War and Peace Aims

– in the House of Commons on 22nd October 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

I desire to raise a matter which I have given notice I would raise and in which other hon. Members on both sides of the House are interested. There is not very much time left and I wish to give sufficient time for a reply by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and for the speeches of other hon. Members who are interested. This matter arose quite unexpectedly out of an answer to a Question. It might not have attracted much attention at the time but for the fact that I gave notice that I would raise it on the Adjournment, and I take full responsibility for that, because, however little notice is taken of the Question at the time, or however little interest is taken in the Debate afterwards, it should never be forgotten that reports of the proceedings of this House are read all over the world and statements made in Debates are broadcast everywhere. The greatest possible error that the Government or the people in the countries of our Allies could commit is to think that this is a war of one or two countries. It is nothing of the sort. It is a war of a large number of countries, with wholly different social systems and often differing points of view, but with a common viewpoint on the most important question of all, the defeat of Nazism and its counterpart in Japan.

The Question was based on the recent utterances of two distinguished Ambassadors. I do not wish, directly or by implication, to attack those utterances, though one was adversely commented upon in a friendly country, perhaps owing to misinterpretation of its purpose. I have no Wish either to attack the Under-Secretary's answer. I only suggest that it needs some clarification. My hon. Friend's position in the Christian world, and I hope I may add mine as a member of the Church of England, and a communicant should be sufficient evidence that we do not seek in any way to diminish the force and fervour of Christian principles, but a very lengthy background of official and unofficial experience of the Middle East and India has taught me the tremendous importance, of having regard to the strength of conviction of men of other religions. My hon. Friend asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of recent pronouncements by His Majesty's Ambassadors to the United States of America and Spain, respectively, when the issues of the war were defined as the establishment of Christian civilisation and Christian brotherhood and, in view of the divergent attitudes to religion held by governments of the United Nations and the fact that millions of Jews, Hindus, Moslems, Rationalists and Atheists are engaged in prosecuting the war, he will indicate to representatives of His Majesty's Government that the war and peace aims of the United Nations should be expressed in the broad and generally accepted terms of the Atlantic Charter and not as the exclusive concern of Christianity or any particular body of religious faith?

I cannot see any objection to that statement of the position. It seems to me that my hon. Friend's words were admirably chosen. This was the Under-Secretary's answer: No, Sir,

which obviously implies a direct negative to my hon. Friend's thesis. It could have no other meaning. He went on: Though the Atlantic Charter remains the authoritative expression of the war aims of His Majesty's Government, I think my hon. Friend would admit that the Charter falls within the broad principles of Christianity, as would I hope, any other aims to which His Majesty's Government subscribe.

I do not understand the last part of the answer. It seems to have no relevance to the main point. My hon. Friend went on to ask: Are we to take it, therefore, that missionaries are no longer required to take Christianity to the other nations who are fighting in this war; and, seeing that we state that the aims of the war are for Christian civilisation, is it not extremely incongruous that the majority who are fighting are not Christians?

The Under-Secretary replied: I do not think that those who are fighting on the side of the Allies, at any rate, would dissent from the proposition that they were righting for principles for which Christian civilisation itself stands."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th October, 1942; cols. 1501–2, Vol. 383.]

I do not want to comment on that reply, except to repeat, at the risk of boring the House, that we have in the British Empire a minority of Christians compared with adherents of other religions—a considerable minority. For example, there are over 100,000,000 Moslem inhabitants in the Empire and vast numbers of Hindus and adherents of other religions. I think, therefore, that the whole trend of my hon. Friend's answer was, I will not say unfortunate, but likely to give rise to misconception.

I would venture, like my hon. Friend the Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) to lay down a thesis and invite the Under-Secretary to say whether he sees anything wrong in it. There are points that should be brought out in this matter, which is a far greater difficulty than people realise. I do not want to comment on the speech of a distinguished statesman recently, but words about the Crusade and about fighting for the Cross do reach the ears of our Moslem fellow subjects. Anyone who has lived, as I have lived, with Moslems as a comrade in arms and shared their food, can realise the strength of their religious convictions. I do not want to explain what appears to be the antithesis between the fact that our Lord is one of the prophets to a devout Moslem and the fact that the Cross is to the Moslem the most appalling emblem of blasphemy that can be imagined. When I was with the Arabs we never had the Red Cross on any of our tents or on our Red Cross implements. We always used the sign of the Crescent, because the Cross is a symbol of blasphemy for the Moslems. They cannot imagine how a God who sent his Son to earth in the guise of a man should suffer him to be crucified. These are delicate matters to refer to, but they should be referred to in Debate. This country is not as religious as it was, but there still remain countries of the East which are deeply religious and where their religious symbols mean to them more than anything else in the world.

I suggest that when leading statesmen of the Allies are dealing with this difficult and delicate question they should do so something on these lines: There is a viewpoint, common to men and women of all religious faiths in the United Nations, which utterly condemns and abhors the daemonic paganism of the German leaders. I think that it goes much further and that there is a burning hatred among men and women of no religious faith but of ethical principles in those same nations against the sadistic barbarism of Germany and Japan alike. I will give an example of that. It is the fact that both the Japanese in occupied China and the Germans in occupied Russia and Poland have again and again created brothels in country districts and small towns where such things were unknown and filled them with the female inhabitants in the country, who have been seized and sent there against their will. That is a cause of the greatest offence and horror, not only to the people who profess the Christian faith in those place, but to people, for example, of the Moslem faith and to people with no religious faith but with a belief in ethical principles.

This is said, very truly, to be a war between conflicting ideals which go to the deepest roots of human aspirations, and therefore I say, in conclusion, that we need to broad-base our appeal to world religious and moral opinion, and not to perch it on the single foundation of any one creed or religion, however much we believe in it and are proud to believe in it. Field-Marshal Smuts, in his address yesterday, used some words to the effect that Hitler was trying to trample on the Cross. I think that the Moslems who are fighting for the British Empire would say that he is also trying to trample on the Crescent, trying to trample on everything that is symbolic of religion and morality and good feeling throughout the world. We shall not defeat him by talking of Christian crusades or even of Christian civilisation; it must be a much more broad-based appeal. In that way we shall destroy this great horror which has come to the earth.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

I appreciate what the noble Lord has said about the content of my own Question which was put some time ago, and I hope that other hon. Members will also appreciate the valiant honesty of the Noble Lord in raising this question and asking us all to address ourselves to what, I am sure, is from more angles than one a very important question indeed. We all take it, as I do myself, that Nazi-ism and Fascism are a philosophy of life, if it can be called that, of a very desperate, cruel and degenerate character, and all of us are looking forward to the time when they will be shattered and the decencies of life will emerge once more and take their place in the hearts and minds of men and women. Yet it is surely a false syllogism to suggest that because Nazi-ism and Fascism are opposed to Christianity, therefore all who are not Nazis or Fascists must be Christians, which is the assumption that so many people make. It is true that the part is in the whole and that the whole is not in the part, and although it can be said that he who is not against us is for us, surely that does not mean that he who is not against us therefore subscribes to the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. That does not follow at all.

We have to recognise, as the Noble Lord has pointed out, that the majority of those in the British Empire alone, and for that matter among the United Nations, are non-Christians, and it would be extremely embarrassing to the Premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to suggest that in addition to his acceptance of the Atlantic Charter he was also by his alliance with us indirectly subscribing to the Athanasian Creed. If it were necessary for him to pledge himself to Christian principles, and to involve his country too, he would soon make very earnest representations to those who tried to involve him. It is true, as the noble Lord has said, that there have been representations in certain quarters, in particular in Turkish quarters, against the interpretation put on certain statements in the way the Noble Lord has described. Indeed, I suggest that Members of this House are put in some embarrassment. There are members of the Goyernment—not of the War Cabinet as far as I know, but certainly members of the Government—who may be atheists, and one I know is a prominent and very earnest and able exponent of rationalism. There may be some who are Jews There may be some who would subscribe to the Marxian philosophy of life, which it would be very difficult to reconcile with some of the elements of Christianity, although not with others".

In those circumstances, I suggest that the House is put in some embarrassment when there is this all-too-easy suggestion that this is a simple struggle, as some would have it, between Christianity on the one hand and, by inference, non-Christianity on the other. Indeed, if an analysis were made of the various elements and faiths behind or associated with the United Nations at the present time, even a rough analysis, we should find it very interesting to discover how many are non-Christian, being of another faith, or of no faith whatsoever.

I have spoken of our own House; may I speak of our own country? We recognise that only some 20 per cent. of our people actually attend church, and although it does not mean that the other 80 per cent. are non-Christian it does suggest that there is some question whether they are Christian in the very definite sense of the term. There are many in our midst who are Jews or who are Unitarian, Spiritualist, Christian Scientist and who would, from some standpoints, be denounced by an orthodox Christian. From other standpoints also they might not be included by some within the general term "Christian." On the other hand, I am aware that the average man who joins the Fighting Forces, if he has no particular faith or is indifferent, is classified as "C. of E.," whatever that may stand for, but that applies also to other people who have to join other institutions of His Majesty of a less desirable and attractive character. But this is nominal and not necessarily of Christian significance.

May I give some figures? They are rough, I admit, but they are not very far out. They relate to the nations who "re concerned in this war and are within the general organisation of the United Nations. Take our own population at 48,000,000 and classify them all as Christians, a very doubtful procedure. Put on top of that figure the 133,000,000 of the United States of America as Christian, again very doubtful, because there are large numbers of Jews in the United States as well as other people who are not Christian; then we may put on another 100,000,000 who are in other nations—the Netherlands, Norway and the South American nations. Put on another 25,000,000 from the Dominions and reckon 45,000,000 as Christian out of the total of 90,000,000 black Colonials who are British subjects. We then have a total of about 340,000,000.

On the other hand, among the United Nations we have the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, with a population of some 170,000,000. I am aware that in that country are many people who still practice their Orthodox Christian faith, but if we are to go by general representation, then, as we classified this country as Christian though many people in it are not, we must accept the fact that the U.S.S.R. is, officially, non-Christian. There are the Indian Moslems. According to the assurance of the Prime Minister, they number some 95,000,000. It is not for me to doubt the Prime Minister's figures, although I have questioned them on other occasions. Those people are certainly not Christians. There are some 280,000,000 of Hindus, Parsees, and members of other faiths in India, and approximately some 15,000,000 Burmese Buddhists, who, one presumes, might well be classified as "belonging to us." Then there are some 430,000,000 Chinese, an interesting mixture of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, at least some 45,000,000 pagans and non-Christian coloured Colonials in the Colonial Empire. They make a total of over 1,000,000,000. It means that, roughly speaking, there are three non-Christians to one Christian. If one went further and recognised the importance of the friendly nations of Turkey and of Egypt, we might find there another 30,000,000 odd who, of course, profess the Moslem faith and cannot be classified as really belonging to Christian civilisation.

I do not deny, nor would anyone deny, that there are elements in all these faiths which are in common, but I suggest that it is quite wrong for us to try to bundle together all the virtues of the world and classify them with our own particular label. Kindliness, courage, honour and duty are virtues of which Christianity has no monopoly. We find them in other faiths as well, and it is simply playing with words to take all those truly human and desirable virtues, put a label on them and pretend that by labelling them "Christian" we are making all those people Christian. It makes confusion worse confounded, and I would submit therefore we have to be honest in these matters. That is why I am particularly grateful to the noble Lord who has helped to bring us back to honesty and to recognise that although there are elements in Christianity which are also in the purposes of the Atlantic Charter, and possibly in this war, it would be quite wrong and misleading to assume they are fully or exclusively Christian.

It being the hour appointed for the interruption of Business, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Major Sir James Edmondson.]

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

I will continue by saying that it seems to me quite false to try and identify those virtues common to so many human races simply with Christianity. If I may add one word, which may be divergent from those of the Noble Lord, to me, personally, Christianity at its highest goes beyond those virtues. I cannot expound this now, but nevertheless would submit the Christian faith is not yet fully accepted even by the great majority of nominally Christian people. One day we shall reach that stage and we shall then begin to practice what I believe is the redemptive technique of the Christian faith, still not greatly assimilated or appreciated. For though the war from a political standpoint may have been inevitable no one can suggest that the highest processes of Christianity, its highest ethical elements, should be intermingled with the inevitable tragedies and grossness of war. I beg the Under-Secretary to recognise that he will be doing a great disservice to Christianity if there is this very easy identification of Christianity at its highest with these grim and often sordid processes in which we are engaged at the present time. I know it has often been done in the past. I remember that St. Bernard of Clairvaux could write mystical poetry of the highest order and yet promote bloody crusades against the Saracens. We all know of Luther, a great protagonist of the Protestant faith who could yet butcher the peasants in the Peasants' Revolt. There was Cromwell, who was a great Puritan, but who could deal death and destruction to the Irish. We are all creatures of mixed motives and involved in tragic inconsistencies. Though the war involves us all more or less, I hope that the ultimate values in Christianity will be kept apart as something to which the race is steadily moving although it has not achieved them as yet.

There are varying interpretations of this war. One is that it is a war for survival; another that it is a war for power; another that it is a war for democracy. Some allege it is a war for God. I would not say that myself, because though God moves in a mysterious way I dislike bringing sacred names into the terrible processes of war. I will confine myself to this assertion, that with the peoples of all the United Nations whether they be Russian Marxist or Mohammedan, Jew or Christian, there should be a certain common denominator and that we should seek to preserve that common denominator. It is so easy for elements even in that common denominator to be swept aside. As a war proceeds the highest purposes with which it was begun gradually fade or become diluted and poisoned until at last, even before the war is ended, men and women have almost forgotten exactly what the war may be about or the high purpose accepted in the beginning. I hope that in the course of this war certain ethical elements will be preserved by this country, precisely because I believe this country can be a great country, a great Britain in the real sense; great not so much in terms of military success and victory and territorial aggrandisement, but in terms of ethical and social example to the world. Because I believe that, in that sense, our country has a great mission to fulfil, I hope we shall recognise that the Christian religion is not yet dominant and that, while still keeping our Christian faith until the peoples of the world can appreciate it more, we shall avoid hypocrisy, by saying, "These are the things for which the nations stand; these are the things, therefore, which when the war is over we hope will still live." For that reason, I hope earnestly that we shall prefer to interpret this war in terms of the Atlantic Charter and of the decencies of life, and leave individuals, groups and minorities to add to that and expand their faith in ways they think best.

Photo of Mr Somerset De Chair Mr Somerset De Chair , Norfolk South Western

I did not know that the Noble Lord was going to raise this matter to-day, and I hope he will not mind if I, who have the same affection as he has for the Moslems, say a word. I could not help feeling when listening to him that there was a danger, if the House followed quite logically the argument which he was trying to lay down, that we should acquire a distorted view of this problem. What would the Noble Lord's argument lead to? It would lead to our conducting a war of material aims, from which the core of faith had been removed.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

The hon. and gallant Gentleman really must not misinterpret what I said. I distinctly laid it down that it was not a question of material aims. He cannot have listened to a word of my speech. I never heard such a travesty of a speech.

Photo of Mr Somerset De Chair Mr Somerset De Chair , Norfolk South Western

I did not wish to imply that there was no question of spiritual aims in the Noble Lord's war conduct. What I said was that if logically carried out, it would lead to a position in which we should have to remove from every statement of war aims the expression of Christian principles. That is a fair comment on his speech, to which I listened with great care. Let me quote a great materialist. Napoleon said, on 27th August, 1808, I think, when writing from Saint-Cloud: "A la guerre, les trois quarts sont des affaires morales; la balance des forces réelles, n'est que pour un autre quart." May I translate that as "In war moral factors count for three parts, and material for only one"?

If moral factors count for three times the material and if our morale is to be influenced by the announcement of war aims surely the statement of Christian principles must play a large part in maintaining our combatant spirit. From my experience of the Arabs in the Middle East, I do not think they will pay much attention to what we say about the religious purposes for which we are fighting. They are Moslems, and Christianity to them, therefore, is anathema. They will not be influenced by declarations of Christian principles, enunciated by Christian war lords—if I may use the term. They are fighting for their own ideals. If we were to analyse the forces motivating all the United Nations, we would find that in each the religion of their country and of their own race plays a large part in their war aims. Therefore, I do not think that any conflict of opinion will arise between ourselves and the Moslems through our enunciating in our war aims a statement of those Christian principles, for which, surely, the British in the fighting line are fighting.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

I wish to speak very briefly, as a member of the Church of England, in support of the Noble Lord. I think that the difficulty between the Noble Lord and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for South-West Norfolk (Captain De Chair) can be resolved very simply in this way. We are surely fighting, broadly, for the system of beliefs and the way of life defined by President Roosevelt as the Four Freedoms. One of these four freedoms is freedom of conscience, which, of course, includes both freedom of a member of any religious body or denomination to practise his own religion and also freedom for those who do not believe in any religion, to maintain their own anti-religious or non-religious attitude, as indeed it is defined also under the Soviet Constitution which says "Freedom of religious worship and anti-religious propaganda."

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Not religious propaganda.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

I am quoting the exact words. Surely that is what freedom of conscience is in the Four Freedoms defined by President Roosevelt. Those of us who are Christians within the United Nations can perfectly well regard our war effort as a crusade, because, undoubtedly, the Axis, Nazi-ism and Fascism stand for something totally opposed to Christianity at its best. But I suggest we should hot attempt to impose that idea or that word upon our comrades in the United Nations who are not Christians, whether they be Moslems or atheists or anything else. There is also, frankly, a certain danger in the over-insistence on what may be called the Christian front that we shall play into the hands of a small group of propagandists here in this country who are concerned to establish what is called the Latin Bloc, which, in my view, as an idea for the reconstruction of Europe, would be fatal to all the principles for which we, are in fact fighting. May I, finally, warn the hon. Gentleman who will be replying on behalf of the Government against falling into the same error—indeed heresy—that was displayed in the answer to the Question which the Noble Lord read? I ask him not to refer to "what are broadly understood as Christian principles" or anything of that kind, when what is obviously meant is the humanistic principles which are common to all world religions and higher philosophies. Christianity is a body of doctrine as well as an ethical system, and you cannot divorce the ethic from the doctrine.

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I am very sorry if I have somewhat to curtail this Debate. I have no wish to do so at all, but these issues which the Noble Lord has raised are of some considerable importance, and, as he said, of some delicacy, and it is necessary that there should be some reply to the Debate from the Government. I am very grateful to my Noble Friend for raising this matter in this Debate, and certainly I have no complaint whatever to make of the manner in which he has raised it or indeed of the line which any of my hon. Friends who have intervened in this Debate have taken. It is quite clear from what my hon. Friend and others have said that there is some misunderstanding on this question inside the House. No doubt there is equal misunderstanding outside the House and, indeed, outside this country, and it is of the greatest importance that the situation should be clarified so far as I can clarify it. My hon. Friend rather implied that I did something less than justice to the thesis of my hon. Friend the Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen). If I did I was wrong, but I do not think I did an injustice to my hon. Friend's thesis. Certainly I did not intend to do so. What I questioned then and what I question now was not his thesis but his premises. However admirable and truthful a thesis may be, if it is based upon false premises, I do not think it should pass unanswered. With great respect, I thought—and still think—that my hon. Friend's thesis, admirable though it is, was based on false premises. For my hon. Friend implies in his Question that Lord Halifax and my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare) in the speeches of which he complains stated that the war aims of the United Nations were the exclusive concern of Christianity. They said nothing of the kind. I have read again with some care——

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

Well, my hon. Friend in his Question asked my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary … to indicate to, representatives of His Majesty's Government that the war and peace aims of the United Nations should be expressed in the broad terms of the Atlantic Charter and not as the exclusive concern of Christianity or any particular body of religious faith. That was the implication underlying in the Question—that Lord Halifax and my right hon. Friend had stated these aims as the exclusive concern of Christianity. Now I am telling my hon. Friend that that is not the case. As I was saying, I have read again the speeches of which he complains. I have read them with some care, and I hope—although I am not altogether certain—that hon. Members who have been critical of them have read them with equal care. What Lord Halifax did say was that the institutions which we in this country share with the United States of America derive from a Christian ancestry and a common ancestry. I do not think anyone can object to that or deny it. My right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea drew attention to the common heritage of Christian culture to which, as he said, Europe owed at least part of its historic unity, and went on to say that Europe might draw common inspiration from the past. The first is a statement of fact and the second is a legitimate deduction from that fact. The speeches of Lord Halifax and my right hon. Friend maintained that the objectives for which the United Nations are fighting are Christian objectives, and I do not think anyone would deny that. But that is not the same thing as saying that these objectives are exclusively Christian and that only Christians can share these objectives and faith. Obviously, that is not the case, and there is nothing in either of those speeches that in any way denies the universality of the ideals for which we are fighting. Everybody holds those ideas—Moslems, Christians and the members of every, religion. They are not exclusively Christian, and nothing in those two speeches either stated or implied that they were.

Photo of Dr Leslie Haden-Guest Dr Leslie Haden-Guest , Islington North

Except the fact that there was no reference made to any other religion—which is a very important thing.

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I think it has to be remembered, in view of the interjection of my hon. Friend the Member for North Islington (Dr. Guest), that the two speakers are both Christian men, representatives of a Christian King and a Christian country, and speaking to a Christian audience; so that there was nothing strange in the fact that they should speak in Christian terms. The plain fact is that there are certain standards of value, certain standards of truth, certain standards of absolute values, which are common to all the great religions. It is a fact, too, that those standards of value and of truth do not belong to the religion of Woden and of Thor; they do not belong to the faith, if it can be called a faith, which is professed in Nazi Germany. When statesmen of the United Nations speak of the political issues of this war, they speak in their own language, whatever that may be, and nobody finds offence in that. Similarly, when statesmen of the United Nations are speaking of the deeper spiritual issues of the war—and there are deep spiritual issues in this war—they must speak, and can only speak, in terms of their own religion. That does not mean at all that they are denying the religion of anyone else.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

I do hope that my hon. Friend, in making that statement, will remember that when the Prime Minister or an Ambassador speaks on these matters, he is speaking not only for this country but for millions of our fellow-subjects in all parts of the world—Jews, Moslems, Hindus and men of no religion. I hope my hon. Friend will not pursue his line of argument, because I think it is a most dangerous one.

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I am grateful to my Noble Friend for his interjection, although if he had shown a little more patience, I think I would have been able to meet his point without the interjection. I was saying that it is a natural thing to speak of religious issues in terms of one's own religion, whatever it may be. I was going on to say that in the United Nations, as we all know, there are great varieties of nationality, great varieties of race, great varieties of religious belief. In the British Commonwealth, as we all know, and as my Noble Friend pointed out, there are the same great varieties, and as he said, Christians are in fact in a minority in the British Commonwealth; but I am sure that, whether in the British Commonwealth or whether among the United Nations as a whole, there is a clear understanding as to what the position is. We have never attempted to impose our religious beliefs upon our fellow subjects in the British Commonwealth and we never will attempt to do so. Equally, I cannot see why anyone should suppose that we would try to impose our own methods of thought, upon religion or upon any other subject, on the United Nations. There is no question of our doing so, and we shall never attempt to do it. I hope that what I have just said does, in some way at any rate, meet the point which my Noble Friend very rightly tried to bring out.

My Noble Friend said he hoped we should not try to base ourselves upon the narrow foundation of a single creed, and I hope I have shown that we are not trying to do so. Even when we state the case in terms of the Christian religion, we are not placing it solely on that basis and we are not denying the fact that all these principles which we have been discussing have a far wider base than that of the Christian religion by itself, for they are common to all the great religions. Whatever we are, Christians, Moslems, Jews, Atheists, or Rationalists, we are fighting for the same things and against the same things. We are fighting against barbarism and against the denial of all standards of value. We are fighting for those things which the wisest of mankind, of every race and every religion in every age, have always fought for; and we are all fighting together. We are all in the same fight. I hope it is not necessary to emphasise that any more. It is a fact.

My Noble Friend said he had some experience of the Middle East and of India, but that was an under-statement. He has had great experience. He has had far greater experience than I have, and he has far greater experience of this House than I have. But this I affirm and this I assert, and I will risk my Noble Friend's disagreement. Neither in the East nor in the West, neither in this House nor outside it, does a man or a people forfeit respect by stating with candour and truth and honesty the things that they believe in. The Moslems do not despise us because we profess our Christian belief. We do not despise the Moslem because he professes the faith of Islam. Sometimes I think, looking back over the last 20 years, we have fallen into error. We have not realised that what forfeits respect is being afraid to state our beliefs in the hope of gaining respect, I hope that in the future we shall avoid that error, that we shall be willing to state what we believe in, that we shall be willing to work for it and, as is unfortunately the case now, that we shall be willing to fight for it.

It being the hour appointed for the Adjournment of the House, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.