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

I dare say the hon. Member has more knowledge than I have after 21 years out there. His suggestions are absolutely wrong. No one likes the Japanese less than the Malays, the Chinese or the Javanese. I have had experience of that myself in Java, where the Japanese have bought estates and have brought Javanese coolies down. In six months or a year those coolies have disappeared, not because of the Dutch or British, but because the natives did not like them. And they never will like them. Therefore, I wish to suggest that that viewpoint is entirely wrong.

I will conclude by saying this: We may still have a long time to go in the Far East. Our difficulties are great. I do not blame the Government for the difficult position in which we are to-day. They have been explained, and I accept whole-heartedly the great difficulties which the Government have been in owing to having to keep an Army here, and fight in Libya and other parts of the world. But sooner or later, and the sooner the better, the Japanese will crack. When that time comes, and it is no use saying it is premature to mention that now, I want to ask the Government, before the Peace Pledge Union, before the peace-at-any-price people, before the social and political and sentimental cranks get in first, to bear in mind at that time that we must send an expeditionary force into Japan, and with that expeditionary force there must be natives from Burma, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, so that they may see for themselves what is done in Japan in repayment for what the Japanese have done in their countries, what they have done to the homes of the natives, what they have done in the temples of the natives, what they have done to the peoples in those countries. I want that to sink into the Government now, so they may think over it, discuss it and, when the time comes, do what is necessary.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said that in the last war the Cabinet themselves were surprised that it ended so quickly. We do not know what is going to happen now. It may go on for one year, two years, but when the time comes it is only natural that those cranks, as I call them, who want peace at any price, should get at the Government and for political and other reasons try to get them to say, "Sign a peace. We want peace at any price. We want to get on with the job." I put that to the Government. I do not make any further suggestions as to how it should be done. I do hope that it will be remembered.