7th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 3 . p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. In the course of my speech in moving, onWednesday last, thatthe House approve of the Peace Treaty, I quoted from memory some figures relating to reparation. I find that the figures I gave were not those which were in my notes. I, therefore, desire to make a correction, to which I shall ask the press to give the widest publicity. I also ask the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) to make a special note of it. Instead of stating that Australia’s war expenditure amounted to £300,000,000, and that the capitalized value of pensions, &c., was £54,000,000, I should have said that our actual war expenditure was £364,000,000, and that the capitalized value of pensions, repatriation, loss to civilians, and civilian property, &c., incidental tothe war, amounted to £100,000,000. As the matter is of vital importance to Australia, and is entirely non-party, I have, with the permission of Mr. ‘Speaker, already made the necessary corrections inHansard.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Commonwealth Bank Act - Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Aggregate Balancesheet at 30th June, 1919; together with Auditor-General’s Report thereon. .
Wool Shipping and Dumping Dispute in Sydney - Various Papers in connexion with.
Women’s Employment Committee - Report. (Paper presented to the British Parliament.)
Inscribed Stock Act - Dealings and Transactions during year ended 30th June, 1918.
Public Service Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1919, Nos. 215 and 216.
– I desire to announce that His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, accompanied by Her Excellency Lady Munro Ferguson and representatives ofthe British and Foreign Bible Society of Victoria, assembled in the north lobby of Parliament House on Friday afternoon for the purpose of presenting to the Commonwealth Parliament a Bible and lectern from the Bible Society as a souvenir of the signing” of Peace. Their Excellencies were received by Mr. President and Mr. Speaker on behalf of the Parliament, and by ChaplainGeneral Rentoul, D.D., and Mr. John M. Griffiths on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible . Society. The following’ is the official report of the proceed- ings:- “HIS EXCELLENCY, in making the presentation, said - It is my privilege to present this copy of the Scriptures to the Commonwealth Parliament on behalf of the Bible Society, an organiaztion which has a long, and illustrious history. No doubt many members of Parliament are familiar with the works of the society’s greatest colporteur, George Borrow, and haveread his celebrated book, The Bible in Spain. In his day, centuries ago, the need for the activities of the Bible Society were very apparent, and evidenced by the story of one great coal master betting another that he could not say the Lord’s Prayer, and paying the forfeit when his friend triumphantly vindicated his knowledge by repeating the 23rd psalm. In contrast to this we can trace in the most mundane deliverances of a hustled and bustled Prime Minister evidences of familiarity with . Bible language, without which no man can measure the strength,’ flexibility, the majesty and rhythm of the English tongue. I come from a country where, as in Wales, the Bible -has played a great part in moulding national character and stimulating the intellectual development of the people. Scotland has, no doubt, had other pre-occupations - she has never neglected a bawbee - but she owes her moral stability and her attachment to the eternal verities to the fact that for centuries the Bible has been the standard work in the home and in the school. The Bible Society and parliamentary government are typically British institutions. One strives to promote the good of man and of the nation by implanting high ideals in the heart of the individual, and the other by engrafting such ideals and giving them permanence in the laws of the country. It is fitting, therefore, that this Book should be given, by the Bible Society to Parliament to stand in its Library as a symbol of the copartnership of two forces working in very different fields for the good of the country and the uplift of national life. “Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson), in accepting the gift, said Your Excellency and representative’s of the Victorian branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society: I desire to express, on behalf of honorable members, a deep appreciation of the handsome gift of this beautifully-bound copy of the Bible and the appropriately-designed lectern accompanying it. Not only will the Bible, with its historical inscription, be a valued and distinctive addition to the Commonwealth Library, but it will stand as a constant reminder of the fact that its presentation was ‘associated with the restoration of a condition of peace following upon four years and a half of unprovoked warfare, waged with relentless ferocity and unparalleled cruelty and inhumanity against peacefully disposed countries by a nation intoxicated with the mad lust of power, ambition, and world conquest.
A gigantic world-encompassing conflict was precipitated as the ultimate consequence of. the vicious ethical and moral training of thepeople of Germany, and flagrant disregardof the principlesand nobleChristian idealsenshrined within thecoversof this sacred Book.
Honorable members generally, I am sure, heartilyappreciate the gift, and the spiritby which it was prompted. May I express the hope that it will ever serve to inspire us all in the performance of our dutiesas legislators to strive to mould the destinies of Australia in harmony with its great ideals, its lessons, and its precepts. I commend to the earnest consideration of honorable members, before they return to the chamber to renew their legislative duties, a quotation inscribed on thecover, from a psalm with which, doubtless, many, if not all, of them are familiar -
Beholdhow good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. “The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Hughes). - Your Excellency, Mr. President, and Mr. Speaker.-I feel illequipped to speak those wordsthat ought to be spoken upon such an occasion as this. Whatever giftsof speechI may have, are, I fear, utterly unsuited to servemy presentpurpose; but, on behalf of my fellowmembers,I desireto sayas well asI can how much we appreciate this manifestation of that which His Excellency has signalized asthe joy which is in the hearts of himself and of thepeopleof Australia, of the Empire, and of the world, that Peace has comeat last.
In what concrete form could he have expressed that joy which would be onehalf so suited tothe occasion as in the presentation of this Bible? “ On earthpeace, good-will toward men !” Thatis in our hearts; and that is our purpose. The Australian nation - emerging as it is after dreadful trials in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.; and, turning its face towards the rising sun, heavily laden, surrounded on all sides by pitfalls,beset by difficulties - shall find in those words which are here set outthat consolation, that counsel, that advice, that stimulus for courage and patience, whichalone can see us through.
Your Excellency, onbehalf of the Par liament, I thank you. Ihope that succeeding generations willregard this asoneof those things whichmark thespirit in whichthe Australianpeople, whohavedone their dutynobly in the war,accepteda great victory - not arrogantly, not in a spiritof vengeance, but in a spirit of true thankfulness; offering up to the Diety who has had us in His kindly keeping these many and dark years those thanks for all thatwe oweto Him. “ The Rev.W. S. ROLLAND. - Your Excellency. - Onbehalfofthe Victorian branch of theBritish and Foreign Bible Society, I desire to tender to youa hearty vote of thanks for your kindness, and for the kindness of Lady Munro Ferguson, inbeingpresent with usupon this very unique occasion.We accord toyouour hearty thanks for the admirable address which you have delivered in connexion with this presentation. Weall join - both the members of this Parliament and the members ofthe British and Foreign Bible Society - in expressing to you, sir, our thanks and. appreciation. I formally move that such a vote ofthanks be given. “ Mr. JAMES BIRTCHNELL.- It is my pleasure andprivilege to second the motionexpressing the thanks of this gathering.
Chaplain-Major Hume Robertson, B.A., pronounced the Benediction.
The proceedings concludedwith the National Anthem.”
– (By leave.)- The British Governmenthas communicatedwith theGovernment of the Commonwealth, pointing outthatthe ratification of the Peace Treaty signed at Versailles on 28th June last is a matter ofurgency, and thatin order that the Treaty may come into force, it is necessary for it to be approved by three of the Great Powers. Thewhole of the Empire, with the exception of Australia,has approved of it. I ttheref ore desire to intimate that the debate on the motion that this House approve of the Treaty must terminate on Wednesday next ata reasonable hour.
– Will the Prime Minister state when the report of the . Economy Commission, inquiring into the-
Mr.HUGHES. - The honorable member must know that, because of my absence in England, the matter to which he refers is quite unfamiliar to me. I must ask that . notice he given of all questions directed to me.
– Is theMinister for Trade and Customs -aware thatthe firm of Anthony Hordem and Sons, of Sydney, is reported to be selling sugar at 4½. per lb., andwill he statewhether he has given permission to that firm to charge this increased price?
Mr.GREENE. - I am . not awarethat the statement is correct, but I will have inquiries made.The firm has noright to charge 4½d. per lh.
Mr.FINLAYSON.- Will the Assistant . Minister for Defence make inquiries into the circumstances and conditions under whichnurses belonging to the . Australian Army Medical Corps are at present in Afghanistan? They have been there for two . years, and I believe that their conditions . are somewhat intolerable. Is it not time that they were repatriated and given a chance?
– I shall have inquiries made.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation make a statement to the House -as to the policy ofthe Department with regardto returned soldiers purchasing bouses already erected, paying deposits on them after valuationshave been -made by the War Service Homes ‘Office, and then . having an advance of the balance of the purchase money refused by the Commonwealth Bank ? I ask the Minister to make a ‘statement on ‘the subject so that honorable ‘members may know ho-w to advise returned soldiers w’ho consult them.
– I shall n-efer the honorablemember’s question to the Ministerfor Repatriation (Senator Millen), and . willendeavour togive the Housethe information to-morrow.
– I desire to address a question, without notice, to the Prime Minister-
– The Prime Minister has just intimated that notice must be given of all questions addressed to him.
– Then I shall address my question to the ‘Minister for Trade and ‘Customs. A recent notification sets out : fhat fhe Postmaster-General has reduced the commission on the sale -o’f postage stamps by small retailers from 2½,per cent, to 1 per cent. Are we to take this as an indication of the profit that will bo allowed traders generally when the Government decide to deal with profiteering?
– The . honorable member’s question should he addressed to the Postmaster-General.
Grant to Municipal Council’s
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation state whether particulars have yet been obtainedas to the member of local governing bodies that have made application for a grant out of the sum of £500,000allotted to them . by the Commonwealth to provide employment forreturned soldiers?
– I have the information, and after questions have been dealt with shall make a statement on the subject.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation whether consideration is likely to be givento the claims of the returning and returned war workers in. regard to repatriation allowance and sustenance?
– To the best of my knowledge, two deputations of munition workers and ‘others ‘have made representations to the -Department on the subject.
The first of these, which took place some time ago, and was received by me, requested that war workers should be allowed to participate in the Department’s housing and land schemes. But they pointed out distinctly that in neither case did they wish to be placed on the same footing as returned soldiers. In other words, they were quite agreeable that the latter should have preference. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen) has since made an announcement that Cabinethas approved of making representations to theStates, asking them to treat war workers on the same footing as returned soldiers in regard to land settlement and of placing war workers on the same basis as returned soldiers in regard tohousing. In regard to the latter, an amendment of the Act will be necessary. At the subsequent deputation on Monday last the request put forward was more extensive, and I am not aware of what the Minister’s decision was.
Mothers’ Badges - Releaseof Prisoners
– Can the Assistant Minister for Defence tell the House the reason for the long delay in the distribution of mothers’ badges, and when they may be expected to be distributed?
– I do not know the cause of the delay, but I shall make inquiries as to when the badges are likely to be distributed.
– Has any arrangement been made to release those members of the Australian Imperial Force who are still in gaol?
– It has already been pointed out that all members of the Australian Imperial Force convicted of military offences have been released, and that others will have certain remissions of their sentences for each year of imprisonment.
-Can the Minister for Trade and Customs give the House any further information in regard to the arrangements made for securing extra refrigerated space on vessels, for the purpose of conveying foodstuffs to the Old Country, and thus relieving the congestion in the cold stores ofAustralia ?
– The latest information from Great Britain is that 40,000 tons of refrigerated space will be made available for Australia for the month of October, and this will materially relieve the existing congestion in the cold stores. If a similar allotment is made in the following months, I do not anticipate that there will be any great difficulty in dealing with all the refrigerated produce in Australia that will be available for storage before the end of the year.
-The attention of the Minister for Home and Territories has doubtless been directed to a certain condition of affairs in the Northern Territory, where a resident has declined to pay income tax, and I ask him whether he knows of a better method of collecting the tax than by giving the residents of the Northern Territory representation in this Parliament?
– I do not know that the giving of representation in this House will lead to the collection of the income tax, though, of course, it is a matter that deals with the essential principles of representation. However, I was not aware that a writ had been issued. It is entirely a question for the Taxation Department.
-Last week the Minister for the Navy promised to inquire into the possibility of printing the return of prosecutions under the War Precautions Act I had asked for. What is his decision in regard to the matter?
– I apologize to the honorable member. I regret to say that I have overlooked the subject, and I suggest that he should formally place a question on the notice-paper.
– Is the Minister for the Navy prepared to lay on the table of the Library papers, both Navy and
Defence, which will show the condition of the troopship Barambah on her last voyage conveying troops from Australia to Great Britain ?
– I shall look up the papers, with the hope that I may be able to allow the honorable member to see them.
– Is it true that two Ministers have been appointed as representatives of the Commonwealth Government to the International Labour Conference to be held at Washington under Part XIII. of the Peace Treaty, and that they are prepared to leave for the Conference immediately ?
– I am not responsible for what appears in newspapers. There is no truth in the statement.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Works and Railways been directed to some judicial and, no doubt, judicious observations made by Mr. Justice Powers, in the course of which he pointed out that he was a kind of refugee in Victoria looking for a house in which to administer justice, there being no court-room available for him, and that he would protest to the Government. I address this question to the Minister for Works aud Railways, because in his capacity as Acting Attorney-General he has possibly been more in touch with this matter than any other Minister, and I ask him what is proposed to be done in order that the housing question shall be settled so far as our High Court Justices are concerned ?
– The Victorian Government have been treating the High Court very generously in supplying buildings for its purpose, but last year difficulty arose about procuring a suitable room, and -the Crown Law Department immediately wrote to the State Attorney-General expressing appreciation of what had already been done ‘by the .State Government, and asking them to meet the wishes of the Commonwealth. The reply was that a certain court-room was available for the High Court. A copy of the communication, was forwarded to the Justices of that Court, and nothing further was heard in regard to the matter until the complaint was made in’ open Court the other day. I have already given instructions that a letter shall be addressed to the State Attorney-General, in order to prevent a recurrence’ of the incident.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation aware of the present condition of the Anzac hand-weaving tweed industry? Have the Government yet arrived at any definite opinion as to what assistance they intend to give to that enterprise?
– The matter has been under consideration for some time, and if the honorable member will give notice of his question, he will receive a definite answer.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Preliminary arrangements were made for the acquisition of certain land on the north side of Corio Bay, Victoria, for aviation purposes in connexion with the proposed scheme of air defence, but no conclusive stage has been reached.
Expeditionary Force - Terms op Mandate to Japan - Japanese Annexa- tion.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
As far as the Defence Department is concerned, officers and men who proceeded with this ExpeditionaryForce receive the same, privileges as those who took part in the Australian theatres’ ofwar: The Defence Department does not controlthe issue of medals and decorations, asthis is the duty of the Imperial authorities, who have prescribed that the Australian’ theatres of warshall.be as follows: -
Archipelago, as follows: -
Soldiers who were in the Australian’ theatres of war between the dates above-mentioned receive the 1915 star, whereas those who proceeded’ there later do not receive it. ‘
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether the mandate given an Allied Power to control the Pacific Islands north of the Equator contains a provision prohibiting the erection of’ defence works; naval bases, &c, on similar terms to the mandate granted to Australia to control the islands south of theequator?
– The Council of the Allied and Associated’ Powers has not yet finally settled the terms of the mandate, otherwise I refer the honorable member to the speech delivered in the House last Wednesday on the Peace Treaty.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I am not aware of the reports to which the honorable member refers.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The matter is at present receiving consideration, and a reply will be furnished asearly as possible.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers- to- the honorable member’s questions- are as follow : - 1. (a) Three thousand pounds; (b) and(c) approximately £2,200.
asked the Prime
Minister, upon notice -
What are the names of the bands which took part, and were employed by the Commonwealth Government, at the Sydney Peace celebrations, and what amount did each band receive respectively?
– Sixty bands were engaged, and a list of the names, together with the amounts received, is tabled herewith, for the information of honorable members : -
Eligibles in Defence Department.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
-Yes. This matter was brought before me by the Returned Soldiers Association. I refer the honorable member to the press reports of my speech in reply. I am now in consultation with the Acting . Minister for Defence (Senator Russell) in regard to the matter.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
London Selling Agents
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. The London Selling Agency is at present constituted of the following houses: - John Darling and Son, A. W. Walker and Co. (representing Jas. Bell and Co.), Dalgety and Co. Ltd., Louis Dreyfus and Co., Berry, Barclay, and Co. (representing the various co-operative companies handling wheat in Australia). The duties of the Agency are to place at the disposal of the Australian Wheat Board the selling organization of the various houses for the purpose of keeping in touch with the world’s market conditions, prospects, and values ; to make wheat and flour sales overseas; to arrange terms of conversion of wheat’ sales into flour sales; to prepare contracts of sale; to negotiate shipping documents; to prepare and render accounts, and collect payment; to attend to and to settle arbitration and other disputes ; to arrange for superintendence of outturn at ports of discharge, and prepare and settle claims in connexion therewith; to attend to law cases; to keep Australia advised of market developments.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Mr. H. Y. BRADDON.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In what official capacity is Mr. H. Y. Braddon acting in London ?
- Mr. Braddon was in London for a short period,and during his stay was appointed in an honorary capacity to assist in the handling of the business side of the Commonwealth London Agency in regard to - 1, expansion of trade between Australia and Europe; 2, advertising Australia ; 3, protecting and promoting Government commercial contracts. Mr. Braddon is leaving for Australia on 26th September.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
Mr. POYNTON The Repatriation Act is limited to those who enlisted in the Military and Naval Forces, and, consequently, does not apply to those who joined the mercantile marine.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Shaw Wireless Works
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Report by Sir Samuel Pethebridge.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– No report of the nature indicated can be traced as having been received by the Minister for Defence, although it is understood that the late Administrator had in preparation such a report. Further inquiry will, however, be made.
asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Removal from Office.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Having reference to the statement made on the 13th December, 1918, by the Acting Prime Minister, viz., “ I desire to announce to the’ House that to-day the Honorable J. A. Jensen was removed from the office of Minister of State for Trade and Customs,” does the Prime Minister approve of the action of the Government in removing Mr. Jensen from office?
– As the honorable member knows, I am a member of the
Government, and am, therefore, responsible for all things done by it.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I refer the honorable member to the terms of the Peace Treaty of Versailles.
Services of Mr. H. E. Starke - Passport to Augustine Carroll
asked the Attorney-Gene- ral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. Mr. Starke was engaged by the Commonwealth Government at the request of the chairman, made to the Government on 30th September, 1918. Prior to that, Mr. Starke had, at the personal request of the chairman, assisted the Commission in eliciting facts in connexion with the Shaw wireless transaction.
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice - 1, Whether Augustine Carroll, a witness before the Royal Commission on Naval and Defence Administration, was granted a passport to leave Australia, and on what date? 2, What was the name of the Minister who approved of the granting of the passport? 3, To what country was Carroll granted a passport?
– There is no record of the issue by the Department of Home and Territories of a passport to the person in question, or of any application having been made by him for one, but inquiries that are being made from the Customs authorities in other States are not yet complete. I shall advise the honorable member of the result of such inquiries when they are complete.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. These particulars have not been recorded.
Payments to Members
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will he give the House the following information, viz.: - The names of, and the amounts paid to, the members of the Butter Pool, showing the apportionment of the £9,884 paid in 1917-18?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Refusal to Ship Wool
– On the 15th August, the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked the following questions : -
I am ,now in a position to furnish the honorable mem’ber with the following reply : - 1, 2, 3, and 4. I lay on the table copies of the report and correspondence referred, to, which set out the particulars asked for. It is not, however, considered desirable to incur the expense which the printing of these documents would involve.
Grant to Local Government Bodies
– On the 21st August, 19’l9, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation the following questions: -
I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following additional information : -
Debate resumed from 10th ‘September (vide page 12179) on motion by Mr. Hughes -
That this House approves of the Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany signed at Versailles on tlie 28th June, 1919.
– Before calling on the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) to resume the debate, I desire to say that I think it would suit the convenience of the House if the debate is allowed to cover both this motion and the motion relating to the Anglo-American Treaty, as has been done on previous occasions when motions have been before us dealing with cognate subjects. I, therefore, propose to allow sufficient latitude to honorable members to discuss both motions at the same time.
– As a matter of order, do I understand it is proposed to put the two motions as one?
– No.’ The motions will be put separately; but, as they are correlated to the same matter, the debate on one will naturally overlap the debate on the other. I propose to allow that to be done in the present debate, but to put the motions themselves separately.
– I do not know that I shall bo very long in debating this matter, particularly in view of the suggestion made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) this afternoon, that the motions must be disposed of’ by this day week. I believe in the gospel being preached by the Prime Minister now - work not talk. I remember, however, that on one occasion, when the Opposition did not debate the AddressinReply, the Government found themselves with-, no work for us to do. I am not sure that it matters very much whether this Parliament agrees, or does not agree with the Peace Treaty, which would, in my opinion, in any circumstances be signed by Great Britain. Of course, it is probably better ‘that all the Parliaments of. the Dominions which were represented at the Peace Conference should have an opportunity to discuss the Treaty. But there is one question, in which, at least, 90 per cent, of the people a-re more interested than they are in this. I feel quite sure that that proportion of the people are more concerned about the cost of living than about any discussion on the Peace Treaty. The other 10 per cent, are concerned, perhaps, as to whether another war may break out, and afford them a further opportunity of making increased profits. I see that the Prime Minister is going about stating that he intends to introduce measures to deal with the profiteers. If he does so, he will find in me a very willing supporter; and I say deliberately that the sooner we have an opportunity of dealing with that legislation direct, or with something else that may affect it, the better it will be so far as I am concerned.
It is stated in the press- that, when I speak on this motion, I will “ express “ the opinion of the party. Every member on this side will speak for himself, and bind no one but himself. It is not a party matter, nor can I conceive how it should be made a party matter through the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) speaking on that side or any honorable member speaking on this side. Any honorable member who speaks voices his own opinion, as I am doing now.
I have gone through the Peace Treaty with its very numerous .articles. I suppose there was never one framed that took a greater length of time in the framing, nor any other that received the consideration whicli this one did. I do not know of any other Peace Treaty that has the number of signatures attached to it that this one has. If, as the result of this Treaty, a League of Nations is established which will guarantee, as far as that is possible, the future peace of the world, the Conference will have done good work. But if, after all the attention and trouble given to the production of this bulky document, we are to have other wars, then the Treaty is hardly worth the paper on which it is written. One of the most important things in it, to my mind, is Article S, of Part 1, which contains the Covenant of the League of Nations. This provides-
The members of the League recognise thatthe maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety, and the enforcement by common action of international obligations. “ The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plan” for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several Governments.
There is nothing there to compel the Governments to take action. While in this Treaty Germany is compelled to reduce her Army, there is not one word about the other’ nations being compelled to do the same.- In the Fortnightly Review, Mr. William Harbutt Dawson says on this point -
Moreover, while no one will regret that the machinery of German militarism is to be scrapped, there is neither guarantee nor pro.mise that the other Powers will reduce their armaments correspondingly. It is greatly to the credit of. the British Prime Minister that he has resolutely advocated a policy of disarmament all round. To the adoption of that policy, so entirely faithful to every pledge given to the British nation throughout the war, France has been the principal and the successful obstacle. It is a tragic fact that, at the end of a triumphant war against German militarism, a French newspaper, the Socialist L’Humanité is compelled to ask the question, “ Is it Germany, freed from militarism, or France, delivered over to it, who is now the victor?”
I regret exceedingly that this Treaty of Peace contains no definite proposal- for the reduction of armaments, and the absolute abolition of conscription throughout the civilized world. What guarantee of peace have we while armaments are being built up in various countries ?
– Did the European Powers oppose disarmament before, with the exception of Germany]
– They had . the opportunity of. making disarmament effective when they were all sitting at the Peace table without Germany, arid, Germany was called in only to’ sign at the last moment,’ but they did not propose any measures for. their own disarmament, although they could very well ‘ have done so. If the Covenant of the. League of Nations is to be worth the paper it is written ou, it should contain some proposal in that direction. All it provides is -
Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every ten years. After .these plans shall have been adopted by the several Governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council.
The Council have to get the various countries to agree to restrict their armaments, and if I may judge from reading the document, they are not likely to agree. I exceedingly regret that we have not before us some better proposal for the reduction of armaments.
The League of Nations should not only be given a trial, but should be adopted by the whole of the nations so that we may get away from the awful horror that has afflicted mankind during the last five years. Those who have come closely into contact with the effects of the war know the awful horror that it has been. Every civilized man should do his best to havea proper League of Nations brought into existence, pledged as far as possible todisarmament and the abolition of the conscription that has been in existence in various European, countries and in other countries up to the present, time. To ensure peace, two things are necessary. First, total disarmament bv each country except as expressed in the’ qualification in the first paragraph of Article S; and, secondly, the killing of militarism by the abolition of . conscription. When some men put on uniform they think they can run the whole country themselves. They have absolutely no consideration for other people.
– Fine feathers make fine birds.
– That is the saying. Some of these birds not only think they can fly, but want also to rule the roost. That is what happened with the military birds whom the ex-member for Darwin (Mr. King O’Malley) called . “ giltspurred roosters” - the men who run the Defence. Department of this country, and who have been running defence departments all over the world during the currency of the war.
Another article in the Covenant of the League of Nations is this: -
Every treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat, and shall, as soon as possible, be published by it. No such treaty or inter-‘ national engagement shall be binding until so registered.
It would be a good thing if some of the secret treaties entered into during the currency of the war, and, in fact, all the secret treaties in existence at the present time, were handed over to that body as well. If secret treaties have been the cause qf many of the wars in the past, as I believe they have, and if the League of Nations is to have any real existence, they should all come within the purview of the League. The League must know what has gone on in the past, and what engagements are in force at the present time. It has been said in the House that secret treaties were entered into while the war was going on. The honorable member for Cook (Mr. J. H. Catts) asked this afternoon whether any secret arrangement was entered into during the war by the Prime Minister of an Australian government to which the present Prime Minister and myself belonged. I know of no such arrangement, but if such secret treaties do exist, the League of Nations should .at least have cognizance of them through its Secretariat. I hope that all secret treaties entered into by the nations which are parties to the Peace Treaty, and who propose to join the League of Nations,- will be made known by them to every other member of the League. Nothing is more calculated to disrupt a political party than is the action of a few of its members in arriving at a secret understanding amongst themselves. The position .is the same with regard to nations. The news that, ia secret understanding has been .arrived .at between two nations leaks out sooner or later, and gives rise very’ often to a very serious situation. Should a secret treaty be made between Great Britain, Italy, France, Japan, the United States, or any other country; tho League of Nations would crumble before its structure had been completed.
I agree with the writer of the article from which I have just quoted that -
Already it is as clear as daylight that, far from being a final all-round settlement, the Treaty is full of pitfalls and occasions of future mischief. and that Article 18 will probably be reconsidered. When it is, I hope that the nations concerned will throw all their cards on the table. There should be no secret treaties or understandings.
During the currency of the war, we were told that the party which I have the honour to lead was in favour of peace by negotiation. I admit that I was. The Prime Minister tells us that the Peace Conference was hampered in its deliberations by reason of President Wilson’s fourteen points.
– No; I quoted from my speech in London - that we were limited by the fourteen points.
– Then I shall say that the honorable gentleman expressed the opinion that President Wilson’s fourteen points were a limitation upon the proceedings of the Conference. My view is that the enunciation of those fourteen points served a useful purpose in bringing the war to a termination sooner than would otherwise have happened.
– Without them the result would have been more definite.
– The honorable member is perhaps of a bellicose nature, and probably desired that the war should go on ; but I was anxious that a stop should be put to the conflict, with its awful slaughter.
Mr.Corser. - No; I did not wish the war to continue.
– The Labour party, at all events, was denounced because it spoke of peace by negotiation, but we find that many people to-day are prepared toapplaud the Peace which was arrived at in that way.
It must not be forgotten that, in June, 1917, the Australian Labour party set out in black and white certain proposals, which were subsequently known as the Peace proposals of the Labour party, and were indorsed at the Perth Labour Conference in June, 1918. I propose to compare those proposals, which were as follows, with subsequent proposals made by the British Labour party, Mr. Lloyd George, and President Wilson -
Six months later, namely, on the 30th December, 1917, the British Labour party enunciated its Peace proposals as follows : -
It will be remembered that the British Prime Minister (Mr. Lloyd George) attended the British Labour Conference in December, 1917, at which these views were propounded. . On the 5th January, only a few days later, he was reported to have made a speech in which he made the following Peace proposals -
On the 7th January, 1918, two days after Mr. Lloyd George had spoken, President Wilson delivered a speech, which was subsequently reduced down to what are known as his fourteen points. In the course of that speech, he made the following statements: -
I put these matters on record in their chronological order : first, the Australian Labour party’s proposals of June, 1917, which were said to be wrong; second, the proposals of the British Labour party, six months later; third, the subsequent proposals of Mr. Lloyd George; and, fourth, the later proposals of President Wilson. It canbe clearly seen that the proposals of the Labour party in 1917, were not very far wrong.
– Not the proposal of the Labour warty toknock off recruiting? Mr. TUDOR. - There was no proposal in June, 1917, to knock off recruiting. In April, 1918, I attended a Recruiting Conference, held at Government House, Melbourne, which was also attended by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook), and I appeared on recruiting platforms in 1917 and 1918.
– So did I.
– That is true; but it matters nothing. If the Minister’s intention is to interject that we proposed something in 1917 which does not appear in the other proposals, he is incorrect.
– The honorable member knows what I am referring to.
– The honorable member is referring to the Perth Conference proposals of June, 1918, twelve months afterwards. My only regret is that I cannot get the four proposals placed column by column inHansard, to show how the later proposals coincide with those put forward by the Labour party in June, 1917, and which were said to be wrong. Had this Peace document, so identical with our proposals, been drawnup in 1917, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives would have been saved.
– Does the honorable member imagine that Germany would have signed such a treaty in June, 1917 ?
– I have not the slightest idea.The Minister is more at home in speaking before butter producers and denouncing me when I am not present to put the other side of the question. It must not be forgotten that the Peace ultimately agreed upon was based - much as the Prime Minister may not have liked it - upon President Wilson’s fourteen points, and they were practically identical with those proposals of ours, which were said to be wrong in 1917.
We read that Mr. Bullit, Chief of the Current Intelligence Bureau of the American Peace Commission in Paris, has produced before the United States Senate Committee President Wilson’s original proof draft of the proposal for the League of Nations, written on the President’s own typewriter, and the original plans of Mr. J. S. Smuts and Lord Robert Cecil, of the British Delegation. This gentleman made many statements, into which I do not propose to go. I regret that in America the parties are making a political fight of the Peace Treaty, instead of studying it on its merits. In speaking to the Prime Minister’s motion I have not uttered one word from a party political point of view.
The world has been in a turmoil for the last four years, and we are not yet out of it. We read of a filibustering Italian raiding Fiume, just as Doctor Jameson attempted to raid Johannesburg before the Boer War. Right throughout the civilized world we can note the effects of the war on commerce and industry. People have been absolutely unsettled. I have not encountered one returned soldier actually engaged in fighting who is not more restive to-day than he was before leaving Australia. It will take our returned soldiers some time to get back to normal conditions, and I believe that people generally will not recover from the disquieting effects of the war for many years to come. Therefore, I hope that in the very near future something will be brought into existence - whether it be a League of Nations or something else - to prevent the building up of armaments or the making of munitions of war; and I am anxious that there shall be an early ratification of Peace in order that people can settle down to normal conditions. . We are told that there is to be a “new era.” I hope it will be a new era for the majority, and not for the few, and I trust th at in future we shall not have what has been too much the feature of the past, the minority having all the necessaries and a good many of the luxuries, while the majority have been compelled to struggle to get the bare necessaries of life. That is why I remarked at the outset of my speech that more people are concerned as to the cost of living than as to the ratification of Peace, but I believe that the longer we postpone the ratification of this Treaty the worse it may be for all concerned.
A Labour Conference is to be held in Washington next month under Part XIII. of the Peace Treaty. If any person is to leave Australia to attend that Conference he must leave immediately. I am not in the confidence of the Government, and I have heard nothing except what the Prime Minister said publicly as to what Ministers propose to do in regard to the matter, but if men are to be expected to thoroughly represent Australia at that Conference they should at least have a little time in which to familiarize themselves with the subjects to be discussed.
– Every Trades Hall Council has been communicated with, and we have pointed out that as we had nothing to do with the fixing of the date of the Conference, the fault does not rest with us.
– I understand that, and as the right honorable gentleman said this afternoon, it is desirable to get the whole Treaty confirmed and in operation as soon as possible. It is certainly desirable that the Labour section should be brought into operation as soon as possible. I have had an opportunity of living and working in other countries besides Australia. There are certain questions set forth in the Annex to the Treaty on page 90 tobe discussed at this Conference, such as -
Women’s employment -
No more important matters can be discussed than these. We are told that the conditions of child labour in some Eastern nations are appalling, but even
Great Britain needs to take a lesson in this regard. When I was working in England less’ than thirty years- ago the children were compelled to work in the factories in the morning and attend school in the afternoon. They had to turn out to work at 6 o’clock in the morning. These conditions prevailed in Lancashire and Yorkshire at that time. I hope that they have since been abolished. Another matter that Labour must take cognisance of is the question of women employment. I am very pleased to hear from the Prime Minister that the Government have communicated with the bodies most interested, namely, the Trades Hall Councils,- representing organized Labour. No doubt they will be prepared to come to an early decision.
In regard to the second motion submitted by the Prime Minister -
That this House approves the Treaty made at Versailles on the 28th June, 1919, between His Majesty the King and the President of the French Republic whereby, in case the stipulations relating to the left bank of the Rhine, contained in the Treaty of Peace with Germany signed at Versailles the 28th day of June, 1919, by the British Empire, the French Republic, and the United States of America, among other Powers, may not at first provide adequate security, and protection to France, Great Britain agrees to come immediately to her assistance in the event of any unprovoked movement of aggression against her being made by Germany.
I have been wondering whether, . if we agree to the motion, we shall be compelled to enter into a conflict with Germany along with the other nations mentioned in. the Treaty. Of course, it must be remembered that we have only the one side put forward. One may hold that what the other deems to be an “unprovoked movement of aggression” is really not so.’ In my’ opinion, the best guarantee for the safety of the world in the future is a strong League of Nations administering the Treaty which has been drawn up, providing for the abolition of armaments, and, in accordance with the proposals of our Labour party, Mr. Lloyd George, and President Wilson, the- absolute prohibition of the manufacture of arnanents or munitions of war by a31,7 private person - for then the Governments themselves will know what is going on - also providing that all secret treaties in existence shall be handed to the Secretariat of the League of Nations, so that it will not be possible for nations allegedly in partnership to have secret understandings which have in the past done more to provoke war than ‘has any other thing. I hope that the League of Nations will grow and be the means of preventing in the future such an awful war as we have had in recent times.
– My first words in discussing this motion are an expression of my concurrence in a great deal of what the honorable member said in the later portion of his speech - With him, I hope that the League of Nations will so function as to permit of a reduction of armaments, and secure the world’s peace for many generations, and that it will from time to time so police the Treaty, as it is intended to do, that the terms and conditions of it may be made just, reasonable, and effective. The honorable member tried to make it appear that the pioneers of this Treaty have been the Labour party of Australia. If that be so, I congratulate the Labour party . upon having been gifted with such prescience as to be able to lay down the lines of this World’s Treaty. I suggest to the honorable member, however that he should read more carefully the series of proposals which emanated from the Labour party in 1917. If he does that he will see that one or two of them, at any rate, would have- been fatal had they been incorporated in any Peace Treaty. They would ha.ve been fatal to the strength and power of the British Empire. I refer particularly to the condition relating to the freedom of the seas. The reference to that by the honorable member was most unfortunate, for I think he knows that this one of the fourteen points was abandoned altogether. I believe that never once did President Wilson seek to press upon the Peace Conference the view he had enunciated in regard to that matter. It was recognised on all hands that the freedom of the seas’ was an utterly impracticable proposition. ‘ With these exceptions, I agree largely with what was said by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), and I re-echo his hope that the League of Nations may so order itself in future, and so gather to itself the support of the civilized world as to become a mighty instrument of peace and progress.
This Treaty may be said to ring down ‘the curtain on the- world’s greatest drama. Whether it is the final, curtain remains to be seen, whether it is a prologue to new and more wonderful scenes is a matter which the future will reveal. But I venture to say that, with its Labour movement and its League of Nations, it may be described as the Magna Charta of a new world. It is, at any rate, an effort to release the world from the intolerable tyranny of huge and staggering armaments and the grip of Prussian militarism. The Treaty attempts to rescue and salve out of the conflagration all that is best in the Old “World civilization, and to make it the foundation for a new, more stately, and enduring structure. It is not a logical or symmetrical document - no treaty could ever be, that - and for the simple ‘ reason that the new structure has to be built on the old site, and the business of the world has to be carried on meanwhile. If one could sweep the world free of its institutions and. civilization, and. begin afresh, to erect new structures, perhaps we might do better; one cannot say. But we have to continue our institutions, and at the same time erect, if we can, out of the terrible destruction of the old elements, something new that will be enduring and useful.
The Treaty sets up a number of new sovereignties in the world. It revives the sovereignties of a number of ancient kingdoms; and assigns to them their metes and bounds. Out of these combined sovereignties we hope to construct a great moral and material force that will insure the peace and safety of the world, and guide and guard the birth of the new freedom which the Treaty confers upon mankind.
The aims of the Treaty may be shortly stated as follow: - (1) The restoration of Belgium, Servia, and Montenegro, with compensation for the damage they have suffered - complete restoration, so far. as it is possible to compel it; (2) The evacuation of invaded territories in France, Russia, and Roumania, again with complete reparation. (3) Re-organization of Europe, with a stable regime, and respect for nationalities, recognising the right of all peoples, great and small, to security and liberty of economic development. (4) Ample guarantees of land and sea frontiers from unjustified attack. (5) The restitution of the provinces torn from the Allies. (6) The liberation of the Italians-,
Slavs, Roumanians, Poles, -and Czechoslovaks from foreign domination. (7) Setting free peoples from the tyranny of the Turks. (8) An attempt to turn the Ottomann Empire out of Europe once and for all - I am “sure we shall all agree with that - to undo the wrongs of 1914, to vindicate justice and international right, and to reconstruct the political foundations of Europe. These things, it is hoped, will give liberty to its peoples and’ prospects of lasting peace. I fain would hope and believe that the best has been done in very difficult circumstances. At any rate, we may satisfy ourselves that Australia ‘is rid. once and for all- of the German menace’ in the Pacific. With the prohibition of armed forces in all the mandated territories, a great deal has been done to lift from Australia that fear and that weight of oppression which always have been existent while foreign nations have been so near to our doors. It is the best guarantee we Ban have that we shall be able to pursue our own destiny in peace, and, I hope, in progress..
It seems to me that we shall be better enabled to get a bird’s eye view of the Treaty if I state the effects of it upon the German nation. In both material and moral respects what Germany loses we gain. If I may throw the matter into this antithetical form we shall be able to see what the effect of the Treaty is upon Germany, and, therefore, what the gain to ourselves and. the Allies is.
First of all, let me deal with the German war aims and ‘the result of the effort to achieve them. I would place first in those aims the destruction of the British Empire. The result of that effort has been complete failure; to-day the Empire is more united, stronger, and more extensive than ever. I would place as the next purpose of Germany the destruction and possession of France. The result of that effort has been that Germany must restore Northern France completely. Whoever has seen Northern France will concede the justice of that condition. It is impossible to imagine precisely what has taken place there. Honorable members may sometimes get from pictures or paintings a faint conception of the devastation, but the sight of it first-hand leaves on the mind a picture of agony, despair, and desolation. such as cannot be conceived by the. people in Australia. Northern France is to be restored. Germany set out to conquer the whole of France. In that effort she has lost Alsace-Lorraine, I hope, for ever. The de-militarization of the left bank of the Rhine, the prohibition of fortifications within 40 kilometres of the eastern bank, and the army of ‘ occupation for fifteen years, indicate the complete failure of Germany’s designs upon France. In middle Europe, Germany to-day finds herself cut off from the Middle East by Czecho-Slovakia, Jugoslavia, .and Roumania. Bulgaria has been thoroughly beaten and subjugated; Turkey has been dismembered. Middle Europe is no longer what it was.
Another of Germany’s objectives was the retention and tho development of her colonial possessions. For that purpose she had been sacrificing millions, of pounds annually for many years past. All those possessions are lost to her to-day, and, I hope, for ever. Germany set out to. develop her colonies as military and naval bases ; not for the sake of the good she inight do to the backward nations of the earth, not for the material development she could stimulate and _ initiate, but for the one purpose of making these possessions great military and strategic outposts in her sinister designs for world conquest. All these are gone. Her’ design in Africa was a great black army; and there is now no German territory in Africa. Egypt, it is well known now, was to be given to Turkey as a. trophy of her triumph in the war. To-day, for the first time in the whole history of Egypt, the’ world recognises the protectorate of the British Empire. Germany set out to exploit Russia. Some people have an idea there is still a danger of her doing so; but I do not see it. If this Treaty can be made to hang together, and if the settlement can be carried out as intended, Germany hae little hope, in. my judgment, of exploiting either Russia , or the- ‘ Siberan part of Russia. Poland has been interposed as a barrier between Germany and that part of her intentions.
German war aims, in a word, were world-power - naval, commercial, military, and in every other respect. The result has been complete failure. Her navy, for instance, surrendered, and then suicided ; its collapse has been complete. Her warships and submarines are to be broken up; and all the navy that is left to Germany under this Treaty is a mere shadow of the navy that she possessed on entering into the war. Perhaps it may be useful to recount the naval strength of Germany as provided for in the Treaty. We allow her six battleships of 10,000 tons each; and what that mean’s may, perhaps, be best realized ‘by remembering that our own Australia is 18,000 tons. We allow her six cruisers of 6,000 tons, while our cruisers of tha Sydney type are 5,400 tons. We allow her twelve destroyers only, while Australia has twelve destroyers at the present moment, in her own little fleet. We allow her twelve torpedo boats, with no submarines, while we ourselves have six. The total -personnel of the German navy is to be 15,000 officers and men. She had the second navy in the world, but by this Treaty she is reduced to the position of the smallest.
And. so with the German army. The future strength of her army is to be 100,000 men, including officers. Statements were made the other day that the German army was to be 200,000, but that is only temporarily, until things settle down, and it will ultimately be reduced to 100,000 men and officers. Her general staff and military colleges have’ all been dissolved and destroyed. Her armaments have been greatly reduced, almost to a negligible point. For instance, we .allow her 204 field guns only, and 84 howitzers ; all excessive armaments are to be surrendered to the Allies. All importation of armaments is completely abolished, and she is not permitted to manufacture except what we permit for the purpose of replenishing the small army allowed her. She is prohibited from developing poisonous gases or liquids, and from the manufacture or importation of armoured cars and tanks, and such-like instruments of war. Chiefest of all, her conscription system is to be absolutely abolished. Her future army of 100,000 men is to be on a voluntary basis with enlistment for twelve years. Short-term enlistment has been completely done away with, and we permit her to recruit only 5,000 men per annum to replace the waste of the men discharged before the term has expired. The reason for that is thus explained. Germany has had a fixed standing army prescribed for her before to-day. Napoleon determined that she should have a limited army; and Germany began by introducing a system of training for three years. There was no limit placed on the number of enlistments, and Germany passed the nation through, those short periods of training, with the result that, before long, she was as strong as she had been before. Care has been taken under this Treaty to prevent any possible recurrence of that. ‘In a word, we may sum up this aspect of the matter ‘by saying that just as Germany pioneered the way to the world’s great armies she, we hope, will pioneer a way to small armies in the future. Germany’s military power is negligible, and she has been deprived of the possibility of doing mischief in the immediate future. No one can doubt the existence of evil desire and intent on her part. Like all beaten nations, Germany is sullen, and has gone away to think evil thoughts and concoct evil “schemes; but this Treaty stands in the way. and strips her of the power and means’ of accomplishing her desires. Militarily and navally we need have no fear of Germany in our day and generation if only the Treaty can be given effect to as it has been shaped.
What has been the effect commercially on Germany of this war, and of the Treaty which arises out of it? The trade of Germany before the war was growing at a wonderful rate. There was no nation which was so constantly and completely penetrating the world with her commercial ventures and schemes. Two lines of figures will make this apparent. In’ 1890 German exports and imports combined were £419,000,000, and this had risen in 1913 to £1,070,000,000 - a tremendous increase. Had Germany only been content to pursue her way as she was doing, she would very soon have had the world in subjection on that plane. But power seems to possess the seeds of its own dissolution, as history bears witness.
In her mercantile marine Germany came second only to the British Empire. Her position to-day is that her sea-borne trade, excepting in the Baltic, has been completely obliterated for the next five years for certain. Germany surrenders to the Allies all her merchant ships over 1,600 tons, half the tonnage of her ships between 1,000 tons and 1,600 tons, one quarter of the tonnage of all her steam trawlers and other fishing boats. Then, for five years, Germany must build for the Allies up to 200,000 tons of shipping per annum. She must transfer to the Allies all her commercial concessions in Russia, Turkey, Austria, Hungary, Bul garia, and her former German colonies. All these concessions have been stripped from her; - she is left bare of them to-day.
As to her imports and exports - a matter which affects us all - Germany must not discriminate as she used to do against the Allies by means of Customs duties or otherwise;, neither must she discriminate in any way against the nationals, the individuals of the Allies. These and other similar provisions. I venture to say, handicap Germany tremendously for the future, and lift the handicap which she used to impose on us. It is only fair to say, however, that the German factories have not been destroyed or dismantled as the factories were in Belgium and Northern France. The Treaty requires’ that Germany shall make good the factories which were destroyed in those countries, and that she shall deliver machinery, tools, and other implements for that specific purpose.
It comes to this : that, instead of gaining the commercial supremacy of the world, Germany has lost substantially all her sea-going mercantile marine, on which her foreign trade depended. She has lost all her foreign rights and concessions, except in neutral countries, and she has lost the power to protect her commerce by any policy of preferential duties or methods of the kind. In addition, she has to bear the staggering load of her own debts, and all the costs of reparation.
It appears to me. therefore, that we need not be particularly fearful of German inroads in the commercial sphere in the immediate future. Give her all the advantages she possesses in having her factories, and everything connected with them, intact, there is yet laid on her such prohibitions and such a staggering burden of obligations as will require all the machinery she can possess, and a great deal more, before she carries out the terms of the Treaty.
Under this Treaty it will be entirely our own fault if we allow Germany to do what she did before, namely, give a military twist to all her internal arrangements for commerce. This is one thing I hope and believe the League of Nations will do, acting, as it were, as the inspectorgeneral of this Treaty in the international sphere.
What has been the effect on German finance? Here, again, the position can be stated very briefly. The Treaty provides that Germany must meet all her financial obligations out of charges on her property and resources within the Empire, and on her property and security outside the Empire. Reparation, and the costs incidental to the Treaty, are made a first charge on the assets and revenue of Germany in the future. She undertakes to pay the total cost of the armies of occupation, and to liquidate a series of charges in the following order of priority : - First, the armies of occupation during the armistice period, then the costs of the army of occupation after the Treaty has been signed, and then the costs of reparation and other general costs incidental to her carrying out her obligations under the Treaty. Germany has had a huge and vital slice taken out of her territory, and these nationals have been grouped within new boundaries, and delimited in other spheres, so as to leave Germany a good deal poorer. I refer in particular to Poland and to Czechoslovakia. The provision made with regard to the share of obligation to be taken by the ceded territories is very interesting. It is based upon the ratio which is to be established between the average revenues of the ceded territories in the three prewar years. That, capitalized, is to be made the basis of the total payments that they must make of .the German debts which were floating and current .in the year 1914. But exceptions to this arrangement have been provided for. France gets Alsace-Lorraine back again free of every encumbrance, and .quit of every obligation. Poland is to be relieved of a great portion of her debt, since most of it. was imposed upon her as the price of her own subjugation by Germany. After all these years, justice comes along in the shape of Nemesis to Germany, and deals out this even-handed treatment to her, even in the apportioning of those debts which were incurred in her conquests of the long ago.
Then there is the question of the pay-‘ ment for German Government and’ Crown property in the ceded territories. They have to be estimated and appraised; but no payment whatever is’ made to Germany: ‘ Payment is made to the Allies through the Reparation Fund, so that Germany does not benefit directly one fraction by any of the payments by the ceded territories.
– She will get credit for it as part of her payment.
– .She pays to the Allies through the Reparation Fund. She receives no payment for German Government and Crown property in the mandated territories. We take the territories, and we take the properties there, and we make no payment to Germany for any Government property in any of them. We may, if. we see fit, acquire the property of German nationals in those territories, and again without making any direct payment for them. We require, on the other hand, that Germany shall pay her own nationals, and we shall give her credit in connexion with the Reparation Fund.
Germany renounces all her rights under the treaties which have heretofore existed between her. and other nations. She forfeits all her rights in all the controls which she exercised of commissions in State banks and other financial and economic organizations up and down the world. She forfeits completely any of these things relating to concessions in other countries, even the concessions which she had in Russia, although what we are to do with ‘them when she has dis-. gorged them in Russia is a problem. It may be that when Russia ‘ has quietened down, and our whole account with Russia comes to be taken, then, and then only, can we strike the balance with Russia and with Germany, so far as her interests in Russia are concerned. Germany, too, has to give up - and, I dare say, has given up by this time - all the gold that was transferred from the Ottoman Bank to the Reichs Bank when, she raised thos© loans for Turkey about two years ago. The same thing occurred in AustroHungary. She gave them loans, and took all their securities. All these she has to disgorge, and they are all given back, not to Turkey and Austro-Hungary, but to the Reparation Fund. Everything has to go ‘there. Germany gets nothing whatever back from anywhere in respect of any concession or any loan.
One impression which I brought back with me from the Peace Conference is that it is a terrible thing to lose a war. The doctrine of vae victis is a very fearful one, and I have a conviction that I would rather die than lose in a fight like that. The humiliation that is put upon nations when they have to submit to the bitterness of defeat is something ‘ that one realizes only when one come? face to face with, the duty of meting out international justice, according to present international standards. Let me hasten to add, Germany deserves all she has got. She deserves a great deal more ; and whatever Nemesis may come to her in the future in the shape of suffering, . it is because of the unprovoked attack she made’ upon peaceful and unoffending citizens of other nations, and not because of anything done to her by the Allies. She has herself entirely to blame.
Germany renounces all the benefits of the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bucharest. A Commission is to be set up under the reparation clauses which may require Germany to acquire and transfer all the interests . > which Germany has in. any public utility or undertaking in Russia, China, Turkey, Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria, or any of the ceded or mandated territories. Germany has to indemnify the nationals of those territories, and gets her credit in the Reparation Fund. Whatever Germany has to pay, she must pay in the currency of the country where the debt is due. That will be a tremendous disability, since her mark to-day is worth only about 4d. One could make money to-day in many of the German territories by purchasing things at German values and bringing them out and selling them at our own.
On the question of reparation, I should like to say a few words in addition to what the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) has said. In the first place, it is well to get clearly in mind what the principle of reparation- is. Reparation ought in strictness to be restitution; but, of course, that is .impossible There are many things that can never be replaced in connexion with this war. We cannot replace the 7,000,000 dead, or the strong limbs of those who were maimed and despoiled during the war ; but, so far as possible, reparation should mean restitution, and that is the principle which has been applied, with the limitations imPosed by the nature of things, in this Treaty. M. Clemenceau, in a very brilliant reply to the Germans in connexion with this matter, laid down this definition of what reparation ought to be and to do as follows: - “ To right a wrong is to replace things as far as possible in the state in which they were before the wrong was committed.” That, of course, is impossible in a case like this; but, taken by and large, an effort has been made to do it in this Treaty, The vast extent and manifold character of the damage which has been caused creates in itself a problem of great complexity, delicacy, and magnitude, and a continuing body has been set up to deal with it. It was found impossible to deal with every point of it in the Treaty itself, and, therefore, a continuing Commission has been set up, which will from time to time apply the principles laid down in the Treaty, and see, if possible, that complete reparation is made. It will be a small body, of limited personnel, and of very broad and plenary powers. The aim of the reparation clauses is the early and complete discharge of Germany’s obligations; to see that she does not shirk,, and to give relief where and when it is necessary to do so. For this purpose we permit Germany to make counter proposals to the Reparation Commission. Realizing her obligations, she may see that she can make these payment; in some better way than is proposed in the terms which have been laid upon her. So long as they carry out the purposes of the Treaty, and the amount imposed by the Treaty, any proposals she may make with that end in view will be given full consideration and effect, so long as they do not conflict with the. principles of the Treaty itself.
The formula laid down is that there shall be compensation for all damage done to the civilian populations and to their property. That excludes, of course, the cost of the war. There is a great deal of difference of opinion as to whether or not we ought to have laid upon Germany the total cost of the war as an obligation. It appears to me that it would not add to the status, authority, and power of the Treaty to include in it obligations which it was known could never be carried out. The Treaty will, I think, be stronger if it contains only such provisions as we are able effectually to enforce. So it came about in the end that this plan was adopted, by reason, if you like, of one of Wilson’s fourteen points, but I would suggest, not solely because that point was there, so much as ‘because there was a general feeling also that Germany could not stand up to those obligations, and that to have imposed- more upon her would ha.ve been to run the risk of losing all. Germany to-day is, like other nations, very much distracted. Germany to-day is smitten, and smitten hard. Germany to-day is crippled in her resources for the want of raw material. She has lost 2.000,000 of the flower of her mau- hood, and, with all the other obligations of the Treaty laid upon her, my own impression is that Germany has a great deal to do, and all she can do, and, perhaps, more than she can do, although I hope not.
First of all, Belgium is to be reimbursed all her liabilities in the war. That stands in the forefront of the reparation clauses. She is to get £100,000,000 in cash out of the first £1,000,000,000 that is provided by Germany. Afterwards she- is guaranteed her war expenditure which she borrowed from the Allies. I am bound to say that, in my judgment, Belgiumhas been treated very fairly, I would even say generously, in this Treaty. It seems rather invidious to mention these things, but I venture to say that the other European nations as a whole have been treated at least as well as the British nation in the settlements that have had to be made. The Commission which has been set up is to present thebill to Germany by the year 1921. Germany must pay in. thirty years. The Commission may extend the term. In 1921,Germany must have paid £1,000,000,000 in gold, commodities, ships, and securities. It was atfirst intended to make her pay in gold entirely, but this was found to be impracticable, and she was given the alternatives mentioned, so long as she paid the equivalent of £1,000,000,000. The first charge on thatamount is, of course, the cost of the army of occupation and the food which has had to be supplied to Germany. Germany to-day is being kept alive by the Allied countries, and I should like to impress upon honorable members the further fact that Europe is being kept alive to-day by America and the Imperial Government Europe cannot maintain itself to-day, and will not be able to maintain itself for some considerable time to come. It should always be borne in mind that America and Great Britain to-day are keeping Europe alive - that they are standing between her and hunger.
– North and South America.
– Yes; I speak of America as a whole.
In the year 1921 Germany is to issue gold-bearing bonds for 40,000,000,000 marks- £2,000,000,000. This sum is to bear interest at the rate of2½ per cent. up to the year 1926. If she has not liquidated this liability by that time she is to be given an extension, but the amount is to bear interest at the rate of 5 per cent., with 1 per cent. amortization. She also undertakes when called upon to issue gold-bearing bonds for yet another £2,000,000,000, making, in all, £5,000,000,000, that she has to provide. This is to be only a payment on account. It does not represent the totality of Germany’s obligations. The Commission is to report again in two years, when, it is hoped, that it will have obtained final data that will enable it to assess the damage under these categories, and so providefor the complete payment of full reparation by Germany. In addition to these payments, Germany, as I have already said, is to build us 200,000 tons of shipping per annum. She is to give France, Italy, and Belgium from 45,000,000 tons to 50,000,000 tons of coal a year. We are to obtain 50 per cent of all her dye stuffs and chemical drugs in stock. In addition, we may requisition 25 per cent. of her total product of these goods up to the year 1925. Germany forfeits all her cables. All are swept from her, and given over to the possession of the Allies. The British Government is to operate them in trust for the Allies.
These reparations, as I have said, are made a first charge on the revenues and expenditures of the German people. For this purpose the Allies are to examine her Budgets year by year. She might otherwise so arrange her Budgets as to prevent our seeing what her capabilities are in this direction. We, therefore, reserve to ourselves the right to scrutinize her Budgets, and, if necessary, to require an alteration of them with a view to her paying to the Allies the uttermost fraction possible in the way of indemnities.
These, briefly, are the terms of reparation which have been imposed upon Germany. Again, I say they are very severe ; but not more severe, not sterner, or less just, than all the circumstances require. Germany set out to conquer the world. In this Treaty we have the answer to that attempt. She set out to subjugate the commerce of the world. She is stripped of her power to do injury in that respect. She set out to gain the countries of the world. Much of her own territory has been taken from her.
Then there is the second Treaty referred to briefly by the Prime Minister. It provides that in the event of any unprovoked movement of aggression against France being made by Germany, Great
Britain shall go to the assistance of France - “ France beloved of every soul that loves its fellow kind.” This second Treaty, in my judgment, does nothing more for France than the provisions of the League of Nations would do. .France, however, was nervous. She was not prepared to trust absolutely the League of Nations, and so she said, “ I want further guarantees. I am here bleeding at every pore. My country is destitute and desolate by reason of the fight which the people of France have made in the interests of the civilized world. I want all the guarantees you can give, and in guaranteeing me you also guarantee yourselves.” And so it was seen to be a fair thing to quiet and satisfy France with the added emphasis of this obligation which the Allies took upon themselves to see that France was not invaded in the future.
– Does the United States of America give the same assurance?
– Yes. Our obligation does . not lie until the United States of America has also undertaken the same responsibility. It is to be a joint arrangement. If Great Britain refuses to recognise it, the United States of America is under no obligation to do so. If the United States of America refuses, Great Britain is under no obligation. It is a joint-and-several agreement. I hope that the United States of America will agree to it, and that we shall do so. It is a fair thing, and, moreover, is a recognition -of the new fact in European strategy that the Rhine is the real strategic military frontier of Britain as well as France. That fact has emerged during the course of the war.
– Where did the right honorable gentleman get it from ?
– From the dynamics of the hard, devilish facts of the war.
– If France attacked Germany, should we have to go to her assistance ? Are we to be involved in all the wars of France?
– No. We are not to be involved in France’s quarrels. Under this Treaty we. are, so to speak, simply “sticking to our pals,” as my honorable friend always does in his unionistic relationships. It is the principle of the trade unionist never to desert a “ pal.”
– The right honorable gentleman has not forgotten that.
– No, I have not forgotten the principle, and it is’ being emphasized in this second Treaty. In our fight with Germany we kept the war from our own shores. France felt the burden, . the agony, the tremendous impact of it all. Our people escaped it, and it is fair that we should guarantee to France that she shall not feel it in the future except in common with all the Allies. We must always remember that Germany still has a population of 70,000,000, whereas France has a population of less than 40,000 ,000 ,v and Great Britain only some 45,000,000 of people. The brunt of this obligation of resisting a German invasion of this kind will always rest .upon Great Britain and France. The United States of America will be still under the disability of being over one week’s sail from the scene of conflict, so that the first impact of any such collision must necessarily fall upon Great Britain and France. They must take the first shock, the first surprise, should anything of the kind happen in future, and the total population of Great Britain and France is little more than that of Germany. -
Another consideration which lies at the root of this second Treaty is that behind Germany - I mean geographically - are the Slavs of. Russia, the semi-barbaric hordes of Central Asia, and the numberless millions of the Far East.
– Behind Germany?
– Yes. We do not know what the future may have in store for us. We do know, however, that, right down the centuries, all civilized nations have had to defend themselves from the overflow of less civilized nations and peoples. The fact stands out that this can be- done in the future only by joint action on the part of the whole of the civilized peoples of Europe. I commend the second Treaty, therefore, to the cordial approval of this House. It is a fair thing to ‘France. It is- just to ourselves. It is, withal, a prudent measure. It is such a measure as the present war has made necessary, and as the future may yet require.
I mentioned that Germany had lost for ever, I hope, all her colonies. How great that loss is to her may be readily gathered from a reference to some figures which I have tabulated, showing, first of all, the extent of German oversea territories, as well as the immense importance which she attached to them. So important were they regarded by Germany that in the governing of .them she incurred a loss each year to the extent of £3,500,0.00.
– Can the right honorable gentleman say what was the annual loss in governing those colonies in respect of which a mandate has been given to the Commonwealth?
– Yes; and that is one reason why I asked leave to make this further statement. I had better, at the outset, quote the figures which I have taken from Whitaker’ s A lmanac Joi last year. The information there set out is fairly accurate, but there is a diversity in the years mentioned, so that if we were tabulating the statistics to-day some changes would have been made. The statement is as follows: -
In the first place, Kiau-Chau, that battleground which has played so important a part in the considerations of the Peace Conference had, in 1912, a population of 84,000. It is not very important from the point of view of its population, but it is a highly important strategic centre, and is so regarded by the naval and military authorities of the world. In 19.12, its receipts were £312,000, and its expenditure £732,000, showing a deficit of £420,000. That fact alone will indicate, I think, the great importance attached by Germany to this place from a strategical military and naval standpoint. Then we have the mainland of New Guinea, the Bismarck Islands, the Solomons, and all the other German islands in the Pacific, excluding Samoa, which has been given to New Zealand. Strange as it may seem, Samoa is the only German colony in the group where the receipts and expenditure balance. It is the one island that is paying the cost of its own government. The mainland of New Guinea, with an area of 70,000 square miles, has a population that is not easily ascertainable. There has been no census, and, as far as I know, no responsible effort to tabulate the population, and so it is given generally as being from 110.000 to 350,000. The Bismarck, Solomons, and other islands have an area of 16,000 square miles, and an estimated population of 250,000. All these figures are for the year 1912; I have not been able to find any later statistics. The receipts of these islands in that year totalled £78,000, and the expenditure £138,000, leaving a deficit of £60,000.
That is the obligation we are taking over in connexion with the mandate which has been given to us. The deficit by this time, however, may be less. Since 1912 the islands have been developing. Their rubber and copra production are much improved, and I should not be surprised, when the figures come to be definitely ascertained and fixed, to find that these islands are practically selfsupporting in the matter of governmental expenditure. In my opinion, very shortly these islands will be a source of revenue, and if one may so put it a profit to us. I hope that we shall be able, by good and judicious management, to make them pay thecost of their owndevelopment. In that regard the outlook is very promising. There are great resources as yet undeveloped in these new territories, and I hope that a definite move towards their development may be made as soon as we become responsible for them and begin to move actively in the governing of them.
As to our own territory, Papua, it is well known that large deposits of oilbearing strata are to be found there, and so far we have had in Dr. Wade a very competent geologist dealing with them. I found that in London he was well regarded as a geologist. He is a graduate of the London School of Mines, and that is a certificate as to his being a thoroughly competent man, from the scientific aspect, for the work on which he is engaged. But as honorable members know, our operations in Papua have been most unfortunate. I have come to the conclusion that this is because we have not had the experience requisite for the proper development of these oil deposits. [ Extension of time granted.]
When in the Old Country I went down to Chesterfield to see the oil wells which were opened there almost as soon as we reached England. I attended the opening ceremony which Lord Cowderoy organized when the first bore was begun. He told me that for two or three years before he had even made arrangements to commence boring operations he had his own staff of geologists and chemists at. work. They were engaged for nearly three- years in Great Britain definitely defining the anticline where the oil deposits were supposed to be, and testing the oil chemically for its quality. It was only when he had satisfied himself by geological and chemical tests that oil was there in commercial quantities that he secured from America an expert corps of borers to put down the bores. What that exactly means will be gathered from an illustration that I can give the House. A fortnight before leaving England I again went down to Chesterfield to see what progress was being made. I had become very interested in the subject, and desired to see what progress was being made on the practical side with the boring operations. I found that Lord Cowderoy had struck oil in one bore, and that the oil was dripping quietly into tanks, but that it had been determined to go down another 50 feet.
– What depth had then been reached ?
-2,400 feet; and the bore was to be put down another 50 feet. After I left I read that this was clone, and that the oil had begun to gush forth. The superintendent told me on the occasion of my last visit that if he could get from three or four more bores the result that he had then secured, it would insure thoroughly sound commercial operations. Later on the oil had begun to gush, and I presume that the position now is satisfactory. The point that I wish to mention is that when I inspected the bores a flange on one of the pipes in a bore of 2000 feet had broken at a depth of more than 1000 feet, but in less than twelve hours every pipe was up and stacked at the head. The pipes were taken up, repaired, and put down again. I mention this incident only to show what practical men who had been engaged in this work all their lives can do.
– The same thing is repeatedly done in Queensland.
– I fear that it has not always been done in some places of which 1 know. I quote this incident only to show how necessary it is to sharply divide the two aspects of this work. At the banquet which Lord Cowderoy gave, the health of the superintendent of the bores was. proposed. The superintendent, an. American, said in reply, “Well, I guess I can’t talk much, but if the oil is there, I calculate I will find it.” That was his speech. The oil was there, and he did find it. I came to the conclusion that these men knew their business. They had been boring all their lives, and had became expert.
– Were not all the geologists opposed to the idea of oil being found in England?
– Lord Cowderoy’s geologists were satisfied that oil deposits existed there.
– But for them the discovery would not have been made?
– Perhaps not. There was a good deal of opposition to the idea.
– Just as there is in regard to the existence of oil deposits in Australia.
– My honorable friend has made his point. I know nothing about the geology of the Commonwealth, but I candidly confess that I should like to see a determined scientific and systematic effort made to explore Australia with a view to the discovery of oil deposits. The question is all important for the reason that the industries of the world are gradually passing over to an oil basis. It- is important, also, from a defence-from an Admiralty - point of view.
I hope to be able to deal at length with this matter on another occasion. At the present moment I wish only to point to the possibilities of these islands in the Pacific as a source of great wealth to Australia, and as furnishing the best of all reasons why we should control and operate them to the fullest possible extent with a view to exploiting their rich sources of wealth, more particularly in the direction of oil production.
– Can the Minister tell us anything of the prospects of finding oil in, what was German New Guinea?
– I cannot do so; but I should think that the exploitation of the supposed oil-bearing strata is one of the first things that should be undertaken in that territory. I believe that the Dutch oil-fields continue right through those islands to New Guinea, and it is part of our duty to see if we can find oil. We have an Empire which is dependent on its Navy and its oceangoing commerce. In a word, we are a marine. Empire, yet we possess only 2 per cent. of the world’s output of oil. This is a serious problem from the point of new of the Empire and its future development, and I sincerely hope that we shall be able to make our contribution to those stores of oil without which the Empire cannot hope to stand sure in the international competition of the future.
In regard to German South West Africa, there is an expenditure of £2,250,000 among 270,000 people, roughly, £10 per head of the population, showing the immense importance Germany attached to these Possessions. She developed them for two reasons: to exploit them for raw materials for her manufacturers - the greatest blow at German industries has been made by depriving her of the possibility of obtainthing these raw materials from her own colonies - and to develop strategic points up and down the world, with a view to developing the naval and military resources of those places, and making them an aid to her ambition of world power.
We have been given a mandate. I do not wish to add anything to the Prime Minister’s explanation, except to say that I am thoroughly in favour of the mandatory principle, chiefly for one reason, that .it is to our interest in the Pacific to eliminate, as far as we can,- the possi-bility of the formation in those islands of any force, naval or military. The mandatory principle does this -by prohibiting the preparation of any naval or military force, and by preventing the setting up of fortifications in all the mainland territories, or for any reason whatsoever. That is a very great gain to Australia, and a great element in the security which we hope will ‘ come to us as, in the future, Ave try to develop the resources of these islands for the benefit of the Empire and the world.
Let me refer now, briefly, to the League of Nations. I, too, whole-heartedly and cordially approve of a League of Nations. The object of the League, which is embodied in the Treaty, as far as I understand it, is to put between the conception and the act of war as many obstacles as possible. That can be done best, perhaps, in two ways - and here I might say that I am practically quoting what I think was a very admirable setting of the matter by M. Tardieu, one of the Peace plenipotentiaries of France - it can be done, first of all, by giving- to the nations the best geographical conditions which we can secure for them, with due regard to ethnological justice and economic prosperity. In the second place, it can be done by the creation of a common bond of union, so that an act of aggression against one may be made the common concern of all. The underlying principle of any permanent settlement is, of course, that the people shall have the ‘right to dispose of themselves, to fix their own- destiny, to have their own outlook upon life, and to live their own life in their own way. This involves, as embodied in the League of Nations, the requirement that we shall stand shoulder to shoulder in the enforcement of the Peace principles, and in seeing that they become expressed in the Statutes, rules, customs, and traditions of -the nations of the earth. The League of Nations is a union for a constructive Peace. It is, if you will, an ideal; an aspiration; but I venture to say it is worth while. It may be said to be an effort to realize the real brotherhood of the nations of the earth. . It is riot a ‘ super-State. And here I should like to call the attention of the Leader of the Opposition. (Mr. Tudor) to the quotation which he made from the British Labour party’s Peace programme, in which they advocated a super-national League of Nations. This is no super-national League of Nations. The great problem was to avoid the erection of a super-State, which, of course, would have destroyed the sovereignties of the States . as then existing, and have given us over, body and soul, to the control of those who .were possibly not friendly to us. That has been avoided in this League of Nations. It was the first tough problem that had to be tackled, and I venture to say that an even keel had . been steered between a super-State on the one hand, and a mere empty triviality on the other. Our sovereignties are preserved, but an organization has been created which, I believe, will have r, very material effect on the achievement of the objectives which the League sets out. In my judgment, this League of Nations contains no danger to the British Empire in any shape or form, and involves no danger to the British Fleet, upon which that Empire depends, nor any derogation of British prestige, which, to-day, is the highest in the whole world. The increased power and prestige - the character - of the British Empire in the Council of the “World, was impressed’ upon our minds more and more’ as the Conference lengthened out.
The preamble of the League of Nations sets out that one of its objectives is international co-operation, and not competition in warfare. It is constructive, therefore, in its first sentence. It aims at a complete and real co-operative Commonwealth of Nations, and carries our cooperative civilization several points further than at present. Its objectives are of the .noblest. It aims at world peace, with a ban upon war ; and when we remember the .price we have paid in this tragic struggle, it should lead us to the consideration of any proposals which hold out hope for the future.
– There is more preparation for war in the Pacific to-day than there has ever been in history.
– I fail to see the relevancy of that remark.
– The right honorable gentleman says that the League of Nations will put an end to war; yet the nations are preparing for war in the Pacific to-day as they never did before.
– All the more reason why the world should take a hand in preventing that preparation. Surely that is not an argument for doing away with the League of Nations?
– Not at all.
– The honorable member cannot point to a more potent argument for its establishment.
– It shows that America, as well as Great Britain and France, does not put trust in the League of Nations.
– I venture to say that such is not the case. The honorable member suggests that these nations have been guilty of a pure piece of makebelieve. Nothing could be further from fact. No responsible Britishstatesman to-day, with the weight upon his shoulders which he carries, and with the nation behind him staggering under its great load of debt, could do other than look sympathetically on any proposal which seemed to offer future relief from these crushing burdens, and I hope that the honorable member will not suggest that this League of Nations is a pure piece of make-believe. It is an honest effort to try to get some instrumentality for the mitigation of those things to which he alludes.
– America has brought 200 war vessels into the Pacific since the Peace Treaty was framed.
– I think we have nothing to fear from the American vessels in the Pacific.
– It is a godsend to Australia that America is doing it.
– I hope that those vessels will come here and be welcomed by us. But just what that fact has to do with this argument I do not know.
– It shows that America, as well as Great Britain and France, does not trust this League of Nations’ business.
– It is not a matter of trusting to the League of Nations. If it were a matter of trusting to a piece of parchment or paper, I, for one, would not be advocating it here as I am; but there isno thing in the document which interferes with our sovereign rights or powers,or with any reasonable war preparations we care to make. I want the honorable member to understand that, if he will read the document through, he will see that the sovereignty of the nations is preserved through and through. . I remind the honorable member for Cool? (Mr. Catts) that the complaint of his Leader (Mr. Tudor) to-day was that disarmament was not compelled by the League.
– I am not making any complaint.
– But the honorable member is suggesting that a certain country does not believe in the League of Nations, and, therefore, is arming in spite of having affixed its signature to the document which creates that League.
– So far as the Pacific is concerned.
– Since the document has been signed there has not been enough time to build another single warship.Therefore, whatever has been done in regard to the Pacific has been simply a shifting of forces which formerly were situated elsewhere. Those forces Have neither been increased nor multiplied.
-Hear, hear! But the outcome of the war has been to shift the conflict from the North Sea to the Pacific.
– Do not let the Minister be drawn off his line of argument.
– It is on the line of my argument, and emphasizes the point I wish to make, namely, that the League of Nations aims at the prevention of predatory poweranywhere, and, therefore, should be encouraged to the greatest possible extent.
The League begins by affirming the desirability of open, just, and honorable relations between nations. Itsets up the reign of law, instead of force, as the actual rule for international conduct. It makes the League the Inspector-General of the Treaty, and the Inspector-General throughout the whole international sphere. It sets in the foreground that perfect good faith shall be kept, and that a scrupulous respect for treaties shall be observed. When these treaties have been dragged into the open, we shall have gone a long way to seeing that they are observed, and to seeing that they are just and right, and we shall have gone a long way to guarantee that people will be able to live under them in peace and security, without recourse to warfare. The work to be- done is very great. It is to make peace. It is to make new States and to maintain them, and to give the older nations of the world greater security and greater peace. There are many new nations opening a new chapter of liberty and self-development. This Treaty may be said to be the birth certificates of these new nations emerging from the collapse of the old. Some of these new nations are really very old nations. Servia, for instance, was a nation in the fourth century. It was conquered by Charlemagne in the ninth century. It passed under Turkish rule, then under German rule, and then under Austrian rule. But through it all Servia has preserved that which we call the “soul of a nation,” that which cannot be killed. You may suppress it, you may oppress it, and you may overlay it for centuries, but it will emerge again into the sunlight at the first opportunity and assert its invincibility and inviolability. You cannot kill that which we call .” the soul of a nation.” Servia preserved her language, her race names, and her traditions for 1,400 or 1,500 years, and made her .appeal at the bar of the nations to be set up in greater power and greater potency than ever before. The same ‘thing may be said of Bohemia, which was a Kingdom in the fifth century. I had pride and pleasure in being able to assist in setting up La Boheme as a nation again. If honorable members had been there, as we were, and heard the multifarious appeals that were made to us by many of the little Kingdoms up and down Europe, they would have realized that you cannot kill that which you call “ the soul of a nation,” no matter what you do. ‘ There is one little Kingdom I remember in particular, Lusatiacontaining 150,000 inhabitants, and the appeal it made for some kind of autonomous government and the long history which it unrolled and related to us, showing the immensity of its cultural contributions to Europe, was very tragic and very pathetic.
It was impressed on my mind also that the chief ingredient in the spirit of nationality is language, and, therefore, our great object in future should be to bind together all the Anglospeaking races of the world, wherever they may be. I have come back to Australia more and more feeling the urgent necessity of seeking to cultivate by every possible means in our power cordial and intimate relations with the great Republic across the Pacific.
The League of Nations is really the Treaty. The document is shot through with references to the League of Nations. The ‘ League functions all through the Treaty, and if it did not live a day longer, it will already have served a useful’ purpose in the making of this peace. We could not have a peace with any prospect of its lasting but for it. All the while it has been in the background’ as the .reservoir, shall I say, of the sorenesses which have been engendered in these new delimitations and in the fixing of these new conditions. It must be remembered that to-day Europe is still full of mutual hatreds. Some of the Allies hate each’ other almost as much as they hate the Germans, and trouble has arisen in fixing the metes and bounds of the new nations, and in trying to draft ethnographic lines which were set down as the fundamental principle to begin with. It is quite impossible in Europe to draft lines that will give ethnographic justice.. The races are so intermixed .that you must ma through them arbitrarily at some point or another. And so it is with economic interests ; they aTe ‘all intermixed and interwoven; you cannot make boundary lines unless you run through both economic and ethnographic lines of interest; you must make a rough-and-ready byand.large arrangement. But the adoption of , this method has left a great deal of soreness behind it. For instance, in Bohemia there are over 2,000,000 Germans. We had the alternative of giving the Czecho- Slovaks a boundary which they could protect, a very high range of mountains, and thus including 2,000,000 Germans, or of excluding those 2,000,000 Germans and giving them a boundary line which they could not defend. Therefore, we included the Germans, and in so doing created a problem which has to be faced in the future. We cannot expect those Germans to be content. I am citing this as a typical case to show the immensity of the problems which we had to handle in the making of this Treaty. These Germans cannot be expected to be content, because they are the capitalists of Bohemia, they manage the big indus7 tries, and now to be brought into subjection to the Czecho-Slovaks is a bitter pill for them.
– What is the total population in that State?
— About 12,000,000. When 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 Germans are included we may expect that the future will bring some little troubles of its own, and unless we have a League of Nations, or some similar authority, to deal with these troubles when they arise, we had better commence arming at once for the next war. That is the alternative. These nations signed the Peace Treaty believing that the League of Nations would afford some possibility of a review of the Treaty in the future; otherwise, many of them, I greatly fear, would not have signed it. At any rate, if they had signed, the Peace would not have lasted very long. So diverse are their interests, so intense their racial animosities, and so shot through are their affairs with the conflicting strands of national interests, that it would be impossible to preserve peace unless some organization like the League of Nations were set up to overlook them.
Under the Treaty itself many other functions are given to the League of Nations. For instance, it secures adequate railway facilities over Polish territory between Germany and East Prussia. It secures to Poland railway facilities over the German territory of Danzig. Honorable members may recollect that a great battle was waged regarding the free port of Danzig. Poland desired an independent outlet to the sea, and “ultimately it was arranged that Danzig should be made a free international port. A High Commissioner is to be appointed by the League of Nations, and he, in conjunction with the free people of Danzig, will arrange a constitution for the governance of that port, giving Poland all the rights of access to the sea to which she is entitled, but at the same time setting up the autonomy of people, who are German in race and sympathy. Many of these problems had to be internationalized, .and we must have some body to police the arrangements, and see that they are carried out in their entirety. That is the one hope of the world. Therefore, putting aside all sentiment, I ask honorable members to look upon the League of Nations as an organization set up for giving effect to the Treaty, and as a principal and integral part of its machinery. The League will guarantee the boundaries between Austria and Germany - a ticklish business in the case of peoples who desire to come together, but whom we wish to keep apart..
An important provision in the Treaty is Article 213, by which, so long as the Treaty remains in force, Germany undertakes to give every facility for any investigation which the Council of the League of Nations, acting, if need be, by majority vote, may consider necessary. We have disarmed Germany, but how are we to guarantee that she will remain disarmed? We all recollect the surprises that she had in store for us at the commencement of the late war. Honorable members will recollect tlie enormous howitzers, that overthrew immense fortifications and made the world gasp with surprise. Behind the veil of secrecy Germany had evolved those great engines of war, the existence of which the world learnt with astonishment. Therefore, we say to Germany that the League of Nations shall inspect her thoroughly, even to the very vitals of her country, in order to take care that no fresh machinations against the civilized world shall be commenced. In other words, the League of Nations is to be the Inspector-General of the Treaty. I emphasize that phrase, because it seems to aptly describe the functions of the League, apart from its higher objectives and aspirations. The League is to see, for instance, whether the economic laws relating to nationals and businesses, which have been given a five-year limit in the Treaty, shall be extended or terminated at the end of that period. The League is to inspect all treaties that are made between nations. We are not prevented from making fresh treaties, but we do covenant that when we have blade a treaty, it shall be reported to the League of Nations, which in turn will report it to the world. The League is given power to interpret all provisions of the Treaty respecting ports, railways, and waterways. Many international arrangements have been made in regard to rivers, ports, and waterways of various descriptions.
And most of all, and greatest of all, the League will provide, as one of its chief functions, for a reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety. Germany has been disarmed. That means a tremendous relief for Germany economically and financially. For instance, she will save the £80,000,000 per annum which, in pre-war years, she spent on naval and military establishments. Under the conscription system there were always in Germany1,000,000 men under arms. Conscription has been abolished, and the financial equivalent of the return of those 1,000,000 men to economic pursuits will be at least another £150,000,000 per anmum. Those two savings combined make the huge total of £230,000,000 per annum. Germany has her factories intact; France has not; Belgium has not; other nations have not. Fortunately for us, our factories are intact. But can we continue to carry the present staggering burden of armaments, while Germany escapes scot free? This aspect of the problem will affect us profoundly and intimately in our economic affairs, and the competition in the markets and commerce of the world. So it seems to me we shall do well to study the matter of disarmament in order to discover if there be not some means by which we can be released fromthe tremendous burdens which every European nation is carrying to-day. So long as disarmament is relative and proportionate, I think it can be done with safety. Reduce the armies in Europe by half, reduce the navies of the world by half, and the British preponderance will be preserved. From that point of view I suggest that we should study this matter, in order to see if we may not relieve ourselves of some of the immense load that Europe has carried for so manyyears. That, I know, is the view of the Imperial Government, and of the Governments of most of our Allies. They feel that their peoples require some release from the tremendous and crushing burden of armaments, and that relief is the more necessary because by our own act we have lifted the burden from our enemies, with whom we must compete in future. I am not likely to deal lightly with a matter of that kind. Until there is a general movement in that direction, there can be no surcease of our naval or military preparations. They must continue so longas other nations are arming to the teeth. But the League provides a means by which schemes of disarmament may be studied and recommended. All that has been conferred upon that body is power to recommend, formulate, and suggest, and to supply knowledge. It has been given authority to try to induce nations to disarm.
– I think the League has power to determine the strength of the armies of any nations.
– No. That power would go right to the heart of the sovereignty of nations. Such an authority could not be conceded in the present condition of the world.
MayI remind honorable members of what is the machinery of the League? As the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) stated, it will consist of twenty-seven Allied Powers, and neutral Powers are to be invited to join. Enemy Powers may be allowed to join when they are disarmed as directed by the Treaty, and when they have given proof oftheir sincerity and bona fides. That, I respectfully submit, is time enough for their admission.When we can feel that we can trust them inside the League, it will be time enough for us to take them in.
– That will cause trouble.
– We do not want scheming enemies inside the League if we can avoid it.
-That is pretty rough on the constitution of the League.
– It is rough on Germany, as it is intended to be.
– The remark implies that other nations in the League may be schemers of the same kind.
– I shall leave the honorable member with his logical mind to make that deduction. I think he is the only honorable member in the chamber who will draw that inference from my statement. It will be time enough to admit Germany to the League when she has shown by the way she stands up to her Treaty obligations that she is sincere in her promises of good behaviour in the future. Until then she shall remain outside. I think it is fair, too, to trust the twenty-six other nations who have been allied with us in the war to say when the time is proper for
Germany to be .admitted. Let us trust the judgment of our friends in this matter; it will be perfectly safe.
The League of Nations is to be governed by a Council consisting of the five great Powers and .four representatives of smaller Powers, one of which shall be a neutral country. Spain has already been selected for that position. It may be said, in passing; - and this again is our security - that the five great Powers will have the chief controlling voice and power of determination in all matters relating, to the integrity and inviolability of kingdoms/and states. The Council may be said to be a sort of higher House. Below it will be the Assembly, where all the Powers, which are members of the League, will meet. In that. Assembly Australia will .have an independent voice. The decision’s both of the Council and the Assembly must be unanimous; and it is just as well to keep the fact in mind. The assent of a party to a- dispute, always providing it is not a dispute of honour, is not necessary in case of a decision on the dispute; but the party may be represented on the Council in connexion . with any matter as to which a dispute has arisen, and as to which appeal is made. Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 7.4-5 p.m.
– There are some misconceptions as to this League of Nations, and I should like to refer to one or two’ as coming to the heart of the matter.
– What power has the Assembly 1
– It is to be called together when the Council desires, and the Assembly may request to be called together. Any member of the Assembly may request that a meeting be called, and if the Secretariat of the Council think it of sufficient importance, they may call a meeting, or may try to settle the trouble without doing so. Remember always that there must be large powers conceded to a Council of the kind. The members of this Assembly are separated all over the world, and cannot meet readily or rapidly; but a competent and representative Secretariat has been appointed, in close touch with four or five of the greater Powers, to deal with matters off-hand. I have no doubt that this Secretariat will be able to smooth out differences and difficulties before trouble really arises.
– I can see where the Council has distinct powers, but I see nothing that the Assembly can do.
– If the honorable member reads the Treaty again he will see what the Assembly can do. In questions other than the supreme and vital question of honour, the Assembly may discuss or suggest any course it thinks fit, and may be called together for the purpose; but in all matters affecting the sovereignties of the nations, both the decision of the Council and. the decision of the Assembly must be unanimous.
– The Assembly advises, that is all. i
– Quite so. One of the common errors connected with the League of Nations is that it professes to make war impossible, and that, as this is obviously impracticable at present, the League, therefore, is a failure. The answer to that is that the League does not, and cannot, give any absolute guarantee against war - no league or combination of Powers could guarantee the world against international violence. But though wai- cannot be entirely done away with, it can be mitigated.
– Made difficult.
– Quite so; we can interpose more obstacles to war, obstacles that are now absent. But even if we cannot abolish war, and fail in the attempt, I suggest that it is worth while trying. War may be prevented or mitigated by bringing the nations together for consultation and discussion of international difficulties, and requiring delay and arbitration or inquiry bv the Council before resort to arms. We covenant to do that by joining the League of Nations. One of the main functions of the League is to create just and honorable relations between the nations. That can be done by a pledge and covenant such as we give when we sign the Treaty not to go to war for three months after an award has’ been made, and not to go to war at all against any member of the League who has obeyed the League. These are covenants which we made in joining the League of Nations, and in affixing our signatures to the Treaty.
The penalties are two, and are pretty considerable. There is the penalty of ostracism and banishment from the League of Nations. What that means, let the fate of Germany in. this war bear witness. It is not a light thing to be banned by the rest of the world for breaking a covenant and doing something against the interests of the world’s peace. No nation will take such an obligation on its shoulders lightly, for the penalty itself is tremendous. But there is also the material penalty of the boycott in the shape of a blockade. Those who know anything’ about the war know that the blockade broke the German morale. There were Germans fighting with absolutely nothing between their bare skin and their tunics; and that was the result of the blockade. If a nation does not honour the covenant entered into, they have to meet the two penalties I have described, apart from the possibility of an armed intervention.
There is another very common error in the idea that if a country joins the League of Nations it may be compelled to fight in a cause in which it does not believe; and it is worth while brushing that error aside. In no case can the League order a nation to fight on behalf of any cause. The League may suggest and recommend a nation to fight; and, of course, if the nations agree as a whole to recommend the fighting, so be it - it will be difficult for a nation to stand outside a general concentration of armament of the kind. But a nation breaks no covenant if it does not see its way to take part in the defence of any cause in which it does not believe.
– Not if it arises out of the Treaty itself ?
– Not if it arises out of a Treaty.
– That is an extraordinary situation.
– I do not see that it is. A country pays the penalty for standing outside - it takes the consequences of standing outside, and becomes a pariah amongst the nations of the world. If the other nations let it alone, all right; the League of Nations does not impose the obligation.
– A nation is practically compelled to fight - that is what it means.
– The League of Nations, does not lay that compulsion on anynation. If a nation violates its bond, all the other members of the League are bound to sever personal, financial, and commercial intercourse; anda country that deliberately and wantonly breaks its bond, deserves to be boycotted. That is the extent to which the League of Nations carries the penalty.
The Council of the League of Nations recommends to the other members what naval and military force they shall each contributeto protect the covenants of the League; but there is no obligation to accept the recommendation; each Government decides whether or not it will accept it. Australia, therefore, may not be ordered to fight, as suggested in some quarters, when she has no desire to take any part or lot; she makes her own choice.
– She pays the penalty.
– She must do that in any case; and the League of Nations has nothing to do with it. Germany paid the penalty, but no organization was responsible ; it was in consequence of Germany’s own deliberate acts. The League of Nations will always pass judgments, and, if it cares, visit a nation with the penalties I have mentioned.
Another misconception is that, in some mysterious way or other, we may be driven to disarmament in the Empire, whether we like it or not, and that our Navy may be put in peril. Nothing is further from the fact. Before anything can be done with either Army or Navy, there have to be two separate agreements on our part. First of all, the representative of Great Britain on the Council ofFive has to agree, and then there has to be another and independent agreement by the Government of Great Britain. These two separate agreements have to be made to any course suggested by the League of Nations before the latter can interfere in any way with our armamentsor matters of the kind. There can only be disarmament either of the Army or the Navy if we say definitely and decisively twice that we desire it. It will be seen that all the bogeys that have been raised are thoroughly provided against, and at the same time a thoroughly competent organization has been created which will, I hope, go a long way to securing the peace of the world.
I desire, in conclusion, to deal with just one other point. This League of Nations is set up for the purpose of creating a better international atmosphere. It is out of the murky atmosphere of our international relationships that hideous wars have come; and the purpose of the
League is to create good- will up and down the world. ‘ Good- will, as I have often said, will no more create itself than goods will sell themselves; and it is time there was a recognised movement to create and maintain international good-will for the future. This League, therefore, is no iridescent dream - no mere rainbow across the sky of war - but is a practical organization for practical ends. It begins by trying to create a better world atmosphere in our relations one with the other. It is an effort to transfer the energies of the nations from war to peace - from. the arts of war to the arts of peace. It stands for co-operation in constructive things, and for the destruction of those things which mean war, pestilence, and discord. On these grounds alone I submit that the League of Nations is worthy of support.
Power is given to~ supervise all international agreements regarding the whiteslave traffic - a very necessary thing - and traffic in opium and other drugs of’ the kind are to be controlled. The League lias to guarantee freedom of communication and transit in the world, to provide for the equitable treatment of commerce of all the nationals who subscribe to the Treaty, and to see to other matters of national concern. In the prevention of disease, the League is to play an active and, I hope, useful part. .Red Cross organizations are to be given special prominence, with the object, possibly, of twisting them away from the problems of war to the constructive problems of peace. As a great international health organization and ameliorative agency it has, during the war, in every part of the world, ministered to the comfort and welfare of our soldiers. It is a pity to see an organization of the kind disbanded; and, in response to urgent appeals from every quarter of the globe, the League of Nations is to try and shape this great Red Cross organization for constructive ends as they affect the health and welfare of the world at large. The League is also to direct all the international bureaux of the world, if the parties will consent to hand over their control.
There is also a Labour Covenant em”bodied in the Treaty, to which I should like to call attention for one or two moments. I supported this Labor Covenant from start to finish very cordially and earnestly. I believe it is quite time that something was done in the direction of internationalizing the standards and prescribing the plane on which the world’s industries shall be carried on in the future. Here is .an earnest effort to do it. In the forefront of the Labor Covenant its aim is embodied in these words -
Whereas the League of Nations has -for its object the establishment of universal peace, and such a peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice;
And whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice, hardship, and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and’ harmony of the world are imperilled; and an improvement of those condition’s is urgently required, as for example, by the regulation of the hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working day and week, the regulation of the labour supply, the prevention of unemployment, the provision of an adequate living wage, the protection of the worker against sickness, disease, and injury arising out of his employment, the protection of children, young persons, and women, provision for old age and injury, protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own, recognition’ of the principle- of freedom of association, the organization of vocational and technical education, and other measures;
Whereas also the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries
There is an attempt to even up the standards of Labour and’ Industrialism in the backward countries of the world. That is not an easy thing to do, and this Covenant is not drawn in the precise language that would be used if nations did not differ so much in their industrial outlook and conditions. Provision had to be made, for instance, to meet the industrial standards of India and of some of the other eastern countries. Therefore, wording had to be adopted cautiously, in order to obtain their signatures to this Treaty, and at the same time to make it a really effective instrument. These guiding principles are set out in the Peace Treaty. I should like to say to my friends on the other side that some of the most earnestminded men, in shaping this Labour Covenant for inclusion in the Peace Treaty, are men who have never had any direct relations with Labour. That was the thing that struck me. I remember well the part played in the discussion of this question by some of those men who outsiders would, perhaps, never dream would trouble their heads about it.
– Mr. Lloyd George gives great credit to Mr. Barnes.
- Mr. Barnes worked very laboriously to bring this Covenant into its present concrete shape; but there were others of the British Delegation who took a very active, keen, and sympathetic interest in its framing. If honorable members could see the differentiation between it and the Labour Covenant as presented to the Peace Conference by the Labour bodies of Europe, they would see the shaping it has had, in order to make it fit its objective and fill its proper and appropriate place in- the Treaty as a whole.
No one will object, I think, to those things which are set out and embodied in the Treaty- The guiding principle of the Covenant pf Labour is that labour shall not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of commerce. Provision is made for the right of association; the payment of adequate wages, so as to enable workers to subscribe to reasonable standards; an eight-hour day or a fortyeight hour week, which is rather behind’ what we have already obtained; a weekly rest of twenty-four hours, which should include Sunday wherever practicable - ; honorable’ members will perceive that these things affect other countries a great deal more than ‘they do our own - the abolition of child labour, with such’ limitations upon the labour of young persons as to enable them to continue their education and assure their full physical development; equal remuneration for work of equal value - the ladies were there in full force asserting their claims to recognition - standards set by law, so far as the conditions of labour are concerned; and a provision that due regard must be paid to the equitable economic treatment of all workers lawfully resident in any country. “ Equitable,” not “ equal,” is the word used there. That is one of the difficult bits of international diplomacy that one has to face in shaping a world agreement, which is much more difficult than to shape one between ourselves. Provision is also made for a system of inspection, in which women are to take part, and so on.
From the Australian point of view, there should be a warm welcome for this Labour Covenant; but there is another and material reason, and even a selfish reason, if I may say so, for’ supporting it, and that is that our standards to-day are ahead of the standards of the world. I should despair of .the future of the Old Country if I did not see similar movements shaping themselves in other coun-tries. The war-time industrial conditions of the Old Country are becoming its normal conditions. The wages paid during the war are becoming the normal wages of peace. I candidly confess that I am glad to see it, but Great Britain could not carry on her European competition if conditions remained as they were in ,pre-war days in the rest of Europe. That is the difficult and delicate part of the whole matter. But here, again, I think we may take some comfort. A while ago there was a strike of clerks in Berlin, which was settled upon the basis of £170 a year minimum for single men and £208 a year minimum for married men. There was a strike in the Silesian coal fields, which was settled, I think, upon a seven-hour day basis, so that while the standards are moving up in our own Empire, they are beginning to move up in other countries. This Covenant is an effort to even them up, for bv so much as we can even u,p the industrial conditions of other countries to Our own, by so much do we even up the standards of competition, and relieve our own industries. From that material point” of view, therefore, this Labour Covenant is worthy of all acceptation in a country such as ours.
There is the League, and there are the Covenants. To me they seem’ to bring a great ‘hope to the world. They are worthy of a trial-. I do not pretend that they are going to bring in the millenium. Heaven is not coming down upon earth either because of the Treaty, or because of the League of Nations, or the Labour Covenant. But they set up ideals which are worthy of our acceptance, and worthy to be pursued in the hope that we may banish wai- for ever from our midst, and bring about in the future a better and higher state of civilization.
– I ask the Minister for the Navy if he will have his speech printed and published in pamphlet form, so that it may be distributed throughout Australia.
.- I have listened with a great deal of attention to the remarks of the two honorable gentlemen who represented Australia at the Peace Conference.We are all indebted to the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) for his very lucid explanation of the League of Nations covenant and some of the phases associated therewith; but the address delivered by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) gave us no new information, and was a sore disappointment.
Both the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Navy have studiously, and apparently by a prearrangement, omitted to explain the most important part of the Peace negotiations and their results, so far as Australia is concerned; because to-day this country is in an infinitely worse position strategically than it was at the outbreak of war, and the burdens cast upon its people and the international difficulties confronting them are such as to make every serious student of the country’s welfare pause and consider.
As a resultof the war, the peaceful waters of the Pacific have been turned into a boiling cauldron. The Prime Minister, mainly by means of a great press campaign engineered from Paris, and later, on his return, engineered in this country, has led us to believe that he put up a great fight at the Peace Conference for a White Australia and the safety of our shores.
– He certainly did so.
– If the right honorable gentleman claims that, in regard to the disposition of the Pacific islands, the Prime Minister did anything at the Peace Conference, I can produce proof to satisfy every honorable member that he had no more to do with the matter than an infant child.
The Prime Minister would have us believe that the internal integrity of Australia would have been violated if he and the Minister for the Navy had not been at the Peace Conference, and that British statesmen were not to be trusted to watch the interests of Australia and its internal affairs.
– Who suggested that?
– The Prime Ministersuggested that British statesmen could not be relied upon to represent Australia at the Peace Conference, and that British Ministers would have been inclined to throw overboard the interests of Australia as to its White Australia policy and its domestic affairs. If that is the position of British statesmen, it is surely time Australia began to take stock of itself.
– That is not the attitude of British statesmen.
– Then if it is not the attitude of the British statesmen, the direct representation of Australia at the Peace Conference had absolutely no result except that we may have gained the nominal recognition of Australia as one of the nations of the world.
– The honorable member’s argument, if it means anything, is that it was not worth while having Australia represented at the Conference.
– That is so, except that we gained the nominal recognition of Australia as a nation.
We infer from the Prime Minister’s speech that his presence was necessary at the Peace Conference in order to safeguard the internal affairs of Australia and its White Australia policy, and in order to save our barriers from being broken down, letting in the flood tide of Asia.
The Prime Minister gained nothing at the Peace Conference, seeing that the disposition of the Pacific Islands was determined in 1915, 1916, and 1917.
When our two delegates talk about covenants openly arrived at, why do they not give us the information for which we are asking in connexion with this Treaty? The British Delegation in Paris made the statement that the Fisher Government of 1915 enteredupon a compact with Japan and agreed tothe latter country coming right down to the Equator, and handed over to it the Caroline Islands, the Marshall Islands, and the Ladrone Islands, which are many times the area of the territory we have gained from Germany in the Pacific.
– The honorable member was a member of the party led by Mr. Fisher.
– But I knew nothing about this treaty of 1915. Ihave spoken to the Labour members whowere Ministers under Mr. Fisher, and they have told me that they knew nothing about it. I have submitted to the Prime Minister some questions in regard to this treaty.
– Did he not say that he knew nothing about it ?
– No. He said that he had not seen the statement in the press. He could not say that he knew nothing about it, because he does know about it, and the Minister for the Navy knows about it. When this House is making its first essay into international affairs, surely it ought to be in possession of the whole of the information. Honorable members ought to know all about this treaty of 1915, because the man, or men, who agreed to that compact committed the most traitorous act that ever occurred in the history of Australia. Yet the facts are concealed from us.
– Have the facts been concealed from the honorable member?
– Then how is it that he knows them?
– The Prime Minister and Minister for the Navy conceal the matter, but I have certain information that should be amplified and explained. I shall supply my authority and copies of the correspondence that passed between the variousGovernments, who settled the. matter long before the Prime Minister and his colleague went to the Peace Conference. The right honorable gentleman cannot deny what I am saying. I say to his face that he knows all about this treaty, and will not give the House the information.
– The Minister does not reply to that statement by way of interjection.
– I was thinking of something else at the moment.
– I wish to deal with a very important aspect of this matter, and that is in regard to the balance of. power in the Pacific and its effects upon the immediate future of the Commonwealth. I shall submit what occurred during the earlystages of the war, in chronological order, giving first the statements published in the newspaper cables : - 17th August, 1914. - Statement by Japan that she will stand by the Anglo-
Japanese treaty and seek no territorial expansion. 18th August, 1914.- Japanese ultimatum to Germany to deliver, by September, 1914, the entire territory of Kiaochau, for eventual restoration to China.
Statement that America fears Japan has aggressive aims, and will not restore the territories in the Pacific. 19th August, 1914.- President Wilson states that he has no doubt whatever as to the bona fides of Japan in her statement that Kiaochau will be returned to China. 24th August, 1914. - Japanese openness in stating that they have no aggressive designs in the Pacific has greatly relieved the position in the United States.
At this time, by arrangement with the Imperial Government, an Australian Expeditionary Force had proceeded to New Guinea, and after a few days’ fighting the German Governor at Rabaul surrendered to Major-General Holmes. 11th September, 1914.- The whole of the German Possessions administered from Rabaul, comprising New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon, Caroline, Marshall, and Ladrone Islands, were transferred by surrender to the Australian authorities.
Major-General Holmes set about arranging for his administrators to proceed to the headquarters of the various groups. 9th October, 1914. - Announcement that Japan had occupied Yap, in the Caroline Islands - a territory that had been surrendered to Australia. This statement caused some anxiety. 12th October, 1914, a statement was issued by the Japanese Foreign Office that Japan intended to relinquish the Marshall and Caroline Islands to Great Britain at an early date. 22nd October, 1914, we had an official statement by the Japanese Foreign Minister that the balance of the German islands north of the equator had been occupied by Japan - those islands which had been surrendered to an Australian force on the 11th September. 19th October, 1914, the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) published a statement that Australia was then ready to administer affairs in the Marshall, Caroline, and Ladrone groups.
But Japan would not surrender those islands, and has refused from that day onwards to give them up. Japan had said that she was ready to hand them over to Great Britain’. The Australian Government accordingly made arrangements for their administration, but Japan would not, and will not, hand them over.
The time at my disposal does not permit me to deal fully with the developments around the Pacific, although they are fraught with unfortunate possibilities for Australia in the future, but I remind honorable members of the demands made by Japan upon China in January, 1915, which, to put it mildly, did not take much account of the Anglo- Japanese Treaty ; of the ultimatum delivered by Japan to China in May following, which brought the dispute to a head, compelling China, by a threat of war, to capitulate and accept the agreement with regard to Shantung, where there are 36,000,000 defenceless Chinese who have been annexed and sold into bondage for the sole reason that they cannot defend themselves. “What is the position in regard to the Marshall, Caroline, and Ladrone Islands? They comprise upwards of 1,200 square miles of territory; they are situated immediately north of the equator. With these in the possession of Japan, that nation holds stepping-stones from Yokohama to Rabaul at intervals of not more than 500 miles. There is not more than twentyfour hours’ steaming from point to point of Japanese territory between Yokohama and Rabaul.
The effect of the settlement that has been made in the Peace ‘Treaty is that Australia has taken its frontiers northward to Rabaul, but the frontier of Japan has been brought southward 3,000 miles to the equator, until their front door and our back door almost adjoin-.
Mr. Keith Murdoch was the representative of the Sydney Sun at Paris during the deliberations of the Peace Conference. He was in close and sympathetic touch with the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). I suppose there is ho journalist in this country who is so ardent an admirer of the Prime Minister as is Mr. Murdoch. It is even stated that he went to Paris to represent the Sydney Sun and the Melbourne Herald in consequence of representations made by the Prime Minister.
On the 23rd January, 1919, Mr. Murdoch said in a cable despatched from Paris -
Interviews given by Mr. Hughes to American journalists indicate his intention strenuously to oppose the Japanese annexation of the Marshall and Caroline Islands. Britain and Japan wish the line of the equator to divide the sphere of influence, Australia and New Zealand annexing the islands southward and Japan northward of the equator. Britain claims that Mr. Fisher’s Government, in 1915, accepted this solution. It appears that Mr. Hughes does not agree to this plan.
– Mr. Hughes was Mr. Fisher’s adviser.
– He was AttorneyGeneral in Mr. Fisher’s Government.
– I think he was also Acting Prime Minister.
– I am inclined to believe that the compact could not have been made in 1915 without the then AttorneyGeneral being aware of it, but today he refuses to answer any questions upon the subject, and in the absence of such answers I hold him equally responsible with Mr. Fisher for this disposition of the islands of the Pacific, which is the greatest blow that the White Australia ideal has ever received.
On 9th July, 1919, in a cable message headed “The Mystery of the Pacific,” Mr. Murdoch’ wrote from Paris -
Some day Australian public opinion will compel British statesmen to explain why they gave the Caroline and Marshall Islands to Japan, and shaped their diplomacy in such a way that Australia emerges from the .war not only financially but strategically worse” off than when she entered it.
British statesmen when being pressed by Japan to agree to’ this disposition of the Pacific Islands, consulted with the then Prime Minister (Mr. Fisher), who agreed to it. Mr. Murdoch continues -
Australian politicians can give no other explanation than that in 1915, and again, in 1917, Downing-street pressed hard upon them unquestioning acceptance of Japan’s claims.
– The papers must be in the Prime Minister’s Department. Why not produce them 1
– I have not the slightest doubt that the papers are there. Then Mr. Murdoch said -
Japan maintained throughout the war her traditional opportunism. Her Government used tlie traditional excuse when presenting its demands. “ Public opinion compels us,” or, “ in view of the strong and excited feeling in Japan “ - these were her reasons for going back on her agreement to withdraw from the Caroline and Marshall Islands, for securing the equator “ Spheres of Influence,” for demanding pledges from all the Allies that Kiau-Chau would be hers.
Whathas been the history of Japan in regard to territorial expansion during the last fifty years ? At the time of the commencement of the late war, Japan had increased her territory by 75 per cent. in half a century, and as a result of the Shantung and Kiau-Chau settlements she has now more than doubled her territory in fifty years.
Apparently an arrangement in regard to the disposition of the Pacific Islands had been made between the British and Australian Governments in 1915. Japan was pressing the whole time for advantages.
There were other concessions that I have not time to deal with, but which show Japan was strenuously urging her claims. 27th March, 1916, Japan’s Foreign Minister at Tokio approached the British Ambassador there with a view to bringing about an agreement with the British Government in regard to the Pacific Islands. The British Minister cabled to his Government in London, and, after nearly twelve months’ consideration and upon receiving instructions, wrote to Japan in the following terms: -
With reference to the subject of our conversation of the 12th ultimo, His Britannic Majesty’s Government accedes with pleasure to the request of the Japanese Government for an assurance that they will support Japan’s claims in regard to the disposal of Germany’s rights in Shantung and Possessions in the islands north of the equator on the occasion of the Peace Conference, it being understood that the Japanese Government will, in the eventual Peace settlement, treat in the same spirit Great Britain’s claims to the German Possessions south of the equator.
I avail myself of this opportunity, M.le Minister to renew to your Excellency the assurance of my highest consideration.
On the 21st February, 1917, the Japanese Government replied to this communication as follows: -
The Japanese Government is deeply appreciative of the friendly spirit in which your Government has given assurance, and happy to note it as fresh proof of the close ties that unite the two Allied Powers. I take pleasure in stating that the Japanese Government on its part is fully prepared to support in the same spirit the claims which may be put forward at thePeace Conference in regard to the German Possessions in the islands south of the equator.
While Japan had been waiting for a reply from the British Government she had commenced negotiations with other Allied Governments, and a message to the French Ambassador in Tokio from the Japanese Foreign Minister was as follows : -
The Imperial Japanese Government proposes to demand from Germany at the time of the Peace negotiations the surrender of the territorial rights and special interests Germany possessed before the war in Shantung and the islands situated north of the equator, in the Pacific Ocean.
The Imperial Japanese Government confidently hopes the Government of the French Republic, realizing the legitimacy of these demands, will give assurance that, her case being proved, Japan may count upon its support in this question.
It goes without saying that reparation for damages caused to the life and property of the Japanese people by the unjustifiable attacks of the enemy, as well as other conditions of peace, of a character common to all the Entente Powers, are entirely outside the consideration of the present situation.
A few days later the French Ambassador replied to the Japanese Foreign Office -
The Government of the French Republic is disposed to give the Japanese Government its accord in regulating at the time of the Peace negotiations questions vital to Japan concerning Shantung and the German islands in the Pacific north of the equator. It also agrees to support the demands of the Imperial Japanese Government for the surrender of the rights Germany possessed before the war in this Chinese province and these islands.
Briand demands, on the other hand, that Japan give its support to obtain from China the break of its diplomatic relations with Germany, and that it give this act desirable significance. The consequences of this in China should be the following: -
First, handing passport to the German diplomatic agents and Consuls.
Second, the obligation of all under German jurisdiction to leave Chinese territory.
Third, the internment of German ships in Chinese ports and the ultimate requisition of these ships, in order to place them at the disposition of the Allies, following the example of Italy and Portugal.
According to the information of the French Government, there are fifteen German ships in Chinese ports, totalling about 40,000 tons.
Fourth, requisition of German commercial houses establishedin China; forfeiting the right of Germany in the concessions she possesses in certain parts of China.
On receipt of that communication the Foreign Minister for Japan on behalf of his Government promised compliance with the request of the French Government.
– That letter was written in February, 1917.
– What is the bearing of this on the Peace. Treaty ?
– The bearing of it is that it disposed of the German Possessions in the Pacific in 1916-17, while we have been told that the matter was arranged at the Peace Conference - that the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) went there and effected an arrangement. I am showing that the arrangement was effected in 1917, and that, so far as the Peace Conference is concerned, our delegation had nothing to do with the settlen ent.
– The Prime Minister did not say that he arranged with Japan about the islands of the Pacific.
– I wish to give the facts. If the honorable member thinks that this disposition of the islands, and its results, have nothing to do with Australia, all that I can say is that I am of a vastly different opinion.
– Where did the honorable member get this correspondence?
– From the records produced before the Foreign Relations Committee of the American Senate.
– Do you think it was in the power of the Australian Delegation to vary the terms?
– President Wilson offered an alternative to which reference will presently be made.
When the negotiations to which I have been referring were in course of completion another arrangement was entered into between Japan and Italy to the same effect. ,
I regard what has been done to China as one of the greatest blots on civilization. As shown by the French correspondence, China was induced to come into this war for the advantage of the Allies, to release 40,000 tons of German shipping for the use of the Allies, China was induced to declare war on Germany. The only reward China received has been her despoliation right and left.
– What do you mean by “ despoiled right and left “?
– I mean that to hand over 36,000,000 defenceless Chinese in the province of Shantung to Japan, for the simple reason that China, being practically unarmed, was not in a position to fight, is a disgraceful blot, on civilization.
– Was China governing these people before?
Mr.- J. H. CATTS.- That is a very nice little trick question. I know just as much about this matter as the honorable member himself does.
– A great deal more!
– As a matter of fact, in 1915 Japan, by threat of force, compelled China to enter into an agreement to give up Shantung; and China went to the Peace Conference and told the representatives there that the province was wrung from her by intimidation, which she had no power to resist.
The same thing happened in regard to Roumania. Similar conditions were made to induce that country to come into the war with a secret arrangement re the Banat, but the Peace Conference would not regard the settlement. If Roumania had been in a position to fight, as Japan was, she would have received her pound of flesh. The arrangement with China was made under duress.
– For whom are you pleading - Roumania, Japan, or whom ?
– I am pleading for justice to an unarmed and defenceless people.
On the 28th January, 1919, the Daily Telegraph, under the heading of “ The Pacific Islands,” contained the following:
Mr. Lloyd George had a private talk with the Japanese Peace delegates. It is suggested that he is anxious to appease Japan and accede to her demands in the Pacific. The Japanese are under the impression that the United States favours Australia’s demands for the islands. Not only Mr. Lloyd George, but other British statesmen, appear dissatisfied with Mr. Hughes’ statements that Australia must have the islands. - Montreal message.
Let us come to those islands, and see what, according to Japan, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) - statesmen on both sides - is the issue involved in their disposition.
In an interview in the Paris Le Matin, on the 2nd February, 1919, the Prime Minister stated Australia’s position in the following words: -
The question of these (German) islands means life or death to Australia.
He referred to the whole of them -
The people of France know the importance of such strategical positions. It is our national roof. We want the roof safe as a whole, and not open to the fancies of passers-by, or the aggression of marauders. . . . What the Rhine frontier is to France, what the Monroe doctrine is to America, an equitable settlement of the Islands question is to Australia. The. blood of Australian soldiers has flowed in. great . rivers in order that their country’s liberty should be secured. Their most cherished ideals, and their country’s political, industrial, and social conditions are here and now at stake.
That is how the Prime Minister, on behalf of Australia, states the issue at stake in the disposition of the Marshalls, the Carolines, the Ladrones, and other German islands.
– On what authority do you say that the Prime Minister referred to the whole of the islands ?
– The Prime Minister’s remarks were as to the whole of them, as the full context clearly shows.
– Where does he say that?
– The honorable member must have been absent while I have been linking my statement together. The Treasurer (Mr. Watt), in Australia, made a similar statement on the same day.
Mr. George Marks, who, I suppose, is one of the best authorities in this country on the principles of strategy -
– Has the honorable member got the Treasurer’s statements there?
– I shall give some of his statements presently.
Mr. Marks, in supporting his claim, stated in the Sydney Sim on the 8th February, 1919, as follows: -
The Ladrone, Marshall, and Caroline groups involve our strategic and national safety in the Pacific, and are inevitably linked with Australia’s future greatness and expansion.
Mr. Marks put up a strong plea, and quoted a string of historical examples of nations making demands for the control of strategical position=. He showed clearly that the Caroline, Marshall, and Ladrone groups of islands were certainly in that position with regard to Australia. We have thus seen the position from the stand-point of Australia as put by the Prime Minister.
Now let us see what Japan has to say about it. Baron Makino, Who was Japan’s leading representative at the Peace Conference, made this statement on 10th February, 1919, in answer to the Prime Minister -
Regarding the Marshall- and Caroline Islands, Japan captured them from German domination.
Japan did nothing of the kind, as I have shown -
They were peopled by uncultivated tribes, and Japan could claim the right to occupy them for peaceful development.
Japan’s aim’ must be to educate and help the natives. Justice supported the claim by Japan to the islands, and she believed that the islands could be developed to her advantage, and controlled to the greater advantage of the natives by Japan than by any other Power.
Furthermore, the whole of the people in Japan felt that this would be a proper recognition of Japan’s work in the Pacific. The Japanese would resent these islands ‘being placed under other control as constituting a reflection upon Japan.
The Asahi Shimbun, which, translated, means the Japanese News, one of the leading daily newspapers’ of Japan, puts the matter a little more plainly in these words -
The Marshalls and Carolines are the big question of the Pacific, which is really a world problem.. involving America, Great Britain, and Japan as supreme Powers in the Pacific Ocean.
The Paris Matin said -
The Japanese programme embodied nine points. 1 agreed that Australia should take New Guinea, the Samoan question to be decided in agreement with Britain and America, Japan to have the Marshall, Caroline, and Ladrone islands, as well as Tsing-tau and KiaoChau.
Those were the issues that Japan submitted to the Peace Conference for settlement.
On the one hand, there is the statement by the Australian Prime Minister that the’ Marshall and Caroline Islands and the other German Possessions in the Pacific meant life or death to Australia.
On the other hand, Japan said that she should have them, not as a matter of life and death to her, but as a reward for her alleged activities in the Pacific.
– Will the honorable member say where the Prime Minister mentions the Caroline and Marshall Islands in his statement?
– He mentioned the whole of the islands. It is of no use to quibble in that way. Why does not the Prime Minister give the information he is asked for in the House? What is the use of taking up my time by splitting straws in that fashion? The Prime Minister made the statement regarding the whole of the Pacific Islands. There was no limitation. He claims to have asked for the whole of the Pacific Possessions of Germany, although he had bargained them away in 1915, and the answer of Japan was that she would not part with the islands north of the Equator.
– You began .by saying that the Prime Minister put up no fight, and now you are saying that he did-
– I did not say he did riot put up a fight. What I said was that apparently he gave the islands away in 1915, and then went and kicked up a shindy in Prance in 1919 to mislead tlie people of this country.
President Wilson did not want to see an alteration of the balance of power in the Pacific. He therefore stepped in and proposed the creation of «. buffer State under the control of the League of Nations.
The German Possessions in the Pacific are a small Empire in themselves.
We do not realize the enormous territories surrounding these shores in the Pacific.
There is more .territory in these Pacific Islands than there is in Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy put together, and there are millions of coloured people living on them.
The Americans are having quite a heap of trouble in. the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands to-day. In the latter islands there are 106,000 Japanese settled, and they are increasing, with a birth-rate of 45 per thousand.
– Did not you object to any annexations 1
– Yes. Mr. Corser. - Then what .are you mak- ing a fuss about?
– I am making a fuss because this settlement has brought the frontiers of Japan 3,000 miles nearer to Australia. President Wilson suggested an international buffer State in the Pacific. “Let us create,” he said, “ international control.”
– But he would not take up his responsibility in it.
– Yes, he would. In a special article in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on the 30th January, 1919, headed, “ Secret Treaty,” “ Britain and
Japan,” “ Marshall and Carolines,” the following statements were made: -
The disclosure of a British-Japanese secret treaty allotting the Marshall and Caroline islands to Japan, has surprised American opinion.
President Wilson intends to submit a counterproposal for the internationalization of all the Pacific colonies.
Britain supports Japan’s claims to the Marshall and Caroline islands.
Mr. Hughes attended a meeting of the Supreme Council, at which President Wilson’s plan for the internationalization of the German Pacific colonies was discussed.
The Prime Minister, therefore, had the opportunity then. The islands north of the Equator had .been put -practically into the hands of Japan, and the Americans came in and offered the solution of internationalization and the creation of a buffer State.
The Prime Minister cabled to his Government in Melbourne, and Australia was represented in Paris as holding mass indignation meetings throughout the length and breadth of this country, protesting -against this internationalization .and the creation of a buffer State. Any such representation was an entire fabrication.
The Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) issued a public statement, and the Prime Minister did iri Paris what he did here in connexion with the conscription campaign. He waved aloft the cables he had received from oversea; in this case from Australia, demanding that the scheme of internationalization should not be proceeded with.
The alternative was that Japan would get the islands north of the Equator, and the Prime Minister would come back “ with his basket full of fruit, delivering the goods,” as I saw it represented in one of the newspapers. He would bring German New Guinea, . and the Bismarck Archipelago back in his basket.
So this scheme of America for the internationalization of these islands, and the creation of this buffer State, which would have been’ a God-send to this country, was turned down.
If honorable members want to “see what internationalization would have meant, and what kind of Government it would have given us, let them look at the Peace Treaty for the control of the Oder and Elbe Rivers in Germany, the navigation of which is put under an International Commission. Article 340 provides -
The Elbe(Labe) shall be placed under the administration of an International Commission, which shall comprise - 4 representatives of the German States bordering on the river; 2 representatives of the Czecho-Slovak State; 1 representative of Great Britain; 1 representative of France; 1 representative of Italy; 1 representative of Belgium.
Whatever be the number of members present, each delegation shall have the right to record a number of votes equal to the number of representatives allotted to it.
If certain of these representatives cannot be appointed at the time of the coming into force of the present Treaty, the decisions of the Commission shall nevertheless be valid.
And Article 341 is -
The Oder (Odra) shall be placed under the administration of an International Commission, which shall comprise - 1 representative of Poland; 3 representatives of Prussia; 1 representative of the Czecho-Slovak State: 1 representative of Great Britain; 1 representative of France; 1 representative of Denmark; 1 representative of Sweden.
If certain of these representatives cannot be appointed at the time of the coming into force of the present Treaty, the decisions of the Commission shall nevertheless be valid.
Such a Commission and form of government for this new buffer State in the Pacific is what was offered to Australia, and the Prime Minister turned it down. In turning it down he did the greatest disservice this country has ever had rendered to it. So far from safeguarding the White Australian policy, it is the longest and most disastrous step towards breaking down that policy that has ever been taken.
– What you are saying now in effect is that internationalization of the White Australia policy would have been a good thing for us ?
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– You said it was the best thing that could have happened to Australia to internationalize those islands.
– That is so.
– The best safeguard of our White Australia policy ?
– I did not say that. Will the honorable member allow me to put it in my own way? I am not now referring to the internal government of this country, but to those external arrangements that would solidify or weaken our fundamental internal economy. I am saying that a buffer State between this country and Japan would have helped to safeguard the White Australia policy. That safeguard was denied us by the refusal of the Prime Minister to accept the creation of that buffer State as proposed by President Wilson.
– Are you aware of what actually happened over the question of the insertion of these words in the covenant of the League of Nations?
– My honorable friend and his colleague have definitely refused to give us the information.
– I am talking of something the Prime Minister said in this House the other night.
– What is it?
– I will find it for the honorable member if he will allow me to quote the exact words afterwards.
– Certainly. My complaint is that we have not got the information. We are compelled to put together the evidence that we gather from different parts of the world, and link up the story ourselves, because there is a deliberate conspiracy on the part of these delegates to keep from the House information which it should have at its disposal:
– Is the honorable member in order in saying that our Peace delegates have deliberately conspired to keep information from the House?
– I have no knowledge of the particular delegation to which the honorable member was referring. I understood him to refer to “ these delegates,” which is somewhat vague and indefinite. If the honorable member intended to cast a reflection upon the Ministers who represented the Commonwealth at the Peace Conference, he was quite out of order in doing so.
– I do not know whether it is a reflection upon them. One of the delegates faces me, and takes no exception to it. He knows my statement to be true. They may think that, by keeping facts from the House, they are rendering the House a service. They may think it is an honour to them to keep facts from the House.
– I am quite content bo let the honorable member’s statement go, that international control of these islands would be the best guarantee Of our White Australia policy - an infamous thing for any man to say here.
– Then the honorable member is not prepared to let it go?
– I am not.
– The honorable member says in one breath that he is prepared to let it go, and in the next breath he challenges it. It would have been better for an International Commission to control these islands instead of putting them into the hands of Japan for theirdevelopment - the one nation on earth that can develop them.
– The Democracy of Australia will not say that.
– I hope my honor able friends will not take refuge in the coward’s castle of the War Precautions Act, but will let us discuss this matter before the country. I would be prepared to meet the honorable gentleman, or any other representative on that side, upon any platform in Australia, and show that this country has never, in its long history, been betrayed in a way comparable with the betrayal of its White Australian policy by this settlement with Japan.
– It was done by the second Fisher Government.
– If it was done by the Fisher Government, I have no apologies to make for them. If it was done by Andrew Fisher, he should be brought back to this country and put on his trial. But we ought to know the facts. The Government ought not to shelter themselves behind Andrew Fisher. If other people are associated with him-
– I am afraid your conclusions are a bit warped.
– Then let the Government’s delegates stand up and give this House and the country the information to which they have a right.
– The honorable member said he had to build up the story himself.
– I said I had to piece together the evidence I am able to gather in different parts of the world when these delegates refuse to give us the information. Apparently there are more than these two delegates who want the information stifled.
On the 28th January, when the delegates were assembling at Paris, a statement was made by the then Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt), and reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph as follows : -
Melbourne, Monday. - Mr. Watt stated tonight the attitude of the Federal Government with respect to the Pacific Islands. - “ It is probable that, at the Conference of the Allied Powers, an attempt will be made to internationalize or neutralize these and other countries that formerly belonged to Germany. . . . . I am cabling to-day to the Prime Minister in Paris, strongly setting out our objections to any form of international government.”
The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) cabled to the Government in Australia urging his colleagues to send a message in support of the attitude he had taken up.
An inspired message was sent even by the sailors on our warships to support him. It was reported in Paris that mass indignation meetings werebeing held throughout Australia in support of the attitude which the Prime Minister had taken up in opposition to President Wilson, but we know that no such meetings took place.
– Then, after all, he could fight.
– I have been subjected to overmuch meaninglessinterruption. The right honorable gentleman was not interrupted whilst speaking, and I trust that he will not interrupt me.
Japan’sNew Pacific Empire. - I wish to make some reference to the Marshall and Caroline Islands, concerning which it is well that we should know something. It would appear that in the centuries that are gone, these islands were under the control of Japan, and that they had a large population, which had reached a very high stage of civilization.
In 1527, the Portuguese held the islands; in 1686, they were annexed by Spain, which held them until 1885, when the German flag was hoisted at Yap, in the Carolines. A dispute then took place between Germany and Spain, and it ended in Germany taking over these three groups, and paying Spain £850,000 by way of compensation.
Let me quote from Stewart’s Hand-booh as to the wonderful ruins in these islands : -
Hundreds of acres in some localities are covered by the remains of walls, canals, and earthworks of the most stupendous character, built upon a general plan such as could only have been conceived by men of power and intelligence acquainted with mechanical appliances for raising enormous weights and transporting huge blocks of stone considerable distances, both by land and water. These works, which strike even civilized men with astonishment, could only have been effected . by the labour of thousands of men working in concert and under command; and they prove from their aspect, and the evident intention of some pf them, that their builders must have had, at the time of their erection, some form of settled government and system of- religion. By whom and for what purpose they were built are questions to which no answer has yet been given…..
There are numerous relics of a vanished civilization, embankments and terraces, sites of, ancient cultivation, and solid roads, neatly paved with regular stone -blocks, ancient stone platforms and graves, and enormous council lodges of quaint design, with, high gables and lofty carved pillars…..
Professor Maximilian Brown, in the Sydney Morning Herald, in 1914, wrote thus concerning the wonderful ruins at Ponape, in the Carolines:-
It is only the student of the Pacific Ocean Olof anthropology that knows anything of Metalanim, a’ megalithic city on the southeastern shore of Ponape, one of the most easterly islands of the Caroline Group. . . .
How could people, who had no better than sholl decorations and shell axes, have quarried and transported and erected in their place these countless blocks that only the most modern appliances would seem able to manipulate? How could this megalithic Venice have sprung into being thousands qf miles from all continents, all great centres of civilization, and all great routes of traffic?…..
I measured some more than 20 feet long and -about 2 feet in diameter. … In Han Tanach, the outside walls rise in places to 30 feet after thousands of years of disintegration by the roots and branches of great trees. . . . And what seems to point to a Japanese architect or architects is a projecting frieze on the .top of the inner walls of Nan Tanach exactly like those we see in the splendid mortuary buildings of Nikko; it slopes out quite 2 feet beyond the wall. There are many signs in Micronesia that the existing penetration of this island world by Japanese traders is not the first in the history of the region. I was shown Japanese bronzes found deep in the coral below the forest on the highest point of Rota, in the Mariannes. The feudal society that the Spanish destroyed in that archipelago had a close likeness to Japanese feudalism. .
Throughout the whole of Micronesia, one can easily observe a Mongoloid element in the faces and hair; and especially is -this observable in Ponape…..
Whoever the architect or architects of the colossal city might be, the rulers had command of unlimited power. To quarry, raft, and haul up the inclines planes of earth or wood there would be required tens of thousands of workmen …. the ruins cover 11 square miles. . . . Most of the stones were tons in weight; some I saw could not have been much less than 30 tons. . . .
The vast proportions of the city, its ambitious plan, its enormous blocks, and the gigantic struggle with the forces of nature in the building of it, are inexplicable, without assuming such a buried empire and such a mighty past.
All the evidence goes to show that Japan originally had control of these islands until some six or seven or more centuries ago, when the Spanish, then being a world power, drove them out. That white race, in turn, was unable to live in and develop this equatorial region. Apparently, _ it was found to be impossible for the white man to proceed with the development of these islands. The forces of nature gradually drove them out, and for several hundred years they were Only held nominally by Spain. Germany then came along and annexed them.
– Then does it not seem fair that Japan should recover her own?
– The honorable member’s highly developed legal faculties enables him to formulate innumerable questions. The handing over of these islands to Japan was not in consequence of some previous wrong done to Japan. AndJapan is a better judge of its own case than my honorable friend.
As a schoolboy, I read of the dykes of Holland, and of a small boy who, one evening, seeing water trickling through a tiny hole, .blocked up the hole with his finger. He remained there all night, and the authorities found him in the early morning, cold and numbed, still sticking bravely to his post. He had thus saved the whole -countryside from being devastated by an inrush of the sea.
This settlement that is going on in the Pacific has made a hole in what I may describe as a dyke that protects Australia, and through that hole ‘ the flood tide of Asia has rushed 3,000 miles nearer to these shores. It is that of which I complain.
– Why should the Japanese not go to these islands if it is just that they should have them ?
– My complaint is that it is not just to this country.
– “Under what conditions are these islands to be held?
– I shall give them. They would not have been held by Japan if our representatives had been alive to the potentialities of disaster.
– The honorable member speaks of Andrew Fisher.
– I speak of Andrew -Fisher and the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) in 1915, and I speak of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) in 1919 in rejecting President Wilson’s proposal for the creation of an international buffer State by the incorporation of Germany’s late Pacific Possessions. Whoever was responsible - whether it was British statesmen or any one else - for the disposition of the Marshall and Caroline Islands in this way, thus bringing Japan 3,000 miles nearer to this country, has betrayed this country.
I shall deal presently with the position in regard to New Guinea, and will show that it is not likely to prove an asset for Australia. I shall prove by quotations from the reports’ of the Inter-State Commission and other authorities that we have there not a white, but a black elephant.
I wish, first of all, however, to show what J apan has been able to do in four years with, the Marshall and Caroline Islands. Let me quote the following statement by Mr. T. J. McMahon, F.R.G.S., who has visited these islands in the Pacific -
Respect for their new Government has been effectively implanted in the people, and no native - man, woman, or child - meets an official without giving him the polite, low, graceful, sweeping bow of Japan. No such common and offensive word as “ Jap “ is ever heard; the term Japanese is always used. The Marshall Islanders axe taught to recognise in the Japanese an honorable, capable, and mighty nation. All troublesome and detrimental influences likely to thwart Japanese ideals in this respect have been destroyed. It is Japanese law in the Marshalls, not German, mu those laws, with their regulations, are making a perfectly new’ set of conditions, stirring up tlie blood of a once indolent race of Pacific natives. The Marshall Islands boys and girls have a very high average intelligence. The native schoolboy is a perfectly drilled Japanese naval cadet, looks smart in his uniform and cap, and thinks no end of himself and his Japanese officers. If the Marshall Islands are to remain under the protection of the Japanese, in ten years’ time, they will form a New Japan.
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. W. Elliot .
Johnson). - The honorable member’s time has expired.
Extension of time granted.
– I thank the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) for his courtesy in proposing an extension of time being granted to me.
– I should like to say that there are other views regarding the Marshall Islands.
– It is to be regretted that we have not had them.
– They are to be found if the honorable member will only dig them up.
– If the honorable member will give me a reference, I shall quickly obtain them. He is silent when I ask for the reference.
I have made a careful study of this question during the last few years. In the course of the conscription campaign, when I refused to be a party to the conscription of the manhood of Australia, I knew what was going on in connexion with Japan, and did my best to warn the people of it. I was brought before the Court, however, and was called upon to enter into a bond of £600 that I would not give expression to the very statements which the Prime Minister subsequently made in Paris. That right honorable gentleman travelled all over New South Wales branding me as a liar for making statements which, he subsequently made before the Paris Conference as being the gospel truth.
If there are authorities expressing views different from those which I have put before the House in regard to the development of the Marshall and Caroline Islands, I should like to be put in touch with them.
As a matter of fact, history shows that no white race has ever been able to colonize the black man.
– What does the honorable member mean by “ colonize “ ?
– No white race has ever been able to induce a coloured race to work with it in the sympathetic cooperation and friendly development of territory.
– That assertion is answered by the quotation the honorable member has ju6t made as to what has been done in the Caroline Islands.
– That was done by Japan - by a coloured race working with another coloured race.
– Has not the same thing been done by the British in India?
– No. We have not had a friendly development of territory there. India is. governed by the sword’. If the lid that jambs down India to-day could be lifted, we know that she would not have a white man’s government. All over the world the white man does not trust the coloured man, and the coloured man does not trust the white man.
Can honorable members point to any island in the Pacific where a white race has been able to induce the natives to work with it in friendly co-operation?
– What about Fiji?
– What about the report by Messrs. Pearce and Andrews, which tells us of the slave traffic among the Indian coolies imported to Fiji - the most abominable slavery the world has ever known, so abominable that it has led the Indian Government to prohibit the importation of Hindoos into Fiji ?
While Great Britain has been a great colonizer of white races, and while Germany and Holland to a certain extent have succeeded as colonizers of white races, there is no case in history where a white race has been successful in getting the black races to whole-heartedly cooperate in the development of territory; yet Japan has given us proof that in the Marshall and Caroline Islands she is able to procure the enthusiastic co-operation of coloured races in the development of territory.
Mr. McMahon has shown that the development during the last four years has been marvellous, and he tells that the Marshall Islanders and Caroline Islanders are meeting their Japanese governors as friends, and working with them to such an extent that in ten years’ time a new Japanese Empire will be evolved there.
What are we doing ? What are our Pacific prospects ? We sent the InterState Commission to tell us what possibility there was of British developing the Pacific Islands under British administration, and I shall give one or two extracts from their report as a contrast to the Japanese development of coloured races.
In 1916 the Inter-State Commission was directed to inquire into and report on British and Australian trade in the South Pacific, and after two years’ investigation a report was presented in April, 1918, which is accepted as the best authority on the possibilities of developing the Pacific Islands. The judgment of the InterState Commissioners, who are not only men of capacity, but also men with a large experience of public affairs, is as follows : -
If New Guinea is omitted from the count, there is far more land with far richer resources in Northern Queensland than in all the islands of the Pacific put together. As permanent sources of wealth, omitting wasting assets, the islands are not as promising as their luxurious growth would suggest.
Dealing with the possibilities of development, the Commission goes on to say that it is practically impossible to procure labour on the islands. The Commissioners say - . . the difficulties connected with labour are many and great, and as their solution can only be gradual, it follows that it cannot be expected that production in the islands will show very rapid development. On the contrary, until some mode of overcoming the existing and threatening shortage is found, production must stay where it is, or even recede.
Further on, dealing with the same question under the heading of “ British Influence in the Pacific,” they say -
Up to the present, we have to answer for a lamentable decline in the numbers of the natives in’ most of the islands governed by Great Britain. The causes of that decline- the introduction of the white man’s diseases, the white man’s liquor, and the white man’s greed –are, to a large extent, things of the past, and will not easily be repeated under the more alert and better equipped administrations of the present day. But everything points to the necessity for Great Britain making good throughout this wide sphere of her influence her moral right as a conserving influence to countries she has acquired in every instance by peaceful means.
We are thus told by. the Inter-State Commission, first, that there is not in these islands the wealth that many people think there is, and that, compared with the Northern Territory and North Queensland, they are practically poor countries, and, secondly, that there is no local supply of labour available.
Japan has a local supply of labour in the Marshal] and Caroline Islands, which she is able to get to co-operate in the development of the islands.
Australia has New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, in which there is not enough local labour for developmental work.We saw recently that the Germans had to flog the natives of New Guinea to get them to work, and we had bo intervene and abolish this practice.
Japan, but four hundred miles away, is not only able to draw upon local labour, but is also in the position of being able to supply an unlimited quantity of coloured labour from her own country.
In our territories we cannot get enough local native labour for developmental purposes, nor can we draw upon any other source.
Where can we get the necessary labour ? Are we to draw upon coloured labour from other parts of the world ? Are we to develop a White Australia by the creation of a black man’s kingdom at our northern gate? The Prime Minister has told us that there is only 80 miles between the north of Queensland and the shore of New Guinea, yet it wouldappear that the only means of developing that poor country is by getting a large supply of coloured labour.
– There is a fair amount of labour there at present.
– The Inter-State Commission says that at present there is not sufficient labour to carry on work already in progress. We can do nothing with the huge territories to be developed in Northern Queensland and our Northern Territory.
The Minister for the Navy has told us that in 1912 there was a loss of £60,000 in German New Guinea. We know that we lost £30,000 in Papua last year. Losses in our existing Pacific Possessions and in the Northern Territory are an enormous deadweight on the taxpayer of Australia, and now the Bismarck Archipelago and New Guinea are to be added to it.
– Not if they are properly handled.
– Why do we not handle Papua and the Northern Territory properly ? It is absurd for the honorable member to talk in that way. We have huge territories on the mainland, and we can do nothing with them, because they are in the tropics, and too much valuable land is available in our temperate zones. They are a huge loss to us, yet they are infinitely more wealthy than are these islands and these new German Possessions that we are told we can do such a lot with.
– Why should we not do in New Guinea what the Dutch have been able to do in Java ?
– There is not the wealth in New Guinea that there is in Java. We have been told by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) that in regard to the control of these islands we are to have our own way, and that we can apply to them any law we can apply to Australia. We can do nothing of the kind. These are the Prime Minister’s words: -
As a matter of actual fact, we may make over the Islands exactly the same kind of laws as a State could make before Federation in Australia, subject only to five reservations. There can be no sale of firearms to the natives; we cannot raise native armies, except for the mere defence of that Territory; we cannot sell alcohol to the natives; we cannot raise fortifications; and there cannot be any slave trade.
– Does not that stipulation refer to the Marshall Islands as well ?
– The honorable member would like to make my speech. He will have his opportunity of making a speech. I prefer to make my own points in my own order. The Prime Minister omitted one very important thing, and that is contained in Article 22 of the Treaty, which is as follows : -
The mandatory will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other members of the League.
Thus we cannot do what we like with New Guinea. Equal opportunities for trade and commerce must be given to Japan 400 miles away, where it is able to set the natives to work, is able to provide an unlimited supply of its own cheap labour, and is actively establishing manufacturing industries. Thus Japan will have an open door into New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago for trade and commerce, and in these circumstances, how much trade will Australia enjoy? Arewe not now complaining that the Japanese have started a line of steamships from Rabaul through the Islands to Japan, taking from under our very nose the trade of the Possessions we are already administering?
– But we can stop that.
– Under the Treaty we cannot stop it. Japan is to be given equal opportunity with ourselves for trade and commerce, and, so far as New Guinea is concerned, we cannot compete with the Japanese in such circumstances. Every honorable member knows that what I am saying is absolutely true.
– May I suggest that the honorable member should read the terms of the mandate embodied in the Treaty.
– That is just what I have quoted. If there is another side of the question, I hope that the Minister will get some one to put it to the House.
– This is complete misrepresentation.
– It is nothing of the kind. I can give final proof for what I contend.
In 1917 the Administrator, the late Sir Samuel Pethebridge, brought in an Ordinance forbidding Chinese to trade except on certain terms. The Chinese appealed to their Consul in Australia, and the Ordinance was cancelled. The 2,000 Chinese in New Guinea had to be placed on a footing of trade and commerce equality.
I am showing the House the responsibilities of this country which our two Peace delegates have concealed from us. There can be no other interpretation upon the words in Article 22 of the Peace Treaty. There they stand. Any citizen may read and understand them. To provide equal opportunitiesfor trade and commerce means that the Japanese will come intoNew Guinea and the Bismarck Islands and trade there on equal terms with ourselves. And “equal” terms means an effectual Japanese monopoly, for we cannot compete with Japan on equal terms. Where would the industries of Australia be if Japan were admitted to competition on equal terms?
We are also told that Japan may build no defences in these islands, except for local defence purposes. Who is to say what is necessary for local defence? The Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) supplied the answer to-day when he said that there can be no interference in regard to what is considered necessary by each nation in looking after its necessities for local defence. It is a very elastic phrase. Who is to decide what is necessary for local defence?
– Japan will decide what is necessary for the local defence of the Caroline and Marshall Islands. We are told by the Minister for the Navy that in these matters the League of Nations will not seek to interfere. It will advise the mandatory Powers and ask them to submit reports to it in’ regard to these matters, but will not interfere with them.
– I call the attention of the honorable member to this paragraphin Article 22 -
There are territories, such as South-West Africa and certain of the South Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilization, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above mentioned, in the interests of the indigenous population.
– I say that that paragraph is conditioned by the words I have read from the same Article. The paragraph says, “subject to the safeguards above mentioned.” Those safeguards are that there shall be equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other members of the League. Let me put my quotation and that of the Minister for the Navy together as they appear, for they are both paragraphs of Article 22 -
Other peoples, especially those of Central Africa, are at such a stage that the mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic, and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defence of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other members of the League.
There are territories, such as South-West Africa and certain of the South Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilization, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population.
In every case of mandate, the mandatory shall render to the Council an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.
– The honorable member does not understand it.
– That is the interpretation I place upon the Treaty. Let the citizens of Australia who read these remarks judge.
I stated at the commencement of my speech that the Pacific had been turned into a boiling cauldron,, and I say now, as I said when the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) was speaking, that there is more preparation for war at the present moment in the Pacific than there was anywhere before the outbreak of war in 1914. The honorable gentleman admitted that Great Britain was transferring battleships from the North Sea to the Pacific. Why is she doing that?
Japan is building for the Pacific eight battleships of 40,000 tons each.
America has a gigantic Meet, comprising 175 ships, 104 destroyers pf 1,400 tons each, 34,000 men, and 1,800 officers at present visiting the ports on the Pacific coast. Why has America brought that huge Fleet of nearly 300 vessels into the Pacific? To fight Australia?
Japan is building eight battleships of 40,000 tons each, and is spending £35,000,000 upon fortifications in the Pacific. What for? Do we intend to attempt to violate Japanese territory? Does anybody intend to interfere with Japan ?
Part of the main British Fleet is being transferred to the Pacific.
There is to be a squadron on the China station and another in South Africa.
A new naval station is to be created in Indian waters.
There is to be a development of a Navy in New Zealand, and Lord Jellicoe, who recently visited the Pacific, insists that Australia shall spend £5,000,000 per annum in the upkeep of a Navy, or three times the amount we were spending on our Navy when, the war broke out.
We are to be asked to shoulder this burden.
Other Dominions are to be asked to undertake a proportionate responsibility.
Part of the British Fleet has been transferred to the Pacific. A huge American Fleet is visiting the Pacific ports, and Japan is building new battleships and expending money on fortifications in the Pacific. Why? What does the League of Nations intend to do? Why does not the League take steps to prevent these things? There must be some reason for all these sinister movements.
The late Admiral Mahan, of America, said that “ the Pacific is the theatre of the next world’s war.”
The Inter-State Commission reported -
Their (the islands’) importance is great, of course, as ports of pall, lying, as they do, on the trade routes between the East and Australasia,’ and between Australasia and the two Americas, and these .ports may be destined to have a strategic, as well as a commercial, importance….. The strategic importance of this ocean, which was already obvious before the war, has been shown by recent war events to be even greater than was formerly supposed.
The Prime Minister, in a foreword to Brunsden Fletcher’s New Pacific, in September, 1916, said -
The Pacific Ocean, sooner or later, must become the balancing centre of the world’s trade and development.
In the Sydney Morning Herald, of the 27th August, Lord Jellicoe said -
We would be ill-advised if we listened to any suggestion that there is no occasion to be in a .hurry to get our defences into proper order.
Why? We were not told that we should hurry to get our. defences into proper order before the last war. Is there more urgency now than in 1914? ‘ Lord Jellicoe continued -
The Pacific was an ocean growing in importance every, day, and it contained great possibilities of trouble. There were elements which might give rise to future international complications.
He could not make his statement any plainer than that.
Lieutenant Clarke, M.C., is reported, in the Sydney Morning Herald, of the 19 th August, as having said -
I am not expressing my own opinion when I say that trouble on a very large scale is expected in the Far East. The occupation of the Shantung Province has become more than a Chino-Japanese question. About 200 aeroplanes are due to arrive in the Philippines shortly, and many thousands of troops are going to a station which is being prepared somewhere in the Pacific.
I think I have shown conclusively that we are in a worse position to-day than we were when the war broke out.
We have been given control over territories with which we can do nothing.
Our own representatives have agreed to territorial concessions to Japan which are a deadly menace to this country.
So much information has been denied to this Parliament that I -think that now, when we are commencing to deal with these great international problems that are fraught with immense possibilities of disaster to this country, this House ought to follow the example of the American Congress by establishing a Foreign Relations Committee, to which this matter might be referred, and which could call upon Ministers and the Government Departments to supply the information at their disposal. In that way we should be enabled to decide whether, in entering this new and uncharted sea of international complications, we are upon the right track.
It is impossible to know with the information which has been given to us by our Peace delegates whether or not we are adopting the right course. About the things which concern us most they have been silent.
In his speech, the Prime Minister said that the whole world should know - (1) How the Treaty was arrived at; (2) What it is; and (3) What it means. . Under none of these headings ha3 he given us any information. So far as his elucidation, or, rather, want of elucidation i3 concerned, we do not know how the Treaty was arrived at ; we do not know what it is ; we do not know what it means.
This House should not agree to the Shantung settlement. The Foreign Relations Committee of the- American Senate has passed the following resolution in regard to it: -
Resolved, That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the provisions of the Treaty which transfers tq japan such broad rights and powers and physical possession over the territory and people in the Shantung Peninsula of China, as being alike disregardful of the true rights and deep-seated desires of the more than 36,000,000 of Chinese inhabitants in the peninsula, unjust to the Republic of China, and threatening to the future peace of tlie world. It is the sincere hope of the United States that this manifest injustice may bc speedily reconsidered and remedied.
Senator Sherman, in speaking to the resolution, said -
The section giving Japan control of Shantung Peninsula “ so taints and poisons the professed altruism with which the League of Nations was heralded as to crown it the most superlative treachery in the history of modern times.”
Article 10 and the portion of the Treaty relating to Shantung are twin brothers of a common inequity. They speak the language of a joint outrage, and bear the evidence of deliberate pre-aranged conspiracy.
Those words express better than any words I could employ my view of the Shantung settlement. President Wilson, who knows that the Peace Treaty will not be accepted by Congress without qualifications, has already stated publicly that he is prepared for the conditional acceptance of the Treaty. That is to say, that he thinks the American Legislature can agree to the Covenant of the League of Nations in principle, but is entitled to make such reservations as it thinks ought to be made.
– He is doing the best he can with a Legislature that is opposed to him.
– And if all the facts were disclosed they would show that this Parliament ought to make some reservations in the Treaty, ‘and that the Government ought to do -the best they can in the circumstances by accepting the Treaty with, reservations that are vital to the country. .
– Such as?
– Such as a reconsideration of the disposition of the German Possessions in the- Pacific, and a refusal to be a party to the outrage committed upon China by the Shantung settlement.
The Prime Minister put before the Peace Conference the possibility that the League would not lie ratified by Australia. This is how Mr. Hughes is reported in the press, on the 16th February, 1919 : -
The League must run the whole gamut of critics and Legislatures before it is able to speak, and may be clothed with various powers at present unthought of.
The League may not find support in Australia, which may refuse to pledge itself to fight a war at the bidding of a remote body, or to limit its armament at a distant Power’s wish. -
The people may refuse to authorize an unknown international body to control their armies and navies, thereby, in effect, controlling their taxation.
There are a thousand difficulties and dangers.
The other day I asked the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) what would happen supposing America refused to ratify this violation of China, and war broke out between Japan and America?
Under this League of Nations we should be called upon to fight for Japan against our cousins in the UnitedStates of America.
This Peace Treaty ought to be received with some qualification in this respect.
There is no power on earth that would make Australia fight for Japan against America. It would be as well to face that fact to-day, before we sign the Treaty which commits us to such an impossible condition.
We have been told to-day by the Minister for the Navy that if we sign the Treaty, and refuse to fight for Japan, our commerce will be blockaded, and we shall be regarded as outcasts and pariahs, and ridiculed as a people not prepared to accept our Treaty obligations. If such is possible under the Treaty, we had better face the position now than face a worse position in years to come. This Peace Treaty ought to be qualified so far as to safeguard our American-Australian friendship, so as to show that we are not a party to the settlement of Shantung, and do not agree to bringing Japan 3,000 miles towards these shores, and thereby endangering the White Australia policy.
– You would go further, and be prepared to have the islands internationalized ?
– I say that would be preferable. With great deliberation I say that Germany in the Ladrones, the Marshalls, and the Carolines would be a preferable neighbour to Japan. I would rather have a white race as a buffer between this country and the hordes of Asia than set up an aggressive coloured race in the islands - than I would open the gate to practically 400,000,000 of the Asiatic agony to come to our very gates. I move as anamendment : -
That the following words he added to the motion: - “That, owing to the limited amount of information placed before Parliament in relation to the Peace Treaty, its commitments and responsibilities, the whole matter be referred to a Committee of both Houses of the Parliament for inquiry and report.”
I submit I have given information which makesout a primâ facie case for a close investigation by a non-party Committee of both Houses, which would have the opportunity to call on the Prime Minister and his Department, as well as others, to produce records of the. matters to which I have referred, in the same way as the
Foreign Relations Committee of the United States of America Senate called on President Wilson and his Departments to submit records to them.
There are two other matters to which I desire to refer before sitting down.
One has reference to the conduct of the Prime Minister at the Peace Conference. It has been said that we were represented there with great dignity and capacity, and that the prestige of Australia was increased by reason of our representation.
We were told in this country that there was a serious disagreement between the Minister for the Navy and the Prime Minister during the proceedings; and if it had relation to the matter I now refer to, the Minister for the Navy much more represented the people of Australia than did the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister conducted the campaign at the Peace Conference much as he does an election campaign in Australia. There was no limit to his Billingsgate and questionable tactics; and his conduct has been universally condemned by the daily press and magazines of Britain, Europe, and Australia.
The opinion of the Australian daily press may be instanced by extracts from leading articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph.
On the 8th February this year the Sydney Morning Herald contained the following : -
Mr. Hughes is quite right in protesting that the interests of Australia must not be overlooked in the midst of such stupendous issues. But the claim to have been the only sober man at the party is always liable to be misunderstood, and his countrymen would rejoice to see a contribution to the harmony of nations in the place of ineffectual attempts at disruption.
On the4 th Feburary, the Daily Telegraph said -
One of the penalties Australiahas to pay for being so far removed from the world’s great centres consists in the frequent misrepresentation there of her public opinion, and now and thenin its more or less deliberate distortion for political ends….. It would be hard to conceive a more grotesque misrepresentation of the Australian attitude.
That has reference to the conduct of the Prime Minister. While matters were sub judice inthe Conference, the honorable gentleman waved aloft cables representing without justification that great meetings were being held in Australia in support of his actions, and that these meetings were spontaneous and uninvited expressions of Australian public opinion.
Statements made by the Prime Minister to journalists representing English and European newspapers were described in an authoritative pronouncement by the Peace Conference as mischievous, inaccurate, and misleading.
The Conference itself had to take the Prime Minister to task for adopting those very tactics which were so pronounced at our own two conscription campaigns, for instance. The official pronouncement of the’ Peace Conference contains the statement: -
IE there is a repetition, if will be impossible to continue the Conference, and the world’s peace may be jeopardized.
Commenting on the statements of the Prime Minister, the Westminster Gazette said : -
If individual delegates are allowed to do as Mr. Hughes has done, all national questions will be made battlegrounds in the newspapers whenever delegates arc dissatisfied with Conference’s vote. This is an impossible state of affairs, and Conference itself will be broken up unless it maintains some discipline over its members. Nothing is more deplorable than the bad example of the Australian Prime Minister.
Yet we have been told throughout this country by a great press publicity campaign, paid for with the taxpayers’ money, what a great man the Prime Minister is, and how the Conference bowed down to him, impressed with his outstanding ability and statecraft.
As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister has been condemned from one end of the world to the other, and his conduct only shows how public money can be expended in a publicity campaign, and the people absolutely misled.
Writing from Paris on the 4th February, Mr Arthur Mason, well known in this country as the special correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald in Paris, said in reference to the Prime Minister’s publicity methods -
Mr. Hughes’ conduct gave rise to a scene in the Conference. . . . Subsequently, a very prominent representative of Great Britain met the British journalists now in Paris, alluded to this disclosure of Conference proceedings as an appalling recklessness, and hinted at grave disaster as the probable result of any repetition of such a course. Mr. Hughes himself had revised the Daily Mail article before it appeared in print -
That is where the trouble arose. This particular paragraph appeared in an article of the Daily Mail, but, in reality, the Prime Minister told the journalists what he wished to have said, and what the journalists wrote was revised by him. To all intents and purposes it was the Prime Minister’s article, but it appeared as a Daily Mail article, telling the world what a great man Mr. Hughes is!
– Who says that the Prime Minister practically wrote the article himself?
- Mr. Arthur Mason in the Sydney Morning Herald.
– He does not say that.
– He certainly does, as quoted by me. The Minister for the Navy is very reckless in his interjections. Mr. Mason further says - followed a confusion of anger - all other journalists being angry with the scare-mongering one - and Mr. Hughes himself being angrier than any one that he was involved in a pretty considerable mess.
It ought to have been said rather that the Prime Minister was angrier than anybody, because he had been found out.
The article by Mr. Mason continues -
There was a pre-concerted arrangement by which full quotation of Mr. Hughes’ remarks should be worked up into a Daily Mail article. As it is, we have the rather sorry spectacle of the Prime Minister of Australia - and, at a Peace Conference of world range and incalculable possibility - diligently engaged, in the first place, in seeking out such journalists who would’ be willing to write up the grievances of Australia, with a special reference to the pugnacity of Mr. Hughes.
The article goes on to refer to Mr. Hughes’ methods as “ intemperate and petulant,” and to say that the Prime Minister issued many proclamations in advance of himself. These are the words of Mr. Mason -
A campaign of personal publicity by grace of any journalist who could be prevailed upon to write the case for Mr. Hughes. … . . Mr. Hughes’ latest effort in publicity - a Daily
Mail sensational stunt, in any case after the event, and unavailing, and, moreover, dismissed by authoritative rebuke as inaccurate, mischievous, and misleading….. Mr. Hughes’ reputation was seriously diminished as the result of the Paris publicity campaign.
– Mr. Mason penned a very fine appreciation of the Prime Minister the other day. Have you read it?
– I have not, although I have carefully endeavoured to read everything that was published in reference to the matter. How could Mr. Mason say glorious things about the
Prime Minister in the face of the article I have just quoted?
– He did so.
– I do not believe it.
– Thank you !
– The Minister ought not to interject in this way, but read the articles for himself.
– There is no reason why you should lose your manners.
– I admit I should not have given my friend so direct a denial as I did.
– Everybody has read Mr. Mason’s article to which I refer.
– Do you say that what I have quoted is untrue?
– I say you should read the article which appeared last week.
– No article of Mr. Arthur Mason qualifies what I am charging against the Prime Minister.
A statement was made by the Prime Minister in Sydney, in discussing the Peace question, and reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 15th September, to the effect that he deliberately and emphatically said that if the Australian Army had been properly reinforced during those critical days, at least 10,000 men who died in France and Flanders would to-day be amongst us.
I do not think I have ever heard of such a scurrilous, mean, contemptible, cowardly statement.
Here is the Prime Minister, who comes back when the whole thing is over, and professes a desire to hold out the olive branch to his former friends, and yet he utters a malicious and untrue statement of that kind. It is hard to find an adjective to describe such a man.
– I should like to be informed as to how you know the statement is untrue.
– I shall give the House some facts. The great losses that took place in our Army were before the first conscription campaign, and why did they take place? Because some of our men were sent to the slaughter where they had no chance to fight.
At Fleurbaix, in July, 1916, before the first conscription campaign, 15,000 Australians were ordered up to take what was’ supposed to be a second line of trenches. A division of the
British Army was ordered to march up concurrently with them to their support. The Australians went forward, and when they got into what was supposed to be the second line of trenches, they found themselves in a canal, which the Germans immediately flooded. They had not a chance to fight for themselves, and of those 15,000 men only 5,300 came back, owing to the bungling of some British General, whosent our wonderful men in to fight where they did not have a chance to fight. They were simply butchered in cold blood.
– That happened through treachery. Some Germans dressed themselves up in the uniforms of British officers.
– It was incompetence or treachery on somebody’s part, but not incompetence or treachery oh the part of Australia’s soldiers. What became of the British division which was to march concurrently to their support? They did not turn up. They did not start to march until twenty-four hours afterwards. Our men found themselves suddenly in water up to their waists, and sometimes up to their necks. They had to take the bayonet and hack their way back. In that one action alone we lost 10,000 men.
What happened on Gallipoli? Did our men get a fair go there? They did not. We lost half our total killed for the whole war, on Gallipoli alone. Yet the Prime Minister comes back here and talks about what the men in this country did, who, like myself, were aware of what was going on with an Asiatic Power, and were not prepared, as I was not, to send the whole of the manhood of this country to foreign battle-fields when they knew that arrangements were taking place with regard to this country which seriously prejudiced our national and internal integrity.
– And that event took place when our enlistments were going strong.
– It took place when the enlistments in Australia were at their height.
– It is clear that you must never have anything to do with international affairs again.
– It is clear that we ought to have a Prime Minister with a little of the sense of Australian sportsmanship in him, instead of coming back here and making these mean and false insinuations against those who have had a difference of opinion with him.
Wherever I had an opportunity to put the case that I have put to-night, until the Government put the gag on my lips, and to tell the people of this country what was going on in connexion with this Asiatic Power, how we were being betrayed in regard to’ our vital national policy, the most conservative and conscriptionist centres in this country said that I was perfectly right, in the circumstances, to take up the attitude that I did with regard to conscription.
The Prime Minister, thinking to create a little bit more bad feeling, whilst mouthing the idea of the olive branch and friendliness towards those who previously disagreed with him, makes a statement like this that must earn for him the absolute contempt of every fair-minded man and woman in this country, conscriptionist or not.
I have here a statement by two French war correspondents - Henry Ruffin and Andre Tudesq- translated from the French and published by Nelson and Sons, of Paternoster-road, London. The publication of this matter has been prohibited in this country for the last couple of years, although it is the statement of French war correspondents. This is. what they say regarding the Australian -
His courage, which the enemy regards with peculiar distaste, has earned him heavy fighting everywhere throughout the war. Let us recall some of his chief performances.
They then refer to the great work doneby the Australians on the Suez Canal, and by the Australian horsemen, who did such splendid work in that field of operations, and lived for four months in the desert, exposed to continual attacks. They add-
Next, the Australian troops, augmented by certain units of New Zealanders, disembarked on the Gallipoli Peninsula at the left of their English comrades. Hardly were they on shore before they began a series of battles which never stopped for a week. They held, at very great cost, the bit of ground which had been taken from the Turks, and during four months two divisions of them lived, Heaven knows how, on a space of less than a third of an acre.
Then came the evacuation of Gallipoli. The Australians returned to Egypt, there to rest between December, 1915, and the 1st April, 1916, on which day they made their appearance on the Western Front.
Since that time the Australians have fought on French soil.
They have to thank their splendid reputation that they are always to be found wherever the most glory is to be won. It was they who took Pozieres during the Somme offensive, and the farm at Moquet, and measured their strength throughout those epic days against that of the Prussian Guard.
– Does the honorable member think it fair, having been given an extension of time, to get away from the Peace Treaty, and utter a diatribe of this kind?
– I am dealing with ‘ the very question that the Prime Minister dealt with.
– But the Prime Minister did not deal with it here in connexion with the Peace Treaty.
– Partly. I have the passage marked. I am not taking as much time as my honorable friends opposite took. .
– I suggest that the honorable member should discuss the Peace Treaty, and not start a party diatribe against the Prime Minister. I do not think that is fair.
– The Prime Minister has. made these unprovoked attacks upon us.
The right honorable gentleman told us about the great work of the Australians on the 21st March, 1918, when the Germans made their terrific onslaught on the 5th British Army. The British, he says, were flying headlong back as fugitives in all directions from the German guns. The Australians were ordered to march up through them. They marched steadily forward through these thousands of British “ Tommies,” and took their stand, and stooped the onrush of the German armies.
The right honorable member himself, though not an Australian, has said that our troops were the best storm troops in the world. The Prime Minister said in the Daily Telegraph on the 16th of this month -
Marshal Foch said there . were no braver troops anywhere than the Australians; they were always shock troops, storm troops: always at the Front, and always behaving themselves like men.
Our men were always shock troops and storm troops. That is the testimony of the Prime Minister. That is why we have a larger casualty list in proportion than Great Britain has.
The casualties of Great Britain were 43 per cent., Canada 44 per cent., New Zealand 50 per cent., and Australia 60 per cent.
It is just a turn as between our men and the French armies as to which had the highest percentage of casualties.
As regards deaths, we have heard a lot about the German onslaught upon Belgium, but the figures show 14,000 deaths of Belgians and 60,000 deaths of Australians.
We have heard a great deal about the tremendous fighting of the Servians against the great Austro-Hungarian armies. Servia had 45,000 deaths, as against 60,000 of our troops.
Indeed, the number of deaths in our Army was greater than those of America.
It was not because our men were not reinforced that they had these heavy casualties. It was because they were jammed in, in preference to all others, where men were to be killed.
If the Prime Minister wants to tell this cock-and-bull story to the relatives of the men in this country to prejudice them against us as if we were their murderers, I flint? the cowardly and contemptible slander back in his teeth.
– On a point of order, I submit that the honorable member is nob in order in dragging in this party controversy, which has nothing to do with the signing or acceptance of the Peace Treaty. I suggest that the honorable member is guilty of a gross abuse of the good nature of the House in doing so.
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. W. Elliot
Johnson). - The Minister is entitled to his opinion of the use the honorable member has made of his extension of time, but, as was explained before this debate was entered upon, considerable latitude must be given in dealing with a question that covers so wide a range. It is not for me to decide whether the honorable member’s remarks are in good taste or not. That is for the honorable member himself to decide, but, so far as I can see his remarks cannot be ruled out of order so long as they are associated with events connected with the Peace Treaty. The war and the Peace Treaty are so much interwoven subjects that it is not easy to lay down a hard and fast line of demarcation in a debate of this character. I would point out, however, that the extension of time which was granted to the honorable member has already nearly reached the limit of the original time of one hour and five minutes provided forby the standing order. I suggest, therefore, that if extensions are to be granted some time limit should be set to them. In any case, the extension should not exceed the original time allowed under the forms of the House.
– I had almost concluded my remarks. A great deal of my time has been taken up by interruptions. As our time is limited, it was fair that I should be allowed to proceed without interruption in debating a subject of this kind. We were maintaining five divisions in the field, which meant 100,000 men. There were practically 400,000 men enlisted from this country, which was ample for the maintenance of five divisions; but the Prime Minister gave authority for the creation of a sixth division, so that if there was any lack of support it was because this Government gave authority for a larger number of divisions than the country was able to maintain.
Our soldiers at the Front, who ought to have been better judges of what was required than anybody in this country, voted against conscripting the manhood of the Commonwealth. On that point the two French war correspondents referred to wrote -
It is strange that the majority of the Australian Contingent voted against compulsory service for Australia. Why? Let no one imagine that it was because these heroes have become opponents of the war; nor is it even because they think their country has done enough. They have voted against compulsory service, first of all, for a reason of a general nature, which applies to the whole body of Australian electors, namely, because the Australians have a horror of all moral compulsion and a burning love of liberty. These soldiers have also been influenced by another objection; they fear lest to introduce a professional army into Australia may be to infect their nation with a spirit of militarism which is not all to their taste.
– I rise to a point of order. I appeal to you, sir, in all sincerity to say whether the discussion of a referendum on conscription has anything to do with the Peace Treaty now under consideration.
– The honorable member is certainly taking the fullest advantage of the latitude I promised to allow in the debate, but his references must have some relation to the work of Ministers at the Peace Conference. Matters of administration incidental to events associated with, the Peace Treaty may be referred to. It is very difficult for me to say what is and what is not relevant to a matter of this kind, because the discussion itself covers so wide an area. At the same time, I think the honorable member should have some regard to the fact that the House, in granting him. an extension of time, probably did not think he would occupy the House at such great length in bringing his speech to a close, whereas, since that extension was granted him, he has occupied twice the .time originally allowed him under the Standing Orders. I ask him, therefore, to curtail his remarks.
– I have been trying to conclude my speech, but the interruptions of the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) have occupied more time than’ I should have taken. I shall conclude by giving, as an answer to the very mean and contemptible statement made by the Prime Minister, this additional evidence from the French, war correspondents - evidence that we were not allowed to publish in Australia during the second conscription campaign, nor, indeed for the last couple of years - showing that our soldiers overseas were asking us by their votes not to adopt conscription. Here is the neutral evidence of these French war correspondents that our soldiers did not want conscription-
– And we could say nothing of it at the time because of the censorship.
– No. The publication of this document was specifically prohibited.
– And, apparently, the other side do not wish it, even now, to be published.
– The honorable member’s time has more than expired.
– If it has he must stop.
– The statement of the French war correspondents is as follows : -
And the proof that the negative result of the referendum has in no way weakened the determination of Australia to pursue the war to a victorious end. and in complete accord with the Mother Country, is that, on the one hand, the Australian contingent persists, after, as before, recording its vote, in splendidly performing its duty at the Front; and that, on the other hand, Australia continues to send to the battlefields of Europe thousands of fresh volunteers.
– Order! The honorable member is now distinctly going beyond the scope of the debate.
– Then I shall conclude. This cowardly slander of the Prime Minister is levelled at the whole body of our anti-conscriptionist soldiers,as well as ourselves of the Australian Labour movement. And Ministers and Government supporters cannot bear without squealing the just rebuke I am measuring out to them.
– I rise to order. I understood you to say, Mr. Speaker, that the honorable member’s time had expired.
– The honorable member intimated to me that he was concluding his speech. I do not wish to be discourteous, but I have already appealed to the honorable member to conclude his remarks as quickly as possible, in view of the fact that the’ extension of time of which he has availed himself already has exceeded the original time allowed him under the Standing Orders.
– Within the last four minutes I have been interrupted four times.
– And it would seem-
– Order! I have ordered the honorable member to conclude his speech. If honorable members desire him to conclude his remarks they should at least refrain from unnecessary interruptions.
– I wish to make this observation in conclusion; that if there is any point in the mean statement made by the Prime Minister to which’ I have referred, then it is directed against the very men who were occupying the front-line trenches in France, and who voted against conscription. If he says that, because of that vote against conscription-
– Order ! I must again ask the honorable member to conclude, and to’ resume his seat.
– I can see that these observations are very distasteful to Ministerial supporters, and I shall, therefore, refrain from flaying them further.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Fleming) adjourned.
House adjourned at 10.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 September 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1919/19190917_reps_7_89/>.