital levy. I mention that because I am sure it will please him. Other hon. Members have mentioned the fact that the natives in Burma, in the Malay States, in Singapore and in some parts of the Dutch East Indies have been lukewarm, have not entered into the battle, and indeed seem to be indifferent as to what happens. The fact of the matter is that these people have never been brought up to be warlike men. Nobody wanted a war, nobody tried to militarise all the native populations in case there should be a war, and very few of the natives in any of these Colonies are capable of fighting at all.

In this connection, and in reference to what was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Devonport (Mr. Hare-Belisha), it is not the total number of people on the side of the Allies or on the side of the Axis which counts. That statement is very misleading. The real calculation is how many armed men are on the side of the Allies, and how many are on the side of the Axis. There are millions of men in Europe to-day, many of them soldiers, who are whole-heartedly favourable to the Allies, but they are unarmed and are kept in absolute subjugation by a handful of armed Gestapo. Therefore, the calculation which is so often bandied about to the effect that we have three-quarters or four-fifths of the population of the world on our side, against one-fifth or whatever it may be on the Axis side, had better be washed out entirely.