It may come as something of a surprise to the House when it recalls that the only other general debate on foreign affairs this Session was the debate on the Address. It is, therefore, apparent that the conduct of foreign affairs and the foreign relations of this country by Her Majesty's Government, and, in particular, by my hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, has not been open to frequent challenge in this Session.
On that last occasion we were able to review the crisis in Cuba. The other major item in international affairs this Session, the break-up of the Brussels negotiations, was debated separately. Since then we have been passing through a comparatively quiet period, a period of inactivity by the Soviet bloc after Cuba and a period of inactivity in Europe after the break-up of the Brussels negotiations.
As this may be the last debate on foreign affairs in this Session, perhaps it provides a suitable opportunity for us to look at some aspects of British foreign policy as a whole, how it operates in the modern world, and what its purpose is. As a small country, with a comparatively small population and limited resources, British foreign policy has always depended on the skill with which we developed relations with foreign countries. In the past some countries could ignore that. We never could. There may be countries today which think still that they can ignore it, but I believe that it is impossible for even the greatest to do so, because circumstances have changed.
The background against which we are working is that in which war, as a result of the nuclear developments, is ruled out as a rational instrument of policy, in which there has been a great growth of independent countries in the last few years, in which we have passed through a technological revolution, and in which we have encountered the hostility of the Communist countries of the world. These factors put an even greater premium on diplomacy, on negotiation, and on trade and technical assistance as a handmaiden of foreign policy.
At the same time, other factors place an emphasis on collective action. This is particularly seen when we look at the three objectives of maintaining our security, of increasing our prosperity, and of helping the developing countries to maintain their independence and improve their standard of living. In all these fields the mid-twentieth century demands a fresh form of international co-operation, the emphasis being on the collective approach.
It is against this background that British foreign policy, I would suggest to the House, might be considered during this two-day debate. The House must judge not only how we have protected British interests in those areas where we still retain pre-eminently individual responsibilities, such as in the Middle East, but also how we have furthered our interest through initiatives towards joint action in those collective organisations of which we are members.
I turn for the first example of this to the Western Alliance. I much regret that the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) is not at present in his place, because I wish to comment on something which he had to say in the country over the weekend. In N.A.T.O. today the central problem is that of reconciling the uneven ownership of nuclear weapons with the necessity for Europe to assume a greater share in the responsibility for the defence of the Alliance as a whole. The right hon. Gentleman commented that the Western Alliance—that N.A.T.O.—was in a state of drift and that Her Majesty's Government should take an initiative instead of abdicating their position in the alliance and in world affairs in general.
I would say to the right hon. Gentleman that he is mistaken in conceiving the alliance as being in a condition of drift. What it is doing is attempting to deal with what has now become a major problem in the alliance—the question of nuclear control—and, as I have said, the relationship between the ownership of nuclear weapons and the share of countries in the alliance. The control of step politically in this matter at Athens the nuclear armoury is as much a political as a military problem. We took the first last year, when we took steps to improve the flow of nuclear information among the allies. That was a British initiative taken at N.A.T.O. by my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary in order in part to deal with this problem of the relationship between the ownership and the control of nuclear weapons.
The Nassau agreement marked a further step forward in proposing the assignment of powerful external forces to N.A.T.O. and in regrouping existing forces under a closer system of military command and control. These arrangements, as the House knows, were approved at Ottawa. That assignment was a British initiative, taken by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at Nassau. So, in both the steps which have so far been taken in the alliance to try to deal with the political aspects of this problem, as well as the military aspects, the initiatives have been British.
But the political problem still remains. We fully recognise the need to satisfy the wish in Europe for a stronger voice in the political control of the nuclear weapons of the alliance, and in that I find myself in agreement with the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland.
The question is: how can this be done without further increasing the number of national nuclear forces? To meet this problem the United States Government put forward the idea of the creation of forces which, by the composition of their crews or the organisation of their command, could not be diverted to national use. The mixed-manned force is an example of this. When this suggestion was made, we undertook to give the concept the full examination which it deserves. At the same time, as I told the House, we were not in any way committed to take part in it ourselves. This idea was put forward by the American Administration in a high-minded spirit which we should all recognise in a further attempt to solve the problem which I have been mentioning.
It has met with a response in the same spirit from the Federal German Government, as it emphasised in the communiqué put out at the end of the conversations between Priesident Kennedy and Chancellor Adenauer. But in its present form the proposal is not neces- sarily the only way of meeting the objective. We want to strengthen the alliance and we want at the same time to prevent the profile ration of national nuclear forces. But, when the complexity of weapons is increasing every day, we must have regard to priorities in considering how to allocate our resources. This is the task of N.A.T.O. as a whole.
We look forward to the results of the closer studies, which are in hand, of the military requirements and the forces which will be needed to meet those requirements. At the same time we can examine the ways to meet Europe's political requirements by strengthening consultation and by giving those allies who desire it a share in the decisions to which their contribution to the Alliance entitles them. All these matters will be further studied in the coming months.
The hon. Member mentions Germany. This problem arises in part from the growth in strength and prosperity of other members of the alliance. It is, therefore, a problem which must be dealt with if the alliance is to remain in a healthy state.
During the course of these studies there will be further opportunities to discuss the contribution which a mixed-manned force could make to the political and military cohesion of the alliance. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence, when he speaks tomorrow, will be able to say more about the military aspects of this matter. We have given much thought to the question of dealing with this political problem through political means. My noble Friend the Foreign Secretary will want to discuss this with his colleagues in the alliance in the way in which the communique following the meeting of President Kennedy with the Prime Minister indicated: that further discussions will take place.
The right hon. Member will recall that I answered a Question in the House some time ago in which I said that Her Majesty's Government welcomed the concept. I described the concept just now as being one which tried to solve this problem by crews or by control which would not allow national use. That is the concept the Americans have been pursuing and I have said that it is not necessarily the only way of trying to solve this problem.
I now turn to another aspect of this problem concerned with European affairs. The cohesion and unity of purpose of the Western Alliance today depends on Europe being able to assume a rôle in the world as a whole which is justified by her wealth, manpower and political consciousness. This means that Europe must share more equally in the responsibility for the conduct of the great debate between East and West and for the relationship between the West and the uncommitted world. But Europe can stand in an equal partnership of this kind—which we have outlined to the House on previous occasions—only by evolving on a broad basis towards a greater unity in which the strength and experience of her member countries can be fully employed.
The right hon. Gentleman keeps on referring to Europe. He is very experienced in international affairs and when dealing with relationships of this sort he must know that there is no international concept—no juridical concept of Europe. We can at the moment deal only with nation states. When the right hon. Gentleman says"Europe" does he or does he not mean Germany?
I am not referring solely to Germany. I am referring to Western Europe; and if the hon. Member can persuade his friends in Eastern Europe to accept these concepts and general principles no one would welcome it more than I would.
How is this unity to be achieved which will enable these countries to come to speak jointly with their own voice? Throughout the period of the Brussels negotiations we made it clear that we wished to play a full part in the political as well as economic development in the Communities. In my speech to the Western European Union on 10th April last year I said that Her Majesty's Government welcomed the efforts of the Six to form a political union and that we hoped to join it as full members if the Brussels negotiations were successful.
As the House knows, these talks among the Six were suspended last year without an agreement being reached. I think that, at the time, I described to the House the proposals for the Union. They were, in fact, not very different from the organisation of the Western European Union, to which we belong. This breakdown was followed by the breakdown of our negotiations in Brussels. The basic facts and arguments for closer political and economic unity in Europe remain and it remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government to seek to play a full part in the movement towards a closer unity in Europe.
If, in spite of the present difficulties, the members of the Community themselves one day think it possible to renew their discussions for apolitical union, I hope that this time we may be able to take part in these discussions from the beginning and help to shape any future organisation which may evolve. In the meantime, we must seek our objective through other channels; and I would now like to say a word about this because of what I said at the beginning of my speech about the need to judge the action which has been taken by Her Majesty's Government in these spheres in the past year.
There is, first, the question of the consultative arrangements with the Community now that the negotiations have been broken off. Our object is to ensure that the differences between Britain and the Community are not deepened and that we each avoid damaging each other's policies. We have fully supported every initiative which has been taken in the Community to make consultative arrangements of this kind. In particular, we strongly support the initiative of the German Foreign Minister that there should be regular and permanent consultation between the representatives of the Six and our own mission in Brussels.
There is, secondly, the question of Western European Union. I refer to this because the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, in his speech at the weekend, urged on Her Majesty's Government that we should take a new initiative in Europe and bring about a meeting of the Seven countries. In Western European Union we took the initiative, after the break-up of the negotiations, with the other Five, in calling on the then Chairman to organise a meeting. He was, unfortunately, unsuccessful in trying to do so. We have since supported further negotiations and, indeed, we have taken the lead in asking the members of the Community to have a meeting of the Western European Union.
Our purpose is not to have recriminations about the outcome of the negotiations. I am saying this deliberately because of the comments made by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), in the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, about my speech there. It was necessary and right for me to do so, because what I said in Europe and what I have already stated in this House was the position that we ourselves had reached in the negotiations and it represented what was out view on the subject. We were fully entitled to state that in a European assembly such as the Council of Europe.
If we do not have recriminations, at any rate at the meeting of Western European Union, we must all be in a position to discuss European policies. We could not accept a conception in which the Western European Union was meeting, but was not, at the same time, able to discuss policies affecting the future of Europe.
Again, in the Western European Union Assembly I took the initiative by suggesting that there should be regular meetings of Ministers and that the Seven countries should organise practical co-ordination in defence and political matters. I suggested that we should concentrate on those things on which we agree and leave aside those things on which at the moment there is disagreement in Europe about future policy. We offered our co-operation in this respect and it is to our regret that that co-operation has not yet been accepted.
In the Council of Europe we again took the initiative at the meeting of Ministers in proposing that in future ministerial meetings should concentrate on political discussions concerning our common problems. This was warmly welcomed and accepted and the deputies are now working on its organisation. In the Assembly I put forward the same suggestion and, again, it was warmly accepted by the great majority of the Assembly. At the meeting of the European Free Trade Association in Lisbon—and I think that all the members of E.F.T.A. would agree on this—we took the initiative in bringing about the successful agreement whereby all tariffs would be abolished by 31st December, 1966.
As a result, E.F.T.A. has set its course firmly for the rest of the transitional period. As the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) so often said that the result of these negotiations would be to undermine and finally lead to the end of E.F.T.A., I hope that he and his colleagues will agree that E.F.T.A. today, despite the challenges put to it, is stronger than it has been at any time. [Interruption.] The argument of the right hon. Gentleman was that the negotiations themselves would lead to the end of E.F.T.A., because we were abandoning that organisation. It is quite plain that nothing was further from the truth, and that, in fact, it is today stronger than it has ever been.
In the G.A.T.T. conference we strongly supported the initiative—again, we are in agreement with right hon. Gentlemen opposite—of moving for the greatest possible action to be taken under the Kennedy round, and in supporting the programmes put forward for the developing countries, and also in setting up committees to reach commodity agreements. Therefore, I suggest to the House that in this period which I have described we have taken the initiative in these organisations in order to achieve results which are beneficial to all their members.
I would now like to turn to the policy that we have pursued in South-East Asia. The House will probably agree that there the great majority of the population ask for nothing more than peace and an improvement in their standard of living. But the Chinese aim there appears to be to undermine and subvert the existing régimes, at the same time stopping short of declaring war. It may be that the House will think that the attack on India last autumn was an exception to these tactics, but there is a place in Chinese principles for the controlled use of overt military force. On this occasion it may well prove to have been an error of judgment, for it did not achieve the object of forcing India to settle the frontier dispute, and it called forth a response from Britain and the United States which was prompt and which was warmly welcomed.
We have just been reviewing with the United States the question of how to make our assistance for the defence of the sub-continent effective for the long haul which lies ahead. Although this incident may have increased the anxiety of some countries in South-East Asia, the Western response to it has undoubtedly had a tonic effect.
As I have said, there has never been any Chinese military move against South-East Asia but the Burmese, the Cambodians, the Thais and all the others must constantly ask themselves whether this will come about.
I am glad to have confirmation of this from the right hon. Gentleman.
This produces an atmosphere in which many may be persuaded that their future lies in throwing in their lot with the Chinese.
We must ask ourselves what are the real British interests in the area the defence of which would justify the risks and burdens of trying to arrest this trend. It would be a serious blow to the whole free world if South-East Asia were to be allowed to slip into the Communist camp. The threat to members of the Commonwealth would be brought much closer; India would find herself more closely encompassed by China; the Communist threat would be on the doorstep of Australia and New Zealand, and Malaya would be closely menaced.
Our policy in South-East Asia is, therefore, clear. We must help the countries in the area to keep their independence. The main problem today is the attempt by the North Vietnamese Communists to take over as much as possible of former French Indo-China. For years now we have been trying to cope with a direct attempt to seize South Vietnam by the creation and support of an insurgent military movement.
There have been attempts by the Communist Party in Laos to seize power also by military means. The sharpest fighting is in Vietnam. The majority of the International Control Commission in Vietnam has reported that the Government of South Vietnam has had to face such a campaign of subversion and military insurrection directed from outside that they have sought the assistance of the United States in order to deal with it. The Americans have responded with aid, equipment and with men to train and advise the Vietnamese Army. Whereas a year ago the Communist insurgents pretty well had their own way in Vietnam there is now an even battle. Indeed, in certain areas President Diem's Government have been able to push back the Viet Cong and to limit their freedom of action.
However, we are now faced again with a situation in Laos which threatens to be equally grave. So far, in spite of many breaches of the cease-fire, we have been able to keep an uneasy truce in that country ever since the Geneva conference was called two years ago. But this success is now in danger. The Prime Minister of Laos has made every effort to remedy this situation and to make his Coalition Government work effectively. My noble Friend the Foreign Secretary has repeatedly sought to get the Soviet co-chairman to obtain co-operation from the North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao. He has taken many initiatives in this field. The House can see copies of the correspondence, which is still continuing. But all this has been of no avail.
What, then, is the explanation? Is it that the Communists in Laos have found that to apply the Geneva agreement honestly would seriously hamper their attempt to take over Laos and that, therefore, they have abandoned all thought of honouring the agreements? Have they decided, instead, to try to partition Laos and to run what would virtually be a separate Government in their own zone? Will they continue to try to incorporate into this, by force, the areas held by the neutralists, so that they become masters of the greater part of Laos?
Would they then be content to sit still for a while, or might they even be so foolhardy as to try to push on into the Mekong Valley, hoping that nobody would come to the help of Prince Souvanna Phouma and his Government to prevent this? If this is their line of thinking they would be most unwise to come to any such conclusions. My noble Friend has been seeking to convince the Soviet Government how dangerous such a development would be.
Her Majesty's Government will continue to make every effort to see that the three parties in Laos are brought together, so that a fresh attempt may be made to go back to the proposals agreed at Geneva and to implement that settlement honourably.
We have had another source of anxiety in the threatening situation which appeared to be developing between Malaya and Indonesia—
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the question of Laos, with the possible explanation that he has given, has not the most obvious one occurred to him, namely, that the Soviet Union—as much as Her Majesty's Government and Her Majesty's Opposition—want to see the three parts of the Laos Government working closely together, but that the Soviet Government, while trying to do that, find that their writ does not run in Laos? Is not that the obvious explanation?
I was dealing with the explanation of the action of the Pathet Lao—the Laotian Communists—and I suggest that this is their line of thinking. It may be, as the hon. Member suggests, that the efforts of the Soviet co-chairman have proved of no avail with the Pathet Lao in Laos, and that, therefore, their own influence in North Vietnam—and possibly even the influence of the Chinese—is a matter of speculation. But the point to which I was addressing myself was the question of what is the line of thought of the Pathet Lao in the present situation.
The situation in respect of Malaya and Indonesia and the Philippines seems to have been improved by the meeting which was held in Manila earlier this month between the Foreign Ministers of these three countries, and we are glad that this should be so.
There is also, on the credit side in Asia, the political and economic development of Japan which has taken place in the past decade. Japan is the first Asiatic power to break through to a highly industrialised economy, in which productive capacity and the personal consumption of its people are beginning to approach Western standards.
With great respect to the hon. Member, there has been a great improvement in those standards.
Japan's example is of great significance for the other countries of Asia and so, too, is the increasing diplomatic rôle which she is now assuming in the world. She is already making a useful contribution in such organisations as the consortia organisation for investment in India and Pakistan, in the Colombo Plan and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, as well as by her reparation payments to the countries of South-East Asia.
I am glad to say that we have established most satisfactory relations with the Japanese Government. By the negotiation of the Treaty of Commerce Navigation and Establishment we have placed our commercial relations on a solid and satisfactory basis in this rapidly expanding market which I hope our industrialists will be able to develop. The experimental consultations arranged by my noble Friend during his recent visit will promote collaboration with the Japanese Government over a wide field, and this we greatly welcome.
Against the policies which I have been discussing in South-East Asia, it may be of interest to the House if I describe how we see some of the differences between the Soviet Union and China and what the implications of these differences are for us. Both countries remain committed to the long-term aim of establishing the Communist system throughout the world. But they differ increasingly on how this should be achieved. The Russians maintain that the correct method is summed up in Mr. Khrushchev's own interpretation of"peaceful co-existence".
Starting from the premise that Communism is inevitably bound to triumph in the end, they argue that capitalism can be replaced without war or violent revolution. They say that this will happen as Communist economic successes open the eyes of the world to the potentialities of the Communist system. It therefore means that our own economic progress in the West is of the greatest importance in this context. They claim that the inevitable trend of history towards Communism should be given a helping hand where-ever possible. In practice, this means that they will forward their aims without pushing them so far as to involve a significant risk of nuclear war although they may approach close to a miscalculation, as we saw over Cuba.
The Chinese idea of priorities in foreign policy is radically different. They see themselves as the champions of the struggling peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America and they argue that these continents are ripe for revolution and that the proper Communist policy is to subordinate all considerations to this struggle. They also see themselves more pressed by the United States than is the Soviet Union. They calculate that they have more to gain from an aggressive policy and less to lose. They think that in the present balance of world power the Russians can afford to press harder on the West. These, then, are the differences which will no doubt be fully ventilated and discussed at the meeting which is about to take place in Moscow. Surely what we must realise is that both sides will have an undeniable interest in maintaining the ties which bind them and we should not give way to wishful thinking when we are considering these policies.
It is always hard to say which Soviet attitudes are attributable to the Sino-Soviet dispute and which to traditional elements in the Soviet policy. There is no doubt—I hope that after his recent visit and conversations the right hon. Member for Huyton will agree with me—that a change has occurred in the thinking of the Soviet Union, particularly, for example, in the attitude towards the risks of war. There have also been liberalising domestic elements at work in the atmosphere. We welcome these. But we suggest that something more positive is needed, a more reasonable readiness to seek solutions to East-West problems.
An obvious example of the sort of agreement which we hope to conclude with the Soviet Government—about which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be able to say more later in the debate—is a treaty banning nuclear tests. The whole House agrees that this would be of great importance in itself, as putting a stop to the costly and dangerous spiral of a further test series on either side. It might also be the first step in a completely different spiral of a series of agreements, which would involve other powers also, to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons and to coyer the process of disarmament. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, who has been conducting the negotiations at Geneva, will be able to speak to the House on this subject when he winds up the debate tonight.
Clearly, the mission of the Lord President of the Council, Lord Hailsham, and of Mr. Harriman to Moscow is of very great importance. Their aim must be to reach a treaty banning all kinds of nuclear tests, underground as well as in other environments. It must, however, be a treaty which will stick. Each side must have confidence in its terms. Each must have reasonable surety that, under a comprehensive treaty, the other is not free, in effect, to conduct underground tests without a reasonable chance of being detected.
This is the context in which our proposals for inspection must be considered. With all the progress that has been made in the art of seismology our instruments still record a number of events which may have been caused by earthquakes or by nuclear explosions. As far as we can see, these can be identified only by on-site inspection in a reasonable proportion of cases, and we are convinced that such inspection could take place under satisfactory safeguards against espionage. But if it is absolutely impossible to achieve a comprehensive test ban in which both sides will have confidence, there is always the alternative of a partial ban on tests in the atmosphere and under the sea. This would still be something.
We want to be able to put our case to the Russians in detail in private. I have little doubt that when this has been done, Mr. Khrushchev will take his decision about a test ban, not only with what has been said in the discussions in mind, but with many other factors. He will no doubt be looking at the present confrontation between the Eastern and Western Powers in the light of his talks with the Chinese. He will also be calculating whether a further series of nuclear tests on his side—with all the consequences which it might involve—will strengthen his own position. We want, however—and I think that the House will pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister for the initiative that he has constantly taken in this matter—to be absolutely sure that Mr. Khrushchev's decision is taken with full knowledge of our own position and our own desire to achieve a comprehensive test ban which would command confidence on both sides.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether we may take it that when the two Western representatives go to Moscow later this month they will take up a flexible attitude with regard to the problem of the number of on-site inspections, and not merely stick where they were at Geneva a month ago?
There have been the discussions between the President of the United States and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. There are to be further discussions between Mr. Harriman and the Lord President before they go to Moscow. I have chosen carefully the words I have said today about our desire to achieve this test ban. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War will be able to deal with the procedure at Geneva when he winds up tonight.
The right hon. Gentleman seemed rather to be putting the position that we shall table our proposals in Moscow and Mr. Khrushchev will have to decide, having regard to this, that and the other consideration. Has the right hon. Gentleman, or the Prime Minister, in preparing the instructions for the noble Lord, Lord Hailsham, considered the various points which might make a test ban more likely, including the Soviet leader's views not only about disengagement but proliferation and a multilateral force? Has all this been brought into the picture, or are we to table a proposal and then say,"Either take it or leave it. But if you leave it there is no test ban"?
I think that the right hon. Gentleman may rest assured that my right hon. Friend and the Lord President of the Council, as well as the President of the United States and Mr. Harriman, have taken into account all the known views of Mr. Khrushchev about this matter. No one will recognise more readily than he does, of course, that there are differences of views about what are Mr. Khrushchev's real thoughts. This visit of my noble Friend the Lord President will enable us to find out exactly what are his views and to have a very full discussion about everything which he wishes to raise.
I wish for a moment to revert to what the right hon. Gentleman was saying about Asia and China. He agrees, I am sure, that it would be much easier to deal with a number of these problems if the real Government of China were represented in the United Nations. Can he say how far we have got in persuading the Americans not to use their veto against this? Have we got as far, for instance, as the point that had been reached shortly before the Korean war broke out?
I think that the hon. Member will agree that the position of Her Majesty's Government is absolutely plain. [HON. MEMBERS:"No."] Indeed it is and it has been made plain at the last two meetings of the United Nations Assembly. I have nothing I can tell the House about the attitude of the United States Administration. It is for them to declare, presumably at the next meeting of the Assembly.
The right hon. Gentleman says that the position of Her Majesty's Government is abundantly clear. I take it that he means that our influence has always been cast on the side of admitting China to the United Nations—perhaps not always—but it is not plain in this sense. Is it not more illogical than the position of anyone else? The American position is quite different: America does not recognise the Chinese Republic. We have the worst of both possible worlds. We recognise the Government in Peking, but refuse to support China's entry to the United Nations.
It is unusual for the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) to be mistaken about his facts, however devious his views might be. On this occasion I think that he is wrong, because we recognise the People's Republic of China—
—and on the last two occasions we supported her admission to the United Nations. There is nothing illogical in that position. If the hon. Member is suggesting that we should leave the United Nations and join the People's Republic of China outside, that is a different matter; but I am not sure that he believes that.
We shall seek to find common ground with the Soviet Union in disarming and other measures to reduce the risk of conflict and also in such other spheres as those of outer space and Antarctica. In addition, we shall endeavour to expand our contacts with the Soviet people by information programmes, cultural and scientific exchanges, and so on, and especially through increasing trade. Perhaps one of the most desirable forms of this two-way traffic is the visit which the Bolshoi Ballet opened in London last night.
In the long run I believe that time may operate on our side, even in the Communist camps. Older generations die away and new interests and prosperous standards of living may erode the strength of their militant ideologies. It is interesting to note the recent developments among the smaller countries of Eastern Europe in this respect. During the last decade there has been a gradual and partial progress of de-Stalinisation in Eastern Europe.
I would not exaggerate the results. These Governments are Communist and retain all the apparatus of the police State—
—but for the average man and his family the worst of the burden has lifted and some prosperity is beginning to return. The Governments are edging towards allowing legitimate outlets for their peoples' desire for a normal existence and for contacts and exchanges with their fellow Europeans in the West. This is all to be welcomed.
Time is also on the side of the West, I believe, in the uncommitted world and among the newly developing countries. The one thing they want even more than improving their standards of living is to safeguard their recently found independence. Here there is a genuine coincidence of interests between the under-developed countries and the West. There is a divergence of interests between them and the Eastern bloc. These underlying patterns are already being glimpsed by the uncommitted countries and they will become clearer, I am certain, with the passage of time. We must do everything possible to assist them by aid and technical assistance.
We have just passed through the review in O.E.C.D. of the aid programme of ourselves and the other countries. We have passed through with very creditable results because of the large amounts of aid and technical assistance this country is giving to countries, not only in the Commonwealth, but outside it.
The uncommitted countries also look forward to next year's United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. This, too, is a collective organisation in which we have been giving a lead in its recent preparatory conference.
The success of the United Nations as a peace-keeping organisation will be of cardinal importance for the protection of their independence.
I should now like to say something about what has concerned many hon. Members. That is how the organisation is to maintain its financial stability. In addition to paying our full share of all peace-keeping operations we have made many voluntary contributions. What has worried many hon. Members has been the action of those countries which have not been paying their subscriptions towards the peace-keeping activities of the United Nations.
As the House knows, a committee of the United Nations and the Assembly have recently been discussing this matter. We have taken a leading part in the recent Special Session of the General Assembly and, in particular, in the negotiations which went on behind the scenes in order to try to find a solution to this problem. The House will be glad to have heard that at the end of the Session resolutions designed to secure an equitable distribution of the burden were passed by large majorities. They have laid down the payments to be made for the peace-keeping operations for 1963 and for the collection of arrears.
On this a number of important principles were agreed, in particular, that the financing of peace-keeping operations is the collective responsibility of all member States of the United Nations. I am sure that hon. Members will be glad to know that this responsibility has been laid down by resolution and the members concerned have been invited to make their contributions.
Before my right hon. Friend leaves that point, will he say whether there are new arrangements for providing sanctions regarding the voting powers of members if they have not paid their dues?
That sanction does exist in the Charter already, I understand, under Article 19. It is a sanction taken by the Assembly.
Perhaps I may sum up, as the background for the debate of the next two days, the broad policy that we have been following.
I understand that it is not subject to veto. It is an automatic process as a result of non-payment of subscriptions.
If I may, I will briefly sum up the broad policy that we have been following. I have endeavoured to point out to the House the initiatives we have taken both in the United Nations and in Europe in the affairs and in the organisations to which we belong. We seek to maintain and foster our own security and prosperity and to co-operate in providing the sort of arrangements in which the new countries can develop their own independence and a prosperous way of life. We are determined that the Communist countries should see no prospect of success with policies which show hostility towards the free world, but, at the same time, we shall work continuously to develop co-operation with them wherever possible and to settle our differences with them peacefully.
In the last resort the success of all our external policy must always depend on the economic power and the political purposes generated in this country. That was always borne in on me during the negotiations in Brussels. This economic power and these political purposes are the outcome of joint action by Parliament and our people. When I was speaking at Aachen recently I took the opportunity of putting forward some suggestions as to the qualities which give peoples a duty to speak and the right to be heard in international organisations such as I have discussed this afternoon. They are qualities which I believe this country possesses in full measure.
First, we believe in the need for tolerance in our relations between ourselves. This is the groundwork of our democratic parliamentary system. So, at the same time, at the international level the basis of co-operation of the kind I have been describing in which we have been trying to give leadership is tolerance. It is the practice of interdependence. Secondly, we hold firmly to the belief that we must develop a better way of life for the poorer peoples of the world. This is the greatest positive endeavour we can work upon in the second half of the twentieth century. Thirdly, we in this country, I believe, have understood the changes which have taken place in the world in the last twenty years. In that respect, as a country, we have moved with the times.
We see that if we are to develop the full potential of Europe, or economic power, or political co-operation, or help to the poorer areas—and do all the other things which in the course of this debate will be constantly pressed upon us—this will be possible and can only be done on the scale necessary through the collective endeavours of the advanced countries of the free world. They have the opportunities and they also carry the responsibilities.
I believe that we in the West and, in particular, we in this country have a job to do. This is to show the world that in carrying out our policies, whether they are, as I said at the beginning, our own individual initiatives or joint responsibilities, we are good friends and allies, strong allies prepared to compro- mise with our allies; that we are understanding friends to the developing countries; that we are to the fore in seeking solutions to world problems, which my noble Friend is constantly endeavouring to do; that we are pioneers in technical development, because only in this way can we achieve the resources necessary to carry out our policies; that we are protagonists of more widespread freedom of trade not only that the Western world, but the developing countries can benefit; and that here, in this country, we are firm democrats strongly resolved to ensure that our own parliamentary system is modern, up to date and working with the greatest efficiency.
These are the qualities and characteristics which we as a country should endeavour to demonstrate to the world today and which Her Majesty's Government, in carrying through her foreign policy, will constantly endeavour to do.
I should like to thank the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Privy Seal for his calm, careful and painstaking statement on foreign policy. Some of his points I shall take up myself in the course of my remarks, and others, because one cannot cover the whole field, will be taken up by some of my right hon. Friends.
As I listened to the right hon. Gentleman detailing many of the critical meetings, negotiations, problems and, may be, decisions that have to be taken and which lie fairly close ahead of us, I could not help thinking what a tragedy it is that at such a moment Britain has a Government who have not full and proper authority. The Government have, indeed, lost both sources of authority that are necessary to a Government if they are to take a strong position in the world. They do not represent the majority of the people here—and the whole world knows it. Secondly, the party behind them in the House is completely divided; indeed, its members are so determined to make the Prime Minister the scapegoat for their own collective sins that they did not suspend their mutterings and manoeuvrings even when the Prime Minister was meeting the President.
If, as I strongly suspect, the right hon. Gentleman is going on to say that he in fact supports most of the policies which I have been outlining in our international organisations and in the world as a whole, would it not be better in the interests of this country if he stated that firmly and clearly rather than seeking to undermine the Government who are carrying that out?
The right hon. Gentleman should not make assumptions about my speech. [Interruption.] If the Prime Minister would like to say anything he had better stand up and say it. He has no more right than any other hon. Member to say things sitting down. I was simply stating the facts. There is no question that this Government now lack authority, and it would be much better if we had a Government conducting our affairs who had the authority which would come from representing the majority of the people.
In recent weeks, I have had the pleasure, honour and privilege of talks with President Kennedy, Mr. Khrushchev and other United States and Soviet leaders. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and I were in Moscow at a rather critical time at home, as it appeared to us from the newspapers that were reaching us; at a time when the Government seemed to be rather paralysed by the repercussions of the Profumo affair, we were covering with Mr. Khrushchev and other leaders the whole range of world problems. We did not of course try to negotiate in any sense. It is not possible for an Opposition to negotiate. The hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) was in the same country at the same time. It is not possible for the Opposition to negotiate but we did our very best to open up avenues for helpful progress. I think it is my duty to take this first opportunity to give the House in the course of my remarks some of the impressions that I and my right hon. Friend formed on some of the major issues that are before us in this debate.
In Washington I argued very strongly indeed for a postponement of the proposal for a multilateral force, as it was then called—I think that it is now called a mixed-manned force—and I am glad that the communiqué that was issued after the meetings between the Prime Minister and the President seems, although it is a little ambiguous, to imply that this project is now postponed. Indeed, the communiqué states in effect that the project is to be postponed so that we can get on with talks with the Soviet Union about the test ban.
This is an admission that the multilateral force and the whole idea of it is an impediment to getting an agreement with the Soviet Union and for that reason it follows that postponement is not enough. The statement in the communiqué that the United States and Germany will continue to use their best efforts to bring the multilateral force into being, and the Lord Privy Seal's remark that further discussions are to go on about it—all this must in fact jeopardise the chance of agreement with the Soviet Union. We must realise what we are doing.
In any case the whole argument about the multilateral force is tied up with much greater problems, which, as the right hon. Gentleman said in his speech, will remain with us whatever happens about the multilateral force. There is what he called the uneven ownership of nuclear weapons in the alliance and there is the whole question of Germany and nuclear weapons. These will remain with us but the M.L.F. brought it up in very special form.
We on this side adamantly oppose any possession or control of nuclear weapons by Germany. I think that is the common position of Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. I think that none of them wants Germany to have nuclear weapons. There are many reasons why we were critical of the proposals for a multilateral force, but the fundamental one was that it would bring Germany too close to nuclear weapons. A percentage of the ships would have German captains, maybe eight or so; German military personnel would have learned how to set and prime the weapons. All these things would have brought Germany much too close to nuclear weapons. There was no doubt either in my mind or that of my right hon. Friend as the result of our talks in Moscow that there is no chance of a settlement with the Soviet Union and no chance of fruitful negotiations if the M.L.F. were started or even if it remains in contemplation.
This has to be said clearly and frankly, because these are the sort of questions that will determine what progress we can make. There is the further consideration that there is now much evidence, some of which we got on our visit, that one of the causes of the Sino-Soviet trouble is the Soviet Union's refusal to help China to make nuclear weapons. The M.L.F. must weaken Mr. Khrushchev's stand in such a matter.
It is not enough to say that we do not want Germany to have nuclear weapons. We live in a world in which we do not control everything. We must pursue policies which do in fact effectively lead to the achievement of our purpose. When I was in Moscow, I explained at very great length to Mr. Khrushchev the motive and aims behind our policy towards Germany which I will state in a moment. I told him that I had used the same argument and practically the same words in Washington.
What I said was that we regarded the avoidance of Germany's acquiring nuclear weapons, either alone or in conjunction with France, as the greatest problem of all those facing us in the West. But I also said that if we are to avoid that danger we must find a fair and equal place for Germany in the Western Alliance. If Germany continued to be treated as a second-class people, then her national feeling, as it began to grow and rise, would be frustrated and distorted, and that would produce the very results which we want to avoid.
I said that the United Kingdom has a crucial rôle to play in this whole matter. We have our V-bomber force, which is a very powerful force with a life of five years or more; five years-plus—we have no access to this sort of information. What I said in Moscow and in Washington and what I say here is that we should carry out in this respect an inter-connected policy. We should allow that weapon in due course to run down as time goes by and as it becomes obsolete, and we should not replace it; and as part and parcel of that, we should negotiate with the United States for a share in the formulation of the nuclear strategy of the entire weapon of the Western Alliance. We should not ask for a hand on the trigger or a hand on the safety catch. What we should ask for is close, intimate, continuous discussion about the things which really control nuclear policy—the deployment of nuclear weapons, their targetting, future plans about them and the relationship between strategic and nuclear weapons. If we could achieve this it would give us a say not in a partial N.A.T.O. weapon of relatively minor importance but in the entire weapon of the Western Alliance, the weapon that really matters.
This is one of the objections to the multilateral force proposal—that it would be a very minor part and that the real weapon would still be under United States control if the M.L.F. arrangement came into being. At the same time, we should use the money which we save to build and equip our conventional forces into an indispensable factor in the alliance.
I said in both these places that Germany should then be offered an equal place with us in this arrangement. This is the only way by which one can give Germany a fair and proper place in the Western Alliance and yet keep her finger from the trigger, safety catch or any other direct or indirect control of the use of nuclear weapons.
Hon. Members will have in their minds the problem of France in this connection. France does not fit into any solution. It does not fit into the multilateral force solution, either. I think that the right thing would be to offer France the same sort of position at any time that she wanted to take it up. I am very doubtful whether France will be able to build a credible nuclear deterrent but I cannot be sure. If she does, and if she does it in the way which is suggested—separate, in effect, from N.A.T.O.—then I think that the Western Alliance will have to consider making it clear that this would not permit France to buy her way into nuclear negotiations and that the Western Alliance would not be committed by any threat or use of such weapons by France. In any case, whatever France does, we ought to follow our own proper long-term interests, and it is much better that we should have a real say and share in the whole weapon of the Western Alliance rather than in this partial weapon.
I ask hon. Members, who do not all agree with this view—although some of them do—to ponder this matter very carefully. If, as the Prime Minister wishes, this country goes on with the pretence of an independent nuclear deterrent after the V-bomber force runs down, this will inevitably lead in the end to the possession by Germany of nuclear weapons. We cannot possibly argue for such a policy for Britain and deny it to Germany. This is an inevitable consequence of that policy. It would also lead to continued neglect of our conventional forces.
In connection with the German problem, my right hon. Friend and I made it absolutely clear in Moscow that we must stand firm and unflinching behind the right of the people of West Berlin to live the sort of free political life they want and behind the right of access to our garrison in West Berlin. These two things we both made very clear indeed.
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the nuclear test ban is the most important immediate decision before us and the most hopeful way of getting a break-through. My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker), if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, will deal with this and particularly with the problem of disarmament.
The problem of a nuclear test ban figured very largely indeed in our talks in Moscow, and I regret to have to tell the House that Mr. Khrushchev told us that the Soviet Union had withdrawn her offer for on-site inspection. He said this categorically and clearly, and I should say this to the House. He is not ready, he said, to accept any agreement which includes inspection. Both of us tried hard and long to shake him in this position. Despite our argument that there had been a genuine misunderstanding between Russia and America about what would happen if Russia proposed the acceptance in principle of inspection, clearly Mr. Khrushchev is angry at what he regards as the failure of the United States to keep a promise, and it is still clear that he is extremely worried and frightened about the problem of espionage. This is clearly much in his mind. We tried very hard to convince him that measures could be adopted which would make espionage impossible. We tried very hard indeed to convince him about this.
I hope, with all my heart, that our negotiators have better luck in this respect than we did. They must try to save the principle of inspection on which a general and complete test ban agreement must depend. But they must have a flexible attitude. They must be prepared to give and take. If they want an agreement they must not go with a completely inflexible attitude and a take-it-or-leave-it position.
We also argued the idea which the Lord Privy Seal put forward that if we cannot get an agreement about tests in the atmosphere, underground and under water, let us agree upon a ban on the two which can be monitored from outside, and if necessary leaving underground tests free and unpoliced. They at least have the merit that they do not pollute the atmosphere and the further merit that the scientific advance to be derived from them is relatively small compared with tests in the other media. We suggested that in the meanwhile, while this agreement could be made, the scientists of the two sides should meet. We put forward very strongly the idea of an anti-proliferation—or anti-spread, for I do not like these long words—agreement and treaty. This was accepted in a rather friendly way, and I think it may well be a field in which progress can be made. We did our utmost in all this to help towards some measure of international agreement on this vitally important matter.
I also discussed both in New York with the Secretary-General and with Mr. Khrushchev the financial crisis in the United Nations. I wrestled for hours with high Moscow officials in their Foreign Office on this matter, because it is of extreme importance to the whole world, but I must say with little success. The Soviet Union is against what has happened in the United Natioras—the shift of influence to the General Assembly, particularly with its peace-keeping activities; we welcome this, but the Soviet Union is against it because it wants all power retained in the Security Council where there is a Soviet veto. France takes the same position. France takes a position which is indistinguishable from the Soviet position.
I congratulate the Government on the initiative which they took in the last Assembly and on the great success which this Session produced in getting this agreement, but the real crisis still lies ahead and will occur in about six months' time. There is some legal doubt about whether Article 19 requires a two-thirds majority. But the issue will have to be faced whether the Soviet Union and maybe France should be deprived of voting rights because they have fallen into arrears for more than a certain period with their proper contributions. This, of course, would be a tragedy for the United Nations. To avoid it will involve very hard, patient and urgent diplomacy. The real hope lies here, I think, in the concerted action of Afro-Asian and other unaligned nations to which the United Nations means so much and whose good opinion means so much to the Soviet Union. This is really the line on which we must work. It is not only a matter of knowing all the Articles of the Charter and all the rest, but in the end, I think, this will be settled by world opinion or by that section of it represented by Afro-Asian and similar countries.
It seems to me that the greatest immediate danger point—and this, I think, is what the right hon. Gentleman said—lies in South-East Asia, especially in Laos. I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman said about Vietnam. The preservation of a neutral and unaligned Laos may make the difference between war and peace in South-East Asia, which, if it came to war, could engulf the world. I agree with the Lord Privy Seal that the Geneva Agreement is in grave danger now. The right hon. Gentleman went very well and ably over these facts and I do not propose to go over them again, but I want to make two points.
My right hon. Friend interrupted the Lord Privy Seal to say that the Soviet Union's writ does not run in Laos, and the right hon. Gentleman said that that was speculation. But I think that I can say from our talks in Moscow that there is no doubt that the Soviet Union has lost much influence in this part of the world, that it is very reluctant to challenge China, but that it wants the status quo preserved. Mr. Khrushchev does not want war to break out in this part of the world. My impression was that the Russians would be very cautious about moving on this, but they may help if the situation gets bad, to a dangerous position.
The basic problem, I believe, in the whole of South-East Asia is that we have no means of communication with China, no dialogue, as we have with Russia over matters that affect war and peace—not really the West as a whole with China. We are in a bit better situation in this regard and this gives us a very important position. I do not pretend that it is easy. It is not only a matter of mechanisms. There is the matter of common interest before we can get this sort of dialogue, but we must make a start.
It is essential that China should be in the United Nations. We have voted for this; but we must continue to press for it with greater energy. There is a difference between voting and canvassing, and all the rest. I know from my talks in Washington that it is going to be difficult for us in our relations with the United States, but the peace of the world is at stake, and it is extremely important that we should make it easier to begin the sort of dialogue with China that the West has with Russia.
That brings me to the point that we have to approach all these problems in the context of East-West relations. We have got to work and think out East-West relations afresh. We have all got dug into entrenched positions which are getting out of date and which are stuck. We have to get away from the stale and barren attitudes both of crusading Communists and crusading anti-Communists. These are getting more and more dangerous and out of date.
I think that the most hopeful development in the world is the recognition of a measure of common interest between the Soviet Union and the United States. Indeed, these common interests were specifically mentioned in what I thought was a very courageous and far-sighted speech by President Kennedy in American University at Washington on 11th June.
As I look at this, it seems that the Cuba crisis was really the turning point. This was a searing and unforgettable experience for both President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev, and I think it ought to be said that both Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev showed wisdom and political courage in drawing the world back from the brink of nuclear war. As I have said, I think that Cuba may well turn out to have been the turning point. Since then the possibility of honourable comprises has greatly increased, because both sides have been nearer to the horrible nightmare vision of war than ever before. But things are still in balance.
Mr. Khrushchev has his difficulties. Of course he has, and we are very conscious of our own. He has a difficult internal social change going on. He may have internal political difficulties, although my impression was that he is very much in charge of things and I should think that anything else is wishful thinking. He has external problems inside the Communist world, with some of his satellites in East Europe as with China. He could move either way—into intransigence and threats or towards accommodation.
It seems to me that a very great responsibility lies here upon the West. We are the stronger—we have to remember this—of the two sides. We know that we are not aggressive, but we must pursue policies that will persuade the Soviet Union that we are not aggressive. This really is the essential thing. We shall never be forgiven by history or posterity, if there is any, should we act wrongly, should we neglect any hint of an overture or forward movement from Russia, or pursue any policies—I am talking about multilateral forces and all those things—which tend to snuff out the chances of agreement.
The West must take the initiative towards relaxation. We on this side of the House regard disengagement in Central Europe as a very important and hopeful initiative of this kind, but we recognise that in policies of this kind we have to win the acceptance of other Powers, as indeed in all fields of foreign policy. We are prepared to put this proposal forward in the context of measures to safeguard against surprise attack. We would be prepared to start at any point, perhaps with zones of mutual inspection let alone zones of disarmament or nuclear disarmament. It seems to me to be a very important step. If both sides could learn the efficacy of inspection, even in a small area where it is tested out, this would be a very great step forward. Once achieved, it would make for further progress towards disengagement and relaxation.
The greatest need, I think, is for a new approach to the whole cold war. Of course, we need co-existence in the sense that the alternative to co-existence is co-extermination. That is true. But co-existence is not enough, and we must continuously say that it is not enough. It is an old-fashioned Stalinist idea based on the doctrine of"all conflict short of war". Stalin orginated this concept of co-existence. It is an appallingly dangerous doctrine because inherent in it is always the danger that conflict will lead to war. We should say loudly that we want something better.
We do not want co-exisence in this sense. We want a living together with the Russians. If the nations are to live they must learn to let live. We want the maximum exchanges that we can get of every kind—political, economic and cultural—Ministers' meetings and personal meetings at all levels.
The greatest common interest of the kind that both President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev are now beginning to recognise exists—the greatest mutual interest of East and West, must be to end the cold war because it is certain that neither can ever win it.
In such a debate as this it is inevitable that the opening speakers should cover a wide range that a mere backbencher cannot hope to follow, but it is fair to say that from the two speeches we have heard two main subjects have emerged: first, the prospect of a détente with the Soviet Union, beginning with the test ban talks, and, secondly, and related to it, the difficult question of the organisation of the Western Alliance.
The first question is clearly much the larger, but I do not want to say much about it, partly because I agree very much with what the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker)has just said, and also because, on this subject, it seems to me that this country's scope for action is no longer as large as it was. It is true to say that in the late 'fifties the United Kingdom did play a catallytic rôle in promoting talks between the Soviet Union and the United States on a test ban. I do not think that we now have that scope, although I have no doubt that we can still play a useful rôle.
I believe that to be the case because of the changed attitude as between the Soviet Union and the United States stemming from Cuba. I do not share the official view that the Russian action in Cuba was governed by a desire to seek a short cut to closing the missile gap with the United States. Rightly or wrongly, I incline rather to the view that in staging the Cuba operation the Russians wished to make manifest to the United States the strength of their retaliatory power. Be that as it may, I agree that, over Cuba, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev shared a common experience which, in a sense, puts them apart from the rest of mankind; they were both on the brink of nuclear war.
What matters now is that each should feel that the other shares a genuine desire for an understanding, and that that desire is not in any way forced. In saying that, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that each of these great Powers has difficulties. Russia will be hesitant to add further to the strain on her relations with China, and Mr. Kennedy has difficulties with his domestic public opinion, which Cuba did not chasten as it chastened the Administration. In fact, I think that American public opinion was made more bellicose by Cuba. Nevertheless, I join others in wishing my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council well, and although we should not give way to optimism I hope that some progress will be made.
I turn to the smaller, but, in many ways, much more complicated question of the organisation of the Western Alliance. I want to devote my main comments to this subject, because this country's scope for action here—indeed, our obligation to take action—seems to me much greater. I approach the problem by looking at what I consider to be our key diplomatic problem. Putting it simply, we attained greatness and influence in world councils through physical power. Our physical power has declined, and the problem now is: how, in those circumstances, do we maintain our influence? How do we stem our retreat from greatness as our power declines?
This problem was well put by the Foreign Secretary in a debate in the House of Lords on the Common Market on 1st August last. I want to quote his solution of the problem, because I think that his words are quite as pertinent today as they were a year ago. The Foreign Secretary then said:
…what has made Britain great in the past?…It was the decision, through generation after generation of British people and British Governments, that Britain should always be at the centre of markets and at the centre of power…if you keep her in the main-stream of markets and power, although we have not got the physical or military power that we had, nevertheless we can hope to sustain enough power to carry great influence in the counsels of the world."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 1st August, 1962; Vol. 243, c. 273.]
I call the attention of the House to two points in those observations. First, there is the clear implication that alone, this country is no longer a centre of power—otherwise there would be no point in trying to place ourselves at a centre of power. Secondly, there is the suggestion that had we placed ourselves in Europe as a centre of markets we would also have placed ourselves at a centre of power.
I suggest to the House that what has emerged in retrospect is that although we have been clear in our minds about wanting to place ourselves at a centre of markets we were considered by General de Gaulle to be ambivalent—and I think that we were ambivalent—on the question of Europe as a centre of power, and I put it to the House that we were shut out from the Common Market not because of agriculture, Commonwealth or economics, but because General de Gaulle, I think quite rightly, suspected that we did not share his views on Europe as a centre of power.
I think that General de Gaulle's suspicion goes back a very long way. There is a very fascinating passage in the third volume of his memoirs dealing with a conversation he had on 13th November, 1944, with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wood ford (Sir W. Churchill).On that occasion, General de Gaulle proposed that France and the United Kingdom, both of them enfeebled by war, should link their policies. He proposed something more than an alliance—although the phrasing is a little obscure—and put forward the thought that this unity was the only way in which the two countries could maintain European values and traditions in a quite new world of extra-European colossi; the Soviet Union and the United States—and, to come, China.
To that proposal, my right hon. Friend replied that while he was very keen on alliance with France, an alliance meant something less close than what General de Gaulle wanted and, so the memoirs read, he gave General de Gaulle the impression that this country continued to want to play an independent, and lone, rôle in mediating between the United States and the Soviet Union.
That was twenty years ago, and much water has passed under the bridges, but—and this is a purely personal judgment—there seem to me today to be three strands in General de Gaulle's thinking. There is, first, a continued recognition on his part that France alone cannot face the world of the new colossi. There is, secondly, a continued belief in the desirability of a European counterpoise to the United States, on the one hand, and the Soviet Union on the other. Thirdly—and I think that this is the new element—there is the belief that if this European counterpoise cannot be organised round a Franco-British nucleus, as he wanted during the war, then it must be organised round a Franco-German nucleus.
I therefore suggest that what General de Gaulle did in January last in shutting us out of the Common Market was to pose for us the question of Europe in terms of ultimate power. We had gone into the negotiations thinking of Europe in economic terms—a United Europe in economic terms, that might lead to a closer-knit political organisation and, possibly, some organisation in terms of power.
What General de Gaulle did was to go straight to the heart of the question and to ask us whether or not we desired to see Europe as a power unit. We have to face this challenge. In facing it I suggest that we should be deluding ourselves if we thought that we were shut out of Europe by just one man. The desire to see Europe as a power unit goes far beyond General de Gaulle.
How should we respond to the challenge? Clearly, there are three possible ways. First, we can accept what General de Gaulle said, accept his concept of Europe as a unit in terms of ultimate power. I believe that if we were to do this we could obtain entry into the Common Market. We could thereby increase our influence in Europe certainly, but by the same token I am afraid that we would weaken our influence with the United States. We should be going back on about twenty-five years of close relations with the United States, and, I believe, going back on commitments recently entered into with them.
What is worse to my mind is that over a long transition period, while one was trying to build up Europe as a power unit, the temptation to the United States to move back into isolationism would be considerable. In turn, who knows to what a return by the United States to isolationism might tempt the Soviet Union? This carries far too great dangers, and I speak as one in favour of this country entering the Common Market. This would be far too high a price to pay for entry into the European Community. I personally would not be prepared to pay it.
Very well, if one sets aside the de Gaulle concept of Europe one could conceivably go to quite the other extreme and accept for all foreseeable time total European dependence for ultimate power on the United States. I had thought until I heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick that this might be the position of the Opposition. I am left a little puzzled by what the right hon. Gentleman said and I should like to read it more fully tomorrow. To accept total European dependence for ultimate power upon the United States would certainly correspond with present facts and would be likely to continue to correspond with them for a long time to come, but it would ignore the psychology of Europeans and would leave the cultivation of European aspirations entirely to General de Gaulle.
This, to my mind, therefore, is a course to be excluded. Then if we exclude both these courses, if we do not go along with General de Gaulle in trying to create a power unit in Europe and equally we abjure total European dependence for foreseeable time upon the United States, there is only one alternative. This is what I think the Americans were after in proposing the multilateral force. What they effectively did was to turn to Europe and say,"You want a European unit apart from the United States. Very well, we propose to you in the form of a multilateral force a trans-Atlantic power unit which will embrace both Europe and the United States". This seems to me to be the beginning of a change in the American grand design.
As the House will know, the old grand design was that one first promoted economic unity in Europe. Thereafter, one promoted economic links between Europe and the United States, these to be followed, in turn, by political and power links. It seems to me that America is the first to take General de Gaulle at his word and go straight to the question of power and try to organise a trans-Atlantic unit in the most difficult field of all—ultimate power.
There has been in this country a great deal of criticism of the details of the multilateral force. This is not the occasion to go into the details of the scheme, nor do I feel competent to do so. But I would point out that General de Gaulle's action in January last not only excluded the United States from Europe, but it excluded ourselves, and the exclusion mattered much more to us than the exclusion of the United States mattered to them. The Americans have reacted by producing a scheme on this central question of power. We, since our exclusion from the Common Market, have not produced any scheme on this question.
This is a most interesting dissertation, but does not it mean that what the Americans are striving at is a political advantage but a military nonsense? Does not that sum up the whole issue?
I think that this is the wrong occasion to go into the details of the scheme. I am confining myself to the essentials of the problem and I am trying to put to the House that the Americans put forward what is in many ways the heart of the question. Unacceptable though the details may be, they are trying to produce a trans-Atlantic unit.
The right hon. Gentleman is getting nowhere. The strategic planning, the operation, the possession, the ultimate firing mechanism, and the decision still rest with the Americans. That is the whole point.
I am prepared to come to that if the hon. Member will allow me to get on.
This has been described as a gimmick. If it were a. mere gimmick it would be right for this country to have nothing to do with it. I believe it to be more than a gimmick and that the forces which have given rise to this gimmickry—if gimmickry it be—will go on. In other words, I believe that the pressure to convert an embryonic European community into a power unit will continue and that this, in turn, is bound to produce counter-pressure from the United States to create a trans-Atlantic power unit.
Clearly, we are excluded from the European community as it now is. If I am right in this judgment, and if in addition to our exclusion from the European Community we by our action exclude ourselves from the trans-Atlantic power unit we are heading for a position of unsplendid isolation. But even if I am wrong in my judgment of the underlying forces which have given rise to this proposal, the fact remains that, rightly or wrongly, the proposal has been made. And if this country were now to assume the responsibility for killing the proposal we should be adding to our present estrangement from France an estrangement from Western Germany, and this estrangement we can ill afford. I submit then to the House that we cannot respond entirely negatively, as it seems to me the mood of the country generally has been, to the American proposal.
We have to respond positively. This means that while we certainly accept the delay—and I agree entirely with what the right hon. Member for Smethwick has said about the desirability for delay while the Moscow talks go on, and about trying to vary the details—we have to put up an alternative.
People will differ in their views on what the alternative should be. I only give my brief view—and this is my response to the interjection earlier in my speech. My view is that any alternative which we put forward must adhere to the essence of the American scheme, and the essence of the scheme, as I see it, is that, initially, a part of the Western deterrent is pooled as an experiment. This pooled part will, at first, be operated under the rule of unanimity, which means an American veto, but to make it acceptable to the Europeans and to keep the door open to France, we should, at a later date, I think, have to pass beyond the unanimity rule to decisions by a qualified majority. This would be applicable to the experimental part of the Western deterrent which is pooled, but I think that this thought carries with it the possibility that the principles underlying the experiment should later be applied to the entire Western deterrent.
Of course, this scheme, like all schemes, has its difficulties. I confess that it is an appallingly difficult problem. The first main difficulty I take is the one which has been mentioned from the benches opposite, namely, that any scheme of this kind gives West Germany a say in nuclear strategy. My only comment on this is to say how much better, in retrospect, it would have been, both from the Soviet point of view and from the Western point of view, to have seen West Germany remilitarised within the framework of a European defence community and not see us forced, as we were later, to remilitarise her as an independent nation. If this is true of the past, how much better it would be for the future to grant West Germany a say in nuclear strategy within an Atlantic context rather than in a purely European context. That, perhaps, is the Opposition's difficulty.
The other main difficulty is the Government's difficulty, the difficulty that the British nuclear effort is too small to be divided into two parts, a part which is pooled in this experimental way and a part which is kept independent. The Government here are in a predicament. I sympathise with them. I can only remind them of the Foreign Secretary's words a year ago, that, the power of this country having declined, if we are to maintain our influence we must consciously place ourselves at a centre of power.
I suggest to the House that the American proposal, just as General de Gaulle's act in excluding us from the Common Market did, has confronted us with a challenge, a challenge which we have evaded for too long, namely, the challenge of defining the centre of power at which we place ourselves. The longer we side-step this issue, the greater risk do we run of seeing the independence which we covet turned into an isolation which we do not want and which, I am sure, we should all deplore.
I have listened with the greatest interest to what my right hon. Friend has said. At the end of his speech, he has come back to the point he made at the beginning, and on this I should like to comment, if I may. I refer to the question of defining our position in relation to Europe as an instrument of power.
My right hon. Friend has said that we have failed to do this, and that this was really the reason why the negotiations were broken off. With respect, if he reads the opening statement at the negotiations in Paris, and the statement to Western European Union, which I made on 10th April, he will find that we faced this point completely, accepting that the Europe of which we were asking to be a part would be a focal point of power. This was the reason why we were taking that action, and we were negotiating for political just as much as for economic reasons.
This was fully recognised by the Five. It was disputed by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) and other hon. Members opposite that we should have said such a thing, but it was accepted by the Five, who certainly shared our view. The real difference lies in what I went on to say, which was that Europe as a focal point of power must also be part of the Atlantic Alliance. This is where the real difference is in European policies, but, again, on this the Five agreed with us in Brussels.
I do not really dissent from that. My point is that de Gaulle differed from us in wanting to see Europe organised in terms of ultimate power apart from the United States. We took a different view, rightly, I think, and it was this difference which prompted the collapse of the talks. As I see it, the problem is to define the trans-Atlantic unit as a new centre of power, and in a way which, while it will not, I think, reconcile France in the short term, will, in the long term, keep the door open for her.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), in his very thoughtful speech, has drawn attention to what is probably the most difficult short-term problem facing us today. Whatever my views may be about the proposal for a multi-lateral force, I agree entirely with him that it has not been put forward by the United States as something in the nature of a gimmick.
What some of us are worried about is that it seems to involve questions of national prestige. The West German Government have entered into undertakings not to acquire or produce the nuclear weapon, but this proposal seems to us to involve their entering into the nuclear sphere through the back door. It seems to us, therefore, to have been put forward purely on political grounds, in spite of the fact that it seems to be another way of embarking upon the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is because we feel that any action which would result in the proliferation of nuclear weapons is to be opposed that, speaking for myself, I am extremely dubious about this proposal.
For those reasons, as well as for others, we feel that the decision of President Kennedy and the Prime Minister last weekend to postpone a decision on the proposed multilateral force will be widely welcomed. Apart from the political and military objections to it, the proposal seems to have been most untimely. It is only common sense that no action should be taken at present which might prejudice the successful outcome of the forthcoming negotiations later this month in Moscow. There is ample evidence that the Soviet Union's fears and suspicions have been aroused by the proposal for this kind of force.
I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) when he urges that steps should be taken to associate all the N.A.T.O. countries with the control of the Western nuclear weapon. Again, speaking for myself, I agreed very much with the Canadian Prime Minister when he said, some time ago, that, however inevitable it may be that the American finger should be on the trigger, it is essential that all the N.A.T.O. countries should have their fingers on the safety catch. In my view—my right hon. Friend has urged this upon the House—some form of organisation providing effective consultation must be created to ensure that the taking of nuclear action never depends on the decision of one man, not even the President of the United States.
However, merely to reject or postpone a decision on a multilateral force does not get rid of the danger of proliferation. During the past few months, we have seen how this danger has been growing. President de Gaulle's separatism will, in my view, undoubtedly stimulate the Germans and the Italians and possibly other countries, to aspire to become nuclear Powers both on the basis of national prestige and in the mistaken belief that it will result in an added insurance for their national security.
I believe that the widespread cynicism which exists as a result of 10 years of abortive disarmament negotiations is also a powerful stimulus to nuclear proliferation. I want to say how strongly I feel that the only way to deal with these problems and the only real alternative to proliferation and the present race in nuclear weapons is not to build up further categories of nuclear forces but to secure, first, a nuclear test ban; secondly, to start on general disarmament, and, thirdly, the creation of a United Nations peace force.
For many months we have been faced with a stalemate in the nuclear test ban negotiations at Geneva. It seems almost unbelievable that failure to reach agreement on a nuclear test ban treaty is because of a difference on the number of on-site inspections—should there be seven or three? The importance of the coming conference in Moscow lies in the possibility of securing a test ban agreement. This was stated in the communiqué issued by President Kennedy and the Prime Minister over the weekend. They said that a nuclear test ban agreement might well lead to progress in other directions.
I hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick was not too pessimistic. He has had the advantage of direct contacts with the Russian leaders. I very much hope that it turns out that his view is pessimistic because it seems to me incredible that we should carry on a policy of haggling over digits while the world is building more and more weapons of mass destruction. I cannot believe that the world is so bankrupt of statesmanship that it will not be realised among the leaders of the three countries engaged in these negotiations that it would be well worth the while of both sides to secure a start with a test ban agreement.
However, I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick—it may be that this is the Government's position—that if it is not possible to secure an overall agreement banning tests we should accept a ban on high altitude and surface tests, leaving underground tests to be dealt with later. I should like to go a little further than some of my colleagues. I should have been prepared to accept an agreement banning high altitude and surface and underwater tests, leaving underground tests to be dealt with later, but I would agree to a moratorium for 12 months or two years while the scientists of the three countries tried to work out something which would be a compromise on the minimum number of on-site inspections.
I am wondering whether the difficulty is due to the fact that the Soviet Union sincerely fears espionage, or whether it is that the United States Government and our own Government are scientifically convinced that there must be a minimum number of on-site inspections, or whether it is, as the Prime Minister indicated two or three weeks ago in the House, that there is an absence of political will to achieve an agreement. It would be tragic if that were the case and I for one would wish God speed to both the negotiators who are to go to Moscow at the end of this month and express the hope that they will be able to lay the ground for a further conference.
The negotiations which are to take place in Moscow this month are a welcome development, but we must not be too disappointed if no final comprehensive agreement is reached. I consider that, even in these circumstances, the value of the talks will be in preparing the ground for a Summit meeting of the three Heads of Government. I have held the view for a long time that Mr. Khrushchev will have to be personally involved in any major agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States. I see no need for a formal Summit conference. I should like the Prime Minister to take the first step by announcing that he will go to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September as head of the British delegation. If Mr. Khrushchev led the Soviet delegation to the General Assembly, opportunities would present themselves in the course of the day-to-day business of the General Assembly, which would, in turn, provide opportunities for meetings between the three leaders without the formalities and publicity of a formal Summit conference.
I very much welcome, as I am sure hon. Members on both sides do, the establishment of what is termed a"hot line" between Moscow and Washington to enable direct talks to take place between President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev at times of emergency. However, I believe that in the present international situation the time has come for direct talks between President Kennedy, Mr. Khrushchev and the Prime Minister.
The irony of the Geneva Conference deadlock becomes only too apparent when one considers the respective drafts of general disarmament proposals of the Soviet Union and the United States. While there are important differences, there is no unbridgeable gap separating them. Neither side needs to take up a rigid and uncompromising position. It is only fair to say that the Soviet Union has made some encouraging moves by modifying its original proposals and bringing them nearer to the Western proposals. Yet, after all these months and years of discussion and negotiation, no agreement is in sight. This is because national prestige seems to be involved, so that neither side will adopt as a basis of discussion the disarmament plan put forward by the other.
As the Foreign Secretary said in March last year, what is needed is a master plan drawing on the best of all the proposals put forward. I ask the Minister who will speak later tonight whether an attempt has been made to draft such a master plan. I suggested to the Prime Minister several months ago that the United Nations Secretary-General should be invited to prepare such a plan. Has this been done? The Secretary-General might well undertake such a task if he were invited so to do by President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev. Such a master plan would not be automatically binding on either the United Nations or the Soviet Union. Its great value would be that it would mean one basis of discussion instead of two, as at present. I very much hope that the Government will take the initiative in urging this course upon both President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev.
I should like to make one further comment on the two disarmament plans. In my view, the establishment of the proposed international peace force should not be left to later stages of the agreement. The fear that national security might be threatened is probably the main obstacle to progress on an effective agreement on disarmament. It is, therefore, imperative that the nucleus of a United Nations peace force should be created in the early stages of a disarmament treaty—in fact, in stage one and not in stage two, as at present proposed.
In that connection, I ask the Government to consider the proposals contained in the"Uniting for Peace" resolutions of 1950, paragraph (c) of which proposed that each member State of the United Nations should maintain within its national forces elements so trained, organised and equipped that they could be promptly made available for service as a United Nations unit or units upon recommendation by the Security Council or the General Assembly. This recommendation has never been implemented. It is more than time that steps were taken to give effect to this proposal, which has Iain dormant for 12 years.
I therefore ask the Government to suggest to the United States Government that a proposal to earmark national contingents should be included in the first stage of a disarmament treaty. I believe that the creation of such a permanent force would establish greater confidence and help to remove the fears of insecurity in a disarming world.
Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the force which he proposes should come under the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations? Would he not agree that it is most unfortunate that that body has not been used for many years, even in the peacekeeping operations?
That is correct. I do not want to mislead the House. Provision was made under Article 43 of the United Nations Charter that at the request of the Security Council, if an emergency occurred Governments should be ready to provide their contribution in the way of national contingents. I go much further than that. I say that we should not wait for an emergency or for the Security Council to make the request, but that as part of the building-up of the system of security in a world which, I am assuming, is beginning to disarm, this force should be started in the very first stages of disarmament.
However strongly we may feel that it is through these measures of disarmament and through the workings of the Charter that the security and independence of peoples can best be safeguarded, it would be unrealistic if we did not accept that until, in the early stages, we reassure the countries of the world that they will have their independence and freedom safeguarded, we shall run up against more and more difficulties in commencing general disarmament.
It is not only nuclear tests and general disarmament that need to be discussed with Mr. Khrushchev round the table. Serious problems face the United Nations, involving the threat of financial insolvency and even the disruption of the organisation. I do not disagree with what has been said about the need for enforcing the Charter of the United Nations. I understand that by January, 1964, the Soviet Union will be two years in arrear with its contributions. Automatically, under Article 19 of the Charter, it will become disqualified from voting in the General Assembly. Such a disqualification will become inevitable unless the Soviet Union pays up.
Nevertheless, hon. Members, on both sides, would agree that such disqualification is undesirable in general and harmful to the United Nations in particular, and would not be in the interests of world peace or international relations or of the effectiveness of the United Nations. Although the Soviet Union is at the top of the"league" in the number of vetoes which it has exercised since 1946, it is a foundation member of the United Nations and should carry out its responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council.
On the other hand, it would be fatal to the United Nations unless Article 19 were implemented in the event of the Soviet Union failing to pay its dues under the Charter. I cannot believe that the Soviet Union intends to disrupt the United Nations by persisting in its refusal to pay its dues, which, incidentally the International Court of Justice has ruled are payable under the Charter.
I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not wish to mislead the House. If I have it right, it is the special contributions on which the U.S.S.R. is behind. It is up to date, I believe, with its ordinary contributions to the United Nations. And, of course, the Soviet Union states that it did not agree with some of the functions which have been carried out by the United Nations.
As to that argument, fortunately the matter was referred to the International Court of Justice, which ruled that the special dues in respect of operations in the Middle East and in the Congo were payable in addition to the normal dues under the Charter. If that means anything, it means that neither the Soviet Union, France or any other country which has refused to support the United Nations operations in those areas can plead that it is not called upon to pay its special contributions under the Charter of the United Nations.
It must be made clear that the International Court of Justice has ruled against a view of that kind.
The Lord Privy Seal painted a rather grim picture of the situation in Laos and acknowledged the ineffectiveness of the machinery which was established at the Geneva Conference. Is it not time that this matter was taken to the United Nations? We are told that it may well plunge the world into war. This is a prob- lem which should be taken to the United Nations, especially in view of the attitude of the Soviet Government, whose difficulties one can understand as a result of the attempt of the Communist China to bring all the countries of South-East Asia within its political orbit. Is that not all the more reason for this matter to be taken to the Security Council as a situation which threatens world peace? I very much hope that the Government will give the closest consideration to what I am suggesting.
The problem of Berlin remains a disturbing element in the European situation and is a cause of tension between East and West. The danger of the cold war being suddenly intensified is always with us. As the United Nations Secretary-General said a few days ago, the peace of the world depends largely on co-operation between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. He said:
A world authority could grow out of an agreement between the two major world Powers to prevent war among other countries and to do away with the cold war.
I would only add that in my view such an agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States of America is only a necessary first step. An agreement providing for the banning of nuclear tests, an agreement providing for general disarmament and an agreement providing for the establishment of a world authority would all, in my view, require the inclusion and co-operation of both Communist China and France if they were to be fully effective. It may be that those two nations will remain detached from the current efforts to reduce the dangers of war by a test ban agreement and by comprehensive disarmament by stages, but we must always bear in mind that any agreements that may be reached must, if they are to be effective, be universal in their application.
The right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) has just said, quoting the Secretary-General of the United Nations, that the greatest and most important need of the world is for an understanding between the Soviet Union and America. I am convinced that the greatest thing we can do in foreign affairs is to build a bridge between those two great Powers. I am convinced, as a non-expert, that the greatest need for this country in foreign affairs is greater understanding and mutual trust and confidence between the Soviet authorities and ourselves. I believe that all other things hinge on this one matter.
During the Whit sun holiday, I had the honour, as the Chairman of the Anglo-Soviet Parliamentary Group, to take an all-party delegation to Moscow. It was my fifth visit to that city in nine years. Perhaps the House will allow me to give the three main impressions which I received.
First, I was convinced that in the Soviet Union today there is a greater desire than ever for friendship with this country. I believe that, for our part, we should do a great deal more to meet the Russians. For example, when we were in Moscow my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation was therewith a very powerful delegation from the aircraft industry. I should like more Ministers to visit Moscow as regularly, as informally and as naturally as they visit, say, Paris or Bonn. I should like them to invite their Soviet opposite numbers to visit this country.
I believe that the visit of the Lord President of the Council, Lord Hailsham, to Moscow next week, which everybody must hope will succeed, would have been easier and more fruitful if he had been there more often and had made personal contacts among the Soviet leaders. I would also say—there is need to say it, in view of the sensational reports that we get from outside—that it is not necessary to be a fellow-traveller to be a friend of the Soviet people and want to work with them to try to preserve peace.
I was also in Moscow at the same time as the Leader of the Opposition, and noted how warmly he was welcomed there. I wish that more Opposition leaders would go to Moscow, for I believe that it is important that the Soviet leaders should understand better the rights, privileges and duties of a loyal Opposition, which is something they do not at the moment comprehend.
I am convinced that the Soviet people want our friendship, but only on the basis of absolute equality. [Laughter.] I would tell my hon. Friends that this is not a laughing matter. Some of the Right-wingers on my side of the House had better learn this. The Soviet people will not accept us if we go there with any stupid ideas of superiority, either intellectually or politically. If hon. Members think that they are going to Moscow to do a bit of international"slumming", they had better think again.
What we have to remember is that the Soviet is today a proud and powerful nation which, since 1917, has turned a semi-serf, illiterate, backward peasant society into the second most powerful industrial nation in the world. The Russians are very proud of what they have done. To them, Communism is both a religion and a way of life and they have no intention of abandoning it. We deceive ourselves if we think that they are about to restore capitalism in their country. For them, Communism has produced marvellous results and has given them industrial affluence instead of the poverty of the semi-serf society.
They say, quite clearly, when one argues it with them, that Communism is not for export and that they do not believe in compulsory conversion. They genuinely want and believe in peaceful co-existence. They acknowledge that they have much to learn from us, especially industrially, and I think that those who go there a good deal realise that we have something to learn from them. What I believe is most important is that if we could only learn first to understand and then to trust each other, a genuine confidence could be established, and then all other things would be possible.
We are talking about a lasting nuclear test ban; but that cannot be achieved until we have won the Russians' confidence. No matter how many conferences we hold, it is the spirit in which the conferences are held and not the paper results that come from them that really matter. I made it perfectly clear when I discussed things with them that Britain would not barter her alliance with America for greater Anglo-Soviet understanding, that we desired and needed the friendship of both countries, and that that was what we meant to get.
The prize, if we could get it, would not only be the ending of the cold war and the lifting of the enormous financial burden of armaments from the peoples of our countries. It would roll away the threat of annihilation to us all if by any mischance a war were to start. I believe that Anglo-American-Soviet understanding could be the greatest blessing to mankind, and I beg the Government to do whatever they can to achieve this.
As a last point on this aspect, I found that many people in Moscow were immensely grateful to the Prime Minister for his personal efforts over many years to try to reach a better understanding with the Soviet people. I should like to wish, as I am sure all hon. Members would, god speed to the Lord President of the Council in his important work in Moscow next week.
My second impression is of the Soviet attitude to German rearmament. I warn the House that the Soviet leaders and people are bitterly opposed to such a step. They do not trust a German with a gun in his hand. They have good reason for this, for in the last war they lost 20 million dead as a result of the German invasion of their country, and it is very difficult for them to forget it. They fear—I put this to my hon. Friends—that Germany will become more powerful in N.A.T.O. than Britain. The Russians say that France is pulling out of N.A.T.O., and they are frightened of Germany taking her place and becoming the most powerful nation in Europe. They do not trust a Germany armed with atomic weapons.
When, in friendly argument with them, I tried to make excuses, they merely said that last time it was Hitler who invaded their country and who over-ran his neighbours, that before him it was the Kaiser, that before him it was Bismarck, that before him it was Frederick the Great, and that before him it was the Teutonic knights; and that they did not trust the Germans. They are determined, as far as they can, to see that it never happens to their country again. I warn my hon. Friends that the more we rearm Germany with atomic weapons the less chance we shall have of a real political understanding with the Soviet Union.
I explained to the Russians that, as I saw it, Germany could not reasonably be expected to be kept in purdah for ever, or its new generation be punished indefinitely for the sins of its fathers. I said that Germany must one day inevitably become one of the greatest Powers of Europe, with all the powers and privileges of other nations. The Russians admit this, but they reply,"Then for goodness' sake keep atomic weapons out of the hands of the Germans for the time being. If you want an understanding with us, that is the first requisite, or disarmament will become impossible."
I dare say that my hon. Friend made it clear to his Russian friends that as far as he knows—or, indeed, I myself know—there is no proposal to give the Germans atomic weapons.
I am obliged to my hon. Friend, but I am trying to report what I have learned. It is useless my going to that country and listening and talking to some of its leaders if I do not bring back the impressions which I honestly obtained. Arising out of their experiences with the Germans, I found that there was an almost pathetic desire for peace and I found that not only in the factories, but also in the churches, where I always go when I am abroad.
I went to three Orthodox Church services, spoke in a Baptist chapel in Moscow and also went to see the Orthodox Jews. Everywhere they talked urgently about peace and their desire for it. Incidentally, I would like to add that I do not believe that any anti-Semitism is practised in Russia.
I believe that it is vitally important for us to win the confidence of the Soviet rulers because, unless they can trust the Americans and ourselves, they will never lower their guard against Germany and a real settlement of the Berlin and Central European problem will continue to elude us and ultimately threaten our own peace and security.
My third impression relates to the Sino-Soviet situation which, perhaps, is the most important of all. It affects us more closely than perhaps we realise. The Russians do not talk much about it and tend to play it down, but they are very concerned and very worried about it. I reminded them of my talk about three years ago in Peking, with Marshal Chen Yi, when, for three and a half hours, I tried to get him to deny the Chinese interpretation of the Marxist-Leninist gospel, according to which war is inevitable between the Communist and capitalist countries.
I said to Soviet people,"How can you expect the Americans and ourselves to disarm if your friends in China, speaking for 700 million people, say that war is inevitable? Why should we leave ourselves open to anihilation?" This is what we have to face. Indeed, I think that it is the greatest problem facing us. I say this as a non-expert, an ordinary Member of this House, but to me it is a crucial matter. How can we expect the Americans to disarm if, according to the Chinese interpretation of the Marxist-Leninist gospel, war is ultimately inevitable?
Does not my hon. Friend realise that it is the threat from China that makes it just as difficult for the Russians to disarm as for the United States, because they are frightened of China and of what will happen over the years ahead?
Does the hon. Member realise that China's attitude has been greatly influenced by the fact that she has been kept out of her legal seat at the United Nations? Will he accept my assurance that when I talked to Marshal Chen Yi, the Foreign Minister, last December, in Peking, he assured me that if the West would make a disarmament treaty the Chinese would come in and accept the inspection that was required? But he added,"But we Asians prepare for war because the West does not make the disarmament treaty."
I disagree violently with the right hon. Gentleman. I talked to Marshal Chen Yi three years ago. I said that as I understood the matter, at the Bucharest conference there had been a quarrel between Moscow and Peking about the true interpretation of the Marxist-Leninist gospel and that whereas the Russians say that peaceful co-existence is both possible and desirable the Chinese say that it is not, according to"holy writ", and that, therefore, war is inevitable.
For three and a half hours I struggled to get Marshal Chen Yi to deny that, but he refused to do so. This is the crux of the matter we face. If the right hon. Gentleman cares to look up HANSARD of 4th November and 12th December, 1960, he will see that I reported this to the House.
There is a view on the Sino-Soviet dispute which I would like to challenge. It was expressed in the Daily Telegraph today. In its editorial it said:
Had we been feeble"—
that is, about Cuba—
there would have been no rift".
That is nonsense. The rift between Russia and China dates back to the death of Stalin. It is fundamental. Those of us who want an understanding with Soviet Russia deceive ourselves if we do not face this vital difference between the point of view of Moscow and that of Peking. This is a religious struggle which is as fanatical and violent as ever held in Europe during the wars of religion, in which Christians on both sides burnt each other to death.
It is extraordinary that the Daily Telegraph editorial went on to make this deduction:
There are many who urge that Mr. Khrushchev must now be rewarded in some way for his moderation".
I should have thought that the most obvious thing to do. Does the Daily Telegraph want to drive him to extremes? If the man is trying to see other nations' points of view, should we not try also to meet his point of view? Should he not be rewarded for his effort? It is important that we should meet the Soviet Union as far as we possibly can within the limits of our honour and security, not to strengthen Mr. Khrushchev to fight against China, but, I hope, to bring the Chinese to where he stands today.
We should also remember that to Chinese eyes Russia has become a bourgeoise of the capitalist world. We should remember that in Russia the income per capita is £265 per annum—that is a United Nations figure which I know the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) will accept. The equivalent figure in India is £24 and in China it is even less. In fact, the income per capita in Russia is more than ten times greater than that in China. That is one of the vital factors. One country is hungry and the other has a surplus.
Russia today belongs to the"have" nations whereas China leads the"have-nots". That is what we should realise. If Mr. Khrushchev's old boast that one day he will give his people a higher standard of living than even the Americans, the gulf between the richest and the poorest in the Communist camp will be fantastic; and of this, of course, the Chinese are well aware.
I say this for Mr. Khrushchev's problem. No solution, as I see it, is possible for Asia's problem of hunger unless Asia imposes upon itself a rigid form of birth control. No sacrifice the Soviet Union can make to help feed China's hungry millions can possibly be successful if the number of mouths in China continues to increase more rapidly than the supply of food. So far, I see no way of this being solved.
To bring the problem into a perspective in which hon. Members may have more interest, even those on the extreme Right who are not sympathetic to my point of view, in India, for which we have some responsibility, there are 8million totally unemployed, 18 million chronically underemployed, and between now and 1971 the population of India will increase by 115 million.
Those things cannot be laughed off in a stupid manner. These are the facts which we have to face. Despite the tensions between Russia and China, it is the utter folly of some people in the West to hope that one day China and Russia will fight one another in order to"save our bacon". Of course, they will not. If war starts, once again we shall learn that war and peace are indivisible, and there will be nobody who will escape. There is no bomb target so great as London, there is nobody who can suffer so much and so quickly as we in this country, and there is nobody who stands to gain as much as the people of this country from the obtaining of peace.
I believe that Mr. Khrushchev has taken great personal risks in his own country in attempting to co-operate with us. So many people speak of him as though he were a dictator with no opposition. He has to carry his colleagues with him and he must deal with the Stalinists whom he pushed on one side. For us, it would be the greatest tragedy if Mr. Khrushchev were replaced by a new and younger Stalinist. While China continues her opposition to his policies, which are fundamental, there will always be a danger of this very thing happening. To my mind, this is the third and perhaps most compelling reason why we should do our best to see that Mr. Khrushchev receives some practical results from his more friendly policy.
I therefore plead with the Government to use their influence, first, with the American Government and then with the German Government, to see how far we can regard the Soviet position with fresh eyes and consider what action we can take to meet the Russian point of view and to secure the peace and understanding which we require within the limits of our honour and our own national safety.
We have listened to the speech from the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), my next-door political neighbour, with which I believe that we would almost entirely agree, and when I say"we" I take the liberty of speaking for those on my side of the House and, I believe, for many hon. Members opposite.
There was only one point with which he did not quite come to grips and it was that raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker). The hon. Member having devoted so much of his time to a greater understanding between the Soviet Union and the West, not only this country, and having also visited China and having had the long tussle some two and a half years ago of which he spoke, I can well understand that he has fixed in his mind that China is quite beyond the pale, at any rate for the present, in this matter of disarmament. I believe that my right hon. Friend's interjection has shown something which I have always fervently believed to be true, namely, that the Chinese are by no means beyond the pale, provided that they can see that other people will act in what they regard as a reasonably fair way as well.
The leaders of the Chinese people are every bit as intelligent as the leaders of any other country. They know that if nuclear war should come no single human being throughout the world would escape some kind of effect. I am not saying that every human being would be killed, but I assert that every single human being on this planet would be affected, and I believe seriously affected. Through their leaders, who are intelligent men, the Chinese see this as much as we do. Whatever bargaining position they may take up now, ultimately, when they see that other people, and by"other people" I mean the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc and the Western Powers, doing something sensible in this matter of disarmament, the Chinese will come along too, which makes me extremely hopeful that these things can be achieved even in my lifetime.
The debate has been ranging widely. Matters of N.A.T.O. have been discussed by hon. Members who have studied them with the greatest care, as have matters of nuclear test bans and so forth. The fact that I do not propose to refer to these matters, recognising that so many hon. Members know far more about them than I do, does not mean that I do not regard them as intensely important.
If I may without presumption, I want to come to something which seems to me to be of the very essence of any question of foreign affairs. Everybody who makes any suggestion in foreign affairs is really making a suggestion as to the best way which he sees of keeping the peace. That is the whole object of the exercise of foreign affairs. I know that there may be some hesitations about accepting this with regard to China, although I do not have such reservations, but every leader of every responsible great Power has said at one time or another that unless we have complete and general disarmament we cannot possibly expect indefinitely to keep the peace of the world.
As has been said so often in today's debate, pre-eminently by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson), nothing seems to come from all these disarmament negotiations which we have had all our lives. This is not just a question of bad luck, or of not putting in the effort. What we would be extremely wise to discover is why the negotiations have failed hitherto. To try to do so docs not mean that we do not want to encourage those now taking part in these negotiations. Very much to the contrary, one wishes them all the luck and patience they can have.
But it is necessary to look a little beneath the questions of disarmament to see if we can find the real reason for the failure to reach some sort of agreement. In March, 1961, our Government were party to what I regard as a most remarkable declaration by the Prime Ministers' Conference. The Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth unanimously declared that without the creation of a system of security—they said a security authority—with adequate power to enforce world law, there was not the slightest hope of peace. I thought at the time that this was something quite amazing in the international field of foreign affairs which we are all discussing. This looked as though it really could be made into a major break-through in this matter of disarmament which was holding everything up. Was I right? Should I have said,"Or is it a major break-through?". I am not being sarcastic about right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but it appears to me—and I ask them whether it is not so—that they have done nothing to further that particular facet of this problem of exploring how to achieve an alternative system of security to that generally thought of as being given by arms.
Have they used at the United Nations the immense influence of our Commonwealth to plug the declaration that was made in 1961? What have they done? Will they tell us? I know that they have been working frightfully hard at the Disarmament Conference at Geneva and elsewhere, but have they done anything in this line to follow up that 1961 declaration? I do not know whether they have, and I would be glad to hear whether they have in fact done so. Whom have they approached to try to follow it up? What efforts have they made at the United Nations to start a bloc aiming at world peace through enforceable world law, because that is what they were talking about in that declaration?
I know that a lot of people think that the other fellow will not play even if we do. Frankly, I am rather sick of this. Unless it can be shown that we have made efforts openly to try to further this matter, we have no right to say,"Yes, we believe in a security authority; we believe in general and complete disarmament, but the other fellow does not", meaning that China does not, that Russia does not, or that somebody else does not. I submit that we have to show before the whole world that we not only make these pious declarations, admirable though they be, such as that one in March, 1961, but that we follow them up by concrete efforts to see them translated into effect at the United Nations.
I have often had the impression, and I know that it is widely shared not only in this country but elsewhere, that so far from taking the lead at and through the United Nations to achieve something in this direction, Her Majesty's Government have been extremely lukewarm and have even been giving the impression that, although they say they are in favour of using the United Nations to the utmost, in fact they are doing very little about it because they do not think very much about it.
As for the other fellow, I know it is often thought that if one tries to obtain support abroad for such a thing as that declaration, that is to say, for the setting up of a security authority with courts and with a United Nations force permanently there under the United Nations staff committee, one will never succeed, particularly among those nations which have recently obtained their independence. In this I speak with no humility, and I may be wrong. I know that in one very limited sphere in West Africa, from Senegal to the Cameroons, there is not one nation there which has just gained its independence which is not 100 per cent. behind this idea of enforceable world law.
If that is true of that little section, it could be true of many other places. I believe that it is, and I should like to see Her Majesty's Government take a real line in this. It may well be that they will say that the full plan of having a world security authority, having the courts, having the world law—not international law, because that is a different thing—administered by these courts and having the permanent force there, is impossible. It may well be that they will say that this is looking too far ahead at the moment; that it is something a little too Utopian for us. If they do, then I ask what is the small step in that direction which they are prepared to take? I venture to suggest one which could be taken at any moment now if they cared to mobilise sufficient support for it at the United Nations.
They could obtain enough support in the United Nations even to have a persuasive effect on Russia, if she should be against it, for this scheme. They could set up an emergency unit which would contain not only a permanent force ready to be used in such situations as the Congo but would have the necessary background to make that force work—transport, perhaps lawyers to go in and administer justice, other administrators and hospital services. These things could now be put into operation on a very small scale so that they could be invited into a particular trouble spot by the Government of that country and go there if the United Nations were of the opinion that the situation in that country was a threat to the peace of the world. It would, of course, go to that country only by invitation.
I am not saying that the emergency unit would put an end to war for ever. Good heavens, no! but it would be there to operate in an emergency in trouble spots in the world and to demonstrate how this thing could later be made to develop into the full world security authority for which there are many plans in existence, and I have no doubt that the Government know them as well as I do, if not very much better.
I believe that the whole country is waiting for a lead from Her Majesty's Government in this direction. I believe that they would be supported to the hilt, because everyone longs to see an end to famine, to disease and to ignorance in the world. The question is, is it to be Her Majesty's Government, or is it to be left—I hope that it will be taken up by them—to the African States which have not so much influence in the world even as our Government have? And if it is to be our Government, the next question is, is it to be this Government, or are this Government to have to make way for another Government who will fulfil the wishes of the people in this direction?
It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu), all the more so since I am glad to be able to say that I agreed with every word he said, just as he said that he agreed with every word spoken by my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne).
I shall not follow him in many of the details, but I should like to take up some points from what the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said about the multilateral force. It seems to me that there are two aspects in regard to that force—the points which the right hon. Member raised which were points of politics, and the purely practical military points which Lord Montgomery raised in another place.
Perhaps I might take the second of those points first and point out to the House that the British Army is, indeed, a multilateral force in itself. The Guards Brigade, in particular, is very multilateral. The Grenadier Guards and the Scots Guards represent different nations and have a nice compromise with the Cold stream Guards in between, and anybody who has played Rugger against the Welsh Guards knows that even questions of language—I mean the Welsh language and not bad language—are prevalent even today. Language was very much a factor in the days of the Act of Union between England and Scotland and I have no doubt whatever that a pre-incarnation of Lord Montgomery will have been raising these very same objections that he has raised, that a British Army, of which he is now a field marshal, could not possibly be a practicable proposition. This question of the practicability of a multilateral force is a very important point in respect of the world security force about which the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis (Mr. A. Henderson) was talking. We should recognise that it is indeed possible to have multilateral forces.
My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal mentioned that a multilateral force in itself guarantees that the force will not be abused. It will be very important when we have a world security force, that there shall be security against abuse of that great power and that we shall see that it is made up of units consisting of people of all nationalities. Above all, just as the British Army, when formed at the time of the Act of Union, played in itself an important part in bringing together as one homogeneous community Scotland and England, in order to make them into Great Britain, so a multilateral force in Europe would, in time, have the same effect, and it would be a really beneficial example and first step if ever we were to have a world security force.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick further said that the multilateral force was not comprehensive. I can understand why it is not thus comprehensive. We cannot expect the Americans to put all their eggs in one basket, an as yet untried basket. At any rate, all things require small beginnings if any great accomplishment is to be achieved, and it is conceivable that if such a force were started it would grow and possibly become fully trusted by the Americans and thus develop into a mighty major alliance.
The Members other point, namely, that a multilateral force in itself was a danger to the successful negotiations of a test ban, even though it might have value in strengthening the alliance of the West and that its disadvantages and dangers would outweigh the advantage, leads me to examine the question of how important for world peace is the approach of a test ban and of disarmament generally, and how important is the approach through alliances. Does either really go to the root of the question of world peace?
The right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) is winding up tonight's debate for the Opposition. On the question of disarmament and a test ban, I ask him to tell the House what guarantees of peace either would achieve. Hopes of peace, yes—but what guarantees of peace would be brought about by banning tests, or even entering into disarmament agreements? History shows us that after the Locarnos, when every nation agrees not to go to war and to have disarmament, there is eventually a rush period—a sort of post-Munich period—in which every nation frantically rearms. Then follows the phase of the"phoney" war, while nations having declared war are getting their armaments up to strength again after the earlier disarmament.
It is not necessarily total, but let us assume that it is. I am coming to that point.
We must face the fact that a test ban agreement, or a disarmament agreement, does not mean that the next war will be fought with less destructive and devastating effect than even the last war. We must recognise that, whatever we do in this way, of disarmament or of alliances, there will be no guarantee of peace. There will be a reduction of tension, but it is only a hope, not a guarantee for individual nations which all have the obligation and the duty to rearm if their security demands it, will do so—in which case we will have war. It is a moot point whether it will be a total nuclear war or another conventional war even worse than the last.
I therefore ask the right hon. Gentleman what guarantees there are that disarmament and test ban agreements will bring about peace, and not merely only the temporary absence of war. Past experience has shown us that such agreements do not guarantee peace, and as far as we can foresee they will not do so in future.
History has also shown us that the forming of alliances has produced not peace, but only bigger and better wars at longer intervals. I read an interesting note in the Economist this week about the difficulties facing Mr. Kennedy. The strength of the Western Alliance varies proportionately, according to the degree to which the Russians are a potential threat to the West. To the extent that President Kennedy is successful in reducing tension with Russia, so the cement of the Western Alliance becomes less strong. It is obviously a fact that the alliances of the West—the alliance between France and Germany, ourselves and Germany, and the rest—could never have come about if the Russians had not engineered them by their threat to the security of the West of Europe. We can conclude that alliances, no more than disarmament, can furnish no guarantee of peace.
Is it not clear that the mediaeval barons would not have got anywhere if they had agreed a test ban on gunpowder. I have no doubt that they were then very interested in the amount of carbon, sulphur and saltpetre which was mixed together to make gunpowder, and that they carried out various tests to make that weapon more successful. No doubt in their day it was regarded as a terrifying thing. No doubt, too, they discussed the question of disarming and of making their standing armies smaller. No doubt they had alliances, which would have had the effect of making the Wars of the Roses repeat, but with longer intervals. But is it not absolutely clear that what gave peace to Britain was the complete disarming of all those barons, and the setting up of a central authority?
That is what we need, and it is especially necessary in these days, because, as the hon. Member for Hammersmith. North (Mr. Tomney) interjected, today it could be a question of total war.
Since the hon. Member has talked about the barons and King Henry VII, perhaps he will agree that the decisive fact that changed the history of England was that Henry VII disarmed the barons, knocked down their castles, confiscated their arms and, by the Livery Act, forbade them to have private armies.
Yes. That is the very point. As the late Walter Elliot said, we shall get a world security authority anyhow. If need be, we will have it forced upon us by the victory of one of the two great Powers, after an obliterating war. He said that in this House. He pointed out how desirable it was that it should be brought about by intelligence, rather than by total war, either as a result of a devastating war or by that intelligent planning in advance, which the hon. and learned Member for Brigg and many other hon. Members desire.
The big difference is that in the old days it was possible for nations to organise their security. That has now become quite impossible. All that nations can do now is to organise each other's greater insecurity. For that reason it is essential for us to arrive at the solution achieved by Henry VII—not by war, but by intelligent planning in advance. As the hon. and learned Member for Brigg said, many people have said this, in impeccable statements. Our own Prime Minister produced the classic wording for what is desired, in a fine, statesmanlike speech, putting on record the Government's belief that it would be only by such a solution that this world will ever get peace.
It has been said by practically every Foreign Secretary that we have had since, both at the United Nations and at our Dispatch Box. It was said by the late Pope only a short while ago, and it was also said in a very recent and fine speech by President Kennedy at the University of Washington, which has only just been referred to. There is no lack of world leaders ready to point out that this is the only way in which peace can be achieved.
But why, then, is it that no action has been taken? Why is it that we have impeccable statements about long-term general policy, but no comparable action? What is the log which is jamming the river in this respect? I do not believe that it is the chancellories of Europe, although I could understand that they are rather like a fire brigade which is so busy arranging to put out fires that it has no time to spend on designing a new, fire-proof building which would not require the services of a fire brigade at all. I do not believe that that is so. I do not believe that it is for any lack of electoral support. The C.N.D. movement shows clearly how anxious are the people of Britain to solve this problem of peace. I think the members of that movement are misdirected. But give them a lead from the Government and immediately they would go in the right direction.
I do not think that it is any fear about who is to take the lead in the United Nations in making the proposal; because that is all it needs, a proposal to set up a committee in the United Nations which would examine the situation and make a recommendation about this new approach to peace which has never yet been tried in the world. The great thing about the British Commonwealth is that it covers all races and all continents. If we want any particular nation to take the apparent lead and do it, if we want an initiative from Africa or from Canada or from anywhere, that can be arranged and the proposal brought forward in the United Nations. What we need to know is what it is that is blocking action. Why do Her Majesty's Government not back their policy statements with action?
We should all, I am sure, desire to congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War upon his new appointment and to say that we particularly welcome the fact that there has gone to one of our big defence Ministries someone so versed and experienced in dealing with foreign affairs and particularly with the irksome failures of disarmament and with affairs in the United Nations, with test bans and with everything connected with what we are discussing today. Will my right hon. Friend realise, therefore, that in this country there is a strong idealism of world membership and world citizenship and that it is something which may be utilised for good; that everybody in the world expected the United Nations to do precisely this, to set up a world peacekeeping organisation and has hitherto been disappointed? Will he answer the question, either himself tonight, or get someone else to answer it tomorrow, whether Her Majesty's Government will initiate the first step in getting a proposal tabled at the United Nations?
I do not think that anyone would doubt the sincerity of the hon. Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman). But he arrived at his conclusion by a devious, unusual and elusive argument. Most of us appreciate the content of his remarks. Like the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) he was basing his speech on hopes and good will, and like the hon. Member for Louth he seemed to think that contact with ordinary people is one of the surest ways to international agreement. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that almost from the dawn of time there has been in existence, through the doctrines of Christendom, hopes of the change which he seeks.
It is all very well to talk about football players, and even ballet dancers, or belly dancers, for that matter, or orchestra players and opera singers who are all very welcome in their own situation, but in terms of politics such references do not add up to a real argument. Politics is about power, and it is power which is dividing the world. That is why the United Nations came into being, in order that a court of justice could exercise some control over the operation of that power. Expressions of pious hopes will not remedy a situation in which from time to time the world finds itself confronted with war and afterwards has to lick its wounds. From the next war there will be no recovery for anyone. It will mean total loss for all concerned, although it may not be total annihilation. That is why in the arguments which I wish to develop I desire to advance some positive suggestions. So far, we have heard nothing positive in this debate.
The debate was opened by the Lord Privy Seal with what I thought was a sixth-form grammar school lecture delivered at high speed. It was followed by a speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) which was like a don's lecture to the Fabian Society. Neither got down to what the issue was about. When I received the Whip this week I found there was to be no vote. I now know the reason why. There should be a vote. The Opposition should have something to say. This is a time of change in world politics which should be met by the Opposition, even though the Government do not desire to meet it. The whole outline of my argument is that there is a change apparent throughout the world.
The Lord Privy Seal referred to Laos and intimated that the help he was getting from the Russians regarding a settlement in Laos did not appear to be effective in the changing circumstances. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition took him up on one point with remarkable clarity and precision. In an interjection, my right hon. Friend said that the writ of the Soviet Union did not run in Laos. That is quite true. And similarly, the writ of the Chinese does not run in Europe. It is in this context that we are discussing these international affairs.
President Kennedy has just visited several countries in Europe. He stopped here for 23 hours. I do not know what that means, or rather I think I know, but do not like to admit it. President Kennedy received a tremendous welcome in Germany and one looks for the political reason behind that welcome, the reason why it was so spontaneous. If one considers it the reason is obvious. It was an appeal over the heads of de Gaulle and Adenauer from the German people. President Kennedy gave several guarantees in his speeches about West Germany. But he did not say that it would be the object of Western democracy to return Eastern Germany by force. That he did not say, and it is worth remembering.
We now have a situation where it is possible that we may have to take some very rough decisions. Over the last 15 years we in this country have taken upon ourselves a burden which is greater than the nation should have been expected to shoulder. The defence bill is now running at £1,700 million and is too big to contemplate.
A million either way makes little difference. It is too big to contemplate.
This being so, let us look at the European situation. We have gained time. There has been no explosion, except perhaps over Korea and Tibet and on the Indian border. Time is essential for survival. But in gaining that time we have lost a tremendous lot. We have lost the potential for production for survival of goods and services and export capacity, and if that is not remedied quickly, in a situation when time is running on, it will result in our being reduced to the status, not of a second-class or a third-class but of a fourth-class industrial nation. This cannot be contemplated in our position and with our population.
We have a situation on the Continent in which de Gaulle, deliberately and systematically, although France is a member of the N.A.T.O. Alliance, has, for reasons of power politics and pique, withdrawn his Army, Air Force and Navy at various times from the service of N.A.T.O. He has done that deliberately and with purpose. The British taxpayer, in the main, has borne the burden as a result. This should stop; it should stop now. Lord Montgomery was right when he said in another place that we should look again at the strength of the British Army of the Rhine and see whether those numbers are necessary in this context at this time and for what purpose they are there. If we read the changed position in the world aright and come to the conclusion that they are not necessary, we should have the good sense to bring them home and put them to employment.
I am well aware of that, and I shall come to it any moment.
We have reached a situation in which de Gaulle, for the purposes of power politics, prestige and grandeur, is prepared to hold the Western Alliance at his will.
Let us settle the position over H-bomb tests and the production of the H-bomb. At this stage of the proceedings, if the offer is made by the Soviet Union we should accept the suggestion of three on-site inspections. We should not insist on more inspections. In this context, I think that we are in the vanguard of progress and that we should welcome the offer. If that is accepted the so-called need for conventional forces will also begin to taper off because the nuclear threat behind the conventional forces is the ultimate.
The nuclear threat strikes terror into the hearts of nations. While it may be necessary to have land forces as such even in nuclear war, that is not a factor in strategic planning or, in the first place, in the tactical operations of any future war. That is why the position should be resolved by the fewer people having control of nuclear arms, the better for strategic reasons. We are out by virtue of expense and vulnerability. When Blue Streak failed we were out, and when Skybolt failed we were further out. We were offered the Polaris submarines as a contribution to Western defence in which we are to be given the private use should the necessity arise to defend a part of our territory.
What is the range of Polaris submarines? It is not much more than 1,000 miles. At any point of the ocean where they might be sited they would be unable to attack Soviet war industry in the Urals. Such an attack is a non-starter. The same applies to surface ships. Both the Soviet Union and the United States of America know that in this context only I.C.B.M.s have a strategic rôle. Both countries have them. Let us hope that they are the only countries ever to have them. To multiply the danger of I.C.B.M.s would be to create the greatest threat by which we could be confronted.
The multilateral idea was a non-starter, not only for practical reasons but reasons of language, command, temperament and nationalities. I am glad about the policy of the Government on this because, although they say that they did not reject the principle, they have decided not to be committed further. It was a non-starter. Now at last we have relaxation behind the Iron Curtain. I welcome it. The difficulty for people who go overseas—and I have been on delegations—is that one is never able to get into contact with ordinary people. One talks only to people of the same level as the delegation.
I believe the rift between China and the Soviet, while serious, is not insoluble. Let us consider China's position. We have recognised the Chinese Government. We were one of the first to recognise the Chinese Government. We supported the claim of China to entry to the United Nations. This should be pursued with all the power we can command.
If we look back on the last 10 years we see that there have been three instances in which the Chinese have demonstrated their fear, not only of us but of the Soviet Union. These may have been unreal fears, or irrational fears. The first occasion was when China took control of Tibet and thereby controlled the plateau by which any possible entry could be made from India. China closed the back door. Then she proceeded to shut the side door of North Korea. The Chinese did not solve the problem by argument but used power politics and closed another door in the event of a conflict. They took over at a strategic moment and they have never left North Korea. Then there was a great argument concerning the Continent of India, which has never aligned herself with East or West, but which, nevertheless, has great potential power. We saw the incursion there. Whether it was justified or not, it took place and a salutary lesson was given to Mr. Nehru.
In terms of power politics, unless the Chinese are admitted to the United Nations conference table and allowed to join discussions on disarmament and control and reduction of H-bomb tests and agreements, no one will be able to stop them making their own nuclear weapons. We are playing with time, but the capacity is there. It is there also with the French and with the Israelis. Israel is a frightened country, for obvious reasons. China is a frightened country, for obvious reasons. France is trying to reclaim the glories of her former days. Someone should tell General de Gaulle that that has gone for good, because any adventures by the French in the nuclear field will put this country into greater jeopardy than he puts his own people.
I disagree with the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne). I believe Cuba was an attempt by the Soviet to establish equality of power with the United States over land positions of missiles. It failed for two reasons. One was on account of American will and the other was Mr. Khrushchev's good sense. Nevertheless, it failed. Having failed, it posed another problem for the Soviet Union. If the Soviets were to go on with this expensive draining of engineering and scientific resources for the production of nuclear missiles, it would drain from their economy—as it does from our economy—the fruits and savings which rightly belong to the people they govern.
Those people are now enjoying rising standards. It is 50 years since the Revolution. Two or three generations have been born and young people are coming along with new ideas. They have a desire to live in contact with people of other nations and to attain their standards. One cannot shut out for ever from the human mind the results of contacts gained from cultural associations. The Soviets know this, too. It is true to say that Mr. Khrushchev, by a process of most difficult, devious events within the confines of Soviet politics, has managed to arrive at a situation—which might be explosive—where this desire for improving standards can be satisfied and at the same time give legitimate interest to his own country's national survival and defence.
Let us look at what happened only last week. There is now to take place a little Summit without Rumania. That is remarkable, because Poland and Czechoslovakia were meeting with the Soviet Union this week to discuss the operation of something the Soviets were already agreed upon, the observance of commercial contracts between country and country. In other words, these countries will not be regarded any longer as satellites in terms of trade and what were formerly reparation agreements They will be able to trade, and this, in turn, means that their economies will expand, too. They will seek goods and contacts in the wider Western world.
Now is the opportunity for the Government to find elbow room for British diplomacy, as against the power politics of the United States, to work as it has never worked before to see whether in this context there cannot be brought about a situation where sanity between the Soviets and ourselves will prevail, instead of nuclear competition. This is what all of us surely must urgently desire.
I do not think that I can add anything more to the position that I have outlined if I went into it in much greater detail and took much longer time. But the overkill capacity—that is a dreadful word—now in the possession of the United States and the Soviet Union is more than enough to bring them both to a realisation of the power that they possess. They should now, along with us, try to adopt an attitude which will keep that power not in abeyance but absolutely negative.
Any suggestion of a political give away by the United States by the means of a mutilateral force with the power still invested in and held by the United States would give cause for alarm in this present situation. It must be considered for the practical reasons that I have outlined, and for the military reason that the Soviet Union has the largest submarine fleet in the world. In any event, surface ships would be sitting ducks under any terms and conditions.
De Gaulle is wise enough to realise this, as it is the main thesis of his power argument in his own country. Adenaeur and de Gaulle are closer together than people realise. De Gaulle's main thesis is that the Russian is fundamentally a European, and will in ever increasing degree act, think and work like a European. He knows it and upon this he has underpinned the basis of his own policy, but he should not, in my opinion, be allowed any more. For him to remain part of the so-called N.A.T.O. Alliance and yet ignore his obligations and his commitments to the existing defence of the West is not right morally and certainly not right politically, for it places too big a burden on this country. If this position is insisted upon we should certainly think again.
There are two matters which are the main bone of contention. Everyone knows that wars cause great suffering. The Russians were our allies in the last war and probably suffered more in the loss of manpower and destruction of cities than any other nation. I used to think at one time—and he is a poor politician who does not change his mind as time goes on—that the 1945 position, the Potsdam Conference, was sacrosanct. Events and reality have told me that it is not. I believe that the Oder-Neisser line is a fixed geographical position and should be admitted by the West. We should tell them now that this can no longer be interfered with and that the rest is negotiable in terms of time and of progress.
Now is the time. There is more elbow room now than there has ever been. Mr. Khrushchev has real difficulties and we should help him and we should help the Chinese. Let us not forget that they were a civilisation making glass, ceramics, silk and paintings when we were still in the caves of the early Britons. They, too, have something to offer the world. Let whatever diplomacy we can call upon bend its efforts more than ever in insisting, not just voting, upon the rightful place being occupied by the Chinese at the United Nations table. If we do that we shall be able to talk to people; and as any trade union negotiator will tell you, that is halfway towards settlement. Get them around the table. No matter how hard we have to speak to whom and at what time, we should press for this, because now is a better opportunity than ever we have known during the last fifteen years.
The main theme of this debate has been disarmament, and we all pay tribute to the Secretary of State for War for the very patient work that he has undertaken both at Geneva and in New York on this subject. We have had from the Opposition Front Bench confirmation of the statement that Mr. Khrushchev is now abandoning the idea of on-site inspection. The problem of disarmament is not an easy one. Everyone wants disarmament but no one will trust the umpire, and the real problem is to find an umpire that most nations will trust. There seems little chance in this field at present of finding such an umpire, so we must concentrate our efforts on trying to get a test ban in force. At least both sides would agree as to the necessity for that.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said that we were perhaps getting bogged down with the disarmament question and that for too many years we have concentrated upon trying to find a suitable umpire and some way round this apparently insoluble problem of disarming in both the nuclear and the conventional sphere. I wonder whether in thinking so much about disarmament we have failed to appreciate that the line up in the cold war has been changing over the years. I know that in the West there has been a certain amount of disunity in the last few years. There is the disagreement between France and N.A.T.O. referred to by the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney). There is the Franco-German domination of the Common Market which has prevented the entry of Britain into the Common Market.
But what of the other side? The hon. Member for Hammersmith, North also referred to the growth of China and the threat of China to South-East Asia. I think that we have underestimated the success which the Chinese have had in South-East Asia. There is also the change in Sino-Soviet relations. We have heard it stated in this debate that the people of the Soviet Union are enjoying ever-increasing standards of living and are therefore moving away from the pure form of Communism and towards capitalism, whereas the Chinese who are still a"have-not" nation, cling to the Communism of Marx and Lenin. The Chinese are, therefore, making a greater appeal than is the Soviet Union to the under-developed nations of the world, and this is a factor which we should not forget.
The threat to India has been touched on, but no one has mentioned the problem as to the way in which Indonesia may move. Will she move towards the Chinese and towards the Eastern bloc or will she move, as may be possible as a result of recent talks over Greater Malaysia, towards a neutral attitude or even towards the West? It seems to me that this is a factor of enormous importance not only to South-East Asia but in world affairs, and certainly to Australia. Let us not forget the Afro-Asian pressure which has been exerted on certain European and certain Commonwealth nations in Africa. This may well be turned on Australia to persuade her to alter her policy of immigration and to ensure that she admits mass immigration from Asia and permits these people to establish themselves in Australia. This is a pressure which Australia will not like, and it will cause even greater stresses and strains in that part of the world and in the Commonwealth as a whole.
There have been changes, too, in Africa, a continent of immense importance and the main uncommitted area in the world. Africa is important, if for nothing else because it commands the largest block vote in the United Nations and therefore influences world policy perhaps to an unfair degree—by which I mean that there are a number of small nations which together have considerable influence on United Nations policy but which do not have to bear the brunt of the policies which they advocate.
As we all know, Africa is seeing the elimination of colonialism and of white leadership. But we must remember that there is a difference between Asia and Africa. European leadership has been eliminated from Asia, but we have been told again and again how many more Britons are in India today compared to the days of the British Raj. I do not think that we can make a direct comparison between Africa and Asia. India has many thousands of years of civilisation and many hundreds of years of contact with the West. She had developed her own Civil Service and all the appurtenances of a modern State. Africa, except in certain coastal areas, has had a very short contact with the West and will find it difficult to stand on her own feet in the stresses and strains of the 1960s and 1970s.
In considering the differences between Africa and Asia we must realise that although the present leaders of the African people, such as Sir Abubaker Belawa and Dr. Nyerere, are great statesmen and African patriots, they are oriented by their training, their ideas and their education towards the West. It does not follow that the younger generation will take the same view. It may well be that the Chinese will have an appeal to them, and to the"have-not" nations, which is much stronger than is the pull of the West on the older generation in Africa today.
Then there are changes in the United Nations itself. The United Nations does magnificent work in technical and economic fields. No one gainsays that. It is work which no other organisation can do. But I suggest that there have been three potentially dangerous changes in the United Nations. The first has been referred to already—and it is the organisation's financial instability in the whole business of peace-keeping. We have heard that some arrangements have been made to finance peace-keeping operations, and the Congo operation in particular, until the military forces have been withdrawn, perhaps towards the end of the year. But this has taken us nowhere near a solution to the problem of financing United Nations' peace-keeping operations.
Last year the United Nations was saved by the bond issue. At the 17th General Assembly, which concluded at Christmas, a Committee was set up to consider the financing of the Congo operations for 1963 and of future peace-keeping operations. That Committee has reported, and the special session of the General Assembly has considered the Report. Again, temporary measures have been introduced and agreed to by the United Nations to keep the Congo and Middle East operations going to the end of the year. Now I imagine that the whole problem will be referred to the 18th General Assembly between September and December. We have no real financial basis for future peace-keeping operations, and that is one of the basic obstacles which hon. Members who referred to this issue must overcome; if we are to have world peace-keeping and security forces, we must have some method of financing them.
I remind hon. Members that this is provided for in the Charter. Those who founded the United Nations set up the Security Council, and they set up the military committee under the Security Council to conduct military or peacekeeping operations. That military committee has not been used during any recent peace-keeping operation because certain Powers have an interest in keeping them out of the control of the Security Council, because the veto operates in the Security Council. The Congo operations were therefore controlled by an ad hoc committee, mostly Afro-Asian States, so that the Powers which had to find the money had very little say in the operations. This is not satisfactory from the point of view of the major Powers and perhaps is especially unsatisfactory from the point of view of other nations, including the Congolese. I do not complain about this but it is one of the problems which we must overcome if the United Nations is to conduct peace-keeping operations satisfactorily and if there is to be any chance of a world security force.
The second problem which is weakening the United Nations is the growing concern of the United Nations in political matters. We know that colonialism always dominates the discussions of the Fourth Committee and has been dominating the discussions of the General Assembly. On emotional issues, such as racialism or colonialism, the 53 nations of the Afro-Asian bloc plus the 12 Soviet bloc nations can command a majority, and they will inevitably be followed by many Latin American nations and others. This seems to me to indicate that the United Nations will take an even greater interest in political issues, which to my mind is dangerous, because these political issues often concern the great Powers whose safeguard is a veto in the Security Council. No Power has such a safeguard in the General Assembly where smaller nations can force the great Powers to take actions against their proper interests—and yet the great Powers are expected to finance these operations.
It seems to me that the United Nations is getting at cross-purposes as a result of neglecting the institutions of the Security Council. I feel that this problem could well lead possibly to the end of the United Nations, because if a great Power were ever forced into a corner and asked to co-operate in action against its own vital interests, and also to pay for such operations, it might well leave the United Nations, which would then be in danger of disintegration, which would be a disaster for the world. This is an issue which we in this House and those in Parliaments of other member States must face.
I have already referred to the racial issues. This third danger is that as the majority of the members of the United Nations are from Africa and Asia, they feel very strongly on racial issues, especially in Southern Africa. This issue has dominated the political discussions and decisions of the Assembly and could have disastrous results.
This brings me to the main point which I want to put to the House. I think that we in this country have failed to put before our people the appalling dangers of a world divided by race. This is the nightmare—the appalling thought that race may cause the division of the world, not Communist and capitalist or East and West, but colour. It could happen, and I noticed that the Foreign Secretary made the point the other day. I believe that he is the first senior Minister to do so publicly. I quote one sentence of what he said:
I think that the greatest danger in the world today is that the world might divide on racial lines.
I put it to the House that this is a point which we must discuss. If we do not discuss it and realise the dangers, we shall never counteract them. That is why I mention it today.
What is the evidence of a possible division of the world on racial lines? Some say—indeed, some have said it in the United Nations—that the Common Market is itself evidence of a division on racial lines, with the Europeans, the rich, white,"have" nations getting together in a closed society. Indeed, from the world point of view that was mainly why Britain should have joined the Common Market, because this would have turned it from an inward-looking organisation, mainly white, into an outward-looking organisation, embracing other nations in other continents.
The Sino-Soviet dispute could well be cited as a possible division on racial lines. People have prophesied for years that China might eventually lead the so-called uncommitted nations—that is to say, the East, or, let us be blunt, the coloured nations—against the whites, and that Russia might move into the Western, or white, camp. Things are happening behind the Iron Curtain. We find African students being expelled or in trouble in Czechoslovakia and Roumania and even in the Soviet Union.
We also find great difficulties in the United States, not only in the south but, more dangerously, in the north. I am told that 10 of the major cities in the north of America will be controlled by the negro vote in the next few years, because the whites are moving out into the suburbs and the coloured people are moving in. That will have an inevitable influence on the internal politics of the United States. We must realise the pressure there is on the leaders in the United States, and consider it as a factor in world power politics. An explosion in the north could alter American policy towards Africa overnight.
Hon. Members may have read in the Sunday Times at the weekend a very interesting article by Mr. James Baldwin, a well-known Negro novelist. He is certainly no extremist—he is a moderate. In that article he said:
The only thing white people have that black people need, or should want, is power…
He went on to say:
At the centre of this dreadful storm, this vast confusion, stand the black people of this nation, who must now share the fate of a nation that has never accepted them, to which they were brought in chains. Well if this is so, one has no choice but to do all in one's power to change that fate, and at no matter what risk—eviction, imprisonment, torture, death.
This view underlines the dangers of the racial question, not only in Alabama and Mississippi where there is this tradi-
tional discrimination, but in the north, where there is no official discrimination but where everyone knows that it exists in relation to housing, work, and so on. And what about Great Britain? When I was at an Oxford Union debate the other day, I was told that 80 per cent. of the landladies in Oxford will not take coloured students!
The break-up of the Federation in Africa, which I will not labour, is a disaster, in that, once again, it shows the difficulty of races living together. There was the chance that the races might live together in the Central African Federation and so exert its influence to the north and to the south, but now that experiment has broken down we shall have a barrier of race on the Zambesi, with African-controlled states to the north and white government to the south. I put this; to the House only in order to show the danger inherent in a racial approach to world politics. To combat that danger, we must understand it, and fight against it.
I therefore want to suggest some lines on which British policies might be based. First, we must have a secure economic base. If our economy is not strong, we shall have little influence on our friends, on our allies, or on our enemies. Whether Britain can, with the Commonwealth, create a sterling area of sufficient strength to stand on its own, or whether we have to turn to Europe, as the Government suggested, only to have the suggestion vetoed by General de Gaulle, or to turn, as many think we must, to the old Commonwealth and the United States—to try to get closer, economically, to the United States, to Canada, Australia and New Zealand—I leave it to the House to decide, but the Government should give careful consideration, now that the move into the Common Market has failed, to cultivating an Atlantic community.
At the same time, we must increase our economic assistance to the new Commonwealth—to the under-developed States of the Commonwealth. Here we can take a very good lesson from what France is doing for her former colonies in Africa. Aided by her partners in the Six, she is doing far more for those countries in terms of economic and technical assistance than we are doing for our Commonwealth partners.
Our policy towards Asia has been made clear in this debate. The main threat to democracy in Asia is China's threat to India. If India and Pakistan fall, Asia becomes Communist, and the whole continent disappears on the other side of the Iron Curtain, or perhaps more likely follows the leadership of China. Africa will then follow—and who knows what will happen next. It is, therefore, fundamental policy for us, for the rest of the Commonwealth and for the Western world to do all we can to support India and Pakistan in this time of tension with the Chinese.
I believe that we must have a clear, fair and firm policy in Africa. For too long we have dithered between one policy and another, so that neither our friends nor our enemies know what we are trying to do. I believe that both the Soviet Union and the United States are burning their fingers in Africa, and understand that both are planning to slow down on their investments because they are completely unproductive. We know the Africans far better than do those two giants and, in the long run, are possibly far more acceptable to the Africans than either of them. But we must make up our minds what we intend to do politically as well as economically.
We have to realise that Africa will now be divided on the River Zambesi, that the States in the North will be wholly African-run, and we should do everything we can to help them, economically and politically. Equally, it is essential to realise that the States on the south of the Zambesi will, for the time being, be mainly European led, and we should not be frightened by what the States in the North may say into failing to support the white States merely because they are white run. It is essential to hold on to the southern base. If things go wrong, and race does divide the world, southern Africa, under white leadership, will be vital for the future of the white race.
That leads me to South Africa and her policy of apartheid. I said in the United Nations that"apartheid is morally abominable, intellectually grotesque, and spiritually indefensible". I believe the same of Communism, but I do not think that people can advocate the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations and, at the same time, wish to maintain the membership of such countries as Poland, Czechoslovakia or the Ukraine. In the near future the British Government will have to decide whether or not to veto the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations. The summit conference at Addis Ababa of the independent African States immediately resulted in the recent confusion at the I.L.O. meeting which eventually led to a walk-out of the Afro-Asian members, and insistence on the I.L.O. expelling South Africa from membership. Even the Director-General, Mr. Morse, seemed to get involved in the political controversy by advocating expulsion. The matter now goes to the Security Council.
At the last General Assembly, a resolution was passed by a large majority asking the Security Council to consider the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations, and recommending various forms of economic boycott. That step cannot be taken except through the Security Council, where the veto operates. It seems unlikely that President Kennedy, with his difficulties, not only in the Southern United States but also in the Northern States, will do anything but abstain. Judging by what happened at the I.L.O., General de Gaulle will take the same line. That means that Britain will have the power of final decision on this matter.
The internal affairs of South Africa are the concern of that State, and should not be the cause of sanction, or expulsion from the United Nations. If that is not accepted, where do we stop? If we accept the principle that because we hate the policy of a country—and I am sure that we all hate the apartheid policy; we think it both wrong and stupid—we will take the strong line of throwing a country out because of its internal policies, where does it end? Does it end there, or does it go on to include Portugal, and then an independent Southern Rhodesia? It might not be too absurd to suggest that this could lead to the ejection of the United States because of the racial policy in her southern States. This is a matter of principle, and I have thought it right to speak frankly to the House, and to ask Her Majesty's Government to consider very seriously what action to take when this matter comes before the United Nations.
It is essential in the difficult years that lie ahead that we should plan and initiate a firm long-term policy that is understood by our people in this country, by our friends in the Commonwealth and by our allies in the rest of the world. It is especially essential not to gloss over the difficulties that face us, be they racial, political or economic.
The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) began by saying that there was a danger of the world being split on racial lines, but unless I misunderstood his argument, the hon. Member was doing his best to urge the Government to aggravate that danger by coming down on the side of the colonialists against the coloured nations.
I was saying that this is the danger and that we should do everything we can to prevent it, but it is the duty of the Government to safeguard the future of their people and of British people in Africa and to make certain that if things go wrong they still have their territory and their redoubt there.
I understand the hon. Member's point of view, but I disagree with him. The best way of safeguarding the future for people in this country and for British people in Africa is to work towards meeting halfway, or more than halfway, the desire of the Africans to govern themselves and to be independent. The more we dig our toes in and the more we back intransigent diehards the more is the chance of the whole thing ending in violence and extremism.
I want to talk about the basic issue in the whole of our international policy, both foreign and defence, and one to which little attention has been paid in this debate or on any other occasion. I want to talk about the crisis of N.A.T.O. which I believe is so serious that the foundations of our policy, which is N.A.T.O., are crumbling and cracking. I want to analyse why this is so and what ought to be done about it.
The crisis, which was latent all along and is inherent in the very nature of N.A.T.O., came into the open over the Cuban crisis with the assertion by President Kennedy of the right to condemn his allies to a nuclear war without con-
sulting them. The famous dispatch of the Washington correspondent of The Times, of 24th October, has been mentioned frequently in the House, but as the point has not sunk in I permit myself to quote three sentences. After making the point that American action over Cuba had transformed the nature of the Western Alliance, he went on:
The President has, in fact, assumed the supreme political authority that was always inherent in the American deterrent….The firm belief of the U.S. Administration is that as the leader of the alliance with control of most of the nuclear power available to the West, it has a duty to defend itself and its allies—even to the extent of bringing about a nuclear exchange. It is also firmly believed that in an urgent situation there will be no time for consultation, that a threat of war cannot be met by committee decisions.
A further report, emphasising and elaborating this American attitude, was published by the Sunday Telegraph on 23rd December from its political correspondent then in Washington, Mr. Peregrine Worst Horne. As he mentioned in his dispatch that he had his information from a High White House source, which, I presume, was Mr. Pierre Salinger, the head of the Press Bureau, I think that we should pay attention to it.
Mr. Worsthorne gave it as the view of the Administration that
A refusal to consider rationally that it may be necessary for the United States to…impose nuclear tutelage on its allies could end the era of Anglo-American cooperation. In Kennedy's thinking it is once again quite simply a question of first principles, of fundamentals, of forces beyond sentiment; and, just as self-evident Eighteenth Century moral and political truths compelled Jefferson against his will to break with England in 1776, so today another set of truths—thermonuclear truths—which Kennedy sees as equally compelling, are forcing him into equally painful and revolutionary paths….Unless these articles of closely reasoned faith are appreciated better than were their earlier counterparts in 1776, there is a danger of another American Declaration of Independence, quite different in form but no less historic in its consequences.
Here we have a phenomenon frequently met with, and that is President Kennedy's curious trick of inverting reality. This time he is standing Thomas Jefferson on his head. Jefferson thought it necessary to make the Declaration of Independence on the issue of no taxation without representation, whereas Kennedy is now threatening us with a new U.S. Declaration of Independence of Britain if we refuse to accept annihilation without
representation at the hands of the United States.
Mr. Worsthorne says:
A high White House aide informed me that Cuba was the first time that the United States had acted on behalf of all, Europeans as well as Americans….But we know, and you know, that in the foreseeable future this is how it will always be in moments of thermonuclear drama, when the only measure of division will be, not between Americans and Britons, nor Americans and French, but between those who are in the White House and those outside.
He goes on to say that the Americans have no more say, nor have their legislature any say, in these decisions than have America's allies and that the decisions are concentrated in the hands of a few men and the Administration is
increasingly operating at times of crisis in the utmost secrecy, cut off alike from allied consultation and national debate…moving towards a new and terrible megalomania…
but that whatever one thinks of the merits of this there should be no illusion about the fact that the Administration is entirely sincere in its views and utterly determined to give effect to them.
He concludes that
Britain and Europe have to reckon with not some lightly formed American impulse, prompted by national ambition, but rather with the deepest purpose of a President at the very peak of his authority, convinced that he has at last found his historic mission as leader of the West as a whole.
This is the reality with which we have to reckon and it is one which cannot be reversed, even if the President were unreasonable in his attitude. But if one accepts his premise, the alleged necessity for N.A.T.O., there is no faulting his reasoning. We can only quarrel with his argument by rejecting his premise. His argument follows logically from the nature of nuclear weapons and the realities of the distribution of power in N.A.T.O.
The Times, in its leader of 27th March, entitled"Nuclear Metaphysics", pointed out that
The difficulty, not yet sufficiently recognised, is that the needs of a strategic deterrent are incompatible with the traditional concept of a military alliance of sovereign equals. The effectiveness of the modern deterrent depends upon the certainty and speed of its response. If it is controlled by more than one sovereign power it must be subject to veto and political consultation, either of which can make it useless.The Times then says that this leaves three choices. The first is that each
member should have its own deterrent, which, of course, would involve the very thing which we are trying to avoid at any price and would break up the alliance. The second choice is to leave things as they are, that is, leave it to the United States to run the alliance; in other words, to accept annihilation without representation. The third choice is that N.A.T.O. should"develop such a degree of political unity that it can act as a single power". This is simply what I call a"two penny-coloured" edition of annihilation without representation at the hands of the United States.
Whatever one may think of the merits of the present position and the price paid for being in N.A.T.O. and the perpetuation of N.A.T.O., it is this fact which touched off General de Gaulle's revolt. In effect, he took his stand for independence of the United States, on the principle of rejecting annihilation without representation, with his own little addition,"Unless I can do the same to you". He said that he had no objection to the United States condemning its allies to war unconsulted on an issue arising in the Western Hemisphere, but he claimed the same right for France on an issue arising in Europe. He thought that, with a French nuclear deterrent, he could achieve a position in which he would be able to exercise equality of rights in genocide.
This claim is politically unreal, militarily absurd and morally abominable. Politically, what General de Gaulle wants is an old-fashioned military alliance of sovereign equals, which, of course, is not possible, given the nature of the nuclear deterrent. In fact, in any alliance in which there is great inequality of military and financial power, the strongest ally always runs the alliance. This has always been so; there never has been any equal alliance unless there has been equality of power among the members of it.
In the second place, when General de Gaulle argues that France may produce a deterrent at some time in the 1970s, we may be quite certain that, by that time, the minute French deterrent will be obsolete before it is operational. As a military and financial enterprise, the whole thing is sheer megalomania and utterly unreal.
When he says, as he did in the famous interview on 14th January, that France, to be independent, must acquire"the sombre and terrible power to annihilate millions of human beings in a few minutes", he is talking like a wicked man, making Genghis Khan sound like what the French would call an enfant de choeur.
But we should not overlook that the first half of de Gaulle's stand, his declaration of independence and his rejection of annihilation without representation at the hands of the United States, has given him a great deal of support not only in France but in other countries on the Continent. Indeed, Mr. Peregrine Worsthorne, in the Sunday Telegraph of 24th February, said that the repercussions of de Gaulle's stand were almost as great, and his rejection of annihilation without representation was almost as popular, in this country as in France.
He went on to say:
The difficulty preventing Britain from opposing General de Gaulle's so-called grand design for Europe is that most politicians and many of the public basically agree with it…Judging by their speeches, indeed, it seems that Ministers are piqued not by the direction of the General's policy but by the fact that France rather than Britain is taking the lead. As for the public, who doubts that if the declaration of independence of America had been made by the British Prime Minister it would have won him the next election?
That, I think, is the explanation of the reason for the Government's ambiguous and ambivalent attitude towards this question.
On the one hand, they claim to be a loyal and faithful ally of America to the bitter end. They boasted of the fact that, when the United States violated the United Nations Charter by blockading Cuba, they alerted the rockets and V-bomber force and were quite ready to immolate the people of this country in support of that American policy. Also, we had the declaration by the Foreign Secretary at Oxford, some months ago, that the people of this country were ready to be reduced to radioactive ashes for the sake of the freedom of Berlin, which is a rather misleading way of talking about the difference between a compromise policy such as that acceptable to the Opposition over Berlin and the intransigence of Dr. Adenauer backed by the Americans.
At the same time, the Government claim that they are prepared to engage in a nuclear war single-handed, and talk like an Ersatz de Gaulle. In the last foreign affairs debate in another place, the Foreign Secretary declared that it was for the Government to decide when a moment of supreme national emergency had arisen in, he added, areas outside N.A.T.O. and outside Europe. This, again, if one takes his words at their face value and believes what he says—which I do not—suggests that the Government's bellicosity goes to the point where they are prepared to incinerate the people of this country for a cause so bad that it would not even be backed by the Americans, let alone by the United Nations, in a far corner of the world. It is sheer irresponsibility to talk like that, but that is the way they talk.
The truth is that the Nassau agreement tied us firmly to the Americans. The moment we become dependent on the Americans for obtaining missiles, the Americans have ultimate control of what we do with them, and the reservation of independent action in moments of supreme national emergency is a mere paper reservation which does not mean very much.
The alternative so far put up by the Opposition to meet this new situation with which we have been confronted since the Cuba crisis is, although less dishonest, just as unreal as the policy of the Government. What my party has called for—my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition called for it in the House on 31st January and my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) elaborated the thesis in the defence debate on 4th March—is this. We say that we reject annihilation without representation. We reject both the multilateral fleet and a multinational nuclear force on the ground that they would augment the tension and the danger of war in Europe. This, I agree, is true. But our way out of this is to say that there must be political control of N.A.T.O., a collective control of N.A.T.O. decisions. This was elaborated on 4th March to the effect that we should offer to increase our conventional forces in exchange for the Americans' agreement to a measure of international control of their nuclear forces.
In fact, the nature of nuclear weapons makes this demand illusory and the distribution of power in N.A.T.O. makes it irrelevant. Even with the best will in the world, we could not have collective control of a decision to resort to nuclear weapons. I do not often agree with the Foreign Secretary, but from his premises he argued logically the other day when he complained that too many fingers on the safety catch would destroy the credibility of the deterrent. There is no time for that kind of thing. If one is going in for genocide, one must do it in a fit of madness. There is no room for consultation about it, because the people consulted might show a preference for staying alive, even at the cost of a compromise, even at the cost, possibly, of abiding by their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.
Secondly, there is no question of controlling American nuclear weapons. I asked some Questions in the House and received a very clear reply from the Lord Privy Seal on this which confirmed my own analysis. What is proposed is merely to find a way of internationalising the control of such nuclear weapons as are assigned to the N.A.T.O. command, and that, ex hypothesi, means the minute British nuclear force, the derisory French nuclear force, if and when it comes into existence and if and when President de Gaulle changes his mind—but only those nuclear weapons which the United States chooses to assign to N.A.T.O., which are about 3 per cent. of its total nuclear force.
The rest remains at the disposal of the President, as at present, and may be used by him as he threatened to use them over Cuba to consign us all to cremation or incineration, or whatever one likes to call it, without going through the formality of asking us whether the idea appeals to us.
The whole object of the operation with this multilateral or multinational fleet, and so on, is not to extend N.A.T.O. control over the huge American nuclear armoury but to extend American control over the minute nuclear weapons which her European allies insist on having, although the Americans think it all nonsense and that we should not have them.
That is why The Times, in its leader of 27th March, to which I referred, begged the Government
to blow away the fog that has enveloped all discussion of a N.A.T.O. nuclear force. There is a growing danger that if people are left much longer to play blind man's buff among all the multilateral and multinational deterrents and weird apparitions such as polyglot crews on phoney freighters they will gradually come to believe in them as if they were real. The truth is that an attempt is being made to overcome a political dilemma with technical tricks that are largely meaningless in either military or political terms".
I claim that this political dilemma in N.A.T.O. is basic and insoluble because it arises out of the very nature of N.A.T.O. itself and of nuclear weapons. On the one hand, collective control of nuclear decisions is a military impossibility and politically unacceptable to the United States. There is not a hope of getting the Administration to agree to it. It would be repudiated by Congress and the Pentagon. The other alternative of annihilation without representation is intolerable to the allies of the United States. The whole thing illustrates the truth of what George F. Kennan said in 1958 in his November-December Reith lectures on the B.B.C. He, as Chief of the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department at the time, was one of the founders of N.A.T.O. His views are those of a senior American diplomat.
This is what he said in his broadcast lecture:
The beginning of understanding rests in this appalling problem with the recognition that the weapon of mass destruction is a sterile and hopeless weapon…which cannot in any way serve the purposes of a constructive and hopeful foreign policy. The suicidal nature of this weapon renders it unsuitable both as a sanction of diplomacy and as the basis of an alliance.
That was said in 1958.
Last October, President Kennedy proved the truth of this proposition in practice, because, by using the threat of nuclear war as the sanction of his power-political diplomacy over Cuba, he succeeded in revealing the total impracticability of making the nuclear deterrent strategy the basis of the Western Alliance. It is threatening the end of the alliance. It seems to me that this is the essential fact which should be borne in mind.
That does not mean that there is no way out of the situation. There is a way out, but it lies in invoking a new dimension—the dimension of foreign policy. This has been recognised again and again. It was recognised in that speech by Dean Acheson at West Point, on 5th December last, which caused so much offence. One sensible thing which he said was that the great weakness of N.A.T.O. is that there is no agreement on policy between the members of N.A.T.O.
And President Kennedy at Paulskirche, near Frankfurt, a few days ago elaborated that point. He said:
our partnership depends on a common political purpose.
He went on to quote Thucydides on the Peloponnesian war, an apt quotation of the dangers to an alliance of each member pushing its own policy and attempting to further its own interests and forgetting the common cause, and said:
Is that also to be the story of the Grand Alliance? Welded in a moment of imminent danger, will it disintegrate in complacency, with each member pressing its own ends to the neglect of the common cause? This must not be the case…The greatest of our necessities, the most notable of our omissions, is progress towards unity of political purpose.
What"unity of political purpose" means is to reach such a degree of agreement on foreign policy with the United States that we are prepared to entrust our survival or extinction to decisions taken unilaterally by the United States to resort to nuclear war in defence of whatever policy has been agreed on.
Is there any prospect of such a situation arising? What is American world policy for the sake of which we are expected in N.A.T.O., even now, to accept the risk of annihilation without representation? One rather striking statement of how the present American Administration see their global policy was made at President Kennedy's Press conference on 18th December last. He began by saying that when he thought of the willingness of the United States to accept burdens all round the world he thought it was a fantastic story, and went on:
We have one million Americans today serving outside the United States. There is no other country in history that has carried this kind of burden. There are other countries who had forces serving outside of their own country, but for conquest: we have two divisions in South Korea. Not to control South Korea but to defend it. We have a lot of Americans in South Vietnam. Well now, no other country in the world has ever done that since the beginning of the world: Greece, Rome, Napoleon and all the rest always had conquest. We have one million men outside and they are trying to defend these countries.
What we are saying is that rich Western Europe must do its part, and I hope it will.
Let us examine that statement a little more closely. As stated in the parallel statements made by the President in Germany, all that the U.S.A. stands for is defending freedom in Asia and other parts of the world, the frontiers of freedom.
In Formosa, the Americans keep General Chiang Kai-shek and pretend that he represents China, although his régime is a police State and dictatorship. There is not enough democracy to put in a pig's eye. Well there is, but not enough to impair the animal's power of vision.
Then there is the claim of the Americans to start a world war if the Chinese Republic tries to push Chiang Kai-shek's forces out of the coastal islands of Matsu and Quemoy, which the Government of this country recognise as being part of the territory of the Chinese People's Republic and under its sovereignty. In Laos, it was American policy which insisted on joining together those"whom God hath put asunder" by forcing the reactionary dictator Boun Oum on a people who did not want him. He would not have had a look-in if he had not been propped up by American arms and money. There are great social problems to solve. The great majority of the people want to solve them in certain ways and it is this Western intervention, led by the United States, which creates the deadlock by preventing their solution.
President Kennedy was coy about mentioning what the 17,000 Americans were doing in Southern Vietnam. They are waging a totally illegal war in violation of half a dozen treaties, a barbaric war which includes poisoning crops, together with people, including women and children, who get in the way, and a war which attempts to use starvation and terror to prop up a reactionary régime. Not only the Communists, i.e. the peasants, but also the Buddhists are now up in arms against the present puppet régime, which is simply a dictatorship supported by the United States.
In South Korea, there is a pure military dictatorship. As in South Vietnam, the United States pays the whole of the military budget. It has the fourth largest Army in the world—2 million men—and, at the same time, has 30 per cent. unemployed. There is such a hideously low standard of living among the peasants that they half starve. Their average income is about £35 a year.
The verdict on this Far Eastern policy was given by the Washington correspondent of The Times on 19th May, 1961, when he said:
The events in Cuba and Laos have persuaded the Administration not only that the post-war truce lines must be held, but that the peripheral areas must be kept even in a semi-colonial status and with the force of American arms if necessary….The earlier promise of elasticity and with it a self-provided room for manoeuvre seems to have gone and may well be replaced by something not unlike the old Dulles system.
On the same date, the New Statesmen had an apposite comment:
America's attempt to export her formula of free enterprise democracy has met with almost unrelieved failure. A skin of capitalism has been grafted on to a feudal framework, and this ugly and inefficient hybrid is kept alive only by constant injections of dollars and arms.
That is very much what is happening also in Latin America. Some hon. Members may have noticed that only a few days ago the Observer published a report on the results of the inquiry carried out by the Organisation of America States. They sent out the ex-President of Brazil, Dr. Kubitschek, and ex-President Lleras Camargo, of Colombia, to examine the situation and to report back. They reported back that the whole thing was on the verge of collapse and that there was great criticism in Latin America of the whole policy as being an attempt to impose a kind of semi-colonial status on the Latin-American countries.
The despatch concludes that in the view of unofficial Latin Americans who were consulted in Washington, the report
ignores the total misunderstanding which has long existed between North and Latin America. Most Latin-American countries are keen to diversify their trading pattern in the direction of Europe and possibly Japan. Europe (Continental Europe at any rate) is keen to reciprocate.
Senhor Kubitschek and Dr. Lleras were, by the limitations of their brief, precluded from pointing this out or from pointing out that the Alliance for Progress, as at present constituted, cannot possibly work. The report ignores the vital fact that the free-enterprise U.S. is in the impossible position, under the terms of the alliance, of giving aid only to countries which must, to qualify, be somewhat
socialist U.S. legislators have noticed this paradox and are most unwilling to vote more money.
The truth is that when President Kennedy talks of defending freedom in the world he is merely echoing what President Truman said in his famous doctrine of 5th March, 1947, that
There is one thing that the Americans value more than peace. It is freedom. Freedom of worship, freedom of speech and freedom of enterprise. The pattern of international trade which is most conducive to freedom of enterprise is one in which major decisions are made not by Governments but by private buyers and sellers….The pattern of trade which is least conducive to freedom of enterprise is one in which decisions are made by Governments…Unless we act, and act decisively, it will be the pattern of the next century.
That is what it is all about. American policy is directed to preserving freedom of enterprise in the world. The New York Herald-Tribune's comment at the time on the Truman message to Congress was the headline:
Truman says Americans love free enterprise more than peace.
I do not see what basis there is for unity of purpose with the United States in that policy, certainly not from this side of the House at least. We on this side are supposed to be Socialists.
In the same way, if one goes through the various items in Europe, looking at them from the point of view at least of what the Opposition believes to be a reasonable policy, we believe that Germany should not share in nuclear weapons in any form. We reject the principle of annihilation without representation. We want some form of disengagement, starting with negotiations on the Rapacki plan and taking both halves of Germany and some of her neighbours out of the rival alliances and within a nuclear-free zone from which all foreign forces would be removed and within which the forces of the Powers concerned would be reduced, limited and put under international control.
We want a provisional Berlin settlement which calls for de facto recognition of Eastern Germany and final recognition of the Polish frontier and some form of disengagement, in return for international guarantees, to which both Germanys would be parties, as well as the Russians, Americans, ourselves and the French, for the independence of West Berlin and its freedom of communications, with the association in some form of the United Nations. On all those subjects, as well as on Labour's proposals for the reunification of Germany, it would not be difficult to reach agreement with the U.S.S.R. by a little give-and-take negotiation. The problem is how to induce our allies to negotiate on those proposals and to accept them as a basis of settlement.
The only way to do that is to act on the principle, which has been enunciated more than once from this side of the House by leaders of this party, that defence must be the servant of foreign policy. That means, first, that we have the right to determine what forces we need in Europe in the light of our own foreign policy. We do not need either conventional forces or nuclear weapons to induce the Russians to negotiate on the Rapacki plan—which is their own plan as well as one approved by Labour as a basis of negotiation. In all the other items it will also be found that we can negotiate from common interest and do not have to try to negotiate from strength. That is lucky for us, because we do not have the strength. We must borrow it from the United States, the condition for which is that we should not follow our own policy but should commit ourselves to American policies, with which at least this side of the House disagrees.
Therefore, we can cut our forces to a symbolic force in N.A.T.O., which would be the only way of finding the economic and financial resources necessary to carry out Labour's domestic policies. Those excellent economic and social policies will remain on paper unless we drastically cut the present-day staggering defence expenditure.
Moreover, we are also entitled to point out to our allies that since N.A.T.O. may legitimately be invoked only in case of unprovoked aggression, we are entitled to interpret that to mean that we will not be committed to war by allies who fail to come to terms with us on how to make peace. We can tell them that as long as they pursue policies which we regard as provocative and dangerous, they need not expect our help, because they are not entitled to it, and if they want to restore the military side of the alliance, they had better come to terms with us about how to negotiate a settlement with the Soviet Union which will enable us to wind up both the alliances by stages and by mutual agreement, as part of disarmament and disengagement.
What all that amounts to is that the policy of this country should be to build a bridge between the United States and the Soviet Union by working to transfer the relations between the great Powers from the balance of power to the Charter of the United Nations. That means that we reject the assumption of aggression and instead recognise that the arms race is kept going by mutual fear and suspicion; neither side wants to attack the other; and the more we prepare for instant war against a mythical danger of aggression, the greater we make the real danger of an incident sparking off a fatal accident. The only way to stop that is to take the initiative in making peace, to subordinate defence to foreign policy.
Once one recognises that it is fear and suspicion which is wrong on both sides, that the belief that the other fellow wants to attack one—which is shared by both sides—is mistaken, then one must also recognise that what is needed is a major country to break the psychosis of fear and the vicious circle of the arms race, by deciding,"We will not go on with this arms business, until we try to reach agreement with our allies on a reasonable basis of negotiation with the Soviet Union, both on the outstanding political issues and on the question of disarmament."
As a corollary to that, we should also recognise the truth of what Aneurin Bevan said in this House on 23rd July, 1957. As time has gone on it has become ever more clear and compelling as the doctrine by which we ought to be guided:
…the fact is that the ends which are served by national defence and the means adopted for defence are so far apart from each other today as to add up to no sense at all. No one really believes that weapons which are weapons of mutual suicide are any longer means of national self-defence…If we abandoned flatulent generalisations about the wide differences that separate the Soviet system from our own, most hon. Members would privately agree…that there cannot be any differences about social systems so profound that we are prepared to run the risk of wiping out the whole of human society over them….Alter all, the primary condition for arguing about different social systems is that one should be alive to argue about them. But if the argument results in the extinction of all social systems, it seems rather absurd to be worrying
about which particular one one is going to live under."—(Official Report, 23rd July, 1957; Vol. 574, c. 334.)
That should be the doctrine that guides us. Those should be the insights which illuminate our path. It means that we should stand on our own feet and pursue an independent foreign policy and say that we do not need the protection of the United States against the Soviet Union any more than we need the protection of the Soviet Union against the United States. This country should take the lead in making peace and winding up the long nightmare and madness of the nuclear arms race.
I do not think the House will be surprised when I say that I did not agree with almost everything that the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) said in his rather long speech. He is the only hon. Member who has taken part in the debate with whom I have not had considerable sympathy and agreement.
One of the most encouraging factors about the date has been that we have had not only my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal but also the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) stressing the importance—other hon. Members have followed suit—of China in the Far East as the danger spot in present world affairs. It is on this one point that I want to concentrate most of my remarks.
Throughout the debate, in practically every speech, we have heard about the necessity of improving our relations with the Soviet Union. In South-East Asia we have at least found some causes on which the Soviet Union and ourselves are very closely allied and on which we see eye to eye. It appears to me that it is in this field that we can take steps to improve the general relations that we have with the Soviet Union.
It we cannot succeed in solving some of the problems where we have mutual interest, what hope have we of solving the problems that many people have been talking about in Europe? I believe that it is best in these matters to put first things first. It has been clearly demonstrated over recent months that the Soviet Union has just as much to fear from China as has the rest of the world. It seems ridiculous that the largest nation in population is not yet a member of the United Nations.
The British Government have given every encouragement in trying to get China admitted to the United Nations, and I believe that one of the fundamental planks in our present foreign policy should be to persuade our American friends of the necessity of having China in the United Nations. Because one agrees to admit a Power to the United Nations, it does not for one moment mean that one accepts the policies which that Power stands for. I do not believe, however, that we can make the United Nations the power in the world for peace that every hon. Member wishes if the largest nation in the world is not a member of the organisation.
I am certain that the Soviet Union wants the status quo maintained in South-East Asia. We are predominant in that area and have far greater interest in seeing this than has the United States. Therefore, in the dangerous situation that the Lord Privy Seal has disclosed in Laos and Vietnam—I am not quite as optimistic as he appeared to be about the improving situation in Vietnam—I believe that both Laos and Vietnam are powder kegs in the world at the present moment. I have said before in this House that this presents a far greater danger to world peace than the situation in Europe has presented for many months past.
We cannot afford to treat China as a second-rate Power. Whether we like it or not, China is one of the greatest nations on earth. The Chinese are a very proud people with a long history and great traditions behind them. I believe that their invasion of India was to demonstrate to the uncommitted nations in Asia and in Africa that China was the dominant Power in Asia. The invasion shook the whole attitude of the Indian Government. It destroyed the idea of neutrality which Mr. Nehru had followed for so many years. All this was toppled overnight by the realisation that, if she wanted to, Communist China could destroy India or, indeed, any other part of South-East Asia or the Far East.
I therefore believe that the main plank that we should make if we are to try to improve relations with the Soviet Union, and help to solve the problems of Europe, is a determination to join in an effort with the Soviet Union to solve the problems in South-East Asia, particularly in Laos, where Britain and the Soviet Union are Co-chairmen of the Joint Commission.
I do not want to detain the House for long because I know that, while this is a two-day debate, many other hon. Members wish to speak. I therefore turn now to the only other point I shall cover tonight—the multi-national Polaris surface fleet. I do not believe that this concept makes either political or military sense.
It has always seemed to me that to subjugate efficient defence requirements to meet a political aim was a dangerous exercise, but I feel that this Polaris fleet would not even meet a political requirement. If it is designed to meet the forward-looking thinking of the German people, I do not believe that it succeeds. We would certainly incur the increased hostility of the Soviet Union for no political or military advantage at all. I do not pretend to be a military expert, but I am certain that all the experts have agreed that there is no purpose militarily in having such a force. The United States already has an overkill capacity and this in itself demonstrates that this fleet is not designed for military purposes.
I do not believe that this is the way to associate Germany, and, indeed, the other nations of Western Europe, in effective nuclear control. The Government should retain the British independent deterrent until such time as we can find an effective method of associating all the countries of Western Europe in a Western European deterrent. But it is very dangerous indeed to believe that it is in the interests of the world to leave a nuclear deterrent as a weapon only in the hands of the United States and the Soviet Union.
France, of course, takes her own line and is determined to have her own deterrent. This will become a reality, but it will have only a very small military value in the years ahead. I believe that a far more effective method at the moment is for us to continue to play our part with our V-bomber force in the Western deterrent. We have already offered to put it under the control of N.A.T.O., but I do not believe that we can afford financially to be saddled with any other form of association, whether it be in a surface Polaris force or anything else of that kind. I believe that, if we were to agree to such a force, we might be falling down on the very many responsibilities we have throughout the world for maintaining peace. I believe that our great part, our great influence on world peace, lies in South-East Asia and the Middle East. I would rather see some of our forces in Europe brought back to this country so that we could be fluid and provide them where they were most required at the appropriate time.
It would be fatal and would destroy all the basis of our defence and foreign policy if we were to agree to and accept the concept of and take part in the concept of the surface Polaris fleet. The great concept of our foreign policy at the moment should be to try to draw closer to Russia in those areas where we have some mutual interests. If we could do that and could demonstrate to each other our interests in solving these problems, we could have a far greater chance of solving the problems which face us in Europe itself.
The hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Turner) will forgive me if I do not follow his remarks immediately, although they emphasised one of the dilemmas of this foreign affairs debate. Simultaneously we have been talking about defence and independent deterrents and on the other hand about long-term disarmament proposals which we hope will be the basis of our policy. However, I do not see them as mutually contradictory. I believe that we axe now entering a period, however, when what I might call the disarmament criterion should take precedence over the defence criterion. I would like to say, as one who has always supported N.A.T.O., and still does, that it would be a pity if at such a crucial time as this, when we might have a chance of arriving at agreement with the Russians, we should make far-reaching changes in the structure of N.A.T.O., changing the kinds of weapons and the kinds of forces and the kinds of policies. To do that would make the chances of disarmament more remote. For that reason I am extremely glad that the American proposals have been dropped. I should like to see the independent deterrent proposals dropped too.
I have always regarded N.A.T.O. as, ultimately, a self-liquidating body. Historically, it has served a very valuable purpose. I have to disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus). I respect the sincerity with which he has consistently pursued his appeal for disarmament, but I think that, historically, N.A.T.O. has served and is serving a purpose. Although I appreciate that its structure will have to undergo a change, I should not like that change to be in a direction which impedes disarmament proposals.
I have always regarded N.A.T.O., on the one hand, as an alliance for limiting war, to make possible a limited rather than total war if the horror of war comes, but, on the other hand, as an ultimately self-liquidating body progressively reducing its military strength by reciprocal arrangements with the Russians, the Russians dismantling their alliance. In the process of all this I hope that decisions to reduce N.A.T.O.'s strength by reciprocal arrangements with the Warsaw Pact Powers will be taken as the result of deliberate policy commonly reached among the members of the Alliance and not unilaterally by the British Government. If I have to criticise the Government at all on their relationships with N.A.T.O., I would say that too frequently they have been apt to take unilateral decisions of this kind without consulting our N.A.T.O. allies, without consulting the Supreme Commander, and often involving N.A.T.O. in considerable difficulties.
I do not want to get drawn into an argument with my hon. Friend the Member for Gorton, but I thought that his representation of President Kennedy as a war-mongering dictator forcing nuclear weapons on his allies in order to extend his domination of the world—
I hope that I am not putting it unfairly, but if the hon. Member reads his speech in Hansard tomorrow I think he will find that that was the impression he gave. It does not reflect the position of President Kennedy and the American Administration. I think that President Kennedy is a man who, like Premier Khrushchev, is historically stuck with a hideous weapon. He is certainly concerned about his national self-interest, as Premier Khrushchev is, but he is stuck with a weapon the hideousness of which he has begun to realise, as has Premier Khrushchev, but from the ownership of which he sees no escape at the moment.
I think that one of the things about the Cuba crisis was that, paradoxically, it drew Khrushchev and Kennedy rather closer together. Each was faced with a dilemma with which nobody else in the world has been faced. Each in a sense became more apprehensive of his allies than of each other. I suspect that in a way Mr. Khrushchev would rather see the bomb securely locked up with the Americans and nobody else than trust the bomb to Castro, who is one of his allies.
I think that Kennedy and Khrushchev have gone through a crisis about this hideous weapon. I think I speak for the majority of the British people when I say we do not want the weapon. I think that nations which historically have avoided possession of the deterrent should go on avoiding it, because it would bring us nearer to a real disarmament agreement if only the two major Powers were bargaining rather than a multiplicity of small Powers. These smaller States lack the great committed interest of the Americans and the Russians. Some of them might use the bomb more frivolously, as Hitler in the last extremity in the bunker, when he would have had nothing to lose and everything to gain, would have used it had he possessed it.
I do not think that Khrushchev would use it, nor do I think that Kennedy would use it.
We would like to see a restriction of the spread of nuclear weapons. I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) put the dilemma rather well on 6th March, 1962, when he talked of the danger of the escalation from conventional to nuclear war. He said:
If we claim the deterrent for national objectives it becomes very difficult for us to stop the French or the Germans claiming it. This point has been made time and again, but it still bears repetition. There are no national objectives for the use of the ultimate deterrent. It is too hideous and indiscriminate a weapon for national objectives. It cannot be used for Commonwealth purposes. It cannot be used for public security in the Commonwealth. It is utterly unimaginable in any circumstances except the ultimate confrontation, and that ultimate confrontation would almost certainly come between the Americans and the Russians and we should have no major part in it.
There is a terrible logic in de Gaulle's position which the Government's logic in the possession of the deterrent seems to lack. De Gaulle wants the bomb for a number of reasons. He believes that the Americans will ultimately, and in the not too distant future, abandon Western Europe to its fate. He does not believe a word of President Kennedy's reassurance. He does not believe President Kennedy's speech that America's economic and military commitments in Western Europe are in the direct and enduring interest of the American people as well as in the interests of Europe itself. De Gaulle does not believe that, but I challenge our Government to say that they believe, as de Gaulle does, that Kennedy is plotting to repudiate us.
Secondly, de Gaulle resents American supremacy in world affairs, and particularly in colonial affairs, because he thinks that the Americans have interfered in Algeria. He thinks that they have backed colonial peoples; that they backed Angola against Portugal, the Indonesians against the Dutch, and that they backed Egypt against us. De Gaulle believes that the Americans are too sympathetic to colonial aspirations and I challenge our Government to say that they believe the same.
De Gaulle believes in a special relationship with Western Germany. I challenge our Government to say that they have a similar reason for pursuing a policy against the Americans. De Gaulle resents American supremacy. Our Government have acknowledged that Kennedy's interest in the Common Market and the Trade Aid Bill has been to encourage trade between ourselves and America, as indeed we want to do, just as the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) in his very thoughtful speech pleaded for trade the other way, to the East. Our object should be, in fact, to expand our trade with the whole world, Russia and America included.
De Gaulle wants his deterrent because of the rising nationalism which he is attempting to engender in France. I would have thought that the task of a British Government would be to reduce the prejudices and obsolete ambitions of nationalism. If one believes in the obsolete ideas of de Gaulle, however, one has a case for the independent deterrent. We believe in none of them, and it becomes incredibly difficult, in debate after debate, to find what case there is for our Government's independent deterrent. I will not recite all the arguments; they have been too often dealt with here, although we have never yet had a satisfactory answer to them.
The Nassau Agreement is really built upon distrust of America, yet, for the rest of our policy, we do not feel that distrust, nor would we wish to pursue it. I have already said that I think that many of our people have an admiration for the Kennedy Administration, for its dynamism and its attempt, domestically, to clear up its racial issue, and for what it does to provide aid throughout the world.
It is true that the Americans sometimes pursue self-interested policies, and act in a tough and hard way, as does Mr. Khrushchev. This is no reason why we should build a policy based on distrust of the Americans. They are poker players. It is no accident that the hero of Wild Western films is so often to be seen seated at a table behind a deck of cards, playing a hard and often ruthless game. This is true of the Americans, and it would be absurd and idealistic to blind ourselves to it. But, if it is properly pursued, the alliance between Britain, America and the West can augur very well for the world.
One of the saddest things I saw on television a night or two ago was the young dynamic President Kennedy, bristling with new ideas, standing by the old, rather tired and—dare I say it?—slightly tattered Prime Minister. Here, I thought, was a rather sad spectacle. This will not be the case for long. We shall have a young Prime Minister, who can match the toughness, energy and resilience of President Kennedy. At the risk of appearing politically biased, I think that he will come from this side of the House. I do not think that we shall again see the spectacle that we saw on television the other night.
I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) that the Foreign Office must have a long-term reorganisation of its policy. We have to build into our foreign policy a much more explicit idea of what we want to do. The idea of the diplomat who reacts to day-to-day incidents and never deals with a situation until it has arisen is becoming obsolete. We need diplomats who think not of incidents but of patterns. The Kennedy Administration, from what I saw of it on my recent trip, uses the brains and researches of scholars, thinkers, economists and experts in a wide range of subjects.
I am not blaming the staff of our Foreign Office. If they are trained to deal only with day-to-day incidents and are kept busy with the daily demands of protocal they cannot retire to think about long-term problems and to discuss them in the seminars which the Americans frequently have in their universities. But the Foreign Office must have more of these long-term policies. They must have more specialists in the various areas of the world, and in various subjects, who can get together and think of these problems. They need more commercial experts.
Some weeks ago I wrote to the Lord Privy Seal with proposals for training commercial officers. The economic section of the Foreign Office is deplorably weak. We are too often concerned about the niceties of protocol rather than with finding new markets and new sources of investment, and with the exports of the products of British regional industries over a wide area of the world. The Lord Privy Seal sent me a very courteous and long reply, in which he half agreed with what I said and promised to do something about it. I hope that the Foreign Office will consider the matter because, ultimately, the success of our policies will depend upon the kind of men that we have in the Foreign Office—their being in the field, collecting ideas, being more responsive to the problems of the countries they are in and meeting a much wider range of people living there.
I do not say that they should cease to be British. Nothing is more annoying than a person who deserts his own heritage or his own background and pretends to be exactly like the foreigners he is living among. No American can stand an Americanised Britisher—the Americans like British people as they are—and Anglicised Americans can also be very boring to us. It is possible to be a real diplomat without ceasing to reflect one's own cultural heritage, and to be responsive to the country in which one lives, and to have new ideas and to get down to this long-term thinking.
I began my speech with the point about long-term thinking and will finish on the same point. We have to concentrate on the research and planning which will bring disarmament within our grasp. This does not mean unilateral or panic measures, such as scrapping our defence system and alliances overnight. But there must, nevertheless, be careful, constructive and sincere thought about disarmament by Ministers and diplomats at all levels.
I must begin, as have other hon. Members, by congratulating the Secretary of State for War on his new appointment and by wishing him well, with all sincerity, in the new and extremely difficult assignment which is his. If I say some harsh things about his share in the work of the Committee of Eighteen, I hope that it will not make the right hon. Gentleman doubt that we admire his industry, his personal integrity and his devotion to all the public duties he fulfils, and his ardent desire that his work for disarmament should succeed.
I have been asked to speak tonight about disarmament and particularly about the Committee of Eighteen and I propose to do precisely that. As time is limited, and as the Committee of Eighteen has been sitting for many months, I shall not be able to deal with many matters which have been raised in the debate and on which I should have gladly spoken. I shall say only that I am in warm agreement with much that was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson), by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu), by my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney), by my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson) and by the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne).
On 7th February, 1962, before the Committee of Eighteen gathered in Geneva, the Prime Minister and President Kennedy spontaneously addressed a joint letter to Mr. Khrushchev. They used language which I think it right now to recall. They said:
At this time in our history disarmament is the most urgent issue we face…We must view the forthcoming disarmament meetings as an opportunity and a challenge which time and history may not once again allow to us.
How often in recent months has it seemed from Government declarations that it was not disarmament, that it was Nassau, the Polaris weapons or the multilateral force that were the urgent issues which we all had to face. How often have we thought that it was on more armaments and not less that foreign policy seemed to turn. Last year in their letter the Prime Minister and the President used prophetic words. They said:
Unless some means can be found to make at least a start in controlling the quickening arms competition, events may take their own course, and erupt in a disaster which will afflict all peoples.
Eight months later it nearly happened. Two weeks ago the Prime Minister told us that the week of the Cuba crisis was the week of the most strain that he could remember in all his life. He told us that he thought then that we might be on the brink of a nuclear war.
Mr. Dean Rusk said when the crisis was over that it had been an arms race crisis and the Prime Minister wrote again to Mr. Khrushchev to say that we should take up disarmament once more and try to get some practical results. Six weeks after that he went to Nassau, but he did not talk with the President about disarmament—he talked about the mirage of an independent nuclear deterrent. He came home saying, not that disarmament was the most urgent issue we face, but that Polaris was a splendid weapon which would last us for a generation. None the less the arms race is, was then and will remain, a mortal menace and if the Committee of Eighteen should fail, time and history will probably not allow us another chance.
That sheds a grim light on the fact that since the Committee started its deliberations, the arms race has quickened as never before. The United States expenditure on arms has increased since 1960 by almost 30 per cent. Soviet expenditure has increased by even more. Our own expenditure has increased by £340 million. Above all, there has been a great increase in the output of the most sophisticated weapons of inter-continental nuclear attack. Dr. David Inglis has been associated with nuclear weapons from the very start. He is still the senior physicist in the Argoune National Laboratory in Illinois. Last month he wrote the following words:
This year we have started to produce inter-continental missiles at an enormously accelerated rate….Fouryears ago we were misled into the belief that there was a missile gap….Now the reliable fact seems to be that we have about four times as much as they have….Not content with the ratio of four-to-one, we are starting this year to produce about three times as many inter-continental missiles per year as we had on 1st January in our entire stockpile! This means that present numbers are almost trivial compared to those of the near future.
The United States Secretary of Defence, Mr. McNamara, confirmed to Congress in January that what Dr. Inglis said was true.
That is the background—Cuba and the quickening arms race—to the question of a test ban, on which I say only a few words as others will deal with it tomorrow. We on this side of the House have always wanted a test ban. We wanted it for three years while the Prime Minister was telling us in his speeches that nuclear tests would do no one any harm, and while by his actions he was giving France and China a cast-iron case for going on. We hope most ardently that the new conversations in Moscow will succeed. We think that Mr. Khrushchev will take a grave responsibility if he turns down any reasonable plan.
We hope that a test ban will be made and that, when it is, it will open paths for much further progress very soon. But let us have no illusions. A test ban now will not stop France and China—nor India, nor Pakistan, nor Japan, if France and China succeed. How would a test ban have helped us over Cuba? The answer is plain. A test ban, if we get it, must be swiftly followed by disarmament, if even the rudimentary obligations of the ban are to endure. This background of Cuba and the quickening arms race shows us also that the Committee of Eighteen may be in very truth what the Prime Minister called it, an opportunity which may not recur. I do not think the Secretary of State for War will dispute that the Committee has been a grave disappointment to those who thought the Prime Minister's words in his letter to Mr. Khrushchev were more than cold war propaganda. The Committee itself, as I read the records which have come to me—they are a little out of date—has been extremely depressed. One of its ablest members, Dr. Barrington, of Burma, proposed in April that it should adjourn sine die. He said he could not imagine that they would go on meeting three times a week listening to the same speeches, the same arguments over and over again, and not advancing by an inch.
A little later, the United States delegate confessed that the Committee's progress had been"most limited", and that their"concrete accomplishments had been nil." There have been many causes. Of course, the Russians have been difficult. They have said a lot of things that would have better been left unsaid. It is clear that this arms race and the vast increase in Western I.C.B.Ms have reduced them to a state of acute suspicion and fear.
The Committee's ridiculous procedure has been a grievous handicap to its work. But among the causes of the Committee's failure to make better progress I rate pretty high the failure of the British Government to play the part in the discussions which, I think, Britain, more than all others, is qualified
to play; the part which the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary promised in the Committee that we would play when its work began. Let me quote the Foreign Secretary's words. I think them still of crucial importance if the Committee is ever to get a practical result. Speaking of the two drafts laid before the Committee by the United States and Soviet delegations, the noble Lord said:
All the elements of a disarmament treaty are in the plans which we have before us. What we have to do is to reconcile these two plans….The United States plan would move towards total disarmament in nine years by a continuous programme. The Soviet plan proposes total disarmament in four years….think that the Conference is agreed that we should work by going through both the plans now before us, chapter by chapter, looking for the greatest amount of agreement in each measure, and, above all, not finding differences in principle where none exist. We on the British side intend to keep open minds. We support the United States plan and we helped to frame it. We are not pressing specifically or exclusively for its adoption. What we must find is a master agreement drawing on what is best in all the proposals before us. We begin to see much in common between the Russian and the American plans. If we can work on this common ground, we should be able to produce a master plan of our own, which could lead to the physical destruction of weapons, beginning now, and going on until the business is complete without a check.
I have read the verbatim records with some diligence. I cannot find much evidence that our delegates have ever sought to reach a compromise between the United States and the Soviet plans; that they have ever made one proposal for taking what is best out of the Soviet plan; that they have ever sought to urge a master plan; that they have shown that we have"open minds"; that they have avoided finding differences of principle where none exist. On the contrary, I have found scores of speeches by the Secretary of State and his deputies designed to show that the United States plan is right in every point and that the Russian plan is wrong.
I found some speeches which, I think, showed a disposition to argue that there were differences of principle where none existed. Our delegates, inside the Committee and in the Press, have always sought to show that the major divergence between the United States and the Soviet plans was about inspection and control. Only last week, in another place, the Foreign Secretary said that
…Russia's whole approach, in saying that the whole process of disarmament must be completed before any inspection is allowed, is totally unrealistic and can never bring about disarmament."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 26th June, 1963; Vol. 251, c. 285.]
I think that that is a complete distortion of what the Russians have proposed.
The Secretary of State is very familiar with what I am about to say. In the first stage of the Russian draft they offered to reduce their manpower by 2·1 million men—from 3·8 million to 1·7 million. They offered to abolish the conventional armaments and equipment with which those 2·1 million were equipped and also the reserve armaments kept for troops who might be called up in time of crisis, a total, if the figures of the Institute of Strategic Studies are right, of about 65 per cent. to 70 per cent. of all the conventional armaments which they possessed, including tanks, mobile artillery, armoured cars and all the rest. They offered to abolish all the means of delivery by which weapons of nuclear power could be used against an enemy—bombing aircraft, missiles, rockets, submarines and surface vessels which had been adapted for launching missiles.
All this was to be done under international control by inspectors on the spot who would be in the Soviet Union before any of it began. They proposed that the factories and plants where these conventional weapons and means of delivery had been made should be dismantled under international control; that all the testing grounds, bomber stations, and training establishments for crews should be closed down under international control; that military expenditure should be correspondingly reduced and the reductions controlled by expert international financial inspectors—an immensely important safeguard against violation. Finally, the Soviet proposed in Article 14 of their Treaty that no missiles should be launched from national territories, no military aircraft should leave their national airspace or warships leave their territorial waters—and that all that should be under international inspection and control.
Surely greater reliance would have been placed on the Russian proposals if the Russians had agreed to the very much simpler proposal of seven inspections taking place of nuclear tests each year.
With respect, the question of nuclear tests is wholly different from the question of disarmament, as I know the Secretary of State agrees. To say, as the Foreign Secretary said, that the Russians rejected inspection until the process of disarmament was complete is surely quite false, and I should have thought that it would make the Russians believe that we have hardly any serious desire to negotiate at all.
I know what the Secretary of State will answer. He will say that the whole of the Russian Stage 1 is a hoax; that it is absurd to put almost all the big measures of disarmament into Stage 1; that their Stage 1 is grossly overloaded—I think that that was the phrase which he has used; that the Russians do not expect us to accept it; and that it is a try-on for propaganda ends. Of course, the Russian Stage 1 will not be accepted as it is. A compromise will certainly be required. My complaint against the Secretary of State is that I cannot find that he has ever tried to get one. Neither on manpower nor on conventional arms nor on means of delivery have I found that he has ever given the slightest hint to the Committee that he would welcome a halfway plan. He has stood on the Western plan as drafted.
Does he realise what that means? Under the Western plan as it now stands it will be six full years before the manpower of the Soviet and U.S. forces comes down to the level which Hitler had in his forces in the summer of 1939; and that manpower will still be equipped, after six years of disarmament, with a power of attack incomparably greater than Hitler's forces had. Under the Western plan, if Mr. Gilpatric's figures are correct, the United States, after six years, would still have 7,000 means of delivering nuclear weapons onto Soviet targets.
Last summer, I heard General Talensky describe at the Pugwash Conference the kind of overkill nuclear attacks that the United States would still be able to make on the Soviet Union after those six years had elapsed—not a voice among the American experts at Pugwash was raised to prove him wrong. When the Secretary of State for War says that the Soviet Stage 1 is grossly overloaded, I would ask him to agree that the Western first stage is grossly under loaded. I think that he proves that the major difference between East and West is not about inspection and control but about how much disarmament we should hope for and how quickly it can be done.
I have sometimes wondered as I read the records of the Committee whether we were really seeking agreement with the Russians at all. We seem to ask them at almost every meeting to give up their viewpoint and surrender to ours. I was genuinely astonished by the reception given by the Western delegates to Mr. Gromyko's offer of the minimum nuclear deterrent to be retained by the Soviet and the United States Governments until the end of Stage 2.
This was an American idea, urged by very high authorities over there. Its acceptance by the Soviet might have become a major break through. But one Western delegate said that it only showed that the Soviet now realised that their earlier proposal for the abolition of delivery vehicles was quite untenable—a strange, almost an insulting way of welcoming a great concession. It was followed by a flood of Western speeches full of questions about what Mr. Gromyko really meant—most of them designed to show that the Soviet were keeping their hands free ultimately to cheat.
There was, of course, only one question that really mattered, and that remained obscure: how many missiles would the United States and the Soviet retain? Mr. Gromyko had told us all the rest—what the missiles were to be; that they were to be on Soviet territory and United States territory only; that they were to be of approximately equal numbers and of equal explosive power on each side. A little later, the Soviet had agreed that the missiles in this minimum deterrent should be subject to inspection and control—a very notable concession from their principle of"no inspection of the armaments that remain", Naturally, with their present inferiority in I.C.B.M.s—an inferiority which, for prestige reasons, they are forced to deny—the Russians have been coy about talking numbers.
I could not find that the Secretary of State for War had helped them. It was left to General Burns of Canada to point out that if each side retained missiles to the number of 10 and if one side then succeeded disloyally in retaining 30 clandestine missiles, the balance would be very dangerously upset; but that, if each side retained 200 missiles, the 30 would not really matter much. I understand that General Burns had taken 30 as an outside figure that no disloyal Government could hope to exceed.
It so happens that 200 is precisely the figure quoted in 1960 by Dr. Jerome Wiesner, who has since become Chief Science Adviser to President Kennedy. Dr. Wiesner wrote
Studies made independently by the U.S. Army and Navy have indicated that, even in the absence of international agreements limiting force size and permitting inspection, 200 relatively secure missiles"—
That is, in hardened sites:
would provide an adequate deterrent.
Last September, Dr. Hans Be the, who was Dr. Weisner's predecessor as Chief Advisor to President Eisenhower, said that it would be"entirely safe" to abolish all U.S. nuclear armoury except for"a few hundred" hardened missiles. All this talk of going down to a minimum deterrent may sound fantastic to many hon. Members who have followed the proceedings recently. But Weisner and Be the are amongst the greatest experts in the world. If ever there is to be a disarmament treaty, something of this kind must be agreed to, and I hope that the British delegate from now on may bend his utmost efforts to secure acceptance of this vitally important plan. Indeed, I hope that our present debate may help to change the whole work of the Committee of Eighteen.
It is out of the two draft treaties that a system of disarmament must be forged. Every hon. Member ought to know both by heart. I have no reason to praise the Russians. But it seemed to me as I read the minutes that they have made far greater efforts to negotiate than have the delegates from the West. They have made some pretty big concessions to our point of view.
They have increased their time schedule from four years to five. They have agreed to manpower at 1·9 million instead of 1·7 million in Stage 1. They have accepted the United States proposal of a 30 per cent. reduction of conventional weapons and equipment in Stage 1. They have agreed to the United States proposal of a further 35 per cent. reduction in Stage 2. They have put forward the plan for a minimum nuclear deterrent to be retained to the end of Stage 2, of which I have spoken. They have agreed that the launching sites of this deterrent should be under international inspection and control. These are all concessions on major points.
What have the West conceded in reply? The Secretary of State was good enough to send me a list. He put first the insertion of this 30 per cent. cut in means of delivery and conventional armaments in Stage 1. Does he really think that that was a concession and that 30 per cent. is adequate? Does he realise that in most arms it would take us back only to the level of 1961?
He put next the proposed transfer of 50,000 kilograms of fissile material to non-military use; but 50,000 kilograms represents just one 150th of the United States stockpile in 1962 and it has been much increased since then. He put forward the concession in the American draft about the production and testing of new arms, but that concession was really the removal of an earlier provision that might have made disarmament a farce.
Something much bolder than these and the other trifling changes which we have offered is now required. Why should not Britain propose a time schedule of six years in three stages of two years each? Why should not we back the Russian compromise on manpower? In all conscience, it is modest enough. Why should not we seek a bigger initial reduction in Russian tanks and mobile guns in return for a bigger initial reduction of delivery vehicles by the West? Why should not we ourselves work out a concrete plan for the minimum nuclear deterrent, which has now such wide support in both East and West? Why should not we try to work on what the Russians have proposed about inspection? Why do not we work on the various possible compromises on bases, which have not yet been explored?
When Mr. Khrushchev answered the joint letter from the Prime Minister and President Kennedy just over a year ago he used two pregnant phrases. He said:
The Soviet Government considers it necessary to see to it in advance that the work of the Eighteen-Power Committee does not get into a rut and is not reduced in the last analysis to verbal exchanges between functionaries.
Too often, reading the records, I have had the feeling that they have become exactly that, and that a new start at a much higher level is now urgently required.
Mr. Khrushchev wrote:
There is no need to prove that the development of the international situation in the future will depend to a great extent on how matters proceed in the Committee. Will the Committee be able to rise to a level from which the distant and the difficult will appear near and real?
Can the Committee, can this House, and can the Governments not rise to the level which makes disarmament seem near and real? Must we drift on as we are drifting now to the ultimate disaster which the head of every Government foresees? In the last speech I ever heard by Hugh Gaitskell, made in Derby, South, he said that the only real objective of foreign policy was the speediest possible ending of the cold war. His voice still speaks to me to-night. And there are others: Pope John's, Pope Paul's, and the President of the United States in his epic declaration of 10th June. But greater than all these could be the united voices of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and I pray God that they may soon be heard.
The right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) was good enough, in his opening words, to say some very kind things personally about me, and I am most grateful to him for them. I assure him, in return, that I always listen to his speeches with care, because I have always believed that he approaches this problem above all others with a deep sincerity.
Having said that, however, I must tell the right hon. Gentleman that I shall have to take serious divergencies from what he said on a number of the points that he made. In fact, what he said tonight was a complete travesty of the operations of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, and, so far as I have the time, I shall hope to expose the falsity of the position which he has put to the House.
This is, I suppose, my valedictory speech on foreign affairs, certainly on disarmament and nuclear tests, at least for the time being; but, when I was first asked to participate in the debate, I was still at the Foreign Office, and I hope that the House will bear with me as I make this speech, in spite of the change in my position, for the kind references to which during the debate I am most grateful.
Many people have said to me, in the past few days, that it is strange to go straight from being Britain's chief disarmament negotiator to the War Office. In fact, it is not nearly as odd as some might think. All aspects of foreign and defence policy are and must be intertwined just as foreign policy is very closely intertwined with economic policy. These things are interlinked, and they must be so. In particular, although I have in no way changed my deep desire to see disarmament achieved, I see my new job as the other side of the coin in relation to this particular problem. I wish my successor well and hope that he will succeed in negotiating disarmament where I have so far failed, for reasons which, in spite of the suggestions which he made, are rather different from those which the right hon. Gentleman described, as I shall seek to show.
When I say that I see my new job as the other side of the coin, I mean this. Countless weary months of negotiation with the Russians have shown me one thing above all else, that they will negotiate against strength, just as they will negotiate only from strength. They are more likely in the end to sign an agreement with countries whose strength they respect than for any other reason at all. This is why the unilateralist case is not only mistaken, but false and wholly wrong in every aspect. The very line which the unilateralists seek to put forward is the one which will defeat agreement. If the Russians could achieve it without any effort on their part, they would certainly prefer that to any agreement. The unilateralists case weakens our negotiating position and certainly does not strengthen it. I emphasise that most strongly.
Having moved from one job to the other, I see that there is this direct connection. We must keep on working and striving to get multilateral disarmament in every possible way—multilateral disarmament effectively carried out, effectively policed, and effectively verified, not verified as the Russians propose, to which I will come in a moment—but that is not what we have yet had the opportunity of getting. We must seek to do this, but do not let us be fooled by any talk about unilateral action.
No. I was dealing particularly with the question of verification, to which I will come because I think that the right hon. Member distorted the picture there.
I want to concentrate on certain matters tonight. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence will be speaking early in tomorrow's debate and he will deal with all questions relating to the multilateral force. Therefore, I do not propose to deal with that. I want to deal with one or two points about the United Nations which have been raised today before turning to the question of nuclear tests and disarmament.
First, I wish to take up the point about United Nations finances, which has been mentioned by a number of hon. Members. Hon. Members will be aware that this is a very topical point because of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly which has been meeting very recently in New York on this matter. Several Members have referred to the resolutions adopted there and to what is likely to arise following this at the eighteenth session of the General Assembly.
Some have asked questions about the consequences of the failure of countries to pay their contributions. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal referred to this matter this afternoon, but, since it is such an important question and since it seems likely soon to become even more pressing, perhaps the House will allow me to go into a little more detail about the position as it obtains at present.
The first sentence of Article 19 of the United Nations Charter, to which my right hon. Friend referred, states:
A Member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organisation shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years.
On 14th May, at the opening of the Special Session of the General Assembly called to discuss the question of peacekeeping finances, the Secretary-General wrote to the President of the Assembly, pointing out that one member State, Haiti, was liable to the application of Article 19. The President of the Assembly, in his reply to this letter, stated that he would have made an announcement
drawing the attention of the Assembly to the loss of voting rights in the Assembly of the member State just mentioned, under the first sentence of Article 19, had a formal count of vote taken place in the presence of a representative of that State at the opening plenary meeting".
He went on:
As no such vote took place, and as the representative of Haiti was not present, this announcement became unnecessary.
This is a very important statement. The President stated that he had understood that the representative of Haiti would shortly make the payment necessary to render the first sentence of Article 19 inapplicable.
I have quoted this to give hon. Members an example, the first example that there has been, of an analysis of this by the President of the Assembly and, in fact, of the application of Article 19. I suggest that this shows in the clearest possible fashion that the ruling of the President of the Assembly was to the effect that the application of the first sentence of Article 19 is completely automatic and requires no action to bring it into play. That is a very important factor which may have very considerable relevance in the months ahead.
That is right. He is a very respected man.
The International Court of Justice was asked last year for an advisory opinion whether peace-keeping expenses were to be regarded as expenses of the organisation within the terms of Article 19. That Article refers to the expenses of the organisation and it had been argued by certain States that peace-keeping operations did not come within the terms of that Article. The International Court gave its opinion that they did and a resolution confirming the opinion of the Court that peace-keeping expenses fall under Article 19 was passed at the Seventeenth Session of the General Assembly by a substantial majority.
That brings me to the position of the Soviet Union. If the Soviet Union does not make contributions towards peacekeeping operations already authorised, it will become liable to loss of vote under Article 19 on 1st January, 1964. The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Goldon Walker) said that this difficult question would be settled in the end by world opinion and, in particular, by the African countries. It is already abundantly clear where the weight of world opinion lies.
The Special Session of the General Assembly which has just been concluded passed seven resolutions by large majorities on the question of peace-keeping. The first of those, a resolution on general principles, lays down that
the financing of peace-keeping operations is the collective responsibility of all member states of the United Nations.
It could not be clearer than that. I draw the attention of the House, because this is significant, to the fact that that resolution was adopted by a vote of 92 in favour to 11 against, with three abstentions. That deals with the point made by the right hon. Gentleman.
Another resolution on arrears in respect of assessed contributions to the United Nations forces in the Middle East and the Congo appealed to member States to pay up and was adopted by 79 votes in favour to 12 against and with 17 abstentions. This makes clear where world opinion lies. We must hope that countries which are in arrear will realise the problems which they are creating, not only for the United Nations, but for themselves. It must be our hope that they will take steps to comply with these resolutions when the time comes for them to be operative.
So much for the question of United Nations finances, which will come up again inevitably at the eighteenth session of the General Assembly, when there will be further opportunities to consider it. The United Kingdom delegation in New York has played a full and valuable part in the discussions in relation to the whole of the special session.
On the wider issue of the United Nations as a whole, there are a number of things that I should like to say, but I must get on to the other points. My hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman) gave us much food for thought. I should not like to follow him into some of the points he raised, because he would, I am sure, agree that they involve considerable discussion and would leave us on for a long time.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) spoke from his deep knowledge of the last session of the United Nations. The problems of the large Afro-Asian vote, as my hon. Friend recalled to us, are very real. In my view, however, we already see the earlier of what I might call the new entry of States adopting a somewhat more considered view, on certain issues at least. We have to be patient here. We must be patient and ready to state our case again and again and to allow the justice of it to become apparent in order to gain the good will of those uncommitted nations.
When discussing the distinction between China and Russia, my hon. Friend said that he was afraid that the younger people might become attracted to China. I would remind him of the shock and dismay which China's attack on India caused among those delegates at the United Nations. He will, I am sure, realise that this was a factor which has had considerable effect, which, I imagine, certainly will not yet have worn off.
I turn specifically to the test ban. Both the right hon. Member for Smethwick—various hon. Members spoke at some length on this subject—and the right hon. Member for Derby, South pointed out that, even if one gets a test ban treaty, it is only the beginning of the road and not the end. I quite agree; but I would say that if one gets a test ban treaty one is creating the conditions in which disarmament can flourish. One has to create the conditions for disarmament to succeed; one cannot consider it in isolation. I thought that the right hon. Member for Derby, South did not give nearly enough attention to that point.
One cannot expect to deal with disarmament as being ultimately unconnected with the other issues in the world. We have to obtain reductions in tension in various ways and in every way possible. I have always believed that if we can expose the differences between the two sides on the issue of disarmament at a time when it is not propitious to make the real advance that we all want, we are still doing good in the Eighteen-Nation Committee even if we are not really achieving results. We must seek to reduce tension in various ways to enable those talks to come to fruition. Therefore, in relation to nuclear tests the matter of reduction of tension is very important, and I believe that is how it should be considered.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick gave us very interesting information about his own discussions and those of his right hon. Friend with Mr. Khrushchev in Moscow. He said that Mr. Khrushchev had told him that he had withdrawn his offer on inspection. I would point out to him that Her Majesty's Government must deal with this in relation to the correspondence and communications that we have direct from Mr. Khrushchev. We are, naturally, grateful for any information that we are given, but I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will realise that we must deal with the subject on this basis. Though I take note of what he said, we must go forward on the basis on which we have been dealing with it. These are matters that we must discuss and explore with Mr. Khrushchev through my noble Friend the Lord President of the Council when he gets to Moscow. I emphasise that we have taken note of what the right hon. Gentleman has said.
The right hon. Gentleman also said that he believed that Mr. Khrushchev was still genuinely annoyed with the West because of a misunderstanding, or whatever one cares to call it. There may have been a misunderstanding. I still feel it difficult to realise that there was, but there may have been—I realise it. It could have arisen—I say no more than that—through the fact that my chief colleague, the American negotiator at the time, in trying very hard to get agreement in the discussions, sought to divide the territory of the Soviet Union into seismic and aseismic areas. In doing so it could be that through the translation the Russians may have got a wrong impression, thinking that the small number of inspections quoted for aseismic areas was what was meant for the whole. I suggest merely that that is a possibility. I know that at one stage my colleague was talking in these terms and about highly technical matters, and when this sort of thing goes through translation it is quite possible that such a misunderstanding could have arisen.
However, I would say that too much must not be made of this, because when President Kennedy replied to Mr. Khrushchev last December, when the matter came up again, President Kennedy at once refuted any idea that this figure had been put forward, and it was after that that the Soviet negotiators went to Washington and New York for private discussions. If it is said that there was a misunderstanding, why did the Soviet Union send Mr. Kuznetsov to talk privately on these matters subsequently? That is a matter which puzzles me very much. I have asked this question in Geneva, but have never yet had a reply to it. So I would say that, although one accepts that there is something behind this, at least it must have been cleared up as early as last Christmas.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick also referred to the question of Mr. Khrushchev's fears of espionage. This is a strange fear. I recognise that it exists, but I do not recognise that there is any justification for it to exist. I very much hope that in the discussions which will be going on later this month between my noble Friend and Mr. Harriman and Mr. Khrushchev it will be possible to expunge this fear from the minds of our Soviet friends. But we have to realise, in all our discussions with the Soviet Union, that this is a basic Russian approach to so many problems. It is not a Communist idea. It is not a Soviet idea. It is a Russian idea. They have been afraid of espionage over the centuries, and that fear still exists as powerfully as ever.
Surely it is a matter of common sense, when considering this peculiar Russian idiosyncrasy, that the Russians have a sense of enormous inferiority in means of delivery and do not wish their bases to be discovered.
I do not think that the hon. Gentleman is quite on the point. We are discussing the question of a nuclear test ban. The question here is whether there should be a small number of inspections—I will not go into the number now. If there is to be an inspection, it has to be on a spot which is located by seismic apparatus.
There would be no freedom of choice of location for the inspectors. They would be flown in aircraft with blinds drawn, flown by Soviet aircrew. They would be accompanied by as many Soviet observers, as the Soviet Government liked to provide. They would be taken to the area they might inspect, but it would only be a relatively small area, and, of course, this could only happen in very few cases. I repeat that there is no justification for the Soviet fear of espionage in these cases. I will come to the other aspect of Russian fears—inspection under a disarmament agreement—in a moment, if I have time. I recognise, as I have said, that the fear exists in this case, but I do not believe that it is justified.
I hope that, in the talks in Moscow later this month, it will be possible to show the Russians that we are willing to accept any reasonable restrictions to enable them to ensure that there is no general espionage in enabling these observers at least to get to the spot concerned and carry out an effective inspection where it is suspected that there may have been nuclear tests. This is vital to the whole problem, and I hope that we can make progress by exposing the unnecessary fears which have been expressed in this regard.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick said that our negotiators must not be inflexible. I agree entirely. For a long time in Geneva, whatever the right hon. Member for Derby, South, may say, we have, in private discussions at least—whatever has been said elewhere—made it clear to the Soviet Union that we are flexible and are willing to be flexible in relation to the modalities of this. But one thing that we must have is sufficient inspections to enable us to have a reasonable degree of cofidence that we can tell that a series of tests has not been carried out. That is what we must have, otherwise there is no point in having a treaty. I emphasise this point in relation to a test ban.
I apologise to the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) for not being here when he spoke, but I have been given full notes of what he said, and I know that he spoke, as always, with very great knowledge of the subject. He touched on the question of numbers. I do not want to go into the numbers tonight. I want to leave the position free for our negotiators.
There will be flexibility in our whole approach to this matter. I would like to leave it at that. As far as nuclear tests are concerned, I would like to leave the position there and turn now to disarmament.
I was appalled at the way in which the right hon. Member for Derby, South dealt with this matter. It seemed an incredibly one-sided approach. As I know that he studies these verbatim reports with great care, I am disappointed that reading them should have led him to this view.
I hope that all right hon. and hon. Members will read these verbatim reports and see how wrong the right hon. Gentleman's approach is. One must not have such a false impression going out from this House.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the main point I should make—it was nice of him to tell me in advance what I should say—was that the first stage of the Russian plan was overloaded. That is true but my main point, in fact, goes back to the agreed principles, which the right hon. Gentleman did not mention.
There was one thing which was not agreed in the agreed principles, and I am sure that the right hon. Member for Derby, South knows it as well as I do. That was on the subject of verification. The Russians said,"You can verify what is destroyed, but not what remains." That was their basic position and that is their basic position today. They have not changed from it by one jot or by one tittle. That is the weakness of the Russian plan and the right hon. Gentleman knows it. This is the falsity of the Russian plan.
The Russians come forward with story after story and with proposal after proposal, but when it is analysed never once are they seen to agree to effective inspection, and that is the thing that matters and it is that in which we must have confidence. After all, last year's events in Cuba left a deep impression on the minds of many of our allies. What was really happening when Mr. Gromyko told Mr. Kennedy that nothing was being done? We must be able to check for ourselves. This is what really matters.
The right hon. Gentleman took one instance of a great concession, as he called it. There are many instances I should like to take. He talked about Mr. Gromyko making a concession at the General Assembly last year when he agreed to the retention of a very limited number of nuclear delivery vehicles until the end of the second stage. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that Mr. Gromyko made a further great concession, saying that we could inspect those nuclear delivery vehicles. What it means is that there would be perhaps 20 nuclear delivery vehicles allowed to be left in the territory of the Soviet Union, and presumably 20 in the United States, and all these could be inspected. But nothing whatever was said about inspecting the rest of the territory of the Soviet Union to see whether there were not 20 more.
This is the point that matters, and although I have probed again and again, as the right hon. Gentleman must know, I have never had a satisfactory answer to that. We must be realists. We want disarmament, but we want genuine disarmament and we want it to be mutilateral, something in which we can trust others and in which we can get them to trust us; and in the world of today we can trust only on the evidence of our eyes. I wish that it were not so. I wish that we could take things merely on people's words, but we cannot.
I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to look through such rose-coloured spectacles at what our Soviet colleagues say. I wish that they would come forward more. I have tried in private discussion, as I have in public debate, with them to get them to concede this vital point, and I have reminded them that this difference between us was known when we went into the disarmament discussions at Geneva. It was known because when the principles were agreed in September, 1961, this one point was outstanding—that the Soviet Union would not allow inspection of remainders whereas we insisted that there must be such inspection.
The West went into this matter very thoroughly and as a result produced what was called the zonal inspection plan. This was the idea that certain zones could be inspected and that as the degree of disarmament went on the number of zones should increase. This would not give totality of inspection, but it was some assurance and it was a big concession by the West. The right hon. Gentleman did not mention it. We have never had any response to it and I have asked the Russians time and time again in Geneva if they did not like it to produce their own solution between the two plans. Never a move have we had. These are the real facts of these negotiations.
The right hon. Gentleman asked why we did not have a separate British initiative. Britain is a member of N.A.T.O. Britain is a full partner in N.A.T.O. and takes a full part with her N.A.T.O. colleagues in armament and in seeking to get disarmament. Is not that a sensible and sound position? Britain has discussions with the United States and with our other N.A.T.O. allies who are members of the Eighteen-Nation Committee. We have regular meetings to thrash out what we can do.
It is a question not of putting forward a British initiative, but of putting forward a Western proposal to try to meet the Russians. This we do and I have sent the right hon. Gentleman a list of the very things that we have tried to do. But it is not easy when, from the other side, we get no move of any real value. The Russians put forward many things which have a propaganda value and I sometimes wonder whether their whole purpose is not propaganda. If it is, I say that they are roundly defeated for, however much wool they have pulled over the eyes of the right hon. Gentleman, they have not pulled the wool over the eyes of the uncommitted nations at the conference. If the right hon. Gentleman asks the delegates of those nations, they will say in private where they think the real trouble lies. That is the most significant thing of all.
I reject absolutely the picture which the right hon. Gentleman has put forward. I tell him that we are desperately anxious to get disarmament, but it must be real and effective disarmament. If the Russians will meet us on the points which really matter, they will find how anxious we are to make progress. I am sorry to have spoken with a little heat on this occasion, but I felt that the right hon. Gentleman should know—