Debate on the Address

Part of Orders of the Day — Queen's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1959.

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Photo of Viscount  Lambton Viscount Lambton , Berwick-upon-Tweed 12:00 am, 29th October 1959

Apart from that, ideologically we belong to Europe. The very way that America gained her independence has given her a suspicion of our methods of rule and scheme of government which time has not yet killed. The Americans are tied to a way of thought and conduct of government from which they cannot break away and they are committed by time, custom and fate to a distrust of colonial rule. They cannot divorce themselves from a policy which is part of the American attitude, even though many of them would like to do so. Ironically enough, a great number of them would heave a sigh of relief if we in Europe could build ourselves up into a position of unity and economic power which would allow them not always to be the arbiter of decisions in which their hands are tied by the traditions of the past.

The basic conception which has caused us to practise this singular alienation from a policy which offered so much three years ago has been the magic that is conceived to lie in a Summit Meeting. Suppose, however, that we have a Summit Meeting and that there is at it agreement on the Oder-Neisse line. Would that really ensure the peace of the world? Would it compensate us for the widening breach between France and Germany and ourselves? If there is going to be peace the reason for it will lie in deeper roots and will come from the determination and will of the Russian people alone. I would rather have a united France, Germany and England in Europe than a Summit Meeting that provided a treaty triumph which left us divided.

I sincerely hope that the late policies which we have had will be changed, and that the most strenuous efforts will be made by us to make the receding dream of a Free Trade Area a reality. I should have thought that we could have done something to make this possible. If we can bring members of our Commonwealth into our association with the seven countries we might help to make it a bloc on a scale that would induce France and Germany to have second thoughts about membership.

I am certain that this will not be possible unless there is a basic change of approach by this country to France and Germany, an understanding of their position and a discarding of our American "younger brother" rôle.

In conclusion, I return to the necessity for such a revolutionary policy. We should not be deceived by the present internal prosperity in this country and in much of the Continent, because great forces are building up against us in Europe which threaten the Continent as a whole.

These are only secondary dangers to America. It is true that we in this country are the last ditch between Communism and America. But it is also true that America itself is not in the ditch. In the eventuality of an ultimate crisis the Americans would not have the same interest in our preservation as we nave. They are 3,000 miles away and many voices would be raised to remind them of that. It cannot be argued that their dependence on Europe is comparable with our own.

This is the ultimate argument that Britain's, and indeed the Commonwealth's, future lies in the closest association with Europe, an association which need in no adverse way affect the Atlantic Alliance. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Minister will devote themselves to this end in the following year.