17th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S.Rosevear) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Return of Servicemen from Great Britain - Releases - Leave - Absence Without Leave- Service Can teens.
-Is the Minister for the Army yet in a position to advise me in regard to the suggestion that I made in a question some months ago, that the British authorities should be asked to charter the liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth to bring to Australia Australian servicemen who are still in Great Britain, together with any wives, children and fiancees? If the information is not available, will the Minister renew the representations to the British authorities, in view of the cabled report in the daily press that both of those mammoth liners have made their last trip from Europe to America as troop carriers, and will shortly go into dock to be refitted as luxury liners?
– The honorable member made representations to me on this matter some time ago. Inquiries were set in train, with a view to ascertaining whether those or other vessels might be made available for the purpose stated. I am not yet in a position to make a definite statement. I shall take into consideration the further suggestion which the honorable member has made this afternoon.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the following letter, which 1 have received: -
I am taking the liberty of asking you to bring before the Government the matter of immediately releasing men from the Army and the Air Force who have jobs to go to. As my firm lost the services of nine out of a staff of fourteen senior males we are wanting these badly. Some three members of my staff are over 65 years of age, and the strain of carrying on is having a bad effectontheir health. While the war wason I did not complain, but now it is over I think these men could be released at once, and it would save the Government a lot of unnecessary expense.
As soon as those men with five years service and over have been discharged, will the Minister consider arranging for the release of other long-service men for whom jobs are waiting?
– The whole matter is now being examined, and I shall see that the point raised by the honorable mem- ber is taken into consideration.
– Can the Minister for the Army -say how many men have so far been discharged from the fighting forces for return to rural industry? Can ho say how many more men are to be released for rural industry, apart from those under the general demobilization plan? “Mr. FORDE.- Since October, 1943, a total of 34,000 men have been released from the fighting services to rural industries. It is estimated that more than 8,000 men will be released from the services for rural industry during the next few months. This will be. apart from rural workers released under demobilization plans. From October, 1943, to June of this year, 26,053 occupational releases from the Army and Air Force were approved for rural industries, including approximately 7,000 for Queensland. For the current half year, 3,000 rural releases are being recommended for all States. In addition, routine discharges since January, 1944, have included 8,264 rural men, and it. Ls estimated that 5,000 rural workers will bc included amongst those tr- bo released by December as a result of the discharge of long service veterans and the release of men on other grounds. Under the Government’s demobilization plan, the rate of release of men from the fighting services will be considerably increased in comparison with the rate which will operate between now and the 1st October. I am mindful of the urgent claims of the primary industries, and discussions are now in progress between the Director-General of Man Power and the Adjutant-General on this subject. The representations of the honorable member will be fully and sympathetically considered.
– Is the Minister for the Army aware that a general routine order was issued by the Army on the 24th August last regarding the discharge of soldiers on occupational grounds, that the order contains no reference to primary producers, and no provision is made for the discharge of men on the ground that they are needed in primary industry?
– I have not seen the routine order to which the honorable member has referred. Before the surrender of Japan, the demand for the release of men for the building trade became so acute that it was necessary to give the highest priority to applications. The routine order mentioned by the honorable, member is now being considered at my request, in view of the urgent need to increase primary production.
– -Has the Minister for the Army read the statement by an alleged military spokesman, published in to-day’s press, that men on leave in Australia who are attached to units that are outside Australia, are to be returned to their units ? In view of the right honorable gentleman’s statement last week that in such circumstances only specialists were to be returned to their units, has there since been any change in the Government’s policy?
– There has not been any change in the Government’s policy, or of the decision that soldiers from New Guinea, the Solomons, Morotai, Borneo or other war zones to the north of Australia, on leave in Australia, would not be sent back to those areas on the completion of their leave unless they were key men whose services were urgently required. As far as possible, apart from those who have had a short service and have special qualifications which fit them to relieve others in Australia with long service who should be discharged, all soldiers on leave in Australia will bo discharged.
– According to it statement by the Minister, many thousands of soldiers in various camp? throughout Australia are waiting to be sent back to the islands, or to other service positions, but they have jobs in civil life waiting for them and employers are anxious to engage them. Is there any good reason why Army personnel should not he released immediately, or, if not finally discharged, granted an interim release until their proper discharge can be arranged, first, in order that they may rehabilitate themselves, and, secondly, in the esse of farmers, in order that they may assist in the production of much required food ?
– Discharges from the Army are being made daily on occupational grounds. The demobilization scheme announced by the Minister for
Post-war Reconstruction will commence to operate from the 1st October. Full ;ind sympathetic consideration is given to all representations for discharge on compassionate and occupational grounds. If the honorable member can supply the names of servicemen whose applications for discharge have been favorably considered, and whose services are urgently required on those grounds, prompt and sympathetic consideration will be given to his representations.
Air. CONELAN.- Has the Minister lor the Army seen the statement by Colonel Murphy, Director of Prisons and Detention Gamps, that 33.5 per cent, of the inmates are there for having been absent without leave as the result of domestic trouble? In view of the circumstances, will the Minister take steps to ensure the release of those men as early as possible ?
– I have not read Colonel Murphy’s statement, but I shall get a copy of it and have it examined. Being a very humane man, I shall give sympathetic consideration to the honorable member’s representations.
– Will the Minister for the Army say whether the seven and ;i half day.-‘ leave allowable to Australian servicemen upon discharge for every six months served abroad is granted to men who have served in the mandated territories? If not, will the Minister take steps to correct this anomaly which represents an injustice to men and women who have served in those territories?
– The leave to which the honorable member refers applies to all service in the South-West Pacific Area outside Australia, and, consequently, personnel who have served in the mandated territories and Papua are eligible for it.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that profits from service canteens amount to approximately £2,000,000? Was it the policy of the Canteens Board to make profits out of service personnel? If not, will the Prime Minister ensure that this accumulated fund shall be expended in. a manner which will benefit ex-service personnel ?
– I am unable to say whether the amount mentioned by the honorable member is correct. I shall ascertain the facts and furnish a reply.
– I inform the House that, during the absence overseas of the Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), the Minister for Defence (Mr. Beasley) will act as Attorney-General, and the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) will act as Minister for External Affairs.
Transport of Families
– Has the Minister for the Army read a press report published in Western Australia, and I believe also in the eastern States, that 33 wives and twenty children of American servicemen, who desired to board a steamer bound for America, have been transported by rail from Perth to Sydney under appalling conditions? It was stated that the accommodation provided for them was quite inadequate, no proper provision having been made for them to obtain food or the amenities ordinarily required by women and children. Will the Minister take action to ensure that those responsible for this treatment shall bo adequately reprimanded, and that there shall be no recurrence of it?
– The press paragraph to which the honorable member has referred has been brought to my notice, and I have already instituted inquiries with a view to obtaining a full explanation. I have, however, read in the press an explanation that the railway authorities were unable to supply a railway carriage that would have provided the kind of accommodation that one would like to give to women and children travelling under such conditions, but that these people were so anxious to reach Sydney in time to board a certain steamer that they agreed to travel under the only conditions that could be provided. I am not aware whether that is the ‘ correct explanation, but I read in the press that the Western Australian railway authorities had provided the best accommodation that was possible in the circumstances. The Australian Army authorities were dealing with the matter only on behalf of the American Army authorities. I have calledfor a full report,and I shall inform the honorable member of its contents as soon as it has been received.
Use of Shipping - Rural Representations - Suggested Gift Shipment
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture read the report in the local and Sydney press that the British ship, City of Durham, 10,000 tons, left Melbourne last night for San Francisco with 2,000 tons of sand ballast as a substitute for general cargo? The report, further, states that three overseas vessels have loft Melbourne without cargoes in the last three weeks, and that another British ship will have its empty holds filled with sandbags to-day. Can the Minister inform the House what foods for which these boats came to Australia are not available at present, and when that food will be available?
-I have not read the report, but I shall certainly do so. Inquiries will be made, and the information which the right honorable gentleman desires will be supplied to hint.
– Has the Prime Minister received representations from rural organizations emphasizing the need for Australia to send vital foodstuffs to Great Britain? If so, in view of the desirability of making the maximum contribution of which Australia is capable, can the right honorable gentleman give to the House a definite statement of the intention of the Government in this matter? If he is not in a position to make such a statementnow, will he arrange for the Minister for External Affairs to discuss this matter with the United Kingdom Government, so that, at the earliest possible date, a public pronouncement as to the help which Australia will giveto Great Britain may be made?
Mr.CHIFLEY. - I do not remember any particular representationsbeing made on the subject. I have read certain statements, some by honorable members, about the desirability of our doing all we can to relieve the strain placed on the United Kingdom by lack of food. I shall ascertain whether any such representations have beenmade either personally or by letter. I shall also consider asking the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) to discuss the matter with the British authorities while he is in London.
– Serious difficulties regarding food and finance confront the United Kingdom to-day. As a gesture of thankfulness for the successful termination of the war, and of Australia’s determination to see that all available foodstuffs shall be sent to Great Britain, will the Government consider the despatch, at Australia’s expense, of a food ship to that country, as has been done on previous occasions to other countries in their time of need? Will the Government also review the export regulations which at present prevent the export of a considerable portion of our meat supply?
Mr.CHIFLEY.- Both matters contained in the honorable member’s question will receive consideration.
-In view of the serious shortage of galvanized wire netting, particularly of1¼in. mesh, will the Minister for Munitions take steps immediatelyto ensure that all possible assistance shall be given for the speedy manufacture of this netting, which is essential to the farming community?
– I can appreciate the anxiety of the honorable member that adequate supplies of wire netting, particularly of the smallmesh kind, shall be made available to people engaged in primary production. Although the distribution of this commodity is under the control of my department, it is manufactured by private industry. Difficulty has been experienced in manufacturing it in the quantities required, because of the shortage of man-power, but the transfer of men from war-time operations topeace time pursuits may result in a speeding up of production sufficientto satisfy the demands of the community.
– Can the Minister for the Army say when German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners of war held in this country will be sent back to their own countries?
– The prisoners of war to whom the honorable member has referred are being held in Australia on behalf of and at the expense of the United Kingdom Government. International law provides that, on the termination of hostilities and the acceptance of surrender terms, prisoners of war shall be returned to their own countries as soon as practicable. That will be done, but as the prisoners of war in Australia comprise approximately 14,000 Italians, 1,600 Germans and 1,000 J apanese, a substantial transport problem is involved.
Return of Civil Population
– Can the Minister for the Army inform the House how soon former residents of the Northern Territory will be allowed to return without having to obtain the approval of the Army authorities?
– This matter is now under consideration by the Department of the Interior and the Army authorities. I give an assurance that at an early date former residents of the Northern Territory willbe permitted to return without having to obtain permission from any authority.
– Will the Prime Minister, at his earliest convenience, give to the House a statement of lend-lease transactions between the United States of America and Australia?
– A similar question was directed to me last week by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt), and I then promised to obtain the approximate value of the supplies received by Australia from the United States of America. The figures will be only approximate and must be given in dollars because of the difference between the purchasing power of the $1 and the Australian £1.I shall endeavour to make a clear statement on the subject.
– Wide publicity has been given to reports of discussions at yesterday’s meeting of the Labour caucus in which it was stated that the Government had recommended, and the caucus had adopted, a reduction of the rate of income tax by 12½ per cent. In view of that publicity will the Prime Minister and Treasurer say whether the statement is correct? Does this mean, in effect, that in 1945-46 income tax will be reduced by 6¼, per cent. for the whole year? Will he say what procedure is to be adopted in respect of persons other than salary and wage earners if the new rates are to take effect from the 1st January?
– That matter will be dealt with in the budget speech.
– I would not have raised it but for the wide publicity given.
– I was not responsible for the publicity and therefore cannot be expected to reply to it. I have not seen the statement and I do not know whether it is correct or not.
– Does the right honorable gentleman save all his newspaper reading for the week-end?
– When the House is sitting I never read the newspapers until late at night so that I shall not be guilty of an untruth when I say that I have not seen a statement. I hope to deliver the budget speech on Friday if the papers are available from the printer. The matter referred to by the honorable gentleman will be dealt with at some length in that speech.
– I desire to ask a questionof the Minister forthe Armyin his capacity as Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. Is he aware that military truckscarting wheat from country areas in Western Australia are doing tremendous damage to main roads and inter-town country roads? As this wheat is being carted by road to meet urgent requirements in the eastern States, will he ensure that the Main Roads Board and the country roads boards affected shall receive adequate compensation from the Commonwealth Aid Roads Fund by means of a special loaded grant from that fund or by special grant from the Treasury?
– I am interested in this matter in both capacities and sympathetic consideration has already been given to it. As Minister for the Army I am interested in the Army trucks that are being used, and, as Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, I am interested in the cartage of wheat in Western Australia for consumption in the eastern States, and in the promise of an excellent crop next season. The payment of compensation by the Commonwealth Government is a matter in which the Treasurer -will be more vitally interested ; but at an appropriate moment I shall convey the honorable gentleman’s representations to him.
– I ask the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction whether it is a fact, as reported in the press, that the Government has recognized the merits of Western Port Bay as a deep-water harbour and proposes under its post-war reconstruction plans to develop a port there in the near future?
– I know nothing at all of the matter mentioned by the honorable member. I shall inquire into it.
– by leave - With the cooperation of the Postmaster-General and of the broadcasting companies, arrangements have now been completed to provide individual weather services to country districts, through country broadcasting stations. The service, which began on the 3rd September throughout the Commonwealth, implements the Government’s expressed policy to provide primary and secondary industries in country centres with essential weather information as fully as the meteorological organization will permit. Under pre-war conditions the comparative scarcity and short range of broadcasting facilities serving country areas and the lack of broadcasting time in programmes of the national networks made it impracticable to supply satisfactory, detailed weather services to country communities. Under the new arrangement each broadcasting station in the Commonwealth will be provided with essential weather information for its own district. This will cover details of daily district rainfall and river reports, district forecasts and, as circumstances warrant, warnings of floods, frosts, bush fires or other weather phenomena.
– I again draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the dismissal last week of 300 women workers at the Chullora Aircraft Works. These women were given one week’s pay in lieu of notice, and many df them are financially embarrassed owing to the short notice they received of their dismissal. Whilst I realize that the Government is making a substantial replacement allowance for a period of six weeks to each employee si> dismissed, the allowance is much less than these women were receiving in wages. I understand that their dismissal was ordered by the Aircraft Commission against the wishes of both the Minister and the Government. Will the Prime Minister investigate this matter to see whether compensation can be paid on the basis of full pay for a longer period to not only these but also other employees who may find themselves in a similar position shortly? Will he take steps to ensure that sufficient notice of dismissal shall be given to employees to enable them to look for other employment ; alternatively, will he arrange that they be placed on full pay for a longer period ?
– Several cases in Melbourne somewhat similar in character to the matter mentioned by the honorable member have been brought to my notice, and arrangements are being made by the Minister for Labour and National Service to examine them. I shall *ee that the matter raised by the honorable member is also given consideration.
– I ask the Acting Attorney-General whether the statement I made last Thursday regarding action taken against Nurse Wagland under the National Security Act has yet received his attention ? In view of the statement that such action may have been illegal, and certainly was inequitable to Nurse Wagland, involving her liberty, will the Acting Attorney-General furnish a reply to my question as soon as possible ?
– The Acting AttorneyGeneral is unavoidably absent this after noon; he had to proceed to Sydney on urgent business. However, he is considering the matter raised by the honorable member and will reply to the question as soon as possible.
The Manufacturing - Co-operative building - Conversion of Military huts.
-Some time ago,I pointed out the importance of tiles in building construction. Will the Minister for the Army expedite the release of service personnel, especially those recommended by the Man Power authorities, for the purpose of engaging in the manufacture of tiles?
– The honorable member’s request will receive consideration.
– Has the Prime Minis ter any information regarding the advantages of co-operative house-building, as exemplified by the undertaking sponsored by Mr. Sol Green, of Victoria, which is being developed in a suburb of Melbourne? The basis of this scheme is a straight-out gift of money by Mr. Green, which is to he used for a perpetual house-building plan which will enable ex-servicemen to build houses without having to pay interest charges. Will the Prime Minister consider the possibility of theCommonwealth Government developing a scheme of this nature, which would be of great advantage to exservicemen and to other members of the community who might be permitted to participate?
– I am aware of the generous gesture which has been made by Mr. Green. Withregard to the second portion of the honorable memtar’s question, I shall have his suggestion examined by the departments concerned.
– Has the Minister for Housing inspected the military huts at Gateshead camp, Charleston, which the Housing Commission of New South Wales has converted into excellent cottages? I understand that the Army intends to abandon Rutherford camp in favour of Greta camp, for future training. As the land on which the former camp is built is the property of the Com monwealth, will the Minister consider the conversion of the military huts into cottages?
– The conversion of Army huts into homes, wherever possible, in any part of Australia, is a function of the housing authority in each State. The Commonwealth is not a constructing authority in connexion with home building. The different housing authorities have been asked to consider the possibility of constructing houses with the materials of which certain Army buildings are composed.I shall immediately bring to the notice of the housing authority in. New South Wales the camp mentioned by the honorable member.
Surrenderof japan : Recordof Ceremony - Japanese Atrocities : Publication of Stories.
– Will the Minister for Information arrange for a copy of the record of the Tokyo Surrender Ceremony on the 2nd September to be included in the Australian National Historical collection? Will he also arrange for a copy of the record to be obtained from the American authorities, so that it may be broadcast to the school children of Australia, without static, at the first appropriate opportunity ?
– I thank the honorable gentleman for his valuable suggestions. The answers to each of them is in the affirmative. It is only common justice to the very great man, that General MacArthur is, that we should provide an opportunity for Australian school children, and later for posterity, to hear the voice and know the record of the man to whom, more than to anybody else, we owe our existence as a free nation to-day.
– As prisoners of war in Japan are released from captivity, a succession of stories is being published of torture, beatings, starvation and death inflicted upon Australians. As the Commonwealth is particularly interested in bringing to justice the individuals responsible for those crimes, will the Prime Minister take special measures to ascertain the identity of the criminals who maltreated prisoners of war? Will he take that action as speedily as possible before those individuals are dispersed in such a manner r.hat it might not be possible ultimately to bring them to justice?
– The Government has already expressed its strong desire that Japanese who have been responsible for the ill-treatment of prisoners of Avar, and for other atrocities brought; out very vividly in the report of Sir William Webb, which will be presented to this House at an early date-
– Will the Prime Minister make the report available to the House ?
– The only reason for delaying the tabling of the report was that the Government considered that if publicity had been given to it earlier, the Japanese might have taken reprisals against prisoners of war who have not yet been released. As soon as the Government is sure that these men will not be in danger of reprisals - I hope by this weekend, or early next week - that report will be released. The honorable member for Richmond can rest assured that the strongest representations will be made by the Government to ensure that those who have been responsible for the ill treatment of Australian prisoners will be apprehended as quickly as possible.
– I am also seeking direct action by the Government..
– I do not quite understand what the honorable member means by direct action, but, presumably, his wish is that the Government should ask the responsible authorities to take early action to ascertain the names of the culprits with a view to imposing adequate punishment upon them without delay.
– I have received from the president of the 8th Division Australian Army Service Corps (Supply and Transport) Welfare Association a telegram which reads -
At the earnest request of our association we ask you to use your influence to arrange to have stories of atrocities withheld until after casualty lists are published and so prevent more unnecessary suffering to next of kin of Japanese prisoners of war.
In view of the mental torture unnecessarily inflicted on relatives of prisoners of war by the publication of atrocity stories, will the Minister for Information endeavour to have the publication of such stories withheld until the names of survivors have been published ? Will he also confer with the Minister for the Army so as to ensure that the names of these men shall not be unnecessarily withheld, but shall be released immediately they are available? I understand that the nameare not being disclosed as quickly as they should be.
– I agree with the sentiments expressed in the telegram read by the honorable member, and his observations in regard to the publication of atrocity stories. There has been a difference of opinion among the Government’s military advisers as to the desirability of allowing such stories to be published from time to time. Unfortunately, the censorship powers of the Government under the new censorship code do noi permit the censorship of matter which deals only with morale. In view of » decision of the High Court, censorship has to be related to security matters. In that respect, the Government’s power to prevent the publication of such stories isstrictly limited. The matter finally depends upon the good taste of the newspaper proprietors of this country, many of whom, unfortunately, regard atrocity stories as sensational news, and are actuated solely by the profit motive, despite the exacerbation of feelings they cause and the sufferings they impose on the relatives of prisoners of war. In newspaper offices, whenever there is a conflict between profits and patriotism, profitalways win. If I can do anything to help prisoners of war, or their representatives in the various associations, To secure an alteration of the conduct of newspaper proprietors in this regard, I shall do so. I shall also consult with the Minister for the Army, with a view to determining whether effect can be given to the desire expressed in the second portion of the question.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
United Nations Conference on International Organization - Held at San Francisco; United States of America, 25th April t<> 26th .Tune, 1945 - Report by the Australian Delegates and Text of Agreement*.
Ordered to he printed.
Delivery of Goods - Advisory Committees
– Can the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction give the House any information regarding the likelihood of the removal of restrictions upon the delivery of foodstuffs to homes?
– There are difficulties in the way of removal of these restrictions at present, but the Government is endeavouring to overcome them. As soon as that has been accomplished, this control will be removed.
– I ask the Prime
Minister whether the Government has yet considered the desirability of discontinuing the war-time advisory committees and boards appointed under National Security Regulations in connexion with economic, commercial and industrial organization?
– Yes; as far as possible those bodies are being disbanded. I take this opportunity to express the thanks of the Government to persons who served on these committees. Their work has been very helpful not only to this Government, but also to previous governments; it has been entirely praiseworthy. However, as the need for such advice has lessened, the Government is dispensing with the services of advisory boards and committees whenever it is possible and reasonable to do so. That policy will be continued.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say when the report of the committee which investigated conditions in the tobacco industry will be available? In July, 1944, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture promised an inquiry into this industry, and in view of the fact that investigations concluded some months ago, what is the reason for the delay in the publication of the report? As tobacco production has declined 50 per cent. since 1941, and the planting season is at hand, will the Minister recognize the urgency of declaring the Government’s policy concerning this industry?
– I give an assurance that the report will be made available at a very early date. The Government has already takensome action in regard to the prices to be paid for tobacco leaf. Other aspects of the industry require consideration, and these were the subject of discussion last week at the meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council in Adelaide, at which it was decided to have further investigations made with a view to taking action helpful to the development of the industry.
Allowances to Wives
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister regarding allowances paid to the wives of invalid pensioners. Under Act No. 14 of 1948 - I desire to emphasize the year - wives of invalid pensioners were granted an allowance of 15s. a week. As the result of increases of living costs and other expenses, the rates of old-age pensions, invalid pensionsand child endowment have been increased and I hope that the concession will extend to widows’ pensions. Will the Prime Minister explain why no provision has been made for an increase of the allowance payable to wives of invalid pensioners? Will he make provision in the budget for an increase of the rate of allowance?
– My recollection of the matter is that provision was made by this Government for an allowance of 15s. a week to be paid to the wives of invalid pensioners, and for an allowance of5s. a week to be paid in respect of a pensioner’s first child, who would not be eligible for child endowment. Since the allowances were granted, the Government has further increased the rate of the invalid pension by 5s. 6d. a week. The fact that the pension has been increased and that allowances have been granted in respect of wives and unendowed children of invalid pensionersis a striking instance of the way in which this Government has improved social services.
– But the allowance payable to wives has not been increased,
– What I am pointing out is that, prior to 1943, no allowance was paid in respect of the wife or first child of an invalid pensioner and that the Government made provision of 15s. a week for the wife and 5s. for the child and has since increased the invalid pension by 5s. 6d. a week. All this has been done in recent times. The budget proposals do not contain provision for any change of these rates, but, as it does in connexion with a1! social services, the Government will examine the position from time lo time.
– In a statement published this morning the Minister for Trade and Customs promises a modification of the rationing of woollen goods towards the end of the year. In view of the continuance of cold winter weather, will the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs ask his colleague to discontinue the rationing of ‘ such goods immediately in order that stocks may be liquidated by traders, and the people who need warm clothing may be able to obtain it? I point out that only persons in urgent need of warm winter clothing would be likely to purchase such garments at this stage of the season.
– I shall confer with my colleague on the subject and shall submit to him the important information which the right honorable gentleman has just conveyed to me.
Tools of TRADE
– Is the Minister for Repatriation aware that returned soldiers, who obtain requisitions for the purchase of tools of trade under the generous policy which is being applied by the Department of Repatriation, are often unable to obtain the tools they require because of shortages of such articles? Will the Minister discuss with the Department of the Army and the Commonwealth Disposals Commission the possibility of obtaining suitable equipment which is no longer required by the Army authorities, in preoference to allowing it to get into lbc hands of dealers at bargain prices, for the dealers will undoubtedly charge returned soldiers very much higher rates for the tools?
– We have found it very difficult, to secure tools for ex-servicemen. A fairly large order has been placed in America and some of the items have already arrived. We have found it difficult, also, to obtain good tools from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. Some of the tools -that have been made available to us have been of such inferior quality that I would not make them available to ex-servicemen. We are seeking supplies in various parts of the world, and as these come to hand they will be distributed as quickly as possible.
– I ask the Minister acting for the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture the following questions : -
ls the Minister aware that in many districts there is a shortage of man-power for harvesting?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
– Is iiic Prime Minister able to confirm the report that the Government proposes to reverse its .traditional attitude towards social services, by adopting the principle of contributory social insurance? If his reply is in the affirmative, will he take the earliest opportunity to make proper acknowledgments to the party which first enunciated that policy?
– A statement of Government policy in regard to social services and taxation will be made when the budget speech is delivered. If the honorable member suggests that the Government is adopting a scheme of social insurance which bears any relation to the rags and tatters “ national insurance scheme proposed by a previous government, I assure him that he is incorrect.
–I have received a return to the writ which I issued on the 1Sth July last for the election of a member to serve for the electoral division of Fremantle, in the Sta te of Western Australia. The endorsement on the writ confirmed the notification by the Chief Electoral Officer of the election of. Kim Edward Beazley, announced to the House on the 29th August.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That Government business shall take precedence over general business to-morrow.
Debate resumed from the 30th August (vide page 5039) on motion by Dr. Evatt -
That the bill be now read a second time.
to be present for the continuation’ of the debate, because certain things which I would have liked to say, and- say very fully, in his presence, I would feel some embarrassment in saying with equal fullness in his absence. But at least I must say two things: In the first place, it is clear to anybody reading the report which has been tabled by the Austraiian delegates that a .great deal of close technical work in the formation of this Charter was done by the Minister for External Affairs. For myself, I would like to praise the technical skill that he displayed in these matters, just as I admire his pertinacity in pursuing what he thought to be tie right line of decision. But having said that, which is only fair to the right honorable gentleman, I would like also to say that his attitude in these negotiations and subsequently towards Great Britain doo?, I believe, merit the .strongest criticism. I consider that he fails to realize that, whilst a new world charter may have a value which is as yet untried, our relationship with the British Empire has a value which has been proved in circumstances of very great trial over many generations. In these circumstances, the practice of carrying into the public press matters of dispute or conflict with Great Britain, which ought to be the subject of private discussion, seems to me to be -deplorable. Public conflict between the Government of this country and Great Britainmay give satisfaction to some elements which are not hard to find in this world, but it is extremely dangerous, and, speaking for members of the Opposition, ‘ 1 may say that we entirely dissociate, ourselves from it. ‘
The ratification of the Charter can be supported wholeheartedly, I believe, as a great gesture towards peace. Every honest attempt to produce collective security by bringing the nation’s of the world into harmonious association with each other deserves the good wishes of mankind, lt would indeed be a glorious thing for ‘ the world if this twentieth century, so far characterized almost entirely by war and bloodshed, should ultimately become known as the century in which war, as an instrument for the settlement of international disputes, was finally abandoned. Therefore, any great international negotiation which offers a sincere gesture towards the peace of the world is not to be easily disregarded. But whilst we remember that, we should also realize that it would be a tragedy for the world if we believed that the ratification of the world Charter would of its own force either create or protect the peace.
Perhaps the useful starting point for an examination of this Charter in broad terms will be found in the structure and history of the League of Nations. After all, immediately after the last war mankind made another great experiment in the League and in the Covenant of the League. Broadly speaking, the League, founded upon the Covenant, failed to keep the peace.. I am not quarrelling with that view; it is obviously the correct, one. But one of the great reasons for the League’s failure was that the nations failed the League. Beyond that, however, there were certain inherent troubles in the League at which we should look quite frankly when we come to assess the value of the new Charter. I shall briefly draw the attention of the House to what I believe to be five of those defects.
In the first place, the League ignored the realities of the world by endeavouring to set up in one step an international structure with a universal membership and all-round legal obligations. In al! matters of governments - and, after all. we are now discussing the problem of world government. - it is good to take one step at a time and learn to walk before we try to run. There are those who. looking at any proposed charter for the world, will say, by a process of pure prima facie examination, “It stops short here “, or “ It should go farther there “. To such people I would say that the history of failure is based not upon attempting too little, but usually upon attempting too much. The world tfr. Menzies has had singularly little experience of the machinery of peace, and it is unreasonable to suppose that in one step it is possible to create a structure, universal in its membership and in the obligations it impose?, and to expect it to operate successfully without passing through any of the preliminary stages through which ordinary government has developed.
The second defect was that- the League Covenant was an integral part of the peace treaty. It was, therefore, regarded by the defeated in the last war as a measure to defend the victory of the Allies ; something so associated with the terms of victory that it was regarded as a defence of the status que.
The third defect of the League was that it was founded on a contract of fully sovereign states. I am not going to conjure up an unreal world, because we ate dealing with a problem of the greatest reality, but we must, intellectually, at any rate, face this fact: if the peace, of the world is to be accepted «s a state of affairs as normal a.- the peace which exists within mie of the dominions - within Australia, for example - there must be, on the part of the nations of the world, an abandonment of some part of their sovereignty. In the Absence of a super state, contracts between states are not susceptible of enforcement like contracts between citizens - except by war. Nations which are not parties te a dispute between two other nations will, as a rule, refrain from participating in the dispute except in defence of what they regard .a.? a major interest. This may seem to be a cynical view, but it is a very real one. For the most part, nations will try to keep out of a dispute unless they sec that, in the long run, some interest of theirs is threatened. Years ago. the late Lord Lothian, whose views on matters affecting collective security were of great distinction, and who subsequently exercised much influence «s British Ambassador to the United States of America, delivered the Burge Memorial Lecture in England. In the course of this lecture he expounded with great caro and accuracy the view that if there is to be an international organization possessing as much power as government does in our own country, which if- to issue orders which, will be obeyed aud taken for granted as readily as are tho demands of law in our own country, it: cannot be established on the basis of a mass .contract between States, every one of which preserves its complete sovereignty. Every citizen in Australia has abandoned a portion of his sovereignty. If he did not there would bc anarchy; but because he has abandoned a part of his sovereignty in favour of the authority of the community, we have acquired domestic calm. We have abolished battle as a means of settling disputes between citizens.
The fourth defect of the League was that, although it aimed at universality of membership, it did not possess universality. At vital times it did not include the United States of America, Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan. I need not elaborate that point. The facts speak for themselves, and have been widely canvassed.
A fifth defect was that a widespread public opinion grew up, particularly in the peace-loving countries - and that: is the tragedy of it - that the Covenant and the authority of the League would keep the peace. How many of us during the period between the two wars encountered people with the best intentions who said, “ I believe in the League of Nations”, and who, having said that, believed that the League, in the terms of the Covenant, was in some fashion going to keep the world at peace? That misapprehension is something for which the League cannot be blamed. It is something for which we, as a people, can be blamed, and there is no doubt that it did great harm, because it produced a state of affairs in which those who supported collective security were relatively unarmed, whilst those who threatened collective security became more and more armed. This rather passive public acceptance of the League as itself a protector overlooked the elementary truth that aggressor nations can be kept in order only by peace-loving nations which, between them, possess more power than the potential aggressors. Unfortunately, a sort of antithesis has set itself up in the public mind: you either favour collective security, or you favour power politics. It is an entirely false antithesis.
The point is that there can be no effective security unless the nations which are parties to it possess real military and industrial power in order to make their covenant effective.
The new organization, the one which we have now come to consider as the United Nations, does escape from one or two of the criticisms which I have made regarding the League. In some respects it possesses a wider (membership than the League, although, of course, we are still quite naturally in the dark as to the relationships which will ultimately exist between this new organization and our recent enemies. It also contains a provision for the Security Council, its executive body, to have at its call military forces for use against an aggressor. To adopt a phrase used by the Minister for External Affairs, the organization has been given teeth. However, when we seek to discover to what extent the Security Council will have strength to enforce the rules laid down, we find that, in reality, what exists is, as the lawyers say, a contract to make a contract. In other words, the various nations in the organization of the United Nations have agreed to enter into contracts with the Security Council under which they will place at the disposal of the Council forces of various kinds, and those contracts will have to be ratified by the governments of the various nations by due constitutional process. However, so far as it goes, it is a move towards giving power to the United Nations. Again, the Charter has been fashioned independently of any peace treaty. This time, it does not form an integral part of the peace treaty. I expect that it will be open for the defeated nations in the future to say that the Charter represented an agreement among victors, and was not really a world pact. However, insofar as a step away from the close indentification of a treaty of peace with a bargain of security is a good step, I applaud it. Allowing for these differences - this modification of a position which existed in relation to the League of Nations - we should, I believe, have in mind for our guidance in the future, the inherent difficulties- which exist in any league which is based upon a contract between nations. I come back to that-for a moment, because it deserves the greatest possible emphasis if we are to think clearly about this problem.
If honorable members will follow, in the report made by the Australian delegation to San Francisco, the discussions which occurred there on the subject of the veto, for example, they will realize at once that the Great Powers of the world - for this purpose I refer to the five Great Powers in this scheme - have not, so far, been induced to abate any of their sovereignty. On the contrary, the whole argument at San Francisco about the veto showed that they were not prepared to abandon or diminish their sovereign rights to decide on what terms they would participate in the enforcement of world order. It may bc said, as against that view, that the provision in the Charter itself about members of the United Nations placing forces at the call of the Security Council is. in a sense, a provision for enforcement by something which, if it is not a super State - which, obviously, it is not - is at least an executive committee of States, ft may be said that this is a step, although not a great one, in the right direction. The acid test will come when we pass from theory to practice. The test will come when the Security Council, pursuant to this Charter and to the contracts that may have to be made, says to Nation A, “ Yon are now, pursuant to your contract, to place at our disposal forces of a certain kind, armed in a certain way, and placed at our disposition at a certain location “. At that time Nation A may not feel disposed to place forces at the disposal of the Security Council for that purpose, because it may not like that purpose. Or, Nation A may not feel disposed to sacrifice the lives of any of its citizens in the particular issue which has arisen. In those circumstances, a nation would need to have a lively sense of the virtue of collective action to say in spite of those inhibitions and reservations, “Certainly. We made an arrangement. Here are our troops “. That will be the test. For nyse r, I say that I still believe that contracts which in their nature are not enforceable are not a real substitute for orders by a competent authority.
The other criticism of general application is- that international agreements seldom fail because they try to do too little but because they attempt too much. Although there are plenty of immeasurably better informed students of this problem than I am, I believe that it is dangerous to elaborate the constitutional structure of an organization unless we can feel reasonably certain of the true and tenacious existence of an international spirit which alone can make any “ new order “ succeed. Should the spirit toward; peace ‘h: either lacking or weak we deceive ourselves if we rely on collective security. There always was something rather grotesque about the palatial setting of the League of Nations Secretariat at Geneva, with a world rocking into war all around it, a world in which not only was the spirit towards peace almost non-existent but also a spirit towards war was active and striving - where those who met to discuss problems were concerned mainly with the letter of agreements. For that reason I am not able, as indeed 1 never have been, to share the enthusiasm of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), for carefully considered and meticulously drafted written agreements. If the spirit of peace prevails among tarnations those writings will not matter very much; but if the spirit of peace heabsent, then I believe that no writing will prevent war. Consequently, we do well to put the weight on the spirit that is to be created among the’ nations, rather than persuade ourselves that the letter of some agreement will prevent further wars.
Having made those genera 1 observations, with which I have no doubt most honorable members will agree, T turn to the Charter itself and to a few of it.special features. I notice that in the first clause it expresses itself to he based “ on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members That. phrase is a repetition of the language of the Moscow declaration, which has always intrigued me. T confess that T do not know what is designed to be conveyed by the expression “ on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members “. If that means that all members are deemed to be of equal weight, it denies the facts; if it means that the sovereignty of every member i« to be unimpaired, it puts across what some day- T do not know how many years hence - will be the real basis of a genuine world order. Later, however, the Charter becomes more realistic. 1 say that because I believe that the essence of the Charter is that those who were concerned with its formulation decided that they would build up a world organization around the nucleus of the Great Powers. That, I believe, is tho essential difference between this organization as it now stands and the general draft of the Covenant of the League of Nations. hi other words, we have here in this Charter a provision for a species of alliance between the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Trance, to which there is attached for many useful purposes of discussion and co-operation a great number of smaller powers. The function of these smaller powers will be to influence, so far as they can, the Great Powers, and when the Great Power3 have unanimously decided upon a certain course, to play their part in its enforcement. But the vital issue of peace or war, so far as it concerns the world as a whole will be determined by the Great Powers - by a core of alliances within the general structure of the Charter. To explain why I say that; let mc refer briefly to the veto question. I venture to think that the Minis ter for External Affairs was, as a matter of pure theory, completely correct at San Francisco when he contended that the decisions of the Security Council should not require an affirmative vote of the five permanent members where the decision related to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. If you got to the stage of enforcement, the need for unanimity among the Great Powers was conceded. Any one of them could veto enforcement. When you got to a solution, intervention for peaceful settlement of a dispute, the Great Powers said: “We still say there must be five concurring votes of the five Great Powers “, and the Minister for External Affairs and other people at San Francisco contended that was wrong. As a matter of pure theory, T am inclined to think that those who criticized the veto in that aspect were right, but the plain fact is that in international affairs it is not sufficient to be right as a matter of -pure reasoning. The thing that mattered was and is that the five Great Powers had made it clear that no one of them was going to be compelled by the decision of any other nation in respect of either enforcement action or the settlement of a dispute by peaceful means. When we reach that point all argument, no matter how compelling it. may he in an academic sense, remains entirely academic. The whole strength of this agreement consists, in effect, in an alliance between the United States of America, Great Britain, Russia, China and France, and if that alliance stands firm, if those five Great Powers understand each other and concur in the action that they are going to take, world peace will be kept; but if any one of them finds its interest running counter to that of the other four and adheres to that so strongly that it is going to fight about it, then, world war becomes inevitable. That is conceded, as I shall show in a moment, in the report itself.
I turn from that to the Economic and Social Council, another feature of this Charter to which a good deal of attention has been directed. The Government of Australia attaches immense importance to the section dealing with the Economic and Social Council. My own view can perhaps best be stated by my saying that in as far as that council will provide a continuing and ultimately well-trained and well-equipped means for international negotiation in matters of common economic concern, it may be very useful, though even there I for one should like to think that in a realistic step-by-step treatment of our economic problems, the first thing we need is much more effective machinery than we now have for economic collaboration between the various portions of the British Empire. But allowing that there is merit in the idea of having machinery for international collaboration in these matters - and I believe there is - the next thing that occurs in this, section is that each nation that becomes a- party to it gives a pledge to take joint and separate action for the achievement of the stated needs. In other words, Australia, for example, is one of the nations giving a pledge for joint and separate action for the achievement of higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress. What is the point of this being made a pledge? I am no longer - considering it really as a piece of machinery for international discussion, collaboration, exchange of ideas, getting down to brass tacks, eliminating the cause of disputes that may arise from want of knowledge. Here we have a pledge. Again let me test it by reference to a specific case. If an Australian government were not prepared, out of a sense of responsibility to its own people, to promote higher standards of living and full employment, would it be likely to do so out of a sense of obligation to some other nation? That question, I believe, applies really the acid test to the value of this pledge. I, for one, do not believe that a government in a country like this, being, us a matter of internal politics, not at all disposed to take certain action in relation to its internal economy, would feel that it was bound to do so because of some international agreement. It may be said, of course, that I am arguing for an immoral view of international obligations. Well, all I can say is that I am basing my comment on a very sound basis of common sense; that is, that the political pressure of people within their own boundaries is, in the long run, immeasurably more powerful than a contract entered into with another community.
– A very indefinite contract, too.
– A very indefinite contract, as the honorable member says. Let me take another illustration, extremely practical and right up to date. What a difference there may be between the rhetorical phrases of a world charter and the actual adoption of work-a-day policies ! I refer to what has happened since the San Francisco conference in relation to lend-lease. I think perhaps it will not be amiss for something to be said about that matter, not from the point of view of the Government, but at any rate from the point of view of persons not in the Government. The United States of America is a signatory to the world Charter. It is in the same position in relation to these social and economic obligations as Australia. It has committed itself to the same idea of attaining rising living standards and full employment. But what has happened?
Whatever world theories may exist, honorable members of this House know full well that Australian full employment and Australian rising living standards are intimately associated with the selling of Australian products. We have not yet, as far as I know, discovered some way in which prosperity may be divorced from production or production from sales. Our standards of living and our employment level are therefore intimately associated with the sale of Australian products, and the selling of Australian products is intimately associated with the buying capacity of Great Britain. F do not need to offer that reminder to those who represent great primary producing interests in this country. The buying capacity of Great Britain depends directly on the standard of living and purchasing power of its inhabitants. I venture to assert that it is clear that Great Britain is more impoverished by this war than any other of the United Nations; because three things have happened to Great Britain: First, it has lost a great proportion of its overseas investments which had a great deal to do with the living standards in Great Britain. Secondly, its relative position in merchant shipping has seriously deteriorated. Before the last war it had a vast share of the world’s carrying trade; it had a slightly smaller, but still a great part of the world’s carrying trade between the two wars. In this war it has lost millions of tons of shipping. It has not been able to replace it at the same rate; and the great area of building of ships has in the course of things been the United States of America. And the third thing that has happened to Great Britain is that it has lost, for the time being at least, a great deal of its export market. Those three things between them represent a real impoverishment of a country, upon the purchasing power and real living standards of whose citizens a great deal of our own prosperity depends.
– Britain also sustained considerable physical damage.
– That “is so; but .1 was selecting those points which enable me to distinguish clearly between the case of Great Britain and that of other belligerent countries. Lend-lease was a very big conception by a very big man. Nothing I say will dim, I trust, my own appreciation of the supreme value of lend-lease in this war, but it has involved the entry of American goods into many export markets from which British goods have temporarily disappeared or to which they have been supplied in diminished quantities. It has involved a large concentration upon industrial development in the United States of America with a correspondingly increased export potential, while all the time American shipping has increased enormously and American overseas investments have certainly not fallen. In a purely competitive world it may be legitimate for the United States of America to keep Great Britain in a position of competitive disadvantage, but from Australia’s point, of view, and from an enlightened United States point of view, I venture to believe that the restoration of Great Britain to a large volume of export and to a large share in the world’s carrying trade is absolutely essential. It would he fantastic to imagine that we were making an effective contribution to world peace, or world security, if as one result of this war we hada permanently weakened and impoverished Great Britain. I mention that merely to show that if the Economic and Social Council is to be of real value it must practice thinking in really international terms. If the provisions about living standards and full employment written into the Charter are to be regarded merely as a justification for the highest possible degree of self-sufficiency, then the last state of the world will be worse than its first.
I have already said something about enforcement, and I indicated that I would refer to what was said in the report of the two Australian delegates. I do so now. In paragraph 126, discussing the enforcement provisions, they say -
The weakness of the system is that the use of this collective force will be determined by a council whose composition and voting procedure are such that force will never be employed against a Great Power, which can always exercise its individual veto. The argument accepted by the committee was that this position is one of the inescapable incidents of the present phase of international relations, because, if one of the Great Powers should choose deliberately to go to war, nothing short of another world war could check itsaggression, and such a deliberate decision to become an aggressor would in fact mean the breaking of the world organization.
That statement is not only frank, but also perfectly true. The enforcement provisions are invalid as against Great Powers, and, therefore, do notin themselves represent a real protection for world peace. We might as well have no illusions about it at all. That consideration once more emphasizes the danger, to which I have already referred, of thinking that a document keeps the peace. The document and the structure which it envisages are as yet untried - unlike the structure of our own Family of Nations which, as I have pointed out before, has been tried inthe furnace.
One other feature of the enforcement provisions is glanced at in paragraph 127 of the report-
By signing the Charter, Australia has not entered into any specific obligation in regard to the employment of our forces overseas. On ratification of the Charter, we will accept a general undertaking to contribute to the maintenance of peace. The nature and extent of our contribution, including the type and number of forces, their degree of readiness and general location and the nature of the facilities and assistance to be provided, will have to be determined by the terms of the special agreements to be negotiated with the Security Council. These agreements will have to be concluded in compliance with the will of the Australian Government and will certainly require parliamentary approval.
That statement, with all its unavoidable vagueness, is at least an indication that there are duties arising from this Charter as well as rights, and that one of the duties will be to place at the disposal of the Security Council in certain circumstances certain forces. That must. mean unless the Security Council isgoing to operate in a curiously restricted fashion, that Australia enters into the obligation to send forces overseas. It is hardly to be supposed that all the nations who have come together in this Charter are going to agree to provide forces which however, are not to be used outside their own country. That would be a denial of the whole possible strategy of a war. Therefore, we have, in effect, an obligation to provide forces overseas at the call of the
Security Council. That being so, the whole of the provisions emphasize something that I believe this Parliament must never lose sight of, and that is that the first element in a true foreign policy i’t a true defence policy; that the first element in our participation in a world security order is an effective and permanent defence provision in Australia.
– And. the forces would have to go north of the Equator sometimes.
– Unquestionably ; and I rather imagine that that is recognized in the report itself.
I turn now to say a few words about another feature, and that is the International Court of Justice. I recognize the reasons for the compromise that was made at the San Francisco Conference, leading to the optional clauses when the problem of compulsory jurisdiction was under consideration; but the ideal of any international court is compulsory jurisdiction in all international disputes involving differences about rights. Notwithstanding my faint, but, I suppose, perceptible scepticism about some other matters, I attach importance to the court, not because it will of its own force keep the peace, but because it should, if it is well constituted, greatly assist the development of what might be called an international common law, and so help to develop that sense of law which has so much to do with the creation of a lawabiding community.
Article 38 of chapter II. of the Charter sets out the nature of the law which the court is to apply. Inevitably it all is somewhat uncertain because, as my legal friends here know, this branch of the law, if it is so far to be called a branch of the law, is still in the making. But the court is to apply international conventions, international custom, and the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations - that seems to give a little scope - and subject to certain other provisions, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations. In other words, this court will approach the task of settling arguments between the nations about their respective rights. They may be rights arising under treaties or otherwise, and the court itself will, over a term of years, develop a body of doctrine which will, provided the authority of the court is high, ultimately constitute the true common law of international relations.
That means that the first essential of this permanent court is that it should be constituted by the very best people to be obtained in the selecting countries. If the court is to be a sort of curiosity tucked away in a corner at The Hague, its value will be very small. But if its judges are drawn from the very first rank of lawyers in the constituent nations and they are given proper position and security, I believe that the court will have a great function in the making of international law, and again I emphasize not in its enforcement but, in reality, in its making, and in the development of a public sense of international law. Therefore, it is very unfortunate that members of the permanent court are to be chosen for comparatively short terms. There are to bc fifteen members of the court, and of those who are first elected, five will serve for three years, five for six years and five for nine years. I do not believe that under a system of that kind, we shall get a court of the power that is needed. The effect of the provision will be either that existing judges in the various countries will need to be seconded from their present duties to serve for a few years on the permanent court, or non-judicial lawyers who may be admirably qualified to take part in the work of a body of this kind, will probably decline such short-term appointments - it will be quite impracticable for them to take such appointments - with the result that the tribunal will become relatively inferior.
– The judges will not know at first the term for which they are to be appointed.
– They will not. The last matter which I desire to mention is this: The Minister for External Affairs, in his second-reading speech, referred to the atomic bomb in terms from which 1, for one, feel bound to dissent. But as what he said represents a fair body of thought on this subject, it deserves a few minutes’ examination. It is, I believe, a great mistake to think of this last tremendous discovery of the physicists as if it had sole or special reference- to bombing and destruction. We are not to think of the atomic bomb merely as a bomb. We are to think of it as a particular embodiment of a completely revolutionary discovery. Here we have a basic scientific discovery, the ramifications of which will be far-reaching, and the ultimate effect of which may be to revolutionize power and with it, production and living standards of all mankind. Because the release of atomic energy has succeeded in creating a terrific area of destruction in a war, it does not follow that the release of atomic energy is not capable of becoming a great servant of mankind. We cannot keep, nor can any one keep, scientific knowledge in a watertight compartment. The notion that thi? new means of releasing energy can be locked up in the Security Council is fantastic.
– It was the same with Faraday’s discoveries.
– Exactly. What this bomb has really done, in the issue of peace or war, is quite distinct from what it may ultimately prove to have done for mankind. For myself, I welcome every scientific discovery for. the service of man. Hut what it has really done, in the issue of peace or war, is this: First, it has brought the war against Japan to a violent and successful conclusion: secondly, it has made it clear to the meanest intelligence that the world either must turn to peace, and mean peace, or some day go into its last orgy of mutual ^elf-destruction. From both points of view, the scientists, through whose genius this discovery has come, are entitled to the thanks of the world.
– The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) made many points with which we all can agree. However, in fairness to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), I must point out that the Leader of the Opposition was not justified in criticizing my colleague as he did. He said that the attitude of my colleague toward? Great Britain merited the strongest criticism. That view is most unfair because. a« I know perfectly well, frequent consultations were held between the representatives of the United “Kingdom Government and the representatives of the Dominions, particularly Australia. A most friendly feeling existed among the representatives of the British Commonwealth of Nations; and I remind the Leader of the Opposition that the good relations among members of the British Commonwealth cannot be impaired by frank discussion.
– It all depends on what the Minister calls “ frank “ discussion.
– The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. .Spender) must not interpret frank discussion as meaning hostility to a nation or to the representatives of that nation, simply because a disagreement occurs on matters of policy.
– Is the conference which the Minister for External Affairs had with the press to be regarded as a frank discussion?
– I see no reason why, on particular points, we should not differ frankly from the representatives of the united Kingdom Government of the day. I believe that they appreciated the forthright manner in which the Minister for External Affairs “ pushed “ the points which lie considered were of very great importance. The pace of the Big Four was ihe pace of the slowest member; and on many matters the representatives of the United Kingdom Government were quite in accord with the views of th* representatives of Australia, but the United Kingdom was one of the Big Four and, as such, was faithfully carrying out its undertakings entered into at the Yalta Conference.
As Deputy Prime Minister, I say that as the result of my experience in London and San Francisco, I have nothing but the very highest admiration to express for the representatives of the United Kingdom Government and of the Governments of the Dominions. The representatives of the United Kingdom Government were ever ready to assist Australia and the other Dominions. The suggestion that there was unfriendly feeling is a gross misrepresentation, and I- am sure that the representatives of the United Kingdom Government would be the first to admit that at San Francisco the Australian Minister for External Affairs did good work which will be recognized by historians.
Of few world conferences can it be -aid that every decision made was toward liberalization or that every change made was for the better; yet that is substantially true of the work done at the San Francisco Conference on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. By common consent, the Australian delegation provided a large measure of the impetus for improvement. All members of the delegation played a part in that work, and I should like to take this opportunity to thank two honorable members of this House, the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) and the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard) for their co-operation, advice, and work for Australia, both at and outside the conference. The same tribute is due also to our colleagues from tho Senate, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) and Senator Nash for their valuable co-operation. These four honorable gentlemen deserve our gratitude and, indeed, the thanks of this Parliament and of the people of Australia. I gratefully acknowledge also the work of the nineteen assistants, consultants and advisers attached to the Australian delegation. The Australian team was a fair cross-section of the Australian public, and, in fact, was selected for that purpose by the late Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin.
When the conference was first proposed, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) truly said that it would be the most important meeting’ that- had been held up to that time. It was a great experience to meet the 2S2 delegates, representing the 50 United Nations, and 1,500,000,000 people. These delegates had with thom 1,444 assistants, consultants and advisers. In addition, the conference was attended by observers from important world organizations including the League of Nations, the Permanent Court of International Justice, the International La bow Organization, the United Nations Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and the Pan-Pacific Union.- Every person who attended the conference was actuated by one desire - to set up an international organization to ‘ outlaw aggression and end the dreadful wars which have been experienced by mankind. No human institution is perfect, but we all hope that as the result of the deliberations of the San Francisco conference, there will be set up an international organization, which, if real life is breathed into it by the 50 nations represented at the conference, will have power to outlaw aggressor nations.
Whilst, we can. rejoice at the successes of Australia, New Zealand and other nations at San Francisco, we cannot claim that the Charter is yet perfect, or even that it satisfies us in every respect. Our delegation did not make any pretence of that kind to the assembled conference; but. we acknowledged readily that it was the best organization upon which the 50 United Nations could agree at that time, and we pledged ourselves, accordingly, to make every effort, to have this Parliament approve the work of the conference. The Minister for External Affairs and I are now fulfilling that pledge, and, I believe that, we have the united backing of members of all political parties, and the unanimous support of the Parliament. The Charter already has been approved by several nations, ineluding the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, France, Turkey, and Nicaragua, and I believe that before many months have elapsed, it will have been approved by practically every country which was represented at the conference. At the very least, critics of the Charterif there are any serious critics - should look at it in the spirit in which Thomas Jefferson regarded the new constitution of the young United States of America, when lie said -
There are indeed many faults which revolted mc a good deal in the first moment; but we must be contented to travel towards perfection step by step. We must be contented with the ground which the Constitution will gain for us and hope that a favorable moment will come for correcting what is amiss in it.
To-day, it is not a matter of merely hoping for some favorable moment but of working for that moment, by making early and effective use of the machinery which the Charter already affords us. The United Nations organization was conceived and built in a mood of downtoearth realism, which, however, has been devoid neither of hope nor aspiration: nor, indeed, of inspiration, lt reflects keen appreciation of the bitter experience of our failures with another such experiment in the recent past. The architects of the new organization have clearly studied the lessons to be learnt from the failure of the League of Nations. Moreover, we worked under the compelling pressure of two world wars rather than of one, and of a second war more ghastly and brutal, and, morally, as well as physically, far more destructive than the first. Consequently, we sought the workable rather than the ideal, and now we all have the inescapable responsibility of ensuring that the machinery provided by the Charter shall be more successful and more enduring than was that of the League Covenant. The delegations to the San Francisco conference have attempted something new in history. They were called together to establish the forms of peace before the terms of peace, or even peace itself, had been achieved. Though San Francisco was not a peace conference, the forms written into the Charter are already affecting the actual peace terms in Europe and the Far East, as is the very existence of the United Nations organization. Moreover, the development of the United Nations organization will itself bo affected by those terms of peace. That is why we can count ourselves fortunate to have before us now an instrument which promises to be workable and adaptable.
Reports of the conference have focused a great deal of attention on the ‘Security Council as being the key branch of the organization. That council’s work, concerned as it is with the prevention and settlement of disputes, is vital to future world peace and order, but the council is a! best a conciliation body, at worst a coercive authority, it is not, » creative agency, lt will, we trust, play a steadily diminishing role in a rapidly reordered world. Now is the time to stress what we nan and must do constructively with and through the organization. The Charter itself offers us the Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the provision for regional arrangements, and the International Court of Justice as machinery through which positive and creative work can bo done to prevent; and even remove the causes of war and to enrich and stabilize peace. Either we accept and use this machinery to the utmost, or the Security Council will necessarily continue to hold the centre of the United Nations stage. Let us be frank with ourselves. There are features among the voting powers and procedures of the Security Council which we do not relish and which we tried to have altered, but we cannot fairly expect at this stage in the world’s chequered history to establish an organization which is at once workable and yet unreservedly acceptable to all member nations. We must recognize the facts of international life in our time and strive to cope with them for the present and to refine them as opportunity permits. What is being created by this Charter is a. system under which - (a) all powers, great and small, disavow aggression; (b) all secondary and small powers will be effectually kept from committing aggression; and (c) the five major powers set up a consultative and judicial mechanism for adjusting disputes amongst themselves, or disputes in which they are interested. In a very real sense, the “ Big Five “ powers have been constituted special constables. The famous cartoonist. David Low, has amusingly but quite pertinently asked the question, “And vi who’s to police the policemen?’” I believe that the answer to that question can only be put in this way: Should the police, who are, in the last resort, the “ Big Five “ working together, abuse their power or neglect their joint responsibilities, there can be no prospect of law and order. I know only one answer vo the question of what regulates and controls the strongest power in any community. It is law and the habit of obedience to law, and the sense nf those who command power that they can use that power only to uphold the law.
International law is, of course, far from .i perfect code, and the habit of obedience to it is not equal to the habit of obedience to the national laws of advanced countries. But the fact remains that there is no substitute for the bonds of law if peace is to endure. This Charter, which Parliament Ls now asked to approve, i3 another step on the long road which will lead sooner or later, we hope, to the establishment of fully effective law backed by effective force in the international world. For the time being, however, and until the world really does settle down, the Security Council will inevitably be the core of the United Nations organization. In the council there will be concentrated the representatives of the nations holding the world’s predominant military power. This war never completely true of the League Council. It was to be so under the terms of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, but it is likely to be more marked still under the terms of the final Charter. For, thanks largely to the efforts of the Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders, most of the non-permanent members of the Security Council should be countries like Australia, Canada, and India, which in military strength are next to the “ Big Five “ and in righting qualities second to none.
Ifr. Spender - Such nations can be members for only two years.
– Yes. Non-permanent membership must go round, and, I believe, rightly so.
Now that the Allies have completed the conquest of Japan we have not simply smashed a foe which sought to invade this country; we have also disarmed the last nation of military significance outride the now organization. We want certainty of effective action and just use of its power by the organization. For this reason we have accepted the lodging of responsibility for its use in the small, executive Security Council, where the powerful nations will collaborate. We recognize power as a measure of responsibility within the organization; we shall never, however, acknowledge power as a criterion of right. We do not want the organization to be merely a balanceofpower arrangement on a world-wide scale. We are only too well aware of the necessity for unity and unanimity amongst the Great Powers, but it must be unity and unanimity within the constitutional framework of the United Nations. On questions involving the application, of force we are rid - and, I believe, well rid - of the unreal and unfortunate League of Nations “ unanimity rule “. This required concurrence of every member State - great or militarily insignificant - in vital decisions. To get rid of it we have accepted, albeit reluctantly, the rule requiring unanimity amongst the “ Big Five “ powers. In so doing we have abandoned the unreal and chosen the real picture of how power operates and is operated. Fully aware of my responsibility and the responsibility of the Government to the Australian people, I say that I see no workable alternative in the present state of international relations to this acknowledgment of the key position of Great Britain, the United States, Russia, France and China. Clearly, any breach amongst these powers, any failure of working unanimity, spells the descent of impotence upon the United Nation.1 organization. That is the lesson of the League of Nations. We must face the facts and accept, the formula which seems, after months of exhaustive consideration and debate, best calculated to sustain existing solidarity amongst the powers.
Before passing on from this aspect of the Security Council, I should perhaps summarize the voting position. I do it in this way : Decisions on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of seven members. Decisions on all other matters shall be by an affirmative vote of seven members including the concurring votes of the permanent members, provided that, in decisions involving peaceful settlement of a dispute, a party to the dispute shall abstain from voting. In response to a widespread demand at the conference for a clarification of the manner in which this formula would apply to specific situations, the sponsoring governments stated that the council will, by vote of any seven members, adopt or alter its rules of procedure, establish such bodies or agencies as it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions, and invite a member or non-member not represented on the council to ad hoc participation in its deliberations as provided in the Charter. In addition, the procedural vote - that is the majority vote of any seven members - will apply to whether or not a dispute or situation can be heard, considered and discussed. Thus, consideration and discussion cannot be prevented by any individual member of the council. It was on this point that Russia was at first unwilling to agree with the other sponsoring powers, but its agreement was finally given. Beyond this point, beginning with the institution of a formal investigation which might involve reports, hearing witnesses or other procedure, the sponsoring powers required that their votes must be amongst the majority of seven. When the council is considering measures of pacific settlement, this majority must include only such of the “ Big Five “ as are not parties to the dispute. But in the case of decisions involving determinations of threats to the peace or acts of aggression, and enforcement action, the unanimous vote of all permanent members, regardless of whether one of them may be a party to a dispute, will he required.
I trust that honorable members will find that analysis of the position helpful. It occurred to me last week during the cross-fire of questions which punctuated the speech of the Minister for External Affairs on this bill that some such straightforward statement of this complicated voting formula might help to clarify the debate. However, that issue, important as it was and is, must not preoccupy us to the exclusion of many other aspects of the Charter, nor must it blind us to our own signal successes in the shaping of the Charter and our advantages under its terms. I enumerate some of these advantages in this way -
It was thought at one stage that because of a clause in the proposals put forward by the “ Big Four “ that Australia’s right to determine questions in relation to immigration was gravely in danger. I wish to pay a tribute to the assistance given to the Australian delegation by the delegation from the United Kingdom in the clarification of that point.
– Did not the delegation rather set up an “ Aunt Sally “ in order to knock it down?
– No; legal members of the delegation who were consulted gave advice which showed that grave room existed for doubt about our rights, and we were successful in causing an amendment to be made which placed the power of the Australian Parliament in this matter beyond all question. To continue my enumeration -
I know that the efficacy of the provision that is now known as the “full employment “ article has been questioned. As the result of the advocacy of the Australian delegation it was provided in that article that the United Nations shall promote -
We were also successful in securing the insertion of the following article: -
All members pledge themselves to take joint mid separate action in co-operation with the organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article .55.
– Of what use is that? What does it mean anyway?
– It is an obligation which the United Nations have accepted. 1 believe that there will be much more prospect of securing full employment for the mass of the people because that article has been included in the Charter. It must be remembered that 50 nations have accepted the provision.
– We all agree to conduct ourselves as Christians, but that does not tret us very far in some cases.
– That may be true, and I know that the mere fact of securing ti signature to an agreement does not ensure ipso facto that the agreement will be observed; but, at the same time, the signature can be regarded as an assurance that the agreement will not be broken with impunity. When 50 nations undertake an obligation of this description in a solemn assembly such as this was I consider that there is substantial likelihood that the provision will be efficacious. There is an assurance, in any case., that the problem will bo considered in some proper way. Any delinquent nation may be quite sure that it will be reminded of its delinquency before the bar of public opinion. I agree that we have no certainty that full employment will result from this agreement; nevertheless I regard this article as very important to the great mass of the people of the world.
– Does the agreement in regard to full employment carry with it any legal concept of the obligations involved, and, if so, will they mean the same thing in Australia as they will in Ethiopia?
– I take it that full employment means full employment in all the countries according to their own standards. Full employment in Australia will mean full employment according to the standards of wages and conditions in this country. I appreciate that difficulties will be encountered in implementing this article. I realize, also, how.ever. that difficulties will be encountered in maintaining peace among the nations of the world. But because such difficulties will have to be faced we should not balk at the hurdle or falter in our striving to reach an ideal. This Government occupies the treasury bench to-day because it did not falter in striving for an ideal. The next points in my enumeration of the advantages of the Charter are -
– When once that is done.
– .Quite so. The attitude of the Australian delegates on. the subject of trusteeship has been criticized.
I have been asked in what way trusteeship and mandates are related, and 1 have been reminded that after the last war certain mandates were issued. ] agree that mandates and trusteeship are related, but they are not identical. “ Mandate “ is derived from Roman law. and “ Trusteeship “ from Anglo- American law. Under Roman law, a mandate was an institution in which one person entrusted property to the care of another, to be dealt with in accordance with rules that were laid down by the owner. This idea was applied, under the League of Nations, to the administration of territories taken from Germany and Turkey in World War I. Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations laid down, the principle that the administration of those territories was a sacred trust oil civilization. The mandate was an instrument in which the Council of the League of Nations defined the conditions under which the administration of the territories concerned were entrusted to the mandatory State. In effect, the mandatory State was required to regard the welfare of mandated territory as the primary object of its administration. Trusteeship is based on exactly the same principle - that the administration of dependent territories is a sacred trust of civilization, and that the trustee State is under an obligation to promote to the utmost the social, economic and political welfare and development of the territory concerned. The use of the term “ trusteeship “ has many advantages. In particular, it avoids any possibility of confusion between the mandate system established under the League of Nations, and tho international trusteeship system to be established under the Charter of the United Nations. Further, the term “ trusteeship “ is applicable to dependent territories in which the parent State already exercises full rights of sovereignty. The proposed international trusteeship system can be applied not merely to existing mandated territories and to territories detached from Axis powers as the result of World War II., but also to other dependent territories voluntarily brought under the system by parent States. One difference between the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Charter of the United Nations is that the Covenant laid down in general terms the conditions that were to be continued under the mandates. Under the Charter of the United Nations, however, the terms aro to be agreed upon in each case between tho trustee States and the organization. There was no desire on the part of the Australian delegation to interfere with the sovereignty of the parent governments, or with the management of territories handed over after the last war or to be handed over after this war. What we did was in accordance with the policy of establishing in this international organization the machinery by which the interests of dependent peoples throughout the world could be conserved and their conditions and welfare safeguarded.
The seventh advantage is that, in connexion wilh regional agreements, there is ample provision for an Australia-New Zealand, or a v.ider, regional defence arrangement, and for a South Seas regional commission, such as was envisaged by the Anzac Pact, to be developed and to operate within the. framework of the completed Charter.
– How would such a regional agreement come into being?
– A regional agreement would come into being after consultations between representatives of the countries within a given area, and with the approval of the governments of those countries, but it would have to be with the approval of the Security Council, and could not operate outside the international organization. This provision for a regional arrangement in the South- West Pacific Area involves one of the most important considerations for us. Should there ever be aggressive outbreaks in the Pacific, and should there then be disagreement among the permanent members of the Security Council on the issue of enforcement action, we should be left to our own resources and those of our neighbours and friends. I have no doubt that we shall always have strong friends in other parts of the world, and they may even have well-equipped bases in or near our area. But they would still need time to come here and take a stand with us. Unfortunately, time is the crucial factor in war to-day, and it is likely to become even more vital in future; hence the importance to us of the right to make, as soon as possible, within the framework of the Charter, an effective regional defence arrangement with New Zealand and our other neighbours. We must be able to stand on our own regional feet ; at least, we must be able to stand against the first onrush, until enforcement action by the United Nations or other friendly action is forthcoming. The Charter allows us to take these precautions, and our future security requires that we shall do so promptly and well.
I think I can fairly say that the achievements of the Australian delegation at San Francisco did not end with the gaining of constitutional” advantages like these for Australia. The delegation, ably assisted as it was by advisers from all political parties and branches of industry in this country, helped very substantially in broadening, and, indeed, improving the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. One American journal expressed this opinion.
At San Francisco it has been the men from “ down under “ who have acted as the conscience of the Anglo-Saxon world.
– In saying that, is the right honorable gentleman trying to make a reflection on Great Britain?
– No. Whenever there Ls a suggestion for the improvement of an international organization, which might be at variance with the views of some representatives -of the United Kingdom, the honorable gentleman tries to make it appear that there is a reflection on the United Kingdom. I have quoted the tribute that was paid by a weekly American journal to the delegates from “ down under “, not only from Australia, but also from New Zealand, and, I presume, other countries.
– Was it the Journal American ?
– I do not .at this moment recall the name. There is no justification for saying that in quoting that passage I am making any reflection upon the United Kingdom. I would not be a party to that, nor would my colleague. We have expressed a generous measure of praise of the foremost part that was taken by the United Kingdom delegates at San Francisco. They were most helpful, and, I believe, constructive. They certainly assisted the representatives of the Dominions to secure necessary amendments, which placed the Dominions in a much stronger position than they otherwise would have occupied.
Notwithstanding the setting up of this international organization, all defence schemes cannot be abolished in the Dominions or the democracies. We all sincerely hope that this international organization will function successfully, that it will outlaw an aggressor, and will put an end to wars for many generations. lt would bc too much to expect that it will end war for all time. We have to be not only optimists and enthusiasts, but also realists. Life has to be breathed into this organization, which has been set in motion and awaits the approval of the parliaments of 50 United Nations, representing 1,500,000,000 people. But there Ls no certainty that it will function successfully for all time. “ To err is human “, and that being so, human institutions are imperfect. But the delegates of the 50 nations would have been recreant to their trust had they failed to reach an agreement on the setting up of an international organization. It remains for the parliaments, the governments and the peoples of all the countries concerned, to ensure that the organization shall operate. Australia must not be lured into a sense of false security by the setting up of an international organization of this kind, but must learn from the mistakes of the past, when this country and other democracies were allowed to drift into a defenceless condition, and were almost overrun by a ruthless enemy. Whilst it is absolutely essential to have an international organization with the power to enforce its decisions and, if necessary, discipline an aggressor, it is also extremely important to maintain in Australia and other dominions an effective defence scheme that will ensure the security of the respective countries. [Extension of time granted.] The defence organization maintained by us in the post-war years should be as powerful as possible and as numerous as we can make it. For that reason, we should encourage to Australia a greatly increased population, to share our privileges as well as the burdens and responsibilities of our defence. In saying that, I am not casting doubt on this international organization. We should strive to make it function successfully. But at the same time we must be realists. The representatives of 50 nations, and drawn from all parties, have had a hand in fashioning the Charter. The organization starts off as a genuine and widely international agency, with the goodwill of all peace-loving nations. Our best contribution to its successful, launching will be this Parliament’s prompt and unanimous approval of its establishment. The Government now asks the Parliament to do that, so that Australia may be added to the growing list of nations that have given approval to what I believe to be the greatest and most constructive proposal ever made bv an international conference.
– .This Parliament is called upon to approve an historic, document - to ratify a Charter adopted at an international conference held at Sam Francisco and attended by the representatives of 50 nations. That assemblage met with the fundamental desire and sincere hope that some formula for permanent peace might be implemented in the world, so that the experiences through which we passed during two wars since 1014 may never be repeated. In assessing the deliberations and decisions of the Conference, we must recognize the limitations of human nature. But notwithstanding the restrictions and compromises, the San Francisco Conference achieved a double purpose, for which not only Australia but also the whole democratic world be grateful. It produced the Ch -t’-:’ of a new instrument for the prevention of war and for the promotion of international co-operation. The (‘barter more comprehensive, more acceptable, and more capable of achieving the purpose for which it is designed than many of the participating nations I1. id hoped. It also focussed the attention of the ordinary men and women nf the vor Id more than ever before upon thi- importance of international co-operation, its difficulties, and also its capacity for results, if problems are approached frankly and in good faith. The full potential value of the Charter for the promotion of international goodwill, which is indispensable to the prevention of war, ha3 not been generally recognized in considering the bill before us. That aspect has admittedly been emphasized by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), who pointed out that goodwill among the participating nations affords the only hope for the successful operation of the Charter. This instrument probably does not give to any of the participants everything they desired, but it gives to each of them most of what it wanted. It reflects the spirit of compromise displayed at the San Francisco conference. The Charter falls into two sections, those which may be described as mandatory and those which are voluntary. The hilter section depends upon the good faith nf thu participating nations, if we are to derive the benefits which the Conference intended. The mandatory section is confined to that portion of the Charter dealing with the Security Council’s powers to enforce peace and invoke sanctions against aggressors. Of this section which appears in the Charter almost in the same terms as those in which the draft left the sponsoring powers at Dumbarton Oaks and Yalta, I have to say that it appears opportune to emphasize that the League of Nations failed because the constituent members refused to face up to the obligations imposed upon them by the broadly equivalent section of the Covenant of the League.
The Security Council is the kernel of the whole instrument so far as the main function of the Charter is involved. The instrument by which the world can avoid a repetition of the tragedy of the 1939- 1945 war is merely a written one. In a mere written instrument, we have no guarantee of peace. Peace must come, not from the signing of a document, but from a conscientious execution of the intentions expressed in the Charter. The section in itself is merely a channel by which the will of the nations to preserve peace, and their determination to deal salutarily and promptly with any nation which may violate the peace, can be directed and made effective. Unless we are prepared to keep that will and determination alive, we mav as well not accept the Charter.
The nations and not the Charter will preserve peace, and the Charter will be effective only while that spirit prevails. If, by any supreme tragedy of human stupidity or national evil, nations should depart from that solidarity which they achieved at San Francisco, the Charter will crumble into ruins as did the Covenant of the League of Nations. For a generation or two, the closest possible co-operation and disinterested accord of Britain, the United States of America and Russia will be all important, if the Charter is to prove an effective instrument. France has a long and difficult task of rehabilitation ahead and its domestic problems will require the whole of its attention for many years. That observation applies in even greater degree to China. Of the five powers recognized as permanent members of the Security Council, only three are at present of dominating significance to the world’s future, but the other two powers will become so in due course. Consequently, the Charter loses very little in value as a working instrument because the hotly discussed right of veto on security action is vested in these five powers and is confined to them. It may be an anomaly, according to well defined rules of abstract democratic justice, that five powers should hold the right of veto on security action, whilst the remainder are denied a corresponding right, but when that .right is assessed against the facts of international life it becomes important. The failure of the League of Nations began when some of the powers withdrew from the League. If any of the five powers, and particularly the three major powers, ever had to exercise the right of veto, it would be on account of disagreement or absence of a desire to co-operate in accordance with the terms of the Charter and in the spirit in which the Charter will be ratified in the near future. Therefore, the fact that the right of veto lias been denied to the smaller powers will not cause a single ripple on the ocean of international events.
The other important implication of the security section of the Charter is the express undertaking imposed on each signatory to contribute its 3hare in spirit, equipment and nian-power to ensure that the new world power shall be able to impose swift and effective discipline. Individual national contributions to a world police force are expressed in the Charter in general and not in specific terms. Each ratifying power commits itself to provide, in proportion to its means, a quota of the total force necessary to make the .Security Council immediately and overwhelming powerful against aggressors. This Parliament should take special heed of this obligation. We arc now embarking upon the demobilization of the greatest armed forces that this nation has ever had to muster. It is understandable and creditable that we are weary of war and desire peace, particularly permanent, peace, but with a real defence organization in being in order to avoid the danger that this spirit may bring. We cannot afford to abandon a. real defence system. The effective defence of Australia is essential. We abandoned such a system, once with results that are, unhappily, too well known. When we sign this Charter, other signatory nations will accept us in good faith into that band of peace-loving peoples who are prepared, if necessary, to resort to force in order to preserve peace. Above all, let us justify the faith that will be reposed in us. We must be determined that the demobilization programme shall be undertaken with an ample .realization, of our commitments to the world which our acceptance of the Charter involves. I do not know whether Australia is committed specifically with regard to a standing army or a defence policy. If it is, this Parliament should bc acquainted of the fact, fully and frankly, without delay. The Government has announced that Australia requires to play a full part in Pacific settlements, but we are noi entitled even to express our views on those matters unless we are prepared to contribute our share, should international action to preserve peace ever become necessary. There are other sections of the Charter which place voluntary obligations on us based on good faith and conscientious acceptation of our responsibilities.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– The non-mandatory sections of the Charter cover a much wider field than do those enforceable sections which the Security Council will administer. In a. sense, they impose upon us obligations of a character even more compelling than the enforceable sections. This is because their smooth working will depend upon our willingness to do what the General Assembly, the Economic Council and subsidiary bodies decide will be necessary for the well-being of the whole community. If those sections are to work as is intended we shall, from time to time, be faced with the necessity for taking action which may be unpalatable to us, and which will involve real national sacrifice. In some respects, it may be necessary to re-orientate our national policies. The history of the International Labour Office affords an example of the kind of problem which we may have to face. Hardly any of the conventions which that body has made have been generally ratified and enforced. In this respect, the newly created body will be as impotent as the International Labour Office has been, unless we seek common agreement regarding the economics of international co-operation.
– I rise to a point of order. Is it permissible for the debate to continue without even one Minister being present?
– The debate can continue, notwithstanding the absence of Ministers.
– It is of the utmost importance that the Charter should bc implemented by men with tho right background and the right, training. The danger of creating an international bureaucracy and a corps of international theoretical economists is as great in the international sphere as within a State. An economist who has spent all his time in a university or in the Public Service is no more likely to become tho master of practical problems of trade, commerce, industry, health and human relations if he is translated suddenly to an international public service than if he were given untrammelled power in a public department of his own country. Very careful consideration should be given to the selection of those men who will represent us on various international bodies. Our delegations to Geneva were always predominantly governmental and political in flavour. Australia should be represented on the various ancillary bodies of the world organization by expert and experienced men.
In some respects, it will probably be necessary drastically to modify our national policies if wo are to give effect to the economic clauses of the Charter. We have committed ourselves to such objectives as the expansion of world trade and full employment. I point out that international trade consists in exporting and importing goods, not merely in exporting them. We can play our proper part in promoting international trade only if we are prepared to buy from other countries a good deal more than we have bought in the past. This brings us to the doctrine of full employment, and to a realization of the fact that Ave must do our share to provide employment for the people of other countries.
It should not be overlooked that the wide publicity which the San Francisco conference received focused world attention upon its work, and it should be our endeavour to maintain the interest thus aroused. To this end, meetings of inter ns!] national bodies should be as frequent as possible, and the public kept informed of their activities. One of the faults of the League of Nations was that it remained aloof from the people it was trying to serve so that the great body of mon and women throughout the world knew little of its work. Only when the League was on the point of collapse was there any general interest evinced by the great body of the people. There is a real danger that this experience may be repeated, perhaps with disastrous results. The best guarantee of peace that the world can have is a world public opinion accurately informed regarding international problems, and determined to solve them by suitable adjustment and generous compromise. In the final analysis, the people’s will to peace is the only thing that can save us. If another dictator in any country of importance should ever manage to inhibit this wilt we shall face the danger of another Munich or another Pearl Harbour, and the attack will come, not in the form of mere chemical explosions, but in the pent-up forces of matter itself borne across the oceans in the form of rockets. Therefore, every possible avenue for lue preservation of peace should be explored. As this war has shown, propaganda is a powerful instrument. Let us, therefore, employ it in order to strengthen the will of the people to peace.
Another way in which to sustain the will to peace is to devise and put into effect a world plan to ensure that all the nations have enough food for the requirements of their peoples. History shows that famine conditions almost invariably tend to produce social upheavals, political unrest, violence and bloodshed. It is obvious, therefore, that Australia can make a major contribution to world peace by helping its farmers to produce more food. We can do much by producing food for the starving peoples of Europe .and China, for example. When people are well fed they are content, and if they are content they desire peace.
Public interest in the work of the San Francisco conference was stimulated by the very scale on which the conferenceoperated. It was an assemblage of the greatest statesmen of the democratic countries of the world, and it had unlimited authority to range over the whole realm of international relations. The work of such an organization, operating on such a scale, has captured the public imagination so that the Charter, like the British Constitution, will come to be written in the minds and hearts of the people and not only on paper.
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) analysed the causes of the failure of tho League of Nations, and in the light of this analysis sought to judge the prospects of the Charter of the United Nations to preserve world peace, lt is possible to adopt one of two attitudes to this matter. The first attitude is that of corrosive cynicism, and the second i3 one of such, optimism that it becomes an illusion. I believe that all analyses of the failure of the League of Nations which have so far been put forward miss certain fundamentals. That remark applies to the early part of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) to-day. President Wilson, who was the moving Spirit behind the Covenant of the League of Nations, made an analysis of the causes of war, and he propounded certain remedies. His analysis of the causes of war were fourfold: First, he believed that war proceeded from secret diplomacy; and his remedy was open diplomacy in the League of Nations. Secondly, he believed that war proceeded from the denial of national independence. For that, his remedy was the self-determination of peoples, first, when the peace treaty was being drawn up, and after that, by a Minorities Commission to safeguard the rights of minorities, since, especially in Europe, it was impossible to draw frontiers which did not include minorities. Thirdly, President Wilson believed that wars resulted from arms races. Ho had in mind particularly Anglo-German naval rivalry prior to tho war of 1914-18. His remedy for arms races was disarmament, and the creation of a Disarmament Commission. Fourthly, he believed that war proceeded from colonial rivalry. For that, his remedy was the creation of a Mandates Commission. True to the principles of American diplomacy he believed that access to raw materials for all, and the “ open door “, such as America had advocated in China, was the remedy. President Wilson was an idealist; more practical .statesmen followed him. But the eight points of the Atlantic Charter are a repetition of some of Wilson’s fourteen points. President Wilson was fundamentally unsound in his analysis. In the first place, secret diplomacy was an effect, not a cause. Secret diplomacy proceeded from an intention to attack, to seize spheres of influence and of investment. The secret clauses of treaties prior to the war of 1914-18 were expressive of that; intention. .Similarly, the denial of national independence is an effect, not a cause. When Hitler emphasized the alleged grievances of the Sudeten Germans it was in order that he might get past the Bohemian mountain barrier and drive into South-eastern Europe, where there were resources desired by German industrialists.
In 1911, German industrialists presented a .memorandum to the Kaiser asserting that it was essential that Germany should control the Ukraine and get to the resources of the Caucasus mountains. In 1918, tinder the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Germany annexed those areas. Hitler reasserted the need for those areas in Mem Kampf, and German policy ran exactly along tho lines set out therein. It was expressive of the social forces in Germany which created the Nazi regime. If we ignore the fundamental drive to seize spheres of investment, and merely concentrate our attention on the political consequences of that drive, we ignore the basic cause. Secret diplomacy used the alleged grievances of national minorities to achieve its purpose. Similarly, the Anglo-German naval rivalry and the arms race were effects, not causes. The cause was the intention of Germany to build up an overseas Empire, and for that purpose, Germany built a navy. That resulted in rivalry and tension between Britain and Germany. That tension was heightened in spite of such efforts as the Haldane Mission in 1912, which called for a naval holiday. Colonial rivalry as conceived by Wilson, and his remedy in the form of a Mandates Commission, was based upon an inadequate analysis. Wilson believed that by giving access to raw materials, one of the fundamental causes of war would be removed. But access. to raw materials is not fundamental. Japan was not, denied access to the tin and rubber of Malaya, or the oil of the Netherlands East Indies in prowar days. Nor did any one deny Germany access to Rumanian wheat or oil before the war. Japan and Germany did not want the right to enter the shop; they wanted to own the shop. Ownership was what Japan sought when it seized the Netherlands East Indies; ownership was what Germany sought when that nation drove along the historical lines of German foreign policy to south-eastern Europe and the Ukraine.
All these political consequences - arms races, secret diplomacy, denial of national independence and colonial rivalry - as Wilson conceived them, and the institutions which he set up, such as the Disarmament Commission and the Mandates Commission, and open diplomacy of the League of Nations, failed because they missed fundamentals and concentrated on the political consequences of that fundamental drive for external spheres of investment. That fundamental drive is not a matter of theory; it is contained in the text of international agreements themselves. Even if we focus our attention on those powers which have not been aggressive during the 20th century, we may perceive the same intention. That famous document, the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904, is basically an agreement that France shall have a sphere of influence in Morocco, and Great Britain a sphere of influence in Egypt unchallenged by France. We must therefore take into account the economic causes of war. The man in the street is concerned whether this new international organization will, or will not, avoid wars, and in this connexion the Economic and Social Council as set out by this Charter will be a vital and determining factor.
The Leader of the Opposition said that we could not get a guarantee against war in the text of any document; that mert machinery would not prevent war. That is true. Should there be a resumption of rivalry between the Great Powers to control the resources of the world, such as we have seen as the result of 20th century diplomacy, the time is bound to come when a collision between them will occur. That is why the machinery for social and economic co-operation between the powers must be worked to the full. That is why corrosive cynicism is out of place when discussing this matter. It is not in the spirit of the peoples of the world that war is to l)e found. In Germany, where the nation was militarized there waa first the intention to militarize it. In 1931, the German militarists, Hitler and Goering. and German industrialists decided to gear Germany for war; to pervert its educational system; to build up a warlike spirit; and then to drive down to southeastern Europe. Before any warlike spirit was in the people of Germany there was the intention to promote Germany’s industrial interests by the seizure of territories in Europe. That is basic, whereas Wilson’s analysis was not fundamental. Only in the Economic and Social Co vin cil to be set up by the Charter to provide opportunities for removing rivalry in relation to spheres of investment is there any hope of world peace. Obviously, that is out of Australia’s reach because Australia is not one of the Great Powers. This country has never yet, created an international situation which could be said to be a cause of war. What we in this country think will not determine whether or not there shall be another world war; Australia will play only a minor part in preserving world peace. But tb:re are some respects in which this Charter is a challenge to Australia ; I speak now of the Trusteeship Council. This is a matter which is within our reach. Australia is responsible for one of the former mandated territories, which I suppose we must now refer to as a trusteeship territory, and in that field we have a good record. Our administration of the mandate with respect to the native population under our control has been well carried out, as has been our administration of the territory of Papua. Sir Hubert Murray’s record will stand with that of Sir Frederick Lugard in West Africa as one of the gems of colonial administration. In our acceptance of this Charter we undertake certain very solemn obligations which I hope are being undertaken with a full realization of their meaning. 1 refer particularly to Article 73 (6) of chapter XL in which we pledge ourselves - to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peopled, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement.
Under Article 76 (6) we pledge ourselves - to promote the political economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of tho Trust territories, . . .
L lay particular emphasis on the word “ economic “. In the past, colonial administration has not always carried out those objectives. At its best, it has ignored the peoples of the territory being administered, at its worst it has actively exploited them. We have seen examples of the resources of a territory, such as tho rubber and tin of Malaya, being exploited in the interests of the nationals of the sovereign power, whilst the interests of the native peoples have been ignored bv the colonial administration of that territory. Native peoples who have been unfairly treated do not care very much which power is their overlord ; and when war comes they do not offer strong resistance to an invader. If we take these articles seriously, and intend, in fact, “to promote the political, economic, social, and educational advancement” of the peoples of the Territory of New Guinea, for instance, such resources as New Guinea gold will have to be utilized in part in advancing the interests of the native peoples. It cannot be said that we did that sincerely when gold to the value of £2,800,000 was taken from that Territory in a year and only £100,000 expended in providing social services for the natives. Yet that was the situation in New Guinea before the war. If this Charter is to mean anything at all, we must see that it means something in that field where Australia actually has control; we must carry out faithfully the obligations which we assume under it in regard to the Trusteeship Council.
.- I congratulate the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) on his maiden speech in this chamber. It was really splendid and most informative. I am sure he will not mind my saying that we on this side very much appreciated the way in which he spoke.
The measure before the House is of outstanding moment. It is true that Australia can play only a small part in the fashioning and preservation of peace, but, none the less, the obligation is on us as a sovereign signatory of this Charter to do our best to formulate our views and make them understood in the councils that will determine international policy. The honorable member for Fremantle has indicated that his opinion is that the analysis by President Wilson of the causes of war was in point of fact fundamentally wrong. Perhaps his own analysis begs the question that President Wilson was speaking about the immediate causes of war rather than the urges on mankind that lead to causes of war.
– Do not be cynical.
– Whoever may be right or wrong, the inescapable fact is that nations have gone to war for countless centuries. We should be wise in this chamber not to be cynical, I agree, but we would equally be wise not to be starry-eyed idealists and believe that in this Charter we have found the way to end all wars. Later I intend to say a few words on the need in the atmosphere of this Charter, to build as strongly as we possibly can upon what is known internationally as the British Commonwealth of Nations. I believethat we can make one of two mistakes. Cynicism can be the mistake of taking too short a view and idealism the mistake of taking too long a view. Either will lead to disaster. I think our proper approach to this Charter must be to see it as a genuine effort by its framers to contribute to the peace of the world, with the hope that it will achieve the peace of the world, but with the knowledge that other men’s hopes have failed. This Charter, we hope, will not fail. Consequently it is wise for us to rest our feet upon realism and particularly, as a British people, upon the strength of the British Commonwealth of Nations, which has endured more than one world storm in the lives of those in this chamber.
Seeking the security of the world is by no means a new idea. For more than 600 years collective security has been thought about. World security has been thought about for even longer than that. Since the days when security was imposed by Roman imperialism men have in this or that manner sought to direct their attention to how they could secure the peace of the world. We should not, I agree, approach this problem with cynical disregard of the aspirations of peoples throughout the world. In my maiden speech in this chamber, I expressed the view I adhere to, that only in the hearts of mcn can there be tho basis of peace. That is one reason why I very much applaud the incorporation in the Charter of the part that deals with economic and social welfare of the peoples of the world. Only when we have the peoples of the world lifted from oppression and imbued with a genuine desire- to live in peace, when we have taught all the fine principles of this Charter to tho peoples of the world do I believe that we shall be able to rest assured that peace is secure.
I approach consideration of this Charter with some preliminary observations that I believe are worth recording. World War I. gave us many slogans about keeping tho world free for democracy, and World War II. was interlarded with slogans of similar description. I do not protend to know what are the real causes of war, but I do know that people are frequently led to fight by slogans that do not mean a great deal when analysed. One thing we sought to do in this war besides defeating the enemy was to keep steadfastly before us the principles of democracy. I do not attempt to define those principles in any exact terms tonight, but, in general terms, they may be said to be the ruling of a people by themselves through elected representatives in the interests of the people generally substantially free from the improper pressure of any economic groups or factions; in a society where men can live with ample opportunity for expression of their own dignity of purpose; a society in which their joint efforts, if properly directed, will entitle them to live in reasonable plentitude. When we speak of democracy wc have in mind too such democratic institutions as the one in which we have the honour to serve in this building. But it seems to me that it is well that when we speak of the Charter we should realize that democracy is wearing some strange garments throughout the world at this moment.
The honorable member for Fremantle spoke about secret treaties. One of the obligations under this Charter is not to participate in any secret treaty. Every treaty is to be recorded, so it is said, in the place preserved by the Secretariat for that purpose. Yet I have great misgivings as to what is taking place in Europe at present, particularly in the eastern States. We speak of selfdeterminations of peoples, of their right to elect their own representatives; but is there ono man in this chamber that can say he ‘believes that that is taking place in Eastern Europe to-day? As I have said, I do not know what the causes of war are, but it is well that we should know, for example , that in eastern European States, indeed, in some of the countries that are signatories to this pact, oppression and tyranny are forcing upon the peoples of those countries governments that they are given no right to say whether they will accept or not. I am not here to say that that is the work of any particular power, but I am hero to say that it is taking place in eastern Europe without any objection from one of the main signatories to this pact. It is well that we should record this, because it makes our position clear. Wo know at least that we are living in a world of reality and not one of legal concept. Let me refer to some of the countries where so-called democratic institutions are existing and which are signatories to this pact - Poland, Yugoslavia and particularly Hungary, Roumania and Bulgaria. All men that have kept abreast of current events know that in the three last mentioned countries every attempt is being made to impose on the people a government of force, not a government of free election. I am sure that those that can speak about the matter will agree that under the guise of free elections, people are being told that unless they vote for a particular party, which sometimes in order to carry pretence further is given different names all amounting to the same thing, they shall bc denied their rations and that by other means of oppression they are being told how they shall exercise their franchise. If they are the facts, and I am certain that the Government cannot and will not try to controvert them, we should know them, because we should be living in a world of makebelieve if wo approached the Charter without an acknowledgment of the many difficulties in the world to-day. I do not stop there. In Yugoslavia, Tito, who gave such a sterling contribution to the Allied cause, insists upon a one-party government, and refused any right to the individual to hold or support political views contrary to his own, a concept wholly inconsistent with the democratic principles that we believe in. In Greece, there 13 still a struggle and free elections have not yet taken place. There has been in all these countries a great deal of oppression and action that can only excite forebodings. France is going through the travail of its re-birth. We do not know what will arise from it. The other nations of north-western Europe have still to come out of the testing crucible of the aftermath of war and adopt tho democratic principles that we believe in. So much for Europe. I turn now to Asia and Africa. I refer to some signatories to this pact. I need only read the names and ask whether I am reading the names of democratic nations that by their actions through history have shown any fundamental belief in the principles enunciated in this Charter - Egypt, Iran, Irak, Saudi-Arabia, Syria, Ethiopia, Liberia, the Lebanon and Turkey, and when I add the countless millions of Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies, is it any exaggeration to say that democracy is clad in strange raiment in different parts of the world? It is because of those facts that I say we must keep our feet on the ground of reality in our approach to the problem inherent in this Charier.
I believe in going along the road as far as we should and even farther for the purpose of achieving the grand and noble aspirations set forth in this Charter, but I should be lacking in my duty if I did not make it clear that the problem ahead is of tremendous magnitude. It is because I know that magnitude that I get back to what I said before, namely, let us do all we can to make this Charter a success, but in doing so do not let us for a moment weaken the bonds that bind together each part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Because if there is any earnest of future security of this world, it is the earnest of the free people of the British Commonwealth. Without any charter, without obligations laid down as to what their respective responsibilities are, without any legal form indicating in what circumstances they should do this or do that, they have shown that, because of their fundamental beliefs, because in their heart they believe the same things, they have been able to stand together through two world wars. Therefore, whilst I am myself hopeful that the aspirations of this Charter will be fulfilled in accordance with the expressions of its makers, I stand fast upon the need to build on that earnest furnished by our own peoples which seems to me to point to the only real collective security of any description evolved during the last two or three centuries.
I make a further general observation. In this Charter we have made provision for each of the signatories, in accordance with agreements to be entered into, to make available to the Security Council forces to be used against any aggressor. One fundamental defect in the Charter - and in saying this I do not want to be captious, nor do I suggest that the Charter could have been evolved in any other form at San Francisco - is that while it makes provision in respect of air forces, navies, and armies, it does not make provision for the control of international patents and scientific inventions which, on the one hand, may be used for the benefit of man, yet on the other can be turned to his destruction. Those who have given some attention to international patents know very well that behind the facade of governments can bc an interlocking of patents covering very important scientific developments which give to different international entities a control over world events even far beyond the importance of the people who control them, sometimes even greater, at least temporarily, than governments themselves. A book written recently, entitled Patents for Hitler, shows that the events which led up to the discovery of the atomic bomb, the physicists’ discoveries and scientific inventions of the last ten or fifteen years are much more potent in determining how the security of the world is to be safeguarded than any talk of armies, navies or air forces. When we know, for example, that science is able, or shortly will be able, by dropping a bomb to empty Sydney Harbour of its waters and ground and then destroy all the shipping previously riding on its surface, we may realize that even at this stage this Charter has been out-marched by scientific events. Therefore, every honorable member and every Australian should realize that we cannot rest secure merely upon this Charter. We must, indeed, make efforts to improve this Charter. I believe that there is needed above all other things some international organization to control tho use of certain inventions which of themselves might be directed towards the destruction of mankind. Whilst I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) that we cannot keep knowledge of such inventions strictly within any international organization, knowledge on the part of such an organization of the existence of such inventions could, to a large degree, ensure that they would not be used against mankind. Unless something of that kind is done, this agreement in itself may prove t« be a very illusory one indeed.
With those observations I turn now to ‘Australia’s special position in the world. On previous occasions I have drawn attention to the fact that we in Australia live with geography. Around us aro over 1,000,000,000 people not of our ethnic origin. We maintain the right to remain a White Australia. We are seeking a civilization of our own, and without casting any reflection upon the peoples of any other country, wo assert our right as a white people to develop our own destiny. Yet, around us there is a vast concourse of peoples of other colours. We are far removed from the sources of western civilization, and even with the rapidity of transport of this age and to-morrow, whatever may be the shrinkage in terms of time-space that shrinkage can only be relative; we shall still remain in relative terms largely detached from the centres of the western civilization which we represent in the southern seas. I am particularly concerned with what has been referred to as the regional arrangements in this Charter. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) said that under the regional arrangements provisions there is nothing to prevent security arrangements being made with separate powers having separate interests in the Pacific. I am not so certain that that is what the Charter means; and when one looks at the Charter closely one will see that the regional arrangements spoken of in Article 5.2 are arrangements which are directed not so much to taking military action, but rather to settling disputes which may arise between particular peoples in this area. I am still dissatisfied with regard to the position of two countries in this area. I have referred to this matter on previous occasions. We speak of sovereign powers with sovereign interests in this area, yet there are two places, New Caledonia and Timor, that are actually points of danger to this country because, in the past they have not been and are not now properly defended, and I do not believe that they will .be properly defended in the future by the countries that control them. Timor, situated to the north of Australia, is owned by Portugal, and is a relic of the early days of exploration, even going hack to the time when Spain and Portugal, then the two major powers in the world, had drawn a line round the earth and decided that all places on one side of that line belonged to Spain and all on the other side of it belonged to Portugal. And to the north-east of Australia we have New Caledonia, which is controlled by France.
The Deputy Prime Minister will recall the days before Japan came into the war when we experienced tremendous uncertainty and were very disturbed about what might happen in New Caledonia where infiltration by the Japanese had reached a serious point, and which France - and I say this without equivocation - failed completely in its obligation to defend. Until America came into the war New Caledonia remained a focal point of danger to Australia. In Timor ako the Japanese had infiltrated to a serious degree. I have not heard any pronouncement from the Government with respect to either of those two places, except that they are to be restored to the full sovereignty of France and Portugal respectively. I take this opportunity to record my opinion that some arrangement must be made to enable Australia to establish rights of defending, or to have a direct part in defending, both those outposts in this area ; and in the absence of any world security action to accomplish that, I urge that when the peace terms come to be discussed Australia should make a bold claim to a predominant part in the control of both those places. : I do not speak in terms of economic sovereignty, but in terms of an interest which will protect us from the danger constituted by those places. We speak of regional pacts. It is well to observe that in the South Seas many European countries have interests, and some of those countries of themselves are quite incapable of defending their interests, vast though they are. To the degree to which Holland, France or Portugal i3 incapable of defending areas in the South Seas of strategic importance to Australia, danger to Australia will always remain. This Charter does not deal with such matters, and, naturally, would not deal with them; but when we speak about regional areas I make the Observation that there does not seem to bi> provision to make any common defensive arrangement apart, from that which exists in the Security Council; and apparently the only regional arrangements under, the Charter open to us are arrangements to settle disputes which might arise without recourse to the arbitrament of war, and not to make common cause on a regional basis in defence of common interests against an aggressor.
Having made those remarks an examination of the Charter falls naturally into a few headings. I do not propose to deal with the general assembly beyond saying that it affords a splendid forum, and, perhaps nothing more, for the formulation of world opinion. It does not give very much scope beyond that; but it enables us to debate publicly vital problems which might lead to war, and to discuss matters which in themselves, if they can be resolved, will prevent war. The most important feature of the Charter from Australia’s point of view is the Security Council. Once we enter into agreements to make certain forces available to the Security Council those forces, if we are te carry out our obligations, pass in substance from the control of Australia to the control of the Security Council, which, in reality, for an indefinite period, means to the control of the Big Three. In whatever way one approaches the problem, ono thing stands out as clear as crystal, and it is that the strength of this organization will depend upon the ability of the Big Three to stick together. If they fail to do so, then nothing that wo, or any other combination of nations, could do would prevent another world conflagration. Therefore, every effort must be made by all those who have the peace of the world at heart to bring those countries together. We must realize that we must learn to live in this world with countries whose ideas of government do not accord with our own. Certainly, within the forseeable future we cannot have democracies generally throughout tho world. It would be idle to imagine otherwise. We must co-operate with other countries with different systems of government; -and the fact that some other country has a system of government to which we may object is no reason at all why we cannot work together for the protection of mankind from war.
The Security Council has been dealt with fully in the speeches already made. I point to one particular matter which I think is very important. I have already drawn attention to the fact that no provision is made to give to the Security Council control over scientific inventions and international patents which I believe may be of much, more importance than making available military forces. Indeed, after tho last war Germany probably was the most fortunate of all the belligerents, because it was compelled to disarm. We, on the other hand, the victors, were tied to old ideas a.« to how war could be waged. Germany, having been completely disarmed, was able to see the position entirely anew, and that almost caused our complete annihilation. There is a danger that we shall make the same mistake again when we speak about making available military, naval or air forces for the preservation of peace. But the point which I desire to make is that article 43 of the provisions relating to the Security Council seems to contemplate the following procedure. First, there is an agreement to enter into an agreement. As the Leader of the Opposition showed quite clearly, it is an obligation of very indefinite content; but I understand tho reasons why it was put in this form. Secondly, it seems to me that each signatory to the Charter undertakes to enter into an agreement, to be negotiated as soon as possible on 1he initiative of the Security Council, to make forces, assistance, and facilities available to that organization. Once that is done, the obligation of the signatory has been exhausted. It must be quite clear that we are not capable now of foreseeing what forces may be needed a generation hence if war should break out then. That seems to be a flaw in the machinery. It may bc inescapable, in the very nature of things, perhaps because the nations were not prepared to commit themselves except to one agreement. It can only mean that the agreement itself is necessarily imperfect, and whatever arrangements are now made to make forces available to the Security Council, those forces will probably be outmoded in five, ten, or fifteen years for the purposes which they might be called upon to serve.
With those observations, I turn from the Security Council to the article dealing with international economic and social co-operation. I agree that this introduces an important subject, but I do not understand the nature of the obligation imposed. If it is merely expressed in terms as a political placard, we should be told so. But if it is supposed, as international documents should be intended, to impose an obligation upon us, that obligation should be adequately defined in its content and text so as to be plain to every signatory. I asked the Minister for the Army to explain the meaning of “ full employment “. Did it mean the same thing in Australia as it means in Ethiopia, Liberia, Haiti, Chile,
Honduras, or Iran? His answer was that it is an obligation on each signatory to provide full employment in accordance with its own special circumstances. It cannot mean that. If an obligation is imposed upon each signatory of the Charter, it is the same obligation everywhere. What, then, is “ full employment “ intended to mean here? If it is only a political placard, let us say so? I cannot find the reason for its inclusion in an international document. “ Full employment “ cannot have one meaning for one nation, and another meaning for another nation. The words mean that each nation itself, and all tho nations between themselves and within themselves, shall contribute to one common purpose, and that common purpose must have the same meaning to each of the 50 nations that signed the document. If that be so, what does “ full employment “ mean? I cannot imagine that it means very much at all in legal content. Nor can I imagine that it- means anything at all in the application of the Charter. The Minister for the Army pointed out that if one nation fails to perform its obligations, it can be taken to task. But who determines it, and by what rule and standard? An examination of this subject will reveal that “ full employment “ really means little, and I find it unfortunate, not that full employment should be an objective of all nations, but that “ full employment “, undefined, should find its way into an international Charter. Either it means something which all nations can understand, or it means nothing, and I should be very glad if the Government will tell the House by what standard is “ full employment “ to be gauged ? Is it to be gauged by employing people under a system of slavery ? No ! Is it to be gauged by employing people under a system of military control? I do not know. Is it to be gauged by employing people compulsorily to serve under whatever conditions some government with a socialist view, or, for example, a oneparty government, such as the present Prime Minister of Italy contemplates imposing on his country if he gets the opportunity to do so, sees fit to impose? I should like some elucidation of what the words really mean, because in terms of international obligations they do not mean anything to me.
The Minister for External Affairs unhappily is not present, and consequently I refrain from making certain comments that otherwise 1 should be inclined to make. However, the right honorable gentleman said, in reply to a question, that the obligation to carry out “ full employment “ which was imposed upon each nation, would not attract to this Parliament any greater power than it had previously possessed. That was a true answer; but it did not answer truly what was in the inquirer’s mind. The inquirer desired to know whether it was intended to attract the power to enable this Parliament to make laws relating to employment and unemployment. Some obligation is intended to be imposed upon this country to promote a higher standard of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development. A dear obligation exists to carry out “ full employment “, whatever those words may mean. The obligation to do something is clear, and I assume, for the purposes of this argument, that “ full employment “ is given a real meaning. Therefore, there is an obligation to promote full employment. But how can the Government promote “ full employment “ unless it has power to make laws relating to employment and unemployment?
I remind honorable members that at the last referendum the people refused to grant to the Commonwealth power to legislate in respect of those matters. I express, as my tentative view, and I should be glad to have an opinion to the contrary, that if this Charter is ratified without some safeguarding provision in the bill, there is, by virtue of the international obligation entered into, a power conferred upon this Parliament to make laws with respect to employment and unemployment. If that is so, whatever the learned Attorney-General may say, it would clearly be going behind the back of the people, and contrary to their view as expressed in the last referendum. As honorable members know, I supported the granting of power to the Commonwealth in respect of employment and unemployment but I believe that the democratic process requires that this Parliament shall not set itself above the will of the people. They expressed their views against the granting of this power to the Commonwealth, and this Parliament, should observe that decision. If the Commonwealth does not intend to make laws dealing with employment and unemployment, which, apart from this treaty, this Parliament would not have power to make, is the Government prepared to include in the bill a safeguarding provision to that effect? It does not affect the Charter, but it does affect the extent to which this Government can exercise its power in the performance of that treaty. Unless such a safeguard is inserted in the bill, there may well be conferred upon this Parliament a power to make laws relating to what was probably the most controversial subject in the last referendum.
I shall deal now with the international trusteeship system. Under these Articles, a nation may place under international trusteeship certain of its territories. Article 80 requires elucidation. It provides -
Except as may be agreed upon in individual trusteeship agreements, made under Articles 77, 79, and 81, placing each territory under the trusteeship system, and until such agreements have been concluded, nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter m any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively ibc parties.
The point which requires elucidation is contained in paragraph 2, which reads -
Paragraph 1 of this Article shall not be interpreted as giving grounds for delay or postponement of the negotiation and conclusion of agreements for placing mandated and other territories under the trusteeship system as provided for in Article 77.
If there is no implied obligation te engage in negotiation for the purpose of placing mandated territories under the control of the international organization, I am able to understand the positive provisions of this paragraph. Apart from this paragraph it would have appeared that the intention was that each nation, of its own volition, should have the right to say whether it would or would not place any portion of its territories under the control of the international organization. That I could understand. I could understand, then, the provision that there shall bc no interference with our mandates, except by our own free will. But when it is provided that paragraph 1 shall not be interpreted “ as giving grounds for delay or postponement of the negotiation and conclusion of agreements for placing mandated territories under the trusteeship system provided for in Article 77 “, the Government should explain why this Article has been so drafted, what it means and whether ian obligation is imposed upon nations to negotiate agreements regarding their mandated territories.
I should also like an explanation of Article £3 which provides -
All functions of the United Nations relating to strategic areas, including the approval of the terms of the trusteeship agreements and of their alteration or amendment, shall be exercised by the Security Council. f have sought in vain in the Charter to find who, if not the Security Council, shall determine strategic areas, and whether this article gives power to the Security Council to exercise control over any area of our Mandated Territories which the council may deem to be a strategic area for the purposes of collective security. [Extension of time granted.]. The House is entitled to an explanation of this article, how it came to be drafted, and what control, if any, it gives to the Security Council over strategic areas held under mandate by nations. Nothing I have read or have been told has thrown any light upon this matter.
The Leader of the Opposition referred to the manner in which the Minister for External Affairs has publicly engaged in a controversy with Great Britain. I wish to make clear my support of the objective which the Minister sought to attain, but there is a right way and a wrong way of achieving an objective, just as there is a legal way and an illegal way of achieving a lawful end. The public controversy between Australia and Great Britain upon these matters, vital though they may be, is to be deplored. There is no reason why we should not express our views frankly to the Mother Country, and I believe that when we on this side of the House were in occupation of the treasury bench, we voiced our views in a manner no less certain than that adopted by the present Government. But a family dispute should be kept within the family. When a man has an argument with his wife, no good purpose can be served by telling the neighbours about it. Similarly, within the British family when differences of opinion arise, we should not play into the hands of those who still seek to destroy what we are proud to call the British Commonwealth of Nations. I deplore these tactics, and will continue to deplore any attempt to make public ian issue which ought not to be made public, and which, indeed, could be resolved by methods which have been adopted by governments in the past. It is strange that, parallel with this outburst by a Labour Minister in this country, there should be an attack - I can only construe it as such - by Professor Laski upon Great Britain - the nation that nurtured him and gave this country its chance to achieve its present world status. Professor Laski referred to Great Britain as a secondclass power. Even if he believed that to be true, I cannot see what good purpose could be achieved by saying it. Indeed, in the light of the history of the past six years, every one of us should assert that, far from being a second-rate power, morally at least Great Britain and other mem bers of the Empire emerge from these years of war with greater stature than they have ever achieved in all their history. Every one of us should thank God, not with any jingoistic nationalism, but with a fundamental belief in the history of our people, with a knowledge of what we have achieved, and with a memory of the dark days of 1940, when we stood alone against the world and so made possible the peace which we now enjoy, that we belong to the British race, and never forget the boon which it has conferred, not only upon us, but also upon mankind.
.- 1 listened with great pleasure to the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) make his maiden speech in this House to-night. I am sure that all honorable members, especially the older ones, welcome his idealism. “We used to have it ourselves, but in the course of time we have found that facts are hard things which “wanna dee”. The honorable member has a great fund of knowledge and a clear mind, and with that combination he may be able to bring about a marriage of facts and ideals.
We are fortunate in having a second chance to pull the world together. To assist us, we have the experience of our attempt to do this after the last war, the lessons of the depression, and the comradeship in arms of this war. As tho result of this comradeship, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are supporting the new world organization right from its inception. I note that the Australian High Commissioner in Great Britain, Mr. Bruce, has been co-opted for talks wilh other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations at the preliminary stages. Although Mr. Bruce will cease to lie High Commissioner for Australia after October next, I hope that the Government will still avail itself of his great experience and knowledge of international, Empire, and Australian affairs. Not only was Mr. Bruce Prime Minister of this country for nearly seven years, and the Commonwealth’s representative in London for thirteen years, but also he was Chairman of the Council of the League of Nations during its most critical period. He was most intimately associated with all its workings during the whole period between the two great wars. Probably no other man is available with such practical knowledge of the pitfalls and difficulties of a world security organization, especially of securing a single voice for the Empire.
The most important contribution that Australia can make to this organization is to ensure a system of Empire consultation which will work smoothly and efficiency, and permit of a single voice for the Empire in the councils of the world. Only in this way can we exercise our greatest influence in shaping, world policy. This is especially important as in winning the war the principals have learned to deal with each other effectively.
Australia can influence Britain’s policy to a marked degree. That, in the last analysis, the equilibrium of the world will be maintained by the Four Great Powers has become apparent. Of these powers, Russia, China, and America consist of solid land blocks. The British Empire consists of a number of individual and widely distant parts, separated by the oceans of the world; but it is just as important that the Empire should be solid in its decisions. Its geographical situation enables the very means that are used to join its components to assist in forming a bridge of contacts between the other three great laud powers. These three great nations can carry out their national policies without any attention from the outside world being drawn to them. They can develop their resources, their railways and roads, and use the air. without first seeking the permission of any outside authority. The natural effect of this physical position is to breed isolationist sentiment in those countries. However, the British Empire, because of its far-flung territories, must think in terms of the world. Because of this, for hundreds of years, the greatest interest of the British Empire has been peace. Therefore, its influence on the policy of the new United Nations Council of International Organization must be as great as it can be made by the unanimous support of all the Empire’s constituent parts.
We have heard from the Minister for External Affairs that one of the objectives of this organization is to put teeth into the instrument for maintaining peace. I am much more concerned in making certain that the teeth shall be drawn from our enemies, and that steps shall be taken to prevent new teeth from growing. I hope too that those countries will not be able to use even artificial teeth, because even they might be able to do some damage. Australia’s purpose in subscribing to the organization is three-fold. First, we desire a guarantee of our own national security; secondly, we desire to secure world peace; and thirdly, we desire to stimulate world progress and improve social and economic conditions in every country..
Let us examine the organization necessary to secure peace: The failure of the League of Nations was due largely to three events: the first was the delay of some months in feeding starving Europe while peace negotiations were proceeding. That delay was never explained adequately and it embittered both allied and enemy peoples. Considerable propaganda to the effect that the failure represented a deliberate attempt by the Allies to starve German men, women and children was spread throughout Germany. The fact was that not only did the people of Germany and Austria suffer because of the lack of food, but also the people of the Allied Nations in Europe endured semi-starvation for many months. lt was these conditions which led to the development of economic self-sufficiency. The second event which contributed to the failure of the League of Nations was the fact that the passage of time and the development of peace problems brought discord to the relations between the victorious nations. There was failure to control effectively the growth of the enemies teeth through the gradual fading out of the memories of the war owing to the advent of a new generation. We must guard against a repetition of these dangers, or else no formula of words or machinery of collective security will prevent another war.
The successful working of the Charter depends on the removal, at the very beginning, of those factors which experience has proved make for discord or contradict the purposes of the Charter of expanding the total trade and employment of every nation in the world. Tho experience of the last 25 years proves beyond doubt that the immediate wiping out of all war debts between the United Nations would pay a handsome dividend to every country concerned, whether creditor or debtor, and to the world at large. It is worth while recalling that this was suggested by Great Britain in regard to the debts incurred during the last world war. The Balfour note, presented by Earl Balfour to the French Ambassador, set out -
The policy favoured by His Majesty is, as I have already observed, that of surrendering their share of German reparation, and writing off, through one great transaction, the whole body of inter-allied indebtedness.
Britain suggested that it should forgo debts amounting to no less than £3,400,000,000, of which Germany owed £1,450,000,000, Russia £650,000,000 and our allies £1,300,000,000. On the other hand, Great Britain owed the United States about one-quarter of that sum - £850,000,000. Yet it was willing to wipe out the whole of the indebtedness of other countries to itself, if America would wipe out the one-quarter of that amount which Britain owed to that country. Possibly, CO per cent, of the difficulties that arose during the twenty years between the two wars would not have arisen had that course been taken.
The total amount of reparations demanded from enemy countries, experience has always shown, should be strictly limited. These reparations must be well within the enemy country’s capacity to pay. Their payment must not disturb the internal economy of competing nations. Peace is dependent ultimately upon raised standards of living throughout the world, the highest universal factor of employment, and continually expanding international trade. In this war, huge war debts between the nations have been obviated by the brilliant American re-introduction of a system of lend-lease. I am sure the right thing to do is to wipe out the whole of these cross entries, and burn the files. Although America might receive £400,000,000 or £500,000,000 as the result of intense effort, incalculable ill-will might be caused, and the seeds oi a new world war might be sown. If, as a result of this “ nigger in the woodpile “, the world finally is drawn into another war, the cost of a month’s world war would equal the whole of the balance of the payment, of which even under the best of circumstances, is highly hypothetical. . If this bo done as between the United Nations, it is obvious that big reparations cannot be obtained from enemy countries. Economic ruin of the enemy, and reparations, are contradictory policies. No reparations can be paid if the enemy is ruined. The policy of largescale reparations is, and always has been, wrong.
Another essential to the success of this organization is to assume, once and for all, effective control of the enemy’s war preparations. The progress of technical science, and especially the coining of (he atomic bomb, has made this control much more simple than it used to be. In order to make modern war, a nation must have complete and absolute control of its electricity supplies, and of certain raw materials out of which aeroplanes, munitions and atomic bombs can be made, l t must have uranium in order to make an atomic bomb. If the production of these commodities is controlled from the very beginning by the Security Council, war preparations can be prevented. By control at the source, the method would be invisible to the general public, and continuous ill-feeling would not be caused, as it is by military occupation of a country. I therefore urge that we adopt this course from the beginning, and never at any time renounce our attitude. [ am sure that the result would be to lessen the total number of international police which ultimately would be necessary, and very greatly reduce the cost to the United Nations. Four methods of control must be linked, with a view to preventing an enemy’s war potential from again being brought into active effect. These are - Political, economic, educational and military.
Political control must carefully check political agitation. In the case of Germany, the absence of any government makes tho evolution of a system much easier. In the case of Japan, where th*> language difficulty is so great, the problem is more complex. Inevitably, the present Emperor, Hirohito, must be used until control of Japan has been secured ; but the peace treaty must supersede him in order to create the proper psychology among the people of Japan. He must then stand his trial like any other war criminal.
Economic control must ensure supervision by the United Nations of all German and Japanese industry and endeavour. In the case of Germany, control by the United Nations of the generation and transmission of electricity will provide a ready and inevitable means of controlling activities that might lead to war preparations. A country cannot make bombs or carry on war industries unless it has control of a big volume of electric power. If this is controlled by the United Nations, they can ensure its use for peaceful industry. In the case of both Germany and Japan, all raw materials must be checked, both as to entry and their ultimate use. In the case of Japan, being an island, this control will be more simple than in the case of Germany.
Educational control must ensure the supervision and revision by the United Nations of text books and teaching methods that have developed the type of thinking which has caused the present war-minded Japanese and Germans. The press and radio must be utilized to carry the new slant which must be given to their ideas and education. Germans and Japanese must be taught that it is possible to get along in the world without the idea of eventually wiping out the people of every other race.
Military control would result in the reduction of all armed forces to the size of a mere local police force in the beginning and later Japan and Germany would be required to provide their quota of an international army or police force when established. I agree with the honorable members for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) and Warringah (Mr. Spender) that ultimately, if peace is to be made secure, we shall have to deal with the hearts and minds of men much more than material things. Before we can deal with those, we must deal firmly and finally with the two aspects of international relationship* to which I have referred, namely, the control of war preparations and the handling of debts, with which is bound up the whole matter of international trade relations. Now is the time for action to be taken.
Experience between the two world wars showed that the political and moral conviction - that the coercion of Germany was justifiable - which was necessary in order to employ military power for that purpose, was lacking when the time came. In England, for instance, this was due in 1936 - the time when it really mattered - to a growing sympathy with Germany. Lack of this conviction produces a dislike and even a horror of military force, and results in what is loosely termed pacifism. We should not he deluded into acceptance of a wrong view of the need for strong measures in the next ten or fifteen years. We roust consider tho subject of national defence in its proper perspective.
Great Britain’s interest for ‘ a couple of hundred years has, as 1 have said, been in the preservation of peace. Its traditional policy of peace has been based on four main factors. First, it has considered that it is not conducive to peace for its own strength to he dependent on keeping other countries in a backward condition. Secondly, Great Britain does not desire to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries if that can be avoided. Thirdly, Great Britain has always tried to cultivate good relations with countries with similar democratic ideals- Fourthly, all provisions for making the exchange of goods easier between the nations have had its support. in order to assist in achieving the objective of peace, Great Britain has cultivated the policy of balance of power. So deeply pacific have been all the people of Great Britain, and so unwilling have they been to maintain armies large enough to impress the powers of Europe, that the preservation of the balance of power has meant, whenever war came, fighting a long war on what was at first the weaker side in arms. As I view the United Nations Charter, its purpose, in effect, is to create a perfect balance of power and to restrain the aggressor. But that balance of power, or equilibrium of nations, I am confident, will only be secured if the British Commonwealth of Nations is able to maintain that solidarity as a fighting force which it has shown in the two great world wars. If, as Professor Laski has suggested, Great Britain has become a second-class power that, would predict the almost certain doom of western civilization. In the first world war, Groat Britain struck at Germany because of the scrapping of Germany’s guarantee to Belgium. In this war, Great Britain honoured its undertaking to Poland. What other nation has ever sprung so readily to the defence of smaller nations and the honouring of its pledged word, even though its military equipment was, at the beginning, so relatively meagre ?
The spirit and outlook that have animated Great Britain and its Dominions must be common, and must continuously operate amongst the United Nations, if this organization is to function successfully. The materialistic conception of history, as interpreted by Marx, no matter to what Gargantuan size its supporters may raise their country, as in .Russia, cannot save the world. Neither will the mass production of wealth of itself do so. We read in the Old Book, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts “. Let us not be misled by mere size; it is the quality and spirit, that count. It is singularly interesting to notice that already the first constructive progress towards real peace has been made by Great Britain in its twenty-year agreement with Russia, and in its wool, butter and meat agreements within the British Commonwealth of Nations. These agreements within the Empire will stabilize production and trade, and give security of employment and prices for a term of years. Such agreements can serve as a pattern for international application in respect of these and all other commodities of which there are large surpluses for export. Thus international trade will be fostered and the field of security of employment and of prices widened.
Through these international commodity agreements and the organizations that implement the.m, continuous personal contacts in matters of common economic interest will be made between many men of different nations. These must help to remove international suspicions and make the Security Council more readily workable. Tho example of successful collaboration by independent Empire units in economic action will tend also to emphasize the value of the political structure of the Empire as a pattern for the final United Nations’ security organization. With freedom of these units and their individuals the utmost unity in Empire defence policy has been displayed. These Empire units have spontaneously sprung to action for the common defence of their ideals and policies. This same spirit of comradeship and mutual understanding and goodwill must, be imparted into the proposed world organization, if it is to operate successfully.
Debate (on motion by Mr. McEwen) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Bank Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1945, Nos. 128, 129, 130.
National Security Act -
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Immobilization of vessels - Revocation.
Navigation (Brisbane River and Moreton Bay - Small craft) - Revocation.
Navigation (Port Stephens - Private craft) - Revocation.
Use ofland - Revocation.
National Security (Industrial Property)
Regulations - Orders - inventions and designs (134).
House adjourned at 9.48 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Armed Forces: Tropical Service.
r, asked the Ministor in charge of War Service Homes, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Unrra : Status oe Australia ; Commitments.
y. - On the 29th August the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked whether my attention had been drawn to press reports of two statements made by the Australian representative, Mr. Bruce, in the final full session of the council of Unrra in London.
In proposing the inclusion of Australia in the central committee of the council of Unrra, and supporting the proposed inclusion of Canada and France, Mr. Bruce was acting on the instructions of the Australian Government. Australia is the fourth largest contributor to Unrra, and has taken an active part in all phases of its development. Australia’s position in the Pacific enables it to make a special contribution to the solution of Unrra’s Far Eastern problems. The resolution appointing France and Canada to the central committee was agreed to unanimously on the 25th August. The Australian resolution for the inclusion also of Australia, along with Brazil and Yugoslavia, received 29 votes against 7, but as the vote of the Soviet Union was negative, the resolution, under article Sb, was declared . not carried. The Soviet representative subsequently asked that his vote be altered to one of abstention, explaining that he had only voted in the negative since he had received no instructions from Moscow. We are continuing to press for Australia’s inclusion in the central committee, however, and I am hopeful that we shall be successful.
asked the Acting Minister for External Affairs -
To what extent is Australia committed to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for (a) administrative expenses, (b) sterling exchange, (c) food id) clothing and (e) other assistance?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1. (a) £A47,000 for 1944 and £A35,000 for 1945. (b) There is no commitment specifically to sterling exchange, but our commitment to supply free foreign exchange is equal to 10 per cent. of our overall contribution of £A1 2,000,000. This amount is therefore £A 1,200,000 which may or may not include sterling exchange, according to circumstances. (c), (d) and (e) Our total financial commitment to Unrra for these items is £10,800,000. less administrative expenses.
With regard to commitments of clothing, food and goods, already approximately £5,000,000 or nearly half of the total Australian contribution of £10,800,000 has been either spent or earmarked. The only conditions attached to this contribution are of physical capacity and existing commitments. The main items include raw wool and secondhand clothing, but recently the Government made available £350,000 worth of foodstuffs, including dehydrated and canned meats, jam, peas and chocolate. A vessel also left Australia a few weeks ago carrying a considerable quantity of new clothing, in addition to that donated by the Australian public. In addition to these items.7½ tons of vegetable seeds are on order for despatch to the Philippines and over 2,500 tons of steel for rehabilitation purposes are now ready for shipment wherever required. Negotiations regarding payments of free exchange are at present going on, but no finalization has yet been reached.
n asked the Acting Minis ter for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice. -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Housing: Cost of Commission.
t asked the Minister for
Works and Housing, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers : -
Salmon : Theft from Military Stores.
n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Taxation: Outstanding Amounts;
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Will he state the amount of taxation - Income, war-time (company) and land- outstanding at the 30th June, 1945?
– The following are the amounts of Commonwealth taxes outstanding at 30th June. 1945: -
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Mr.Chifley. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 September 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1945/19450905_REPS_17_184_c1/>.