17th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S. Rosevear’ took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
-I desire to inform the House that Lord Glenconner, a member of the House of Lords, is: within the precincts of the chamber. With the concurrence of honorable members, I shall invite him to take a seat on the floor of the House beside the Speaker’s chair.
Honobaih.1! Members. - Hear, hear!
Lord Glenconner thereupon entered the chamber, and was seated accordingly.
PUBLIC Testimonial - Investments.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. The Minister for Transport (Mr. “Ward) . in one of the. many interjections in which he persisted during my speech on the motion of waul of confidence on Thursday night last, is reported, in Hansard, to have said - .
Did not the right honorable gentleman invest hia .rooney in concerns which employ black labour so that high dividends could be paid?
I did not hear what the Minister had said - as he well knew - und, relying on this, he’ followed up his interjection with another -
Ig it not a fact that tire right honorable gentleman invested in Malayan tin, the £23,000 paid to him after the war of 1914-18?
This interjection, too - utterly and designedly irrelevant to the subject “with which I was dealing, namely, the intimate relation between industrial unrest in Australia and the control over trade unions by the Communist party: - I did not catch. Had I done so, I should have told . the honorable gentleman that his allegation was quite’ untrue. It is for the purpose of giving it a flat denial that I am now on my feet. I did not invest one penny of the money to which he refers in Malayan tin, or any other concerns, from which I have received, or ever hoped to receive, those fat dividends about. which the Minister spoke with almost tearful envy. I should have told him that, as the money had been given to me for services rendered to Australia, I had invested every penny of it in Australian govern-‘ ment loans; and, what the Minister will regard as incredible - that, despite most attractive offers made by those companies which employ black labour so that high dividends may be paid, and with whose methods the honorable gentleman seems to be curiously familiar, I had kept it there ever since. Having relieved the Minister’s mind about my personal affairs, I should have asked him to tell me something about his own. Since the war broke out in 1939, the Commonwealth has floated fourteen loans. To how many of these-
-Order! The right honorable gentleman is now proceeding to go far beyond the bounds of a personal explanation. In doing so, he would give to the Minister for Transport in turn grounds for .making a personal’ explanation.
– I shall leave it at that. The rest can be imagined.
Occupation Force in Japan: Wives op ‘Members - Civilian Suits: Export of Cloth - Re-establishment : Brisbane Meeting - Relief op Garrison Troops - Military Equipment in the IslaNDS
– Will the Minister for the Army consider making arrangements for the wives of the members of the Australian Occupation Force in Japan to join their husbands, as has been done in respect of members of the various other British forces of occupation ?
– While I have every sympathy for members of the forces who want to take their wives to Japan, I understand that the problem is that of accommodation. I shall make inquiries’ regarding the practice followed by the governments of the - United, States of America, the United Kingdom, and the other Dominions, after which .the honorable member’s representations will be fully considered.
– In view of the shortage of suitable cloth for the production of civilian suits for ex-service men and women, will the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs arrange for the curtailment of the export- of suitings manufactured in Australia so that additional supplies may be made available to the Australian trade?
– Apparently, the honorable member misunderstands the position regarding the quantity of textiles exported from this country. Exports are taking place on only a very limited scale; only about 2 per cent, of our production of textiles is sent abroad. Of course, a case may be propounded for continuing the export of textiles on a comparatively small scale in order to retain potential markets overseas. However, I shall have the question investigated, and if I find that too great a proportion of our textiles is being exported, corrective steps will be taken.
– I ask the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction whether he has received a letter from the Demobilized Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Association of Australia, Brisbane, dated the 25th February, conveying to him the resolution of a protest meeting held in the Brisbane City Hall, and requesting him to visit Brisbane immediately to meet representatives of ex-servicemen’s associations to discuss their problems? If so, will the honorable gentleman inform the House what action, if any, he proposes to take in regard to the request’
– I did receive a letter from the association referred to by theright honorable gentleman, and I have also received a number of other letters and telegrams on the subject. Some of these were couched in terms which I regarded as somewhat uncivil. A demand was made that I should appear in Brisbane before the 12th March. I replied to the association stating that if it would furnish me with details of the matters which it wished to discuss with me, I would consider whether a visit to Brisbane for that purpose should be given priority over my many other ministerial activities.
– Will the Minister for the Army state what steps are being taken by the Government to recruit a volunteer force for the purpose of relieving members of the forces who wish to return to civilian, life? Will he also indicate what progress has been made with the campaign ?
– Recruiting was resumed on the 15th February last, and so far the response has been very satisfactory. The recruits attested number 2,400, including 250 ex-soldiers. These recruits have . been drafted to training camps. Those who have not had previous Army experience will be given three months’ training prior to embarkation. Exsoldiers will be sent to their respective units, where they will be given a short refresher course and will then be drafted for garrison work in the islands. In addition, 4,000 members of the fighting services in base establishments in Australis with a low number of points have been removed from those positions and sent to training camps. It is estimated that 2,000 of them will be sent this month to Rabaul for garrison duty. The balance will be sent forward as soon as possible, because the Government realizes its great responsibility to return from the islands men who have not had leave for periods of from eighteen to twenty months, as well as many others who have been stationed there for between twelve and eighteen months. It is only reasonable that other men should be sent to the islands at the earliest possible date in order to relieve the men who ha ve endured the heat and burden of the day in that tropical climate.
– Will the Minister for the Army say whether the inquiry to determine what military equipment in the islands is economically valuable, and is to be returned to Australia, has been completed? Will he also indicate the original total value of military equipment which the Government has decided is to be destroyed or, dumped because it is considered to be economically valueless now that hostilities have ceased ? What types of equipment- have been included in the latter category? Will the Minister appoint a highly competent business man to investigate thoroughly Army dumping methods, and ensure the quick release of badly-needed supplies to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission?
– The question is rather lengthy and involved. I can, however, inform the honorable gentleman off-hand that representatives of the “ MasterGeneral of Ordnance and the Commonwealth Disposals Commission visited all areas in the islands to report upon the equipment, and to decide that which it would he economic to return to Australia and that which should be left to the jungle to devour, in order to relieve garrison troops who are maintaining and guarding the material. The task was rather a big one, but it is nearing, completion, if it has hot already been completed. I shall inquire as to. whether it is possible to obtain for the honorable gentleman information in regard to the original capital value of the material, its estimated second-hand value, the value of that which has been or is to be dumped,, and the value of that which is to bebrought .back to Australia.
– In view of the great importance of the issue, will the PrimeMinister make an authoritative statement indicating when the National Security Act will come to an end? If he cannot do so, will he state what circumstances will eventually bring it to an end?
– A similar question was asked during the last sittings of Parliament, and a reply was tendered by the Acting Attorney-General (Mr. Beasley).
– But nobody understood it.
– It is true that, except for the last paragraph of the statement, it was difficult for a layman to understand its meaning. The last paragraph made it clear that peace would exist when the war was over.
– That is one thing which the Government will not admit.
– I shall ask the Attorney-General to see whether it is possible to prepare a statement setting out as clearly as possible the position as the Government sees it. Several explanations have been offered, but apparently they have not been entirely satisfactory.
– In view of the hardship imposed upon the community by clothes rationing, due to the shortage of textiles other than wool, can the Acting Minister vor Trade and Customs give the House any information on the progress that has been made in negotiations with the Bruck ,Silk Mills Limited, of Montreal, for the establishment of the rayon industry in Victoria?
– The honorable member very kindly indicated to me that he proposed to ask this question to-day. The question of how the governmentowned aluminium factory at Wangaratta could be utilized to the best advantage has been exercising the mind of the Government for some considerable time. This factory was intended to meet war needs only, and as the productive capacity of the factory at Granville, operated by the Australian Aluminium Company, is far in excess of peace-time needs, it has been a matter of considerable doubt whether the Australian market for fabricated aluminium could also carry the Wangaratta factory. In any case, as Parliament has approved the establishment in Australia of the production of aluminium from bauxite, it is better that the aluminium should be fabricated close to the place where the aluminium is produced. This matter will receive the attention of the Government when the Aluminium Production Commission has completed its investigation as to the production of aluminium in Australia.
Meanwhile, an important Canadian firm, Bruck Silk Mills Limited, of Montreal. Canada, has been considering tho establishment of rayon textiles production in Australia, and an Australian company is now to be formed with an authorized capital of £1,000,000. The directorate will include important Australian manufacturing and marketing interests, and the majority of the shares will be subscribed by the Australian public. The introduction of the company’s operations into Australia was dependent upon the early availability of factory premises, and after prolonged negotiations it has been agreed that the Wangaratta factory is the most suitable for the purpose.
I am pleased to be able to announce to the House that a second large rayon textile industry is thus being established in Australia. It is probable that, in time, the development of the industry in Wangaratta will substantially increase employment in the town, leading to a corresponding increase of population, which will be in accord with the decentralization policy of the Commonwealth Government. It will also provide a use for more Australian wool, inasmuch as wool and rayon mixtures are to be produced in the factory. Finally, I invite tho attention of honora.ble members to the fact that this is another example of the confidence of important overseas business concerns in the industrial future of Australia.
Evacuation from Islands.
– I ask the Minister for the Army what is being done to evacuate the Japanese from New Guinea and when the territory will be cleared of them? Is the Government aware that native troops in Rabaul have mutinied? If so, what action has been taken?
– General MacArthur has been good enough to make ships available to lift 22,300 Japanese from the islands. Some 11,000 have been removed from Wewak, 4,000 or 5,000 from the Solomons, and the balance from Australia. That will be a shuttle service, and it is hoped that additional ships will be made available. It is impossible to say when all the Japanese will be cleared from the islands, because on the cessation of hostilities, 340,000 Japanese came under the control of Australian servicemen, 140,000 in the New GuineaSolomons area, including 102,000 at Rabat’ and 200,000 in the 8017180 area. Their removal will depend largely on the availability of ships, but the honorable member may rest assured that the Government will do everything possible to obtain extra shipping so as to expedite the return of those Japanese prisoners to their homeland and thus enable the release of Australian garrison troops in the islands. I am not aware of any mutiny of New Guinea natives attested in the forces, but I shall have inquiries made.
– Can the Prime Minister indicate when this Parliament will be given an opportunity to discuss the Bretton Woods Agreement? Will he undertake that the agreement will not be signed on behalf of the people of Australia by the Government until the Parliament, has had the opportunity to discuss it?
– I am not able at present to give any indication of when the decision on the Bretton Woods Agreement will be made by the Government. The agreement has been the subject of some consideration. An observer, acting on behalf of the Government, Professor Melville, is attending the first meeting associated with the Bretton woods arrangements. At this stage I can only calculate what the minds of Ministers may .be on the subject, but I think it is hardly likely that further consideration will be given to it until a report lias been received from Professor Melville on his impressions formed at that conference. Just when that will be received I do not know. As the honorable member “is aware, if the agreement is to be ratified by this country, ratification will be the responsibility of the Parliament, and the Government will naturally bring the agreement to Parliament if it decides that the agreement ought to be ratified. I cannot say- when that mar be.
– I present the ninth and tenth reports ‘ of the Broadcasting Committee relating to the subject of venereal disease and other sex matters, and to an inquiry into national programme administration.
Ordered to be printed.
Mi’. RYAN. - Can the Minister for External Affairs inform me whether. Russia has made any contribution to the funds of Unrra? If so, what is the amount?
– Offhand, I am not able to answer the question. I do not think that to the end of last, year, Russia had made any contribution to the funds of Unrra, but if in the meantime that position has ‘changed,’ I shall inform .the honorable member.
– As the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping in this chamber, I lay upon
I he table the following paper: -
Common wealth Disposals Commission - First annual report for the year ended the 31st August, 1040.
Mi-. Harbison. - Will the Minister move that the report be printed?
– No: copies” have already been distributed.
– I desire to move that the debate be adjourned.
– Order ! There is no motion before the Chair, and there can be no debate without a motion.
– May I move that the paper be printed?
– Yes, it is quite competent for an honorable member or a. Minister to move that a paper be .printed,, and so allow an opportunity for the contents’ of the paper to be debated.
– I move -
That the paper be printed, and ask leave to continue rny remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
– I lay upon the tablethe. following paper: -
Sugar - Protocol relating to the International Sugar Agreement (signed in> London, 31st August, 1945).
This protocol was signed in London by the representatives of the Governments of the Union of South Africa. Commonwealth of Australia, Belgium. Brazil, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican’ Republic, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandHaiti, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland,. Portugal, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United States of America,, including the Philippines, and Yugoslavia. This protocol is similar, in content to that signed on the 1st September. 1.944, and extends the International Sugar Agreement, which originally operated from 1937, for a further period of one year from the 1st September, 1945. In addition to the Governments which signed the last protocol, there are two new signatories, France and Yugoslavia.
During the war, the operation of certain portions of the agreement, mainly those relating to the quota obligations, have been merely nominal, and the opportunity has been taken in this protocol todeclare such portions inoperative duringthe extended life of the agreement. Accordingly, the main purposes of the- renewal of the agreement are to maintain the central machinery for the adjustment of international sugar supplies, and to gain time for the conclusion of a new scheme to meet the long-term problems of the industry.
– Has the Minister for Air yet been able to obtain a reply to the questions I asked him yesterday regarding service personnel detained in Melbourne who required transport to Tasmania?
– I have made inquiries and have ascertained that the following personnel are being detained in Melbourne pending the provision of transport to Tasmania : - Royal Australian Air Force, 73 ; Army, 170 ;Naval Forces, 50 ; total 293. I have been assured that shipping arrangements have been completed which will enable such personnel to be transported to Tasmania not later than the 21st March.
– Has the Minister for the Interior yet received a. report of the results of the investigations of Mr. Westhoven into the premises still being occupied by the Commonwealth Government and various services in Queensland ?
– I received a report by mail this morning, but have not yet had time to peruse it. However, I had the opportunity of discussing this matter with Mr. Westhoven in Melbourne last Monday; and I understand that very satisfactory arrangements have been made to improve the position in Brisbane.
Views of Mr. James M alone y.
– It was reported in this morning’s press that Mr. James Maloney, the recently returned Australian Minister to Moscow, had addressed members of the New. South Wales Parliament, either as a group or as members of the Empire Parliamentary Association, and had given to them certain information concerning his stay in Russia. Will the Minister for External Affairs arrange for
Mr. Maloney similarly to address the members of all parties in this House in order that they, too. may have the advantage of his intimate acquaintance with Russian conditions ?
– I am sure that the Commonwealth Branch of the Empire Parliamentary Association which apparently arranged the address given by Mr. Maloney in Sydney, will give full consideration to the honorable member’s request.
Parcels Post Rates
– The PostmasterGeneral stated yesterday that the postal revenue had increased from £17,000,000 in 1939 to £27,000,000 at the present time, and that the turnover had risen from £185,000,000 to £500,000,000. Will the Prime Minister, in the light of these facts, consider whether parcels sent from Australia to the Ministry of Food in Great Britain may be sentpost free, and parcels sent by individuals in Australia to other individuals in Great Britain may be sent at a reduced rate instead of the high rate that now operates?
– I shall arrange to have consideration given to the request.
– Will the Minister for Air state whether Mascot aerodrome is to be converted into an international airport? If so, does this mean that the Government will be resuming large areas of land and a large number of homes? In that event, will it arrange for housing accommodation to be provided for the people so displaced prior to the resumption of their homes?
– The Government has decided that the airport at Mascot shall be made the international airport of Australia. Large areas of land will have to be resumed in order to give effect to the plan, but it is anticipated that a long time will elapse before the plans reach completion. Some houses will have to be removed, but in all probability they will not total more that eighteen. Endeavours will be made to assist those people who . will he displaced as a result of the necessary expansion of the airport to other homes.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping intimate when restrictions on the use of petrol in Australia are likely to he lifted ?
– The Government has relaxed from time to time the restrictions on the use of petrol, and within recent months this has had the effect of making available to users considerably increased quantities of petrol. The position is being closely watched, and when the time is opportune - that is to say, when sufficient supplies of petrol are available and the dollar position make’s it possible to do so - further supplies will be made available to the public.
– Numerous urgent requests have been made from recently-flooded areas of Queensland, and various rural and, other interests, for galvanized iron, - galvanized barbed wire, wire and wire netting, but they have not been satisfied, ‘after Commonwealth Ministers have passed on the requests to the State Minister for Works. As galvanized barbed wire is reported to be in production, will the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping make provision for its delivery, in view of the worthless condition of the black barbed wire, which alone is available? Further, in view of urgent requests for galvanized iron, galvanized wire netting and galvanized wires, will he ensure that Queensland shall receive at least its quota of those materials ?
– I shall have the matter examined. I assure the honorable membe”r that Queensland will receive the full quota due to it under any form of distribution agreed upon.
– In view of the public interest in the matter, I ask the Minister for the Army whether he has completed his investigation into the delay in the trial of Major Cousens ? If so, can he say when the trial will take place ?
– I am not yet in a position to make a statement on the subject. It has been discussed by the Army legal authorities and the Commonwealth Crown Law department. Having regard to the issues involved, and to the importance of ensuring that there shall he a fair trial, I am not disposed to make any comment apart from saying that appropriate action will be taken as soon as possible.
Accumulation of Stocks in Tasmania.
– What action does the Government propose to take to provide shipping to lift the many tons of potatoes now lying on wharfs in Tasmania awaiting shipment to the mainland? Does he know that the potatoes are deteriorating, and that unless they are removed without delay they will be useless?
– The honorable member will understand that there is a very grave shortage of shipping.
– Then why allow the potatoes to be brought down to the wharfs?
– There is a great shortage of coastal shipping in Australia, and the honorable member should understand that if there are no ships there is nothing the Government can do to lift the potatoes. I shall have the matter investigated immediately, and if shipping can be found for this purpose it will be directed to Tasmania.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
Australian Broadcasting Act - Thirteenth Annual Report and Balance-sheet of the Australian Broadcasting Commission; for year 1044-45.
.- I move -
That the paper he printed.
I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
– Will the Prime Minister say whether the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) approached him before he made a statement to the press that he is opposed to the security loan? If he is opposed to it, is this act of national sabotage to go unnoticed ?
– It is news to me that the Leader of the Australian Country party is opposed to the loan. He has given valuable assistance in loan campaigns in the past, and I regret that he could not continue his good work with the enthusiasm that he previously exhibited. I have not seen the statement referred to ; but I feel sure that his sense of national duty is such that he would not do anything likely to prejudice the success “of the loan.
– by leave - It is my intention to initiate a debate on international affairs by making a statement, and at the end of it I shall move that the paper be printed. Subsequently, my colleague the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin), who represented Australia at the recent United Nations Conference in London, will speak in the same debate, so that a very wide field of discussion on all aspects of international affairs insofar as they affect this country will be covered.
I propose to report to the House on the results of my two recent missions to London and Washington and invite consideration of recent and significant trends in world affairs. The period since VJ Day has been one of great historical importance. I think it is now recognized that during this period the status and prestige of Australia in international affairs have been dramatically increased.
In September last, immediately after I had brought down the bill for the adherence of Australia to the Charter of the United Nations, I was chosen by the Government to undertake a special mission to London in connexion, with the Council of Foreign Ministers. On the same mission,
I also represented Australia on the executive of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations in London. Subsequently, the Far-Eastern Commission had important preliminary sessions at Washington, and I attended all these meetings.
An account of these missions requires a reference both to the European peace settlement and to that with Japan. First, I shall refer to the European settlement.
At Potsdam in July last, it was decided by the three major powers to set up a council of five Foreign Ministers representing the United Kingdom, Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, United States of America, France and China. This council was to undertake the task of preparing the terms of peace with Italy and the satellite enemies in Europe. Part of the Potsdam decisions were worded with some degree of ambiguity. It gradually became clear, however, that there was no fixed intention on the part of the three major powers to call together a general peace conference representing all the smaller nations which had contributed substantially to the Allied victories in Europe. For a time it seemed likely that the conclusions or recommendations of the Council of Foreign Ministers would settle all basic issues affecting the general European peace settlement.
The Australian Government was unable to- acquiesce in this method of approach to the peace-making. Our policy with respect to Europe was and is founded on three basic principles which we are resolved to maintain -
First, Australia as a belligerent in the European war was entitled to participate fully in decisions relating to the European peace settlements. I need only point to the fact that Australian fighting men have participated in two great European wars within a generation, and that ever since .1939 our nation and our fighting men have paid a heavy toll in the fight against Hitlerism and Fascism. The establishment of a just and economic peace in Europe is essential to the security of Britain and all British dominions. In that sense Ave cannot contract out of Europe.
Second, throughout the period of the war, we have accepted loyally the special position of the three major powers in the control and direction of the war in Europe. We continue to recognize that these powers have a special responsibility for the maintenance of peace throughout tho world. Therefore, they are entitled to exercise special rights. Their leadership is accepted. At the same time there was a duty to bring other directly interested belligerents into consultation on important peace arrangements, especially those affecting territorial adjustments. During the war, this principle was sometimes departed from. Notable examples are the Cairo declaration affecting the Pacific and the arrangements made at Yalta granting the Soviet Union territorial concessions in the Ear East in anticipation of its entering into the war against Japan. In neither case was there any prior consultation with belligerents outside the “Big Three “. I presume that no Australian can be found to justify such a procedure except upon the doubtful ground of urgent military necessity.
Third, we consistently maintain the right of all active belligerents to a full share in the framing of the peace. Those who have contributed substantially to victory are entitled to make a corresponding contribution to the peace. This is the only fair and democratic method of making the peace; and a just method of making a peace settlement is as important as the settlement itself.
Consequently, the proceedings of the Council of Foreign Ministers at London became of crucial importance in determining the procedure for the settlement of peace in Europe. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, fully recognized this. He stressed the need for constant and continuous personal consultation; between the United Kingdom Government and Australia, and invited our Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley, to nominate a special representative to speak on behalf of Australia in. connexion with these great matters.
The task having been entrusted to me, I arrived in London and remained there until late October. My main objective was to obtain support for the policy I have summarized and to suggest a practical procedure for achieving that policy,, either by enlarging the membership of the Council of Foreign Ministers so as to include other belligerents, or by having it expressly laid down that all thedeliberations of the Council were to beregarded as merely preparatory to a peace conference at which all active belligerents would be entitled to attend.
Tho views and submissions of Australia were joined in by New Zealand and South Africa. They were publicly supported by Canada. As one consequence of the action of the four dominions, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa attended several small sessions of the Council dealing with the Italo- Yugoslav, frontier and with the problem of Trieste. So also did Yugoslavia and Italy. Opportunity was taken by me to submit to the Council the view? of. the British dominions to the” effect that the Council’s deliberations should be regarded as merely preliminary to a full peace conference for Europe, representing all the belligerents.
Consultation with. British Commonwealth Governments.
During the whole of the Council’s deliberations there were continuous and frequent consultations with Mr. Attlee. Mr. Bevin, and Lord Addison. Not only did other dominions support the stand taken by Australia in claiming a right to a full participation in the determination of a European settlement; but also we were given substantial backing by the British Government.
Before leaving London, I was satisfied that my mission had been substantially accomplished. Not only Britain, but also the United States and the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics were prepared to support the request for the holding of a peace conference of all the Allied belligerents in the struggle against the Axis powers. Subsequently, the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom. United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the conference held at Moscow during the second half of December agreed upon the holding of a European peace conference which in principle complied with our demands. The procedure laid down is as follows: -
In the first place the terms of the proposed peace treaties with European enemies will be drafted by the countries which are deemed to be signatories of the respective surrender terms. This means that the Italian treaty will be drafted by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Soviet Union and France ; the treaties with Roumania, Bulgaria and Hungary by the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the Soviet Union; and the treaty with Finland will be drafted by. the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. Secondly, the Peace Conference is to be hold at Paris during the month of May, 1946. It will be composed of the five members of the Council of Foreign Ministers, together with all other members of the United Nations which actively waged war with substantial military forces against European enemy States. These nations comprise Australia, Belgium, Byelo-Russia, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Greece, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia and Ukraine. In all, twenty-one belligerents in the European war will be represented at the Paris Conference.
After the Peace Conference, and in the light of its recommendations, the final texts of the treaty will be drawn up by the States which prepared the first draft and which I have already named. In each case the final texts will then be signed by representatives of those States attending the Peace Conference which are at war with the enemy
States in question. The texts will then be submitted to the members of the United Nations which have declared a state of war with the enemy States in question, but which, not being active belligerents, are not entitled to attend the Peace Conference.
Australian Vital Interests in Japanese Settlement.
After completing my work in connexion with the Council of Foreign Ministers, I proceeded to Washington in order to attend the opening meeting of the Far-Eastern Commission. The general plan for the constitution of this Commission was agreed to previously in London, and the procedural suggestions which I made both to Mr. Bevin and Mr. Byrnes were provisionally adopted. Whilst I fully acknowledge the lead given by these two statesmen, Australia can justly claim to have taken a considerable share in the initiative which has resulted in the new Far Eastern armistice administration, and in the machinery for the planning of peace with Japan by more democratic and just procedures.
From Australia’s point of view, the problem of a European settlement can never be regarded as so important or immediate as that of the settlement with Japan. The constant concern of the Australian Government must be to ensure that the treatment of Japan in defeat is such that it will not a second time rise as an aggressor by the methods perpetrated by Germany in 1939 after six years of almost open preparation for war. It is not that we seek revenge against Japan’s atrocious acts; wo seek justice, and we must strive for security against further aggression.
In relation to Japan, we have held to the democratic principle we have invoked in relation to Europe; that is, that the nations which have made a substantial contribution to the defeat of enemy powers should also take a direct and active part in the armistice and the peace arrangements. After a preliminary skirmish, the proposal to exclude Australia and other belligerents from the armistice ceremony was promptly abandoned. Subsequently the Government has worked unceasingly to ensure that, in the case of Japan, Australia will not only have a full opportunity to be heard and to participate in the peace making, but will play a principal part both in peace policy and armistice administration.
Four years ago, at the request of the Australian and New Zealand Governments, a Pacific War Council was established in Washington so that the principal belligerents associated in the war against Japan would be. enabled, to consult at the highest level, not only on the question of war supplies for the Pacific theatres, including Australia, but also in preliminary considerations for the future peace settlement with Japan. The Pacific War Council well fulfilled its functions in relation to the provision of supplies for the South-west Pacific. In addition, Australia consistently pressed for the creation of an Allied body to continue the work of the Pacific partners in relation to the post-war period. Australia, therefore, warmly welcomed the willingness of the United States of America, expressed after V-J Day, to establish a . policy-making body for Japan, such a body being intended to include not only the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China, but also Australia, New Zealand, and the other active belligerents against Japan. Because of the importance of Far Eastern and Pacific policy to Australia, I attended all the meetings in the first session of the Commission at Washington.
It was my belief that the early sittings of the Commission could demonstrate that final agreement could be reached if there was complete frankness, goodwill and untiring devotion by all representatives to the task in hand. The Commission began its work in an atmosphere of doubt and uncertainty. Members had no set terms of reference. The. proposed constitution and powers were vague. There was inadequate preparation. The Soviet Union refused to participate at all until the questions of the Control Council at Tokyo and that of the veto claimed by it were first settled. In spite of this, there were no less than ten nations represented on the Commission, including three major powers. The representatives settled down to hard work, and the heads of subjects upon which basic policy decisions were first required were agreed to. Ultimately, this determination to make the Commission work produced results. We established a basic policy committee which did me the honour of electing me as chairman. At the end of five weeks devoted almost entirely to consideration cf basic policy in relation to Japan in the light of the Potsdam Declaration, the Commission reached a stage where all ten representatives had unanimously agreed that the conclusions of the policy committee were fit for consideration and decision by the governments concerned. In the circumstances this was, I submit, a considerable achievement. It proved that in relation to the Japanese settlement international co-operation on a democratic basis could be effective.
During the first phase of the Commission’s work the Australian delegation assumed much of the initiative. It made a large number of proposals on basic policy. The greater part of Australia’s proposed amendments received the general approval of the ten representatives. The basic document on which amendments were based was’ the United States policy directive unilaterally declared in the form of an earlier instruction from the President, to the Supreme Commander. The main purposes of the Australian amendments to the directive were to emphasize the importance of bringing about the establishment of a truly democratic and peaceful government in Japan, to see that under the new regime individual liberties and civil rights would be protected without sham or pretence, and to secure the destruction of the economic bases of Japan’s military strength.
We sought to stress the principle of the Potsdam Declaration requiring the total elimination of militarist influence and the removal from positions of influence in business as well as in the political life of Japan of all those who had led the people of Japan into aggressive warfare. In addition, we sought that the Potsdam principle of punishing war criminals should be rigorously applied : we advocated that, as an important factor towards achieving real democracy, the right and freedom of association in workers’ organizations should be a cardinal principle of Allied policy in Japan. We maintained that the large industrial and financial combines known as the Zaibatsu should be dissolved as incompatible with the achievement of democracy; and that industries which could be used for war purposes should be eliminated.
Until such time as the Far Eastern Commission makes definite its policy for Japan, General MacArthur, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, is controlling Japan within the framework of the existing post-surrender policy directive issued to him by the United States Government. That directive, as I have pointed out, was- the basic document of the Washington policy committee and a good deal of it is -contained in the policy document tentatively approved by the Commission at Washington in December last. This directive flows from the Potsdam Declaration which, it should be remarked, is an expression of Allied policy, and has not been made into an agreement with Japan.
Since the first Washington sessions, the Far-Eastern Commission’s contribution has been revised by the three powers represented at Moscow in December last. The Far-Eastern Council has ceased to be purely an advisory body. It is now substantially an executive body. It was agreed at Moscow that the Commission, with head-quarters at Washington, will formulate and determine policy. The Allied Council for Japan with headquarters at Tokyo and under the chairmanship of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, will consult and advise General MacArthur on the implementation of the Commission’s policies. So, we have the policy-making body at Washington, which determines ‘policy in principle; the implementation of policy is undertaken by the Allied Council for Japan in Tokyo.
Australian Status in Pacific Councils.
The status which has been gradually accorded to Australia in these Pacific councils rs sufficiently proved by three important appointments of. distinguished Australians ; first, that of General Northcott as leader of all the British Commonwealth, occupational forces in Japan; secondly, that of Mr. Macmahon Ball, representative on the Allied Council not only of Australia but also of the United Kingdom,’ New Zealand and India; and, thirdly, that of Sir William Webb, Australia’s War Crimes Commissioner, as President of the Allied Tribunal for the trial at Tokyo of Japanese major war criminals.
The appointment of an Australian, on Australia’s nomination, to represent not only Australia but also other governments of the British Commonwealth, including the United Kingdom itself, is a development of great importance. At the time of the Balfour Declaration of 1926, equality of .status in international affairs between the United Kingdom and each of the self-governing dominions was asserted. But this principle was stated to be modified in practice by dissimilarity of functions in relation to matters of defence and foreign relations. In other words, the theory of equality was subject to the practice of inequality. I need not trace here the rapid development in practice of the activities of Canada and Australia in the international field between 1926 and 1946. It is sufficient to suggest that an entirely new concept in British Commonwealth relations is now emerging. This concept tends to reconcile .full dominion autonomy with full British Commonwealth co-operation. The same principle involves the possibility of a dominion acting in certain regions or for certain purposes on behalf of the other members of the British Commonwealth, including the United Kingdom itself. This is evidence that the machinery of co-operation between nations of the British Commonwealth has now reached a stage where a. common policy can be carried out through a chosen dominion instrumentality in- an area or in relation to a subject-matter which is of primary concern to that dominion. This principle is capable of extension, and suggests the possible integration of British Commonwealth policy at a higher level by a new procedure. Its importance is’ very great and may rapidly increase. We appreciate the full support that we have received from the British, New Zealand and Indian Governments and also from the United States Government in these significant arrangements in relation to Japan.
Mindful of the importance of framing policy in keeping’ with the realities of the Japanese situation,- the Ear-Eastern Commission has just completed ,a mission to Japan. Australia was represented by a member, Mr. Forsyth, and three advisers. -The Commission had opportunity for personal observation and consultation with General MacArthur. It has been able to examine the implementation of existing policy since the end of the purely military phase of the surrender. As a result, the Commission will be in a far better position to put the finishing touches to the policy declaration to which I have referred.
The Commission met for the first time as a formally constituted body with specific powers at Washington on the 26th February. There is now full Russian participation. The valuable preliminary work and findings of the various subcommittees set up under the Advisory Commission should greatly shorten the time necessary to arrive at those decisions on basic policies for which the control machinery in Japan is waiting.
One disturbing factor in the situation, however, is that, the decisions of the Commission are still subject to the veto of any one of the four major powers. This was decided at Moscow when Russian participation was arranged. The Australian Government has maintained its strong opposition to this veto procedure, which in our view is quite inapplicable in principle to such matters as determinating policy in execution of principles already agreed to in the Potsdam Declaration. We have informed the United States Government that we are keenly disappointed at the introduction of a veto, especially after the early
Commission meetings which proceeded smoothly* by open and democratic methods. We are apprehensive that the exercise of this veto mar hamper theCommission’s work. Australia will continue its endeavours to make the Commission effective by building on the foundation work accomplished through the unanimity of the representatives of the ten Pacific powers.
A key point iii the foreign policy of Australia is enthusiastic and sustained activity in all aspects of the work of the United Nations. Admittedly the constitution of that organization has certain defects. These we stressed at the proper time. At San Francisco, however, the rough and inadequate draft plan of Dumbarton Oaks was greatly improved, and I make bold to claim that there is no responsible public marr who does not fully .and generously recognize Australia’s valuable contribution to the process of improvement effected at San Francisco.
I do not wish to quarrel over words, but I think it is quite erroneous to describe the United Nations organization merely as an “ experiment “. On the contrary, it is the best presently available instrument, both for avoiding the supreme and ultimate catastrophe of a third world war, waged with alldestroying weapons, and also for establishing an international order which can and should assure to mankind security against poverty, unemployment, ignorance, famine and disease. The United Nations, in the conception of that great man. Franklin Roosevelt, existed to help realize the twin objectives of freedom from fear and aggression, and freedom from want. We shall continue steadfastly and courageously to play our part in this organization, on which must rest most of the hopes of men of goodwill throughout the world.
Development of the United Nations.
Last session this House had before it the bill to approve the Charter of the United Nations. What was then merely a plan on paper has, in a few short months, become an organization in being. Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, three - the General Assembly. and Social Council - have now met. the Security Council and the Economic organized their work, and dealt- with many problems. The International Court of Justice has been elected, and will meet next month. The Secretariat is already being recruited and organized. Practical steps are now being taken to bring the only remaining organ, the Trusteeship Council, into being as soon as possible.
At the conclusion of the San Francisco Conference arrangements were made for the establishment of a Preparatory Commission, and an Executive Committee of the Commission. . This Executive Committee, of which Australia was a member, met in London from the 16th August to the 27th October, 1945. While in London I represented Australia on this executive, Mr. Paul Hasluck acting as my deputy both before and afterwards. A great deal was done to fill out the framework of the organization. The task of the committee was mainly preparatory, such as drafting rules of procedure, preparing agenda, making recommendations for the various committees and commissions required by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and elaborating plans for the organization of the Secretariat. But what the Executive Committee accomplished in so short a time was of great value in making possible the first meetings of the United Nations as early as January, 1946.
The full Preparatory Commission met in London from the 24th November to the 23rd December, 1945. Its task had been facilitated by the work of the Executive Committee. The first part of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations opened at Central Hall, Westminster, London, on Thursday, the 10th January, 1946. In the planning by the Preparatory Commission, it had been assumed that ‘this first meeting would deal almost exclusively with constituent and other formal matters. As the meeting progressed., however, it dealt with a number of matters of substance - matters of vital importance to international affairs.
The Australian delegation was led by my colleague, the Minister for the Navy and Minister for Munitions, (Mr. Makin) who will be making his own report to the House. Here, let me pay tribute to him and his colleagues for their able and untiring devotion to the mission to which they were assigned. I especially congratulate Mr. Makin on his election as first President of the Security Council. The fact is that, despite the forecasts of the sceptics and the men of ill-will, the United Nations is now successfully launched. Right at the outset the General Assembly and the Security Council had to face up to several acute problems arising out of the aftermath of World War IT. Several of the problems which came before the Security Council involved ‘ differences between some of the Great Powers themselves. There were critics who said that to bring such difficult issues before the United Nations at this stage would imperil the organization and therefore they should be shelved. Consistently with our attitude at San Francisco, Australia strongly opposed any such side-tracking. We considered that, if differences between powers, great or small, become acute, they should be brought into the open before the appropriate organ of the United Nations, discussed in the open and openly settled in accordance with the governing principles of justice and international law laid down in the Charter. From this point of view, it is a most hopeful sign that, though the peace settlements strictly so-called are outside the scope of the United Nations, so many problems arising directly out of war-time conditions should have been brought for adjustment in the United Nations, rather than reserved for small secret conclaves or for some ad hoc Allied organization.
Not all the issues brought before the Security Council have been finally settled. But the methods used in the effort to conciliate them have been those of frank public discussion and not those of the secret diplomacy and open power politics of the Munich days. No one can deny that the Security Council in the first fewweeks of ils life was put to a strenuous test. It faced up to that test and, as it gathers experience, will prove more and more capable of applying the principles of justice laid down in the Charter.
Election to the Security Council.
From our point of view the great feature of the London meeting of the General Assembly was the election of Australia to one of the three senior positions as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. At San Francisco, we joined with Canada in the struggle to lay down in the Charter the principle that, in the election of non-permanent members, the contribution of a nation to security should be a primary criterion. On this footing Australia was, in my view, clearly entitled to election in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the overthrow of tyranny in both world wars. Canada had a claim of equal validity and, in my view, both countries should have been elected. As it was, Australia was elected, and Canada made a graceful gesture to us in supporting Australia’s election at the final ballot.
I was pleased to hear from my colleague, Mr. Makin, that the Foreign Ministers of many countries with whom we had worked personally over long periods at San Francisco and at London had given steady support to Australia, despite the organization of a powerful “ ticket “ or list which would have excluded us from election, notwithstanding our indisputable claims. However, “ all’s well that ends well “. I freely confess that I am deeply gratified at the great tribute thus paid bythe United Nations to the objectives of Australian policy in war and in peace, and, above all, to the outstanding part the members of our fighting services have played in two world wars.. Having regard to all the circumstances, I regard the honour achieved by Australia, which also places a heavy responsibility upon us, as a culminating point in the carrying out of an external policy based upon principles openly proclaimed and vigorously pursued, not only in the interest of Australia and the British Commonwealth, but in a long and sustained attempt to carry into effect the great objectives of the United Nations laid down in the Atlantic Charter and other international instruments, especially the United Nations Charter and the agreement between Australiaand New Zealand. A study of the terms of this agreement will show how marked an effect both countries have had in relation to some vital subjects dealt with in the agreement. From first to last New Zealand has been steadfast. We could scarcely have been elected to the Security Council without Mr. Eraser’s vigorous advocacy.
Functions of the Security Council.
The Security Council is not yet organized for its supremely important function ofdirecting the collective force of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. That function will require the negotiation of the world-wide network of special military agreements contemplated by Article 43 of the Charter. This task will be the main preoccupation of the Security Council during the next year. In the meantime the main function of the Security Council will be the settlement and adjustment of international disputes’ by means of consultation and conciliation. It can prove an effective instrument for these purposes, providing that each of the five permanent members carries out its undertaking impliedly given at San Francisco and refrains from exercising its veto oppressively or capriciously. As is well-known, the policyof Australia was to deny the validity of the veto procedure in relation to the processes of peaceful settlement, as distinct from the processes of enforcement. In my views, some of the recent proceedings at London have demonstrated the soundness of the view advanced by Australia at San Francisco.
The United Nations Conference at London has already recognized the principle I have repeatedly stressed, that peace is not merely the absence of war but” depends upon freedom from want and unemployment. The General Assembly and its Economic and Social Council gave urgent consideration to the grave worldwide grain shortage. They have taken steps to plan the relief of this shortage by collective action. In addition, further support will be given for the emergency relief supplied by Unrra. It was also decided that a special international conference on trade and employment should be called for the purpose of giving detailed consideration to the two great objectives included in the Charter largely as the result of Australian initiative at San Francisco - viz., higher standards of living and full employment.
I would emphasize that almost all the meetings recently held in London were open to the press, and so far as possible to the public. This is in keeping with the true spirit and purpose of the Charter. The Charter seeks to establish be’tween the nations good fellowship and mutual understanding - or, to use an expressive Australianism, a “ fair go for all “. Much depends on free and public interchange of ideas and opinions. The more public the deliberations of the United Nations, the closer and better informed will be the interest of- its peoples. And the best protection against any return to the discredited methods of secret diplomacy and the power politics of the appeasement decade is the constant vigilance of an intelligent public opinion in every country.
Here I must deal with the vexed question of trusteeship, which may affect the status of Australia’s mandated territory of New Guinea. There seems to be in some quarters a misapprehension about the system of trusteeship under the new Charter. No one appreciates more than I do the pioneer work done in relation to New Guinea by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) a<- Versailles in 1919. His anxieties as to the possible status of New Guinea under the new Charter are quite baseless. I shall do my best to make this crystal clear.
Chapters XII. and XIII. of the United Nations Charter provide for the establishment of an international trusteeship system. The ob ject of this system is to promote the welfare of the inhabitants of non-self-governing territories, their social, political and economic development, and their advancement towards self-government or independence. There is to be an expert Trusteeship Council, responsible primarily to the General Assembly of the United Nations, in order ro supervise the- due performance, by the authorities administering trust territories, of their obligations under the
Charter. I emphasize that the Trusteeship Council, to which reports must be made and which may be consulted, has no executive authority whatever. It cannot make an order to operate in the territory. It has no jurisdiction over such territories. The trusteeship system is to apply to such non-self-governing territories only as are placed under the system by voluntary agreements, concurred in by the States directly concerned and approved by the General Assembly.
The Preparatory Commission of the United Nations recommended that the General Assembly should call on the States administering territories under mandate from the League of Nations to undertake practical steps, in concert with the other States directly concerned, for implementing article ‘79 of the Charter, which deals with the negotiation and approval of trusteeship agreements, and thus inaugurating the trusteeship system. There are sound reasons for inviting the present mandatory States to take this initiative. They do not claim to possess the legal sovereignty of the mandated territories, or to be able to dispose of them as their own without restriction. On the contrary, though they exercise the exclusive right to administer the territories concerned, they do so subject to an existing system of international accountability, i.e., the mandatory system. The trusteeship system under the new Charter is intended to replace the scheme of accountability under the mandatory system. Having regard to the differences between the mandate system under the League and the trusteeship system under the United Nations, the Charter fully safeguards the position of the mandatory (States. First, article 77 declares in effect that it will be for subsequent agreement to determine which mandated territories shall be brought under the trusteeship system. Second, article 79 provides that the terms upon which a mandated territory ‘ is brought under the trusteeship system must be agreed to by the mandatory State. Third, article 80 lays down in substance that, pending the conclusion of a trusteeship agreement in respect of a mandated territory, nothing in the Charter shall alter in any way the rights existing under the mandate. The position of Australia is safeguarded under each of those provisions until a new agreement is negotiated and Australia becomes a party to such an agreement.
Declarations by Mandatory States.
After an exchange of views with the United Kingdom Government and other governments of the British Commonwealth, the Government of Australia made the following announcement on the 17th January, and authorized this communication to the General Assembly of the United Nations: -
The Australian Govern ment, mindful of the obligations which the Charter imposes on all members of the United Nations administering non-self-governing, territories and conscious of its responsibility as a trustee for the peoples of the mandated territories administered by it under the Covenant of the League of Nations, announces its intention’ of negotiating an appropriate trusteeship agreement with a view to bringing the mandated territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system contemplated by Chapters XII. and XIII. cif the United Na-tions Charter. At the same time it announces a similar intention in regard to the territory of Nauru. Both the United Kingdom and New Zealand Governments, with which Australia shares this mandate, concur in this course of action.
The Governments of the United Kingdom and of New Zealand made similar declarations with respect to their own mandated territories.
In the announcement I have quoted, I emphasize the words “ an appropriate agreement”. The initiative rests with Australia. The existing C class mandate will naturally provide the basis for the new agreement. It goes without saying, therefore, that, in order to be acceptable to Australia, the new agreement must, like the present mandate, designate the Government of Australia as the exclusive administering authority in the territory. Like the present mandate, it must also permit the “territory to be administered as an integral portion of the territory of Australia and under Australian laws, subject, of course, to the general duty laid down in the Charter and also contained in the mandate to promote the welfare and advancement of the inhabitant.
– So far, in common with the United Kingdom and New Zealand and certain other countries not in the British Commonwealth, we have announced our intention to negotiate a suitable agreement. Before such a vitally important agreement can be finalized, the mattei- will be brought before this House. That must be done.
In referring to the States with which trusteeship agreements are to be negotiated, the Charter itself uses, but does not define, the phrase “ States directly concerned”. In the course of discussions as to the necessary parties to the agreements, the view of the Australian Government has been made quite plain. In my view, the States directly concerned are those States only which have an interest recognizable by international law in the sovereignty, control or disposition of a territory. That may seem very abstract, but no such agreement can be binding on Australia unless we make the agreement. The agreement must be negotiated with what are called the “ States directly concerned “. Honorable members may recall that, at the Versailles Conference, Germany ceded its interests in many territories, including New Guinea, to the principal allied and associated powers, one of which at that time was the United States of America. There has always been a school of thought in international studies that the United States of America still has some sort of a residuary legal interest, or right to be consulted, iii connexion with those mandated territories. I do not agree with that. It has never been affirmed or accepted by us, and that is one reason why that phrase has been used.
I draw attention to one vital difference between the mandate system under the League and the new trusteeship system under the United Nations. The terms of the mandates expressly prohibit the fortification of the territories. The assumption was that the mandated territories must be kept out’ of the system of collective security envisaged by the Covenant. The Charter of the United Nations rests on the opposite principle. It expressly declares .that territories brought under the trusteeship system are to play their appropriate part in the security arrangements to be established under the Charter. To this end, it pro- vides that the trusteeship agreement may designate the whole or any part of a trust territory as a strategic area. In bringing the Australian mandated territories under the trusteeship system, opportunity will accordingly be taken to eliminate a negative feature of the mandate system which in the past proved to be a grave danger to Australia. We shall accordingly ask for the right to establish bases, in. the interest of the security of Australia and of the South- West, Pacific Area. It was the provision in the existing mandates prohibiting any fortification which helped to give the Japanese so great an advantage in the early stages of the Pacific war. Despite assurances given to this Parliament by the government of the day, it is certain that in their own mandated territories the Japanese established naval and military bases m flagrant breach of the mandate ; and they did so with impunity.
– It is known that island after island in the Caroline, Marshall, and Marianas groups was used in some form as a Japanese naval or air base before the outbreak of war. That has been made clear by the military reports on advances made in those territories during the war. It is. well known that Japan laid down fortifications in defiance of die terms of the mandate.
– And did so secretly.
– I have no doubt about that. Japan gave assurances that, those places were not being fortified in any way, even after it withdrew from the -League of Nations.
– What is the position with relation to France and the Syrian mandate?
– A declaration was made by France in relation to certain mandated territories, but the essence of the agreements made with Syria and Lebanon is that those countries have passed the stage of tutelage which the mandate system connotes and are becoming independent members of the United Nations. One of the disputes before the Security Council related to the withdrawal of forces from Syria and Lebanon. Australia’s past record as a mandatory is clear. We have nothing to fear from bringing our future administration under the similar review of the new Trusteeship Council, the functions of which will be only advisory. To do so will be to provideadditional safeguards for the welfare of the inhabitants of the territories concerned. It will also, as I have explained, have important strategic advantages for Australia itself, and lor our neighbours who are also concerned in maintaining the security of the South-West Pacific region.
The Charter of the United Nations not only provides for the establishment of the trusteeship system but also contains provisions that- are applicable to all nonselfgoverning territories. For Chapter XI. places all members administering nonselfgoverning territories under an obligation to treat the interests of the inhabitants as ‘paramount, to promote their wellbeing, arid to ensure their political, economic, social and educational advancement. This Chapter XI. is already in force. It is in no way dependent on the bringing into being of a Trusteeship Council. Further, all members administering territories covered by this chapter undertake to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General, for information purposes, and subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations may require, statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to conditions in the territories concerned. The General Assembly has called special attention to the obligations of members under Chapter XL, and has requested the Secretary-General to include t in his * annual report to the General Assembly a summarized statement of the information he receives under this chapter.
The United States Government, after consultation with representatives of the United Kingdom Government, has submitted “ proposals for expansion of world trade and employment “ and the setting up of an international trade organization for consideration by governments in preparation for an international conference on trade and employment.
The international trade organization is to he a part of the international machinery already established or in the process of creation for the promotion of the objectives of the Charter, full employment and higher standards of living. This organization is to be brought into permanent relationship with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations organization, and the Council will sponsor the convening of the conference and has constituted a preparatory committee to elaborate a draft convention for consideration by the conference.
The proposals recognize the principle consistently advocated by the. Australian Government at previous international discussions that high and stable levels of employment are necessary conditions for an enlarged volume of trade, and that there should be an undertaking by each signatory nation to take action designed to maintain full employment.
The international trade and employment conference, which is provisionally scheduled for late 1946, is to be preceded by a. preliminary conference between fifteen countries, including Australia.
During 1945, in spite of difficulties caused by war commitments and drought conditions, procurement of supplies for Unrra went steadily ahead. More than £7,000,000 of Australia’s “ first contribution has already been earmarked, principally for raw wool, manufactured woollen goods and surplus service stocks. Unrra’s needs in the current year will be “much heavier than in 1945, and considerable funds will be required to meet those needs. Consequently, along with the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, the Australian Government decided to make a second contribution. Owing to the difficult supply position in Australia this further contribution is subject to agreement between Unrra and Australia as to the form the contribution will take.
The fourth meeting of the Council of Unrra will commence on the 15th March next. I stress that Australia is the fourth largest con- tributor to Unrra. This is an excellent record. It is clearly desirable that Australia should be represented on Unrra bodies at the highest level. Accordingly, at the forthcoming Council meeting, it is hoped that Australia will be elected to the Central Committee of the Council, which we propose should be enlarged from six to nine members.
A conference for the establishment of an educational, scientific and cultural organization of the United Nations was held in London on the 1st November, 1945. This conference was held in accordance with the recommendations of the conference of San Francisco, in order to promote the aims outlined in article 1, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations.
Australia was represented by Australian educationists, Dr. E. R. Walker, Dr. H. S. Wyndham and Mr. J. A. Seitz. Mr. Seitz is Director of Education in Victoria and was selected as adviser by the State Directors of Education.
The conference adopted as its basis of discussion a draft constitution prepared by the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education. In the final constitution evolved, provision was made that the organization should come into being when the constitution had .been ratified by twenty members. Pending the coming into force of the constitution, a .preparatory commission has been set up and is at present meeting in London. It is making arrangements for the first session of the general conference of the organization, probably in June.
In considering the site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Australia pressed for that of the United Nations, but it was resolved that Paris should be the headquarters. Australia favoured the close tie-up with the United Nations : It is proposed that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization should become associated with the United Nations as one of the specialized agencies referred to in Article 57 of the Charter. Effective co-operation is sought between the two organizations in the pursuit of their common purposes, but at the same time the autonomy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization within the fields of its competence as defined in the constitution is recognized. The purposes cf the organization as laid down in the constitution stress the vital contribution which education and culture can make towards the firm establishment of international .peace. In recognizing the importance of extending popular education and the spread of culture as a means of achieving international collaboration, Australia is taking its full share of responsibility by being a signatory to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization constitution.
The United Kingdom Government has deposited its acceptance of the constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and hopes that the required number of twenty acceptances .will be received in time to enable the first conference of the organization to be held in the middle of 1946.
The first conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization was held at Quebec last October when the constitution was signed. The Food and Agriculture Organization Conference affirmed its intention of working closely with other United Nations bodies, especially with the International Labour organization. It stressed the importance of securing improvements in the efficiency of distribution of food and agricultural products when it reported that “ unless governments adopt policies aimed at the minimization of restriction, the maintenance of full employment, and a progressive expanding economy’ on a national and international scale, production and consumption of food will soon be out of step and the world will be faced with the recurrence of all the difficulties and frustration which marked the inter-war period “. To carry out its work the conference appointed permanent committees dealing with nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, . forestry, marketing and statistics. An Australian, Mr. F. L. McDougall, is acting as Secretary-General of the organization.
The International Labour Office, which showed such resilience during the strenuous war years, when peace-time forms of collaboration in other social fields had collapsed, met again in October last. The International Labour Office is pressing on with its programme of social betterment ; and re-examining its constitution so as to equip itself better for its future place among the new international organizations. At the last session both the Australian Government and the Australian workers’ representative, were elected to the governing body of the organization. The Australian Government delegation to the International Labour Conference consisted of Senator Fraser, Mr. George Lawson, and Mr. Haylen. I congratulate them on their work.
The Economic and Social .Council of the United Nations, at its first session just ended set up committees to prepare the way for international organization and co-operation in trade and employment policy, health matters and treatment of refugees and displaced persons. Australia is represented on the Preparatory Committee for Refugees.
In my view, the Assembly and the Council have already proved their value in the social and economic field. No other forum of equivalent standing existed, before January, where a crisis so alarming as the food situations in Europe and Asia, or a problem so difficult in its human and political aspects as that of refugees, could be fully and frankly debated.
The working methods of the Assembly and other organs of the United Nations have begun to emerge. On a subject like . refugees, where deep differences appeared, –discussion and agreement on broad principles were essential. This agreement having been achieved in the full Assembly of 51 nations, the Economic and Social Council, which is a smaller working body of eighteen, could proceed to tackle the technical and organizational tasks. This, I believe, is a good precedent.
Australia can take pride in being one of the main architects of the Economic and Social Council. At San Francisco the Australian delegation fought strong opposition to have the status of the body elevated, and to place real obligations upon it to foster better living standards and employment, without which international agreements will mean little to the peoples of the world.
I now turn to several aspects of current Pacific questions. It is this area which will increasingly present the problems most immediate and vital to AustraliaAustralia is directly affected by events in Europe. But our stake in the Pacific is paramount. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) said on one occasion that in the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand had taken primary risks, and therefore were entitled to a voice in the councils of a primary character affecting the Pacific. That is a view in which I entirely concur. The Australian Government has never relaxed for a moment in its determination to see this country participate as a party principal in all the international decisions that affect this area. Our efforts have had considerable success, but they cannot be lessened without danger to our future’. Australia stands to Asia, geographically and politically, in something of the same relationship as the United Kingdom to Europe, in such circumstances there is always a certain tendency to seek refuge in isolationism and baulk away from the problems that seem to have no obvious bearing on our way of life in this country. But like the United Kingdom in relation to Europe, Australia cannot afford to be insular in the Pacific
By study of Pacific affairs, and through expansion of direct diplomatic and consular representation, Australia is setting out to make its own assessments of the problems of the Pacific. By so doing we may speak with a fresh, direct and independent voice in the councils of Pacific nations. It is our wish and intention to play a dynamic part in achieving, as a member of the British Commonwealth, a world comity. It is our destiny and duty to play that part in the Pacific.
When the immediate problems arising out of the Armistice are being liquidated, the Allies will be faced with the task of making a lasting peace settlement for the whole Pacific area. Australia as a principal power in the Pacific is bound to play its part in ensuring that this vast area shall not again be ravaged by war.
The questions involved are of great complexity and a satisfactory settlementwill require the most careful and frank consideration ‘by all concerned. The Australian Government has made known to its Allies in the Pacific its conviction that it would be highly undesirable to deal with these questions precipitately or in a piece-meal fashion.
In the first place, the Australian Government is fully conscious of the importance of making security arrangements in the Pacific. This is a matter in which account must be taken of the rights and interest of all the Allies, of the obligations attaching to membership of the United Nations, and of the” welfare of the peoples of the Pacific who are not yet selfgoverning.
In particular, the Commonwealth Government will not be party to any hasty arrangements for the re-allocation of territory or the disposition of military bases in the Pacific. The Commonwealth Government does not recognize the claim that the acquisition of territory by force of arms confers a right to the retention of that territory. Australian fighting men have contributed to the common cause of victory in Europe and the Middle East, as well as in the Pacific. Moreover, Australia is at least as vitally concerned as any other nation in ensuring that provision shall he made for the future security of the Pacific. Our experience in the war is fresh in our minds. We recall the anxious days when all the British, Dutch and American bases to the north had fallen and the enemy was only just held back from Australia itself. The Government is very conscious, therefore, of its obligation to the people of Australia to ensure that such a threat shall never recur.
The Government will enter into no commitments which will lessen the control of the Australian people over their own territories. Any consideration of plans for the joint use of any bases in ‘ Australia’s dependent territories should be preceded by an over-all defence arrangement for the region of the Western
Pacific, including the islands formerly mandated to Japan ; as an incident of any such arrangement, Australia should be entitled to reciprocal use of foreign bases in the region, thus providing for an overall increase in the security, both of Australia and of all other united nations with interests in the region.
The detailed means of implementing a security policy for the Pacific have yet to be decided, but this much is already apparent: Australian security is very largely dependent on our closest co-operation with the British Commonwealth and the United States of America. Any hindrance to the maximum degree of cooperation with either would be contrary to the interests of all these countries. It should be added that regional arrangements for defence are not only permitted but also encouraged by the Charter so long as the objectives are in accordance with the principles of the United Nations.
Netherlands East Indies and the Indonesian Dispute.
Australia’s policy in relation to the dispute caused by Indonesian demands for self-government is to assist in settlement of the dispute and to discourage acts of provocation and violence which, by accentuating bitterness, would be calculated to prevent a just settlement. We have had special representatives in the Netherlands East Indies since V-J Day, including first Mr. Macmahon Ball and at present Mr. Keith Officer. Both representatives have kept in close consultation with the British Military Command, the function of which is solely to carry out the armistice arrangements with Japan. The lines of a possible settlement of the dispute are indicated in article 73 of the United Nations Charter, by which each member has undertaken to assist its dependent peoples to increase their rights of self-government. Under article 73 everything depends on the stage of political development which has been and can be reached by the peoples concerned. What is appropriate to one territory may br entirely inappropriate to another.
The most recent proposals of the Netherlands East Indies Government seem to me to mark a great, advance towards a satisfactory settlement. Whilst. Dutch sovereignty is retained, provision is made for a great increase in local selfgovernment, and the proposals also envisage the ultimate admission of an Indonesian Commonwealth into the United Nations. The Dutch proposals are expressly based on article 73 of the Charter, and our special representative in the Netherlands East Indies is doing what is possible to assist the special British political representative now mediating between the parties with a view to a just settlement.
Australia has a vital interest in the preservation of the war-time friendship with the Dutch in relation to the Netherlands East Indies. At the same time it is important to do everything possible to establish good relations with the Indonesian and other dependent peoples of the world who are advancing towards a far greater degree of self-government. These have been actively encouraged by the declaration in the Atlantic Charter of 1941, to which all the United Nations subsequently subscribed.. France has succeeded in making satisfactory settlements in relation to some of the peoples of IndoChina., and it is to be hoped that a settlement will soon be reached in relation to the Netherlands East Indies.
Timor is of great importance to Australia. In “enemy hands during the war this possession was a danger continually threatening the safety of Darwin. In his statement of the 29th October, 1945, President Salazar of Portugal paid the following tribute to the achievements of Australian arms : -
Sonic words arc especially due to Australia. Apart, from the efforts and sacrifices endured by tin; Austral inn Government for the defence of their land and the liberation of the territories occupied by the Japanese Empire, a liberation in which it took such a distinguished part by the side of the ‘United States mid .Rutland, and for which we are indebted in her. together with all other nations with dominions in those regions, the following must lie recorded: ‘Portugal cannot forget that Aus-‘ tralian soldiers, killed in the war against Japan ii, lie in ‘Portuguese lands in .the l?av East.
He also re-affirmed his recognition of the common interests which bind Australia and Portugal in the Pacific, saying -
In view of the proximity of our territories, our mutual interests and this reciprocity of –oi-vii’(“= rendered and received in times of great difficulty and danger, a policy of mutual approach and close friendship will certainly evolve in the pursuit of common interests.
The Australian Government, for its part, acknowledges with gratitude the assistance given by the people of Timor to our troops during the war, in many cases at the cost of savage retribution hy the Japanese.
The early capitulation of the Japanese precluded the association of Portuguese and Australian forces in the struggle, but the common peril of the two nations has formed a secure basis for co-operation in the future. The Portuguese Government has accepted an Australian Consul in Portuguese Timor, and arrangements are in hand for him to take up permanent residence at Dilli. We are watching with great interest the efforts of the new administration to rehabilitate the colony after the devastation caused by the war. The’ shortage of shipping is a serious obstacle to be overcome, but we hope to see an early development in trade between Timor and- Australia. We look forward also to the conclusion, at an opportune time, of those agreements relating to defence and aviation which the Portuguese Government has already undertaken to negotiate with Australia. ‘
The surrender of the Japanese was attended by a rapid change of front on the part of the Siamese Government. On the 16th August, 1945, the Regent, in the name of His Majesty the King of Siam and with the unanimous approval of the National Assembly of Siam, proclaimed the declaration of Avar made by Siam on the 25th January, 1942, against the United Kingdom to be null and void.
Peace Negotiations with Sia.m.
The Regent’s proclamation asserted that this declaration” of war- had been made contrary to the will of the Siamese people and in violation of the constitution and laws of Siam. The Siamese Government therefore repudiated the alliance with Japan on the 21st December, 1941, and all other treaties, pacts or agreements concluded between Siam and Japan. It also afforded assistance to the forces of the Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia; it surrendered British territories it had occupied in Burma and Malaya, and it caused the apprehension as war criminals of leading Siamese who had inveigled Siam into its unfortunate and disastrous association with Japan. Siamese governments in office since the surrender of the Japanese have been disposed to co-operate fully with the Allies, and have sought to re-establish the relations existing before the war between the British and Siamese peoples.
That association, which we had hoped might have grown into a firm alliance between Australia and Siam during the last war, was shattered not by any action on our part or on the part of the United * Kingdom, but ‘by the acquiescence of the Siamese people in the domination of Siam by a group which made Siam a mere puppet m the hands of Japanese militarists, led Siam to declare war on Great Britain, and finally obliged Australia to declare war on Siam.
The Australian Government has acted as a party principal in negotiations with the Siamese for the re-establishment of peace. When negotiations for peace agreements with Siam were resumed last December an Australian representative took his place alongside the United Kingdom representative in Singapore and placed our preliminary peace terms before the Siamese plenipotentiaries.
On the 1st January of this year, the Siamese representatives accepted both the preliminary British heads of agreement, and the final peace agreement between the United Kingdom and India on the one hand and Siam on the other. Concurrently the Siamese accepted the preliminary peace terms or points of agreement put to them by the Australian governmental plenipotentiary. These preliminary terms had received careful consideration from His Majesty’s Ministers in Australia and, after acceptance by the Siamese, were formally approved by the Government on the 18th January a? the basis for a final peace agreement or settlement. The principles of this final settlement having been determined, the Government despatched Mr. Frank Keith Officer as Minister Plenipotentiary to Bangkok on the 22nd February to arrange for their . formal acceptance by the Siamese.
In this statement I have covered a good deal of ground, because a great deal has happened. No one is more anxious than I am to have every aspect of these matters thoroughly canvassed, in order that we may get the general sense of this House and the country in respect of some of them.
Future of International Co-operation.
A realistic review of the international situation discloses so many unsolved problems that a considerable degree of pessimism is now sweeping the world. This pessimism has not been lessened by the temporary failure to solve at London the problems of Iran, Greece or Indonesia. In no one of -these cases did the Assembly initiate any discussions, and the Security Council’s attention was devoted solely to the question of whether international peace was being threatened. Other and deeper questions were involved, for example, a just Indonesian settlement, but these were deemed outside the jurisdiction of the Security Council. The Security Council cannot deal with any problems unless it is satisfied that there is a threat to international security. Its jurisdiction depends on that fact being found. Take the Indonesian situation. The overwhelming view of the members of the Council was that in that matter no threat to international security was involved. How could it have been? The British forces in Indonesia were there in accordance with the armistice arrangements. The Charter of the United Nations provides that in carrying out the armistice the Security Council has no jurisdiction, but that, of course, still leaves unsettled the great problem as to what future arrangements are to he made in that area between the Dutch and their Indonesian subjects.
I shall refer now to several matters raised at an earlier stage of the proceedings of the House, and especially to import^ ant remarks by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). I have pointed to the undoubted pessimism.. We notice day by day the press accounts of the international situation, and we observe this pessimism on all sides. What is the cause of it. What are the facts? . We fire still in the middle of the period of transi tion from war to peace. The war is over in the sense that the enemy has given up resistance on the battlefield. The war, however, is not over in the sense that the catastrophic effects of the war are removed. Not all enemy forces have yet been disarmed. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese troops still have to be transferred from territory to territory. Displaced civilian populations have still to be settled in the countries from which they came. On all hands is seen evidence of the physical destruction caused by the war. Cities have been devastated and transport systems disorganized. Food shor.tages have made the task of feeding even Allied populations one of supreme difficulty. Above all, the Fascist enemy, defeated on the battlefield, is almost certainly organizing underground for a future resurgence.
In these circumstances, it would have been a miracle if the cessation of actual hostilities had” given rise immediately to an era of peace and security. It is natural for populations which have suffered the privations of war to expect an immediate and dramatic improvement in their material conditions when hostilities cease. Actually, of course, such a sudden change is impossible. It is necessary that this should be fully understood’ in order to counteract any feeling of frustration or disillusionment because the fruits of victory have not yet been gathered.
Again, when hostilities cease, there is a tendency for Allied countries which have acted in almost complete unity during the war to become more aware of, and to accentuate, differences in outlook which by resolute and brilliant leadership had ‘been submerged during the crisis of war. It is particularly easy to concentrate upon these points of differences and to accept them, not only as vital, but as being without remedy. In my view, this is a most dangerous attitude of mind. It can lead only to disaster, if it is unchecked. I have in mind, in particular, criticisms of the Soviet Union, without whose magnificent contribution complete victory over Hitler would have been either long delayed, or impossible. Whilst the British Commonwealth has fairly been said to have saved the Soviet Union in. 1939 and 1940, equally the Soviet is claimed to have saved the British Commonwealth in 1941 and 1942. In truth, the unity in war-time of these powers and the United States saved the whole world from Fascist dictatorship.
A chief factor which has created. doubts as to the peaceful intentions of the SovietUnion is its expansion, both territorially and in zones of special influence since 1939. The basic fact of expansion is undoubted. During the crisis of war, both President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill entered into agreements giving the Soviet Union considerable territorial gains, not. only in Western Europe, but also in the Far East. Most of these arrangements for territorial expansion were made by the United Kingdom and the United States of America alone, and without prior reference to their allies. They were made primarily in the belief that the Soviet Union would be a trusted and peace-loving ally, not only in time of
War hut in time of peace. Surely that belief is not yet given up !
The real question is, not whether the Soviet Union territory and zones of influence have expanded, but what is the underlying intention and purpose of the Soviet Union. Is it to secure the political domination of other countries, or is it merely to protect Russia against any repetition of the so-called cordon sanitaire which united all reactionary influences in Europe against it during the period between the two great wars? Is it aggressive in substance, or defensive in substance? That is the great question. It will not be forgotten that in the Munich era of appeasement of Hitler and his Axis associates, there was the greatest inclination on the part of some Western democracies to isolate the Soviet Union and to hail Hitler as the saviour of civilization against the so-called Bolshevik hordes.
– Surely that is a matter within the knowledge of the honorable member. I think it is clear that throughout the whole era of appeasement from 1933, when Hitler came into power, to 1 939, the tendency of the Western democracies, that is to say, France and Great Britain, was to take this attitude towards Russia.
– Nonsense !
– It is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to say that. I could quote some of his own speeches in support of my contention. The then Governments of those democracies are no longer in power, and there can be no repetition of that. I am seeking to analyse what is the essence of the problem raised the other day in the House by the right honorable member for North Sydney, and I repeat that, in the Munich era of appeasement of Hitler and his Axis associates, there was the greatest inclination on the part of some Western democracies to isolate the Soviet Union, and to hail- Hitler as the saviour of civilization against the so-called Bolshevik hordes. I could produce dozens of quotations in support of my contention. I am saying that Russia, between the two wars, was treated as outside the pale, and was not brought into an alliance against Hitler. Until Hitler actually attacked Soviet Russia, no arrangement with it was entered into by the Western powers. I am surprised to hear that that has been denied. I am not speaking of any particular government - it is a matter of history.
– Did not Ribbentrop make terms with Russia in 1940?
– He did.
– The Minister did not mention that.
– I am not defending any particular policy of Russia. I am trying to see what is the reason behind the expansion of Russia- whether it is defensive or aggressive. J It is important to “note that some of those who, between 1933 and 1939, first endured, then pitied, and, finally, embraced Hitler and most of his works, are now to be found amongst those who are prepared to join forces at once against the Soviet Union without any important investigation as to whether its expansionist policy is aggressive or defensive in intent’. ^
A second factor in the situation is the very recent application of atomic energy to war-like purposes. An agreement was made between Britain and the United States of America in relation to the new discovery and in that arrangement, the Soviet Union was not included. Therefore, suspicion amongst the three major powers is not confined to suspicion of Russia, but it includes also suspicion by Russia. Whether the suspicions are justified or not is beside the point. On the one hand we know that on the part of the peoples of the British Common^ wealth and the United States of America there is no aggressive intention against Russia. But the Soviet Union points to the long era of appeasement, when Russian attempts to make the League of Nations an effective body were continued right up to the point of virtual liquidation of the League at Munich. The period of mutual suspicion seemed to end either in June, 1941, when direct aggression against Russia made it our ally, or in 1942, when the twenty-year treaty of friendship between Russia and Britain was’ signed at London.
Now having lived through the great period of war-time partnership which promised a permanent understanding between the three great powers on all fundamentals, one is presented almost daily with the monotonous question - does Russia intend aggression? ^Having no clear evidence to the contrary and having during the last four years come to know some of Russia’s greatest statesmen^ take the view that the Soviet Union’s policy is directed towards self-protection and security against future attack. J Un my opinion, its desire is to develop its own economy and to improve the welfare of its peoples. That is my view; perhaps it is wrong J One must arrive at some conclusion in These matters or it is impossible to move ahead with any policy: That is the opinion upon which I act.
Whilst this pessimism with regard to relations with Russia seems to be unjustified, there is also widespread pessimism in relation to the activities of Fascist-led dictatorships in several other ^ countries. Matters of essentially domestic concern do not usually come within the purview of the United Nations. Constitutional changes’ are expected to come from within a country. But it is equally true and recognized in the United Nations Charter that Fascist developments in any one country which are likely to cause a breach of international peace are a matter of concern to the Security Council and the
United Nations, and their jurisdiction over such developments is undoubted.
I believe that in all these cases first the facts and then the remedies must be sought through the United Nations, its Assembly, and its Security Council. The greatest difficulty is to ascertain the facts of each dispute. S<3 far no investigation has been undertaken by or under the authority of the .Security Council. Temporarily, compromises have been made, but the full facts in relation to disputes or situations have hot been elicited.
In these difficulties, the two most hopeful signs are first the almost miraculous success of the Allies in the. war, and second, the fact that in a short period of less than twelve’ months, the Charter of a new world organization has been created and the organization itself has come into being. Fifty-one members of the United Nations have pledged themselves to support the principles laid down iri the Charter, and the work of putting the principles into practice has begun. By these principles all the nations .undertake to refrain from aggression and to bring disputes before the United Nations for adjustment.
It is not difficult to find some flaws in the Charter itself. Neither will it be difficult to prove that the machinery of the United Nations is hot being used as effectively as it might. The important thing, however, is that a Charter does now exist, and that a world organization has been set up under which the habit of international conciliation and Consultation can and must be developed. It is the duty pf all of us to encourage the habit, of reference to the United Nations, because frequent contact between its members will lessen active suspicion and gradually encourage positive confidence and trust. The recent speeches of Mr. Attlee and Mr. Bevan on the proceedings before the Security Council rightly emphasize the importance of personal contact and frank exchange of views as a step towards more complete understanding.
I do not suggest that this analysis gives any reason for complacency. On the contrary, I think that we need to remind ourselves constantly that the winning of the peace needs a sustained effort, probably no less than did. the winning of the War: Fascism and Hitlerism were not ended with the deaths of Mussolini and Hitler. They are insidious philosophies which we sought to overthrow during the war. In my opinion they have not been finally defeated either in international or in domestic affairs.
Australia has consistently maintained the view that the United Nations organization should be given the fullest possible support by each member. By this means, a collective world opinion can gradually be built up, and it may also be possible to avoid the establishment of rival blocs of powers viewing one another through an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion. This policy will.be pursued by Australia * in the Security Council, where every effort will be made to ensure full ‘discussion of international disputes as and when they arise. In this respect, the initial meetings of the Security Council were remarkably successful. . There was free, full and frank discussion at which the public was present. Those who had claimed that the Security Council would meet in secret and avoid a public discussion were confounded by, the event.
Even full and public discussion is not enough. Indeed, it may degenerate into mere assertion followed by mere counterassertion, charges followed by countercharges. There should, therefore, in most cases, .be- a careful investigation of the truth of the assertions and the charges and a true assessment of -the facts by the Security Council or other United Nations agencies, followed by a just recommendation or decision. This procedure would be in ‘ accordance -with’ the true spirit of the. Charter of the United Nations. That is the organization which was established by all its members for the very purpose of discouraging isolated or limited alliances in favour of collective action in accordance with the principles of justice and law laid down in the Charter. The main purpose of the United Nations is security against war. With atomic energy being used for purposes of unlimited destruction, a new world war would cause devastation almost beyond human imagination and would, end modern civilization as we know it.
Special prerogatives and privileges have been vested in the major powers by the United Nations organization. Their mutual confidence is an essential feature of the new international order. Those who by a calculated policy sow distrust” between them endanger the life of the United Nations. Those who endanger the life of the United Nations threaten our chief bulwark against a third world war.
I lay on the table the following paper : -
Foreign Affairs - Missions Overseas - Ministerial Statement, 13th March, 1940. and- move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion .by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.
Formal Motion for Adjournment. Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. J.’S. Rosevear). - I have received from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely -
The events which have occurred in relation to the Yoizuki .incident since the House rose on Friday last.
– I move - That the House do now adjourn.
– Is the motion supported ?
Five honorable members having risen in support of the motion,
– When the House adjourned on Friday last some discussion had occurred on the incident of the ship Yoizuki and the passengers - men, women and children - it took out of Australia. Up to the time that the House adjourned, although there had been very widespread indignation and profound public interest in this matter, the Government had put one view fairly consistently. Two Ministers had spoken in the House, namely, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) and the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin). . They said, in effect, “ It is quite true that this ship has gone out crowded with far more people than we would ever dream of putting into such a ship if we were in charge of these matters, but it is also true that this is a matter which is outside our control “. So far as those Ministers were concerned when offering their defence in this House, the’ number of people to be loaded on the ship, the conditions under which they were accommodated, as well as the instructions for sailing and the course and destination of the vessel, were all matters in the exclusive control of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General MacArthur. That was the view that was put by Ministers not only in words but also by conduct, because everybody will recall that on Wednesday of last week when this matter began - when the conditions of this ship were brought to the notice of (he Minister for the Army - the ship had not sailed.
– That is not so. The vessel sailed at 2.20 p.m. and the fact of its sailing was brought to my notice at 2.40 p.m.
– The Minister for the Army has told us that twenty minutes after the skip sailed an intimation of -its sailing was conveyed to him.
– I immediately made inquiries.
– The matter having come to the Minister’s attention twenty minutes after the ship had left the wharf, he found himself unable to order the vessel back into port, and unable also to order it into any Australian port because, as he told us with some vigour, “ This Ls not a matter within our control ; it is within the control of somebody else”. I do not want to occupy the very brief period that I have at my disposal by long quotations, but I shall take one or two extracts from the speech which the Minister for the Army delivered in this chamber on the 6 th March - Wednesday of last week. The right honorable gentleman spoke at five minutes to eleven o’clock at night, and he told us that he had requested LieutenantGeneral Berryman to make an investigation. He went on to say -
The conditions on the ship were regulated by the American authorities responsible for placing the ship at the disposal of the Commonwealth for the repatriation of ex-internees.
– That was the information supplied- /
– I have only twenty minutes in which to speak. The right honorable gentleman will have ten minutes later in which he can reply. He went on to say - 1 was assured that the ship was provided by the Supreme Command, Allied Powers, which had laid down the number the vessel would carry.
That was the attitude adopted by the Minister for the Army. His colleague, the Minister for the Navy, spoke on this subject with some indignation. He upbraided the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) for- having ventilated the subject. In the course of his remarks the Minister made repeated references to the “ higher command “, pointing. generally in an upward direction as he did so. He said that that higher command was responsible for these matters. Let me quote a few words from his statement -
Our position is perfectly clear, and I am nure that the intelligent section of the Australian community will completely exonerate the Government from any responsibility.
He then went on to describe bow a signal had been received from the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. Later, he paid -
I emphasize that in this matter the Australian authorities have acted in accordance with the specific instructions of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan lt was our imperative duty to conform to whatever instructions were issued by the Supreme Allied Commander in regard to them.
Then, for good measure, he added -
I remind the House that the ultimate responsibility rests exclusively upon the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces.
I draw special attention to the Minister’s use of the word “ exclusively “, as, in his opinion, it exonerated the Government from all responsibility. Honorable members will see that the whole force of the Government’s.defence was, in effect, “ It is a pity about this matter, but we cannot order an inquiry into it. We cannot order this ship into any Australian port. We really can do nothing about it,- because all the responsibility for all these matters rests upon the Supreme Commander who happens to be a distinguished American General “. That was the position when we left here on Friday afternoon. Since then some remarkable events have occurred. General MacArthur, who was prayed-in-aid by the Minister for the Navy on Friday, has turned out not to be the sure defence that he was expected to be, because he has spectacularly contradicted the whole story put forward by the Government. So far from agreeing that it was his command which was responsible for the number of persons to be loaded on the ship, and the conditions under which they -were to travel, he has made it perfectly clear that everything was an Australian responsibility, excepting that it was his command which had agreed to furnish a vessel with a designated capacity. In other’ words, the Supreme Command produced a ship. If the Yoizuki was in -Australian waters it was there because of the action of the Supreme Allied Command, but matters -such as who should be put on the ship and the conditions under which they would travel, the arrangements for sailing and the direction of its course, were within Australian control just as much as they would be in the case of any other ship leaving an Australian port. Consequently, since this House last met we have been presented with one of the most remarkable conflicts that have emerged in recent years between responsible people under one great allied friendly power and responsible Ministers in this country. I have summarized the matter in that way; let me now quote a few words from the statement issued from General MacArthur’s head-quarters. I will not read the lot of it, but I quote these words -
I need read no more of it; I have read sufficient to indicate, not only what an enormous conflict had arisen and how completely repudiated the defence put up in this House has been, but also that the very direction given at that time contemplated the return of this ship to an Australian port, and, consequently, if authority in this matter did rest with the American commander, he had still used that authority to authorize the Commonwealth Government, if it needed authorizing, to do what this House had been demanding and what the Australian people had been demanding. Then, on the 11th March, another statement was made by General MacArthur. In addition to setting out the text of the messages that had passed - I have no time to read them but all honorable members will recall them - General MacArthur said -
G.H.Q. in Japan has no responsibility foi the repatriation of enemy nationals, prisoners of war, or .others from the Australian zone other than to furnish the vessel with a designated passenger capacity. All details of the loading of the vessels, the actual selection of the passengers, their assignment, and all other matters incidental to their passage if the complete responsibility of the Australian Forres, which function entirely under their own command. … In no radio from Australian Land Forces was any mention made nf women and children to be included in this shipment.
There we have stated in its starkest terms the conflict that has- arisen- And this is no trifling matter. Let me remind honorable members that this matter has stirred public opinion more than any matter any of us can remember for a long time.
Ministerial members dissenting.
– I would not suggest to honorable members opposite that they say that it has not stirred public opinion, because one of them, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Eraser), was so moved by it that he went to the microphone and broadcast his passionate indignation at what had taken place.
– But lie voted for the “ gag “ in the House.
– Oh, yes; but in talking to the public, ho expressed exactly the same horror as has been expressed by many thousands of people, and, if honorable gentlemen on the Government side do noi share it. so much the worse for them. There is a real feeling of indignation about this matter. ‘ The people of Australia have the right to know who was responsible for this, which, at the best, was a shocking bungle, and, at the worst, was a horrible scandal. Who was responsible for it? At the moment, all we have before us is conflict, because the Government assumed a certain defence last week, and that defence has been struck away from under it by some other authority to which it appealed. If the Ministers, in making their statements to the House last week, were correct in their view, and General MacArthur’s statements are wrong, then the Ministers must take the first opportunity of proving to this House that they were right and General MacArthur wrong. But if Ministers were wrong: in the statements they made, if, in fact, the position is as General MacArthur describes it, then the other question arises : How did they fall in to the error of stating to “this House a position which has now been completely disproved ? Did they merely recite to this House what they were told by other people? If they did, do they regard that as a proper discharge of their duties in a matter of this kind? If they did, again, who were those people? Let this matter be probed =o that we shall discover, first, who was responsible for the conditions aboard this ship and, secondly, who in point of fact, was responsible for the extraordinary statement of responsibility made to this House by those two Ministers on behalf of the Government.
The next thing that happened during the week-end was that the Prime Minister announced that a committee had been appointed. Nobody knows how. Nobody knows with what terms of reference it has been despatched to Rabaul, and despatched there with so little promptitude that, wind and weather not permitting immediate arrival, it got there well after the ship in question. In other words, the committee appointed to investigate this ship on its arrival, ultimately will investigate it not on arrival, but at least 24 hours after its arrival, indeed, almost after its departure, judging by at least one report published this morning. Here is a body that is to be regarded simply as a government committee appointed for this purpose with terms of reference which are not public terms of reference. It has gone there to have a look at a matter which is of first-class public interest, and the first thing the Prime Minsietr (Mr. Chifley) did, and his colleagues agreed with him, was to say to the press, without whose publications these matters would not have ‘become known, “ You must keep away. You are not to be at liberty to charter and despatch a. plane with observers. You are not to be at liberty to report from Rabaul what you find about the conditions of this ship.”
– Did- the right honorable gentleman say “ report “ or “distort”?
– I said “report”. As a matter of fact, one would have to distort anything the honorable member said to make it intelligible. The exclusion of the press representatives from a point at which they would normally have been allowed to arrive, the exclusion of the pressmen from their normal privilege and responsibility of reporting matters of public interest amounts - and there is no other word for it- to censorship clamped clown in time of peace. We have had many discussions in this House about censorship. It is one thing to censor a newspaper report by having an official who runs a blue pencil through it, but it is a much more effective censorship to say that the newspaper shall not report at all. The press has been told, “ You must not go; you must stay back in Australia, and. as for information about the conditions on this ship, which has excited so much attention, you shall accept what our committee has to tell you and nothing else.” There you have a thoroughly dictatorial attitude to this matter, a.nd I say to the Government that it will satisfy nobody. It certainly will, not satisfy honorable members in this House who have an open mind on the matter. It certainly will not satisfy the public of Australia. Honorable members opposite will make a very grave blunder if they suppose that this is just some little newspaper agitation. Every honorable member knows that wherever he has gone since this incident came to knowledge be has encountered a genuine moral indignation about it.
– That is not true.
– It is quite true that one honorable member opposite -tried in this House the other day to brush this off as a lot of “ sobstuff”. If the attitude of the Government and honorable members opposite is that this agitation is unreal, that all this talk about these inhuman conditions is mere sob-stuff, that it does not matter what we do to a gathering of Formosans and Koreans and women and children - if that is their attitude, then I can only express my astonishment that the Government thought fit to send a committee to Rabaul at all. But it did so; and it thought fit to exclude the press from ally share of knowledge of what was going on. If ever a government showed that it regarded a problem as vastly important from its own point of view, this- Government has done so in respect of this matter. Yet, in respect of the things that count - the truth as to authority, the truth as to the conflict between this Government and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, the truth as to why this ship was ever allowed to leave, and the truth as to why it was not ordered back - all these things are things upon which the people demand inquiry; and I regard myself not only as Leader of the Opposition, but also as their spokesman in making that demand in this House.
– I say, first, that the Government has no intention of entering into’ public recriminations’ with the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, General MacArthur.
– He has entered into them with you.
– I advise the honorable gentleman not to be too hasty. It is apparent that there has been misunderstanding on both sides. It might be said that General MacArthur claims that’ we had a wrong impression of the instruction that was given, whilst the Australian Government believes that the instruction that had been issued completely warranted its belief that responsibility in respect of shipping and con ditions of shipping were matters for the Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific. However, as I said, I shall not enter into arguments on that matter. The Government received the following message, dated the 30th October, 1945, from the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers; and I ask honorable members to listen carefully to it ‘and note what impression they receive from its contents : -
United States Chiefs of Staff consider that the maximum utilization of all merchant shipping recovered from control of Japanese must be made for the repatriation of Japanese nationals and for the maintenance of minimum Japanese economy and that supervision and control of allocation and operation of such merchant shipping is the responsibility of this office - the office of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers.
As I have said, I believe that there is some justification for believing that that was an indication that sole control with respect to shipping and conditions of shipping rested with the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. I have already replied ‘concerning the despatch of women and children on the ship, and 1 do not propose to go into that matter again at great length. A signal was despatched to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, on the 2 1st November, 1945. as follows: -
Following a conference with Colonel PurdyChief Provost Marshal, we propose conform as far as possible, with your procedure as follows. Different categories namely, prisoners of war and disarmed personnel and civilians including women and children may bc embarked together, prisoners of war from Australia will include all those held on your behalf excluding suspected criminals.
At a later date it was completely clear - and I say this without heat, because I. believe there has been a misunderstanding which I should not attempt to enlarge upon - that responsibility in respect of shipping and conditions of shipping rested with the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. A further signal, dated the 4th February, 1946, was received from the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers -
Formosans and Koreans to be concentrated port preferably Sydney. Report when their concentration completed. Special vessel will then be assigned to lift those non -Japanese to Formosa and Korea direct.
And on the 13th February and the 16th February the following further directions were received:-
Ship designated for moving 948 Formosans and Koreans at Sydney. Supreme Commander Allies in Japan will furnish name and sailing directions. Jap destroyer Yoizuki departed Kure 13th February via Rabaul and Sydney to load 94S Formosans and Koreans assembled . there. Sydney, 1st March, ship to return via Rabaul to Kiirun and Fusan for debarkation.
The message went on to say that provisions would be required for 1,200 persons.
Statements were also made in the press - not by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) - that we made two requests for permission to embark an additional 250 Formosans and Koreans on the ship. That report is not correct. These ships were understood to be rated by our authorities to carry 1,400 people, and as we believed that this ship could be used to carry an additional number we sent a cablegram to the American authorities in Tokyo dated the 18th February’ last as follows: -
Bequest that Japanese destroyer Yoizuki, expected Sydney, March 1, to embark 948 Formosans and Koreans at Sydney, thence Port Moresby, embark 250 Formosans.
We did not . know what the capacity of the ship was. The press report to which 1 refer included the following, claimed to be quoted from the release issued by the United States Army Head-quarters : -
On two separate occasions, the Australian Land Forces requested that additional personnel,’ over and above the Formosans and Koreans, should be increased.
The fact of the matter is that we did not send two messages asking to have the loading of the ship increased while it was in Sydney. We sent one message, and that request was refused. And it was refused quite rightly by the American people, because, as I have contended all along, they were controlling the movements of the ship. What we did in the second message was to ask the American authorities whether it was possible for the ship to call at Moresby and transport 250 Formosans from Moresby to Rabaul. That was on its southern voyage, and not after it had reached Sydney. General MacArthur, in his signals to me, makes that point clear. We did not keep insist ing that an additional 250 persons should be embarked at Sydney. The Leader of the Opposition said that Yoizuki was overloaded at Sydney, and that protests against the overcrowding were made to the Government. The right honorable gentleman also said that the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) had early information about the matter. I understand that during the afternoon the Minister did receive some statements about some overcrowding on this ship. I do not know from what source the statements emanated, but I understand that they were official.
– Did not the Minister for the Army hear about the matter from the press before lunch?
– The Minister for the Army, who will speak later, is quite able to defend himself. When I heard about the position at dinner-time, I asked the Minister about it. From dinner-time till midnight he sought to discover from all sources whether any sound reason existed, as the ship had only a short passage to Rabaul where an examination of the conditions could be made, to justify recalling Yoizuki. Our information was obtained from reputable and reliable officers. Let us forget for a moment that Yoizuki was under American control. I say frankly that if I had had to decide, on the information available, whether the ship should be recalled, I would then have said, “ Let the vessel continue on its voyage “. I do not wish to run away from responsibility for any decision of that kind. Not for a moment do I pretend that vessels which carry soldiers and prisoners of war to many parts of the world are not jammed with personnel wherever they go. More than 2,000,000 Japanese nationals must be returned from China to the Japanese islands. Recently, in Melbourne, the Daiku Maru embarked a large number of passengers, including women and children. I do not attempt to disguise the fact that all these ships, including our own troop-ships, are jammed or crowded with personnel. That is due to the acute shortage of shipping throughout the world. The information which I received on the evening of the departure of Yoizuki from Sydney, was compiled by men in the services, whom
I have come to know personally. That information was sufficient to make me believe that,whatever congestion may have existed on the ship, the Government would not have been justified in recalling it. As I stated, congestion exists on every ship of this kind whether carrying enemy subjects, or our own men.
– Particularly from England to Australia.
Mr.CHIFLEY. - Wherever these ships travel, they are heavily loaded with personnel. On that information, which I received from reputable officers, the Government decided that Yoizuki should continue its voyage, and in the House that night a Minister made a statement indicating that conditions aboard the vessel would be investigated at Rabaul and that if changes were considered to be necessary after that short voyage, they would be made, and the women and children would be disembarked at that point. For that decision, I make no apology. Despite all the drama that may be injected into this incident, the Government, in the circumstances, acted in a proper manner. There may be certain aspects regarding the embarkation in Sydney which should be and will be investigated. The Government must rely on the judgment of its officials. They all cannot be inhuman. The officers responsible for the embarkation are Australians - our own fellow-citizens. Is it suggested that they all are entirely devoid of humane f eelings ? Yet honorable members opposite are telling the world that leading officers of the services, naval and military, are entirely devoid of humane feelings!
– The men who attended the embarkation protested against it.
Mr.CHIFLEY. - Let me tell the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) something. These Formosans and Koreans arrived in Adelaide early in 1942, when the following report was furnished about their condition: -
Ship extremely crowded. Internees mostly low types and many mixed races. Will only sleep on mats on floors; will eat mainly rice. Baggage unlabelled and mostly in calico rolls. Speak a variety of dialects.
Australia accepted a large number of these people. They arrived in a deplorable condition. For four years we maintained them here. Indeed we gave them more regular rations than our own people had during thatperiod. We cared for, clothed and protected them.Now, we are told thatwesubjectedthese people to inhuman treatment when we put them aboardYoizuki. I do not pretend that there would not be some crowdingon the ship. When those Formosans and Koreans leftAustralia en route to their native land they were well fed and well clothed. They were called upon to suffer, if honorable members liketo say so, the same in- convenienceas soldiers all over the world suffer when they are sent overseas. But in being sent home these Formosans were more fortunate than some of the war brides about whom honorable members spoke last week.
I haveavoided saying anything of a critical nature, because I will not be led into conflict with General MacArthur. Since certain statements were published in the presswe have exchanged cables relating to the matter. I consider thatour view was justified; General MacArthur takes a different view, and that has been expressed, I assume, in statements prepared by a press relations officer. The information which we have received from Rabaul was compiled by the naval officer in charge there, who boarded the transport before Mr. Justice Simpson and other members of the investigating party. His message advised that all women and children were well and quite content. He stated-
Only a few desired to change ship, the remainder preferring a quick trip home. Families desired an “all or none” policy, preferring to remain on board rather than separate male members of the family groups other than heads.
No accidents occurred on boardand no guards were required.
Aboard Yoizuki were three Formosan doctors, a Japanese ship’s doctor, and fourteen other medical personnel. In order that relations between this country and General MacArthur shall notbe strained, I shall read the concluding portion of his message to me yesterday -
Necessarily, the larger phases of all action are initiated without a detailed knowledge of conditions obtaining at any onepoint of execution.These high-levelled actions generally cover a great range of time and space. On the actual performance, the high-levelled authorities depends on the good judgment of local executing authorities to vary the actual plan of executions in detail as the conditions obtaining at the moment appear to warrant. The question would seem to be one on n much lower level than a high governmental plane and one in which, in no case, would seem to involve able governmental policy of senior officers of the Government. It seems to me to be inappropriate. to report the issue-
Apparently General MacArthur does not know the press of this country and the Opposition in this Parliament - as one involving any clash between your Government and my own, or between you and myself.
The condition of the passengers on their arrival at Rabaul will give a complete answer to the judgment of the loading officer. If they arrived safely, in good condition-
They have arrived safely and apparently in good condition - with little of complaint, the incident would seem to bc closed.
I am not claiming that the incident is closed. General MacArthur’s attitude is most generous, and I, as one who has been associated with him first as a Minister, and later as Prime Minister, am extremely grateful for all that he has done for this country. I regret any difference of opinion that has arisen, and I do not propose to advance arguments calculated to prove that this person is right or that person is wrong. I have read to honorable members the documents that led this Government to say - with justification, I believe - that control is in the hands of the American authorities.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– We have seen the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) in many roles, and heard him advance .many specious arguments. To-day he has endeavoured to extricate himself from the position in which he has been placed by his Ministers and officers. In an endeavour to cloak and close the entire incident, the right honorable gentleman quoted a eulogistic statement by General MacArthur ; but, in this instance, General MacArthur reminds me of a man, who, having won every round of a twenty-round fight, is content to rest on his laurels and does not proceed to burn down the stadium.
The Prime Minister said he had no wish to enter into recrimination with General MacArthur. He has been too long at the game to overlook the wisdom of fighting within his own division. The right honorable gentleman commenced by endeavouring to explain to the House the general principle that had been established by the Australian and American authorities in regard to the transport of repatriates from Australia. He cited an agreement reached at a conference held so far back as the Sth November, 1945, and communicated to General MacArthur’s Head-quarters by Australian Army headquarters in the following terms: -
Following a conference with Colonel Purdy, Chief Provost Marshal, we propose confirm as far as possible with your procedure ;is follows : - Different categories namely, prisoners of war and disarmed personnel and civilians, including women and children, may be embarked together. Prisoners of war from Australia will include all those held on your behalf, excluding suspected criminals.
Last week, the right honorable gentleman also said that as the result of the conference, instructions had been sent to all concerned on the 21st November, 1945, setting out the general principles laid down to meet conditions as they were foreseen at that time. But what is the position with regard to this particular matter? General MacArthur notified the Australian authorities that a certain vessel was being sent to pick up a number of repatriates. This was done and as a consequence, cables have passed between the American and Australian military authorities. First, General MacArthur cabled that General Head-quarters Allied Powers in Japan did not accept any responsibility for the repatriation of enemy nationals, prisoners of war, or others, from the Australian zone other than to furnish the vessels with a designated passenger capacity, and that all details of the loading of the vessels - the actual selection of the passengers, their assignment, and all other matters incidental to their passage - were entirely the responsibility of the Australian Forces which functioned entirely under their own command. According to a statement released to the press by’ the United States Prisoner of War Information Bureau in Sydney, the radio messages which passed between General Head-quarters in Japan and the Australian Army authorities with reference to the voyage of Yoizuki were as follows : -
Then we come to the departure of Yoizuki to pick up the complement of 948 specified by General MacArthur’s Head-quarters as the capacity of the vessel -
That request was turned down in no uncertain terms, and in the limited time at my disposal I desire to impress upon the House that the Government must investigate this matter fully, and ascertain who was responsible, first for countermanding General MacArthur’s instructions, and. secondly, for overloading the vessel, and thus placing upon the name of Australia one of the worst blemishes in its political history. When the matter was brought to General MacArthur’s notice he issued an instruction that the ship should be inspected and the congestion relieved at the nearest Australian port to Sydney. Where was the nearest Australianport to Sydney at the time that message was received? It was Rockhampton or Gladstone in the Capricornia electorate, which is represented in this House by the Minister for the Army.
-No ; the nearest port then was aNew Guinea port.
– That is not so. The vessel was allowed to proceed on its original course. When it reached Rabaul the extra passengers were disembarked. That, in itself, is a complete condemnation of this Government, which is now required to explain why it has allowed such a stigma to be placed on the fair name of Australia. Why was the vessel allowed to proceed to Rabaul after questions had been raised concerning it when it was only a few miles out from the mainland of Australia? When the vessel reached within 3 miles of Rabaul the authorities removed from it 350 women, children and heads of families, and their place was taken by 294 men from Rabaul who had been in a concentration camp there. That made the total number on board the vessel 949, which was only one more than General MacArthur directed shouldbe accommodated. The Government will have to explain why it consented to such an inhuman act of overcrowding as occurred on this boat. It stands condemned for having allowed to be cast on the fair name of Australia a stigma which will remain on our political record for generations.
.- The Prime Minister (Mr.Chifley) has effectively replied on behalf of the Government, to the extravagant statements made, for political propaganda purposes, concerning the circumstances under which the Japanese destroyer Yoizuki sailed from Australia. The facts are that the vessel carried from Australia 1,005 Formosans, Koreans and Formosan civilian internees, including209 women and children. Of this total 573 Formosans and Koreans fought in the Japanese Army against the Allied troops in the Pacific area. They and their fellow countrymen and their forefathers had been Japanese nationals since 1890, but had, since the cessation of hostilities, asked to be treated as Chinese, as Formosa and Korea will now go back to the control by China under the Cairo agreement. The question of the embarkation of these Formosans and Koreans who, during the war. were classified as Japanese nationals, was not dealt with on a ministerial basis but through service channels.
Unfortunately many completely misleading statements have been uttered and many altogether unjustifiable allegations made. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) said, in the course of his speech, that, as Minister for the Army, I knew about this matter before the ship left Australia. That is not true. The last I had heard of these people prior to the sailing of the ship was that they were still at Tatura and Cowra camps. The first message that I had on the subject of overcrowding reached me at. 2.40 p.m. on “Wednesday afternoon, and I have witnesses who can testify to the time. It was in the form of a press inquiry in the corridor. I had my military secretary, Captain McDermott, with me at the time. I was then told that some criticism had arisen over the embarkation of these people from Sydney. Although the House was about to meet I immediately instructed Captain McDermott to telephone to Lieutenant-General Berryman, General Officer Commanding Lines of Communication, Sydney, a very distinguished officer.’ Probably no man has a better military record in this war than Lieu tenant-General Berryman.I asked Captain McDermott to ascertain the facts. He subsequently furnished me with the following report, based on information supplied to him by LieutenantGeneral Berryman and Brigadier Prior : -
In accordance with your instruction, and in the light of queries from representatives of the press on the above subject, I contacted Lieutenant-General Berryman, General Officer Commanding, Eastern Command, and Brigadier Prior, Officer in charge Special Movement. From my conversation with both LieutenantGeneral Berryman and Brigadier Prior I have ascertained the following facts: -
The total number embarked on the Yoizuki was 1005 of whom 97 are Formosan women and 112 Formosan children.
The ship is under orders to sail for Formosa, not Japan, repeat not Japan.
The ex -destroyer Yoizuki had the gangway removed at 2 p.m., departed at 2.20 p.m., and cleared Sydney Heads at 3.40 p.m. to-day.
Brigadier Prior stated that he wasin attendance throughout the process of embarkation and he received protests from possibly 50 of the Formosans on the grounds that they were being sent to Japan and not Formosa. The situation was explained fully by a representative of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney who was present at the embarkation. On the situation being clarified the embarkation was carried off without further incident with the exception of one man who had to be forcibly placed on board.
The conditions existing on the ship were beyond the control of the Army authorities who were solely responsible for the staging embarkation and despatch of the ex-internees.
I mentioned to Brigadier Prior the reports received by press representatives at Canberra and he stated that such reports did. not correctly state the position.
I immediately showed that reply to my colleagues, the Prime Minister, the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) and the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) who had been associated with me in matters of thiskind. I also made a check on the information supplied to me by my Military Secretary. I myself contacted Lieutenant-General Berryman and Brigadier Prior, and they gave me an assurance that the information that I had obtained from my Military Secretary was absolutely correct. Lieutenant-General Berryman said that he could see no reason why the ship should be recalled. I did not even let the matter rest there, for I was on the trunk telephone line until nearly midnight. I endeavoured to raise the Navy Transportation Officer, Commander Knight, but he could not be located.With the permission of the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) I communicated, on Thursday morning, as Acting Minister for Defence, with Admiral Moore, the . Naval Officer in charge at Sydney, and asked him whether Commander Knight, who had travelled down the harbour on Yoizuki on Wednesday afternoon, was present, and he said that he was. I asked him to ascertain from Commander Knight how he had found conditions on this ship and what the spirit of those on board was when he left it. Repeating Commander Knight’s statement, Admiral Moore said that Commander Knight found that, after the Chinese Vice-Consul had addressed the passengers on board and assured them that they were bound for Formosa, and not for Japan, their whole outlook seemed to change completely and that going down the harbour everybody on board seemed to be in good spirits. Admiral Moore said that Commander Knight had further stated that the Japanese captain had said r,o him that he was quite satisfied with tie conditions and felt sure that the passengers would be safely landed at their destination. I also asked Admiral Moore whether, in view of the information he had, he .would recommend that the ship be allowed to proceed on its course to the first island port of call where an examination could be made, or whether he would recommend that the ship should be recalled to an Australian port. Admiral Moore said he could see no justification for recalling the ship and that it should be allowed to go on its course to the first island port of call, distant a few days voyage. Admiral Moore also stated that from information he had received he was satisfied that the whole matter had been grossly exaggerated and that, in his opinion, everything would be quite satisfactory on the ship. My other advisers, Lieutenant-General Berryman and Brigadier Prior, both gave me the same advice and expressed the opinion that, there was no justification for recalling the vessel.
This is not a .matter that I have dealt with by myself. I have had frequent consultations with the Prime Minister, the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for the Navy and the Minister for Immigration. There was the closest collaboration by us on those matters, and the decisions made are our joint responsibility.
Certain factors in regard to this incident have been highlighted recently in the press to the. effect that the Australian army authorities twice sought permission r.o exceed the allotted quota, that these requests had been twice specifically refused, and that, notwithstanding this, he army authorities had exceeded by 57 the number of passengers authorized by General MacArthur.
From the information that has already been disclosed by the Prime Minister, it i- clear that one request only was made 10 the Head-quarters of the Supreme Command in regard to additional passengers, and this was purely an exploratory message to obtain information as to whether Yoizuki could take on additional passengers at Port Moresby for Rabaul. In regard to all other vessels which bad been made available by the Headquarters of the Supreme Command, the standard passenger carrying capacity of naval and marine vessels had been indicated/but this information had not been furnished in regard’ to Yoizuki because it was not included in the vessels- providing the shuttle service which is being utilized between Japan and the Pacific islands under Australian control, but was a vessel specially allotted for one journey to proceed to Australia to repatriate the Formosans and Koreans who were held on the Australian mainland. When the vessel was allotted, the total number of Formosans and Koreans- both prisoners of war and internees - was 948. After the vessel had been allocated to Australia, the movement of Japanese subjects from internment camps to points of embarkation in. Australia had begun, and applications were thereupon received from quite a number of these people who had been classified as Japanese, claiming that they were, in fact, Formosans and Koreans. After investigation of their claims, ‘57 of them were approved and were transferred from the Japanese sections and included among the Formosans and Koreans, with the result that, in the fortnight prior to the arrival of Yoizuki in Australia, the number of Formosansand Koreans had been increased from 94S to 1,005. The Deputy AdjutantGeneral, whose responsibilities include all matters associated with prisoners of war and enemy internees in Australia, directed that the -1,005 Formosans and Koreans should he located in Sydney in accordance with the directions which had already been received from the Supreme Command Head-quarters for the concentration of Formosans and Koreans at that port for the purpose of embarkation. The Deputy Adjutant-General advises that, whilst he was fully aware of the later message from Supreme Head-quarters that the ship would be unable to take on 250 additional Formosans and Koreans at. Port Moresby, he assumed that there was not such a fine margin in the vessel’s capacity that the relatively small number of 57 more could not be taken. In the light of after events, it can be appreciated that his decision is to he criticized, but
I doubt whether even the most fully informed person at the time, without a knowledge of after events, would have queried his decision to send them on rather than leave 5’7 Formosans and Koreans in Australia to be repatriated at some future distant time, if and when a special vessel could be made available to make the long journey south to repatriate them, it not being possible under the orders issued to include them with Japanese for repatriation. The embarkation of these repatriates in Sydney was the joint responsibility of the Array and the naval authorities. The detailed instructions that were issued on this subject provided that security, entraining, de-training and delivery of the repatriates to the sea transport officer on embarkation were the responsibility of the Army authorities, and that the sea transport officer, a naval authority, would be responsible for. berthing, handling baggage on board, and the security of the prisoners of war and internees once they were embarked.
In view of the criticism that has been expressed by honorable members opposite, I quote Colonel Kent Hughes, M.L.A., a prominent member of the Liberal party in Victoria, a man who fought during the war in the Far East, a Rhodes Scholar, and a reputable citizen. He made the following statement, which appeared in the Melbourne Argus this morning: - “ There has been a spate of words, a flood of words, in fact a typhoon of words recently over the Yoizuki incident, which is of relatively small importance,” Colonel Kent Hughes, M.L.A., told members of the A.W.N.L. yesterday. Colonel Kent Hughes was a prisoner of war in Japanese hands from the fall of Singapore to VP-Day. “ If we have nothing better to criticize the Federal Government over we had better cease criticizing them,” he said. “ Conditions on the Yoizuki might be offensive judged by our standards, but the destroyer has arrived at Rabaul without mishap. The passengers were actually travelling under far better conditions than anything they would experience in their homeland, either in peace or war. I can understand their concern, for, to a Formosan or Korean, to be put aboard a Japanese warship before the war meant death or slavery. A few words can rectify or criticize this small incident, but it will take real sacrifice, not of our essential standards of living, but of our surplus food, much of which now goes to waste, if millions of women and children in other parts of the world are not to suffer far worse conditions.”
It is very difficult for me to deal adequately with this question within the ten minutes available. I feel very keenly about the dastardly criticism which has emanated from contemptible sources in an endeavour to convince the people that Ministers were callous and ruthless and put these repatriates aboard Yoizuki against their will, whereas, in fact, they went aboard the vessel without one Minister knowing anything about conditions on board or their going on the ship.
Sitting suspended from 6 io S p.m.
– I repeat, that this movement of prisoners . of war and repatriates was made on a service level, and did not come before Ministers. I state very definitely that the Australian military officers who handle this work are not blackguards, as some honorable gentlemen, make out, and are not soulless individuals. Indeed, when the enemy was knocking at the door many of thes men risked their lives, played a conspicuous and heroic part in leading troops in battle, and were cheered by the people of Australia. It is dastardly at this stage to say that they are soulless blackguards. If they are as bad as honorable gentlemen opposite say that they are, they should not be in the Australian Army. I ask honorable gentlemen to ponder these words, used by an outstanding Liberal member in the Parliament of Victoria, Colonel Kent Hughes, in an address that he delivered to a gathering of members of the Australian Women’s National League in Melbourne. These women’ are often delighted by eloquent speeches by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) and the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), who are gratified to receive their plaudits. Colonel Kent Hughes, M.L.A., had a very distinguished military record. He was a prisoner of war in Changi camp, Singapore, for three and a half years, and knows infinitely more than do honorable members opposite about all the Japanese. His independent statement must be highlighted. It reads -
If we have nothing better to criticize the Federal Government over, we had better cease criticizing l’:cm. Conditions on the Yoizuki might lie offensive judged on our standards, but the destroyer has arrived at Rabaul without mishap. The passengers were actually travelling under far better conditions than anything they would experience in their homeland either in peace or war.
– On a point of order, I ask whether the Minister for the Army is entitled to indulge in repetition. He read the whole of this matter’ before dinner.
-The point of order cannot be sustained.
– Honorable members opposite do not like what I am saying. These words of this leading member of the Liberal party in the Parliament of Victoria are not acceptable to them; nevertheless, they are going to listen to them. There are certain things which are worth saying over and over and over again, particularly when they come from such a man as Colonel Kent Hughes, M.L.A.
– The right honorable gentleman is the last person who needs to tell us that. .
– I remind the Leader of the Opposition of what was said by another prominent military leader who is n.ot a member of the Labour party - Brigadier Blackburn, V.C. He is a very eminent member of the Australian Military Forces, and is another man who languished in Changi prison camp. He had an outstanding military record in both wars, and he knows that many Australian lads lost their lives while fighting Formosans and Koreans who were soldiers in the Japanese Army. The Adelaide Advertiser of Friday last reports him as having said -
The Japanese passengers on the ship would be travelling under conditions which would be like heaven compared with the way they habitually moved Allied prisoners during the war.
I have been informed by many members of the 8th Division that when Formosan troops were on guard, the Australian prisoners were treated more harshly than th’ey were by the Japanese fighting troops. All this propaganda in which honorable gentlemen opposite are endeavouring to indulge is not very popular among the ex-servicemen of this country.
The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) has stated ‘ that when General MacArthur asked that 1oizuki should be taken into Rabaul, or to a port nearer to Sydney, it was off the Queensland coast, in the vicinity of Rockhampton, and could have been taken into that port. That is untrue. At the time, I rang Admiral Sir Louis Hamilton, the First Member of the Naval Board and Chief of the Royal Australian Navy. He advised me that at that time the boat was north-east of Cooktown, about 120 . miles from the coast, steaming towards Jomard Passage, off the tip of New Guinea, and that Rabaul was the nearest and best port into which it could be taken for the disembarkation of the women and children. It has also been stated by Opposition members, as well as by a section of the press, that there was not a doctor on board. These critics have painted all kinds of dreadful pictures. There were only 97 women on board, yet I heard one honorable member say that twenty . babies would be born before the ship reached Rabaul, and there would be no doctor on board to attend to the mothers. As a matter of fact, there were on board two Japanese ships doctors, three Formosan doctors and fourteen medical personnel. Fears have been expressed for the safety of the women and unprotected children on board. My inquiries have satisfied me that these fears were absolutely groundless. Of the 97 women on board, 56 were married, 41 of them being accompanied by their husbands. There were on the ship 112 children under the age of sixteen years, and all of them were accompanied by at least one parent, many of them by both parents. Further, the total number of Formosan and Korean men was 796, compared with a Japanese crew of 180, who” were unarmed. The captain, officers and crew of the ship were held responsible by the Supreme Commander for the safety of the passengers. With their knowledge of the forthright action that has always been taken by the Supreme Commander against any Japanese guilty of failure to comply with his orders, there was no likelihood of their making any attempt to molest, interfere with, or fail adequately to look after the passengers who were under their care. Both the army and naval authorities have since advised me that throughout their consideration of this matter at the time they were aware that the ship would be crowded ; but they were also aware that it would be calling at an island port about five days out of Sydney, and in their view there was no reason why it should not sail for at least that period with its full complement of passengers; because, during their experience of the transportation of troops, including members of the Army Nursing Service and other women’s services, they had in the stress of war loaded ships to an equal if not greater capacity, with the knowledge that, concurrently with the maximum degree of discomfort to which the troops and women personnel would he subjected, they would also be subjected to bombing attacks from the air, as well as the risks from mines and submarines. Provided that the ships in such circumstances survived the risks incidental to war, the transportation authorities were able to land their passengers at their destination in reasonable health and safety.
I consider that far too much’ prominence has been given to’ this matter, and T. cannot agree that the authorities concerned, having regard to all the circumstances, took action callously and thoughtlessly, as has been implied in the columns of certain sections of the daily press. I agree with the Prime Minister that General Douglas MacArthur has done an outstanding ‘ job for Australia, and we should not enter into any recriminations with him. He has proved a great friend to Australia. I have profound admiration for him. He agreed that if the passengers reached Rabaul in good condition there would be little cause for complaint, the judgment of the loading officers would be vindicated, and the incident should be closed. “We know that they did reach Rabaul in good condition, much to the disappointment of many honorable members opposite.
Mr. ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) 1 8.121. - This matter, which was debated in a friendly manner last Wednesday night, has become one of almost international interest in its scope and implications. This motion is based on the fact that certain senior Ministers have made statements in .this Parliament, in reply to very mild words from the Opposition, which have been declared to be inaccurate by no less distinguished a person than General Douglas MacArthur. The first of these was the statement of the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin). I do not think that any honorable member on the Opposition side would believe that the Minister would deliberately attempt to mislead the House, but in view of further facts which have come to light since the Minister spoke last Thursday night, the Opposition had no course open to it but to challenge the whole of the proceedings in the Yoizuki incident. So far I have said nothing about that ship, and how it was loaded. I doubt very much whether the conditions on that vessel were any worse than on the Daiku Maru, which carried Japanese nationals; but the whole matter has now been taken out of the realm of what is right and what is wrong with regard to the shipment of enemy nationals back to the Far East. It how becomes a matter of whether certain Ministers did or did not, deliberately or by inadvertence, mislead this Parliament in statements made by them to the House.
With great respect to the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) and the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), no attempt has been made to do other than put a best appearance on what the Prime Minister has described as an unfortunate misunderstanding. If this is an unfortunate misunderstanding, it is a rock on which many a government might easily have found itself piled up as a wreck. This Parliament is entitled to expect statements made deliberately from the treasury bench, as they were last week, to bear the test of the most searching inquiry, and the Opposition demands that such an inquiry be made. So far no attempt has been made to prove that the statements of the Ministers were other than what they hoped would make the best of all the circumstances. The honorable member foi1 Richmond (Mr. Anthony) paid that the Minister for the Navy had done this country a disservice by his defence that the Australian authorities had acted in accordance with the specific instructions of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in
Japan. The Minister attempted to lay the responsibility for this incident on the shoulders of General MacArthur, but with great enthusiasm and clarity, and without qualification or equivocation, the American commander .threw that responsibility back on the front bench in the House of Representatives, and the front bench has not faced up to it. The Minister for the Army may quote from the remarks of as many persons as he likes, but what Brigadier Blackburn or Colonel Kent-Hughes said haS nothing to do with the matter before the House. The question now under consideration is whether the statements made by himself, the Minister for- the Navy, and the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) ought to have been made in this House, and will stand the test of, investigation by an impartial body. The case of the Opposition is that those statements will not bear the light of investigation. The best explanation we have of them is that there has been >an unfortunate, misunderstanding, but Ministers are responsible for whatever they say to the Parliament and the country. They cannot shield themselves behind statements by naval and army officers, no matter how distinguished they may be. The. Minister for the Army said this afternoon, once by interjection, and once in his speech, that he had first heard about this matter at 2.40 p.m. I am told that lie was supplied with this information shortly after 12 noon at a party meeting.
– That is absolutely untrue. Two members of my staff made a note of the time.
– If so, an investigation by an impartial tribunal would prove the allegation to be untrue. Kuring the dinner suspension I have been handed a telegram which has been addressed to one of the leading pressmen iti Canberra. It contains this sentence -
Hospital ship Ha,wa,ta. Maru which should have picked up 350 men women children disembarked by Yoizuki ignored orders and left Rabaul without them.
That brings another point into the argument. At what time did the Ministers here first know thai there was a complaint with regard to Yoizuki ? Then at what time did that vessel sail? What action did the Government take to see that the matter was properly attended tor and when it was raised in Parliament last Wednesday by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison), the honorable member for Warringah (Mr.. Spender), and others, on Thursday by the honorable member for Richmond’ (Mr. Anthony), and on Friday by the honorable member for Darwin (Darn Enid Lyons), what action did they take to find out whether the assurances they had given to the Parliament would stand the light of a public inquiry? In order to inform their own minds, certain steps were ‘taken by Ministers, and a committee of inquiry was rushed away in a great hurry to Rabaul. It is said that the devil looks after his own. It appears that the committee was held up and could not reach Rabaul in time. I want the Minister to say whether or not a certain newspaper alone was allowed to send a reporter or representative with, that committee of inquiry.
– No. No newspaper was represented.
– One Sydney newspaper, the Daily Mirror, claims that it has two successive days’ “ scoops “ with regard to this matter on the spot. I want to know whether it had a representative on the spot, and if not, is it true that a representative went with the committee of four which was sent by the Government to investigate the matter. The Minister for the Army used the ugly term “ blackmail “. If he applies that ito the Opposition, he automatically applies it also to the New South Wales Labour party and to the New South Wales Parliament, -which carried a motion of condemnation of the Commonwealth Government foi- its action in tie matter. He automatically applies it to every trade union leader and every leader e-f a. public organization who has spoken against the Government on this issue. The Minister is not in the habit of using such language. Indeed, I never heard him speak so violently before. He reminded me of the man who, being afraid that a fire might die out, pretended to quench, it by pouring over it a bucket of petrol.
Mr. CALWELL (Melbourne- Minister for Information and Minister for Immi from- start to finish, has: been, nothing but a. huge newspaper stunt. What has occurred here this afternoon, has shown that honorable members- opposite are more concerned’ with displaying maudlin sentiment over our former enemies than they a-ite about things to- which they might more profitably address, themselves. As an. Australian I am disgusted at the pretended concern of honorable members opposite for those whom they call Formosans and Koreans. Not one of them knew where- Formosa was: before Thursday last. The New England bull–
– The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) thought if. was a new kind of sheep-dip, whilst the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison), concerned as he is with coal production, thought it was the name of a coal-mining, village in South Wales-. These are the people who have leapt to the defence of the press in this matter, and who talk about refugees from Japanese oppression. In doing so they ignore four pertinent facts. They ignore the fact that those despatched on ioizuki were Japanese subjects before this war began, and that Formosa has been a Japanese province since about 1S94. They ignore the fact that all these prisoners and internees were pro- Japanese while they wore interned ; that as General Sturdee said, if the Japanese had won the wai- they would now be waving Japanese flags. They ignore the fact that half their number were taken in battle fighting against Australian and United States troops, probably after they had stood guard over Australian prisoners of war taken in Singapore. ‘ And yet honorable members opposite shed tears over them, ignoring the fourth fact that some of those who were put aboard Yoizuki were in the Cowra camp when the mutiny occurred in 1944. These prisoners of war helped to kill six Australian soldiers of the last war who were guards in the camp, and stabbed to death a young lieutenant of this war who was rounding them up after they had escaped to the hills. They are the people about whom the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) is worrying himself to-day. He said that we should not have pushed them on to what he described as a “ hell-ship “.
What does= he think the Government should- have done? Does he suggest that we should have chartered the Queen Mary or some other luxury liner for their benefit?’ At least half of them were probably guilty of atrocities against Australian soldiers, nurses and civilians. Returned Austraiian prisoners of war say that the Formosans were the most brutal of all the guards that were put over them. .Mr. Turnbull. - Most of the exprisoners of wau say that these Formosa its- should have received better treatment, aird I am one of them:.
– The honorable member may constitute himself a minority if he likes, but most, ex-prisoners of war say that the Formosans were- cruel and treacherous;: yet they are the people about whom the Sydney Morning Herald k worrying. This has been a Sydney Morning Herald stent from beginning to end. I have not the slightest doubt on the display of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sydney Sim that, if the Japanese had landed in Australia - and they would have landed if the Leader of the Opposition had remained, in power - the first persons to fling up their greasy hands and surrender would- have been the members of the editorial boards of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sydney Sim. I know that Quilp-like creature, Henderson, and I know that had Australia been overcome the Sydney Morning Herald would not have ceased .publication. It would have come out the following day as the Sydney Morning Shimbun, with Henderson still as editor. I have no doubt that many honorable members opposite would have formed themselves into an Australian quisling party to govern Australia. They are not fit to be called Australians. They have no concern for our men who were killed, and no sympathy with the soldiers and nurses who were ill-treated by the enemy.
– A fine type!
– If the Leader of tho Opposition does not like it he will have to take it.
– I wa-s just thinking what an awful piece of scum you are.
– The Leader of the Opposition is one of the worst proJapanese agents we have had in Australia. We do not forget his record in connexion with “ the Brisbane line “ and with the sending of scrap-iron to Japan. He is a mongrel and. a cur.
– The Minister for Information must withdraw that statement and apologize.
– I withdraw the statement; but I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that he called me a piece of scum. I did not ask him to withdraw that statement, because I treat him with contempt.
– I am not concerned with the exchange of pleasantries between the Minister for Information and the Leader of the Opposition, but I am concerned with the dignity of this House. Therefore, I ask the Minister to apologize for his conduct and to withdraw his statement. .
– I have already withdrawn it.
– And you must apologize.
– To whom?
– To the Chair.
– I do so, out of deference to you. I say that honorable members opposite have expressed no concern for returned prisoners of war, and they have not said too much about the starving Indians in Bengal, whose destinies have been presided over for the past two years by the new leader-to-be of the Liberal party, Mr. R. G. Casey, now about to return to . Australia. Another thing I want to know about the Yoizuki incident is how the news-reel men got the information which enabled them to be present at the wharf at 7 o’clock in the morning. How was one Melbourne newspaper able to send a representative over to Sydney from Melbourne the day before the departureof the ship ? How did they obtain the information that the ship was to sail, and how was it that Mr. Packer and Mr. Penton and Mr. Henderson were seen in the vicinity of the wharf? The Leader of the Opposition has said . there is wide spread indignation over the incident. How, then, does it happen that, at his opening address in the Henty byelection campaign, he was not asked one question on the subject? How was it that the Prime Minister was not asked one question on the subject when he addressed a largely attended public meeting in the same by-election on the same night ! There is a lot of public concern as to what is behind it all, and how much politics there is in it. It is true that the New South Wales Parliament has passed a resolution on the subject. That Parliament ought to mind its own business; there are enough rackets in New South Wales to engage its attention if only it would devote its energies to its proper job. The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) pictured the scene had Yoizuki encountered a cyclone. There was no cyclone in the area into which the ship was sailing; yet the Sydney Sun published under scare head-lines that the vessel was heading into an area in which a cyclone was raging. In the Sydney Morning Herald there was a story that the vessel was in heavy seas. The cyclone was never a meteorological fact; it was merely an editorial fabrication. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), after visiting a cheap picture show, said that what he saw depicted in the newsreel had made him feel sick. Nobody in this House believes that the honorable member was made sick by what he saw there. If he was sick, I can tell honorable members what made him so. He was sickened at the sight of so much cheap labour leaving Australia before he had a. chance to exploit it.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The speech that we have just heard from the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) is one of the most remarkable and also one of the most degrading utterances to which this Parliament has ever listened. It did much to justify the action of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) in moving the adjournment of the House to-day. The Minister said, for instance, that the Formosans who were placed aboard Yoizuki were responsible for the events leading up to the mutiny that took place at the internment camp at Cowra. He said that they were the most fierce and vindictive section of the .Japanese armies against Australian prisoners of war. Were these the kind of men to put on a ship with innocent women and children, including pregnant women? The Government stands condemned for its treatment of the people on this vessel. Until Thursday morning of last week the Government might have pleaded that it was innocent; now it has been proved to be an accessory to this vile crime which has besmirched the good name of Australia. Those who are revolted by the action of the Government are not only members of the Opposition in this House but men and women throughout Australia. The people are raising their voices in protest; they are crying out that this wicked thing should not have been done. I shall not endeavour to go over the ground so well covered this afternoon by the Leader of the Opposition when he dealt with the statements made in this House last week by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) and the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin). On Saturday morning there was published in the press of this country a message from General MacArthur which put the Government “ on the spot “. Statements by Ministers last week were to the effect that the conditions under which prisoners of war and internees, as well as the women and children, were herded on Yoizuki were the sole responsibility of the American authorities. . So fearful was General MacArthur of the Government’s honesty that he took the remarkable course of not sending his cabled messages to the Australian Government for publication, but to the United States Prisoner of War Information Bureau in Sydney. He realized that he could not take any risks with a Government which had so distorted the truth. The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) said to-day, and the Minister for the Army repeated his statement, that he knew nothing of the conditions which existed on this ship; but I have before me a cutting from the Sydney Sun which shows that from 12.10 to 4.7 p.m. on the 6th March the Sun sent a continual stream of telegraphic messages to its correspondent, in Canberra asking him to get in. touch with senior Ministers, including “ Doc “ Evatt; the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) was specifically mentioned. Despite their denial, those Ministers knew what was going on. They have played the political game so long that they were afraid that the Government might be injured in the sight of the people of Australia if the truth were known, and so they prevaricated in their references to a voyage which might easily have been a voyage of death. This afternoon the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) interjected when the Leader of the Opposition was speaking : “ Bad luck you could not arrange for that cyclone “.
– Hear, hear!
– The Minister for Transport, who is an expert in these matters, knows what would have happened if Yoizuki had encountered a cyclone. In that event, there would have been a heavy death roll.
– There was no cyclone.
– That is so. A merciful God saved « the ship and its passengers from tragedy. The vessel passed through the Sydney Heads at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the 6th March, and was reported to be travelling at 15 knots an hour. That rate of progress has not been challenged. It is a simple mathematical calculation to arrive at 720 knots for the two days from Wednesday to Friday when the Navy Office in Melbourne received the cabled message from General MacArthur that the women and children were to be taken off the ship, and that the vessel itself be ordered into port. The Australian authorities did not order the vessel to proceed to the nearest Australian port. They were so afraid of public opinion , that they allowed it to travel another 1,000 miles on what, according to the Prime Minister, was a “short voyage to Rabaul”. I would not care if either the Minister for the Army or the Minister for the Navy produced Admiral Sir Louis Hamilton, or even Admiral Horatio Nelson as a witness to prove the contrary, if the vessel was travelling at 15 knots an hour it could not have been so far north as the position in which it was stated to be at a certain time. I should like to know why the Prime Minister ordered the vessel to proceed to Rabaul. Was it because he could send a committee of inquiry there - a committee in the appointment of which this Parliament had no voice? On Sunday last the Prime Minister refused to allow press reporters to be sent to the port of call to report on the state of the ship when it arrived. It was interesting to hear the Minister for Information give his view of the Australian press to-night. He wanted to know how the press knew that Yoizuki would sail on the 6th March and the time of its departure. He was particularly anxious to know how photographers were there to take photographs of the vessel’s departure. Was their action in filming the scenes as the vessel departed a crime? Would the Minister assume the role of a dictator and suppress all newspapers? The Government has been accused of fascism. Only by the grace of God was the Government prevented from committing the greatest crime that has ever been perpetrated in the history of Australia. The Minister for Information said that the Japanese people should be treated that way. I do not care a bit for the Japanese, but this House, as a Christian House of Parliament, should be prepared to follow Christian standards and act as the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) every Sunday in Adelaide preaches that people should act. More honour to him, but let him be a seven-day Christian and not a six-day politician and a one-day Christian.
– The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) is not noted for care in language or argument, so I am not surprised that he should make such statements as he has made to-night. Bur I rise because of certain statements by the Loader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) in introducing this subject this afternoon. He charged me with lack of good faith in statements that I made in this House on Thursday night. On the facts that were available I believe that any reasonable person, in assessing the value of the documents, would have expressed .exactly the same thoughts as I did. If, however, it is thought that in the assessment of the value of the documents there was some misjudgment, I ask honorable members to re’alize. that’ it was a misjudgment that any honorable member could have formed. Let me recite to the House exactly what was said and exactly what the circumstances were. I told honorable members, as they will recall, that the Formosans and Koreans who” were despatched on Yoizuki were prisoners of war and’ internees of other than the Australian nation, and that the Australian nation was their custodian. Having established that fact, I indicated that a signal had been received by the Flag Officer in Charge in Sydney from thiCommander in Chief of the Allied Forces in Japan that the Japanese destroyer Yoizuki had departed from Kure on the 13th February, and was sailing vh Rabaul to .Sydney to load 94S Formosans and Koreans, that it was to return via” Rabaul to Formosa to disembark them, that it required fuel, that it required certain provisions for 1,200 persons for twenty days and other provisions for fourteen days, and that 1 ton of meat was to be put on board. That was not an order or instruction issued by the Australian Government, but a directive, or advice, or whatever honorable’ gentlemen like to call it, from some one else. We complied. The vessel, loaded as required, set out on its return journey generally in accordance with the directive. I also indicated that I had received the following intimation from the _ First Naval Member, Sir Louis Hamilton: -
Navy’s responsibility is to berth the ship and provide gangways for embarkation. In normal circumstances the officer commanding troops takes charge on board. On this occasion the responsibility was with the Commanding Officer appointed by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. In the absence of any national authority to .handle this .ship she was attended by die Australian Sea Transport Organization in the normal manner insofar as docking arrangements storing and fuelling were concerned. Conditions on board had been accepted by General MacArthur, who nominated Yoizuki for the carriage of this number of Formosans and Koreans.
That is the view held by the First Naval Member, a very distinguished man with long experience in the Royal Navy, who to-day is the trusted and highest official associated with the administration of the Royal Australian Navy. As that is his view, surely it cannot be held that the Government lacked good faith in any statements on this matter that Ministers, including myself, have made in this House. The situation that has developed is a disgusting display of political propaganda as a prelude to the impending general elections. During the week-end I addressed four meetings at which I was able to gauge the feelings of people, and I am conscious that this display of hysteria by which the Opposition is seek-, ing to inflame opinion against the Government will find no response from the public. On the contrary, my observations convince me that the people’s reaction will be the opposite to that sought and that this campaign will bring upon the heads of the Opposition and the press a storm of indignation. Later in the year when the people will have the opportunity to voice their opinions it will be realized by honorable gentlemen opposite that the Australian people are too intelligent to be tricked by such methods. This afternoon the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) fully expressed the fact that many of the statements published in the press about this matter were either gross exaggerations or deliberate untruths. The desire to fry to make it appear that the ship was heading into seas where distress or even death was likely to occur on board is of course another example of the depths that the anti-Labour parties and press will go to in the hope of bringing political discredit upon the Labour party. Why. the vessel, which was 200 or 300 miles from where the cyclone occurred, was ahead of its schedule. It had had an uneventful voyage to Rabaul. It was found that more doctors were on the vessel than was at first thought, and the general condition of the repatriates on their arrival at Rabaul was satisfactory. The repatriates themselves were more or less satisfied with the conditions under which they had travelled. The senior Red Cross representative in Rabaul, Mr. A. Scotford, is reported in this afternoon’s Sydney Sun as having said in the course of an interview with a representative of that newspaper -
He and his assistant, Slrs. Pullar, of South Australia, had been !! agreeably surprised “ at the general condition of the men, women and children off the Yoisuki . . .
When the repatriates arrived in their barges at the wharf they were apparently happy . . . “ I did not expect to find them in as clean a state as they appeared.” . . .
However, he was mainly concerned with the general well-being of the men, women and children and he assured Australians that they were being looked after according to the dictates of the International Red Cross. [Extension of time granted.’)
The scare and hysteria which honorable members opposite have endeavoured to engender in connexion with this matter is not -justified by the facts. . The naval officer in charge at Rabaul, who was the first officer to board the vessel on its arrival at that port, has assured us of the well-being of all on board. He said that a number of repatriates did not desire to leave the vessel, but preferred to continue their voyage on it in order that they might return the more quickly to their homeland. In view of those facts, the action of the press in dramatizing this incident in an endeavour to cause alarm reveals to the people of Australia just how far the press of .this country is prepared to go to serve party political ends. But the people will, I am sure, ignore the sinister suggestions in this pernicious and malicious propaganda designed to deceive them. I am confident that the people, as they did at the last’ general elections, will, at the forthcoming elections, express their contempt of those tactics on the part of a cheap press, and will re-assert their demand for decency and honour among public men as well as decency of expression in public life which has been sadly lacking from the language of honorable m’embers opposite in their discussions of this incident. I was indeed surprised- at certain action on the part of the Leader of the Opposition to-day because I expect him to observe a high standard of conduct. However, he sought to express by gesture derision of my belief in a Supreme Being. The right honorable gentleman may seek to hold up to derision my Christian beliefs, but I make no apology to him, nor to any one else, on that score. He repeated his offence in that respect. I should have thought that a man of his high and distinguished standing would not descend to that demeanour. Honorable members opposite, by their cheap sneers and contemptible conduct, show that they can do little better than to try to hold up to derision those who endeavour to observe the common decencies of life.
– The Minister has exhausted his extended time.
Debate interrupted under Standing Order 257b.
Motion (by Mr. Harrison) put -
That so much of Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the debate being concluded.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.)
Majority . . ..20
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Mr. Lazzarini) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the War Service Homes Act 1018-1941.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Debate resumed from the 12th September,1945 (vide page 5289), on motion by Mr. Beasley -
That the following paper be printed: -
Report of Commissioner (Mr. Justice Cyne), appointed under the National Security Regulations.
– Honorable members should clearly understand that I do not intend to advocate the payment of greater compensation to the persons who, according to the findings of Mr. Justice Clyne, were unjustifiably detained in March, 1942. My purpose is to plead for justice for these men who were interned unlawfully and without reason, and who were subjected to possibly one of the most humiliating experiences that could ever befall a citizen in war-time. After all, can any adequate compensation be paid to men who have suffered, as these men have suffered, whose names have been besmirched, whose reputation has been damaged, whose homes have been destroyed, and whose businesses, which took a life-time to build, have disappeared overnight on the whimsy of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde). He made a statement to the House in circumstances which are open to suspicion. He indulged in a hysterical outburst which rocked Australia to its foundations. In my opinion, this is a complete case of Government maladministration in its most heinous form. The Government has shown a complete disregard for the subjectright of citizens, and because of that I propose to say something relating to the internment of these unfortunate men, and to the report of Mr. Justice Clyne.
Perhaps it will be as well if I recall the circumstances of this case, because it will become very clear to honorable members as my argument proceeds that something very sinister is contained in the action of the Government. On the 10th March, 1942, certain members of the Australia First Movement were arrested under section 13 of the National Security Act, and subsequently a ministerial warrant was issued for their detention under regulation 26. In passing, I ask honorable members to note that the extraordinary occurrences which led to the motion for the adjournment of the House to discuss the Yoizuki incident have also taken place in March. Therefore, I say to this Government, “ beware the Ides of March “, because it seems to me that March is an ill-fated month for this Administration.
The members of the Australia First Movement were arrested under section 13 of the National ‘Security Act, which reads - (1.) Any person who is found committing an offence against this Act, or who is suspected of having committed, or of being about to commit, such an offence, may be arrested without warrant by any constable or Commonwealth officer acting in the course of his duty as such, or by any person thereto authorized by the Minister, “in the same manner as a person who is found committing a breach of the peace may, at common law, be arrested by any constable or person. (2.) If a person suspected of having committed, or of being about to commit, an offence against this Act, is arrested under the provisions of this section, a report of the fact and circumstances shall forthwith be made to the Attorney-General or to a person appointed in that behalf by the Attorney-General, and -
I ask the House to take particular notice of that. Paragraph b reads -
If a charge is laid against the suspected person, he shall be dealt with according to law.
Subsequent inquiry revealed that Military Intelligence offered no evidence whatever to show, first, that these members of the Australia First Movement were found committing an offence. Secondly, they were net suspected of having committed or of “being about to commit an offence against Australia. Indeed, those respon sible for the arrests stated that action was taken purely to break up the movement, and was not levelled against any particular individual. Thirdly, no charge was laid against the sixteen men within the period of ten days as prescribed in section 13 of the act. Yet that section was designed by this Parliament to prevent such an occurrence as thiswithin our democracy. Furthermore, the members of the Australia First Movement were not released at the expiration of ten days. “Why was no charge made against these men? That is a pertinent question. I suggest that between the time of their arrest under section 13, and their subsequent detention under regulation 26, the Minister realized his error. Finding that he could not charge them, he detained them under regulation 26. If that is what happened, his action was one of the most cowardly ever attempted by any Minister of the Commonwealth. I ask the House to note one or two very important points. First, I again draw attention to sub-section 2 of section 13, which states -
If a person, suspected of having committed, or of being about to commit, an offence against this Act, is arrested under the provisions of this section, a report ofthe fact and circumstances shall forthwith be made to the Attorney-General or to a person appointed in that behalf by the Attorney-General . . .
It so happened that we had an Acting Attorney-General about the time in question, namely, the 25th March. Fifteen clays after the arrest of these individuals - that is five days beyond the ten days allowed for action to be taken - the right honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley), then Acting Attorney-General, in reply to a question by the former honorable member for Bourke, the late Mr. Blackburn, said he had no knowledge of the matter, but would call for the relevant file, read the reports, and see what action the Government was prepared to take. These circumstances are strange enough in all sooth, but they pale into insignificance when compared , with the hysterical outburst of the Minister for the Army on the 26th March - sixteen days after the arrests. Honorable members will recall how that right honorable gentleman entered this chamber and made a statement which rocked this country as it has never been rocked before in its political history. The House, and the country had every reason to accept what the right honorable member said as an honest statement made by a responsible Minister. He said that the fullest possible investigation had been carried out by him, and no doubt remained in his mind as to the guilt of the individuals who had been arrested. In the light of the report of Mr. Justice Clyne, it is evident that had even the most superficial inquiry been made during the fifteen days in which the Minister had to investigate the matter, it would have revealed that the happenings in Western Australia - honorable members will remember that it was the activities of the Australia First Movement in Western Australia that led to arrests in the eastern States - were of no importance whatever to the security of this country. Indeed, it is clear from Mr. Justice Clyne’s report that the utterances attributed to the Western Australian members of the movement were the gabblings of three or four imbecile windbags who had not the means even to stop a tram or kill a rabbit; yet sixteen men were arrested and thrown into prison. At the expiration of fifteen days - five days longer than is permitted under the section of the act to which I -have referred - no charge had been levelled against them, and. the Minister threw them into detention for a period of something like five and a half months. I shall quote Mr. Justice Clyne’s report on this matter. On pages 8 and 9 he says -
The persons arrested in Western Australia were charged with conspiracy to assist the
Japanese and on this charge the jury found Bullock and Williams guilty and acquitted Quicke and Krakouer. Bullock and Williams were sentenced to imprisonment for three )<!! i-3 and two years, respectively, and ‘at the expiration of their sentences they were detained. s
Two or three years imprisonment for the dastardly crime that the Minister attributed not only to these men, but also sixteen others! Had the crime been so serious as was alleged, a much heavier penalty was called for. Charges of such moment, and even of less moment had they been bona fide would have brought the death penalty in England. The report also states -
On the whole of the evidence it is difficult to resist the conclusion, however strange it may seem, that they were planning to assist the Japanese who were threatening to invade Australia.
It was suggested that these four persons were the victims of the investigator, Thomas, and that what they had proposed was not intended to be serious, but was more or less of a joke. I am prepared to believe that Thomas was not a passive investigator, hut on the whole of the evidence it is reasonable to conclude that their designs, however fantastic and extravagant, were seriously intended and that there was every reason for their detention.
I ask the ‘House to note His Honour’s observation - “ I am prepared to believe that Thomas was not a passive investigator “.
The facts arc that on the 12th March, two days after the arrests were effected, Military Intelligence knew that there was no connexion whatever between the Western Australian’ and Sydney movements. Therefore, the Minister too must have known that. This knowledge came into the possession of the Military Intelligence ‘authorities upon the interception of a letter from Perth asking for affiliation. In addition, Detective Sergeant Richards of Perth who was in charge of the Security investigation, stated in a report dated the 20th March that there was no connexion whatever between the organizations in Western Australia and Sydney; yet on the 26th March the Minister for the Army in this House, linked the sixteen internees with “ treasonable conspiracy “ and interned them. One can imagine that happening in Fascist countries, but it is unbelievable that it should happen in a democracy. At the inquiry, Colonel Mosely, Sergeant Richards, and this informer Thomas all swore that there was no connexion between the activities at Sydney and those in Western Australia, as did -the four Perth members themselves. The action subsequently taken by the Minister was based on a letter dated the 13th March, from Captain Blood, requesting the internment of these individuals under regulation 26. I ask the House to note that Captain Blood did not suggest that a charge should be laid under section 13 of the act. He knew that he had to lay a charge against the individuals who had been arrested or release them, yet he detained them for five days longer than the prescribed period, and then asked the Minister to intern them under regulation 26 without any charge being made. This letter should be the subject of a special inquiry. Et reeks with inaccuracies which must have prejudiced the Minister, and the Minister must take full responsibility for acting without satisfying . himself that the facts were as stated. The result of the Minister’s action was, that these sixteen men were interned and held for three and a half months without a charge being levelled against them. That must give honorable members food for serious thought. These men were arrested on the flimsiest pretext, were thrown into prison, and subsequently were detained under ministerial warrant. Notwithstanding that there were in existence appeal committees which would’ have . listened to their appeals, they were held for three and a half months without a charge being levelled against them. Indeed, no charge has been levelled against them up to the present time. They were callously turned loose some five and a half months later, with the stigma of treason and traitorous conduct still fresh upon them. I ask the House to compare that action with the proceedings taken in respect of Ratliff and Thomas, against whom there was. a mass of proved evidence. Those two men were interned in June, 1941, and appeared before the Advisory Committee on the 19th July of that year. No time was wasted by the Government, which then was composed of men who now sit on this side of the House. The Labour Government assumed office on the 6th October. Cabinet considered, the case of these Communists on the 9th October, and released them on the 21st October. Compare that rapid action on behalf of the comrades of this Government, with the delay of five and a half- months in respect of men. who were arrested on the flimsiest pretext. The Perth cases were commenced on the 7th May, and the men were committed for trial in June. The hearing was in open court, and not according to the star chamber methods indulged in by the appeal committees. The verdict was given on the 23rd July, which was prior to the first hearing of the case against the Sydney men, eight of whom Mr. Justice Clyne said should never have’ been detained, and a number of whom were not even members of. the Australia First Movement. On the 17th July, the Sydney Morning Herald reported the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) as having said, relative to Ratliff and Thomas -
The men were detained on the fiat of the Minister. They are not charged with any offence; they are not entitled to an open trial they hare no right to confront witnesses called, against them. The so-called Appeal Tribunal has the right to hear witnesses behind their backs. In all these respects the ordinarycourse of justice is completely forgotten.
How true that is ! I ask the AttorneyGeneral, who put up such a defence on behalf of Ratliff and Thomas, what he did to ensure that these other men would be given a trial equally as effective and speedy as that conceded to these Communists. A statement of that nature does not absolve the Government. Its action wa3 taken on the flimsiest evidence. The inquiry by Mr. Justice Clyne was opened two years and three months after the original’ action was taken, and another year and three months was required to complete it. This of itself must give rise to the gravest suspicion throughout ‘ the country that the delay was deliberately engineered by the Government in the hope that the whole sorry episode would be -forgotten. These men carried the stigma for three and a half years. Delay is of the very essence of refined cruelty, and can be attributed only to the guilty conscience of the Minister, who helped to postpone the trial of these unfortunate men. The evidence disclosed that three of the sixteen men arrested did not belong to the Australia First Movement, and according to Mr. Justice Clyne, eight of them should never have been detained. At page 10 of his report, referring ‘ to Clarence Crowley, His Honour said - 1 considered his evidence was in substance reliable. 1 believe that he was a loyal subject, and the evidence called on his behalf confirms this belief. . . .
I repeat with respect and approval the opinion of the Advisory Committee that Crowley had no real active interest in the Movement: that he had been really gathered into it and had done nothing to forward it in any shape or form, and .that he would not be guilty of any subversive act.
In my opinion the recommendation for his detention was not .justified.
In regard to Harley Matthews, His Honour said -
Matthews served with some distinction in the last war, and was, as he claimed and I believe, a loyal subject of the King. Intelligence officers, in my opinion, . committed a grave blunder in procuring his arrest, and in recommending his detention.
In regard to Martin Francis Watts, His Honour said -
Captain Blood said he thought that the mere fact that Watts had an executive office in the Australia First Movement was in itself sufficient to warrant his detention, but I am unable to accept this opinion in respect of Watts. There was nothing in the evidence relating to Watts to justify the conclusion that he was acting in a manner prejudicial to Australia and her war effort, and I believe he was at all times a loyal subject of the King.
At page 19 His Honour said -
But as I am entitled to report upon all matters arising out of this inquiry, which in my opinion should be dealt with or reported upon by me, I think it proper to add that the Army authorities were not justified in recommending the detention of the following persons, namely : -
Edward Cory de la Roche Masey
In the -three and a half years which elapsed before that inquiry was held, thelives of these men had been completely blasted. They had lost the whole .of their possessions. The loved ones of some of them had died while their names had not been cleared. Some of them were not even members of the movement. ‘ They were arrested on the flimsiest pretext, were detained, and were even refused a trial, no charge being levelled against them. They were thrown into durance vile. Anybody who had said that it was possible for such a thing to happen in Australia would have been classed as fit for & mental asylum. But this did happen in Australia, at the whim of a Minister who was stampeded by a false report, and must accept the responsibility for what was done. What answer has the Minister to the report of Mr. Justice Clyne? Let us consider how this stupid, criminally irresponsible action of the Minister affected these men. I take, three cases as typical of all - those of
Matthews, Bath and Watts, two of whom were ex-servicemen of World Wai- I. and proved their loyalty by blood sacrifice while some of the members of this Government were under suspicion; -indeed, some of them were put in gaol during that war. Harley Matthews was never a member of the movement. Mr. Justice Clyne has stated that definitely in his report. In 1915, he served with distinction in World War I. Epstein had taken him as a model of the spirit of Anzac. He was living with his mother, who was 74 years of age. At 2 a.m. on the 10th March he was seized and thrown into internment on as base a charge as could be conceived, and was subjected to an interrogation unequalled in any other democracy in the world. He was never brought to trial, and was released six months after his arrest. The result was that he lost everything that he possessed. Not only was his name defamed, but his mother, 74 years of age, died in Adelaide when her son’s reputation was still besmirched. He was only allowed to attend her funeral under guard. If honorable members can support action of that kind against a man who on inquiry was proved to be innocent of the charges levelled against him, it is an everlasting blot on the escutcheon of Australia. Those wrongs cannot be redressed by the granting of the paltry sum of £700. Can he buy back his good name and his mother’s memory for that?
Take the case of another ex-soldier of the 1914-18 war named Watts, who served with distinction and was awarded the Military Medal. He had war injuries for which a grateful country paid him a pension, but he died two years and four months after his arrest, with his name still besmirched. He died with the knowledge that he was considered by his fellow men to be a traitor to the country which he had shed his blood in preserving. The irony of the whole thing! Will his widow be grateful to the Government to know that, when its action had materially contributed to her husband’s death, it had given her a paltry £400 in an attempt to buy back his honour?
I draw attention to a paragraph from a letter sent to me some time ago by an ex-serviceman named Bath, who, according to Mr. Justice Clyne, was not disloyal but was wrongly detained. The writer states -
In effect this means: “Bad luck Mr. Bath, we are sorry for all that has happened to you; we imprisoned you for nearly six months without interrogation, charge or trial; branded you a traitor to your country in the National Parliament, held you up to execration in the press throughout Australia and denied you the opportunity of defending yourself. We realize the implications of all this; your business, built up over a period of twenty years was smashed beyond repair, your home lost, the position, education and future prospects of your family jeopardized, your health seriously affected, and your standing in the community so damaged that you were regarded as a pariah amongst your fellows when we released you without reason. What we did caused your whole material and economic edifice to crash like a pack of cards. To show that we bear you no ill will we now generously offer you the sum of Five hundred pounds, which should help to pay some of the expenses “. . . .
I am not concerned with some of the criticism that may have been uttered regarding the Australia First Movement, because honorable members opposite also make similar statements. The present Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully), speaking on the National Register Bill on the 6th June, 1939, said -
I am alarmed at the uncalled-for utterances of many supporters of the Government when referring to the Japanese nation and people. From the standpoint of our primary production Australia owes a great deal to Japan. 1 represent a rural constituency, noted for its wool, and 1 know what the Japanese market has meant to the wool-growers and other primary producers of this country. Hundreds of thousands of pounds has been lost to Australia by the trade diversion policy of a former administration. There is no indication that Japan plans any attack on Australia. That was evidenced by the utterances of the recently appointed Consul-General for that country. On the contrary, there is ample evidence that its people wish to have friendly intercourse with us. Australia, as a primary-producing nation, desires reciprocal trade with Japan. I deplore that responsible men in this Parliament, particularly supporters of the Government, should say anything which might give offence to nations which desire to be friendly. lt should be the aim of every honorable member to advance the cause of peace, and in that end he should realize that it is his duty to refrain from provocative utterances.
For less provocative statements than that, members of the Australia First Movement have been interned, losing their liberty and their good name for a period of three and a half years..
There is a curious Communist atmosphere surrounding the whole of this matter. It will be remembered that Communist interference was associated with every meeting of the Australia First Movement, even to the extent of the bashing that took place at the famous Adyar Hall meeting. Mr. Thornton set’ out the Communist attitude in the annual report of his union. That statement was issued when Australia was in great danger, when Japanese submarines were in the Sydney harbour and when Sydney had been shelled. Mr. Thornton brackets the Australian Labour party with the Australia First Movement and says they are the same thing. The Communist policy at that time was the establishment of a second front in Europe in order to save Russia, .and was opposed to the recall of the Australian Imperial -Force. At that time Mr. Thornton said -
What do some people in the Labour movement say? They say Australia has to look after herself, first. That is just pandering to the most backward section of Australian life, and it is no accident that some people in the Labour movement say “Put Australia First’’. This is the attitude of the Fascist Stevenson Sang who call themselves the Australia First Movement. It is the same thing.
The Communists had the same policy as the Labour Government. The organized gangs were led by Alexander, the secretary of Actors Equity, who admitted that he was a Communist and an informer to the Security Branch in the Australia First ease. On the 21st November, 1941, the Communist paper, Progress, reported a “ war rally “ at the Sydney Town Hall, in which an attack was made on the Australia First Movement. On the fourth page, that journal called for the trial of certain persons connected with the movement. It is also significant that this paragraph was published -
The Federal Attorney-General has called for a report of the proceedings.
It will be ‘noted that at this stage the Communists were aware of what the Attorney-General was doing in his own department with regard to the case. Perhaps that is not strange when we consider the opinion of the Minister’s private secretary, who, on the 21st September, 104.1, wrote to the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) as follows : -
It is to Russia that the people look for a practical example of what can be accomplished under a system differing from ours. What better way could the Government show their sincerity than to implement social legislation now using Russian principles? [Extension of time granted.’] I ask honorable members to compare that statement with the statement of Thornton, published in the annual report a few months later, in which this important passage occurred -
With the methods of the Soviet Union applied to Australia I am quite satisfied that this country could not be equalled by any country throughout the world
Honorable members may draw their own conclusions from the similarity of those two statements, the one issued by the Attorney-General’s Department, and the other .by Mr. Thornton. At a further meeting of the Australia First Movement neither the police nor the Security Branch took action. Only the Communists took action in the famous Adyar Hall incident of - the 19th February. Certain action was taken by the Security Branch in Western Australia. Strangely enough, they appointed a man named Thomas, a Communist, as-a pimp or spy. Speaking of him, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) said on the 2nd September, 1942-
The crown witness in Western Australia was a “ great “ character. He ought to have been in gaol himself.
Yet this was the man whose evidence was accepted by the Government, the man upon whose word it took action. Thomas’s job was to make contact with Bullock, a former Communist. Bullock was typical of the Communists - he would join anything and shout for anything. Thomas represented himself as a man named Hardt, who represented- the Australia First Movement in eastern Australia. Up to this stage there was no evidence that Bullock was plotting anything, yet within a fortnight ‘of meeting Thomas he and three companions evolved a conspiracy which was not backed by any means to carry it out. It is almost unbelievable that any government should be prepared to act on the unsupported evidence of this £5 a week pimp, when it could have used the services of people of repute to join the council of Bullock. Nevertheless, the Government preferred to rely on the evidence of this Communist pimp, and sixteen persons lost their liberty. At the suggestion of Thomas, a letter was sent by Bullock to Sydney asking for affiliation. Security was informed by Thomas of the despatch of the letter, which was ‘intercepted, and eighteen persons were arrested. Why did not the Security Branch wait until the letter had ‘been received by the Australia First Movement in Sydney, and until it was able to learn how the people there received the proposal? Of course, that would not have suited the Communists. If the Australia First Movement had turned down the proposal no arrests would have been possible. Therefore, the letter was intercepted without waiting to see what would happen, and eighteen persons, were arrested. It is evident that some one in the east was out to get the’ Australia First Movement. According to the evidence of Sergeant Richards, Thomas was sent to make contact with Bullock. Obviously no conspiracy was possible without Thomas. At any stage Thomas could have smashed the conspiracy with a single word, - but he took no action. Another curious fact is associated with an article published by M. Fitzpatrick in Smith’s Weekly of the 13th June, 1942, and which was sent to .the Civil Liberties League of Melbourne, in which jeering reference was made to -
Sixteen native-born persons plucked from Sydney homes and offices last March and interned.
The Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) is, I understand, vice-president of the Civil Liberties League, and is no doubt the agent in this Parliament for Ratliff and .others. Another curious fact is to be noted. The Minister had, curiously enough, met the trade union conference just prior to the beginning of the last stage in the action when steps had been taken to associate Thomas with Bullock iri Western Australia. He had then made his infamous attack^ on certain members of the Opposition as “guilty men who put Australia last “. Some interesting information might have been obtained if we could have got him into the witness box.
– Of course he would. However, the arrests were made, and some of those arrested were not even members of the organization. Let me mention two of them. Matthews was not a member, but he was a contributor to the Bulletin. The Communists had been trying to establish a connexion between the Bulletin and subversive action. Regarding Bath, it is curious to learn that he was described by the Communists in the Domain after his arrest as secretary of the election committee of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender). Indeed, Wharfie, the official organ of the Communist-controlled Wharf Labourers Federation, published this statement on the 2nd August, 1942’ -
Spender is definitely known to be implicated with the spying, wrecking Australia First Movement.
According to Ratliff and Thomas, Spender was responsible, and that was enough for the Communists. Let me sum up the curious sequence of actions that resulted in the blasting of the lives of a number of innocent men, and not only brought on them untold misery and disgrace, but also indelibly blotted the good name of Australia for all time. It is a matter for comment that the Communist party knows what goes on in the Attorney-General’s Department, and honorable members can draw their own conclusions from that. I ask honorable members to notice Blain’s letter. At a convenient time, while the AttorneyGeneral’s Department was still in charge of the Security Branch, a spy was brought into contact with an exCommunist in Western Australia whose character was known to them. Out of that meeting there grew a conspiracy exactly on the lines which the Communists in Sydney desired, and which implicated the Australia First. Movement. At a- meeting in Western Australia, at which only four persons were present, it was agreed in the presence of the pimp. Thomas, the Communist, that the group should apply by letter for affiliation with the Australia First Movement in Sydney.
This letter was seized upon by the Security Branch as a pretext for arresting a number of persons in Sydney, some of whom were not members of the Australia First Movement. On the 6th March, Dr. Evatt gave his last answer on the Australia First question before he left for the United States of America. Then the Army took over control of the Security Branch, and members of the Australia First Movement -were arrested on the 19th March. On the 25th March, the Acting AttorneyGeneral knew nothing of the matter, but somebody in the AttorneyGeneral’s Department must have known about it. Next day, the Minister for the Army made his curiously alarming statement in which he made charges unsupported by evidence. Later, Mr. Justice Clyne found that there was no contact between the persons in Western Australia and the eastern States who had been arrested. Rigorous censorship clamped down on the press so that no one could defend these men. Although no names have been mentioned in this House, the Communist newspaper . was able trpublish a full list of the names of the persons charged. There is some contact between the Communists and either the Attorney-General’s Department or the Department of the Army. No action has been taken against the Communist newspaper that published the names. I should like to know’ who drafted the Ministers’ statement in regard to this matter.
– It was drafted by Military Intelligence officers.
– I should also like to know who gave the names to the Communists for publication in their newspaper despite an edict of this Parliament.
– I did not.
– The Minister’ for the Army is quick to give the answer to one question, but he is reticent regarding the other. I leave the whole sorry mess there. In his report Mr. Justice Clyne said that these people were doing nothing for the war effort. Surely, Matthews and Watts had secured immunity by reason of their wounds and their general condition of health. Watts served as a guard in .a munitions factory and had previously been a volunteer instructor in the Militia. Hooper had invested in the war loan a few days before internment, and contributed £25 towards the H.M.A.S. Sydney fund. On the day that he was arrested Bath had an appointment to volunteer for the Royal Australian Air Force. Cahill and Downe fought as members of the Australian Imperial Force and their pay continued during the whole period of their intern-, ment. Downe Gould not he present at thelater stages of the inquiry, as he wa.« fighting at Bougainville. It is Strang” to find an Australian who fought at Bougainville arrested as a traitor. It is true that subsequently he was released. One of the Crowleys had offered his cnr free to the Army, and his son was serving with the forces. His wife was a nurse m the war of 1914-18. Masey was engaged full time in a large surgical instrument plant. One feature that needs emphasizing is the violence of the Communists in the campaign. The chairman of the meeting of . the 19th February was brutally assaulted. During the inquiry before Mr. Justice Clyne two counsel were warned to keep out of the case if they valued their own safety. Bath -was waylaid and assaulted and Cahill appeared in the court showing evidence of maltreatment. These, are things which call for an inquiry. Some ministers would no doubt indulge in “ basher “ tactics if they could get away with it, but this is a free country -in which the rights of individuals must be respected. Ministers should give a full explanation to the House and the country.
– This is an important question which should be considered quietly and without resort to such extravagent statements as have fallen from the lips of the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison). This is a matter that should he dealt with on a high plane and should not be the subject of .-anting party political propaganda. Honorable members will realize that the detention of twenty members of the Australia First Movement took place at a time when a Japanese invasion seemed imminent, and also that some members of the organization were found guilty of conspiracy against their own country. The honorable member for Wentworth read certain extracts which suited his cage, but I remind him that although some suspected persons were afterwards declared to be honest, others were found guilty. It is well to remember that a state of national emergency existed when these men were taken into custody; the enemy was advancing towards Australia and the fate of the nation was at stake. It was not a time for a “ wait-and-see “ policy. In military circles it was thought that the enemy would land in Australia at any moment, and it was deemed a wise precaution not to have free in our midst persons suspected of being capable of stabbing our fighting men in the back. The problem of detaining persons who, rightly or wrongly, were suspected of being a potential danger to the nation was not peculiar to Australia, but was common to all the Allied nations iri a war in which “ fifth-column “ activities had reached an unprecedented standard of. ingenuity. War imposes heavy responsibilities on those with whom decisions rest in a time of national peril and the necessity for immediate action may well preclude that careful investigation which in normal times would precede arrest. It is to be regretted that in the exercise of emergency powers, the necessity for which could not be questioned by any reasonable citizen, innocent persons were occasionally thought to be guilty, but it would be unreasonable to expect that war-time powers will always be exercised with perfect justice and christian charity. War calls for swift action first and consideration later. When England was threatened with invasion the British Government took into custody over 3,000 suspected persons over night and shipped them to Australia with a request that they be held in internment camps here. During the next two years careful investigation revealed that the majority of those internees were harmless, and, accordingly they were returned to Britain. On that occasion swift action was taken by the British Government; the investigation followed later. It may be said that many of those people were innocent, but the nation was in danger and the British Government could not afford to take any risks. Had I, as Minister for the Army, refused to act on the definite recommendation of the Chief, of the General Staff and give my approval to detain these men after having received from the military intelligence officers advice that they should he arrested, what would have been my position had the Japanese invaded Australia and “ fifth column “ activity had undermined the safety of the country? Failure to have acted on the recommendations of the military authorities would have been inexcusable, and there would have been clamour demanding that I be drummed out of the Parliament. I quote from Mr. Justice Clyne’s report -
Having received the messages from Western Australia, the Army Intelligence authorities were, I think, justified in arresting the persons who were in fact arrested, hut they should have acted with a little more caution in making; recommendations that all the persons arrested should be detained.
The honorable member for Wentworth quoted portions of Mr. Justice Clyne’s report. He did not, however, quote the following comment on my approval of the recommendation by the military authorities that twenty members of the Australia First Movement be arrested. Mr. Justice Clyne’s comment was -
I can see no sufficient reason which would justify the Minister in not accepting the recommendation.
So, in the opinion of the Commissioner, I, as Minister for the Army, was justified in accepting the recommendations that were made to me. It is, I suggest, quite unprofitable to criticize action taken in 1942 in the light of the fuller knowledge -available after elaborate inquiry in 1945. The circumstances are totally different. It should he remembered, moreover, that public uneasiness in 1942 was manifested by a feeling not that there were too many people under restraint, hut rather that there were too few. His Honour has pointed out that all the persons detained were- given a proper opportunity of appealing against their internment in accordance with the National Security Regulations. The honorable member for Wentworth made no mention at all of that. His Honour also pointed out that not only were they given such an . opportunity, but also special committees were formed to reconsider the cases of some of the persons detained. Although some of the detainees complained of the methods adopted by the tribunal in hearing the appeals, to use the judge’s words again -
There is no evidence that their cases were not fairly and justly considered.
As honorable members are aware, the Minister went further than this and set up the inquiry conducted by Mr. Justice Clyne, thus providing further means for establishing the facts of each case. In his report, His Honour recommends that the persons - wrongly detained are entitled to a public declaration that they were in fact wrongly detained and were not disloyal, and such a declaration should afford them some measure of redress This recommendation applies to the undermentioned eight persons out of the total of twenty persons who were detained. . . .
The Government accepted the Commissioner’s recommendations and in Parliament, on the 5th October, 1945, on behalf of the Government, and in accordance with the finding of the Commissioner, I declared that Messrs. K. P. Bath, Clarence Crowley, S. B. Hooper, E. C. de la Roche Masey, Harley Matthews, C. W. Salier, W. F. Tinker Giles and Martin F. Watts were in fact wrongly detained and were not disloyal.
I am assured that the Commissioner’s recommendations have now been fully implemented. It is well to bear in mind, however, that although Mr. Justice Clyne found that eight out of twenty of the persons detained were wrongly detained and not disloyal, in reference to their association with the Australia First Movement, he said -
I think it can be . answered in one sense correctly by saying that the detention of these persons was justified as it was in fact recommended by the Army authorities. In view of this recommendation by the Army for Ministerial warrants under regulation 26, I can see no sufficient reason which would justify the Minister in not accepting the recommendation.
The honorable member for Wentworth was not fair when he quoted certain passages from Mr. Justice Clyne’s report, hut omitted to quote the passage stating that in His Honour’s opinion there was not sufficient reason to justify me as Minister in not accepting the recommendations of Military .Intelligence. In time of war injustices to some persons are inevitable. Thousands of people of German or Italian parentage were picked up by the authorities during the war. Many of them were later proved not to bo disloyal and dangerous.
– Does the Minister think that restitution should be made when injustice has been proved to have been done?
– If the honorable member had been listening, he would have heard me say that the Government was fair enough to appoint Mr. Justice Clyne to consider the cases of the interned members of the Australia First Movement. He made certain recommendations in regard to eight out of the twenty persons concerned. The other twelve, he said, were rightly detained. Those recommendations have been carried out by the Government. That privilege was not extended to any other persons who had been interned. In time of war drastic action lias to be taken, and taken immediately. In no circumstances would I wittingly do an injustice to any man in the Community, but when the safety of this nation was at stake, when it was thought that the enemy would land on our shores at any moment, that” our men would be fighting to drive them out and when there was sufficient reason to justify Military Intelligence in recommending swift arrests of people suspected of disloyalty, for a Minister to have said “ No, he is a friend of mine, or is related to a friend of mine and that must not be done” and something subversive happened as a consequence, that Minister i-would never be forgiven. He would have been recreant to the trust imposed in him. I. feel sorry for any person wrongly detained. I know that people, probably foolishly or ignorantly, sometimes become members of associations, without knowing their real aims and objects. They are misled by others. While one can have great ‘sympathy with them, I, as Minister, had to approve the action taken by responsible officers of the Army. The Ministry has carried out the recommendations made ‘by Mr. Justice Clyne. Nothing more can be done. It is unfortunate that certain people have suffered. Wars are cruel and bring hardship and misery to all kinds of people. In all countries engaged in war, when swift action has to be taken, mistakes sometimes occur, but the safety of the nation must be paramount. I believe that the Military Intelligence officers who investigated the Australia First Movement were actuated by a desire to do the right thing by Australia. Of the’ twenty members of the movement who were interned, Mr. Justice Clyne found that eight had been wrongly detained and should have some redress. He recommended the payment of certain amounts of compensation. I am assured that those payments have been made and that all the Commissioner’s recommendations have been carried out by the Government.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Archie Cameron) adjourned.
Women’s Christian Temperance Union Hostel at Woodville - Darwin : Compulsory Acquisition of Property - Royal Australian Navy : Discharges.
Motion (by Mr. Forde) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
Mr. ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) f 10.9*] . - I have two matters to raise, both of which I intended to mention at question time, but the adjournment motion gives me the opportunity of saying now more than I could have said then. Frankly, I do not know under whose administration the first comes, so I address my remarks to the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde). I have a letter, which I am not going to read, because I might be asked to table it, from a gentleman fairly close to the Government, in which he tells me that at Woodville, in South -Australia, in the. electorate of the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin), at one stage, the Government erected a hostel for the use of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the purposes of that hostel being that women engaged in munitions production in that area might have reasonably good board and lodging in the Woodville district. Some time afterwards the scope of the association’s activities was widened to accommodate working girls who were employed in factories other than those engaged strictly on the production of munitions. I am told that later the Government - I am not sure which Minister is . responsible - decided that any girl who ceased to be employed in a munitions factory, notwithstanding that she might obtain other employment in the same district and be willing to pay for her accommodation, must vacate the hostel. I should like the right honorable gentleman to fossick out which of the “ noble nineteen “ is responsible for that decision, and in due course to let me know whether it will be possible for the Government to take a more reasonable stand in this matter.
The second matter concerns the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde). I have had considerable correspondence with him on the subject. It concerns the Northern Territory. I have not yet handed over to the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain), since his return from a Japanese prisoner of war camp, affairs to which I have been attending on his behalf. I have not previously raised this matter in public. It is the case of a resident of Darwin who did not leave the Territory. As he puts it in a letter to me he was “ not one of those who cleared out “. It is not necessary for him to have a permit to re-enter the Territory, because he did not leave the Territory. He owned a war service home at Darwin which the Minister- for the Army rented to the Shell Company of Australia Limited. My correspondent now informs me that in respect of the occupancy of the home by the Department of the Army, the Army authorities have paid half of the charges due to the War Service Homes Commi.sion, whilst this man is now being billed for the other half of the dues in respect of the whole of the period dating from the time the Army authorities took over the home. Surely, if the Government believes that it is worth while to commandeer a .man’s residence in Darwin the least it can do is to pay the dues that would have to be paid to the War Service Homes Commission instead of paying half of them and allowing the original occupant to be billed with the other half. In addition to being a soldier of the war of 1914-18, this man has two sons at present on active service. Quite recently, his wife wanted to return to Darwin, but she has been told bluntly that if she returns she will not be- supplied with rations. For how much longer shall . we have to suffer under a system which denies to people the right to return to their place of livelihood? In certain European countries people are being moved about in hundreds and thousands. Darwin is but the size of a pecket-handkerchief when compared with the whole of Australia. Its total population would not make much difference to the Minister’s majority in his electorate of Capricornia. . No officer in the Army can convince me that the state of affairs in Darwin is such that old residents cannot be allowed to return there, or that people who did not leave the Territory during the war period should be pestered with requests as to why they do not possess permits to enter the Territory. I understood that the system of permits was abolished some time ago. For all the good it was, it should never have been put into operation. One gentleman who told me he had been turned out has explained to me how he got back. The system is so good that I still possess the permit I obtained in order to enter the Territory, although permits are supposed to be collected from holders before they leave the Territory. I” ask the Minister to look carefully into the ^natters which I have raised. To-morrow, I shall hand to him the letter to which I have referred. I shall not read it now because it contains statements which I do not deem it advisable to read to the House at present. In due course I may be able to refer to the other matters mentioned.
.- I raise .a matter which concerns the administration of the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin). A man can secure release from the Army if he has served five years ; but this provision has not been applied to members of the naval forces. When a young signalman, the’ son of an Air Force officer, applied for- release in order that he might return to his employment, he was refused permission and is being retained in the Navy under manpower regulations. This man was called up a week before the outbreak of war. He has spent his twenty-first to his twenty-seventh birthday in the Navy in sea-going service, but because he is a single man he has not enough points under the points system to qualify for release. Had he been a stay-at-heme, or been engaged on a shore job, or at headquarters, and been married, he would have been discharged long ago; but because he is a single man he cannot secure his release. Surely, the man-power provisions should not apply at this stage of the peace. In any case, the provisions applying to releases from the Army should apply to releases from the Navy also. If the Government were calling up draftees as replacements, all of these men could be released and would be enabled to rehabilitate themselves. If the Government delays further in such matters, these men will become problem cases so far as rehabilitation is concerned. Although thi3’ man’s employers have held his job open for him for over six years, they, no doubt, will soon want to reshuffle their staff. In any case the man will suffer in respect of seniority. I urge the Minister for the Navy to give careful consideration to this matter,. I understand that the’ young man intends to visit Canberra to put his claims before the Minister.
– in reply - The representations made by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) in respect of the first matter he raised will be brought to the notice of the appropriate Minister. I shall give sympathetic consideration to his representations . with respect to the second matter. My colleague, the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin), will be glad to deal with the matter raised by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White).
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 40.
Commonwealth Railways Act - Report on Commonwealth Railways Operations for year 1944-45.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 194(i, No. 3S.
Defence Act, Naval Defence Act, and Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1 940, No. 39.
High Commissioner Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1946, No. 50.
National Security Act -
National Security (Agricultural Aids) Regulations - Order- Bran and pollard (Restrictions of sales’) (No. 2).
National Security (Food Control’) Regulations - Order - No. 32.
National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (170).
National Security (Maritime Industry) Regulations - Order - No. 53.
Regulations- Statutory Ru’.es 1946, Nos. 35, 30, 44.
Sugar Agreement - Fourteenth Annual Report of the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee, for year ended 31st August, 1945.
War Crimes Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 30. .
War Service Homes Act - Report of War Service Homes Commission, for year 1944-45, together with statements and balance-sheet.
House adjourned at 10.18 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– Judge Foster’s report on the stevedoring industry has been received and the recommendations contained therein are now receiving the consideration of the Government in connexion with its review of the present system of conciliation and arbitration.
Australian Broadcasting Commission: Appointment of News Editor; Political Broadcasts; REESTABLISHMENT Session.
n asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer : -
The . Australian Broadcasting Commission will be asked to supply the information concerning the position of news editor sought by the honorable member for Wentworth, who will be advised further in regard thereto as early as possible.
r asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Mi ‘ Calwell. - The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer : -
As requested by the honorable member for Warringah, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has been asked to supply the particulars he desires concerning talks and commentaries broadcast through the national network during the past three months.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
l. - The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers : -
y asked the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
s asked the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
War Service Homes Commission since the 1st July, 1944?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as, follows : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 March 1946, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1946/19460313_reps_17_186/>.