Foreign Affairs

– in the House of Commons am 12:00 am ar 9 Rhagfyr 1948.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Whiteley.]

3.35 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The range of the problems still to be solved as the result of the aftermath of war is so vast and their complexity is so great that one is naturally tempted, in dealing with foreign affairs, to say something touching on all these problems. Many Members have been in communication with me in the hope that I would deal with this or that phase of foreign affairs, but in examining the problem I came to the conclusion that there would not be time and that it would not be conducive to concentration of thought and effort if I followed that course today. I propose, therefore, subject to two exceptions, to concentrate in the main on the problems of Europe and the Western World.

Before I proceed to deal with Europe, there is one matter which I know is occupying the minds of many Members, and about which they will expect me to say something; that is the question of China. This unfortunate country has been striken now for over 40 years with revolution, war and civil war. Communist armies have obtained control over a vast area of Northern China and are now threatening Nanking. No one can forecast at present where these armies will be halted, or how far their influence will extend.

I ought to make clear what our attitude to China has been. It has been governed by the Moscow Declaration of December, 1945, in which the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union declared a policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of China. His Majesty's Government have consistently followed a policy in accordance with that understanding. Inevitably, as a result of the war-time strategy of the Allies and postwar circumstances, the United States Government have been more directly concerned with assistance to China than this country. We have explained to the Chinese Government, whose position we understand, that our financial and economic position precluded us from doing anything very material for China. However, in view of the tremendous upheaval of this civil war we cannot be indifferent to the fate of either our national or our extensive trading interests in China. I can assure the House that we are watching the matter very carefully, and it is our earnest hope that both parties in the conflict will respect British lives and property.

Meanwhile, His Majesty's Embassy at Nanking and the consulates in China are remaining at their posts and carrying out their tasks. Some weeks ago we suggested that British subjects who had no particular purpose for remaining in the area of conflict should consider the advisability of leaving, and some of them have taken this advice; but, in general, it appears that British subjects who have business interests in China are remaining at their posts. I am sure the House will join with me in paying tribute to the steadfast manner in which the British communities in China, together with our diplomatic and consular staffs, are facing the difficult situation which is now confronting them.

No one can foresee what the outcome of the present world struggle will be, but it must be the hope of the whole world that peace may soon be restored and the patient, long-suffering Chinese people, who are the victims of all these conflicts, may at last have the opportunity of restoring their shattered economy and be free from the ravages of civil and external wars [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear those "Hear, hears," I hope they will be passed on to the right quarter and that this will assist in stopping this conflict. As far as His Majesty's Government are concerned, if peace is restored and reconstruction is initiated, we shall do our best to assist in whatever way we can.

The other matter I wish to refer to is the question of the United Nations General Assembly. The proceedings are not yet concluded. They will conclude shortly, but it will be observed that the United Nations have been sitting since 21st September. They have been unable to complete the agenda, and it has been decided to continue the present Session in New York next April. Many problems have been faced, and if hon. Members want to raise points in the Debate my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary will deal with them at the close in his reply. I do not, therefore, propose to go through the agenda or the discussions, especially as in some very important cases I understand that votes are now taking place, and until I get the final information as to the decisions I cannot very well discuss them.

Therefore, as I indicated in my opening remarks, I turn to Europe. The broad objectives of the foreign policy of His Majesty's Government were set out in the speech I delivered to the House on 22nd January. I also explained in a speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations on 27th September our general approach to these world problems. Our policy has remained constant. For the past year we have been building as rapidly as possible a solid structure for Europe. I must make it clear, therefore, that I have no new policy to announce today. What I hope to do is to give the House a progress report on the results of the policy we had to adopt owing to the failure of the Four-Power arrangements in November of last year on policy which I reviewed in my address to the House on 22nd January.

One of the burning questions associated with this policy is, of course, Berlin. I need not tell the House that the blockade still continues. The failure of the three Western Powers to reach agreement with the Soviet Union caused us after the most careful consideration to refer the matter to the Security Council of the United Nations. This was done in conformity with our obligations under the Charter. When governments cannot settle a difference they should, under these obligations, refer the matter to the United Nations. That we have done, and I hope to make it clear that this procedure does not only apply to a quarrel between two small nations or a big nation with a small one; it applies to big nations themselves in the case of disagreement. We followed the consistent course of using the machinery of the United Nations.

After protracted discussion the President of the Security Council drafted a resolution designed to meet the requirements of both parties. That resolution involved the raising of the blockade and the steps to be taken immediately thereafter to introduce a single currency in Berlin under Four-Power control. The resolution was accepted by six "neutral" Powers and by the three Western Powers, but, as the House knows, it was vetoed by Soviet Russia. However, Dr. Bramuglia, before relinquishing the Presidency of the Security Council, continued his efforts to try to solve the deadlock, and recently proposed that a Committee of seven financial and economic experts nominated by the six "neutral" members of the Security Council and by the Secretary-General of the United Nations should meet in Paris. These persons are not parties to the dispute.

They have been given the very important task of recommending to the President of the Security Council by 30th December the most equitable conditions for agreement amongst the occupying Powers relating to the introduction, circulation and continued use of a single currency for Berlin under adequate Four-Power supervision. They have also to deal with the question of import and export regulations in connection with the external trade of Berlin. An additional requirement was that they must take into account the Moscow directive of 30th August. But they must also take into consideration the events that have taken place in Berlin since that day, which may affect the operation of any recommendations they may make.

These studies are now proceeding. They are being carried out in close technical association with the experts of the Four Powers to the dispute. The recommendations must be agreed between the Four Powers and with the experts of the Four Powers. If they do not reach decisions in conformity with the views of the technicians of the Four Powers, the Committee are asked to submit a detailed report of the proposal and of the disagreements to the President of the Security Council.

The three Western Powers considered this proposal, and they have agreed to accept it. The Soviet Government have intimated that they are prepared to co-operate with the Committee, and that is how far we have got up to the moment. I should like to take this opportunity of paying tribute to the unceasing effort for peace which has been made in this matter by Dr. Bramuglia and his neutral colleagues on the Security Council.

At the same time it is necessary to point out to the House that the prospect of a satisfactory outcome has been seriously prejudiced by the actions of the Soviet authorities in Berlin in recent months. They have, in effect, split the city and prevented the legally elected city authorities from functioning throughout the city. Since June, and more particularly since October when the problem of Berlin was referred to the Security Council, the Soviet authorities have taken successive steps to destroy the unified administration of Berlin. The process culminated on 30th November in the establishment of a self-appointed city council with Soviet support, which asserted that it had authority over the whole of Berlin. Meanwhile, the constitutionally elected City Council continues to function in the Western zones. It must be clear to the House that the administrative division of the city will make it technically and psychologically much more difficult to devise a satisfactory scheme for the introduction of a single currency in Berlin, but our policy has not been changed.

We still hold to the position that if the blockade is withdrawn we are prepared for the introduction of a single currency provided that a satisfactory scheme can be worked out. We are seeking to get a straightforward understandable arrangement which cannot be used to prejudice the interests and rights of any of the occupying Powers in Berlin or in the zones, and, in addition, if and when this is done, we have agreed with the Security Council, and indeed we agreed in Moscow, that we are ready for the Four Powers to meet to discuss the problems of Germany as a whole if it is so desired.

The latest development in Berlin has, of course, been the elections to the City Council. These elections should have been held in October. When they were held, they were overdue. The provision in the constitution which was approved by the four occupying Powers was quite clear, not only as to when they should take place, but how they should take place. We took the view that, notwithstanding the difficulties between the four occupying Powers, there was no reason at all why the City Council should not be allowed to hold its elections and carry on its business normally. However, the Soviet authorities do not like these elections, and they have done their best to stop them. Apparently elections are disliked by lots of people, but in the Soviet view they can always be held if they are held in a certain form and with a certain objective.

The Western Powers decided that the elections should be free and that everybody should have the right to vote and to express themselves of their own free will. We endeavoured to carry that out. Therefore, we saw no valid objection for postponement——

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Surely, no reason for postponement?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I beg your pardon—no valid reason for postponement, more especially as the Soviet had been responsible for breaking up the Kommandatura and destroying the Four-Power machinery in Berlin step by step, and had thus made it plain that nothing we could do would alter the course they had made up their minds to follow. We therefore decided, when the matter was brought before us by the City Council, not to intervene but to allow it to take its course. It is well known that the Communists boycotted the election. There was a lot of propaganda and intimidation before the elections took place, but in spite of it there was a very strong poll—86.3 per cent.——

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

There was no interference on the part of the Western Powers. We have never had time to create a Tammany, and we do not know how to do it. We decided to give every protection and to extend every facility so that all the people could vote without intimidation or interference. The Western Powers, can, I think, rightly claim that the results of the elections reflect the views of the population of Berlin, a population which has had recent and direct experience of each of the four occupying Powers. Proper significance should be attached to the result of their vote.

In the meantime, the air lift continues. It is a great accomplishment. We learn that it is to be stepped up with more planes from the United States of America. There have been difficulties with fog. Yesterday I received some figures to show that on a clear day more than 6,000 tons were carried into Berlin, which I thought was remarkably good. Whatever the cost to the Western Powers, we must maintain our position and ensure that the methods which have been used by the Soviet Government in connection with Berlin do not succeed. A solution of the problem may take time, but I am quite sure that once it is accepted by both sides that these problems should be settled by reason and not by force, whether in the form of blockade, civil strife or usurping the functions of government or in any other form, there will be a hope of a settlement between the four great Powers. However, I think we have to establish that principle by our action. Berlin is far more significant to the world than most people realise, and so are the steps that we take to feed it and keep it occupied.

In the Western Zones of Germany considerable progress has been made. I am glad to say that since I last reported to the House on currency reform, there has been a marked improvement in the general development and output of industry and that conditions are improving daily. Steel output—I am always nervous of mentioning steel in this House—in Germany will, I understand, soon be running at the rate of about seven million tons a year, whereas some time ago it was well under four million tons. That is a great improvement. Coal production has reached about 325,000 tons a day. The output of manufactures in various directions has improved.

On the political side, the discussions regarding a provisional constitution for Western Germany which are now taking place at Bonn, are proceeding satisfactorily. The Germans call it "The Basic Law" rather than "the constitution" because they do not want to create the idea that they are splitting Germany, and that is quite correct. The provisional constitution is nearly completed. The Military governors have laid down for the guidance of the Germans certain agreed broad principles to observe, the fundamental point being that the outcome of their discussions should ensure the establishment of a decentralised and federal organisation. This provisional constitution in Germany is not a final one, and it is not designed to set the seal on a permanent division of Germany, but it is so constructed that, with suitable amendment at any time, the rest of Germany may be associated with it.

Naturally we have taken into account the painful experience that Germany went through between the two wars, and provision is being made to try to avoid a recurrence. We have also made great progress in drawing up an occupation statute which will define the powers reserved to the occupying authorities when the West German Government is set up, and will indicate the basis of the future relations between the occupying authorities and the federal and Länder Governments. I regard this as vitally important. The decision for unconditional surrender in Germany left a terrible vacuum in dealing with that country. I was a party to it; I do not complain about it. But the situation that was left in the zone as a result of unconditional surrender, left rather a difficult and serious situation.

This occupation statute, which ultimately will be woven into the constitution and made to fit, will lay down quite clearly the obligations of the Germans and the limitations on the occupying powers. On the other hand, it will, when agreed, make the situation much clearer for the Germans and allow them to develop. I mention this because it is a fact which I shall refer to later in my statement about Western Europe. If the Germans are to play their part, it is essential to get this part of the business cleared up. Our plan, therefore, is to complete this basic law and the occupation statute at the same time, after which the two will be dovetailed together.

The way will then be clear for the ratification of the provisional constitution by the Germans, and the establishment in due course of governmental institutions for Western Germany. I know from the criticism levelled at me in previous Debates about a year or more ago by a good many persons, that they thought we were not moving fast enough in dealing with this problem of Western Germany, but I assure the House that it has not been a very easy matter to overcome. It is our desire, therefore, to press on with this procedure as fast as possible, but we must try to lay the foundations on a sound basis, if we are to see the realisation of our aim, which is the establishment of a peaceful and democratic Germany.

Another problem which has caused a good deal of public agitation recently is the question of the Ruhr. I know that hon. Members of the House and the public outside are very concerned as to what is to happen with regard to the Ruhr, but I think it is as well to remind the House of what has happened since the close of the war. For nearly two years the United Kingdom was exclusively responsible for the administration and rehabilitation of the Ruhr, and this imposed an enormous burden upon the taxpayers of this country. The devastation which has resulted from it, the problems of feeding, and raw materials, and all the other problems involved in getting it going imposed a tremendous liability upon us.

Our handling of the Ruhr has given us a good knowledge of the problem, but we were handicapped earlier—from 1945, 1946 and onwards—in putting forward solutions. We were always uncertain as to what the future status of the Ruhr and its industries would be. I would remind the House that in the first instance we were confronted with a proposal by our French friends that the Ruhr should be detached from Germany altogether; it should be set up as a separate state under international control. It may be a short term solution, or it may not. We took the view that this might lead to German irredentism again, that it would not be a lasting solution, and that it would create a very serious problem in Western Europe which would jeopardise what was our main aim, namely, the solidarity of the whole of Western Europe.

We therefore had to examine it in the light of this aim. We have been conscious the whole time that if ever Western Union is to be consolidated, either in a regional arrangement or in some other form, then Germany must play a part and, in the end, it must be an equal part. We could not see, therefore, how the detachment of the Ruhr would assist towards ending the long struggle that had gone on between Germany and the Western Powers.

Then there came a further suggestion from France, which is still being pursued, that the Ruhr industries, if not the Ruhr itself, should be internationally owned. I must confess that I gave a lot of thought to that problem in the early days in which I occupied this office, but it raised very many and difficult complexities. We have taken the view that the first essential in regard to the Ruhr is to safeguard European security and to ensure that the Ruhr is not allowed again to endanger the security of the West. We therefore separated the two aspects of this question. In the problem of European recovery, Germany is taken, as I say, as an equal partner in Western Europe; as regards security, the question of control is absolutely vital.

We believe, however, that if we attempted to impose international ownership on the Ruhr industries, it would lead to endless friction, it would depress production, and would make German co-operation in the great work of European reconstruction difficult if not impossible. We were convinced after long study that it would not bring peace. We had to try to restore a decent standard of living for Germany and to ensure that Germany contributes her proper share to European recovery. This question of a standard of living for the people of the Ruhr is very vital from the point of view of competition. I do not want to take any part at all in the theory that our policy should be directed from a competitive point of view, but if the competitive point of view is not to be accentuated then the standard of life in that area must not be allowed to be much lower than the rest of the European countries.

We were agreed that the Ruhr industries must not go back to the Nazi syndicates and that the people who had used them or allowed them to be used for war purposes——

Photo of Mr Benn Levy Mr Benn Levy , Eton and Slough

Or to their relations.

Mr. Bevis:

Or to their relations. We thought the best way to safeguard against that was public ownership and to that principle we have stood and still stand. But the other Powers concerned did not agree to that.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

All four Powers, as I have explained to hon. Members before, agreed that this should be settled by the Germans themselves. That view was supported by Mr. Molotov, Mr. Bidault and Mr. Marshall. It is one thing they have been absolutely unanimous about. What could I do but agree in the face of that formidable unanimity?

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Would you not fight for your own beliefs?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

On the other hand, there is grave concern in the Ruhr because this problem is not settled. If production is to be increased we cannot leave this question of ownership much longer. The workmen in the Ruhr are as keen on a settlement as we are and they dread as much as we do its going back to the Krupps or to their families or to anyone who would land them in war again. The state of uncertainty which has existed there is depressing the morale of the worker. In the end, in order to get on with the work, we agreed to what has been called the Trusteeship Agreement. If the House will bear with me I will quote from that Agreement: Whereas it is the policy of the Military Government to decentralise the German economy for the purpose of eliminating excessive concentrations of economic power and preventing the development of war potential; and whereas the Military Government has decided that the question of the eventual ownership of the coal and iron and steel industries should be left to the determination of a representative, freely elected German Government, and whereas the Military Government has decided that it will not allow the restoration of a pattern of ownership in these industries which would constitute excessive concentrations of economic power and will not permit the return to positions of ownership and control of persons who have been found, or may be found, to have the aggressive designs of the Nazi party …". It seemed to us that a basis of agreement was there and that we could leave it to the Germans to settle it by their elections. If I know them at all, I think it will be discovered that they will follow the very wise policy of hon. Members behind me and nationalise these industries when they get the opportunity. We stand by it now, just as we did in the original conception. I ought to make it clear that all this is done without prejudice, of course, to the right of the French Government or of any other Government to put forward at the Peace Conference any views they may hold about Germany in general and the Ruhr in particular.

I want, however, to answer a criticism that has been made of us, not by the French Government, I am glad to say, but which has occupied a good deal of the Press here, that the Trusteeship scheme was sprung on the French Government without notice. That is not correct. On this I need only say that details of the Anglo-American proposals were communicated to the French Military Governor and also to the representatives of the Benelux countries at the end of August. There were discussions on the subject between the Military Governors.

On 14th October the French Ambassador in London left a note at the Foreign Office taking exception to the proposed settlement. This was followed by a further note on 20th October in which the French Government expressly reserved their position. After very careful consideration and consultation with the United States Government, His Majesty's Government replied on 4th November that they did not feel able to make any change in this policy, upon which they and the United States had decided. The law was accordingly promulgated on 10th November. There was no attempt, therefore, on our part to ignore the French, and I want to make that quite clear.

With regard to security I should like to make it clear that there is no difference between us. France has the right—so have we and all other neighbours of Germany—to be assured that the vast resources of the Ruhr shall not again be used for purposes of aggression. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] What we have to do is to make sure of complete security in a way which will permit and encourage Germany, without loss of self-respect, to play a proper part in the economic reconstruction of Europe.

We are trying to meet France in this regard. As the House knows, we have invited the French Government and their representatives to join the coal and steel control groups, even though these matters are a purely Anglo-American responsibility. If France had merged its zone with the two other zones and made it a trizone earlier, they would have been in on all this, but the financial responsibility of the whole business has rested on Britain and the United States. However, in spite of the fact that the trizonal negotiations have not yet been completed we have invited the French in on the control groups.

The establishment of a Ruhr authority was agreed in principle at the London conference earlier this year and, at present, its actual functions are being discussed. We are giving very sympathetic attention to the French proposal that the Ruhr authority should have certain supervisory powers in regard to production, i.e. what is sometimes termed the International Control of Management. But I do not want to land the Ruhr industries into a position which produces a hostility like that aroused by the Ruhr occupation at the end of the last war, which sets back the opportunity to bring together these people on wider grounds and, I think, on better terms. I recognise the French susceptibilities. I will try to meet them in all the discussions. But I hope that our friends in France will realise that the one chance which has now come to try to bring the people together ought not to be lost.

Finally, we have completed the arrangements for setting up a Military Security Board, which was also agreed upon in principle at the London conference last summer. This is a subject which, I think, has not had the public attention it should have. It deserves more thought. We put this forward, regarding it as very vital from the point of view of security. We have to look forward to the time when the period of Military Government is finished. We have to create an organisation upon which we can rely for the prevention of German rearmament, and I include, of course, industrial rearmament. If we can get the Security Board established on a proper footing, with all the requisite powers of inspection and enforcement, we shall have created the essential condition of European security in regard to Germany. On the other hand—and I emphasise this—insofar as her industries are used for peaceful purposes, we want to ensure that Germany is given the chance to develop her own economy and to contribute to European recovery. Our object has been by these various means to establish the proper balance between the economic considerations and security, which preoccupies France in the approach to all these problems. We shall try to maintain that balance.

I think I have dealt with the points on Germany to which hon. Members indicated they wanted me to refer. The next problem is that of Austria——

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Will the right hon. Gentleman say a word about the dismantling of the Ruhr industries?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The dismantling problem is still under discussion with the United States. The French are very concerned about the dismantling problem, as I have pointed out to the House from time to time; and their fears enter in here too. The question of reparations is a vexed one. I regret that it has taken so long to deal with this problem and that the disputes and disagreements have held us up. When we dealt with it in the Coalition Government, as some hon. Members opposite will remember, it was our idea that whatever we did in this field we should accomplish in about two years and finish with it. But there have been so many disagreements. I do not admit blame on this, but I am anxious that we should get agreement and that it should be final. Now this question has become mixed up to some extent with European recovery. It is also connected with security, and we who are responsible for the administration of our zone are torn by fears over these security problems on the French side and the European recovery cost on the American side. I have met Mr. Hoffman this week. I have gone through the list again and hope to be able very soon to report to the Cabinet a final settlement of this problem so that the Germans and everyone will know where they are.

We have received a communication from the Austrian Government asking us to take up negotiations again for a Treaty. They have addressed that Note to the four Governments, and His Majesty's Government for their part have readily agreed. Austria ought not to be left as she is at the moment; it is unfair to her. May I pay her this compliment. I went into this very fully only yesterday with our representatives from Austria. Her people are working hard; her economy is very good under the circumstances and she is trying to do a great job under most difficult circumstances. I think it only fair that the four great Powers should try to settle the matter and get our troops out and allow her her freedom, in accordance with the solemn understanding reached in Moscow in 1943. On that basis we stood all the time in continuing to try to get this Treaty. I cannot help feeling that, whatever great difficulties the four great Powers may have between themselves, it is rather bad form to visit these quarrels on smaller Powers and innocent people. It is better for us to try to settle our problems than to be holding people in this position.

In connection with Western Union, about which there is a great deal of concern, I ought first to refer to the European Recovery Programme, for one of the biggest contributions to Western Union is the Marshall Aid Plan and the co-operation of the 18 countries under O.E.E.C. I hope I shall not be taken wrong by the United States when I say that they are great exponents of free enterprise in America, but wonderful planners outside.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

With us it is the other way round.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

We believe in planning our own home first, and I think rightly so. I have no doubt that the experience the Americans are gaining abroad will ultimately reflect itself at home. The effort which is being made by these countries to work out this long-term programme is an extraordinary thing. Anyone who knows anything about the diversity of the economies of these countries and who has had to negotiate with them in the past, must realise how difficult it is to bring together one programme for all of them. It is quite understandable that at the moment they have not all agreed on a joint programme and therefore individual programmes are being put in. Anyone who has had to deal with Government Departments in his own country knows that reconciling differences is some job. When it is a question of harmonising the claims of all the countries involved, especially when dollars are involved, one can quite understand the divergence of opinion. But I am satisfied that, with the goodwill that exists, if patience is exercised Western Europe will in the end get a common long-term plan worked out. Once that has been achieved, the experience of it will be such that it will turn out to be one of the biggest contributions to the solidarity of the West in the economic field.

One difficulty which has arisen in this matter is our trade with our friends the French. I see that a good deal is said to the effect that Britain is dragging her feet, that we have too great an austerity programme, that we are not buying from the French all that we ought to buy, and therefore not helping all that we might. The fact is that there was a luxury market in this country in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The French must appreciate that that luxury market has gone. It is no use trying to hang on to something which one cannot have in any event. Britain, with her new needs, and with her greater equality of income, will for a long time be a necessity market. I, therefore, appeal to my friends in France to shape their economy to meet a necessity market, rather than a nonessential one. Later, after Labour has won the next election and things have improved, incomes may go up. Probably universal purchasing power——

Photo of Professor Douglas Savory Professor Douglas Savory , Queen's University of Belfast

Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not call books a luxury? Do let us have some French books.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

If the hon. Member only knew what was going through my wicked mind.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

These interjections are a little unfair; they strike one too humorously. The necessity market must be catered for, and if that is done, I think that we can arrive at a solution of this problem.

One other thing in connection with Western Union is that we cannot settle this problem with resolutions, whoever they are carried by, or however diversified they may be. One of the fundamental things which we have to get right in all the countries of Western Europe is financial stability. If we can get financial stability and a proper economic plan for Western Europe—we must have such a plan if we are to have harmonisation at all——

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

The right hon. Gentleman cannot get it.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

—I think we can make great progress. The Council of the O.E.E.C. will be meeting, and further meetings will be held. I am sure that by discussion and examination we shall be able to arrive at agreement and take a great step forward.

I now turn to the political side. I may at this stage remind you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, of the speech I made on 22nd January, when the policy in connection with Western Union was announced. I emphasised then that we were not concerned with a geographical conception of Europe alone, but that we had to look further afield. I went on to speak of the need for the closest possible collaboration with the Commonwealth and the overseas territories of the European Powers. I also pointed out that the United States and the countries of Latin America are clearly as much a part of our common Western civilisation as the nations of the British Commonwealth.

The powers and resources of the United States, indeed I would say the powers and resources of all the countries on the Continent of America, will be needed if we are to create a solid, stable and healthy world. It is in this order of ideas that the Government have been energetically striving during the past year to advance the cause of Western Union. The response throughout the Western world has been gratifying. While the task we set ourselves is as yet far from complete, I think we can look back upon solid progress.

First, the co-operation of the Brussels Powers has been developed. It has been achieved during the nine months in every field through constant meetings of the Consultative Council, Finance Ministers, Defence Ministers and, at the official level, of the Permanent Commission, the military committees and committees on social and cultural affairs. The determination of the Brussels Powers to defend themselves has been reflected in the agreement of the Defends Ministers of 18th September on a common Defence policy and the establishment of a common command and a permanent organisation to deal with the problems of equipment and supply. I regard that as absolutely fundamental for the achievement of success in Western Union.

Secondly, in accordance with the development of this idea of regional understanding and collective security, we have had extensive discussions between the Five Powers. In the end we agreed to inform the United States Government that we are in favour of the principle of a North Atlantic Pact. Since I last addressed the House in September, much preparatory work has been done on this project, and will, I hope, come to fruition very shortly. The House will have seen from the Press this morning that talks are expected to begin in Washington in the next few days.

If we reach a successful conclusion, as I have every confidence in believing we shall, such a Pact will give a wide and important area of the world an opportunity of entering into a system of collective security. What is more important it will give confidence, particularly to the Western European Powers, and I know of nothing which will give us a chance to proceed to end the age-long struggle between Germany and France and provide a guarantee of confidence in France to the future so much as this Atlantic Pact. It will help us to surmount an enormous number of difficulties which we are trying to surmount.

But I wish to submit to the House a further consideration in this matter, which is vital. All these instruments which unfortunately have to be provided to defend ourselves today are tremendously costly. To try to maintain an adequate Navy, Air Force and Army is almost too big a burden for any one country to carry by itself, that is if it is to stand by itself. Once we can, in the West, get this basis of collective security with the United States and Canada and the Western Powers, and others if they will come in, it should be possible to work out a rationalised system of defence so that while we assure our collective defence we shall not be draining off too much manpower from our economic resources and the development of our economic requirements.

I make this prophecy; I am quite certain that before many years have passed it will be found—it will not be done by me but it will be found—that the defence Ministers and the finance Ministers of the Western world particularly will be sitting down together discussing a common budget and a common task and a common method of defence in order that they may protect themselves and carry it upon the resources of their own countries. It will be inevitable and it will come.

Thirdly, we are in favour of extending the principle of the Western system in Europe. I said on 22nd January: Our formal relations with the various countries may differ but between all there should be an effective understanding bound together by common ideals for which the Western Powers have twice in one generation shed their blood."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd January, 1948; Vol. 446, c. 397.] With this end in view the Government proposed at the meeting in Paris last October of the consultative council of the Brussels Treaty that there should be a European Council of Ministers meeting at regular intervals to provide a forum for dealing with the problems that are common to them. The French and Belgian Governments proposed the creation of a European Assembly without executive power. It is necessary I think at this point to remind the House of the decision which the consultative council took.

This Committee had terms of reference and I gather there has been a good deal of misunderstanding about them. They were: To consider and report to Governments on the steps to be taken towards securing a greater measure of unity between European countries and: to take into consideration all suggestions, including the Franco-Belgium suggestion for a Consultative Assembly and the British suggestion for a 'Council of Europe' consisting of ministers of the various States concerned, and any other suggestions which may be advanced by Governments or private organisations. This Committee is exploratory. It is fact-finding. It is endeavouring to find out what is in everybody's mind. It was decided at the Consultative Council that the Committee's report should come before them at the next meeting. It is at this stage that the Governments will have to make their decisions as to what is the best form in which to develop this organisation.

The Committee is now at work. It is really a working party. I have seen criticisms of the personnel we appointed on it but they are people with experience. It is led by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and I know that they are all working very hard. [Interruption.] Let me say this. If the Prime Minister of this country takes a member into his Cabinet he takes him into his Cabinet to do the jobs that that Cabinet needs to do.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

And to keep him quiet.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

We could not keep him quiet. But he will deal with that statement when the time comes. I have served in one previous Government. I never questioned the man who was to be working alongside me in that Government, and I am not going to question the Prime Minister's decision in this Government. If a man is working alongside me, I am going to work along with him.

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

And he wants to have the right hon. Gentleman's job.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

If he has my job, he will have my headaches as well as his own.

I have seen a suggestion in "The Times" this morning—I have a great respect for "The Times"—that if there is great pressure for a European Assembly this Government should without further consideration, bow before such pressure, but endeavour to see that such an Assembly should be as little harmful as possible. That is not the way to grapple with this business. Whatever we do, we must not disappoint the people of Western Europe. To set up a mere facade, a platform, and know that it can do nothing and to stop at that, will lead to another disappointment. I shall consider any advice that may be given before I consider what advice to tender to my colleagues, but I do not want to disappoint the people of Western Europe. What I want to do is to build constructively, to build things that will last. We have done that in the last 12 months. Step by step we have been advancing.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

There are two considerations to bear in mind. The Brussels Pact deals with defence. The Western Union may have to deal with problems which will not involve defence. Certain countries may come into the Western Union but not come into the defence pact. Therefore, at a suitable stage, we must consult Scandinavia, we must consult Italy and these other Powers around and see what is necessary—[HON. MEMBERS: "Spain."]—Spain would be easy if only Franco would disappear—if the thing is to be worked out constructively. I am against using any promises or facades to lead people to believe that they have something which, when the test comes, does not work. I will not comment on another international institution about the effectiveness of which all of us at the moment are gravely concerned. One other point—[Interruption.] Well, the United Nations is giving us grave concern as to whether it is going to face the serious problems involved.

There is one other thing I must mention in this connection. We have had a Commonwealth Conference and have entered into a great deal of consultation about co-operation, defence and all kinds of measures. We cannot recklessly assume undertakings in connection with Europe without carrying with us the Commonwealth in complete understanding. Because in the end it is the combination of Western Union with those great countries of the Commonwealth which, as I said in a previous speech, is bound to be the stabilising influence in the world.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

In the speech the right hon. Gentleman made a few weeks ago, during the short Session, there was a question of the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth not having met. Now that they have met, can he give us any information as to whether, in general, they are in agreement with the developments in Western Europe?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I think that the hon. Member had better wait for the report of the Prime Minister on the Conference. I had better not be drawn into that. That is not an excuse, but I cannot be diverted. The question put to me is a matter relating to Commonwealth countries. I am reminded that the communiqué we issued contained a reference to this matter, and, so far as I know, on the question of Western Union there was complete understanding, but not as to a European Assembly. I must not commit them to that, or the form it would take. But as regards the main principle, namely co-operation with Western Union, there was complete understanding. That is what I meant. I misunderstood the question which the hon. Member put.

Therefore, looking back over the period since the first appropriation was voted for European recovery up to now, there are many signs of encouragement. There was a threat to upset the whole economy of France, but the French attitude is undergoing great change. Hon. Members will have noticed the recent speech of Mr. Schumann, who combines the defence of vital French interests with a great outlook on Europe as a whole. He declared that the security of Europe cannot be the responsibility of one country, however powerful. Europe must be a common achievement in which Germany must find a place, first of all economically and then politically. The stage has not been reached when we can do the things we want to do politically, but we can do an enormous lot in the political field. Discussions have gone on in the Italian Parliament during which the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister both made statements in which they identified Italy with the cause of Western democracy. We welcome these statements and we look forward to an early association of Italy in this work.

I do not think anyone can deny that there is a growing spirit of European solidarity. It is reflected in the great interest in the discussions that are going on. We welcome that. The only thing I would say is that we may have to build a little slower, for we have to build methodically. We must refuse to be stampeded into unpractical if attractive expedients, but we shall give way to none in our desire to achieve the ultimate objective. I venture to suggest that His Majesty's Government have during the last year done more than anyone to promote European collaboration and effort in the economic field, and greater understanding in the political field. At the same time—and this is so vital—we have carried with us other people both in the Commonwealth and in other countries and this, as the votes in the U.N. at Paris have shown recently, is beginning to create a situation in which not only is the outlook of the Western democracies becoming predominant but also their solidarity is growing and they are on the way towards attaining their security and final triumph.

Photo of Mr Philip Piratin Mr Philip Piratin , Stepney Mile End

Before the Minister sits down would he say a few words on——

Photo of Mr Philip Piratin Mr Philip Piratin , Stepney Mile End

On a point of Order, Is it not customary for the right hon. Gentleman to give way?

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

I called upon the next speaker.

Hon. Members:

Sit down.

Photo of Mr Philip Piratin Mr Philip Piratin , Stepney Mile End

Who is going to make me sit down? Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I was on my feet before the Foreign Secretary sat down. I am not disputing your judgment or your vision as to whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) competed with me in being on his feet first. I was on my feet before the Foreign Secretary sat down. May I ask for the privilege of asking him a question?

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

No. That is not a point of Order, either.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

On a point of Order. Is it not recognised in the House as a common courtesy, of which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition takes full advantage, that if anyone desires to ask a question of a speaker before he sits down, he is given the opportunity?

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

It may be a courtesy, but it is not a point of Order.

4.53 p.m.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of his survey, remarked that our international problems are indeed vast. They certainly are. They are about as vast at present as the circumference of the earth. I will not attempt to follow the right hon. Gentleman in the survey he gave, but I think I might, for the convenience of the House, mention the subjects with which I want to deal. First, I want to say something about Western Europe, particularly in relation to Germany and the Ruhr and the French position. Then I want to make some reference to the problem of Italy and her colonies, in respect of which I have a suggestion to offer to the right hon. Gentleman. Finally, I must also make some comment upon the very serious position in Palestine. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman probably felt, or may have felt, that as the Assembly was handling this matter today, he did not wish to speak about it. Nevertheless, we on these benches feel it to be so urgent that there are certain comments which should be made today.

What did the right hon. Gentleman tell us? He let fall a reference, which may not have been intended, that there was to be some further report by the Prime Minister about the meeting of Dominion Prime Ministers. I must say that I hope that there will be, because all we have had so far—I do not know whether or not the right hon. Gentleman was here—is the issue of a brief commentary from No. 10, Downing Street, and very little elucidation at all of the information that further exchanges were taking place with the Dominions after which we might be told something more. Therefore, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman's remark, whether chance or not, will result in our being given more information on this subject as soon as possible.

The right hon. Gentleman made certain observations about the Ruhr. First, he turned down two possible ways of handling the situation. He turned down the separation of the Ruhr from Germany and he also ruled out international ownership of the industries in the Ruhr. I am not concerned at the moment to argue either of those possible solutions or to advocate them. There is a third solution with which he did not seem to me to deal at any great length and which I hope may be dealt with in this Debate.

I refer to international control. The only observation the right hon. Gentleman made about that, unless I misunderstood him, was to say that he did not like the idea because it resembled too much the state of affairs when the Ruhr was occupied in 1924. He did not give the date, but referred to the Ruhr occupation. Personally, I can see no parallel at all between the two. International control of industries bears no relation to the French troops marching into the Ruhr at that date. I should like to have some much fuller information why that form of solution is to be ruled out. It is one which I, personally, have favoured for some time. I know that it is difficult of application, but I believe that its examination should be proceeded with.

I would only like to say about dismantling that I endorse what the right hon. Gentleman said about the original plan which was carefully worked out by a Cabinet Committee under the instructions of my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) with the intention at that time that the whole business should be finished in two years at the outside. I think it is lamentable—I do not blame His Majesty's Government for it—that there should have been this interminable delay which has raised this issue into a major international problem, which it ought never to have been.

The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that among the solutions for the Ruhr, in respect of security, was a measure of nationalisation of the industries. I really cannot see how nationalisation, whether it be a good thing or not in itself—and that is a matter which we have discussed very freely during the right hon. Gentleman's absence, as he may have heard—has any relevance to the problem of security. If, for instance, the German industries had been nationalised at the time Hitler came into power, I do not see that the restraint upon him would have been any greater than it turned out to be in the circumstances. While I am all in favour of our canvassing these matters ourselves, I hope that we shall not have the illusion that our particular domestic solution proffers any international security——

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Plymouth, Devonport

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that if the industries had been nationalised beforehand in Germany—if the industries under the Weimar Republic had been in the ownership of that Republic—at any rate there would have been a better possibility of preventing the contribution of funds by the industrialists who owned the industries in the Ruhr to Hitler, thus enabling him to improve his chances of getting into power?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I thought the hon. Gentleman might make that observation. I wonder whether he really feels that would have made the slightest difference to the arrival in power of Hitler. Look at the position of Central Europe, Czechoslovakia and France. If there was one very disappointing failure in Germany at that time it was the complete failure, as we all know, of the Social Democratic Party and the trade unions to offer any kind of resistance to Hitler at all.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Plymouth, Devonport

The right hon. Gentleman asked me whether I thought it would make the slightest difference. He may not appreciate my opinion on the matter, but it is certainly the opinion of all the democratic parties, or most of them, in Germany at present. It is certainly the opinion of all those people who have gone into the elections in Berlin, which have been acclaimed on both sides of the House. It is certainly the opinion of those who voted for the Social Democrats in Berlin, who insist upon this point as being one of paramount importance. Surely the right hon. Gentleman might pay some attention to their opinion, if not to mine.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I also pay attention to the opinion of the Christian Democrats. One has to pay attention to both points of view, to those who do believe in nationalisation and those who do not, but I am not convinced that, after a period in which we have watched the complete failure of a party to resist the arrival of Hitler, we can be satisfied about them. What I do say—and I hope I carry with me hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House—is that we should be most unwise to rely for our security merely on the fact of industries in Germany being nationalised or not. It might be an element but, at the most, it is a very small element, in the situation.

I failed in my opening remarks in my duty to the House to tell the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary how much we welcome him back and how much we hope that he benefited by his holiday at the seaside.

I want to make some further observations on the German situation. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman gave us a full explanation of the handling of this problem of the future ownership of the Ruhr, but there are still some points which I think ought to be cleared up. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the French Government had made no criticism. If he says that, I accept it to be true, but the French Ministers must be about the only living Frenchmen who did not seem to criticise, because seldom have I seen so much unanimity of French opinion, from Communists to extreme Right, as there is on this matter. I do feel that the handling of it, to put it mildly, was not happy, and I cannot think that the right hon. Gentleman or the American Government can really have been surprised at the strength of French reaction. After all, both Governments knew that the French Government had made repeated reservations about this subject. They made them in June at the Six Power Conference, and they made them again, as the right hon. Gentleman has told us, as recently as 14th October, when they left a note taking exception to the transfer of ownership just three weeks before the Anglo-American announcement. It seems to me extraordinary that, after this, our two Governments should have made this sudden announcement without making any further efforts to reach agreement with the French Government themselves.

If we are to have Western Union, it is surely desirable first to get union before we state our position about the territory of an ex-enemy country? In that connection, happily, there is in France today, so far as one can judge opinion there, a growing volume of opinion which really wants to work with Germany and wants to try to settle, once and for all, this age-long quarrel. It is not going to help that opinion in France very much, though the right hon. Gentleman may be quite right on the technical position, if we even appear to be handling cavalierly, issues upon which the whole of French opinion is virtually united in feeling deeply. If we are going to have Western Union, it is no use trying to get over the difficulties by simply pretending that they are not there. We all know that this is probably the most difficult problem that confronts us, but the French only accepted recommendations about interim control of the Ruhr with very definite reservations.

Here, again, personally, I think they have a case, and, if I understand it aright, their case is that control over distribution is not enough without some control over management, and they point out that decisions of the international authority, even in respect of distribution, which is all that was proposed, depend for their execution on the German Government, when that German Government has been established. It is certainly to the interest of France that the Ruhr should recover, because her own recovery depends, for many important products which she needs, upon the Ruhr. It is the economic heart of Europe, and its products must be available, at least, to all Western Europe. There is no dispute between us about that, but, on the broader theme of what we want to achieve, we want to help to bring about the economic recovery of Germany without allowing her opportunities to resume her military power. I am sure that that can only be done within the framework of a Western Union, and that we can only get that framework if we take immense and patient pains to bring the French Government along with us for that purpose.

With the passage of time, it may be possible to evolve, on a still wider basis—and I would like to see it—closer collaboration between the Ruhr and its complementary industries, both in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. I think that is the only way in which we shall get to a final arrangement, and, the more closely modern Germany is woven into the pattern of the free Western democracies, the wider the opportunity to exorcise the German military menace, which has shadowed all our lives. That is the pattern to which I would like to see the Government working.

There is another aspect of Anglo-French relations to which the right hon. Gentleman referred and that is O.E.E.C. and our Four-Year Programme. We are in a difficulty about that programme as Members of the House of Commons, because it has never been officially published here at all. It appeared originally, I think, in an American paper published in Paris, and there have been very large quotations from it in the "Economist" and other papers. I hope some Minister later on will tell us that we shall have official cognisance of this document, which appears to be almost universally quoted but unknown to Members of Parliament. That would help us for a start. I am not blaming the right hon. Gentleman for a leakage—I can almost guess where it has come from—but, if there has been a leakage, the House of Commons should know about it as much as other people.

If this summary is correct, what our plan entails is that we propose to eliminate altogether our pre-war import surplus from Europe. I want to ask the Government whether that is true, because, if it is, the consequences for Western Europe, if the calculation is correct, will be that those countries will have to carry a heavier share for the balancing of European trade with dollar countries to the tune of something between 600 and 700 million dollars. That is a pretty heavy burden, and I should like to know if it is correct.

I am not saying that there is any escape from this very unpleasant decision. Our difficulties are well known and accepted by everybody in this country at least, but no one will deny that a programme adding a burden of 600 million dollars on Western European countries at this time is a pretty severe shock to their economy. I should like to be assured whether these figures are correct, and as to what is being done to ensure that, as far as possible, this very heavy burden is being widely spread. Incidentally, if we want to build Western Union successfully, we cannot afford to take these things—which are mainly luxuries which we ought to do without—without taking account of the effect of our decision on the economy of countries with whom we hope to live amicably.

Now I turn for a moment to Berlin. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the effect of the Berlin elections as an unequivocal rejection of the Soviet-inspired plan in favour of the Communists, but he also seemed to suggest that confidence in the air lift is being maintained, in spite of the Winter and the recent hold up through the fog. That is very good. None the less we now have to face this final split in the city administration, one more stage in the Soviet plan to set up a puppet Government in Eastern Germany.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Yes, that is what it is. There is the withdrawal of the Western liaison officers from the City Hall in the Soviet sector and the forced transfer of the legal magistrate to premises on the Western side. These things are an end to the pretence that the city's administration could be carried on despite the differences between the great Powers. In recent months, and during the U.N.O. Assembly discussions, the Western Powers have held firmly to the fact—and I think it is true—that it was the Soviet vote in the Security Council which stood in the way of the effective handling of the differences between the Powers. In my view the Government's action in this respect, and that of the United States and France, before the United Nations has been entirely correct. Indeed, I think it has been inevitable. They have stood firm on their unquestioned rights. They have always shown themselves fully prepared, and are still prepared, to agree to a four-Power meeting as soon as the blockade of Berlin was lifted. I cannot see that anything further than that could reasonably be asked of them.

Now there is the development in the Eastern zone to which the right hon. Gentleman did not refer, but about which I would like to say a few words. There is the arming of a very large police force there, it seems. On authoritative evidence it is something like the creation of a disguised military organisation. General Robertson told us on 27th October, that the immediate plans being made in the Soviet zone were to form a police force of about 200,000 and reports have indicated that the final figure would be about 400,000. Anything of that sort is in complete violation of the Potsdam Agreement, which the Soviet Government are continually reminding us is the basis of their policy.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

That does not make it any better. Because someone repudiates a treaty which has been agreed the other party to it is not entitled to say "I will tear up the treaty." Parallel with that there has been rearming in many of the defeated States which are now Soviet satellites in Germany's rear. For instance, Bulgaria, Roumania and Hungary are arming above the limits allowed in the Peace Treaties. In face of all this there are the questions of what our attitude and the attitude of our Allies ought to be; it may well be that in part the purpose of all this military activity is to divert some of the effort of the West from economic reconstruction to rearmament. I myself do not exclude that, but the issue which is raised by these tactics reinforces the lesson which we have been learning here during the past few weeks—that all the expenditure in money and manpower which we can afford must be most profitably used. All this information increases my anxiety about the accounts which the Minister of Defence has given so frequently and so unsatisfactorily to this House.

That is a situation which will obviously require careful watching month by month. Effective counter-measures can only be taken, I agree, in unison between the Western countries on either side of the Atlantic. In other words there are urgent and cogent reasons for the speedy conclusion of an Atlantic Pact which can co-ordinate the plans and efforts of the Western countries in every sphere, political, military and economic. I would only add that if, before either of the last two Great Wars, the United States had been playing a part in Europe comparable to that in which she is now engaged, there would have been no war. That is one element to comfort us a little in the present situation.

Now a word or two about Italy and her colonies. I hope we all welcome, as the right hon. Gentleman did, the decision of the Italian Parliament to co-operate with Western Union. That decision was reached by the Italian Government with their following of Christian Democrats, Saragat Socialists and others against the Communists, who were supported by our old friends the Nenni Socialists. That is good news, for we certainly all desire to co-operate with the new Italy which is emerging from the war. We also want to restore to the full the old sentiments of friendship and mutual trust which for so long ruled between our two countries.

I think the Italian people are entitled to point with a measure of pride to the record of their achievement since the Armistice. Through their partisans and armed forces they made a valuable contribution in the last months of the fighting in Italy. Since then they have made what I believe to be a sincere and successful effort to restore democracy in Italy—at any rate, the supporters of Fascism have been reduced to a very negligible minority. Italian democracy has survived, without recourse to forceful measures, attempts to paralyse the country's economy by strikes and other subversive action. Finally, in the international sphere they have made it clear, by their co-operation in O.E.E.C. and by public statements by their Prime Minister, and Count Sforza, that Italy has definitely taken her place with the West. That is all to the good.

There is some impression, however, among Government supporters in Italy that in spite of what has happened His Majesty's Government are still holding the Italian Government a little bit at arm's length, in part at least because the Socialist Party here still have a tender feeling towards the Nenni Socialists.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Mr. Bevin indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but may I draw his attention to what has happened? There was an international Socialist conference at Clacton last week, which baulked at the Nenni Socialists being expelled. Yet these are the same Nenni Socialists who have been giving consistent support to the Communists. I do not know whether the "Observer" report of last Sunday was correct; it would be interesting to know if it was, but according to that newspaper the decision not to expel Signor Nenni and his followers was taken after a debate in which Signor Treves, of the Socialists supporting the Government, called for immediate expulsion. At one moment the conference seemed ready to accept his advice, but the British delegate suggested that the decision should be postponed until the next meeting of the conference in April. I do not know whether this report is accurate or not, but if it is it is a little difficult to understand why the expulsion of the Nenni Socialists, who are now giving full support to the Communists, should be refused while, at the same time, we are told with so much fervour on so many occasions that Socialist parties are the only possible successful opponents of Communists.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

We will try to explain it to the right hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman, in doing that, could also explain why there has been so singularly little praise at any time for the achievements of the Christian Democrats in Italy.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to explain? Has he forgotten that the partisan movement he has just praised was based on the Nenni Socialists and Communists? [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] Has he overlooked that the contribution of the Christian Socialists, under their present Right-Wing Government, has gone a long way towards restoring Fascism in Italy?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

The hon. Gentleman is completely misinformed on all points. To start with, the guerrilla war, as we all know very well, was virtually nationwide. One of the remarkable things about it—[Interruption.] Really, I have as much information about this matter as has the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Platts-Mills). One of the remarkable things about the Italian effort which surprised me was the extent to which it was supported by all sections of public opinion.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

Under Communist leadership.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

The mere fact that the Communists say that it all belongs to them does not prove that it does belong to them. As to the recreation of Fascism, as I have said, the Fascists are now a negligible party in Italy. If the voting is to be trusted, the fact certainly came out at the last election that their numbers are negligible. I always feel that these two extremes, Communism and Fascism, encourage each other, so I do not feel any anxiety about it.

Now I come to the Italian Colonies. We have to take into account the history of our undertakings, in particular towards the Senussi. This matter is known to the House and I need not repeat it. Those undertakings must be fulfilled. I do not think, in the light of those undertakings, that this House could agree to handing back the colonies, or any part of them, to full Italian sovereignty. There is a complete deadlock on this issue. The Under-Secretary of State shakes his head. He may not call this position a deadlock, but if you adjourn a thing for five months it is a pretty complete deadlock. I am not blaming the Government. I think they did everything they could to bring the matter to an agreement, but on the face of it it looks as though nothing will be done about it for five months. I call that a deadlock. The hon. Gentleman may call it satisfactory progress.

I have a suggestion to make. My suggestion to the hon. Gentleman is that if we cannot get a satisfactory arrangement at U.N.O., if U.N.O. cannot agree about what it shall do, why cannot the Assembly of the United Nations, in order to facilitate a decision which really must be taken, decide that this is a matter which could well be entrusted to the countries of the Western Union, which Italy has now happily expressed her desire to join? Why could not U.N.O. pass the matter to them? Then the Western Union countries might accept a general responsibility for a trusteeship towards those former Italian Colonies. Under that general trusteeship, it should be possible to arrive at arrangements for the administration of those territories which would honour our pledges and satisfy the other parties concerned. I have no doubt that, so far as Italy is concerned, the most urgent problem of all is that of emigration. Within this arrangement I should have thought it ought to be possible to give some measure of satisfaction to Italy on that issue.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

Do I take it that the right hon. Gentleman is suggesting a group trusteeship for the Italian Colonies and that, alternatively, failing that, he would suggest that one particular country, say Sweden, should be given that trusteeship?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I was suggesting that the trusteeship for these colonies should be entrusted to the Western Union Powers collectively and that they should agree on the way to administer the respective territories; not that they should administer them all together, which I think is unworkable, but that they should decide who have to administer them. I feel that that way a solution might be found.

Before I come to Palestine, I have to make a reference to United Europe. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Consultative Council of the Brussels Treaty Powers, and to the committee that was set up a little time ago. That was, I think, the outcome of The Hague Conference which my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford inspired. That committee went to Paris last month, and the delegation that was sent is now being led by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster as I understand the matter. The main task of this committee is to reconcile what is called the Franco-Belgian proposals, which are roughly the proposals of The Hague Conference, that is to say, that there should be a European Assembly consisting of representatives of members of the O.E.E.C., nominated by their own Parliaments; to reconcile that with the British Government's proposal for a European Council of Ministers appointed by the respective Governments.

I do not want to argue now the merits of the various proposals and take up the time of the House, but I must point out that the appointment of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy caused surprise, and indeed dismay, among many people, not only on these benches but among other parties also. I will say frankly that I believe that if we are to realise a Western Union at all we have to understand that there will be in each country at the same time Governments from democratic parties and of the Right, and Governments of a wide variety of political opinion. That is inevitable. Sometimes there will be a radical majority, sometimes a Socialist majority and sometimes a Conservavative majority. Our determination must be that we want this organisation to work for the attainment of Western Union, irrespective of the domestic political views in one country or another. The Foreign Secretary has never said anything that has differed from that.

The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy has. He has said exactly the opposite. At his party conference last year he told us quite clearly that the idea of a United States of Europe could only be successful on a Socialist basis. I have his words. He said: If this United States of Europe is indeed to succeed and is to benefit its peoples, it can only fully succeed if all the countries of Western Europe commit themselves, as our electors in 1945 committed themselves, to the belief that Socialism is the hope of us all.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Well, one hon. Member agrees with the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench. I must confess that to me that statement seems to be complete nonsense. It must seem complete nonsense to the very large non-Socialist majorities in all the countries of Western Europe at the present time, including Great Britain.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

The right hon. Gentleman knows that it is true.

Photo of Mr Benn Levy Mr Benn Levy , Eton and Slough

Would the right hon. Gentleman explain briefly exactly how, in his opinion, it would be possible for a number of laisser faire economists to plan this matter conjointly and to integrate themselves?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

If the hon. Gentleman will explain how a Socialist economy has ever planned at all, then I will tell him. After what we have been living through in the last three years, surely we shall never be told again that a Socialist believes in a planned economy.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he agrees that the success of any union of Western Europe depends upon its capacity to organise its economic life according to a common economic plan. Does he think that we can ever see such an economic plan without economic ownership and economic control?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I ask the hon. Gentleman to look at the measure of co-operation, to take only one example, that has gone on within this Empire of ours, from countries containing entirely different political parties—I would ask the hon. Member for Eton and Slough not to wave his hands about like that—[Interruption.] I thought he meant something. I did not know.

Photo of Mr Benn Levy Mr Benn Levy , Eton and Slough

I am sorry. I did not want to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman again. He speaks of this matter as simply a question of party, in the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman seems to regard party, as a kind of current political game without significance. The real essential difference is whether we are discussing planning or not. Can we plan Europe, when the countries who ought to plan together, refuse to plan?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I would point out to the hon. Gentleman two things. First of all, I would point out what has been achieved on more than one occasion in the Empire, and how we believe that carries us a stage further, despite the different views on planning. What I want the hon. Gentleman and the House to face is that, if one really thinks that one can only get it on the basis of Socialism, one is not going to get Western Union at all. It is no use going to the other countries and saying, "We will make Western Union with you if you are all Socialists." The next thing is that, at the next General Election, the Socialists are out, and where then are these countries? They will have to start all over again.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Perhaps I also might be allowed to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. I hope, if Mr. Speaker so wills, that I may have a chance of saying something tomorrow. But may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if any further quotations are to be discovered from my remarks because this is an accurate, but highly selective quotation.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Here is another one which says: In my opinion, speaking also for my colleagues on the Executive, we are quite confident that the success of any scheme for a United States of Europe, however defined, for the peoples composing the aggregate population of Western Europe, is going to depend upon the success of those democratic Socialist parties in each of those countries taken separately, and in all those countries taken together. It seems to me to amount to much the same as the previous quotation. If I have misrepresented the right hon. Gentleman, I hope he will tell me. I beg the House to face the fact that if we are going to get Western Union in this generation—united Western Union in this generation—we shall not get it on the basis of one particular party, or one particular dogma.

I now turn to Palestine. I think we are all very greatly troubled about the position in Palestine, the latent dangers of which are only too apparent to everybody. There are one or two preliminary considerations which ought to be borne in mind. Last week, His Majesty's Government accepted the United Nations' resolution for partition. That commits us, as I see it, to the establishment of a State of Israel which is to be one of the bases of negotiation. Nobody can doubt that it is very dangerous indeed to allow the present situation to continue. There is any amount of inflammatory tinder about. If anybody wants an example of how dangerous the situation is, we have it in the report on the tape machine last night made by the British U.N.O. representative of alleged raids by Jews into Transjordan.

We have treaty obligations with Transjordan, and those obligations must be fulfilled. There is also much suffering among the populations, notably among the Arab population, many of whom have been driven from their homes. I feel that every assistance should be given to these unhappy people, whether through the United Nations or in any other way. I hope that the Foreign Secretary, or whoever speaks for him, can tell us how far the British offer of £l million made for the relief of Palestinian Arabs has been supported by other countries, and what is the present position about that relief. While there are all these causes for concern, I believe there is also some indication on both sides of an underlying desire for a settlement. This, I think, applies particularly to those who have been nearest to hostilities, and who, geographically, are closest to each other.

It often happens that there is a psychological moment after prolonged hostilities when the atmosphere is propitious for a peace effort. It may be that this particular peace effort ought, and could, best be carried through by the two parties themselves. In this connection, I noticed that at a conference at Jericho last week, representatives of the Palestine Arabs unanimously called for the incorporation of Arab Palestine within Transjordan. It appears now that King Abdullah has accepted this proposal. Even so, I have no doubt that our good offices can still be of great value and importance.

It is not only the Middle Eastern reactions to this problem which trouble me, but also the potential threat to the cordiality of Anglo-American relations upon which so much else depends. Our purpose in this unhappy business must be to do all we can to bring about a settlement without further delay. This seems to me to mean that we have to accept certain facts. If our influence is to be made available to both parties, then we must have some form of contact with those parties. To say this does not mean that we should express particular approval or disapproval of either of the parties or of both, or of all they have done or are doing. It is just a matter of practical politics.

If we think we can help to build a bridge, as I am sure we can, then it is desirable, in my view, that we should be at both ends of the bridge. For this purpose, therefore—and I firmly believe this to be as much in the interests of the Arabs as of anybody else—I would say that we ought now to consider establishing a British political representative at Tel Aviv on a de facto basis. Any such conditional recognition thus given would, of course, depend on an undertaking in no circumstances to resume operations, and to enter immediately into direct negotiations for a settlement. Any aggressive action such, for instance, as the violation of the Transjordan frontier, would make such a step impossible until the forces violating the frontier had been withdrawn.

As part of that settlement, to which, I would hope, the Jews and Arabs could then be actively assisted to agree, I feel most strongly that, in respect of the Holy City of Jerusalem, there should be agreement to carry out the Bernadotte proposals, which are that the Holy City should be placed under an international authority. No other arrangement can be satisfactory to those millions of persons all over the world, of all creeds, to whom Jerusalem has a special sacred significance. The purpose of this measure of recognition, as I have said, would be to make the fullest contribution in our power to bring about peace between the two parties.

Photo of Mr Thomas Reid Mr Thomas Reid , Swindon

I want to get this thing clear. Is the right hon. Gentleman proposing to oust U.N.O. and the U.N.O. mediators and that we should take on the job ourselves?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I was not proposing that, but I was supposing that His Majesty's Government still had a special influence in that part of the world with both parties, and I suggested that if we wanted to be active in the interests of peace, we needed to be at both ends of the bridge. It is purely as a matter of practical politics that I have advocated what I have.

I would only add that time is pressing. The need for a settlement is pretty urgent; it is not going to get easier as the weeks go by. The suffering has gone on long enough, and I would not myself withhold any practical action which might contribute in any measure to bring this suffering to an end. Then, perhaps, at long last, we may find a way to peace between Jew and Arab. That, after all, has always been the British hope and prayer. The British people have been much buffeted about in this business, much more so than they deserve. British lives have been lost. There will be some recompense for all this if the Jews find a home, and the Arabs and Jews find a lasting friendship one with the other. There is much turmoil and trouble in the world as the right hon. Gentleman told us this afternoon, but there is no problem today where the Government's own opportunity for action is clearer than this. I hope that they will seize it and thereby bring peace to that distracted land to which mankind and in history has owed so much.

5.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr Clement Davies Mr Clement Davies , Sir Drefaldwyn

May I begin by welcoming back, as we all do, the Foreign Secretary? He has obviously benefited by his well-earned and well-deserved rest, which was too short considering the very heavy responsibilities which he has been carrying for these last three years. He began by stating that his policy was the same as that which he had announced when he spoke in this House in January, and that there was no new policy. That we can understand. He then went on to say that he proposed to give to the House a progress report. We certainly had a report—indeed, a very full report—but there was no progress upon the major problems which still confront the world, or, at any rate, very little upon those greater issues.

Everyone deplores the continued and continuous unsettled state of the world, and it is depressing to find that Session after Session we have nothing in these Debates but reports of disputes, quarrels and antagonisms. It is such a melancholy story, unrelieved by any single item of news of better understanding or goodwill, still less of peace—and all that after three years since the unconditional surrender of Germany, Japan and Italy, and after six years of that devastating world war. Not only do I, in common with all reasonable people, hate war, but I hate talk of war and still more do I hate this talk that war is inevitable. War cannot be inevitable. Events over which men have control are not inevitable. People who talk of the inevitability of war are not only irresponsible but, by their very words, help to make war not only possible but probable, and in my opinion they are criminals against humanity.

Of course, we must continue along the path of discussion and negotiation, in spite of insults and provocations. That calls for patience, not only on the part of the Government, but of all people, and not the least on the part of Members of this House. Great as has been the provocation, and irritating and obnoxious as it continues to be day by day in Berlin and other parts of Germany, and deplorable as that provocation is, I think I regret most the daily occurrences in the meetings of the United Nations Organisation. Not only do I dislike the use and abuse of the veto, but I dislike even more the use which is made of the meetings of the United Nations. Instead of providing an opportunity, as they should, for quiet discussion and the exercise of good will which would lead to understanding and ultimately settlement, they are occasions for propaganda when not only each side states its own case, regardless of what may be said by anyone else, but they seem to regard the occasions as giving them an opportunity for abusing one another. We shall not get peace by such methods, and I am wondering whether we had not better realise that we have now arrived at an impasse at these meetings, and see whether there is some other way of breaking through that impasse and restoring an opportunity for peaceful negotiations which, as I say, might lead to settlement.

I listened carefully to the speeches of the Foreign Secretary and the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden). Berlin is in a vital position. There can be no retreating. The right hon. Gentlemen went on to say that we must maintain our position. What I should have liked to hear from either of them was some suggestion as to how that impasse could be broken, and how we could get over this difficulty. But there was not a word on that aspect. Obviously, nobody wants another Munich, but each side seems to think that time is on its side. Why they should think so I do not know. I do not know whether time is on the side of either of them. I should have thought that it favoured neither. Of this I am sure, that if we could break through this impasse which has arisen over Berlin, it would not be long before I could visualise a settlement with regard to Germany, Austria, Italy and her colonies, and possibly a settlement of all the major questions that at present disturb the peace of the world.

Is there not some method which could be used to obtain not a temporary or transient agreement, but a permanent settlement for which a bewildered, anxious and unhappy world is longing? I need not point out what a difference that would make. The imagination just boggles at the effort to assess the effect upon economic and material welfare and benefits which would immediately accrue to the peoples of all countries; and the effect of the relief which people would feel consequent upon the removal of the war cloud is certainly beyond estimate.

That does not mean that we should in the meantime relax our measures for defence. Especially should we play our full part in the common defence against aggression. That is why we welcome the Atlantic Pact, and I was glad to hear the Foreign Secretary say what steps had been taken to make it effective as soon as possible. I should like to ask whether it would be possible to extend the ambit of that Pact along such lines as those already suggested by Lord Cecil in that little memorandum of his, "An Emergency Policy." The more effective and the wider the scope of such pacts and agreements the better—with one condition, that they are defensive, non-aggressive and designed to work within the broad framework of the United Nations and to further its main object; the maintenance of world peace. That is all I want to say upon the general situation.

I now come to one question on which, to my mind, the action and the policy of the Government have been far from good. I refer to the subject last mentioned by the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington—Palestine. I am convinced that had we taken a different course from that which we have recently pursued, we should have gone a long way to bring about a peaceful solution, and not only should we have avoided a great deal of bitterness but also a great deal of deplorable and unnecessary bloodshed. The Foreign Secretary made no reference whatsoever to this in his speech. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington suggested that he rather avoided it because of the vote that was taking place in Paris today. However, surely this House is entitled to know from the Foreign Secretary what is the attitude he is adopting in Paris and what instructions he has left behind to those who have to accept his views and accept his directions? It would have been right and proper for us to hear, as we did expect to hear, from the Foreign Secretary what he is doing in Paris and why he is doing it.

What is the position in Palestine? A great number of events have occurred since the Resolution of the United Nations Assembly on 29th November, 1947—only just a year ago. That foreshadowed, as the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington said, not only a Jewish State, which we were accepting as part of the United Nations, but also the setting up of an Arab State. The Arab State has not materialised, but on 15th May this year the Jewish State of Israel was proclaimed, and the late lamented Count Bernadotte was able to describe it in his report in these words: A living, solidly entrenched and vigorous reality, with a Provisional Government exercising, without restrictions on its authority or power, all the attributes of full sovereignty. That was the report that he made to the United Nations. Since the State was proclaimed it has been recognised by no fewer that 19 States, including the United States of America, Russia and South Africa. It has all the attributes of a Government——

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman forgive me? If he says "all the attributes of a Government," and that it has been recognised by 19 States, he ought to say whether they have recognised it de facto or de jure.

Photo of Mr Clement Davies Mr Clement Davies , Sir Drefaldwyn

In some case de jure, in some cases de facto, and, I understand, in some cases both. I thought the hon. Gentleman was going to interrupt me to ask whether that Government have all the attributes of a Government. They have all the attributes, as I say, of a Government—a legislature, a responsible executive, and a full and well-qualified judiciary. There is no doubt it has also a people. It has also a territory, and that territory, as Mr. Jessup said in Paris on behalf of the United States of America, is a territory certainly as well defined as was the territory of the United States of America when that country was first recognised as a State, and as well defined as the territory of the United States of America was for many, many years after the Declaration of Independence, and after the United States had been recognised by all the other States. It has a revenue out of taxation of £15 million, double, as I understand it, the amount that was received during the period of the Mandate. It has, out of a population of 700,000, an army of 100,000 which completely routed the Egyptian army. It has an air arm which has gained superiority over the Egyptian, and a tiny fleet which sank the Egyptian flagship and broke the blockade.

Economically, agriculturally and industrially, in spite of the fact it has had to carry on a war against Egypt in the south and against the Arabs in the north, it has made extraordinary progress. Since May it has absorbed something like 115,000 immigrants. The right hon. Gentleman made one reference to one Holy Place, Jerusalem. It has cleaned, maintained and protected the Holy Places without exception, and that is testified to by the Franciscan and other friars and other people in charge of these Holy Places. Then one comes to this new factor, namely, that a great number of Arabs are willingly co-operating now with Israel. The Druses, numbering some 20,000, have in the north fought, not against Israel, but with Israel and the Bedouins of the Negeb are now co-operating with Israel. But throughout this period our policy has been non co-operative and, indeed, constantly hostile to the Israeli Government. What is more, as the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, that attitude has been maintained not only in the Assembly but maintained against the United States of America.

There are four principal aspects of this problem. One is, should the Bernadotte Report be the basis for determining the boundaries? Here we have been in conflict not only with the United States of America but also with Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The second one is, should a conciliation commission be appointed to bring about direct negotiations between Arabs and Jews? Here, again, we have been in conflict with the same Governments who wanted to encourage direct negotiation. We resisted them, and we wanted a commission subjected to strict injunctions. What makes our attitude all the more absurd is that, in spite of it, direct negotiations have been taking place and are taking place even now between the leaders of Israel and the leaders of the Arabs. The third one is, should Israel be admitted to the United Nations now? Other Governments have urged it. We have opposed it, even on the Council itself. In spite of our opposition, if there are two more votes today against our view then the Council will have the necessary two-thirds majority in order to send in their report. The final one is, should Israel be recognised before her boundaries are fixed? We have said "No," but 19 nations have already said "Yes."

What is the result of all this? We have quarrelled with the policy of the United States of America. That, I should have thought, at this time is most undesirable. For the first time also we have openly quarrelled with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, carrying our own family disputes, as it were, out to the open for the first time. Anything more derogatory to our position it is difficult to imagine. We are in the meantime, in spite of the fact that we have done so much for the Jewish race throughout all these years, and in spite of the fact that we have done more for their welfare and to encourage them than any other people, succeeding, by the way we have proceeded in recent years, in alienating the sympathies of even the best and most moderate. One might think that while we were alienating the Jewish people, we were becoming more and more friendly with the Arabs, but the contrary is the exact truth. We have succeeded now in irritating and alienating every one of the Arab representative Governments, not merely Egypt, but Transjordan and Iraq. Every one of them, rightly or wrongly, blames this country for the disasters which have overtaken them.

There can be no going back to 29th November. It seems to me that now the Bernadotte Report, upon which the Foreign Secretary seemed to base the whole of his policy, is hopelessly out of date. There is no Palestinian State, and there is not likely to be one. What is to prevent direct negotiations, to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington referred. taking place here and now? The only thing that is preventing it from happening is our opposition. I agree we have occupied a prominent part with regard to the establishment, according to the original words, of a "Jewish Home" in Palestine; and every other country, naturally, wants to know what is the attitude of this country. In spite of our opposition, 19 countries, as I have said, have taken a decision. Nevertheless, many still hesitate, wondering whether possibly we might not be right and the other 19 wrong.

If we show ourselves more prepared to be forthcoming and to help, it would help all the other countries, and especially the two contending parties of today. There is a real opportunity even now at this late hour to bring about the peaceful settlement which everybody desires. The Arabs do not want war. They are sick of it, and King Abdullah of Transjordan not only says so but broadcasts it daily. The Jews, of course, want peace. Granted that, they will undoubtedly settle down at once to convert the desert into a fair and flowery land. They have, without a doubt, accomplished miracles there already.

This problem has troubled the world now for 2,000 years. It has been a problem for every people since the great Battle of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the defence which is still one of the epic defences in the history of any race. It has been a problem worrying people for 2,000 years. Let us, who have done so much for the Jewish people in these last 100 years, who have done more than any other Government or people for their welfare and for the achievement of their desires—let us now drop what I may call this peevish attitude on the part of the Government, and take a broader and better course; recognise the facts, get the United Nations as a whole, including ourselves, to recognise Israel, and admit her to the Council of Nations. We shall, in doing that, not only help these two peoples, but go a long way to settle the world's problem, to bring about peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and in all that part of the world. We shall go a long way, in doing that, to heal a sore, and to help to bring about peace throughout the world.

6.2 p.m.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

I want to issue what is in effect a fundamental challenge to the very principles of the foreign policy we are pursuing, and to try to indicate an alternative. What we are drifting to war against, and what we must learn how to live at peace with, is nothing less than the Socialist quarter of humanity—the countries stretching from the middle of Europe to the Pacific Ocean, embracing Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and most of China, and, in addition, the greater part of the working class of France and Italy. Those countries, and those sections of the populations of France and Italy, have been for several years—in some cases for many years—under Communist or near-Communist leadership. They are there as a fact—as a solid, established, and formidable fact.

Now, there are three possible attitudes to take when faced by that vast fact. The first is to try to deal with it by ultimatums and going to war. The second is to try a policy of half-war. The third is what I call the policy of Carlyle's young lady, who, it will be remembered, said that she accepted the universe; to which Carlyle said, rather grimly, that she had better.

The policy of war is, in fact, the policy of the Leader of the Opposition. He has advanced towards this position by several stages: first at Fulton, then in this House on 23rd January last, and finally at the Llandudno conference. I think it is not unfair to sum up his position as being the following: it is idle to attempt to use reason or to discover common interests in our relations with the Soviet Union in particular and the Socialist quarter of humanity in general. That is practically what he said on 23rd January last. He says that the only method of dealing with this rather large section of humanity is in terms of force, imposing solutions under the threat of war. The intellectual foundations of this policy are, first, the belief, as he put it in an article in "Collier's Magazine," of 4th January, 1947, that The schism between Communism on the one hand and Christian ethics on the other is the most deadly, far-reaching and rending that the human race has known. Now, I never like these rather vague and violent definitions of large subjects, so I permitted myself to look up the definition of "Communism" in the dictionary. I thought it appropriate to look it up in an American dictionary, to wit Webster's Standard Dictionary, which defines Communism as: A system of social organisation in which goods are held in common;—the opposite of a system of private property. Any theory or system of social organisation involving common ownership of the agents of production, and some approach to equal distribution of the products of industry. Well, I cannot for the life of me see why that idea should be in such fundamental antithesis to the ethics of Christianity. In fact, I note that there has been quite a controversy in "The Times" on that topic.

I also note the fact that there are tens of thousands of Communists in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union who are at the same time good Catholics, or Greek Orthodox Churchmen, or in some cases even good Baptists or Jews. I see no reason why in course of time Communism and the Churches in Communist countries should not make their peace and rub together, much as Marxist social democracy—which also started with the same philosophy as Communism—has long ago made its peace with the Churches.

Then we come to the argument that the Communist Parties are mere "Fifth Columns," agents, tools and "stooges" of Moscow; that they owe all to Russian power and influence; and that all that is required is one little word from Moscow to bring them to heel, and even to induce them to disband, to disappear and for ever after hold their peace. All I can say is that if any genius on either Front Bench has discovered that little word which, when pronounced from Moscow, will instantly bring every Communist Party to heel, I am sure Stalin would be profoundly grateful to hear of that little word so that he can try it on Marshal Tito. The plain truth is that the Communist Parties were originally Left-Wing revolutionary breakaways from the Social Democratic Parties during and after the first world war, and that they are as native to the soil of their countries as the parties from which they sprang.

That does not, of course, alter the fact that they have been very closely associated with one another and with the Soviet Union. They have very often interpreted "internationalism" to mean that when father turns they all turn. But what it does mean is that if it is impossible for Moscow to induce a major Communist Party on its frontier—namely the Yugoslav Communist Party—even to do the things that nine other Communist Parties think it ought to do in its own interests, it is obviously absurd to reason as though the Kremlin were able to give orders to Communist Parties all over the world to disappear and hold their peace for ever after.

Equally "phoney" is the contention, which is part of the intellectual foundations of the war policy, that Communist Parties have a single, all-consuming object, which is to destroy and pull down reconstruction in the various countries in which they exist in order to create chaos and misery for the spread of Communism, because that contention overlooks the fact that the Communist Parties in Eastern Europe are, to this day, playing a leading part, both in the Governments and in the trade unions, in the reconstruction of their countries on Socialist lines.

In France and Italy the Communist Parties played an equally active and constructive part so long as they were included in the governing Coalitions which had issued from the resistance movements, and their battle today is not against American aid as such; they have always said that they are only too happy to accept American economic aid. Their battle today is against the power politics, the preparations for war and the anti-Communist intervention that is mixed up with Marshall Aid. They are fighting against the fact that the standards of living of the workers in France and Italy have gone down, and down and down, until in France today the average real wage has gone back to 1884, and is less than half of what it was in 1938. In Italy similar conditions prevail, in addition to over 2½ million unemployed.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

What are the Communists fighting here?

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

The Communists here are fighting to justify their existence.

Photo of Dr Mont Follick Dr Mont Follick , Loughborough

They are fighting to prove their existence.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

The point is that in this country the Labour Party leads the overwhelming majority of the working-class because we have got a democracy that works. But one of the first things we must learn is that in a large part of the world conditions are fundamentally different, and if we want to do business with workers and trade unions we have got to do business with their existing leadership, and not try to introduce some alternative one.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

The hon. Member made a very important statement. He said that the Communists were not opposed to reconstruction, but were opposed only to the driving down of the standard of living of workers. What are the British Communists opposed to? Are they opposing the present Government on the ground that it is driving down the present standard of living of the workers, or are they opposing the Marshall Plan? We ought to get that clear, because the hon. Member ought to know.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

Why should I know? I know no more than the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

The hon. Member knows exactly what the Communists are doing in France and Italy. He has told us exactly what they are doing. Has he no notion what they are doing here? What about the Communists nearer home? What are the Communists here doing?

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

Judging by the papers, I should say they are fighting for higher wages, workers' control in industry, and a few other things. But their fight here is a comparatively insignificant part of the political scene, whereas their fight in France and Italy is the fight of the working class, and to turn against them is to turn against the working class, which is in fact what the hon. Member for East Coventry (Mr. Crossman) has done, after forgetting his brief "Keep Left" episode.

The third contention is that we cannot come to terms with the Soviet Union because they are out for world revolution and world conquest, and are guilty of indirect aggression. At bottom those charges rest on the same false conception of the nature and relation to the Soviet Union of the great Communist Parties of Europe. They are false charges. The Soviet Union ceased to be a revolutionary Power when Stalin defeated Trotsky on the issue of Socialism in one country versus permanent revolution. The Soviet Union today needs and wants peace as badly as any other country, including our own.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

Unfortunately, he did not. He said quite openly that he wanted a war.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

No. Stalin has said again and again that he wants and needs peace. He means it and has shown it. The intellectual foundations of the war policy are, therefore, rotten foundations. As for the moral foundations, they do not exist at all, because anything more profoundly immoral than to suggest that we should risk the suicidal gamble of a world war in the hope thereby of wiping out world Communism, I cannot imagine. The folly of that policy becomes evident if one reflects that the first world war ended with the Russian Revolution and shook the capitalist order to its foundations. The second world war ended with the spread of Communism—that is, violent social revolution—over half Europe and a large part of Asia, including most of China. At that rate a third world war would wipe out most of what was left of Western civilisation and democracy, and spread the evils of the "police State" and violent revolution over most of the world.

Unhappily, whereas the Opposition wants to plunge us into war at one fell swoop in their hatred and fear of social revolution, the Government appear bent on buying Armageddon on the instalment plan, for that is in effect what their policy of half-war is working out at. It starts with the same intellectual and moral premisses as the policy of the Leader of the Opposition, and it is drifting towards the same suicidal conclusion. In the meantime, it really is important, by this time, to take note of the fact very seriously that, however good our intentions—and I admit they are of the superlative quality with which the path to a certain fiery destination is proverbially paved—the fact remains that our foreign policy has been an unqualified failure on every major issue in every part of the world for the last three years.

In relation to the countries against which this half-war policy is being practised, it has not brought about the solution of any differences. On the contrary, it has turned them all into contests of prestige and so made them insoluble. It has not made those countries more amenable to reason, but on the contrary tougher and more intransigent. It has not helped the cause of democracy and freedom, but on the contrary has aggravated and spread the evils of the "police State." It has certainly not brought us nearer to peace, but on the contrary within sight of another world war.

On our side, that policy—and I am now talking about Anglo-American policy, because it has become practically impossible to separate the two—is being defeated in China, and that defeat is as important in world history as the ending of intervention in Russia after the first world war. Those who console themselves with the delusion that revolutionary China will go back to the China of the war lords, based on a number of separate provincial Governments will, I think, find that they are as wrong in that respect as they have been in every other respect. Because revolutionary China, nationalist China, believes in unification as well as modernisation. I am very glad that some of our merchants and businessmen out there have had the good sense to get into touch with the new China, and to make the best terms they can. I hope that that common-sense spirit will spread in this country, and might perhaps even infiltrate into the Foreign Office, although I have no very sanguine hopes of that.

In the Middle East, the Foreign Secretary, who wisely passed the subject over in silence, has managed—and I must say, if I had not seen it with my own eyes I should have thought it would have been impossible—in Palestine he has managed to alienate and separate us from the Dominions, the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Nations, the Arabs and the Jews. A really remarkable result. Greece is a Fascist-ridden shambles in which trade unionists are being butchered freely for having done too well on our side in the war, thereby offending those who worked and fought under Hitler.

In Italy, France and Western Germany the workers' standard of living has been pushed down to a point where they are becoming desperate. The French Government is deeply alarmed and indignant at a policy which puts France in a disastrously illogical and paradoxical position. The French want security against their traditional enemy, Germany. One might think that their way of going about it is perhaps not always the right way. Their fear is, perhaps, sometimes exaggerated. But no one can deny the legitimacy of that sentiment, nor its prevalence and strength in France. Instead they are being forced, largely by the United States, into a combination where Western Germany is more and more openly spoken of in the United States as one of the bastions of the American security system against the Soviet Union. Franco is another of the bastions, and this country is a third. France is looked upon rather as a second line of defence in the set-up. That, of course, is not a situation that any French Government can, in the long run, accept.

As for this country, we are being increasingly urged and solicited to throw in our lot with a capitalist Western Union—capitalist because the United States has seen to it that the Governments in France and Italy are based solely on the propertied classes, and that the working-class representatives are excluded from any share in Government. We are told by the Press that Mr. Paul Hoffman has recently been telling the Chancellor of the Exchequer that if we would only let up a bit on austerity and let in some French and Italian motor cars, wines, silks and perfumes we should thereby be offering incentives to workers in this country to produce more, which merely shows that Mr. Hoffman does not really understand the situation here.

The American Security system—the Atlantic Pact—incorporates us in an American strategic plan which cannot win the war and at the same time makes us subservient to an American foreign policy that cannot preserve peace. The whole of this policy is, of course, contrary to the Labour Party's principles and pledges, Government declarations and Party decisions on foreign policy. I have no time to go through the melancholy tale of those broken pledges. But there is some interest still perhaps in the resolution of the last conference of the Labour Party—the Scarborough resolution on Western Union—which contained the following passage: The Conference believes that the Conservative conception of Western Union on a capitalist basis and in military alliance with the U.S.A. against the U.S.S.R. cannot solve Europe's economic problems and will only lead to a third world war. That is precisely the policy on which we have embarked. In addition to that I feel bound to say—and that is the most serious part of it—that this policy means that we have officially abandoned—we de facto abandoned it a long time ago—we have now officially and openly abandoned any attempt to base our policy on the Charter of the United Nations. The fundamental principle of the Charter is that the permanent Security Council members should trust each other to the point where they do not contemplate or prepare for war against each other and where they are ready to settle all their differences peacefully. That whole assumption has gone by the board and with it any attempt to base our policy on the Charter. We are told that we cannot help it; that there is no alternative; that we had to do this. That is an admission of failure and tantamount to filing our petition in bankruptcy in world affairs. It means that we have given up the business of trying to make peace as a bad job, and have fallen back helplessly on the balance of power and an arms race. That is where I came in.

As a League official, I spent all the years between the wars fighting that heresy. One lesson which the peoples learned after the first world war was that if we go back to the balance of power and an arms race, another war, sooner or later, is inevitable. We have gone back to them under conditions which are hopelessly unfavourable to this country. For the first time in our history, we are the weaker ally on our side of the balance, which means that our national independence is sacrificed to the stronger partner, in this case, the U.S.A., and that it is decisions in Washington and not in London which will determine for what, when and against whom our conscripts have to fight and this country has to go through the horrors of another world war.

The issues at stake in this new balance of power are issues of social organisation and political ideology and outlook which are inherently incapable of solution by the methods of power politics, that is by diplomatic bargaining backed by threats of force. War itself has become so destructive that the mere preparations for war will bankrupt this country even if the United States lend-lease us goods and money—and war will destroy us.

Photo of Mr Thomas Reid Mr Thomas Reid , Swindon

I agree with what the hon. Member said about ideological and other considerations, but what is his policy for solving these ideological differences?

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

I am coming to that. But first, I want to warn both the Government and the Opposition against making the dangerous assumption that the people of this country are still stuck at the cannon fodder level of citizenship and are still ready to fight in any war under any Government against any odds and for any cause. I do not believe that our people are any more ready to do that than the workers of France and Italy, although our methods are more decorous in expressing opposition to such a thing.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the recent steel Debate, said that if democracy proved incapable of dealing with the fundamental challenge of the private industrial empires, then the people would be forced to resort to other and more violent means. The issue of peace or war is a more fundamental challenge even than the challenge to democracy of the private industrial empires. Our people are not a Victorian Light Brigade that can be called on to do and die without asking the reasons why, because some V.I.P.s have blundered. If the Government fail to carry out their pledges to make peace, and prove that they cannot do the job which the people ask them to do, then I think they may easily find themselves in the painful position of the man in the old song who was carrying a grand piano up the stairs. The song says that: He trod on a stair that wasn't there And his day's work was done. And now I come to the alternative. To begin with I want to put before the House a different intellectual and moral foundation for a different policy. Our intellectual foundations should be at least as advanced as those of the official organ of the Vatican, "Osservatore Romano," in June of last year, nearly one and a half years ago, or as in "The Times," nearly three years ago in March, 1946. The "Osservatore Romano," in a series of four remarkable articles by its editor-in-chief, the veteran Count Giuseppe della Torre, likened the present situation to the position after the French Revolution. He said that just as then there was a counter-revolutionary coalition led by Britain against revolutionary France, so, today, there is a counterrevolutionary coalition led by the U.S.A. against revolutionary Russia and Eastern Europe. He concluded by stating that in such a situation right and wrong were mixed and distributed on both sides and there was no issue that could not and should not be settled by compromise and negotiation; that you cannot destroy an idea, even the idea of Communism, by force, and that another war would destroy most of what is left of civilisation, whereas with peace everything could be regained.

"The Times" of 6th March, 1946, commenting on the speech of the Leader of the Opposition at Fulton, said that it was an assumption of despair to take the view that it was impossible to find common ground between Communism and Western democracy. There were many forms of government intermediate between Western democracy and Communism, and some of them might be better suited to the actual conditions of large parts of the world, including Eastern Europe and the Middle East, than our Western Parliamentary system. Communism and Western democracy had much to learn from each other. It went on to say: The ideological warfare between Western democracy and Communism cannot result in an out-and-out victory for either side. The issue will be determined neither by clashes of eloquence nor by clashes of arms, but by the success of the great nations in dealing with the problems of social organisation in the broadest sense which the war has left behind it. That is, I think, a common-sense intellectual foundation for a policy capable of winning the peace. The moral foundation is, I think, to be found in the advice of the late President Roosevelt. One of the last things which he said was: After the war the only thing that we need to fear is fear. There is nothing to be afraid of, provided we are ready to accept the need for great and rapid social change. We must carry out the changes here by our own methods, and our country can help to ease the transition for the rest of the world if only we are not afraid; if we make a clear and stable choice, if we make up our minds and stick to our decision. We must deliberately and finally reject the old fatal risks of coming down on the side of capitalist restoration and anti-Communist intervention in Europe and Asia, for recent history shows that taking such risks does not end in giving us democracy and peace, but on the contrary lands us in Fascism and war.

We must accept the risks, which we pledged ourselves at the General Election to take, of standing with the workers, for Socialism and on the Charter in our relations with Western Europe and the Socialist quarter of humanity. What that means is that, first of all, we should refuse any United States help in our armaments, because to take such help means abandoning national independence. We should not accept any military obligation inconsistent with the fundamental obligation of the Charter to settle our differences with the Soviet Union by peaceful means and never to resort to force or the threat of force as a means of settlement. We should not allow any United States' forces or bases in this country, or in any British territory in Europe or Asia until we are satisfied that United States' foreign policy also accepts this fundamental principle. We should not accept the obligations of the Brussels military treaty and the Atlantic Pact unless and until they are revised so as to bring them into conformity with this fundamental principle. We should not rearm more than we can afford out of our own economic resources, because in the present situation economic strength is what we need to keep up our end in the world, and not military strength. If anyone asks how we can take the risk, my reply is that little Sweden, with six million people living cheek by jowl with the Soviet Union, and Switzerland can take that risk, and if they can take that risk, and Sweden and Switzerland are taking that risk, then we, too, can take it.

But, unlike these tiny countries, we can at the same time have a positive policy which will change the face of world politics. In Western Europe, our co-operation is indispensable, and therefore we have the right and the possibility to make terms. We should insist on the working-classes of Western Germany, France and Italy being decently paid, otherwise economic union with those countries means a serious threat to the standard of living of our own workers. We must insist on the United States withdrawing their veto on the working-class parties in France and Italy participating in the government of their countries, if and when that is desired by the majority of their colleagues in Parliament or by a majority of the electors. That is a condition without which we cannot get co-operation and confidence of the workers, and without that we cannot get reconstruction in those countries. We should also insist on the introduction of elements of Socialism and planning into the economies of Western Europe as a condition for our joining up with them, otherwise our own planned economy will suffer.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

The hon. Member has now told us his positive policy, which is interesting us a great deal. It insists upon three things, but I want to know what happens when the Western Europeans, having listened to our "insists," do not take our point of view? It is awfully easy to give a whole list of "insists."

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

I started by saying that our co-operation is essential. Therefore, if we insist upon certain conditions, we can reach a compromise in the negotiations with those countries on all these conditions; if not, we had better stay half out, as we are doing today. These are conditions for going in further than we are doing at the present time. We are being accused by the Americans of dragging our feet and not going in further, but the answer should be to formulate the positive conditions on which we are prepared to go in all the way. We must also request the United States to withdraw their veto on freedom of trade between Western and Eastern Europe and our right to co-ordinate our plans with Eastern Europe.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

We must strengthen and not weaken the European Economic Commission of the United Nations as the co-ordinating organ for this purpose.

In the case of Germany, the only way to break the deadlock now is to go back to the principles enunciated by the Foreign Secretary, the principles of a united Germany, of socialisation of the heavy industries of Germany, Four-Power control of the industries in the Ruhr and a moratorium on reparations until German production has been at least doubled, and then for a certain amount to be paid out of current production for a limited number of years. These are the preliminary conditions for the withdrawal of the zonal barriers, for setting up a central administration and holding elections for an all-German Government, and for the withdrawal of forces from Germany, perhaps to be substituted by an international force. The deadlock in Berlin can be solved only as part of that wider policy.

As for the Middle East, we ought to recognise the state of Israel with the boundaries assigned to it by the United Nations, and we ought to admit it to membership of the United Nations. We should stand for having an international police force in the Middle East, including participation of the Soviet Union and demilitarisation of the Middle East, except for such forces as might be internationally agreed upon through the Security Council. The Suez Canal and the Dardanelles should be under international control; there should be international control of oil resources and economic development schemes in the Middle East. All these arrangements should be worked out through and placed under the guarantee of the United Nations.

Intervention in Greece is a by-product of the return to the Crimean War policy in the Middle East. The whole point of intervention would cease to exist if we adopted a Middle East policy bringing both the Soviet Union and the United States into partnership through the United Nations. We could then either get out of Greece or make a new start, based on the principles of the Crimean Conference of 1945.

On these lines, we should get the support of the whole of the European working-classes, Communist and non-Communist alike. On these lines, we should get such a volume of support in France and Italy, who are both extremely unhappy about the present situation—Italy wants to sit on the fence, not to take sides with either bloc, and the French realise perfectly well—it is a long-standing tradition in France—that their security lies in good relations with the Soviet Union, as well as with the West——

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

Why not with Germany?

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

They are beginning to.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

The French believe they will be safe with Germany only on the basis of an agreement between the Great Powers to the East and West of Germany. We could then bargain with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It will mean hard bargaining; but there is enough common ground to discover paths to agreement.

The United States cannot pursue the present tough policy of preparing for a third world war against the Soviet Union without our co-operation and without the co-operation of Western Europe. If that co-operation is withdrawn, she cannot retire into isolation, because the United States would be courting a major slump by disinteresting herself in the Middle East, European and Asiatic markets. She would therefore have to reach some kind of compromise on these lines. The Presidential elections have shown that millions of good Americans would hail with joy and relief the prospect of some way out of the deadlock and some way of ending the present drift to war.

The policy I have ventured to put before the House is not an easy policy and not free from risks. But it is a policy that would work, and it is the only policy that will work. It is a policy which would call for every bit of the sagacity and steadfastness, the guts and the "know-how" of the people of this country. But it is a policy which will enable our people to take the lead, and would enable us in six months to lift the nightmare of war hanging over the world like a black cloud and set the feet of mankind on the high road to peace.

6.38 p.m.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I had intended to begin with some comparatively small things, small in comparison with most of the things that have been discussed today, although I wish to finish with one very large thing. But I hope that I may be permitted to lengthen my speech by a few minutes in order to reply to some of the observations we have just heard. I agree with the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) on one or two points. I agree on the whole with his condemnation of our foreign policy of the last three years as a failure. I disagree about what I should regard as the major symptoms of the failure, and I disagree about what I regard as the major causes; but that it has been a failure cannot really be very easily doubted or challenged. I agree with him also that we ought to begin our approach to Foreign Affairs Debates always by remembering to get down to some fundamental intellectual and moral approach. But I thought his the worst possible approach. I think it is the worst of all possible principles of foreign policy to think your foreign policy ought to be founded upon which quarter of the world is Socialist and which quarter of the world is individualist, and so on.

I have been very pleased lately to observe that Ministers speaking for the Foreigé Office in this House have more than once said what they consider is the balance of British interests. I have contrasted that with the speech which hon. Members will remember in February, 1938, when Mr. Neville Chamberlain spoke of British interests as one of the things that we ought to light for and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Arthur Greenwood) was horrified. He said that he was almost terrified, and, I think, that he had never heard anything so disgraceful. It seems to me that if after the terrible 10 years through which we have just gone hon. Gentlemen belonging to the party opposite do not any longer talk that nonsense, that is so much gained.

But the queerest of all the things which the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) told us, was that the Communists did not want war, did not want disturbance; did not want economic breakdown at all. Then he told us that the war and the economic breakdown of the 1914 period had given them their first boost; and that the war and the economic breakdown of the 1939 period had given them their second boost; one more war, and whichever side won the Communists would be put in possession of the world. Possibly he may be right; but I find it impossible when anyone tells me something like that, about the practical history of Communism in preference to the pre-Communist literary definition which is found in the dictionaries, to accept the assurance that the Communist authorities do not want war and do not want economic breakdown.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

Mr. Zilliacus rose——

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

The hon. Gentleman has had his fair share of the time of the House, but I will give way just this once, and speak that much longer.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Gateshead

I want to ask the hon. Gentleman whether he really believes that the Communists were responsible for starting either the 1914 or the last war?

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I said nothing of the kind. I implied nothing of the sort. What I said was entirely drawn from the hon. Member's own speech and was perfectly accurate.

I want to turn to one or two comparatively small things—the defence of individual British people and individual British corporations abroad. I know it would be out of Order to quote at length from the Debates in another place, but it may save time if I remind hon. Members who follow Debates in another place of the list of such things that have been discussed there recently. There were the 12 British murdered at Gatow; all the murders and outrages in Palestine; the murders and outrages in Malaya; the contemptuous rudeness with which we were treated at the Danube Conference; the fact that to be even suspected of having ever been at all pro-British is almost a sentence of death, and is quite a sentence of political ostracism, in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Poland; and the kidnappings by Yugoslavs on and near their border. These are all instances of the fact that His Majesty's Government have now lost if not the power at least the habit of protecting British subjects, either their lives or their property, more than has ever been the case in the history of the world. That is a large statement; but I maintain it is an absolutely accurate statement, and puts an enormous burden of proof on right hon. Gentlemen opposite. Incidentally, when we have got such a number of Foreign Secretaries as we have now, there really should be one of them in charge of a Debate of this sort, all the time.

I want to mention especially in this connection, of looking after the interests of subjects of His Majesty abroad, two especial cases. One I will quote tentatively, and I am quite prepared to be persuaded that I am wrong. Anyway, I think it ought to be mentioned in Debate; it has been mentioned so far only in Questions. I refer to the tax, the name of which I cannot translate, so that I hope hon. Gentlemen will forgive my French accent, the tax called impôt de solidarité in France. Under a Convention of the year 1882, British subjects resident in France are exempt from taxation of that sort. The British Government decided, I suppose about a year ago, that it would not invoke that Convention for the protection of British citizens in France. I do not wish to argue at the moment whether that is a right decision or a wrong decision; but it is a decision which ought to have more justification than it could get in Question and answer, especially as the most important relevant answer was a written one, and, therefore, not subject to cross-examination.

The point is quite simple. British subjects, advised by their lawyers about, e.g., the 1882 Convention, settled down in Paris. I suppose they have no juridical right to compel His Majesty's Government to use diplomatic means to get this Convention applied for their benefit. His Majesty's Government may be right in deciding not to do so; but the question I want to put is—Is this new? This was, to speak in Parliamentary terms, a private Bill Convention, something which here would have gone before a Select Committee so that private individuals would know, and might argue, how they were concerned. Is it a new thing that His Majesty's Government, whether on good grounds or bad, declined to invoke the Treaty for the benefit of His Majesty's subjects, without taking steps in any way to compensate the subjects concerned? Those are questions which we ought to have explained. It is a comparatively small matter, but on the background of the Government's failure to protect the life and property of British subjects all over the world, it is a matter of immense principle that these things should be talked out in this House.

There is a similar individual matter, already mentioned in the House, on which I want to say a word and that is what is known as the Sylvester case. There ought to be someone on the Government Front bench who knows the technical terms and names used in a Debate of this kind. It is obviously difficult for anyone to make such a speech when it is clear that one is speaking to people who are not technically qualified to deal with it.

The second case to which I refer is the Sylvester case. Mr. Sylvester was in Jerusalem upon, I think, U.N.O. territory, but under His Majesty's protection, in the sense that he was one of His Majesty's subjects abroad doing work which everybody would agree was socially desirable. He was, what was called, arrested or, at any rate, he was seized. I do not at all, for my argument, accept the accounts in the papers of how he was treated. At least, I think, there is no doubt he was treated roughly, and indeed no doubt he was subjected to considerable torture, though perhaps nothing very much in comparison to the torture of which we are accustomed to hear in this age of the common man. After a considerable time and the expenditure of a great deal of his firm's money, Mr. Sylvester was released. I should explain at this stage that I have absolutely no kind of what is called interest to avow in the matter, but I ought to say perhaps that the predominant person concerned with his firm is a personal friend of mine, with whom I had at one time some business connections. Let me add that he did not ask me to refer to the matter, nor am I doing or saying anything at his suggestion.

The question I want to put is—has His Majesty's Government considered, and if they have considered with what conclusion, whether in such circumstances there ought to be compensation for pain suffered, loss of prospects endured and all that? I think that ought to be considered if it has not been considered; and moreover, His Majesty's Government should at least consider whether the out-of-pocket expenses in regard to getting a release in a case such as Mr. Sylvester's ought not to be guaranteed by His Majesty's Government, whether eventually to be paid out of the Exchequer, recovered from the Zionists or from U.N.O., or what not.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston

Will the hon. Gentleman permit me——

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I will give way in a minute. This question clearly ought to be considered. We are rapidly getting into a position as if we were in an unchristianised, barbarous middle age, in which Governments do nothing whatever to protect people if they get a furlong outside their own immediate bailiwicks; and unless each time a new point of such principle is raised, the Government is questioned with all the emphasis that can be found, that degeneration will be even more rapid.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

On a point of Order. Mr. Speaker. To my knowledge three or four persons connected with the Foreign Office are in this House at the present moment. The Colonial Secretary and Under-Secretary are also in the House. It makes a farce of these Debates—with no disrespect to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education (Mr. Tomlinson)—that we cannot have on the Government Front Bench people who can answer any point made in the Debate.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston

Is the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) developing an argument for the recognition of Israel, as it will not be possible to make any representations to Israel unless diplomatic relations exist?

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's knowledge of the resources of civilisation is less exhaustive than he assumes.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Further to the point of Order. I must protest that there is not present one of the three Ministers concerned who could listen to some part of the Debate, and I hope that some effort will be made to procure a Minister who is able to deal with these matters.

Photo of Mr Clement Davies Mr Clement Davies , Sir Drefaldwyn

We all realise that the Foreign Secretary has only just come back, but then there are three others who might be here. One ought to be here. It is not fair to leave it merely to the Minister of Education and the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

I should like to support that from these back benches.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

Hon. Gentlemen have raised this as a point of Order, but it is not a point with which I can deal. It is not my business to say who ought to be on the Government Front Bench.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

With the deepest respect, Mr. Speaker, I am in the same situation as you, and that is the most flattering thing that has ever happened to me. I do not know what can be done. We are on the Adjournment, so therefore one cannot move the Adjournment of the House. One cannot move "the previous Question" when on the Adjournment. There is nothing one can do but hope that the Press will communicate to the public how His Majesty's Government treat complaints of failure to protect His Majesty's subjects.

Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who is to reply to the Debate, asked me to take notes for him for a few minutes because he wanted to go out and get something to eat. Surely it is not unusual for that to happen?

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

We have half a dozen of these Foreign Secretaries pantomiming all round the world, and that there are three or four of them in the precincts of the House is well known. We have listened to the longest and dreariest speeches by the Ministers, in charge of external affairs, and we have listened quietly, and even occasionally said, "Hear, hear," which is more than Government supporters do, and occasionally we make a speech, and the least we should expect is that our complaints and questions should receive the same attention. I should like to go on with my speech. I do not mind how long it goes on, but I should like to have dinner at about 8 o'clock.

The things to which I have referred have been each in itself comparatively small. There is another thing which at first sight the House may regard as not strictly relevant, and that is what has happened recently about citizenship. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman opposite would like me to spell it for him? I should like it to go down on his notes. What has happened about citizenship recently? I should like to quote a sentence from a learned writer on these topics. He says: The exchange of such exclusive and discriminating privileges composes the distinction between the Commonwealth and foreign nations. If you see a rabbit and a lettuce, you know where the rabbit ends and the lettuce begins: everything inside the rabbit's skin is rabbit and the rest is lettuce. The same thing, roughly speaking, is true about the Commonwealth. [Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman who is presumed to know something about agriculture wishes to discuss this topic, he must stand up and speak politely, in audible English, not mutter and interrupt continuously.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

If I am challenged on it, the point is this. The hon. Gentleman must not assume that foreign affairs is a secret only shared by him and the Foreign Secretary in this country. There have been very many references by him. He must take it when we ourselves decide to make some retaliation.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I will take any protest, and I will enjoy any protest, on any topic, of which the hon. Gentleman is capable but he must make it properly and standing on his feet and within the rules of Order of this House. He must not sit muttering and shaking his nose at me.

The point I am trying to get at is that there has been this complete practical failure to defend His Majesty's subjects or their goods and property all over the world. I ask His Majesty's Government to consider that from the practical point of view, and I also ask them to consider this: what foreign state now knows which persons are in what sense His Majesty's subjects? Which Minister—which of these Ministers to whom foreign affairs are not secrets—can now tell us—I will give way at once if one of them can tell us—what the Court at The Hague would be likely to decide about whether Irishmen are or are not His Majesty's subjects? It is no good His Majesty's Government deciding by an administrative decree that they are not going to regard the inhabitants of Eire as being in a different position from normal subjects. They may not regard them as being in a different position, but perhaps foreign governments will. Perhaps the International Court at The Hague will.

Has all this been thought out? If it has been thought out, what are the results of the excogitations of the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture? We ought to be told, or he should not be left in charge of the Debate. All these points I have taken are in themselves small instances, but they involve great principles. Any one of them would have been enough to bring down a government in any earlier generation. The Government's incompetence in the management of foreign policy matters far more than having even a wrong foreign policy, if they had one at all.

I come now to foreign policy in the more general and ordinary and drawing-room sense, and I want particularly to refer—do not think this is odd when I am talking of foreign policy—to Malaya. I want particularly to refer to Malaya because hon. Gentlemen may remember that we made Malaya rather one of the topics of the short Session. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is a colonial topic."] It has a lot to do with foreign policy, as hon. Gentlemen will see in a minute. It also has something to do with agriculture, which may cheer up the hon. Gentleman from that Ministry. We asked what was being done about sending rubber from Singapore to Russia, and there was no reply. Accordingly I wrote to the Foreign Office and asked for the information, and after some difficulty and letters marked "confidential" and all that sort of thing, I got the figures. I said that all this "confidential" business seemed slightly absurd and that if I were the sort of chap who was interested in statistics, I could have got the figures out of published statistics. I was told that it was not desired to draw public attention to the matters because it might be an embarrassment. What could it embarrass? Apparently commercial negotiations with Russia.

Almost before this correspondence was over, we heard the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He knows about foreign policy, too. He knows which concerns abroad are really democratic and ought to receive British money. He is another of these chaps like the Minister of Education and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture to whom foreign policy is not a mystery. We had a speech from him on 1st November, in which he said that everybody knows that the Russians are carrying on a cold war all over the world and using every commercial factor possible in a cold war against us, and against the recovery of civilisation. I am not quoting, but if hon. Members will refer to HANSARD of 1st November, they will find that I am fair. How can we conduct foreign policy when the Foreign Office is saying to people, "Look here, old chap. Do be decent. Don't be a cad. The Russians do not like the smell of rubber. Leave rubber out," while the Chancellor of the Exchequer is declaring that a cold war is being fought against us all over the world. The thing is complete nonsense.

The last thing I wish to say is this. I disagree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus). I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think a "cold" war is being fought. I think a "cold" was being fought even before the "hot" war was finished. I think it should have been recognised sooner than it was. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Defence told us the other day that it was not recognised until last December. I think that was certainly two years too late for any reasonable person to recognise it was being fought.

What is the worst that can happen when a war is fought against you? The worst thing that can happen is that you do not fight back. Of course, there is a kind of schoolboy paradox in suggesting that when an undeclared guerrilla—which is what a "cold" war is—is being fought, you should declare an undeclared guerrilla back. I fully see the logical difficulty; but I think that the time had come when it was somebody's duty to say that we have very considerable means for fighting a "cold" war back, and that we ought long ago to have been using those means. We ought long ago to have been using every conceivable factor within our control—long, long ago. We ought long, long ago to have brought to an end the invasion of Greece, because that is what it is. The invasion of the Peloponnese, curiously enough, is carried on mainly from Hungary. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman opposite knows that. That is not such an awfully easy place for us to get at. The land invasion of Greece is carried on mainly from Albania and partly, also, from Yugoslavia and Bulgaria: and that place we could deal with.

Of all the words uttered—I will not say "the things said"—this afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman, these are the words with which I have most sympathy: that the time is beginning to come when we must look even twice at U.N.O. I am not quoting him exactly, but that is what he said—that the time has come. His Majesty's Government ought now to make plain to the people of this country, on what great affair or what small affair has U.N.O. helped? Have things gone better in Palestine than they would but for U.N.O.? Have they gone better in Greece? In Palestine the women and children, about half a million of them—I do not know what trade unions have asked permission to send money on purely humanitarian grounds to the nearly half million Arab women and children who have just been pushed out of Palestine in a new operation of war—not, as one hon. Gentleman said the other day, "These things happen in war"; this is a new operation of war.

Is my information correct? I do not swear that it is: that the difficulty of providing, somehow, stopgap provision for those women and children is not so much the absence of actual things—blankets, saucepans, potatoes and so on—as the absence of organisation. And will the right hon. Gentleman, or whoever is to speak for him in reply, tell us: Has U.N.O. been, in their judgment, as helpful in that matter as it could have been, or has it not? I think we ought to know. Similarly, about Greece, I think we ought to know this.

Of course, with a new organisation like U.N.O. there is a sort of benevolent lying which is proper, or at least inevitable. You have got to pretend that the thing is being useful a little before it is being useful. But if you go on pretending it is being useful long after it is obvious to every one that is it obviously useless, then you are sunk, and then the time has come, in my judgment, when the watchdogs of the public have got to say, "Oi!" Has that moment come or has it not? I think it is the duty of right hon. Gentlemen opposite to tell us. Would it have been possible through or with U.N.O.—and if it is not possible through or with U.N.O., do they not think it necessary, in their duty of trying to stop human unhappiness, that we should persuade the United States Government that jointly between us we should stop Albania being used as a place d'armes for the invasion of Greece? Do they or do they not think it can be done through U.N.O.? If they do not, do they or do they not think that all the lip service they have paid all their lives to their love of peace and to their hatred of human hardship and so on compel them now, with or without U.N.O., to get that thing done?

7.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

I am glad to see that the Foreign Secretary is here. I hope his health is fully restored as a result of his stay in Eastbourne. He made this afternoon what I think—and what I am afraid I must say—was a disappointing and depressing speech on a very dreary and confused situation. He stated that he was reporting on European progress, but apart from a statement showing that some advances were being made towards the development of Western Union and the Atlantic Pact, of which I am very glad to hear and to know, it seemed, rather, a report of something which 12 months ago was bogged in the mire and has since sunk into it more deeply.

Worse and worse the position seems to grow. There was no indication, as the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) said, of how we were to get out or how we were to get on to firmer ground. We know, for example, that the airlift is keeping up in Berlin; we were very pleased and encouraged by the result of the elections recently in Berlin; but the situation there cannot possibly go on for ever. It seems to me rather useless to go on repeating the same old "if" formula about Berlin currency and the blockade which, we know, will never be translated into concrete results. I will return to this, if I may, in a moment.

I have studied and followed foreign affairs fairly closely for more than 40 years. I do not think I have known them to be in a more chaotic state than they are at present. Everything is on the move. As a result of two world wars in one generation, the framework which held Europe together in much the same pattern since the Battle of Waterloo, has broken and new forces are emerging in every direction and are struggling for existence and power. Some of those forces are good, some are evil, and in some those particular principles are mixed. They are all intensely vital and fully alive, and like maggots, removing corruption and then changing to something else, some of these movements which are causing so much excitement and unrest may assume different forms before they have finally completed their work.

The main difficulty about the present situation is that all plans for action in the foreign field are distorted by the growing antagonism between Russia and the West. The Government, for example, may say that, according to the lessons of history and the dictates of justice and common sense, a certain policy should be laid down towards a particular country. But, having drawn up their plan, the lines of that plan are pulled out of shape by this powerful contention, just as the course of a comet is affected by the pull of some other celestial body. When, as sometimes happens, the Foreign Office plan in the beginning is defective, the complications become even greater.

I want tonight to give two examples of this. One is Palestine—and I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) and to the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery for mentioning it. My other example, before I come to the question of Anglo-Soviet relations, is Greece. When I first entered the House of Commons nearly 20 years ago, practically every Member of the Labour Party was pledged to the Zionist cause.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

Certainly, almost the bulk of the Conservative Party and of the Liberal Party also. And rightly so because, as the Secretary of State for the Colonies said in 1939: This … is largely a conflict between the new order which the Jews stand for in Palestine and the old, crumbling feudal system for which a few rich Arab landlords stand. … Those of us who have seen the great achievement of the Jews on the spot have realised that the key principles of our great movement have been worked out by the Jews. There you have had co-operation, extension of the social services, reclamation of marshes, the planning of forests, the construction of great public works, all in the interests of the Palestine people, whether Jews or Arabs, and we feel it would be a great betrayal for that experiment to be brought to an end. Eleven Labour Party annual conferences voted in favour of Zionism and at the London Conference, at which I was present, in December, 1944, just seven months before the General Election, a declaration was adopted which the House will be interested to hear stated: There is surely neither hope nor meaning in a Jewish National Home unless we are prepared to let Jews … enter this tiny land in such numbers as to become the majority and adding, Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in. … The Arabs have many wide territories of their own; they must not claim to exclude the Jews from this small area of Palestine, less than the size of Wales. Indeed, we should re-examine also the possibility of extending the present Palestinian boundaries, by agreement with Egypt, Syria or Transjordan. In that declaration, partition was not contemplated. The Jews were to have the whole of Palestine, including Jerusalem, and, if possible, to have more if by peaceful negotiation the boundaries could be extended. That declaration was moved by the present Prime Minister and carried by an overwhelming majority, just before the General Election——

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Hence all our troubles.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

—but the Foreign Office have completely ignored that declaration. They have not encouraged the Arabs to move out, but have supplied the arms which have enabled them to march in. Mr. Morgenthau, who was formally Secretary of the United States Treasury, said the other day that without British arms the Arab forces could not last a minute. Last October the Egyptian forces, who had previously invaded the Negeb, attacked a Jewish convoy and in a short and brilliant campaign the Israeli Army completely defeated the Egyptian Army, reduced it to scattered bodies of demoralised troops and occupied the Northern Negeb. I am glad they did so and I hope they will defeat all hostile forces brought against them.

But, in Paris on the Council of U.N.O., the British representative demanded, not that the defeated Egyptians should retire across the Egyptian frontier, and go back to the Pyramids, or the slums of Cairo, but that, having been defeated, they should advance under the banner of U.N.O. to the positions occupied before they were defeated and that the victorious Israeli Army should evacuate the territory they had won and retreat to the line held before the battle. That ridiculous suggestion was adopted by U.N.O. and is embodied in a declaration. It remains a dead letter or, as the spokesman of Israel said, its fulfilment awaits "more peaceful conditions." Whilst the Arab leaders continue to say they will never agree to the State of Israel holding a foot of land in Palestine, Israel has a natural right to make its defensive lines as strong as possible.

I want to know why this country is so interested in the Negeb. We are often told that it is a very barren country and that even the Jews would not be able to develop it, although they do not think so themselves. Why are we so interested in the Negeb, which by the way, was alloted to Israel by an Assembly Resolution of last year? Is there any truth in the rumours in Cairo, printed in today's "Times," to the effect that there is a secret agreement we have made to give the Negeb to King Abdullah and as a result we are to have the right to construct a canal from Gaza to the Dead Sea and from the Dead Sea to the Port of Akaba?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

That has never been discussed.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

That is suggested from Cairo in "The Times" today. The Foreign Secretary says it has not been discussed and I take it that he means that it is untrue. If so, I am glad to hear it. If a canal could be constructed in that way, it would be better to co-operate with the engineering skill of the State of Israel, because the Arabs have no skill of that sort. Fundamentally this is a struggle between the 10th and 20th centuries, and the Foreign Office are supporting the 10th century because, I suppose, they think the Arab princes and sheiks, not the downtrodden fellaheen, could hold the Middle East against Russia. I believe that is the Foreign Office point of view and I have no doubt that many inhabitants of Colney Hatch share that view. The support which Arab princes could give in a modern militarised war is negligible and their supposed friendship is non-existent. In the last war, we had to force Egypt to be neutral, Iraq rebelled against us, and the ex-Mufti was in Berlin with Hitler. If the Transjordan Government are friendly today we pay them £2 million a year and it would be rather odd if they were not friendly for that.

On the other hand, the State of Israel represents the scientific achievements of the 20th century. As the U.N.O. Mediator said the other day, it is a "vibrant reality." And Michael Davidson writing in "The Observer" said that she is transforming thousands of scattered, frightened people into a responsible, happy nation, and will soon be making an impressive contribution to world production. I personally believe that the science and engineering skill of Israel will be able to restore, not only to Palestine, but to the whole vast area of the Middle East, some of that great agricultural prosperity they possessed in the ancient world. Up to now the Foreign Office have been backing the wrong horse, or rather they have been backing a camel against an aeroplane, and it is time they abandoned an anti-Semitic policy which, in my view, does not represent the views of this party, nor of the House of Commons, nor of this country.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

I wish to understand the argument of the hon. Gentleman properly. Do I understand that because, in his opinion, the Zionists in the Middle East are more advanced than the Arabs in the Middle East, the Arabs in Palestine and Transjordan should leave and make way for the Zionists? Is that the argument?

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

Yes, in a way. I said the Labour Party resolution was to that effect.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Would the hon. Gentleman apply that argument to all parts of the world?

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

I would not like to answer at random. It depends on many other factors which have to be considered. I do not think a backward country holding down tremendous wealth can keep out a more civilised race. We thought that at the time of the Transvaal War, and the Americans certainly thought so when they did not attach much weight to the rights of the Red Indians. Generally speaking, I take that view, although there may be many exceptions to it and I do not like, on the spur of the moment, to answer more than that. In this case I think it is time the Government followed the example of President Truman, the Union of South Africa and, I believe, 17 other nations, and recognised the State of Israel. I was glad that the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington suggested that this evening. After all, Britain was the first country to recognise the Zionist cause. If we treat this new State with sympathy and understanding, I believe she will be a staunch friend and ally of this country and of the Western world.

Moreover, Israel is, to all intents and purposes, a Socialist State. I do not think that will appeal to hon. Members opposite, but it does to us, or should do. It seems fitting that the Labour Government of England should extend the hand of fellowship and encouragement to this new State, and if they have any influence whatever with the Arab leaders, as they are supposed to have, I hope it will be exercised to bring about, as the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington pleaded, a reasonable agreement between the Arabs and the Jews in order that the Arab fellaheen and the Jewish workers may live side by side in peace. After the many disappointments he has had, I want to see the Foreign Secretary on the winning side for once. In reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Major Beamish), I think the Zionist movement is one of the great achievements of our time. I believe it is for the good of the world that it should come about, and I do not think that people living in the 10th Century should be allowed to stop it.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Would the hon. Member apply his views in the case of the Italians and the Abyssinians, as one example?

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

I do not think Abyssinia comes into it. As far as I know, the Abyssinians did not prevent the natural wealth of their country from being exploited by the nationals of other countries. If Abyssinia had been an absolutely barbaric country and had not had an organised government, it might have been a different thing. As it was they had a settled Government with British and American advisers, I believe, and their country was open to the merchants and people of other nations.

On the question of Greece, I do not speak tonight as a violent partisan. I have a great affection for that country and for the Greek people, and after eight years fighting both in the war and since the war, I feel that the chief need of Greece is not the triumph of any one party or creed, but reconciliation and the cessation of strife. The Prime Minister, on Monday, said that the interference by Greece's Northern neighbours was the root of all the trouble there. Speaking with great respect to the Prime Minister, I venture to suggest that he is mistaken. I think the cause of the trouble in Greece goes far deeper than that. It existed before any such intervention took place. It goes back even before the last war to the time of the dictatorship of General Metaxas, and perhaps goes back further than that.

In their treatment of Greece, in my view, the Foreign Office have made many grave mistakes, but I will not dwell on those now. The country at the moment is on the verge of ruin. Some 500,000 refugees from the villages have crowded into the towns. Martial law has now extended over the whole of the country. The administration is inefficient, and I am told, is breaking down altogether in certain districts. In the North, according to reports in "The Observer," there is a general feeling of hopelessness. Parliament has now adjourned until February, and the government, which saved its life the other day by only one vote, has no social policy which is calculated to win the support of the peasants or the people.

That is the position in Greece today. Some of us thought a few days ago that it would be a good thing if U.N.O. sent an international mission to Greece to try to bring about a truce between the two sides, to explore the differences and to get together some government of reconciliation. The Government have rejected that proposal on the ground that U.N.O. is precluded by its Charter from interfering in the internal affairs of any other country. That may be so, but Great Britain and America have a great influence in Athens because the Government there could not exist without our support and American support. I would like to see them exercising that influence now with Mr. Sophoulis in persuading the government in Greece to appeal to U.N.O. to send an international mission to Greece for the purpose I have mentioned. I believe such a mission would be welcomed by moderate and responsible opinion in Greece. I believe it would be welcomed by perhaps 80 per cent. of the ordinary people who are sick of the whole thing and who say, "A plague on both your houses." Of course, I am not hopeful that my suggestion will be adopted.

The next thing we shall probably see in Greece will be the proclamation of a dictatorship by General Papagos or some other military leader. The present deplorable situation in Greece follows from the policy which was adopted by the Leader of the Opposition with the support of the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington in 1944, and which has been followed so faithfully, too faithfully, by the present Government. In the meantime there has been held recently in Greece a trial by court martial of trade unionists, when 10 members of the Federation of the Greek Maritime Union were sentenced to death. Some of us asked the Foreign Secretary to use his influence for clemency, but that was refused. However, a sound democrat, Dr. Evatt from Australia, President of the United Nations Organisation, appealed for clemency for those men. The result was that their sentences have been postponed but not remitted, and they still have sentence of death hanging over them. If, after being postponed, this should be carried out, it would be a great shock to public opinion. I know it is no use appealing to the Foreign Office about that—I shall not get any help from them—but I would appeal straight from this House to Mr. Sophoulis himself to say that the death sentences should be remitted.

Before leaving the Mediterranean I turn to Yugoslavia. Marshal Tito was a war-time ally of ours. I trust that steps have been taken by the Foreign Office to show him how deeply we resent the scurrilous attacks which have been made upon his person and country by the Cominform. I notice also that Cominform countries are refusing needed goods and supplies. I hope we shall supply some of those goods ourselves. If so, a profitable trade might spring up between ourselves and Yugoslavia. I hope every effort will be made by the Foreign Office to promote a friendly agreement between Yugoslavia, Italy and Austria. Without disclosing the details of what I have in mind, I think certain territorial adjustments should be made which will be beneficial to those three countries. There is no reason why we should always leave the initiative to Moscow.

With regard to Berlin and our relations with Russia, I have always been a supporter of Anglo-Russian friendship. I have supported it for 30 years, ever since the 1917 revolution, and at the last General Election, in many speeches, I said I welcomed the fact that the British and the Russian zones were side by side because I hoped there would be extensive fraternisation between the British troops and the Russian troops, and I hoped that would go on in spite of anything the British War Office said. Therefore it was a considerable shock to me when I found out that the objections to fraternisation came from the Kremlin and not from Whitehall. As General Eisenhower says in his recent book, soon after the close of the war the pleasant relations between himself and Marshal Zhukov ended, and instructions were given from Moscow that Soviet soldiers must not be personal friends of soldiers of the West.

In spite of that, I have continued to work for better understanding between ourselves and Russia, and to remove those suspicions, some of them well founded, with which the Kremlin regards the West and all its works. But although the position has worsened considerably and rapidly during the last 12 months, and the possibility of establishing real friendship between ourselves and the Russian Government seems very remote, I still say that we have no right to interfere actively against that great social experiment which is being carried on in Russia and in her satellite countries. We do not want that system here. It may suit the nations of the East who have not our democratic traditions behind them, but what student of history can deny that in the future that experiment may develop a great and wonderful civilisation of its kind, different from ours just as much as the Taj Mahal differs from Westminster Abbey or as much as oriental music differs from Beethoven, but having a life and suitability of its own. In Heaven, it is said, are many mansions, and there is room on this earth for two civilisations and two economic systems living side by side in peace.

Many people have the idea that in the Kremlin there are two contending schools of thought; that they may not differ in deep principle but that they differ on matters of application, on methods and on timing. But these differences are important. For example, there are fanatical Marxists who believe that war between Communism and capitalism, between Russia and what they call the bourgeois States, is inevitable and, therefore, that the Communist State in Russia will never be safe until capitalism everywhere is destroyed. That view was held by Trotsky, and was developed by him in many of his books and writings. At that time Generalissimo Stalin took the opposite point of view. At that time he supported the school which believes, or professes to believe—because we must never forget the possibility of duplicity in this matter—that it is possible for Communism to live side by side with capitalism and that if Russia could be sure that she would not be attacked she would prefer to devote the next 50 years to building up her own economy and developing her own vast resources.

In the great controversy some years ago, Stalin defeated Trotsky, and drove him into banishment and to ultimate death. When the war came to an end those two schools of thought, which were still contending, may have been almost equally balanced. I may be wrong about that, because it is impossible for any one to know. But it is certain that Russia at that time was suffering, and is suffering, from the terrible losses of the war. She was in no position to wage another war. In a note to Yugoslavia, written on 14th May to Marshal Tito, she stated that very fact, that at the end of the war she was not in a position to wage another war, and that it was very tactless of Marshal Tito to try to get her into war over Trieste because she could not fight at that time. She needed a long period of peace to restore her war-shattered economy. In order to protect her wounded body—and we should consider what we would have done had we been in her place, as huge slices of her territory had been invaded and devastated and the enemy almost reached Moscow itself—she guarded her Western side with a broad buckler of satellite States. In order to make sure that those States should remain her Allies she insisted that they should have Communist Governments.

Any interference with that security belt of hers causes her the greatest possible anxiety and fear. Britain and America continually interfered with all those countries. For two years after the war a stream of notes was issued to those countries complaining about various matters—their political trials, methods of election, etc. Our agents were suspected, and perhaps rightly, of encouraging Right Wing elements in those countries to conspire against the Communist regimes that had been established by the Soviet. That was absolute folly; it was disastrous. It could never have accomplished anything, it did no good whatever and it created the maximum amount of irritation and fear. It also strengthened the extreme Marxists in the Kremlin. It may even have put them in the saddle if they were not there previously.

After October, 1945, when the London conference broke down, nominally on a question of procedure, but really on the question of interference in the Balkans, Russia began to be unco-operative in every sphere. Scenes in the Security Council, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery mentioned this afternoon, degenerated into open wrangling and vulgar abuse in which every issue was burked and every discussion ended in deadlock. Then the inevitable happened. A definite decision was taken in September, 1947. The Cominform was formed, the extreme Marxists assumed full control, and an-aggressive uncompromising Marxist policy was pursued.

It was quite clear that from then onwards Moscow was openly determined to do everything she could to smash the Marshall Plan and prevent the economic recovery of Western Europe. After all, although her security belt was good, she would be still more secure, the extremists urged, if the whole of Western Europe went bankrupt, if a wave of Communism swept to the Pyrenees or to the Atlantic. Czechoslovakia was the first prize of that new policy. Tito was ostracised for being too independent and not taking the Moscow line. Communist Party discipline everywhere has been tightened up—in Poland, Roumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Eastern Germany. The prestige of the Western Allies has been challenged by the blockade of Berlin. Although I do not think that Moscow is bent upon an immediate war, I think she is calculating, as has been stated today, that the West may be forced to divert to armaments the finance, material and the energy which we need for reconstruction and that, therefore, will make our economic recovery more uncertain.

I must say that all this seems to me to make real friendship with the present Soviet régime almost impossible, because the men in the Kremlin do not seem to care whether their policy is popular or not with the British working people. The case of the Russian brides showed that. It lost the Soviet tens of thousands of supporters in this country. The reason which they are giving today why Russian wives were not allowed to come here—because the women in this country have a status inferior to that of their husbands and have to obey their husbands in everything—will cause them to be still more unpopular. People argue that if Mr. Molotov cannot oblige us on such a small matter as this, it would be useless to expect him to come to an agreement on larger issues. Some people even think that if that is the best we can do about these few unfortunate women, what is the use of keeping an Embassy at Moscow at all?

Without going into all the prolonged negotiations which are taking place over Berlin, nobody can read the account of them without realising that the Soviet leaders are quite indifferent to the effect of their proceedings on the minds of the ordinary British people. The workers of England welcomed enthusiastically the revolution of 1917. They rejoiced in the fall of the Czars and the Russian aristocracy and they were inspired by the great achievements of the Soviet State and by the victories of the Red Army in the last war. It seems to me that the cold theorists of the Kremlin are ready to throw away all that enthusiasm, sympathy and admiration as carelessly as a man throws into the fire the butt end of a burnt-out cigarette.

It is quite right that the West should build up its economic and military structure and increase its power of resistance. I welcome the North Atlantic Pact and the close unity with America, her help and friendship and support. Personally, I am very grateful, and I feel much more secure now that I know that units of the American Air Force are in Lincolnshire—especially after hearing the speech of the Minister of Defence. There are two issues to be solved. One is the question of Berlin and the other the permanent settlement, if it can be obtained, with Russia. The Allies have stated, and quite rightly, that they do not intend to be forced out of Berlin. After the result of the elections which have taken place in Berlin recently, it is clear that we could not abandon those people now.

But the position is bound to get worse. The city is split in half, and the Russians will take further steps to make the administration of Berlin very difficult and almost impossible. Nobody believes that Four-Power control can ever be re-established. The spirit of co-operation is no longer there. What can be done about that? I put forward this suggestion very diffidently indeed. It has occurred to me that the suggestion could be put to Russia that the Four Powers withdraw from Berlin simultaneously, and that Berlin should be made temporarily a free city under the protection of U.N.O. with a governor appointed from some neutral State.

The municipal life of Berlin would be continued under its present elected Assembly and all Four Powers could withdraw without loss of prestige. We could tell the Soviet Government that if they would agree to that we would agree to having a conference on the whole of Germany and perhaps on the whole of our relations with Russia. I do not know whether that is practicable, but it is clear that the present position cannot last for ever. It is very important—if it is possible to achieve it—to bring about a permanent settlement between East and West. I suggested this two years ago or more. It seems to me that the re-election of President Truman might afford a favourable opportunity to put before Russia, either through a meeting between the Big Three—which the Prime Minister does not seem to like very much—or through the ordinary diplomatic channels, the proposition of a world truce based upon an agreement to differ; to divide the world into two separate spheres of influence and activity.

I would like to see that put forward. If two Powers, or two people, cannot get on very well they have either to fight or agree to differ. As the East and West cannot agree on any common political action, they had better remain apart in their respective spheres. Those spheres will have to be strictly defined. The West must assure the Soviet, in the most formal and categorical manner, that it will never interfere in the Soviet half of the world. In return, the Soviet must give a similar assurance to us to refrain from interfering with the West, and the writ of the Cominform must cease to run on our side of the "Iron Curtain." Let East be East and West be West. Let the two sides trade together as much as possible, but reduce the political contacts to the absolute minimum.

That would give us plenty of work to do for 50 years, each cultivating his own garden. Perhaps at the end of that time we might be able to cultivate one garden between us. In the meantime, let us live and let live and practice mutual toleration. If we do not interfere with each other politically we may, in the end, be able to co-operate on things nonpolitical, perhaps in the development of the world food supplies as suggested by Sir John Boyd Orr. Let us have two worlds—a Russian world and a Western world, with a world truce between them. On this basis, peace may be preserved for 50 years. Without it, I must reluctantly say that, trying to discern through the darkening shades of the future the dim shape of things to come, I cannot see the form or the features of peace.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

There must be fairness on both sides, with regard not only to the number of hon. Members who speak, but also the length of the speeches on each side. Therefore, I propose to call two hon. Members from the Opposition side of the House in order to make up for the length of the two speeches we have had from the other side, in the hope that that will equalise the extent of time that has been taken up by the last two speakers.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. I would, with respect, submit to your Ruling on a point which is entirely within your discretion; but the Opposition and the Government sides of the House in a Debate of this kind are not formally opposed to each other in the same way as on other subjects.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I must select speakers from each side of the House and I think I am acting with fairness in doing what I propose.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

May I say a word of personal explanation? It is not often that I speak in this House. There was no agreement at all and nothing was mentioned to me as to the length of the speeches. I am indeed sorry if I have exceeded my time.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

There was no agreement with regard to the hon. Member, and neither was there with the hon. Gentleman who preceded him. I try to call as many hon. Members on each side as is possible. One has to consider the convenience of hon. Members.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

Further to that point of Order. In this proper and natural allocation of time, while there is a fundamental agreement on all points on foreign policy between the Front Benchers, there is a much narrower group of Members on either side who are opposed to that foreign policy. The allocation might very well be, instead of between one side and the other, between those who support and those who oppose the foreign policy.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

That is a very good idea.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

That is a delightful theory. I understand, therefore, that only Independent Members should be called. Actually I am now calling an Independent Member and, therefore, I think that I am doing the right thing. Mr. Vernon Bartlett.

7.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Vernon Bartlett Mr Vernon Bartlett , Bridgwater

I have spent the last ten minutes tearing up notes on most of the points I hoped to make in this Debate. I shall be as brief as possible. I take it that one of the main objects of a Debate of this kind is that hon. Members should put forward as far as possible suggestions which may enable our country to play a more useful and larger part in world affairs. The Foreign Secretary explained in great detail the immense and bewildering variety of considerations which influence British policy at present. But pragmatism is not enough.

I have been trying, partly by listening to other speeches, to find out what should be the basis of British foreign policy now and the principle which should be behind it, particularly in our position with regard to the Soviet Union and the United States. I want very humbly, and I hope briefly, to put forward one or two suggestions about where we should stand in regard to those two great countries. The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) put forward an argument that we should throw in our hands entirely with the Soviet Union and impose almost by force the Soviet Union's policy on the United States. That is not the view shared by the majority of hon. Members. There are other hon. Members who frequently argue that the job of the British Government should be to stand roughly between both these great countries taking neither one side nor the other and being as careful and as discreet as we can in the hope that nobody will notice us. That seems to be a very negative policy and it cannot possibly be carried out.

We cannot stand half-way between those two countries for the simple reason that in the United States, as in this country, every citizen has the right to read what newspapers he likes, to make what speeches he likes and to criticise the Government as he pleases. We know that those same conditions, Which are vital to us, do not exist in the Soviet Union. On the other hand, nothing could do more harm than to follow a policy in which we did everything that the Americans wanted. I maintain that, although this country may be most impoverished, we have a political experience and tolerance which are of the utmost value in the world. I am not sure that we have ever had greater potentialities for influencing affairs than we have now even though in all material matters we are so weak.

The United States, having only so recently shown an interest in international affairs, has not yet that experience which is essential if she is to shoulder her immense responsibilities successfully. I believe, therefore, that our job is extremely important. The United States still has to learn that foreign policy is much more slow moving and delicate than domestic policy. As a result, in the Far East and in Western Europe it seems to me that the United States is in danger, by its impatience, of making very grave, really disastrous mistakes.

At present in London a high-powered American committee is meeting to discuss what factories in the Western zone of Germany should be recommended to be taken off the list of factories to be destroyed as being dangerous. Members of that committee who have done their job conscientiously and taken a great deal of time going round these factories have come to the conclusion that many of them that we have put on the list for dismantling as being dangerous or as being needed for reparations should nevertheless be left to the Germans. It is easy to understand the natural reasons behind that American argument.

The American taxpayer is naturally and rightly tired of subsidising his ex-enemies, as he has to do both in Japan and in Germany. He knows that if Germany can be put on her feet again and can become a self-supporting and relatively prosperous country, the danger of Communism there will immediately be greatly diminished. He knows, and we know, that if German production can be speeded up, that will greatly assist the successful working of the Marshall Plan.

These are good American arguments, but it seems to me that the Foreign Office should always keep in mind that we are Europeans and that we understand Europe in a way in which the Americans cannot possibly understand that area. There are arguments to be put on the other side. For example, despite her financial and political muddles, we should not forget the very great economic recovery that there has been in France. If there are political troubles in France and in China it is very much because in both countries there are Chinese and Frenchmen who have tried to introduce the democratic system in their countries against great difficulties—in the case of France, I should not have said "introduce" but restore democratic systems after the long period of occupation—whereas as Germany and Japan have never really made any effort of that kind.

If we are to see the rebuilding of German industry without careful control, one of the first things that must, and certainly will happen, will be a collapse of the French Government, and General de Gaulle will come into power. However anxious General de Gaulle may be to avoid taking unparliamentary measures —as I think he is—nevertheless he will find himself up against such industrial difficulties that he will have to turn himself into a dictator. That would be one result if the American policy of not dismantling German factories were to go through without being carefully checked by us.

I was glad to hear the Foreign Secretary insist that this will not happen, and I hope it will not, but surely it is true that it we see a rapid revival of Germany which brings out some of the old industrial leaders who did nothing to stop Hitler coming into power but who, on the contrary, helped him because they thought he would destroy the trade unions—as indeed he did with a lot of other things—if we see that, the result in the Soviet Union might be disastrous. The fear of the revival of Germany is the one thing which might drive the Soviet Union into some insensate act of aggression. After all, German troops occupied one-third of European Russia in a very brutal way indeed. Therefore the revival of Germany, as some of the Americans would like to see it happen, would be more likely than anything else to lead the Soviet Union into some idiotic action which might plunge us into another war. Also, if there is one thing which would drive the satellite states in Eastern Europe more and more into the arms of Russia, it would be the belief that we were restoring, without great care and control, the industrial capacity and productivity of the Ruhr.

It seems to me there is a similar danger in the Far East against which we must carefully guard ourselves. Those of us who have been to China have great sympathy—I think we all have great sympathy—with the efforts of the Nanking Government. After all, in the last 20 years they have carried out a remarkable change. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by the change has been less and less welcome, but it should be remembered that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek carried out one of the most remarkable unifying campaigns in that immense country that can possibly be imagined. Nevertheless I am convinced that that Government is finished. I am convinced that no effort can prop it up on its feet again and that we are to have, for the greater part of China at any rate, a Communist or so-called Communist régime.

The great danger there is again that the Americans, in their impatience to get quick results, may say to themselves that they have poured million upon millions of dollars into China to help Chiang Kai-shek and the only result has been that they have become unpopular both with the Chinese Communists and the Nanking Government. Having decided that, they may say to themselves —as some of them say in regard to Europe, "The French are hopeless"— that the Chinese are hopeless, and that therefore they should build up Germany and Japan again. In my opinion, the greatest danger about the advance of the Chinese Communists is not so much what they will do in China but what the effect of their success in China will be on American policy in Japan. One finds that General MacArthur has a great confidence that Japan has become democratic, but that confidence is not shared by all members of his staff and especially by those of them who have lived in Japan for a long time. One fears that, as a result of this failure of American policy in China, we may get all the old industrialists in Japan brought out again and Japan built up in the same way as some people would like to see Germany built up.

Those are two points which I have ventured to put before the House because I think they bring out, not only the dangers of American policy, or the policy of some Americans, but also the opportunities given to us. I would urge that, on every possible occasion, the Foreign Office and the British Government should remember, and should constantly remind the Americans and ourselves, that this "iron curtain" is not a vertical barrier separating certain countries, but a horizontal barrier separating certain peoples of different political conceptions of democracy in every country, and I therefore suggest that the best weapons to use are not the military weapons.

We are engaged in a cold war, and we have to get the proper military weapons in readiness in case its nature changes, but the greatest danger to the world at present is that we should think that those military weapons are a cure in themselves, and not the final desperate remedy. They are not a preventive, and what we need at the present time is a preventive campaign. It is the easiest thing in the world at present to be an extremist, but I believe that the British have a very great potential influence which they are not exercising to the full at the present time. I do not think they have decided sufficiently clearly what is their policy in Germany and Japan, and, in consequence, we are not living up to the immense responsibilities thrust upon us by a great and long political experience.

8.3 p.m.

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

I have listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Bartlett), and I want later to take up one or two of the very important points he made. But, since, for the moment, we are fortunate enough to have a representative of the Foreign Office on the Front Bench, I would venture, first, to touch quite briefly on some aspects of the speech of the Foreign Secretary.

I listened carefully to every word of the not very inspiring speech with which the right hon. Gentleman opened the Debate, and the thing that struck me most about it was that, in the course of a survey lasting an hour and a half, the Foreign Secretary of what, after all, is still a world Power, should have thought fit to confine his remarks to one continent, indeed, to one small part of a continent, and that at a time when things are happening in half-a-dozen other places which directly threaten not only the British Empire but democracy itself. People used to say during the war, "You never hear the one that hits you," and it seems to me that that is what is going to happen to the Government, if they do not look out.

At the present time, with our hopes and fears focused on Europe, and particularly on Germany, there is a very real danger that we may not accord a sufficient degree of importance to the startlingly rapid advance of Soviet power in Asia. I do not for a moment mean that we should relax our efforts in the West; on the contrary, I think we should redouble them, but, if these efforts are to achieve their purpose and give the world some hope of peace and stability, it is vital that they should be accompanied by equivalent efforts in the East.

In recent months, the advance of Soviet power in Europe has suffered a series of notable checks: in Germany, where the carefully laid plan to force out the Western Powers has merely produced deadlock and has greatly augmented Soviet unpopularity with the German people; in France, in Italy and in Greece. Even beyond the Iron Curtain, there are signs of less unquestioning obedience to the dictates of Moscow. Meanwhile, Marshall Aid has proved effective, Western Union has become a reality, and, in the Atlantic Pact, we shall at last have a properly constituted military alliance, with a guarantee of active American participation.

In other words, the point has been reached in Europe where the Russians can advance no further without risking a war, which they must realise they will lose. It is, of course, possible that war will nevertheless be the outcome of the present crisis, but, from what we know of the rulers of the Soviet Union, it would be surprising if they were deliberately to take such a risk, especially when it is considered what tempting alternatives lie open to them. Soviet policy is in its essence expansionist, and it is based— and we should be quite clear about this— on the irreconcilable antagonism of the Communist and non-Communist world. But the Kremlin is not in a hurry. Its policies are long-term, and they are based on the assumption that the capitalist system is, in any case, doomed to destruction.

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

Its policy, therefore, is and always has been cautious, flexible and realistic. I hope the hon. Gentleman opposite will agree with that definition of it. And so, it is only logical that the present rulers of Russia, finding their way blocked in the West, should follow the example of their Imperial predecessors and turn eastwards.

Europe has never been the only or the most important field of Russian policy. Whether she be ruled by Czars or commissars, Russia has been and remains an Asiatic no less than a European Power. Marshal Stalin himself is an Oriental, and, by all accounts, proud of it. The mantle of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane has fallen upon him and sits as easily as that of Kutusov and Suvarov. Whenever, in the past, insuperable obstacles have arisen in the West, she has always turned towards the East. And now once again the Russians and those who serve them are on the move in Asia.

The situation is most immediately alarming in China, where Chiang Kaishek's Nationalist Government is no longer able to hold its own against the Communists, who now control half the country. Indeed, unless something is done, and done soon, there is reason to fear that in a matter of months the whole of China will have gone Communist.

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

I am glad to get confirmation for some of my ideas from such an authoritative source.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is it not the case that what the hon. Member calls "Communists" must have the mass of the people behind them in resisting the millions of dollars and all kinds of armaments which America has poured into China for Chiang Kai-shek for so many years?

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

I would not agree with that.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

If the hon. Gentleman will not face up to that will he explain what he thinks is the danger to the Chinese people in chucking out the barbarians who have been ruling them for the last 20 years? What danger is there in the Chinese people getting rid of Fascism in their country?

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

It does not always follow that because a set of people win military victories, they necessarily have the mass of the people behind them. Hitler overran large areas of Europe, but I do not really think that the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) would suggest that he had the mass of the people of Europe behind him.

Now there are some who regard these developments with equanimity. Some hon. Members opposite seem even to regard them with enthusiasm. We hear the old argument that Chinese Communists are not really Communists, but simply agrarian reformers with rather advanced views. From the enthusiasm which the hon. Member for West Fife shows for them there can be little doubt that they are the real thing. We also hear that even if China were to fall under Soviet or Communist domination, the Chinese people will, in the long run, get the best of any foreign conqueror. That may be so, but for practical purposes these are rash assumptions on which to work. The Communist Moscow-trained leaders are at present manifestly on the best terms with the Kremlin. But it is possible that they will turn out, as other apparently good Communists have turned out, to be diversionists. It is all very well for the hon. Member for West Fife to look so smug, but I have known Communists who appeared to be perfectly respectable, like himself, but who, nevertheless, much to their surprise, turned out to be Left or Right wing diversionists, or both at the same time. My advice to the hon. Member would be to be very careful indeed. These things may happen to anyone, but, as I say, it is a risky assumption on which to work.

It would be no less risky to place too much reliance on the long-term powers of resistance of the Chinese people. To do that would be to underrate the technical efficiency, in these matters, of the Soviet Government and their fifth column. They have learned a lot since their earlier failures in China. What we must not forget is that their colonial policy is one of their strongest points. For instance, in the years before the war they succeeded, with little effort, and without attracting attention at all, in appropriating the whole of Outer Mongolia, Sinkiang, not to mention the people's republic of Tannu Tuva, all nominally parts of China and equivalent in area to the whole of the Japanese conquests in Manchuria.

No. We must face up to the fact that if China is allowed to go Communist she will become a Soviet dominion, just as Outer Mongolia, Poland and Roumania have become Soviet dominions. If that happens, the result will be a very serious shifting in the balance of world power, for, in the first place, the immense human and material resources of China will be placed at Russia's disposal and, secondly, Russia will find herself geographically and strategically in an irresistibly strong position from which to continue her conquest of Asia. Sprawling across the whole of Asia, from Port Arthur to Mount Ararat, Russia is already extremely well placed to follow her policy of Asiatic expansion while, politically, the teeming masses of Asia, who have grown used to a standard of life so low that any change must seem desirable, offer, as I am sure the hon. Member for West Fife will agree, an ideal field for Communist penetration.

In the 80's and 90's of the last century the Russians were checked by the knowledge that in their victorious advance in Asia they must reckon with the embattled might of the British Empire. Today, that Empire, in the phrase of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is being "liquidated," leaving a power vacuum which invites aggression and expansion. It is too much to hope that Pakistan and India, weakened and divided, will succeed for long in holding their own, unaided, against the overwhelming political, military and economic pressure of the Soviet Union. The same applies to Burma and other countries of South-East Asia, which are already being subjected to an intensive softening up process; to Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq, in all of which a powerful Soviet fifth column is already at work.

Photo of Mr Frank Fairhurst Mr Frank Fairhurst , Oldham

The hon. Member said a vacuum was being created by the liquidation of the British Empire. Can he tell us what force we should develop to fill that vacuum?

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

If the hon. Member will listen I will do my best to answer him, although it is not for back benchers on this side of the House to produce a policy for the Government.

What chance is there of retrieving the situation before it is too late? The view is widely held that it is worse than useless to help the present Government of China, that money sent to them is squandered while arms find their way almost immediately into the hands of the Communists. That may be so, but I think that even so we should not be in too great a hurry to abandon, without further ado, Chiang Kai-shek who, for a quarter of a century, fought constantly and not unsuccessfully against a variety of enemies, some of them ours, and who, again and again, has extricated his country and himself from apparently hopeless predicaments.

But if in fact it is, as it may well be, impossible to instil new life into the Nationalist Government, then some alternative rallying point must be found. For, after all, if, as seems all too likely, further vast stretches of the country fall into the hands of the Communists, it will have this effect: that, as the areas under their control grow larger, they will find themselves forced ever more on to the defensive and thus forfeit the initiative and the mobility which are at present among their most important assets. But if China, and with it the rest of Asia, are not to fall under Soviet domination, what is needed above all is a strong positive lead from the West. The hon. Member did me the honour to ask me what my solution of this problem was. I would say: A strong positive lead from the West.

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

I will tell the hon. Member. It is no use our deluding ourselves, with Asia and half Europe under Communist control. The outlook for Democracy would be gloomy, Atlantic pact or no Atlantic pact.

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

It is not enough for us to barricade our front doors while leaving wide open what Lenin called—I hope the hon. Member for West Fife will recognise the quotation—the back door of the Capitalist and Imperialist Powers, which means, in his language, the Democratic Powers. To meet a two-fold menace, we need a dual system of defence, Eastern Union as well as Western Union, a Pacific pact as well as an Atlantic Pact.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Will the hon. Member allow me?

Photo of Sir Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy Maclean , Lancaster

No, Sir, I will not give way. We know all too much of the purely negative aspect of the Government's policy in the East. We know of the chaos which followed our withdrawal from Palestine, India and Burma. We know the disastrous delay in restoring order in Malaya. We know of the failure to protect our interests in China. We know of their refusal to play a proper part in Japan and Korea. I would ask the Minister who may answer the Debate to give us some indication of what positive action the Government propose to take to stem the Communist tide in the East.

8.24 p.m.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

I will not endeavour to follow the hon. Gentleman in the speech which he has just delivered and which he no doubt found so much more inspiring than the Foreign Secretary's. Perhaps I might express the hope that the Chair might think that the honours are now easy and might now call two hon. Members from this side of the House.

The hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Maclean) did not answer the question which was put to him, why he thought that Chiang Kai-shek was losing, if he has not already lost, most of China. I will not invite him to answer the question now, but I invite him to study the question quietly for himself. If he finds the results of his inquiry a little shocking, to him at least, the study might be a political education which would do him no harm.

I intervene in the Debate only because I want to say a word or two about Palestine. I have made a number of speeches in the House on this subject and I think it has been fairly clear that I have been extremely critical of the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to Palestine during the past three years. I do not want to say another word about that now. We can leave all that part of the matter to the historians. It is time that we addressed ourselves, and the Government addressed themselves, to the realities of the situation. I listened with very great interest to the speech of the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden). I should particularly like to refer to one part of his speech.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Hear, hear. It was very good.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Of course, I welcomed his suggestion that the Government should recognise the State of Israel, but I do not know why, in all the circumstances, the Government should take two bites at the cherry. I do not see why there should be de facto recognition to be followed some day or other by de jure recognition. There is no reason why the recognition should not be outright de jure. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not mind, but the reasons which he gave in order to persuade the Government to accord any recognition at all seem to be thoroughly unrealistic. He put forward his plea for recognition on the basis that this country could now, by reason of the confidence it enjoys on both sides, bring them together and help them to reach an agreement. I wish that were true.

It is no pleasure for a citizen of this country to have to say—but if we are to face the realities then let it be realities that we face—that the realities are, whether with justification or without it, that we enjoy at this moment no confidence whatever either in Israel or in any of the other countries. I am sorry that it should be so, but I am afraid that it is so. Any policy founded on the contrary assumption will only fail. That does not invalidate the plea made by the right hon. Gentleman. I do not know why it is that statesmen in this House always put themselves in the position that Disraeli once charged Mr. Gladstone with being in, when he said —I am not quoting the actual words— "I do not mind the right hon. Gentleman having the ace up his sleeve but I do not see why he should claim that it was the Almighty who put it there."

This country has in the Near East, legitimate interests of which it has no reason to be ashamed and which it is entitled to protect. Why in the world should not we say so? Why should we not put our cards on the table and say, "These are our interests in this part of the world and"—a perfectly proper thing to say—"we are entitled to protect them, we are going to protect them, and this is the kind of protection that we seek"? Why should not we do that at the United Nations? Why not in the House itself and why not with the Arab States and the State of Israel? We should do much better by being absolutely candid when our interests are legitimate than by pretending that we have only altruistic motives and no material interests of our own to serve. Nobody believes it at all.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Surely, even on that basis, on the merely materialistic basis, which I agree exists, our greatest interest is that there should be peace between these two parties?

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Of course. I thought I had already indicated that I was entirely in agreement with the right hon. Gentleman about recognition and aiding, if we can aid, and ceasing to impede direct negotiations between these parties. I see no reason why there should not be complete agreement between them. I am afraid it is true, although in saying this I am departing from my intention not to go into the past, that the lukewarm support—and I am not sure that that is not rather extravagant praise—which the Government gave to the United Nations solution in November last year prevented an agreement which, at that time, could have been reached without bloodshed, without disorder, and without fighting of any kind.

I think it is so, and if my interests, my sympathies in these matters were more enlisted on the Arab side than they are on the other—and everybody knows they are enlisted on the other—I should feel that I was more entitled to complain of His Majesty's Government. They have been completely misled, and have been told for three years that nothing will be allowed to happen there to which they do not freely agree. As they began by being in possession of all they wanted, that was an open invitation to them never to agree to anything. The result of never agreeing to anything when one is hopelessly in the wrong, is, in the end, to lose everything. I am not saying that they have lost everything or anything. I think it could be to the equal advantage of Israel, the Arab countries, the peace of the world, and of this country, if there were immediate recognition of Israel, if that were accepted as a fact, and it is a fact, and if we then proceeded from that to define and deal with what are our own interests in the matter and in this part of the world.

The hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Maclean) made one reference to Palestine in which he talked about a fifth column. I think that what he intended to convey was that the State of Israel was necessarily already enlisted on the wrong side in a world conflict between West and East. I think that in some quarters—I do not know whether in Government quarters or not—there is a feeling to that effect, a feeling that whether they can get anything out of the Arabs or not, whether they can win any sympathy or support, and whether such support would be of any material value or not, they are bound to rely upon them, because they have already written off the State of Israel. I am sure that is a profound mistake.

There is no doubt, of course, that the Soviet bloc has consistently supported them in this matter over the whole of the past two years. It is equally a fact that they are the only States in the world to have done so. It would be uncandid and disingenuous not to admit at once that these historical facts must lay upon the new State a certain obligation of gratitude, and that it would be very wrong if it were not so.

On the other hand, their whole history, background, psychological make-up and ideals are wholly non-totalitarian. Some people say: "Oh, but look at the great influx from Eastern Europe into Palestine in recent years and months." Indeed, one of the great achievements of this young State is that in five months, when it was fighting with its back to the sea and when everybody expected it to be swept into the sea, it introduced into its territory between 80,000 and 90,000 refugees from Europe; an unparalleled achievement in circumstances of this kind. While it is true that a great many, by no means all, come from Eastern Europe, those who come are those who want to come—not those who want to stay. Those who can easily be absorbed into the social economies and the new democracies of Eastern Europe do not want to leave; they stay where they are. I am bound to say—and I think we all ought to admit it if we are frank and candid with one another—that for the first time in the history of these parts of the world, they can stay in those countries with perfect security.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

That is the first time we have had any acknowledgement of that in this House.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Well, I hope that at any rate I have never said anything to indicate the contrary. It is the plain fact, and if this is the first time it has been said in this House, at any rate it is being said now, and it is quite time that it was said. But I am not talking about those who want to stay. I am talking about those who go; and those who go, go not as Communists, and not as the emissaries of any other State, but because they want to take part in this great adventure of the re-creation of a nation.

I do not want to delay the House with a long speech, but I do want to say just this to the Government. I do not think it is a good thing that they should be the very last in the world to recognise the inevitable.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

I am coming to that. There are a great many States in the world who have recognised Israel; and it should not be forgotten that at any rate three of the largest of our Dominions have done so, and still do so, and have lent very valuable support during all this difficult period. I am talking about Canada, New Zealand and, above all, Australia, whose performance in the Assembly on this, as on some other points, has been marked with the greatest possible and most far-sighted statesmanship and courage. My hon. Friend the Member for East Coventry (Mr. Crossman) interrupted just now to say that the Government ought not to be behind the Tories in this matter. Well, there is a certain party satisfaction to be got out of making such a point, and I do not claim to be immune from that kind of satisfaction. But the point has greater validity and importance than merely its place in party controversy domestically in this country.

I happen to be one of those who believe that the fight for progressive civilisation in the world is not a fight between, say, Socialism and reaction. I think that whether we use the old names or not, whatever tags we apply, whatever slogans we use, salvation in the world depends upon the combination of two ideals: the first, the capacity of a community to control its economic resources and administer them in the interests of all its members; and the second to be able to do that within a political framework, and in a political spirit, of civil and political liberties of the fullest kind. I believe that it is that job in world history that this Government was elected to do. I believe that in this country they are doing it with very great skill, with great courage, and with great determination.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

I think the mistakes they have made in foreign policy have been due to their reluctance to place themselves at the head of a similar fight everywhere else in the world. I notice that hon. Members on the other side are not so enthusiastic about the Foreign Secretary as they used to be. I heard one of them describe his policy as a failure. Whether it is a failure or not, it does not really lie in the mouths of hon. Gentlemen on those benches to say so, because, failure or not, they have encouraged him throughout all these three years in everything he has done, and they have made no bones about saying so. If I am right about this conjunction of circumstances, if I am right about what the conditions of progress in this and the next generation are, then it is most important that in the Middle East, in all this part of the world, the ideals of democratic Socialism should prevail.

There is great bitterness in Israel about this country. The bitterness is all the greater because of what it is to them.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I wonder if the hon. Gentleman will forgive me? When he says there is great bitterness in Israel, is that more or less technical term used geographically or how?

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

If the hon. Gentleman had been in the House a little earlier and had heard the earlier part of my speech, it would not have been necessary for him to have asked that question, and I think that he might have saved himself the trouble of asking it now. He will get no answer from me. Everybody in the House knows what I mean, and I think that he knows what I mean, too. I am talking about the State of Israel as recognised by most of the nations in the United Nations, and the same State of Israel that the Deputy Leader of his party in his speech today urged the Government to recognise. Perhaps it will be interesting for somebody, some day, on the Opposition Front Bench to say whether he was speaking for the hon. Gentleman. too, or not.

What I was saying was that there is great bitterness. I am not stopping to argue whether the bitterness is justified or unjustified. I am not stopping to argue its limitations or degree. We have to deal with the facts, and this is one of the facts. I say that the bitterness is much greater than it would have been if the same policy had been followed by a Conservative Administration. It is quite true that their ideals and methods are like ours; that when one makes the proper geographical and economical adjustments, then the political and social task that they have to pursue is very like ours.

It is of the greatest importance that we should not drive them the wrong way, and I would urge my hon. Friend who is to reply not to be too formal and not too official. I know the formal answer is, "Oh, we cannot recognise yet; it is premature." Why is it premature? Why is it premature for us to do what so many other nations have done, and what so many of our Dominions have done? How can it be premature when it has ceased to be premature in view of what everybody else in the world has done? I would rather that he should do something else; that he should himself make some warm, cordial gesture towards this new State which, without assistance from others, has been able to establish itself and to maintain itself. The ability to establish yourself and to maintain yourself as a State is all that is really needed in order to win recognition from other nations.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

From other nations that behave honestly.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

I am putting it on the narrowest grounds. They have, in fact, been able to establish and maintain themselves. That of itself would be sufficient to entitle them to recognition, and in establishing and maintaining themselves they have done only what the assembled nations of the world invited them to do. So there is no quarrel between what, in fact, happened, and what, in justice, ought to have happened. It has not been possible to find in British policy in Palestine during the last three years anything that makes sense at all either through any terms of party policy, of natural justice or in the narrowest terms of the interests of this country. I hope we have come to the end of that epoch, and I invite my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State to take the first steps and take them generously and warmly tonight.

8.47 p.m.

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury

I hope the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) will forgive me if I do not follow him in the speech which he has just made, because I wish to devote myself to the Far Eastern question. In the speech we heard from the Foreign Secretary today, it was noticeable that he said at the very beginning that he was only going to devote a very short while to the Middle and Far East. In fact, it was about ten minutes five minutes being devoted to the Far East. That is indeed a symptom of what I consider is a dangerous tendency. Because the Far East is far away and other problems in Europe may be more pressing, too often the Far East is pushed into the background and left there.

Let me remind the House that the right hon. Gentleman, during the short Session in September, by some curious set of circumstances, replied instead of the Colonial Secretary to the criticisms that have been made against the Government's actions in Malaya. He stated with the utmost boldness and in the highest possible terms, that the incidents in Malaya, in China and in the Far East generally were part of a great Communist plot and move and that the Government had evidence to that effect. It is on record that that was his argument; but today he comes forward and in the three or four minutes which he devotes to the Far East he says that the policy of His Majesty's Government is based on "non-intervention" agreed to by the Great Powers in December, 1945.

Is it that His Majesty's Government in the Far East are in favour of nonintervention, of sitting on the fence, while watching the iron curtain of Communism advance through China? It may well be that in the best Chinese tradition it will not be an "iron curtain" but a paper one, painted to look like iron with a few terrifying guns and planes on it. Whatever one may think of Communism in the Far East—and I shall come to that a little bit later—is the policy of His Majesty's Government to be nonintervention—to do nothing? I will admit that there is a difference—[Interruption.] After the accusations which the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) made against me the other day, I do not propose to take the slightest notice of anything he may say.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

The hon. Gentleman has just taken notice.

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury

May I continue with what I was saying? There is a difference between Malaya and China. In Malaya the responsibility is directly ours and on that the Government fell down, because they would not permit a Debate to take place for over a year, nor would they listen to any word of warning. In China it is a world responsibility and probably that of the United States of America and ourselves more than anybody else.

What do we see at the present moment? Whatever we may think of the Nanking régime today, I agree that it has on many occasions in the past under very difficult circumstances done the utmost that it could, but the facts today—we must not look too much into the past—are that it has to a considerable extent lost the confidence of those who are under its rule. These things happen. One of these days, within a short time, His Majesty's Government may realise what it is to have lost the confidence of the people of this country. It is not an entirely unusual thing. This is a régime which has not changed for about 20 years. Why are so many of its adherents going over, as they undoubtedly are, to the Communist régime in the North? Largely because they are offered no alternative whatever. It is not necessarily the case that they are Communist in outlook or likely to be Communist in outlook, but that they feel dissatisfied as they are, and have no alternative.

It is right to try to analyse to some extent what the Northern Communist movement is. Undoubtedly at the centre of it and controlling the machine there is the pure dyed-in-the-wool, Kremlintrained, toeing-the-line Communist hard core—[Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite may laugh but they have not the same personal experience as I have in that area. Throughout the war it was my duty to be in touch with those areas, and I have maintained that contact since. I hope the House will give more weight to that evidence than the prefabricated nonsense they may get from some of their back benchers.

As I analyse the Communist movement in the North, there is this hard core of trained people, searching out key positions. They intend, if it is possible, to get control of the whole of China for reasons which were given by my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. F. Maclean), who spoke so admirably and clearly on the subject; but that does not necessarily mean that the whole mass of people in North China are Communists. There is some danger of falling into that trap and thinking that because the armies have advanced and the country has to some extent come under the new régime, the people are Communists. They are not. A great many of them are not the slightest bit interested in politics and very little in government. They think of government as something which is loathly in every way and want to get rid of it. China is a very sensible place. In its hierarchy, the merchant takes precedence over the soldier with the politician almost invisible at the far end of the queue. They have some idea of a sense of proportion in these things.

Surely, our job in China, with America, is to offer a possible alternative to those who are at present dissatisfied with one régime and are going to another régime simply because it is not the last one. The best way is to make it perfectly clear to the Kuomintang or an alternative government in Southern and Central China and the mass of the people, that we will not be non-interventionists but will intervene in every way we can to support any régime if that regime has the backing of the people of China. The same thing applies in the North. If there is—and it can happen—a change of feeling when all the true horrors of Communist domination, such as we have seen in Europe, are put upon China, when the iron heel of the Kremlin comes down on North China, and if there is a revolution there, or even a drift away, let us hope that we shall be able to find means by propaganda and other methods to rally those people to the new régime or ourselves.

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury

How are we to achieve that? First of all, there is one clear way. We must establish our sheet anchor in the Far East absolutely firmly, and that is in Hong Kong; that is, we must see to the safety of Hong Kong and it must be absolutely certain and sure, and clear to the eyes of everybody in the Far East that Hong Kong will stay in its present form as a British Colony. Reinforcement, both military and in other forms, is absolutely essential. If there is any proof of the need of it, I have only to point to the fact that over two million Chinese have come from the mainland to Hong Kong. They, at least, appreciate what British rule in Hong Kong means.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

Can they not be used for reinforcements?

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury

Let us recreate what by a generous gesture we destroyed—at the time it appeared to be the right gesture—when we gave up extraterritorial rights in the old treaty ports. We gave up all extraterritorial rights in China, which looked to be the right thing, as so very often happens. It was a great and generous gesture during the war by America and ourselves and the other Treaty Powers. What was the result? We deprived the Chinese of one of the most precious things they had—areas to which they could go where they were certain of getting law properly administered, order, and the possibility of something like commercial dealing under stable conditions. Extraterritorial rights which we have given up have a curious sound about them. There are not many territorial rights left today that we gave up. The advance of the Communist-led forces has swept away a great deal of the territory and not only the rights, and a great deal of the territorial rights which we gave up voluntarily have now passed to the Communists. These have been conquered by the Soviet-controlled Communist movement there.

However, there are still areas available, such as Shanghai and Tien-tsin. Let us, by agreement with whatever the new government in South and Central China—or even possibly North China—will be when they solidify a little—with their consent under some international body, create new treaty ports, new areas in China, which will be of the utmost benefit to the Chinese themselves and which will be able to start up again on a stable economy that does not exist anywhere else in China at the present time.

There I am putting to His Majesty's Government a practical remedy instead of their feeble bleat of non-intervention under cover of which we get no action of any sort. It is not too late to do these things. They will be done with the consent of practically every nation in the world and the Chinese themselves. Do not let us have legalistic arguments that it will be difficult to find exactly the right formula. Let us for once take action and establish these bridgeheads against Communism, for that is what they will be, which are so parallel to those that my right hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) wished to establish in Palestine. He wanted to establish there the two ends of the bridge so that it could be built between them. I am asking for bridgeheads to be established in China where we can offer a refuge to all those who will soon see that the Communist way of life which is being imposed upon them is disastrous, and who wish to return to the fold.

Photo of Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge , Bedford

The hon. Member has just condemned non-intervention. Having done so, will he answer this question? Would he, if necessary, go to war in China?

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury

I am not suggesting that we should go to war in China, I am saying that we should establish and defend certain treaty ports which will be ports of refuge and strong centres there. Yes, go to war to that extent, but it would be a war of defence and not a war of attack.

Photo of Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge , Bedford

War might be involved then?

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury

The hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeffington-Lodge) can put it any way he likes—the facts of the case will establish themselves. The very fact that they might be attacked might show how much they were feared, how great was their use against the Communist regime in North China. The danger in China is not only to China itself but its spread throughout the Far East, Malaya, the Netherlands East Indies, and so on: it has completely unbalanced the situation in the Pacific and in the Far East. We cannot, therefore, afford this policy of non-intervention. We have to do something a little more positive. If my suggestion does not find favour, let us at least hear something from the Government that they propose to do, except relying on the Treaty of Non-intervention of December, 1945.

Let me turn for one moment to Japan. It is only three years ago since I made a speech in this House about the dangers that might arise. Since then I have noticed that an increasing number of hon. Members, those who have been there and those who study it, are coming round to the view I ventured to express: that was, the great source of danger that might be created there—a kind of Frankenstein's monster. Something extremely dangerous has been done in the Far East, largely by America because we have not had much say there. We are getting a little more say now, but not as much as we might. They have fastened all the trappings, the pattern and the machine of democracy on to a country which does not understand democracy and will not understand it for several decades. We have told them that their Emperor is not what they thought he was; we have shown them, through elections, what a voting machine is; but to think that we have really altered their mental outlook is extraordinarily optimistic, almost foolishly so. It is very unlikely that that will stand the test which is likely to come.

What is likely to be the situation in Japan in a few years' time? Under American guidance and with American aid, that country, which was less touched by war than almost any of the other great countries—only two bombs were dropped on it, and in a limited area—that country will be modernised, equipped and have all the advantages of several years of American technological assistance; it will be equipped as a Western Power for production, but with the low wage cost that inevitably occurs in an Eastern Power.

Two years ago, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer replied to a speech I made on this subject when I was putting forward the thesis that, even if we raised to the maximum extent the standard of living of the Japanese, it could never reach that of the inhabitants of Western Europe, because these are people whose life is based on eating a certain amount of rice and living in flimsy houses because it is earthquake country Therefore, if we imposed upon them all the variegated delights of a Strachey diet, or the magnificent "prefab" houses that are being built here by the Minister of Health, they would not appreciate any of these things, which are not in their way of living, and there is no reason why we should impose our way of living upon them. Consequently, there will be exactly the same fear as that which the Foreign Secretary had about the Ruhr. He was worried that the standard of living in the Ruhr was so low and that that would cause a disequilibrium in the economy of Europe. I entirely agree with him, but how much greater will be the disequilibrium in Japan, where the standard of living can never possibly be raised to within measurable distance of a European standard of living?

Within a few years, therefore, we shall face an economy which will have the advantages of modern Western technology from America and of low cost of labour, even when labour is on the best possible basis—of which I am all in favour—in the Far East. In other words, we shall have created the most scientific and up-to-date dumping machine that it will be possible to find. That will constitute a great danger. And what will happen then? The machine of democracy which we have imposed upon Japan will start to work and the Japanese will have a beautiful and democratic election; they will turn round and say, "Thank you very much. We have now voted 97 to three that you get out."

What will be our reply? We have only two answers. Either we stay, in which case they say, "This democracy is a mockery and has never meant anything at all. It is just a game you have taught us and now you are altering the rules." If that happens we shall drive them back to their emperor-worship and all their old beliefs; or else we get out. If we get out we have created, without control in the Far East, this vast and powerful country which has proved already that in 40 or 50 years it could rise from practically nothing to be a very great Power of the world, capable of producing every sort of dangerous weapon and munition, and capable of wrecking every market in the world to which we have to export.

What are we doing about it? Is there to be non-intervention here, too? Slowly and painfully, we are getting a footing in Japan, but not more than that. We have to make a very much greater effort, an and painfully, we are getting a footing in effort that has to be made more in Washington than in Japan. This real danger which I have tried to indicate is beginning to dawn upon the United States. Until the dual dangers of a highly-geared and speeded-up economy, on top of which rather a gimcrack democracy has been fastened, are understood, and until some means have been taken to counter them, there can be no peace in anybody's mind about their own country. Already Lancashire and Yorkshire are extremely perturbed about the effect upon the cotton and woollen industries. It is equally true of the potteries. These are only the first symptoms of what is to come.

I believe that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite realise this danger. They will be doing the greatest service to this country if their realisation is canalised into bringing a great deal more pressure to bear on their Government which, I realise, has many other tasks. They must take this task in hand and do so very soon. There is no reason at all either for devoting only four or five minutes to the Far East, or for saying that Government policy is going to be one of non-intervention, or repeating the error made in Malaya and putting off until it is again a case of "too little and too late."

To summarise what I have urged: first, there is the necessity of an absolutely clear statement about Hong Kong and the defences of Hong Kong. I am certain that on that rock we can build. Then there is the restoration of the treaty ports. Thirdly, there is examination of how far we are going in Japan and how far we are to have an influence on the future of Japan. These are the three cardinal points which must be discussed about the Far East.

In regard to China, let us not run the risk of guessing whether the forces in the North are more or less Communist, but let us set to with all the means still left to us and all we can create by propaganda and other means, to make quite certain that the mass of people in North and South China have some alternative to Communism. At present it is the only thing offered to them while their other Government is breaking up. One trouble is that the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office have so much to look after that they cannot devote enough time to what is likely to be brought against them in the Far East and elsewhere. But I have tried to make the urgency and importance of these things, both on the short and long term views, clear to them, and I hope they will treat this subject with a little more time, thought and policy than we have had up to date.

9.7 p.m.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Although I do not always, or usually, agree with him, one is bound to admit that the hon. Member for Bury (Mr. W. Fletcher) is one of the relatively few hon. Members of the House who have consistently shown their interest in the Far East, a subject which the House has in general neglected. Unfortunately, I cannot join with him in discussing that subject tonight, because I want to make one or two general observations; I have been busy cutting out the most uninteresting parts of the inordinately long speech I had prepared, in the hope of not making the longest back-bench speech from this side of the House.

The main point I want to make is extremely trite but, I believe, profoundly true. It is simply that all over the world political prejudice is delaying economic recovery and the establishment of peace. Our "commitments," that is, largely, our part in the cold war, lead to cuts and delays in essential services and to unhappy Debates like the recent ones on conscription. The reckless. doctrinaire removal of price controls in America, which, we may possibly hope, may now be reversed, seriously impaired the usefulness of the first American Loan. In Russia, more devastated by war than, perhaps, any other European country, suspicion and fear of the outside world must be delaying their essential reconstruction also.

Nowhere is this deadlock more tragically illustrated than in the once glorious and now wretched country of Greece, which my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) dealt with so eloquently. Because he dealt with it, I will only make this point, that I think it regrettable that we had that rather dusty and legalistic answer from the Government to the suggestion that at last, when an opportunity for mediation occurred, we should follow up Mr. Evatt's conciliatory move. On the subject of the impending executions in Greece of the seamen's trade union leaders, I would add that it seems regrettable also that the Government should rather hypocritically pretend that they cannot intervene, when only a few months ago, in May, they agreed to intervene in almost precisely similar circumstances.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I wonder whether the hon. Member would explain to the House if it is or is not a part of the fight against privilege to assert that trade unionists should be exempted from death?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

I never made any such assertion or implication, and the hon. Member knows that perfectly well. He is merely wasting time by trying to make me digress. I do not propose to shorten my speech for the hon. Member, so that if I go on too long it will be his fault, not mine.

I was saying that it seems regrettably hypocritical that we should now pretend that we cannot intervene in this matter. There is some natural anxiety that, with the meetings in Paris finishing, and this House adjourning for the Christmas Recess, the Greek Government may simply be waiting until that time to carry out those executions. Some of us will be watching most anxiously to see what happens, and will be hoping that the Foreign Office may yet relent, in view of the ample precedents which it has itself established within the present year.

Surely the solution of the general problem, as I have stated it, is equally obvious. It is that we should avoid, so far as possible—and here the Foreign Secretary has frequently spoken in similar vein—merely doctrinaire ideological arguments, and should concentrate on building up good economic relations, on intensifying and multiplying trade agreements between the West and the East. That is the best way of easing the tension.

Several times in recent weeks, at Question Time, hon. Members will have noticed that there have been some quite explosive interventions from the Opposition benches on the subject of trade with Eastern Europe and with Russia, usually disguised as concern at the export of potential war material to a potential enemy—to which the responsible Ministers have very properly replied that it is extremely difficult precisely to define potential war material. It seems to me that the Government, while continuing to resist that pressure, should bear in mind what may perhaps underlie it.

There are two points which occur to me. The first is that the Opposition are trying to coax the Government into a competition in Red-baiting, in merely negative and sterile anti-Communism; and, as Mr. Dewey learned recently in the United States, there is not even electoral advantage in that, quite apart from the merits of the argument. Secondly, when we export machinery, etc., to Russia and Eastern Europe we get grain and timber in exchange. Despite the anguished cries of the Housewives' League, the Tories are not really anxious that the present Government should be in a position to provide more timber and more grain for more houses and more food for the British people. Many of them would rather that the British people suffered long-continuing deprivations than that they should enjoy prosperity and security under a Labour Government.

Photo of Mr George Odey Mr George Odey , Howdenshire

Before the hon. Member leaves that point may I ask him whether he favours the despatch of potential war material to Russia?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

As I said, the Ministers responsible have already explained that it is extremely difficult in every case to define precisely what is potential war material. They have also explained that the actual jet planes and such, which were not on the secret list any longer, were in any case exported way back in 1946 or early, 1947.

Photo of Mr George Odey Mr George Odey , Howdenshire

I do not wish to prolong the hon. Member's speech——

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

I would give way normally, but I do not want to take more than an hour and a half; otherwise I shall be trespassing on the time of the House.

One welcome and interesting development has not so far, I think, been commented on at all in this country. It is that since 1st October there has been in operation a 43-million-dollar trade agreement between Czechoslovakia and Bizonia, news of which was only released in New York two days ago. That seems to me an extremely welcome development. Incidentally, Bizonia will be exporting to Czechoslovakia electrical equipment and all sorts of dangerous "potential war material."

The most important thing of all in this connection is that Russia should be in the Food and Agricultural Organisation. When this matter was raised last in the House, at Question time, a reply was given, I think by the Minister of State, that the door was open, that Russia had only to pick up the telephone and say she wanted to come in, and she could. That is no doubt perfectly correct formally, but surely the international situation is serious enough for the Government to take the initiative in this matter and make yet another positive effort. I am aware of the danger which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary might point out, if he takes any notice of this point, that repeated failure might induce cynicism or hopelessness; but, on the whole, I am inclined to think that that is a lesser danger than simply allowing the present division to become intensified and the present exaggerated.

American commentators on the Presidential Election, before it happened, were extremely scornful about President Truman's "clumsy" and "inept" gesture in trying to send a special envoy to Moscow. I cannot help feeling, however, that that gesture may have contributed something to the result of that election. It did call forth some response in the American people, who, like ordinary people all over the world, are eagerly awaiting an initiative for peace.

It may he said that the Russians are incorrigibly suspicious. I quite agree that many of their suspicions are highly unreasonable: they are based, in my view, on the extremely bad and inaccurate information that they get, at the highest level in Moscow, from some of their representatives in some of the Western countries. None the less, quite apart from the history of the inter-war years, they have at least some cause for disappointment in my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. How glad they may well have been when the Labour Government was elected to power, and they heard that he had been appointed Foreign Secretary—this same man who, only a few weeks or months earlier, had spoken at Blackpool so emphatically about the "absolute need" of Russia for warm-water ports. The need, presumably, has remained as absolute ever since, but my right hon. Friend must seem to them to have done relatively little to have followed up that implied assurance.

Indeed, the Foreign Secretary has, I am afraid, moved far from Blackpool. I could not help feeling that it was at least ungenerous and tactless of him today to refer to "the common ideals for which the Western Powers twice in a generation have shed their blood." I think I can see what he meant, but it might have been worded more tactfully—when one thinks how that will sound in countries which did, after all, however much we may disagree with them now, suffer extremely heavy casualties: countries such as Poland, Yugoslavia, or Russia itself.

If only common-sense economic agreement could be reached, surely we could agree to differ, or to argue out amiably, our ideological or, as I prefer to call them, our philosophical differences. I do not mean by "agreeing to differ" what my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) means. It seems to me that his proposal would merely intensify the present divisions. He wants, for a long time at any rate, two worlds. I do not. I want one world from now on, with the semi-Socialist or non-Socialist West gradually becoming more Socialist, and the largely Socialist or largely Communist East learning the ways of liberal Parliamentary democracy.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) quoted from a curious and interesting series of editorials that appeared last year in the "Osservatore Romano," the official organ of the Vatican. He omitted, however, to quote what I thought the most interesting and significant passage in those editorials. It was the passage in which the editor advanced the proposition that there is not in fact any true ideological conflict, or clash of opposing principles, between the two halves of the world which are now in conflict. He said that there is really only a clash of great Powers using ideologies to subserve their national interests, and that in such a clash rights and wrongs are mixed and distributed on both sides, and that therefore—and this was the point already quoted—there was no issue which should not, and could not, be settled by means other than the threat of war. I agree with that analysis, in the main.

It seems to me that just as there is no true ideological conflict—and this is where I part completely from my hon. Friends who talk about "crusades" and "holy wars" against the "atheistic barbarism" of the East: that seems to me complete demagogic nonsense—just as there is no true ideological clash, so I believe that the philosophical differences may be less than they might at first sight appear to be. I believe that the Marxists are in error in their own interpretation of the philosophy of dialectical materialism. I think we should suspend judgment on this, and wait until this economic healing process of which I have spoken has gone far enough to enable our philosophers and their philosophers to sit down at a round table together. It does not seem to me that the basic principle of dialectical materialism, which I suppose is simply that every thing is a relative unity of interpenetrating but ineradicable opposites, has any essential relation to atheism.

I add at once that, in the practice of Communism as it is at present, I loathe much that occurs in countries in which that philosophy is dominant. I detest any kind of cruelty to any individual human being—though, Heaven knows, unfortunately that is not limited to East of the Iron Curtain. I venerate particularly our Parliamentary system and I believe that we are showing, particularly in this Parliament, that it is sufficiently flexible and adaptable to enable us to carry out great social and economic changes. I have never been able to understand, however, why it should therefore be assumed that all nations should reach the same level of historical development at the same time; or why, for instance, the Government of a country such as Yugoslavia, with its background of widespread illiteracy and poverty, pre-war police dictatorship, wartime occupation and civil war, and constant acquaintanceship with violence generally, why such a Government should be expected to behave like life members of the Reform Club. That is, it seems to me, the nadir of starry-eyed idealism, and I am always surprised to find the Foreign Secretary stooping to it.

Moreover, from him to whom much is given, much shall be required. We pride ourselves on our Parliamentary democracy, on the political steadiness and literacy of our people. It has taken us many centuries to reach this level, and we should be more patient, more tolerant, and more understanding of historical necessity than those who have not reached it. On all these issues, I find myself in almost complete agreement with the late Archbishop William Temple, whose views have been paraphrased recently by my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeffington-Lodge) and others in an interesting correspondence in "The Times."

Our economic solution is also relevant here, because severity in administration is almost always the product of a sense of insecurity. I believe that it is of tremendous importance to realise that. One has only to look back on our own experience in the last war when, under Regulation 18B, and in other respects also, at the threat to our national security we immediately adopted the principle which Governments, like individuals, always say they will never adopt—that the end justifies the means. Similarly, if these tensions could be eased, I think we should see a steady but perhaps slow process of liberalisation in these countries.

My last point is this. We have just had—and I am a little surprised that no reference has been made to it, and I hope my hon. Friend will make reference to it—what may be called the first draft of an ideology for the world. Two days ago, after 2½ years' work, there was produced the draft of what is called a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the majority of the nations assented. There were a certain number of abstentions, and the Soviet bloc abstained. I am glad they did not vote against, and I am sorry they abstained. Of course, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not mean the immediate universal exercise of human rights, but this document may well be a test by which we can all judge ourselves, remembering the parable of the Mote and the Beam. I fear that we may all find many ways in which we fall short of these ideals, not least on the question of our relationships with Colonial and coloured peoples. Perhaps one of the most important developments of this century has been the rapid rise of national and international self-consciousness and race-consciousness among these peoples. The Colonial Office is far ahead of some other Governments in this direction, and I wish that the Foreign Secretary would talk to the French and the Dutch about their intransigence in South-East Asia.

This document will, as I say, provide a test and a guide, and I hope that, in the light of it, the Foreign Ministers of all the world will once more try to get their heads together and to drop doctrinaire hostility.

Photo of Mr Vernon Bartlett Mr Vernon Bartlett , Bridgwater

On a point of Order. May I ask for your protection, Mr. Speaker. The senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn), who grumbled some little time ago because some Members of the Front Bench were mumbling, now keeps up a running commentary the whole time, while some of us want to listen to the hon. Gentleman's speech. May we ask for your protection?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I always regret running commentaries; they do not add to the dignity of the proceedings of this House.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

I am very glad to have, so to speak, got under the skin of the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University. I hope that some of the facts will also be driven into his brain.

I was winding-up by saying that I hope that merely doctrinaire hostility will be abandoned by all the great Powers, and that we, in particular, will give that lead which has so often been asked for from many quarters, and concentrate on bringing about an instant and prolonged détente in which, at last, peace may begin to grow. If not, in a few years' time, I am afraid that we shall come to the end of the Dunciad: Thy hand, great Anarch, lets the curtain fall,And universal darkness buries all. I should hate to nominate any living statesman for the title of great Anarch.

9.31 p.m.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

"The Times," in a leading article today, laments the fact that there is less real discussion of foreign policy than for many years past. I want to echo that statement, and to sympathise with the Foreign Secretary on the quite impossible task that is put upon him in trying to make a speech on the whole world in one afternoon. I have been in this House for 15 years. I have listened to the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) trying to do it. During the war, I listened to the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) trying to do it. It is quite impossible. What is much worse, it makes the succeeding Debate impossible. As a result, tomorrow I believe, we are going to have three speeches from the Front Benches——

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

—two speeches from the Government Front Bench and one from the Opposition Front Bench.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I hope the hon. Member will register that there is only one speech from this Front Bench.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

I am saying there are three speeches from the two Front Benches. Apparently, that is still accurate.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

I still say "Shame."

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

So do I. This is going to be on a short day, a Friday. It is within my knowledge that a large number of hon. Members wish to speak. It is also my conviction that the Lord President of the Council had absolutely no knowledge of the feeling in the House when he refused to have an extra hour this evening because he wanted what he called a "tidy Debate." My gracious, we have only to listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg), not to mention the speech of the hon. Member for Bury (Mr. W. Fletcher), to realise that the world is in the most confused and untidy state in which it has ever been, and this House has had no opportunity of discussing foreign policy in a general way for a very long time. Therefore, my remarks tonight are somewhat of a protest against the whole Debate rather than a speech in favour of certain aspects of European unity which I originally prepared. I happen to like the cut and thrust of Debate.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) made a very important speech, and the Debate then flew off to China and Japan. This is the way it has been going on for a solid five hours. The right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington made a most important announcement about the policy of his party in supporting a representative in Tel Aviv.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

He was speaking for himself.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

At any rate, he is the Deputy-Leader of the Conservative Party, although hon. Members may not always agree with what he says. He may have spoken for himself, but he spoke from the Opposition Front Bench and made a very important statement. That statement has gone out to the world as an expression of an ex-Foreign Secretary. It seems to me completely unreal.

There are a number of points which I should love to debate with the hon. Member for Maldon, but I will mention just two to go on with. He talked about the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and about Russia not coming in. As everyone knows, Russia is in not one of the specialised agencies, with the possible exception of the World Health Organisation, where there is an observer. When there was an attempt to produce a Yugoslav observer at the first U.N.E.S.C.O. conference, he was driven out by the attempt to define the exact ideological dispute which the hon Member mentioned just now. The successor to that was the Breslau Conference last year, which everybody knows contributed very little to understanding, and absolutely nothing to the peace of Europe.

The second point I mention is this. What is the Food and Agriculture Organisation, anyway? Has this Government, or any Government in this country, ever agreed that it should be anything more than an advisory body? Not to my knowledge. For that reason, I say that it is a purely decorative body. Sir John Boyd Orr knows that, and he is the only person who has come out in favour of giving it executive powers. We have never properly debated it in this House.

Those are just two points made by the hon. Member for Maldon. As for his very interesting argument about the two worlds, it completely cancelled out, as he himself pointed out, the speech of the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks). There, we had two completely different conceptions of how we should face this frightful ideological crisis in the world at present. The hon. Member for Broxtowe said: "Let there be two quite distinct worlds. Let them live side by side but have nothing to do with each other." We then heard the hon. Member for Maldon come out in favour of one world. That only shows that at any rate on the back benches, we still live in a state of considerable confusion, and we have not got down to the actual facts.

We do have occasional sub-debates. We have had a series of sub-debates on foreign policy, via the Minister of Defence, and most of us think we did not get very far with them. We have also had certain sub-debates on foreign commercial policy, such as on the question of whether we should trade with Russia. We have had other sub-debates on foreign economic policy. What is this four-year economic plan which we are submitting for European economic recovery? I have never seen it. Nobody else, I believe, in this country has seen it. As the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington pointed out, it has leaked out from some source or other. Yet I suppose it is about the most important economic statement on the future of Europe that has been submitted since the Marshall Plan was devised. Again, the Minister of Defence has said that the deterioration in European policy started from December, 1947. I doubt that very much. I doubt whether it did not start much earlier.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Organisation has been discussing everything from freedom of information, to the future of Palestine, with practically no agreement. I noticed that today, not only the Foreign Secretary but the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) and others all expressed doubts about U.N.O. itself. That is rather a new situation. I know, from going about the country and speaking as a member of the executive of U.N.A., that it is very difficult indeed to get any enthusiasm, or even any audience in many cases, for this organisation.

The hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Bartlett) introduced another consideration. I am not sure that the United Nations is not becoming something of an American league, just as the League of Nations became a French league. I could make a case for that. I have seen it happen over one thing in which some of us are interested, namely, the United Nations' Appeal for Children, and one or two other questions. I do not believe Mrs. Roosevelt really wanted to oppose that motion last week. Our delegate there did valiant work in trying to support the Australian motion. I do not agree with my hon. Friend who thought the British bloc must always vote together in the United Nations. He seemed to think it was very odd that we did not always vote as a bloc. On the contrary, I hope that sometimes we shall differ, and differ very widely about questions.

There is no disguising the fact that there are back benchers who are not enthusiastic about the Marshall Plan, although the Americans have by their election shown—whatever else can be proved from it—that they are more anti-isolationist than ever in their history. I was for three weeks in August lecturing in the University of Illinois in the Middle West, and I was invited to attend a meeting where the prospective Democratic Governor, whose grandfather seconded Abraham Lincoln for President, and a Senator was the speaker. That meeting was held in the heart of Colonel McCormick's "Chicago Tribune" country. Today they are both elected and are very friendly to the United Nations and this country. This is a revolution—if ever there was one—in the heart of the United States of America. We ought to recognise the American contribution now to Europe.

I wonder whether the Foreign Secretary has quite appreciated a certain lack of understanding in this country of what is going on in Europe. I know he was quick to appreciate the Marshall offer. But now that the Dominion representatives who were in accord with the idea of Western unity, have departed; now that Germany is beginning to respond to a definite policy: now that the Marshall Aid countries are coming closer together; now that the Brussels Pact is merging into a North Atlantic Pact—is there any particular excuse for not making the main lines of our foreign policy even clearer, so that the people of this country and the people of Europe can understand them? When I said just now, quoting from "The Times," that there was so little discussion on foreign policy, I was referring to the fact that we had been very half-hearted in associating the people of this country with foreign policy. In this House I would not say that there was a hundred per cent., but only mild agreement on both sides with the general lines; with, of course, people on the extremes disagreeing quite strongly. But there never was much enthusiasm, and when it comes to Western Union or the O.E.E.C., or the Brussels Treaty, I cannot find people getting very worked up about them as big opportunities for developing European unity.

I am wondering whether the Foreign Secretary has under-estimated the fact that the formation of a European public opinion is one of the reasons why some of us strongly support a European Assembly, because without that new European public opinion, the economic arrangements and trade agreements will not make any great difference. When our troops went over to Normandy—people in the West Country—old ladies—said "We have landed in Normandy." In other words, they regarded this country as "we"; but we ought to think of Western Europe as "we," if we are to obtain anything comparable with a real European union. If we do not, it seems to me rather humbug to talk so much about Western Europe without doing more to create organisations, not only political and economic, but social and cultural.

I want to put a question to the Under-Secretary of State who is to reply to the Debate. What steps have been taken to give some practical effect to Article 3 of the Brussels Treaty? Article 3 suggests that there should be greater co-operation between the five Brussels Treaty countries. I want to make one or two suggestions. A very distinguished French writer has recently stated—it is not new to anybody, but the way he put it was new—that Europe was freed from tyranny by two extra-European powers, one a distant one and one very near. Therefore, it was difficult for Europe to regain its independence as a civilisation. As he put it, Europe was once the centre of civilisation, but today it appears as a sort of no man's land where two giants meet in conflict.

The question I have been asked is whether I think Europe can be reconstructed as an independent civilisation. All I have noticed being done so far under Article 3 are some seven radio talks by scholars, economists and others. If my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary can tell me what other steps are to be taken, I shall be obliged, for surely something else could be done. I know there are cultural conventions, Mixed Commissions and all the rest of it, but what, in fact, is being done? Could it not be described with a little more magic and imagination so that the people will feel that there is some link between the people of France, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg and this country beyond the economic and political?

May I refer to a further question? Hon. Members may have noticed in yesterday's "Manchester Guardian" a report which is being published on the German universities. I understand that General Robertson set up this Commission, no doubt with the good will of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. I regard this report, about which Lord Lindsay of Birker published an article, as probably the most important landmark and possibly even a turning-point in the democratic development of Germany. It is absolutely basic that if we are going to get any change in Europe—and I do not apologise for riding my own hobby horse—there has to be a complete change in the educational systems of Europe.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the only change we can get in the educational institutions is when we get a complete change in the social form of Europe?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

I could not disagree more. As a matter of fact, there have been considerable changes over a period in this country. I should say that three years ago we had the moral leadership in education in Europe, and one of the reasons why I am so upset about the failure of U.N.E.S.C.O. is that we have lost that leadership. That is one small point. If my hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury (Mr. Platts-Mills) is regarding the Slav countries—whose systems I have, as far as I can, taken great pains to study—as a model then, my gracious, if we really mean we want a system of education which from the age of three to the age of 23 is completely controlled by a central organisation then——

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

The hon. Member talks about a central organisation, but can he say to what extent he justifies his assertion about education starting at three when we all know in those countries education does not begin until the age of seven?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

My hon. Friend is quite wrong. I am sorry to have to correct him, but not only do they begin compulsory education at seven, but there has been a greater advance in the "under sevens" there than in any other country in the world, at any rate on paper.

My point is that the moral alternative to Communism is not a Conservative Government in Britain and it is not a Socialist Government in Britain, because Communism is more of a creed than a series of political and social devices. Today, one hears of strikes, political upheavals, and black marketeers, but one never hears of the other hunger in Europe—the hunger for a return to stability, to learning, and friendship with this country. Students and professors are beginning to move again. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has done something to assist this. The music and the arts are beginning to go from one country to another. Churchmen, scientists and various professional groups are again in contact after six years of separation. As between Austria and this country, a large number in the last three years, amounting to over 1,000, have moved from one side to the other.

What I want the Government to do is this. The Government have made notable progress in many fields on the question of European unity but they want the critical but steady support of public opinion on major issues which transcend party politics and loyalties. That is one reason why The Hague Conference was an important landmark—simply and solely because it rallied a large proportion of European opinion as had not been done before.

I made a suggestion one year ago in "The Times" that there should be some form of conference which was a counterpart to the Marshall Plan. I suggested that this country take the initiative in calling a conference of educational, university and other leaders at some point in Western Europe. I know that the response from Leyden, Louvain, Rome, Paris, Chicago and Harvard would be immediate. Unless something else is done besides the purely political and economic to make this alternative to Communism a reality, we shall not get the enthusiasm of the people and the million and a half of students between Aberdeen and Athens, between Oslo and Graz, who "look up and are not fed." They are a prey to any doctrine which comes along, not only because they are hungry, but because no alternative is at present being supplied.

9.52 p.m.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester West

Unfortunately, there is not much time left to deal with the subject which I understood would be the main subject of the Debate but I would like to say one or two things on Palestine in order to allay the anxieties of some of my hon. Friends who happen to be on the Conservative benches. They seem to be under the impression that the only people who, at any time, have advocated the Zionist cause, which means the establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine, were the Socialists, who undoubtedly did categorically state what they thought about it. May I refer for a moment to the statement made by the man who knew most about this position? It was the late Mr. Lloyd-George. He said: The Balfour Declaration represented the convinced policy of all parties in our country and also in America… Men like Mr. Balfour, Lord Milner, Lord Robert Cecil and myself were in wholehearted sympathy with the Zionist ideal. I believe hon. Members cannot fail to understand what was meant by this: The same thing applied to all the leaders of public opinion in our country and in the Dominions, Conservative, Liberal and Labour. Today, at long last, we have again heard in this House important speeches which indicated a return to the Balfour ideal and to all those sentiments which were expressed and understood when the Balfour Declaration was sent to the late Lord Rothschild. It proved categorically that it was in sympathy with the Jewish Zionist aspirations and with the Zionist ideology that this was given, and that it was with a view to its being brought to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation, which was the representative body of that movement in this country. I do not understand what has happened of late in some of the intermediate years, to dampen the feelings which were so visible at that time.

Has the Jewish effort in Palestine been anything other than that which is required and acclaimed by the United Nations organisation or any other civilised organisation today? Has not the development of the land in Palestine itself, in the years in which the Jewish people have been working there, indicated that what Sir John Boyd Orr is demanding of the world has actually been performed in that country which was desolate and which has been recreated to the advantage of the world? Is not that in itself sufficient to entitle those who have performed that miracle, because of their hard work, hacked by their sentiment, because of the regard that they had for that land, to consider themselves as a State, worthy to be accepted by the civilised world as a State and to be accepted into the unity of civilised States? It is perfectly obvious that we are running our heads against a stone wall if we attempt to deny the right of Israel to its statehood. Some 19 nations have acknowledged it.

The late Count Bernadotte made certain proposals but he did not say that any of those proposals was sacrosanct. On the contrary, if hon. Members will read his report, they will see that what he said was that it was not for him to decide upon policy. He was merely indicating what he thought after three and a half months' examination of the situation. The United Nations organisation had examined this for years, and the League of Nations had examined it for years. Count Bernadotte said one thing which is important to note, namely, that he found as a fact that the Jewish State was in existence, and he found as a fact that the State of Israel was to continue. He stated that as the basic premises of his report.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

Mr. R. A. Butler indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester West

With great respect, it was not because of the actions of the Israeli Government, it was in spite of the fact that the Israeli Government was functioning, that the terrible incident of the lamented death of Count Bernadotte occurred, and the Israeli Government are trying now—and the right hon. Gentleman knows it—to root out those responsible, and are doing all they can to see that such incidents shall not occur in the future.

I should like my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to tell me why he has suddenly decided to regard the Bernadotte plan as sacrosanct when hitherto, in respect of every other plan, we decided that we could not accept it unless both Jews and Arabs agreed to the proposals. The Government would not support the resolution on partition on the ground that, although the United States of America, Russia and the Dominions had accepted it, they could not accept anything unless both Arabs and Jews agreed. They would not accept any other suggestion that came forward on the same grounds. Yet immediately the Bernadotte proposals come forward, they are prepared to accept them, in spite of the fact that neither Jew nor Arab want them.

I will ask my hon. Friend another question. Why do we not encourage, instead of taking every step we can to discourage, conversations between those who are mainly interested in this matter—the Jews and the Arabs? We have heard this afternoon that if they were left alone, they would come to a satisfactory settlement. That is well known. They are bound to come to a satisfactory settlement because, in fact, the Jew and the Arab in Palestine got on well together unless and until interfered with.

Statements are made that the Arabs were driven from Palestine to become refugees after the Mandate was terminated. This is not true. The case of Haifa is a good illustration of what happened. Those of us who have the facts almost at first hand, know that 30,000 Arabs had left Haifa by April and the rest who left did so before the Mandate was terminated. My hon. Friend knows very well that the British representative in Haifa, after the Haganah had come into Haifa, attended meetings of the Haifa Municipality where every conceivable request was made by the Jews to the Arabs who were there to remain. He knows very well that the British authorities there advised them to remain. Why does he not say so?

It being Ten o'Clock, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Snow.]