18th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Eon. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the many representations of honorable members and the constant agitation by the Royal .Geographical Society of Australia and many other public bodies in Queensland for a special stamp issue to commemorate the explorations of the York Peninsula by E. B. Kennedy and his aboriginal companion, will the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral urge reconsideration of the issue of such a stamp before the end of this year?
– I shall be glad, to ask the Postmaster-General to give attention to the matter raised by the honorable member and to ascertain whether steps can be taken to have a stamp issued to commemorate Kennedy’s explorations.
ELECTRICITY RATIONING IN SYDNEY.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to reports that plans have been made for the rationing of electricity in Sydney during the coming winter owing to the shortage of coal, and to the statement by the Joint Coal Board that a large proportion of the great loss of production on the New South Wales coal-fields since the beginning of the year has been caused by unwarranted and unnecessary strikes.
– Order ! The Joint Coal Board may not debate this issue in this House by this means. .
– Is’ the Prime Minister aware that the Central Executive of the miners’ federation has decided to recommend “ appropriate industrial action “ if the Joint Coal Board persists with its plans to combat petty strikes? If so, has the right honorable gentleman ascertained whether “ appropriate indus*trial action “ amounts to further strikes ? What action does the Government propose to protect industry and the people against further sacrifice due to any retaliatory action that may bc taken by miners against the decisions of the Joint Coal Board?
– It is true that certain difficulties are associated with the maintenance of an adequate supply of electricity for power and lighting to theCity of Sydney, but these are not all due to a shortage of coal. On some occasions when an ample supply of coal has been available, it has still mot been possible to meet the demand for electricity. The Sydney County Council is in grave difficulties because of lack of equipment. Certain plant was ordered in England some years ago, but the council was informed some time last year that its order could not bo fulfilled for some years to come. To facilitate the provision of this equipment, the Government arranged for the order to he transferred to Switzerland, but, even then, the plant will not reach this- country for some considerable time. ‘I understand that the chairman of the council has complained that some of the coal supplied has not been of first quality, but again I emphasize that even with adequate coal supplies, it is not always possible to maintain a full supply of electricity to the city of Sydney. Sometimes there, has been a shortage of current because of a lack of coal.
– What about the miners’ threat?
– I am coming to that. When the honorable member asks a question he must be prepared to accept an answer that covers the whole question. I come now to the matter of coal supplies, and any action which the miners’ federation might take in that regard. We had hoped that the production of coal would be 250,000 tons a week, hut that rate has not been maintained this calendar year, and this, naturally, is causing anxiety, not only in Sydney, but also in South Australia and in other States. During the week-end, I discussed the matter with the chairman of the Coal Authority. It is hoped that production will be increased above the present weekly output. It is true that the Joint Coal Board has indicated that it proposes to take certain action regarding’ petty stoppages of work on the coal-fields. It would also appear from press reports - I have received no official information - that the miners’ federation resents the proposed action of the Coal Authority. However, I understand that the board itself intends to discuss the situation with the Miners’ Council this afternoon. In the circumstances, I think that it would be unwise for me to make any further comment.
– Some time ago, I made representations to the Postmaster.General’s Department on the subject of n new post office at Innisfail, and was informed that plans and specifications for the building were in hand. I now ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral what is the present position regarding this matter,- and whether he will do what he oan to expedite the work?
– I shall ask the Postmaster-General for the information desired by the honorable member and give it to him as soon as possible.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the report of a speech by the Minister for Supply and Development which was published in the press on the 12th April, and contains the following passage: -
The Bank Nationalization Act would be brought into effect by a referendum or other means if the High Court held the act to be unconstitutional, the Minister for Munitions, Senator J. L. Armstrong, said yesterday . . . He said there were men of reasonable ingenuity in the Cabinet who would see that the act was brought into existence.
Does the Prime Minister approve of that statement; if so, may his approval be taken as an intimation that the. act for the socialization of banking is to Be brought into operation by unconstitutional means if the decision of the Hig Court is unfavorable to the Government? Will tho right honorable gentleman explain what “ other means “ are to be used by the “men of reasonable ingenuity” in the Cabinet to ensure that the act shall be put into operation in the event of un- favorable decisions being given by the court and by the people at a referendum ? Does not the Prime Minister consider it to be highly improper that a Minister of the Crown should make threats of this, kind in regard to a matter which is still before the High Court?
– I have not seen the newspaper report referred to. I am not aware that any statement of the kind was made. Naturally I dp not accept newspaper reports because’ they might give a garbled account of what the Minister said. I have already said publicly, and I repeat, that I do not propose to enter into any discussion about the banking legislation while the matter is being dealt with by the High Court.
– Does that assurance apply to other Ministers?
– I had hoped so. In answer to the second part of the question, the honorable member can rest assured that the Government does not propose to give effect to any part of its policy by unconstitutional means. Any action that it takes to implement whatever policy it may adopt will be in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Australia.
Supplies of Coal and Building Materials
Air. THOMPSON.- Following questions asked in this House last week by the honorable member for Boothby and myself, I now ask the Treasurer whether he has any further information to give in connexion with coal supplies for South Australia? Has anything been done to overcome the shortage in that State? Also, has anything been done with a view to sending extra supplies of galvanized iron to South Australia for the repair of damage caused by the disastrous storm on Sunday?
– I regret to say that a reply given to a question asked by the honorable member for Boothby last Friday was inadvertently based on incorrect information. The Minister for Postwar Reconstruction said that two vessels had left on Thursday for South Australia and that two more were expected to leave on Saturday. River Loddon and Inchcrag did leave, but they carried only limited quantities of coal. Aroona, which was to load a return cargo of coal at Newcastle after bringing gypsum from South Australia, was diverted to Queensland. Yearby also was scheduled to load coal for South Australia, but .production was not sufficient to provide the ship with a cargo. Bellerby is delayed at Sydney with boiler trouble, and I am not sure when it can be despatched to South Australia. Plans for the transport of coal to South Australia overland provided for a weekly total of 800 tons as from the 4th March, but apparently transshipping arrangements at the border were not adequate to handle that quantity, and the schedule could not be adhered to, but coal is now going to South Australia by rail through
Broken Hill at the rate of 800 tons a week. According to information “which I have checked closely and which appears to be accurate, 17,000 tons of coal will probably go to South Australia by sea this week in addition to 1,000 tons which will go by rail. Next week it is hoped to send 20,000 tons by sea and 1,000 tons by rail. I have had discussions with the Minister for Works and Housing with a view to sending additional supplies of galvanized iron, plate glass and window glass to South Australia to help repair the damage caused by the week-end storm.
Attitude to Baltic Immigrants
– I ask the Minister for Immigration whether the Federated Ironworkers Association has refused to admit to membership 400 Baits who were to have worked in the steel industry at Port Kembla? Has the Communist boss of the association, Ernie Thornton, told the Government that he will not allow immigrants to work unless his union is satisfied about the politics of each man ? If these are facts, what action does the Government intend to take in order to ensure that immigrants, brought to Australia shall foe able to work in heavy industries, where the man-pawer shortage is acute?
– I understand that Mr. Thornton made a statement to the press similar to that which the honorable member has referred to, but I understand, too, that some correspondence has passed between the Director-General of Labour and National Service and Mr. Thornton regarding the employment of Baits at Port Kembla. The position is that, to date, no Baits are available for work there. The Australian Government proposes to erect at its own expense certain hostels to house Bait labourers at Port Kembla, and the Government of New South Wales will take similar action. We propose to give the management of the .institutions to the company concerned, and we shall supply the labour as soon as it is available. As to whether the people concerned will threaten or .not, we shall deal with that situation when it arises.
– Some months ago, J asked questions about the possibility of obtaining help, under the social services legislation, for persons confined in mental hospitals. The Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, I feel sure, was disposed to be cooperative, but I discover from letters which I have since received that no action has been taken. Patients in this category are not given the benefit of the hospital payment of 6s. a day, or the invalid pension or part thereof, which might be used for the purpose of making their lives more bearable. Does the Minister remember that in September, 1947, he proposed to give his earnest consideration to these matters? Will he confer with the States on this subject at an early date?
– I recall that the honorable member asked questions on this subject late last year, and that I discussed the matter with the Minister for Social Services, who reviewed the position and brought mental asylums under the provisions of the Hospitals Benefits Act with the result that mental patients receive, or should be receiving, the benefit of free hospitalization, just as if they were in any other public hospital. However, I shall clarify the position in a discussion with the Minister for Social Services later this afternoon, and ascertain whether any circumstances have arisen to interfere with his previous intention. Later, Cabinet will review social services generally, including payments to mental patients.
– Does the agreement between the Australian and /State Governments regarding the inmates of mental hospitals provide that the full cost of maintaining patients shall be borne by the Social Services Department? Is the Minister aware that mental hospital authorities are still demanding payment from the relatives of patients?
– When mental hospitals were brought under the Hospital Benefits Act it was arranged that inmates would be placed on the same footing as patients in other hospitals in that they would be eligible to receive an allowance of £2 2s. a week. This was provided in the agreement with the State governments, and any technical detail will be threshed out with the State authorities. Moreover, the wife of a patient in a mental hospital -is regarded, for the period during which he is an inmate, as a widow, and is entitled to draw a widow’s pension.
– I present the report of the Public Works Committee on the following subject: -
Proposed erection of a tribophysics laboratory for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Melbourne.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– I ask the Prime Minister, in the absence of the Minister for External Affairs, whether he has seen a report that Italy has nominated Signor Del Dalzo, of the Italian Foreign Office, as Minister to Australia? Does the Australian Government know of this proposed appointment? Has it agreed to receive Italian diplomatic representation, and does it intend to despatch an Australian diplomatic mission to Italy?
– A request has been pending for some time for the appointment of an Italian Minister to Australia, but I am not aware that the name of Signor Del Dalzo was mentioned in the first place. The Government has been considering the matter, but has not yet reached a final decision. The honorable member also asked whether the Australian Government proposed to send a representative to Rome, should Italy send a Minister to Canberra. No consideration has yet been given to that matter.
– Following a recent statement by the Prime Minister that the Government is satisfied that there are no
Communists occupying key positions in the Public Service, I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he is aware that the president of the Canberra branch of theCommunist party, John Blom Pomeroy, who resides at 33 Campbellstreet, Ainslie, Australian Capital Territory, has been appointed official photographer for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research? Furthermore, is he aware that the secretary of the same branch of that party, Dr. Jack Rowland Atcherley, who resides at 4 Chaffey-street, Ainslie, Australian Capital Territory, and who is a doctor of economics, has been appointed economic adviser to the Prices Branch? Can the Prime Minister inform me when those appointments were made, and on whose recommendation ?
– I do not know either of the gentlemen mentioned by the honorable member ; in fact, I have never heard of them. All appointments ‘to the Public Service are scrutinized by the Public Service Board, and when any doubt exists as to the loyalty of a prospective appointee to any branch of the service which is considered vital to the security of the country, the matter is investigated by the Commonwealth Investigation Service. In the course of his question the honorable member said that one of the gentlemen whom he mentioned had been appointed to the Prices Branch. I should not think that such an appointment would affect vitally the security of the Commonwealth. However, I shall have inquiries made in regard to both the gentlemen mentioned by the honorable member and inform him of the result.
Carriage of Air Mail
– I understand that until recently airmail was carried by airlines for a charge of . 025d. an ounce an air mile, but that a system of payment by bounty has now been reintroduced. Will the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral inform me whether any change has been made in the method of payment? Will he also have prepared a statement showing the present rates charged by airlines, andstaywhether similar charges are made by the Australian National Airlines Commission and. private airlines ?
– I shall secure the information sought by the honorable member, and communicate it to him as soon as possible.
Mr.DUTHIE. - In view of the serious harm done to our export trade by bad packing and the shipment of inferior goods, can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform me whether the Government is prepared to take drastic action, including, if necessary, the cancellation of export permits against firms which offend in this regard, in order to re-establish our prestige in eastern markets ?
– It is not correct that substantial damage has been done to our export trade by the shipment of badlypacked goods, although a few instances have come under notice of goods having been consigned in packages which were not entirely satisfactory. In such cases the Department of Commerce and Agriculture has drawn the attention of exporters to the necessity for properly packing their consignments. The honorable gentleman will recognize that, having regard to the great variety of goods being exported from Australia to-day, it is impossible to prescribe the nature of the packages in which a particular product shall be enclosed. Some of the complaints have been found to have been grossly exaggerated by overseas interests that are desirous of damaging the reputation of Australian traders.
Broadcast by Prime Minister.
– Can the Prime Minis ter say who is responsible for the Fifth Security Loan advertisements which boost Commonwealth prices control? Announcing the opening of the loan in a national broadcast last night, did the Prime Minister devote a considerable portion of the available time to giving a boost to Commonwealth prices control? Will the right honorable gentleman ensure that in future Commonwealth moneys intended ostensibly for loan publicity shall be used solely for that purpose and not for referendum propaganda purposes?
– It is true that in a. broadcast speech last night in support of the Fifth Security Loan, and, in an endeavour to encourage people to subscribe to it, I pointed out that the economy of this country had been maintained in. a very sound condition. I do not like to make a statement without being able to support it, and in order to reinforce my remarks I indicated what had happened to price levels and the cost of living in various countries, including Australia. I make no apology for that.
– The right honorable gentleman should have pointed out that although prices are subsidized in Australia that is not so in many other countries.
– The righthonorable member for Darling Downs, having asked aquestion, must not attempt to answer it himself.
– In order to support my argument, I made a brief statement regarding the percentage increases in prices in various countries in the world. I think I was completely justified in doing so.
– Will the Minister for
Immigration inform the House whether he has investigated the case of the MacDonald family of Scotland, about which the honorable member for Richmond asked a question on Friday last? If so, can he state whether it is a fact that thehonorable member for Richmond has written a dozen letters to him on the subject? Is it true, as alleged by the honorable member, that the MacDonald family has been waiting for two and a half years to come to Australia, after having been sponsored by relatives and friends in this country? Is it true that money for the family’s fares was sent to the Minister for Immigration more than two years ago? Finally, were the statements of the honorable member for Richmond any more accurate than his statements usually are?
– I have examined the departmental file concerning theMacDonald family. It shows that the honorable member for Richmond did not state a single fact in all he said when he asked his question on Friday last.
– I rise to order. Do the Standing Orders permit a Minister to introduce debatable matter when answering a question?
– I have not yet heard any debatable matter introduced.
– The first time that the honorable member for Richmond made any representations to me regarding this case was less than four weeks ago. He had said that he had written me a dozen letters over the last two and a half years. His first letter to me was dated the 18th March last. He wrote a second letter which was dated the 7th April, two days before he raised the case in the House. Therefore, he has written me two letters, and not a dozen, as he alleged. In view of the possibility that he had written other letters to the State immigration authorities in New South Wales - he does not seem yet to realize that the States have a part in the immigration scheme as well as the Commonwealth - I had inquiries made at the office of the New South Wales authorities and ascertained that at no time have they received any correspondence from him on the case and that the members of the family have not been waiting for two and a half years to come to Australia under the sponsorship of their relatives and friends. The assisted passage scheme did not come into operation until the 31st March, 1947, and, accordingly, had a nomination been lodged immediately it was possible to do so, the waiting period could not have exceeded thirteen months. The fact is that the nomination of the MacDonald family is a comparatively recent one. It was lodged with the New South Wales State immigration authorities by Mr. P. Scott on the 10th September, 1947 - only seven months ago. The procedure in respect of nominations under the free and assisted passage schemes is uniform throughout the Commonwealth. Application forms are submitted to the State immigration authorities by the nominator, and the State authority determines the priority to be allotted to- the nominees. In this instance, the nomination was marked “Priority 11” by the New South Wales State authorities. There are only fourteen priorities allotted. Priority 11 was given because the nominator, Mr. Scott, indicated on the nomination form that Mr. MacDonald would be engaged on “ farming or carrying work, whichever is available “. Replies which Mr. Scott made on the form also showed that he would not employ Mr. MacDonald, and had made no arrangements, for his employment. The honorable member said that Mr. Scott wanted Mr. MacDonald to work on a farm. Mr. Scott is a labourer in a flour mill, and is not in a position to employ anybody. Because of that the New South Wales authorities gave the nomination only a low priority. So, the statement of the honorable member for Richmond implying that these people are needed for work on a farm on the north coast of New South Wales is also untrue
The honorable member further misled the House by stating that the fares of these people were sent to my office more than two years ago. Neither the Department of Immigration, which was not established until July, 1945, nor the Department of the Interior, which, prior to that time, dealt with immigration matters, has any record of the receipt of any correspondence or money from Mr. Scott during. 1945, 1946, or 1947. No doubt the honorable member referred to an amount of £31 6s. which was sent by Mr. Scott to the New South Wales immigration authorities to cover the migrants’ contribution towards their passage money. That amount was not paid more than two years ago; it was lodged at the same time as the nomination on the 10th September, 1947. This is just another chapter in the honorable member’s unenviable record for veracity. Notwithstanding this unfortunate attempt by the honorable member to indulge in propaganda, I am anxious to help the MacDonald family. The family is, no doubt, an excellent one. If the relatives or friends of these people can make definite arrangements for their employment - and that is all that is still required - I shall ensure that everything possible is done to arrange shipping accommodation for them,
In case some persons might imagine, after hearing the allegations, of’ the honorable member. that there is, 8i desire on the part o.f somebody in Australia, to prevent Scottish people- from being- brought- to this country, I assure them, that the migrant vessel Empire H%ent left Scotland recently, and is due in- Fremantle on the 4th May. It is the first ship which has ever sailed from a Scottish po.vt. with, migrants for this country.. That will be good news to the McLeods the. Frasers, the Dedmans, the Pollards, the Lemmons the Menzies, the McDonalds, the McBrides, the Faddens and’ the McEwens’. and the Camerons, and all other people inside or outside of the Parliament, who are proud of the honour of bearing a Scottish patronymic.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honorable gentleman consider that he has been misrepresented ?
– Yes, by the Minister for Immigration. I protest that, whilst the Minister’s remarks, including ‘ his insinuations against me, will be included in the re-broadcast to be made this evening of questions without notice and the Minister’s answers thereto, my remarks in answer to the Minister’s charges will be omitted from the re-broadcast. I shall rea(? a letter which I received only this morning from Mr. Peter Scott, which, I believe, will, itself, completely answer the Minister; but I have in my hand also a letter which I received from the Minister which will also provide a complete answer to his remarks. On the 12-th April last Mr. Scott wrote to me as follows : -
I was greatly pleased to read your article In Saturday’s Northern Star concerning my daughter, Mrs. A. MacDonald, Mr. MacDonald and son and daughter, and was greatly interested to read Mr. Calwell’s statements as to having no knowledge about them trying to get out hero, also his denials as to not having received their fares. I have here in my possession the cheque butt of the cheque which was forwarded to his department. The cheque was put through the Lismore branch of the Hank of New South Wales, and the butt was filled in by an accountant in this bank. It «?as filled in as follows: - To Ministry Tourists Activities Immigration, 2 fares at £12 10s.; 2 fares at £6 10s.
– That is a New South Wales State department.
– We do not want any quibbling; the Minister’s smile will disappear before I conclude. The letter continues -
The number of this cheque, which was written out on the 8th September. 1!)47, is Ko. 2700!)!). I also have the receipt of this money stamped by the New South Wales State Immigration stamp. I was advised by the Immigration Department if I put this money in the MacDonald family would get an early passage out here after them trying since 1945. Mrs. MacDonald wrote Mr. Calwell when he was in Scotland and he wrote her to say he would help her in every way, which he hasn’t. 1 wrote him lots of times since myself, but, as I explained to you when I saw you here in Lismore, all the reply I. received was a plain printed postcard to say he would look into the matter.
I might say that I took up this matter as the result of representations made to me personally by members of the Scott family, who interviewed me at Lismore. The letter proceeds -
If you would like any further information regarding the cheque and receipt I would post them down. I can see that you have done more good in half an hour than what any of us have been able to do here since 1945, or Mr. and Mrs. MacDonald.
I a.m reading the letter of a man whom the Minister described in derogatory terms as just a labourer in a flour mill. The letter goes on -
I have complete faith in you, Mr. Anthony, and can assure you that there is a lot of people in Lismore which highly praises you for your good work concerning this case. I do sincerely hope that the MacDonalds can get out soon as they have first-class references to prove that they are a good and honest family. Will close now, once more thanking you for your keen interest in this matter.
From Mr. Peter Scott, 15 Wotherspoon Street, North Lismore, New South Wales.
In a footnote to his letter, Mr. Scott has written -
The number of the receipt is L.12D148, dated 12th September, 1947.
In reply to a question that I asked last week, the Minister said that he had no prior knowledge of the letters. If it is necessary for intending immigrants to ask members of Parliament to use their influence to secure a passage to this country, there is little likelihood of Australia getting 100,000 people from the United Kingdom.’
I have raised this matter not merely in the interests of the MacDonald family, but also because their treatment is typical of that of many others. I know of other similar cases. The Minister has misrepresented the facts of this matter. I wrote to him on the 17th March, and his reply is not consistent with his denial of all knowledge of the matter. In a letter written on the 22nd March, he stated -
Dear Mr. Anthony,
I am in receipt of your representations ot the 18th instant made on behalf of Mrs. W. Flynn, Booerie Creek, c/o Post Office, South Lismore-
Mrs. Flynn is Mrs. Scott’s daughter ; who is anxious to secure early passage to Australia for her sister and family, Mr. and Mrs. A. MacDonald. Bolshan Farm, By Arbroath, Angus, Scotland.
As you are no doubt aware, the allocation of passenger accommodation in vessels proceeding from the United Kingdom is no longer controlled by the British Ministry of Transport. Consequently, it is now necessary to make a direct approach to the various shipping companies.
Thus, after a long period of waiting, the MacDonalds were told to fend for themselves. The letter continued -
In an endeavour to be of assistance to the MacDonald family, 1 arn communicating with my representative at Australia House, London, asking him to do everything possible to see that their claims receive early consideration.
That was practically the same reply that the Minister had given the MacDonalds when he was in Scotland a year previously. I replied to the Minister on the 7th April, and the contents of my letter show that I had exploited every means available to an honorable member ; that the MacDonald family had exploited every means that intending immigrants could exploit; and that the relatives in this country had exploited every means available to them, even to offering the necessary passage money. My letter stated -
I was interviewed in Lismore recently by Mr. Peter Scott, 15 Wotherspoon-street North Lismore.
In l’.)45, Mr. ?<:ott made application for a passage to Australia from Scotland of a Mr. and Mrs. A. MacDonald, Bolshan Farm, By Arbroath. Angus, Scotland.
In a letter of yours dated the 22nd March, you advised that the passenger accommodation from the United Kingdom was no longer controlled by the British Ministry for Transport, and it was now consequently necessary for the individuals concerned to make direct approaches to the shipping companies.
Mr. Scott advises that he posted to your department a cheque for the sum of £32 in 1940. . . .
I admit that this in an error. He posted the cheque in 1947, not 1945. It is not a serious error, and it resulted from a misunderstanding on my part. The letter continues -
The Minister has endeavoured to hesmirch Mr. Peter Scott, who is a very fine citizen of Lismore, even though he is a labourer at the flour mill.
– Order ! The honorable member is making provocative statements that can only result in further argument. The Chair is not satisfied that the Minister has attempted to besmirch anybody.
– The Minister claimed that the MacDonalds had no farm to come to. The truth is that Mr. Scott’s son has a share farm on Dunoon-road, Lismore, and if was to that farm that the MacDonald family was to come.
– That has never been stated before.
– Whether it has or has not been stated, I give the lie direct to the Minister for saying that the MacDonald family did not have a farm to come to. I have stated the facts. I have proved up to the hilt everything that I have stated. Every obstacle has been placed in the way of the immigration of this family. They have been led on by false promises. Even after sending the necessary money, the relatives in this country have not been able to secure passages for them. Now, after two and a half years of waiting, the MacDonalds have been told to make their own arrangements to come to this country.
– The State secretary of the Australian Legion of exServicemen, Mr. K. Gatewood yesterday declined to proceed with an appeal before the No. 1 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal because the chairman, Mr. C. J. Cliffe, who was recently appointed, was an officer of the Repatriation Commis>sion. Mr. Gatewood was appearing for an ex-serviceman, Mr. J. C. Muller, in an appeal against the Repatriation Commission’s refusal to grant him a pension. Mr. Gatewood expressed the opinion that the tribunal was, in the circumstances, nothing better than a sounding board stooge ‘ “ of the Repatriation Commission. I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether such an appointment is not contrary to the spirit of the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act. Are there not amongst the thousands of exservicemen in Australia other men who could fill the position until a permanent appointment is made? Is it right to appoint provisionally an officer of the Repatriation Commission to an appeal tribunal when all appeals are against decisions of that commission? Will the Minister overcome this deadlock by immediately making a permanent appointment of an eligible person? ‘ ‘
– It is true that I have appointed temporarily Mr. Charles Cliffe as Chairman of the No. 1 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. The vacancy was caused by the resignation- of Mr. G. J. O’sullivan, who was chairman for a number of years. The term of the tribunal will expire on the 30th June next. So that there should be no delay in the hearing of pending appeals I sought a man whom I thought would satisfactorily fill the position and continue the hearing of appeals. I regard the honorable member’s use of the term “ stooge “ as undesirable. It is true that the gentleman selected to fill the position temporarily was a temporary officer of the Repatriation Commission. He is a solicitor registered with the Supreme Court of New South Wales. He had an excellent record in passing his examinations, which he completed while serving in the Army. He also had a splendid record as a soldier. He did not have a long association with the Repatriation Commission. He is not now an officer of the Commission. He has all the qualifications necessary to fill the position temporarily. I take full responsibility for his appointment. There is no delay in the hearing of appeals. Indeed, several appeals that have been heard under the chairmanship of Mi-. Cliffe have been upheld. I regard the position as entirely satisfactory. It is unfortunate that the advocate of the Australian Legion of ex-Servicemen should have adopted such an attitude. Another ex-servicemen’s organization has dissociated itself from it.
– In view of persistent statements in certain fruitgrowing areas of Tasmania that the 1947 apple and pear crop in Western Australia was paid for on the basis of the assessment of the crop, whereas in Tasmania, growers were paid only for the quantity of fruit delivered to the Apple and Pear Board, I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether there is any truth in this assertion. If so, what was the reason for the discrimination?
– Both in Tasmania and in Western Australia a tree measurement payment was made by the Apple and Pear Board in respect of certain types of fruit which it did not require or which it could not handle. In respect of fruits which had to be delivered to the board, payment was made on delivery under identical conditions in both States.
– A statement appeared in the press last week by a wellknown Macquarie-‘street doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer to the effect that he had found it impossible to import from America a recently published book dealing with the latest developments in cancer research, with the result that lie was compelled to treat his patients while lacking the most modern information on this subject. I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that restrictions have been placed upon the importation of technical books of this kind, and also upon educational publications from the United States of America. If so, does not the right honorable gentleman agree that there could be a contraction of our imports of other literature from that country and thus enable technical men and others engaged in educational activities, to avail themselves of the latest information on the subjects in which they are interested?
– I have not seen the report to which the honorable member has referred. Owing to the dollar stringency, a sub-committee was appointed to consider, in conjunction with the Minister for Trade and Customs and myself as Treasurer, ways of reducing our dollar commitments as far as possible without prejudicing essential supplies. There has been no intentional restriction k of the importation of necessary text books, but it has been found difficult to draw a line of demarcation. Quite a number of publications which might be called technical by some people are not technical in the real sense of the word. This applies particularly to special articles on various subjects. For instance, sometimes it is not easy to determine whether a publication on engineering is a technical book or a magazine. However, every endeavour has been made to provide dollars for all books that are regarded as essential. If the honorable member will let me have the name of the publication to which he has referred, I shall have the matter examined.
– I -draw the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to the fact that the Postmaster-General’s Department is apparently becoming publicity conscious because Mr. Errol Coote, former public relations officer for General MotorsHoldens Limited, has been appointed chief publicity officer of the department. Has the Postmaster-General recently appointed a publicity officer who will have a press officer and a films officer working under him? If these public relations officers are necessary to popularize the use of telephones throughout Australia, may this be taken as an indication that the thousands of Australians, particularly in country districts, who have been waiting for upwards of two years for telephones, are shortly- to have their needs satisfied?
– The PostmasterGeneral’s Department has recently established a public relations branch for the first time in its history. In this respect it is only following the example set by the Australian Country party, the Liberal party, and the Australian Labour party, although the department may not need a public relations secretariat as much as do some political parties. The officer iii charge of the new branch will do useful work. Mr. Coote is a returned soldier of the first world war, and is a man of very high standing in press circles. He did a very good job as publicity officer for General Motors-Hold ens Limited, with which he was associated for many years. 1 do not think the honorable member for Wide Bay will help to get telephones for people by his attempted humour at the expense of the Postal Department. Telephones will be supplied in Queensland and elsewhere as soon as manpower and materials are available to enable it to be done. In any case, more telephones have been installed since this Government came into power than in the previous 41 years of the history of the Postmaster-General’s Department, and this is due to the fact that the country is prosperous because there is a good Labour Government in power.
– In the absence of the Minister for External Affairs, I address this question to the Prime Minister. It relates to- the recent proceedings of the United Nations Commission on the status of women. Following criticism by the British representative of the action of the Soviet Union in refusing to allow the Russian wives of British soldiers to accompany them out of Russia, a motion was made to include in the international bill of human rights the following provision : -
Married persons shall have the right to reside together in any country from which chey cannot lawfully be excluded. ls it a fact that Australia voted against Britain, and with the Soviet Union, on that motion, with the result that the voting was equal, and the motion was not carried ? Who was the representative of the Australian Government on the commission? Did he vote as he did with the knowledge, and prior approval, of the Australian Government? If the Australian Government disapproves of the way in which he voted, has it publicly or otherwise expressed its disapproval?
– I gained the” impression, from reading the reports of theconference, that there was almost complete unanimity among the representatives. However, I shall arrange to have detailed information supplied to honorable members.
– Can thePrime Minister say whether it is truethat the Attorney-General will not attend the sittings of the United Nations Commission, of which he is chairman, which was set up to deal with the partition of Palestine? Is it intended that the AttorneyGeneral will remain in Australia to take part in the forthcoming referendum campaign ? Does the Government believethat the Attorney-General will be more successful in dividing the people of Australia during the referendum campaign than in carrying out the partition of Palestine ?
– It is a pity that a man of the high order of intelligence of the honorable member for Barker should ask facetious questionswhen he knows that no good purpose can be served by the question or the answer.. I do not propose to reply to such questions.
COURT Intervention by the Attorney-General.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to a report in this morning’s press stating that “ Dr. Evatt will intervene in the basic wagecase “. Are we to understand from thisthat the Attorney-General is to appearpersonally in the court, and if so, that he proposes to make it a practice toappear before the courts? Should that be so, would the ‘Prime Minister consider transferring the important portfolioof External Affairs to a Minister who would be more regularly in attendance in this Parliament? If it is not the intention of the Attorney-General to appear personally in the court, will the Prime Minister state the policy of the Government in regard to any proposed intervention in the basic wage application now before the- Arbitration Court?
– The honorable member knows quite well that the AttorneyGeneral is not likely to make a personal appearance in court in connexion with what might be a very minor application concerning the basic wage. That is not the intention of the Attorney-General or of the Government. The question of the honorable member probably refers to a statement made by the Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court to the effect that, when certain matters relating to the basic wage come before the court, the Attorney-General would intervene. However, at the actual hearing, the Attorney-General will be represented by some one else. This practice has been followed for some years. In the ordinary way, there are two parties to a claim before the court, and it has always been regarded as proper for a representative of the Attorney-General’s Department to be present, to watch the interests of the general public, and to supply to the court such information as it may desire. What was the second portion of the question?
– Will the Prime Minister state the Government’s policy in relation to intervention in any basic wage application ?
– It is not usual in replying to questions to make statements of policy in relation to any particular case, hut I shall say, in reply to the honorable member that the Government has no intention at present of entering an appearance in any major case in support or defence of any party. I understand that the Chief Judge indicated that the court might have the assistance of the Attorney-General’s Department when certain matters of the kind mentioned are being dealt with by it.
– I had intended to ask this question of the Attorney-General, but in his absence I direct it to the Prime Minister. In view of the notice given last week by the Attorney-General that He intended to introduce legislation to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act, will the Prime Minister confer with his colleagues with a view to amending the act so as to give full voting powers in this
House to the honorable member for the Northern Territory?
– I might as well say at once that it is most unlikely that any further consideration will be given at present to the voting rights of the honorable member for the Northern Territory and the proposed representative of the Australian Capital Territory. The number of voters in the Northern Territory is, I think, about 4,500; certainly it is less than 5,000. About 9,500 electors will have the franchise in the Australian Capital Territory. It would not be right to give the representatives of those territories equal voting strength in this Parliament with representatives of electorates having 40,000 voters or even, as in the case of certain Tasmanian electorates, about 22,000 voters. I cannot hold out to the honorable member any hope that the matter will be reconsidered at this stage.
The following bills were returned from the Senate without requests: -
Customs Tariff Bill (No. 3)1948.
Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill (No. 2) 1948.
Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Bill (No. 2) 1948.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Supply and DevelopmentAct 1939-1944.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– by leave - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
In the United Kingdom the services essential to the armed forces are provided by the Ministry of Supply, and in the United States of America they are provided by the Munitions Board set up recently under the National Security Act 1947. The Australian Government has decided that there must be a complementary body in the Commonwealth and it has reinstituted the Department of Supply and Development. Under an act of 1939, a
Department of Supply and Development was set up to be concerned with the procurement and manufacture of supplies and munitions for the armed services and to develop the resources of the Commonwealth so that we might be prepared in the event of war. On the outbreak of war the department was concerned with the procurement of war supplies and with the production of munitions and aircraft, but a separate Ministry of Munitions was set up in 1940, and, in 1941, a Ministry of Aircraft Production was also established. Meanwhile the Department of Supply was merged in a Department of Supply and Shipping.
With the end of the war, the departments took up an active policy of reconversion to peace-time conditions in industry and a stage has now been reached at which they can merge again in a combined Department of Supply and Development with functions similar to those which obtained before the war. The principal change to be made in the act is the substitution of the expression “ war materiel “ for “ munitions “ wherever the latter occurs. The expression has a much wider meaning than “‘munitions”, and is so used in the United Kingdom and United States of America forces. It may be defined as including everything used in war except the personnel. The intention of the amendment to the act is that the responsibility for provision of the needs of warfare, except man-power, shallbe placed upon the new department.
The general organization of the department contemplates that there shall be boards responsible for the management and administration of the following four main groups of undertakings : - Munitions production, including arms and ammunition factories; aircraft production factories; long-range weapons research and experimental establishment ; ship construction and repairs. Alsothere will be branches concerned with procurement of supplies from industry for the, services, including a ContractBoard, mineral resources development, including geophysical and geological surveys,stores and transport services’ for the Commonwealth departments, and scientific research and technical advice for defence purposes and for assistance to industry generally. Provision is to be made in the act to ensure the safety of the public in connexion with the operations of the long-range weapons range and to acknowledge the possibility of compensation should accidents unfortunately happen. Provision is also being made for secrecy on the part of persons employed uponthe operations, and for the steps necessary to prevent entry of unauthorized persons upon secret defence undertakings and for search of suspected persons in such areas, particularly in respect of dangerous inflammable materials or explosive substances.
The bill provides for continuity of service in regard to the technical staff and employees transferred from other departments during the war or engaged specially under the regulations of the National Security Act, so that such rights and privileges as they may have acquired as a result of their service under the Commonwealth may be continued. Opportunity is also being taken to amend the act so that those salaried employees formerly exempt from the operation of the Public Service Act will be transferred to the Commonwealth Public Service and be governed by the Public Service Act.
Debate (on motion by Mr.Menzies) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in abill for an act to increase the number of senators and for other purposes.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1946 and the Senate Elections Act 1903-1922.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1947, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report, viz. : - Erection at Lady Davidson Home, Turramurra, New South Wales, ofa multi-story tubercular block and additions to the sisters’ quarters, for the Repatriation Commission.
The purpose of the multi-story tubercular block is to provide bed accommodation for ex-servicemen suffering from tuberculosis. The locality of the Hepatization General Hospital at Concord, New South Wales, is considered to be unsuitable for the treatment of advanced tuberculosis cases. The building will be of five floors making provision for 96 beds in four wards of 24 beds each, whilst the ground floor will be devoted to the administrative section of the whole establishment and also to the out-patients department. A major operating theatre with ancillary services is also provided. The building has been designed as a reinforced concrete structure supported on pier foundations. The external walls will be concrete with a. textured surface, whilst the roof will be of a flat concrete construction, graded, insulated and sealed. The establishment cost of the multi-storied block, including services, is £180,585.
I shall now deal with the proposed additions to the sisters’ quarters. The existing building accommodates 26 sisters, and, with the additional bedrooms to be added, will provide accommodation for 86 sisters. The additional accommodation is required for the increase of the number of sisters who will be employed at the home following the completion of the multi-story block. It is proposed to construct the extensions of brick walls, tiled roof and reinforced concrete floors. The existing building is of similar construction to that proposed for the additions, except that the first floor is of timber construction and is roofed with corrugated asbestos cement, which it is proposed to replace with tiles at some future date. The estimated cost of the additions to the sisters’ quarters, including services, is £51,635. I lay on the table of the House the plans of the proposed buildings.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1947, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report, viz.: - Erection of an office building to house Commonwealth departments in Brisbane.
The proposal envisages the extension in two stages of the existing Commonwealth Offices, Brisbane, and is required for the purpose of housing various Commonwealth departments with branches in Brisbane. At present some of these are inadequately accommodated in rented premises in various parts of the city.The first section, which it is proposed to erect forthwith, comprises basement, ground floor and first to seventh floors on the Anzac Square frontage, and sub-basenient, basement and six floors on the Creekstreet frontage, and will provide an additional usable space of 127,523 square feet to the 49,654 square feet available in the existing building. It is proposed that the building shall be steel framed, encased in concrete with reinforced concrete floors and beams and finished with freestone and cement rendering to match the existing building. The second extension, which will be carried out at some future date, will provide a further 108,408 square feet of usable space, making 285,585 square feet in all. The estimated cost of the first extension is £702,000. , I lay on the table of the House the plans of the proposed building.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 9th April (vide page 830), on motion by Mr. Chifley -
That the following paper be printed: -
International Affairs - Statement prepared by the Minister for External Affairs, 11th March, 1948.
– Before beginning my speech on international affairs, I record my great surprise at the fact that the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) is not in the chamber. This is the first full-dress debate on international affairs for a considerable time, and it is taking place at a critical period in world events. I regard the absence of the Minister for External Affairs at this juncture as being grave indeed.
I am labouring, I confess, under a heavy sense of responsibility, because I am not one of those who considers that war is an impossibility. Speaking metaphorically, 1 believe that peace walks on the edge of a precipice - that is if we can say that peace exists in the world to-day. If peace is indivisible, as we were recently told, then peace is nonexistent. It appears to me that those who were responsible for compiling the paper on international affairs, which the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) laid on the table of the House, laboured under a similar sense of responsibility, because they did not suggest anything which could cause or prevent war. They did not offer any comment which points to a specific line of policy in connexion with the trend in world affairs. Although the document deals with every portion of the globe, it is of such a character that we cannot see the wood for the trees. This criticism is also largely true of the speech which the Minister for External Affairs made last Thursday evening. If honorable members will examine the seven points which he propounded, they will find them to be couched in the most general terms and to be, in fact, merely a reiteration of our allegiance to the United Nations and to the British Empire. That could not be said, of the speech of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who spoke in definite terms. Later, I shall join issue with him on some of his views.
Any honorable member who examines world conditions to-day must be impressed by the fact that there is, as it were-, a “ drop, scene “ which consists of a great struggle between two ideologies. The conflict is now reaching an intensive! phase.. The participants may he divided into two forces which may be described, on the one side, as; the democratic ideology, and on the other as the authoritarian, whether of the right or left. For a time; the forces of the- right have been fairly effectively disposed of, and we must concentrate our attention on the manifestation of the authoritarian ideology in its leftist, aspect. The democratic- ideology is based upon Christian tradition - the belief in human dignity and the rights of human personality. The authoritarian ideology is based upon the materialistic philosophy of M«. Any one who attempts to understand communism, or the struggle which is taking place throughout the world to-day must have some knowledge and understanding of the theory of this philosophy- -of dialectical materialism. It may be stated roughly in the following way: - First, matter is the only reality. Secondly, man inhabiting a purely material universe has no higher destiny than the satisfaction of his material wants in a perfect economic organization of society. Thirdly, and this is the dialectic theory, progress takes place only through conflict of opposing forces. That view is particularly important at present, because upon it the whole doctrine of class warfare is based. It is absolutely necessary that those who espouse the cause of peace should recognize that and bear it in mind. The struggle throughout the world to-day rests on the doctrine of class warfare, and because of that doctrine there can be no peace so long as a noncommunist society remains in any part of the world. Propagation of the doctrine of class warfare is not merely a means to an end, but is, in the Communist view, the only means to the end. That end was described by Karl Marx, when he wrote, “ Class warfare necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat “. It is true that Marx went on to foreshadow a classless society in which the State will have disappeared and men will be equal and free. But does any one suggest that Communists in Australia to-day see themselves as mere units in an organized society of equals, or as equal parts in a machine ? They know that any machine must be organized, and that the parts of any machine are not equal. They visualize themselves, not as units on a dead level, but as organizers and managers of the industry of other people. In this House we have heard it asserted again and again that the only way to combat communism is to provide economic benefits, to extend social services, to introduce an easier way of life and to make available more amenities. However, that contention represents a capitulation to the realteachings of communism, and those who accept it adopt the Communist view that economic forces alone operate to- decide human behaviour and’ destiny. Of course’, communism does thrive in discontent, andin that respect” it is true tha* want and misery are the breeding grounds of communism. But communism also thrives in the decay of. religion, because it is the enemy of all religion. It also thrives in envy, greed and jealousy; in the lust for power ; in the lying propaganda which its advocates disseminate, and in the gullibility of its dupes.
I have traversed the background of the picture presented by the world to-day, because we cannot detach any happening in any part of the world from that general picture. The statement before us contains a section devoted to “ warmongering “. I am in complete agreement with the general aims as set forth in that section, and I deprecate greatly the making of statements calculated to lead to war. But let us be sensible in regard to this matter. Do our commitments to a resolution of the United Nations require us to close our eyes to the facts of the world’s situation to-day? Are we not to mention the war in China, the war in Bogota - although many would regard that simply as murder - and the situation which has developed in Europe? Beneath all the manifestations of ideology revealed in each of those places are the old ideas of national and personal aggrandisement, and of world suzerainty; in other words, the age-old vices of men and nations. The Government says there can. be no war. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) said there can be no war for five years ; yet the very day on which he made that statement in the House the countries which comprise the Benelux group, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, made a plea to the United States of America for military, as well as economic, aid, and insisted that their plea be heard. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers) said that there can be no war for ten years. He based his belief on a statement by Field Marshal Lord Montgomery; but General Eisenhower has informed the Government of the United States of America that, in his opinion, that country should maintain a standing army of 1,300,000, and has advocated the introduction of universal military training. In assuring us that war is not likely to occur in the near future the. Government relies also on the statement of Professor Oliphant, the atomic research scientist, who stated that, because of developments in the atomic- field, therecan be no war. Yet only the other daySir Ben Lockspeiser, who has come hereon behalf of the British Government, said that at the present stage of development of methods of warfare no military, scientific, or other expert could possibly say what will be needed should another waroccur. Einstein, the greatest of all scientists, when asked recently with what weapons he considered the next war would be fought, said : “ I do not know, but I know, that the war after will be fought with bows and arrows “. The statementsof Lockspeiser and Einstein show that there can be no certainty in regard to the outbreak of war or the methods by which it will be fought, and that scientists donot agree as to the possibility of certain things happening. We do not know the nature of current scientific developments nor the experiments which may be proceeding in secret places, and it is not right that we should close our eyes to the fact that only recently rockets were seen passing over Sweden. Whence they cameand whither they were going we donot know, but we all remember very vividly that in 1939 the outbreak of war was said to be impossible; that the Japanese could not possibly train pilots or raise an air force, that Russia could not possibly survive a fortnight of war, and that the Maginot Line was impregnable. I do not think that it is wise for us to take undue comfort from the statements of experts in regard to these matters.
Let us look at a more detailed picture. At this moment war is being waged in China, and it has some connexion with the ideological warfare of which I have spoken, just as the war in Colombia has some connexion with it. Peace has not yet been concluded with Japan and that country is still under military occupation, but industrial strife is occurring there. Peace has not yet been concluded with Germany, which is still under military occupation, and the situation which exists in that country is so intense as to be alarming. In addition, war is being waged in the Middle East. Let us consider for a moment the situation in Palestine. Many people are inclined to believe that the struggle being waged there is between the Jewish and the Arab residents of Palestine, with some minor additional aggravating factors. The fact is that the struggle which is going on is between the Jews and all the Arabs of the Middle East. In 1945 the Arab League was created in an attempt to bring about political unity, and it embraced all the Arab States on the borders of the Mediterranean, in North Africa and along the shores of the Persian Gulf, representing in all about 100,000,000 people. The Arab States are stretched right across the principal sea and air routes running east and west, and contain within their borders the rich oil deposits of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. For that reason the Arab peoples occupy an important strategic position in relation to world affairs. The grave danger inherent in that particular outbreak is the possibility that it will not be confined to a local struggle between the Palestinian Jews and Arabs but may very well involve the whole of the Moslem world. Ithas already been declared a holy war, A holy war is not necessarily confined to questions of religion or to believers. But any Moslem taking part in a holy war does so in the belief that he will go immediately to Paradise should he unhappily be killed.
What was the proposal of the United Nations in regard to Palestine? It was decided that the country should be partitioned into a Jewish State with a large Arab minority, an Arab State with a small Jewish minority, and a neutral State, comprising Jews, Arabs and Christians, under the protection of the United Nations organization. Quite obviously, that was a ridiculous and stupid decision, but the stage has now been reached when the United Nations organization has got to take some action, because no mere formula can possibly settle the dispute now.
Australia is committed to this scheme. Is the United Nations to enforce it? If isO, how is it to do so, and what is Australia’s part to be? I have always expressed grave doubts as to the desirability of implementing the proposition that there should be a United Nations police force or army, because I believe it would involve great difficulties and dangers. Article 45 of the Charter of the United Nations provides that, in order to enable the organization to take, urgent military measures, members shall hold immediately available national air force contingents. Is Australia to send an air force contingent or any armed force? What armed forces have we that can be said to be ready to participate in such an enterprise? Is it to be supposed that Australian troops will be sent from Japan? The Minister for External Affairs intimated, that it was likely that the policy of the United Nations with regard to Palestine would have to be altered, and he was probably right. What action does the Minister propose to take in that connexion? He -was chairman of the committee that recommended partition. The time has now come clearly .to state A ustralian policy in regard to this matter so that the House may discuss and express an opinion upon it before it is communicated to the United Nations organization. Too often in the past has Australia been committed to hopeless propositions without prior discussion by Parliament.
What are to be our relations with the United States? We have a close link with that country through the medium of the United Nations and we are also linked to it by ties of sentiment. It was stated in the press last week that there was in contemplation, or even in course of preparation, a pact between the United States and Australia. If that is true, what form is the pact to take? Is it to be confined merely to economic and diplomatic matters, or is it to contain some military provisions? When I was in America in 1935, I spoke on many occasions with the late President Roosevelt, and since then I have often been struck by the fact that all that he said at that time about what was likely to happen in the future has happened. He said that his reading of American public opinion at that time was that America would never again take part in another purely European war, but that if ever there should be a hint of trouble in the Pacific there would be an immediate swing of public opinion. He said, speaking as a private person, that in his view Australia was a natural base in the event of any disturbance in the Pacific and that it need never fear so long as America stood where it did. If President Roosevelt was right, and surely the events of the last war proved that he was, Australia still remains a natural Pacific base. What is the attitude of the United States of America towards us to-day? Has America completely deserted the South- West Pacific? That is a question to which this House should be given an answer. What has become of the naval base on Manus Island? If reports are true, it is already beginning to revert to jungle, and we cannot afford to allow so strategically important a place to recede from the point ‘of perfection to which it was brought during the recent war. I should welcome a statement from the Minister :for External Affairs to the effect that a pact such as that to which I have referred is in contemplation, and I invite the right honorable gentleman to give some information to the House about it.
Turning to Europe, the background can be described as one of constant and continual struggle. The developments that are taking place in Europe at the present time are surely, even on the kindest judgment, alarming in the extreme. When the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) spoke in this debate he referred to a certain expansion of Russian power in Europe and said that if it were true - and he admitted that it was - we must assume some of “the ‘blame because we connived at, or at least countenanced, the cession of certain territories to Russia during the war. I completely agree with that statement. I believe that at Yalta, under pressure of the war commitments, certain things were done which have since given rise to many problems. I believe further that President Roosevelt had some presentiment of the dangers that could arise as a result of the decisions then taken, and that it was that conference that struck the blow which ultimately resulted in his death, lt is true that we must take some of the blame. The honorable member for Fremantle said, “ It is a case of ‘ needs must when the devil drives ‘ “. I agree. But must the devil drive in peace as well as in war ? Must we, as the price of peace, as well as the price of victory, sacrifice the principles in which we believe? If ‘that be so, then the waT was fought and lost. The honorable member inevitably referred to ‘Czechoslovakia, as indeed has almost every other honorable member who has spoken. He said, “ There was no sudden accretion of power to Russia, and the capitulation of Czechoslovakia took place without the aid of Russian troops “. That is quite true, but it did not take place -without the aid of the Russian fifth column, nor without unquestioned and undisguised pressure. Honorable members will recall the Paris Conference of Nations, which was called to discuss the Marshall Aid Plan for Europe! Among the countries which accepted the invitation was Czechoslovakia. On the very date on which its acceptance was notified to Paris, the Premier and the Foreign Minister flew to Moscow, and later theacceptance was recalled. Mr. Pepinac the last representative of the old Czechoslovakia, before the United Nations,, referred to that very fact, and accused Russia of exercising a very great and indefensible pressure upon his country. It is significant that in respect of Czechoslovakia, whilst there was no sudden accretion of power, as the honorable member has said, thetechnique which is being used in othercountries was resorted to ; it was the final, triumph, -shall we say, because that was the one country of ail ‘the republics of Europe -“that we had every right to believe would withstand the pressure being exerted upon it.
This is ideological war, but just as war itself is not merely a clash of armed forces, so ideological war is not merely a clash of ideas, but :a clash that goes on by means of physical and political weapons all the time. It is taking place on a world-wide basis. Some .may question that assertion on the ground that there is no evidence to support it. I direct attention to the statement prepared by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) on this question. In the section devoted to the Cominform. there. appeared this statement -
In October, the Soviet opposition to American plans for aid to Europe became crystallized in the form of a widely-publicized directive to all Communists throughout the world to unite in opposition to the Marshall Plan and other forms of capitalist imperialism. This directive was framed at a meeting in Poland of prominent members of the Communist parties of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia. Poland. Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Roumania, France and1 Italy, which resulted in the formation ot the Communist Information. Bureau’, or Cominform
The months., following the establishment 01 the Cominform saw in France and. Italy widespread strikes under Communist leadership. These strikes, which marked a break on the part of the Communist parties with earlier policies of co-operation with broadly based governments of loft and centre parties, cause’! a considerable setback to the recovery of hoth countries.
Whatever criticism they may offer elsewhere, no one will regard that statement as showing bias a.gainst Russia, because,, as I believe, it was deliberately framed, as far as possible,, to ease the tension and prevent undue criticism. Nevertheless, because of its very moderation, and because of the temperateness of the words in which it was framed, it reveals the position exactly. When the Cominform spoke, the whole Communist world responded.
My criticism of the Minister is that he is aiming- always, and it would seem to bp only, at making a success of the United Nations organization. For that I do not blame him. If it can be made to work, well and good; but I am afraid that the right honorable gentleman in his desire to make it work, too often closes his eyes to all the sinister facts of the- world scene. It is not enough that this Parliament and the people of Australia should have put before them certain facts which are merely stated categorically as they have been in that! statement on international affairs. We have the right to expect from the Minister some direct and connected statement on the trend of events and their possible effect upon our involvement in future world events. It is true that war may not come within five years or ten years. We hope and pray that it will not;- but unless the drift towards war which is going on to-day is stopped, war is inevitable. Indeed, war in the Middle East is already in full swing and may at any momentlight up the whole world. War is being waged in many countries and may very -well involve us. Accordingly, it would be very well if a conference of all the Empire countries could be held, to ascertain what are our- united resources and’ what is our united attitude on the questions’ which are facing the world to-day. Let us have what might be called a directors-‘ meeting of the Empire. Let the meeting be attended by representatives of not only governments but also Opposition parties in each of the Dominions and the Mother Country. Each is equally interested; each, in the event of a calamity, would be equally involved. We must have a strong defence programme, but unless public opinion be well informed on a.ll of the reasons behind such a programme; there will be created an atmosphere unfavorable to its proper implementation. Let the Government be frank with the people on this matter. Let it strive to prevent war, but by all means acquaint the people of this country with the possibilities, so that they may be prepared for the worst even though it may never come.
.- This is no time for bandying words. We are back again where we found ourselves early in 1939. The danger is no less than it was then. The causes are not different. The world is living in an atmosphere of iea’1. A false move means a third world war. We are back again at the perilous game of power politics, with, its manoeuvres and its intrigues. The fight for markets, the fight for oil, and the fight for raw materials, is on again. The world is divided into two armed camps - one behind the iron, curtain of Russian, imperialism, and the other, rallying- to the leadership of the American dollar empire. Each, camp fears domination by the other. Where, there is fear, there will soon be hatred, and unhappily, hatred is’ frequently followed by war. So, unless the cause for, fear can be removed, war becomes inevitable. Such a war would be mass murder; it would end in the- destruction of the present social system; it would mean the annihilation of millions of. innocents. It is our duty, then, to examine our own foreign policy, to see whether those in. control have a true conception of the dangers ahead. Do they know where they are heading? Their job is to keep this country secure. The masses of the world do not want another war. They want peace; they want security: The outlookof the masses, is not different in different countries. Should there be another war, i’t will be the fault of those in control of foreign affairs. It will not be the fault of the people.
The Australian people are not different from the people of Britain, the people of America, the people of Czechoslovakia, or the people of Russia. Like them, we do not want to see our sons slaughtered in another war. If no one wants war, then why should there be war? If only the leaders want war, how is it that the people have to follow?
That should be our approach to the problem of foreign policy. Our job is to keep this country out of war; to keep our people free to live the kind of lives they want to live - free from war, free from fear, and free from foreign domination. If we can achieve that, our foreign policy is a successful policy. If we fail we condemn this nation to the unknown horrors that await any nation engaging in a future war. So, the real test of our foreign policy is a very simple one : Is it leading us to war or, is it leading lis to freedom from war? The present indications are that it is leading us to war.
This is no time for recriminations, either against persons, or against nations. There is still time to isolate the causes of war, and to prevent war. This country, like many other countries, was the victim of a great delusion. That delusion is known as the United Nations. Never were nations more dis-united than are the members of this new organization. Never was an organization possessed of higher ideals, and lower political values. The Atlantic Charter, a very noble expression of the ideals and articles of faith of the nations which were waging war, hardly survived as long as the Japanese armistice. The United Nations, supposed to give formal shape to the ideals of the Atlantic Charter, has failed before the peace treaties have even been drafted!
The presumption was that all the members would leave their suspicions, their greed, and their fears, outside the new organization ; that they would be prepared to abandon their fights for raw materials and markets and that they would be prepared to disarm, both for military warfare and for economic warfare. But what has happened? We must face the facts as they exist to-day. Nearly three years ago, when the war finished, Great Britain, Russia and the United
States of America were allies. Russia may have been an ally of convenience, orcircumstance. The leaders of those - three nations had compounded their differences. There had been mantoman talks. There had certainly been compromises; but there wasagreement, and that Was all in accordance with the old game of power politics. Never has an organization had a more auspiciousinauguration than the so-called United Nations. It had only to keep the wartime unity going. That should have been . its purpose. Instead, it started off on the wrong foot, and it has been on the wrong foot ever since. We must judge theorganization, not on its prospectus, but on the results it has achieved. On that basis the United Nations has been a tragic failure. It took the League of” Nations fifteen years to become embroiled in bickering and verbal hostilities that led to war.
The United Nations has never been free from the atmosphere in which theLeague of Nations was eventually dissolved. All the elaborate superstructure - which attempts to create a super world state is being erected in the same state of crisis. Bretton Woods, Unesco, theInternational Trade Organization and all the other organizations with fancy titles are merely the trimmings associated with, the division of -the world into zonesof political and military influence. . These international gatherings are providing the stage for the talking war.. We witness ceaseless conflict, recriminations among nations and their representatives. They are manoeuvring for position; they are suspicious regarding - motives; and they fear the outcomeof every manoeuvre and move. How could any organization succeed in such an atmosphere? What benefit are we derivingfrom participating in such squabbles? In attempting to mind every one else’s business, we are making a mess of our own. The Government claims that it has gained much prestige in participating in all these international gatherings. We have an army of spokesmen all claiming to speak in the name of Australia. Some obscure official, a complete nonentity in this country, can get up at these gatherings and air the most provocative views and still claimto be speaking on behalf of the people of ‘
Australia. That is an extremely dangerous state of affairs. I should like to know how many honorable members would care to vouch for the qualifications of those supposed to be representing the people of Australia .at these gatherings. Avowed Communists like Thornton and Lewis have been briefed to speak on behalf of Australia. Their views are accepted at these gatherings as the views of the Australian .Government.
The Government, apparently, bases its : ideas of prestige on the number of representatives it sends to these gatherings. Apart from providing luxury trips and finding tax-free jobs at huge salaries for specially favoured officials, what have these organizations achieved that is of any benefit to this country ? The only result is that we have become involved in squabbles all over the world. Australia appears to have been given the role of policeman; some go even so far as to say that we have the role of the conscience of the world. For that reason we have found this country’s representatives meddling in the affairs of other countries. We sponsor the partition of Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews; we object to what the Americans are doing in Korea; we are ready to jump into the middle of the Antarctic crisis. No matter how remote the trouble may be, we are up to our neck in interfering in the affairs of other nations. Our entire case against Russia is that it is interfering in the internal affairs of this country through the Communist party. To be consistent we -should keep out of other country’s affairs. If any one attempts in Australia to work for another country, that person should 7- dealt with as a traitor; but that is no justification for this country meddling in the affairs of other nations.
The United Nations has promoted an unhealthy appetite for interfering with other people’s affairs. That in itself has ^provided the principal reason for the present war fever. Then, there is the myth of the small nations. At San Francisco Australia sponsored a new kind of power doctrine. It was based on the false assumption that a combination of small powers could out-vote the larger nations. The theory was most attractive, but in practice it has proved to be just another ‘ illusion. In international affairs it is not voting strength that matters. What counts is reserve strength in material and military resources. One of the results of this attempt to regiment voting power, to conduct the affairs of nations as one would conduct a political conference, was the emergence of the veto power. Russia claimed and “ got away with “ the right to veto any decision of the Security Council. From that moment,, the United Nations ideal was doomed. The small nations never had and could never hope for any chance of taking charge of an international organization such as the United Nations. When a powerful country finds itself in a minority, it is either obstructive or it walks out. The smaller nations have to respect whatever decisions are made, but the powerful nations accept only the decisions that they want to accept. If they do not want to accept a decision, they defy the organization. That has been the experience of the United Nations. The doctrine of the small nations only helped to intensify the growth of suspicion and fear. So, the United Nations has become a chronic, volcanic threat to the world. It has become a battle-ground for the talking war. All kinds of emissaries come into conflict. Nations team up with other nations. There is a constant struggle for voting supremacy. The world’s political future is not being decided at the top political level at all. Prime Minister Attlee, President Truman and Dictator Stalin never attend meetings of the United Nations. Even Foreign Ministers Bevin, Marshall and Molotov no longer attend. When they meet at all, it is for three-power talks at which the smaller nations are not represented. At the United Nations, the delegates are Gromyko, Cadogan, Austin, and a whole galaxy of even lesser lights. But when these lesser lights start arguing and squabbling real dynamite is being thrown around carelessly. So, we should ask ourselves how much good can be achieved by these meetings. Russia walks out every time it disagrees with a decision. The Soviet is out to embarrass the United States of America at every stage. Australia may succeed in getting into the headlines, but the real test is whether we in this country are any better off or any more secure as the result of our attendance at these international gatherings? The chief aim is to prevent war. The United Nations has proved that it cannot even help to prevent war. Yet the people of the world do not want war. Then why should not the approach to the problem be to decide who are the people who can prevent another war? If the Gromykos, the Cadogans and the Austins are unable to prevent war, who is able to do it? The small nations are not in a position to influence a final decision very much. That decision will have to be made by two or three men only. Is it not time, then, that these men were brought together? During the war, all major decisions were made at meetings such as the Yalta and Teheran conferences. At the United Nations, there is no chance of getting any “ on-the-spot “ ‘decisions. There is no real basis of compromise or adjustment. Those participating are only lower level officials. Only a meeting between Attlee, Truman and Stalin can sort out the present position. It is no longer a matter of saving face ; it is not a question of national prestige; it is a matter of stopping war - a war that could destroy civilization. These three men must be fully conscious of the real feelings o’f their people. They must know that their people are opposed to another war. The responsibility for preventing another war rests with them. At such a conference there would be none of that dangerous background that is always present at meetings of the Security Council or the United Nations Assembly. The world’s future will not be decided by the United Nations. It oan only be decided by the two major powers, Russia and the United States of America. Anything that this country can do to promote such a meeting would be a positive contribution to peace. Nothing can be gained by members of this Parliament going over old ground. What has happened in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Korea might even yet be put right by a man-to-man meeting. Our responsibility is to the people of Australia, and it is to keep Australia out of war. If participation in the United Nations is not helping towards that end, the sooner we give up the illusion the better. We must stop interfering with the affairs of other nations. We must try to re-establish confidence among the nations. That can be achieved most quickly by abandoning the policy of international interference. If the United Nations organization is a failure, the sooner it is abandoned the better for theworld. Let us give up the idea that the world can be run by organizing tickets, by trading votes for position, or by backroom intrigues. There has been too much soap-box oratory since the conference at San Francisco. Had the meetings of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin been eonducted in the open there would have never been any agreement. The sorry fact is that we must recognize the reality of power politics. We cannot escape the fact that the future of the world maydepend on the decision of one or two men,, so let us get to grips with that situation as quickly as possible. No good will be served by this Parliament going .into the pros and cons of what has happened in Europe and Asia. Our job is to save our people from the horrors of another war. We. have had too much on paper and too much talk. What is required is common sense and practical politics. On that basis, there is every reason why there should be peace. No country can benefit from war. War can come only from blundering. Remove the present United Nations organization and we remove one of the most tragic of all the blunders founded on a great ideal. If that is done there will be more hope of keeping Australia out of war, and that should be the main objective of every member of this Parliament.
. -This is a very important debate, and I join with the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) in expressing the greatest dismay at the fact that the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) has not seen fit to be .present in the chamber to-day to listen to the views of the members of the various parties on the subject of the terrible problems which face the world, including Australia, which is a lonely outpost of the British Empire, and of the white world, in an ocean of coloured peoples. We have had presented ‘to us by the Minister for External Affairs two very large documents, amounting to 451 pages in all. We havealso listened to a .speech from .the right honorable gentleman in which he set forth the policy of Australia in regard to external affairs, and also explained world politics generally. Every one who listened to him must have experienced a feeling of cruel disappointment on realizing the failure of the United Nations to do anything to prevent the world from drifting into war, as the Minister expressed it. To-day, the world is, apparently, as close to war as it was in 193S, when war was only one year away. It is evident from the reports presented to the Parliament that the United Nations organization has failed to do anything to preserve peace. Only the threat of armed force by the United States of America and Great Britain has preserved the peace - that, and their action in supplying economic aid to countries which have been so weakened by war that they are unable to help themselves, or to save their people from want.
Another outstanding fact is that the failure of the United Nations has been brought about almost entirely by the government of one nation, Soviet Russia. It is also very clear that Australia’s foreign policy is not realistic. That policy has been stated by the Minister for External Affairs in vague, general terms, which, of course, may be unavoidable, because obviously neither the Minister nor the Government has any clear idea of what Australia’s foreign policy ought to be. Mr. Paul Hasluck, whose work at the United Nations was praised highly by the Minister for External Affairs in one of the many books he has written, commented upon the twistings and turnings of the Minister in a striking phrase to the effect that it was impossible to follow the Minister’s foreign policy “when the bird changed its plumage even in flight “. As the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) said, the Minister has his head in the clouds, and cannot see what is happening at his feet. The safety of Australia is imperilled by the present vague and uncertain foreign policy of the Government, which has failed to provide for the defence of the country by encouraging the building up of a powerful combination of nations in association with the United States of America and Great Britain. Apparently, the Minis- tei1 for External Affairs was ‘satisfied with the results achieved at the meeting of the United Nations, because in his report on the work of the Australian delegation he says -
In view of the ability of the General
Assembly to reach effective decisions-
I ask honorable members to note the word “ effective “ !- on matters affecting international .peace and security on such items as war-mongering, the establishment of the Commission for Greece and Korea, the establishment of the Interim Committee of the Assembly, the partition of Palestine and the various declarations concerning the admission of several countries to membership of the United Nations, it is possible to conclude that this session of the Assembly was successful.
If the Minister considers that a successful session, then God preserve us from an unsuccessful one! I consider that it was a calamitous session, and I am not alone in that view. This is what the Manchester Guardian, one of the most notable newspapers in the world and one of the greatest freed om -loving journals in the United Kingdom, had to say on the matter -
The United Nations General Assembly came to Flushing Meadow in September gamely trying to play its assigned part as Sir Galahad. By the last evening its armour had been dented beyond repair and it appeared at last like a kindly and senile book-keeper at a masquerade. . . The big news about the Assembly was the record of its failures - a Balkan and Korean Commission that no Slav will recognize or help : a Little Assembly without ‘ the Russians.
Yet the Minister says that it made “ effective decisions “. What sort of effective decisions did it make? According to the right honorable gentleman, it made effective decisions about the Korean Commission and about warmongering. The truth is that it gave ,to Vishinski an unrestricted chance to pour forth into the world the most malignant lies about democratic leaders, men with whom his own leader, Stalin, had cooperated fully, only a couple of years earlier in order to defeat Hilter, as the Minister for External Affairs pointed out. I shall deal with the vile remarks of Vishinski later. The Assembly decided to provide a commission for Greece. That decision was so “ effective “ that, despite the aid given to Greece by the United States of America under the Truman plan, rebel forces are now in the
Peloponnesus area of southern Greece and the Yugoslav fleet is aiding them by bringing supplies and reinforcements to them. These guerrilla forces are now in the heart of Greece, almost in the ancient cultural city of Athens, the home of learning in the world. Such are the “ effective decisions “ of which the Minister boasts ! He must be easily pleased.
Let us consider what has been done in the world to establish peace and to protect freedom and democratic human rights since the United Nations organization was created. We have seen Roumania, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia become satellite States of the Soviet Union. All of those nations have had Communist governments forced upon them, not by the choice of their own peoples but by the threat of Russian power. The great difference that I see between democratic and totalitarian forms of government lies in the fact that, in the initial stages of creating a totalitarian State, there is no way of establishing a government other than by the use of bloody force or the threat of force. Under the democratic form of government, we may have bloodless revolutions, at intervals of three years if we wish, merely by the free expression of the will of the people through the ballot-boxes. While the United Nations General Assembly meets in the United States of America to make what the Minister for External Affairs calls “ effective decisions “, the lights are going out in Europe one by one, just as they did in the days when the freedomloving nations of that continent succumbed to the onslaught .of another form of totalitarian government headed by Hitler. The facts have never been stated better than by President Truman, who, in his address to the joint session of the United States Congress in March, 1947, said -
The peoples of a number of countries have recently had totalitarian regimes forced upon them against their will. The United States Government has made frequent protests against coercion and intimidation in violation of the Yalta Agreement in Poland, Roumania and Bulgaria. I must also state that in a number of other countries there have been similar developments.
The result of President Truman’s address was that Congress, in May, 1947, granted aid to Greece and Turkey totalling £100,000,000 so as to enable those countries to restore their economic structures and take action against coercive forces and the threats of war which were being made against them almost daily. The United States Congress also arranged to send military missions to train the Turks and the Greeks to defend their countries and to assist their governments to re-create their armies.
The United States of America was at least realistic. It knew that all the debating of the United Nations assembly would be ineffective. The only effective measure against the progress of Soviet Russia across the borders of democratic nations adjoining its territory was the threat of war and the knowledge that force would be used if necessary. Turkey, which suffered very severely economically for many years because of its lack of development and the legacy of the bad rule of the Ottoman Empire, has had to keep at least three armies fully mobilized for many months past in order to protect its borders against possible Russian aggression. This state of affairs is having the direst possible effect upon the internal economy of the nation. . The positive actions of the United States of America, and also of Great Britain in Greece in the early stages after the war, have saved both Turkey and Greece for the present from the fate which has overwhelmed Roumania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and the other Russian satellites which I have mentioned.
Just to show how “ effective “ the decisions of the United Nations General Assembly were, I refer to one of the clauses of a resolution passed by the assembly on the 21st October, 1947. This clause is strongly worded, and it is addressed to rough hillmen - the Bulgars the Yugoslavs and the Albanians. It states -
The General Assembly of the United Nations,
Calls upon Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia to do nothing which could furnish aid and assistance to said guerrillas.
That referred to the guerrillas who were then invading Greece. To-day, over seven months later, those forces are in the very heart of Greece, and they have the assistance of the Yugoslav navy in bringing them supplies. That illustrates the ineffectiveness of the United Nations. The Minister for External Affaire informed us that this “glorious” organization protects the democratic form of government, and human rights. In his statement to the House on Australian foreign policy he said that one of our objectives is -
To support democratic principles in the United Nations particularly in the making of the peace settlements.
What the Minister says and what he does are two entirely different things. As late as the 12th January last, the newspapers of various European countries published a report, which was not denied, that the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, M. Dimitrov, had threatened members of the Opposition in the Parliament of that country that, if they opposed the Government’s legislation, he would hang them. Dimitrov is a man of his word. He does not believe in having a person sentenced to death simply because he is guilty of a crime. His purpose in ordering an execution is to impress other countries with his power. M. Petkov, the former leader of the Peasants’ party in Bulgaria, had been charged with being a traitor. What was the position ? When the Nazis were occupying Bulgaria in World War II., Petkov was one of their most courageous opponents. The Nazis desired to shoot him, but he managed to escape. Not long1 ago, Petkov was hanged by the order of the Communist Prime Minister, Dimitrov, not because he deserved the death penalty, but because the United States of America and Great Britain had protested against the sentence which had been passed upon him. Dimitrov considered that these protests were an interference with the internal affairs of Bulgaria. What attitude did the freedomloving, democratic Government of Australia, which professes to believe in human rights, adopt towards the execution of Petkov? Only after members of the Opposition in this Parliament had exerted the greatest pressure were we able to wring from the Prime Minister the words that he considered that Petkov had been harshly treated. That is the kind of hypocrisy in which the Government and the Minister for External Affairs indulge.
The United Nations is unable to enforce its decisions because it has no sanctions and no armed forces. The use of armed force may be blocked by one of the five permanent members of the Security Council exercising the veto. Consequently, the United Nations is a dangerous organization. The people of many countries are realizing to a greater degree that they must look to other means in order to save themselves from aggression, and to protect their liberties and their right to choose the vocation in life that they desire to pursue. Because of the weakness of the United Nations, Turkey and Greece appealed to the United States of America for assistance. Does any honorable member doubt that if the United States of America had refused to grant aid, the fate of Turkey and Greece would have been any different from that of Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries which the Russians have .overrun?
One of the reasons for the failure of the United Nations is Soviet Russia’s unco-operative spirit. For example, the Soviet refused to join in the work of the Little Assembly - a piece of machinery which might have been most helpful to the organization. A bitter speech by M. Vishinsky on warmongering is another illustration. But when I listened to the remarks of the Minister for External . Affairs about warmongering, I gained the impression that the right honorable gentleman hinted that warmongering emanated from the democracies’ to a greater degree than from the totalitarian state of Russia.
– The Minister cannot make up his own mind.
– Of course he cannot! He is the most unstable creature that this Parliament has ever produced. All he cares for is the limelight. Now he is appearing before the High Court in Sydney. He should be here, listening to the debate.
– Order! The honorable member must use parliamentary language. He may not refer to another honorable member as an “ unstable creature “.
– I thought that the right honorable gentleman was like an atomic bomb. I now propose to read some extracts from a speech on warmongering which the Minister made at a meeting of .the General Assembly of the United Nations. On that occasion, he strongly criticized warmongers. The following passage appears on page 163 of the report of the -work of the Australian Delegation : -
However there is another, form of equally dangerous war propaganda : to attribute falsely to other powers or their leaders a desire or intention to commit an act of aggression. During the present war, we found Hitler and Goebbels doing that repeatedly, almost systematically, attributing these acts to other nations. I can illustrate this by the attacks on the leaders of Czechoslovakia, for instance. Hitler’s bombardment against the leaders of Czechoslovakia, through his propaganda agencies, were false imputations of an intention of aggression against some of those leaders. . . . One of the factors which is doing much to encourage the present world-wide fear of war tension that is existing, even to encourage war itself in my opinion, is the persistent and unrestrained attacks on the United States of America now being waged by the Soviet Onion through press and radio.
Russia is continuously pursuing a most relentless campaign against the United States of America. The speech continued -
By these means the Russian people are being led to believe that the United States is contemplating and deliberately planning a war of aggression. In my opinion, the imputation is recklessly false.
Then he read some choice extracts from the Literary Gazette, which is published by the Soviet -
Let me, in turn, refer to some examples from the Russian press which I have chosen at random. Last week, a newspaper called the Literary Gazette - I do not know anything about its literary qualities - published a cartoo,i depicting General Eisenhower as a- cook preparing a dish from kettles marked one, intrigue; two, aggression; three, atomic blackmail. That is an attack of a disgraceful character upon a nian who was the leader, not only of the United States in the war, but of the Allied forces.
Criticizing another issue of the same journal he said -
It seems to be dealing, not with literature or letters or culture, but with political matters. This second article, in most violent and unjusti fied terms, attacked the President of the United States, the head of a friendly state and compared him with Hitler.
He also read an extract from the speech of the Communist Vice-President of Poland, Mr. Gromulka, who said, on the 11th October last -
The United States’ foreign policy now looks very much like the first attempt at Hitlerist aggression.
This warmongering is practised by the so-called peace-loving nation of Russia, which, honorable members opposite continually point out, does not desire war and is in no condition to make war. This afternoon, the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) exposed the unreliability of experts’ views regarding a country’s ability to make war. Experts predicted that the nations could not wage war in 1914, because the economic consequences would be so bad that no country could afford it. Before the outbreak of World War II. in 1939, experts said that the Nazis were not armed. Later, they predicted that Japan would not enter the conflict because the Japanese had few combat aircraft. Yet the Zeros swarmed in the air like a plague of locusts and for a period drove allied aircraft from the sky. These experiences cause me to wonder whether Russia, by its behaviour, is deliberately seeking war with the democracies. Furthermore, we have the spectacle of Russia supporting the Greek guerrillas through one of its satellite powers. Russia refused to join with the United States of America in the commission proposed to be established for Korea, but by means of a cunning suggestion which it put forward that American and Russian troops should be withdrawn from that country before peace was established, it hoped to prepare the way for the establishment of communism in Korea. The Soviet intended that the withdrawal of the armies of occupation would be followed by a state of chaos which would afford an opportunity to foist a Communist regime upon the Koreans, whether they wanted it or not. The Minister for External Affairs said -
Many opponents of the Soviet proposal feared that it would lead to anarchy and civil war, which might favour, not the democratic elements, but well-organized and armed minorities.
Then we recall the opposition of the Polish delegate to the Marshall aid plan. The Minister for External Affairs also said -
The Soviet used the occasion for an attack on United States policies, institutions, and personalities and on the motives behind the aid programme.
What were the motives behind the Marshall aid plan? Mr. Marshall, the United States Secretary of State, speaking at Harvard University in June, 1947, said -
Our policy is directed, not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos-
Those are the very things which supporters of the Government say are the breeding grounds of communism. When the United .States Government proposed to succour Europe and to prevent or mitigate the terrible .conditions which give rise to anti-social movements .and bring ;anarchy and ruin upon people, the first .nation to object to such a proposal was Soviet Russia. That country deliberately set about sabotaging the plan which had ‘been prepared for the rehabilitation of .270,000,000 people in the sixteen .nations which were willing to accept the plan.
A very interesting article written by Professor H. D. [Black -appeal’s in the Ajj.stra.liav’ Outlook, March, 1948, in -the course of which he wrote -
The Soviets made what may well prove to be their most foolish and compromising decision, namely, to oppose the Marshall Plan and to make this -opposition total the supreme object of their diplomacy.
How can we work through the United Nations with a country which is sabotaging -every .effort made to improve the lot of the distressed nations of the world ? How can we accept the soft arguments (that are put forward in the debating society at the United Nations when we know all the time that Russia is arming to the teeth? We are told that we must pursue a policy of deliberation with our enemies and potential enemies and settle our differences by argument. ‘Could we 1 . have settled by argument the “ difference” at Pearl Harbour, which the Japanese so treacherously attacked without warning’? The sooner the ‘Minister for External Affairs and the Go.vernment get down to realities the better. 1 propose to say a few words about Australian foreign policy, which at present is generalized, nebulous, lacks reality and provides no security for the Australian people. The security which any foreign policy can provide for our people should be the real test of its adequacy. Day after day we hear from supporters of the Government a spate of talk of the need for social security, of the necessity for removing the fear of depression and want; but the existence of the -most comprehensive scheme of social security is completely -nullified if we have not got a foreign policy which will protect us f rom external aggression.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 P.m
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the seven points which the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) made in summarizing Australian foreign policy. I said the policy was nebulous and generalized, and that it was difficult to ascertain what it really was. As Mr. Paul Hasluck said, it is like a bird changing the colours of its plumage in flight. The Minister’s .fifth point is that we should strengthen Pacific security by appropriate regional arrangements in co-operation with the United States and other Pacific nations. As far as co-operation with the United States is concerned, the Minister did Australia a disservice by demanding the return of the base on Manus Island upon which the Americans had spent £30^000,000. They built aerodromes upon it and developed it as a bastion for the defence of the whole of the South- West Pacific, but, notwithstanding that, the Minister demanded that it should be returned to Australia. The Sub-Committee on Pacific Bases of the ‘Committee on Naval Affairs .of the House ,of ‘Representatives of the United States Congress said in -one of its reports that a fleet based on Manus Island would control the lines of communication to Australia, New Zealand and the East “Indies from the west coast of the United States. The creation of large .aerodromes there -made it practically impossible for Australia to be invaded from either -the north or east. It was a base that was as necessary
Australia as Gibraltar is to Great Britain, and I repeat that the Minister did a great disservice to Australia when he prevented the United States from retaining it.
The sixth point made by the right honorable gentleman was that we should support democratic principles in the United Nations. I do not know of any occasion when the Minister has shown a desire to support democratic principles, either in this Parliament or in the United Nations. No protest was made by this Government at the rape of Czechoslovakia, or at the hanging of Petkov, the patriotic leader of the Peasant party in Bulgaria, or at the threat of Dimitrov, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, to hang the members of the Opposition if they opposed the plans of his government. Honorable members on this side of the House earnestly pray, as does nearly everybody else in the world, that war will be averted and peace maintained. However, I do not believe that it will be possible to avoid war merely by pinning our faith to a debating society such as the United Nations. The only way in which to achieve that objective is by creating a third great group of powers to maintain the balance of power and to offset the tendency of the United States and Soviet Russia to clash. I agree with what Mr. H. D. Black said in an article, published in the Australian Outlook, in March, entitled “ Europe and the Great Powers “. Mr. Black said -
The great object must be the resounding success of the Marshall plan, the clear unambiguous recovery of Western Europe. No balance of great power interests in Europe is conceivable without that necessary condition being fulfilled. [Extension of time granted.’] The only way. in which to bring about the balance of power to which I have referred is to form a bloc of the sixteen nations of Western Europe which are to receive aid and assistance from the operation of th? Marshall plan. Those nations, with a total population of 270,000,000, cover a highly civilized and industrialized area which is one of the richest parts of the world. The Australian Government should do all it can to ensure the success of the Marshall plan by supplying increased quantities of food and raw materials to Great’ Britain and to the other nations of Western Europe so that they may build up their strength, bring .about the clear and unambiguous recovery of Western Europe, and form a bloc against the expansionist tendencies of Russia. Those nations will then be able to form a group of powers which, if it throws its weight into the balance on one side or the other, will make an aggressor nation realize that the forces against it are too strong for it to oppose and that it must maintain peace in the world.
The Minister must descend from the clouds, look at the realities of international politics and realize that this country is but a pawn in world affairs. Our population is only 7,000,000, but we are part of a great organization - the British Empire. During the war we derived tremendous assistance from, and found our salvation in, co-operation with the United States. I believe that the place of Australia is that of the keystone in the arch of American and British Empire co-operation, which is essential to the preservation of democracy in the southern hemisphere. Consequently, I hope that the Minister for External Affairs will not again engage in antagonizing and stupid actions such as the demand for the return of Manus Island, merely to gratify his own vanity and to be enabled to say that Australia was developing the base itself.
– A cynic once defined a debate on foreign affairs as a sermon with sanctions or a sermon without sanctions. The sombre atmosphere overhanging international affairs today may well give rise to cynicism, but I believe there is no reason either for great optimism or undue pessimism. In speaking on this subject, it is appropriate that we should pay tribute to the work performed on behalf of Australia and the United Nations organization by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). The right honorable gentleman is in the unenviable position of being a prophet in his own country, but the Australian people are appreciative of the work he has done abroad in the defence of the principles of not only the Charter of the United Nations, but also of democracy. No one will deny that it has been as a result of the policy he has enunciated, and the able manner in which he has presented it, that Australia’s prestige in international affairs is now at its highest level. I believe that it was Litvinoff who, when Russia entered the League of Nations, said, “ Peace is indivisible That is true to-day and it always will be true. Australia is not, and never can be, immune from the effects of happenings in other parts of the world. The reactions of the events that are taking place in Europe and in the United States of America, whether political or economic, are felt in Australia as in other parts of the world. Therefore, the statement of Litvinoff, that peace is indivisible, applies to-day and it always will apply. Because of that, if peace is to have any permanency it can come only from collective effort. Notwithstanding the criticisms that may be levelled at the United Nations because of its handling of certain affairs, what has been achieved in the direction of bringing about peace has been entirely due to the efforts of that organization.
Eleven months elapsed after the League of Nations was first formed before a general meeting was held. Since the cessation of hostilities in World War II. the United Nations organization has met frequently. Whereas the League of Nations met only four times a year, the United Nations organization is in respect of many of its activities meeting weekly. As a consequence, there is a gathering of the nations of the world deliberating almost continuously on the questions that affect them. To those people who criticize the United Nations on the score that it has done nothing, I point out that in the very short period of its existence it has been responsible for dealing with the problem of Iran, and has also, to a certain extent, preserved the integrity of Greece and Turkey, accomplishments of which those who support the United Nations may feel justifiably proud. The activities of the United Nations spread through every sphere. It is indeed a. matter for regret that Russia, while a member of the United Nations, has not seen fit to participate in these activities to the extent which it should. The organizations established by the United Nations embrace cultural, educational, human rights, economics, trade and health interests, hut Russia has seen fit to join only one. If Russia is to carry out its duties as a member nation it must accept the responsibilities that membership entails.
I should at this stage make some reference to the position of the British Empire in international affairs. I recall that at Yalta the British Prime Minister of the day said that the British Empire was not to be bargained for, that it had no territorial ambitions and that all it wanted was the retention of its status quo. The developments that are taking place in the international sphere cannot be attributed to an imperialistic tendency on the part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The developments that have taken place in international relations are a complete answer to those people who in the past criticized the British Labour Government for its alleged ambitions. It is fitting that I should mention the part Australia has played and is playing in the international sphere. It is fashionable to criticize its alleged lack of activity in world affairs. Because of the troubled state of the world to-day, we are maintaining forces in excess of those maintained in any earlier period of peace. We are also making, and have made, important contributions to international organizations. Our contribution to Unrra was the third largest made by any nation. While we may be regarded as a small nation it must be remembered that the accomplishments of the United Nations subsidiary organizations have been made possible largely by the insistence of small nations that their views must be recognized. As a result of the persistency and strength of the advocacy of Australia’s representatives abroad, Australia to-day enjoys the title of champion of the small nations.
I propose now to refer to the agreements signed at Yalta and Potsdam. The world is suffering to-day as a result of those agreements and unless they are reviewed international goodwill and cooperation will continue to deteriorate. The extent of the reparations demanded by the victorious nations of some of the defeated countries is beyond the ability of those nations to provide. In addition, the reparations demanded have taken an entirely different form from those exacted after World War I. On the one hand we are demanding reparations from our former enemies whilst on the other we are definitely dismantling their industrial potential. Although we are removing from p,ur vanquished enemies the wherewithal to, produce,, we are demanding from them heavy reparations. It was laid down as. a principle in connexion with reparations that only what was left over after the defeated nations, had; supplied their own internal needs, would be exacted in the form of reparations. It is ridiculous to dismantle. a nation’s, industrial potential and then. exact reparations, which are completely beyond the. ability of the defeated nation to, provide.. The economic stability of. our former- enemies can never b.e. achieved while that state of affairs continues.
Another factor retarding the rehabilitation of the defeated nations is, the use of forced, labour as. provided for- in the Yalta agreement. The British and American representatives at Yalta said that the provision, covering the use of forced labour was written into the Yalta agreement as. only a provisional measure but that at Potsdam, the Russians contended’ that it was an integral part; of- the Yalta, agreement. Thus-, the use of forced labour continues. In other words, we are, parties to the use of slave labour. With our modern, technique- of, describing everything in terms, precisely, opposite to what: w© mean we describe it as forced labour, but it. is nothing but legalized slavery. What hope can there be for- the future- while that; condition of. affairs prevails? It is. outrageous that the use of forced labour- should be allowed to continue. If we have any feeling for humanity^ if we are sincere in our demands: that: peace must prevail among the nations- of the world, if we are sincere in our, desire that the dignity, of man should be upheld, we- must rescind this iniquitous, provision in the Yalta agreement.. While it, remains, we are back, in the age of the pharaohs T,hat is one of the- provisions: of which not much has been said, but it, cries, to heaven for. adjustment.
I nov£ propose- to say a few word.s, about the position of the United’ States.; of America; in international affairs. After World- War I. it was- criticized for npt joining the League pf Nations. Whan Woodrow Wilson returned home after attending the peace conference his proposal for its participation in the League of Nations was repudiated by the people. The country vas criticized for its failure to participate in European events. This time- it is participating,, but it is still being criticized. But for the part played by it in the war, victory for the- democ-racier would not have been possible. It is justified: in objecting to some happenings, particularly in eastern Europe. For’ instance, about eighteen months ago it made- available to Czechoslovakia 50,000,000 dollars worth Qf credits at 2.i per cent., interest. Czechoslovakia advanced to Roumania 10,PQ0,0Q0 dollars worth; pf those- credits at 1.3 per. centWhen that; was made known the United States immediately- cancelled: the credits. The result was uproar throughout the world.. Such, actions are being, quoted to its detriment, but: we shall benefit if it continues to participate in international affairs.
I am npt so naive as. to believe- that wars are- fought, as it was alleged World War II. was fought, to, settle a clash of ideologies. Trade plays as. big a part in wars as it. ever did. Fascism is almost a& old as mankind - it prevailed in the Roman Empire- but one would imagine from the remarks of some people that it is. a creation of the twentieth century. The war occurred over more than a clash of- ideologies. Ostensibly we went to war to defend the national integrity and sovereignty of Poland, but Poland has Suffered a, worse fate in victory than it would have met in- defeat. Two streams join to bring- about, war, namely, trade and imperialism. A, government’s responsibility is to safeguard the frontiers and economic security of its people. In that respect, this Government has done admirably. There is no room for insularity. We cannot isolate ourselves; from the rest of the world, much as we, perhaps, should like to do so, and events overseas, have, their repercussions here.. The- peoples of’ the. world look forward- to a period of peace in which their hopes, and aspirations may fructify. Wars are made by governments, not by the people.. Men- and women, whether they b.e in Moscow, London,. New
York or .Sydney, are still men and women, and the horrors of war are still horrors no matter where or on whom they are visited. We have witnessed the harnessing of atomic power for the purposes of war, but Einstein has said that he does not know precisely how the next war would be fought, though he declared that the war after that would be fought with bows and arrows. The job in front of civilization is to ensure the continuance of peace. Blessed are the peace-makers! Notwithstanding the difficulties that have, confronted it, I have no doubt that the United Nations, in the short term of its existence, has proved itself capable of dealing with the problems that arise and that, given the goodwill of all people interested in the destinies of not only their own nations, but also those of mankind, it will help to bring to the world a condition of peace such as it has not enjoyed within living memory.
– I begin -by offering my sincere congratulations to the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. O’Connor) upon the speech that he has addressed to the House. It is not necessary to agree with everything he says on any occasion to feel that he always brings to the debates of the House an earnest contribution, and I, in common with other honorable members, am indebted to him for what he has said.
This debate on foreign affairs is probably the most important debate that we have had in this House for a number of years. I rather think that it is the best debate On foreign affairs that I have had the pleasure of listening to, but, unfortunately, it is resumed this week in the absence of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). References have been made to that fact already, and in particular this afternoon by ray colleague, the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons). It is deplorable that when the House is discussing matters which touch and concern peace and war as ultimately as thisdebate does, the Minister for External Affairs should not be here in order to ascertain what the members of this House really think about these matters. It cannot be said that in the past he has paid very much attention to what the House has had to say, or that he has given the House very much opportunity to say it in his presence; and I regret it because I am one of many people in Australia who believe that his activities in the foreign affairs field have, on the whole, been damaging.
We have before us at present two statements. One is contained in a document consisting of over 200 pages which was tabled by the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), and the other is by way of a supplementary statement made to the House by the Minister for External Affairs last Thursday night. The first one was not, I suppose,, except in the technical sense, the statement of the Minister, because it wa* quite obviously a compilation made by the industrious clerks of the Department of External Affairs. If I might say one or two words about that statement, I would say that it was grievously disappointing. If it were the statement of the Minister for External Affairs, then all I can say is that it reveals his usually complete preoccupation with matters of procedure and his rare capacity for forgetting about matters of substance. A preoccupation upon matters of procedure, involving the recommendations of committees and sub-committees, the adjustment of one sub-committee with another, the passing of resolutions and the moving of amendments is a kind of preoccupation which is dangerous because it concentrates upon machinery and very frequently neglects the substance which, after all, is the important thing. I shall give to the House one example of that, and I do not know that it has been a matter of pointed reference in the course of this debate. But honorable members who have read this long statement - and I am bound to say in my own favour that I have read it - will recall that the statement took great pride in the fact that a unanimous resolution had been passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations including the representative of the Soviet Union - I obtained that from the Minister by way of interjection and answer - on war-mongering. The resolution was carried on the 3rd November, 1947, a few months back, and in it the General Assembly, including the representative of the Soviet Union, mark you-
That is the resolution passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the representative of the Soviet Russia concurring; and it is hailed in the first statement as something of a triumph for the General Assembly. Having regard to recent events, indeed having regard to events a few months before November and events which have occurred since, it would be difficult to imagine a more unreal declaration than that.
– Those events were not known at the time the statement’ was made.
– On the contrary. If I may cross swords with the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway) I suggest that if he looks at the statement made in relation to the eastern European countries, he will find that half of them had gone down to Communist control as the result of propaganda and subversive activities before that resolution was passed, and that the other half has gone down since or is in the process of doing so. Shining like a dubious deed in a comparatively decent world comes this resolution, and it is hailed as a triumph.
Another statement which was made on Thursday last by the Minister was, I confess, more interesting, and a little more specific, but still it omitted to deal with the great world issues. It still showed a considerable confusion of thought. I do not say that entirely in terms of criticism, because I confess that in all the welter of events within the last few months and within the last few years I have, myself, suffered from confusion of thought. It is not very easy to be entirely clear in one’s analysis of these matters because international problems are complex and almost all overlap with each other.
– And the problems are also economic.
– I agree that they are political and economic. All sorts of problems, in fact, are overlapping with all sorts of other problems. Therefore, some confusion is inescapable. But it is desirable always to escape from confusion of mind if we can, and I for one have been saying to myself ever since this debate has been foreshadowed, “ Is it possible to make some brief analysis of the world problem and, particularly, is it possible to get clear in our minds what is the relation between the solution of this world problem and the body known as the United Nations ? “ It is very important, indeed, that we should get this relationship quite straight in our minds. I say that because I believe that the. United Nations organization, which I shall call U.N.O. for the purposes of my remarks in this debate, is likely to suffer from two extreme views. The first of them is the view that in a measurable’ time U.N.O. will bring about the maintenance of peace and will actively and successfully enfree its decisions. I think that that is an extreme view. The other extreme view is the acutely pessimistic one that U.N.O. represents a completely hopeless dream that ought to be liquidated right away. I believe that each of those views is wrong and that each of them, therefore, is dangerous. The first view, the unduly rosy and optimistic view, seems to me to be wrong because it devotes itself to the artificial problems of the superstructure and ignores the vital importance of an enduring foundation. That, in a sentence, is my criticism of the first of the two statements before us - this concentration of attention upon superstructure, the ignoring of the essential foundation. The advocates of that ex- treme view are not only deluding themselves but also are confusing other people. “When they exaggerate U.N.O.’s authority they also succeed in exaggerating its responsibilities. That is worth remembering. Those people are largely to be blamed for the commonly held view that U.N.O. is in some way responsible for the settlement of the whole European problem and the Japanese problem, and that the continued failure to achieve these peace settlements in Europe and East Asia is in some way to the discredit of U.N.O. I believe that that state of mind is to some extent at least responsible for the deep pessimism that is felt in many quarters, and I imagine in quarters in the United States of America, about U.N.O.’s expectation of life. I shall come back to that in a moment. I wish now to say something about the second view, that the United Nations is hopeless, and might as well be destroyed out of hand. That seems to me to be wrong because it accepts power politics and the competitive grouping of nations not merely as an immediate and temporary expedient which I believe it to be, and a very unworthy one at this moment, but also as the inevitable permanent character of the world. If that is to be the inevitable permanent character of the world, we must abandon ourselves to despair. If we are to arrive at a sound conclusion as to what is the function of the United Nations at this moment and what is our task in relation to the European and Japanese peace settlements, it is necessary to ask ourselves certain questions. Who is, or are, responsible for the peace settlement? What are the present functions of the United Nations? Can the United Nations ever get a real start unless these peace settlements are achieved? Are there any other preconditions of effective international organization through the United Nations? Last, but by no means least, in the attack upon these problems are there any priorities to be observed? I shall endeavour to answer these questions as briefly as I am able, and in answering them, I shall set out a number of propositions, too many of which I believe have become obscured by some confusion of mind about what the United Nations is supposed to do.
My first proposition is this: The United Nations has nothing to do with the making of peace treaties with Germany and Japan. Tha+ is quite proper because our past experience, notably our experience after World War I., has shown the unwisdom of having an association between peace treaties and a permanent international security organization to which defeated countries may some day belong. I said earlier that there was some confusion of thought on this matter. There is indeed, because after I had sorted out my own ideas on the subject, I came across statements by two men prominently associated with the United Nations in the eyes of the world. One of the men is the Australian Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) who in this chamber on Thursday last made the following statement with which I agree : -
As I have said, it was understood quite clearly at San Francisco that the negotiation of the pea<:e settlement was to take place outside the United Nations; that the new organization, with its charter, should not be authorized to frame peace treaties . . .
That is a perfectly explicit statement, and yet in this morning’s cable news - I shall quote from the Sydney Morning Herald, and, of course, it may be that in the process of summarizing the report to reduce its size, some continuity has been omitted - appears the following statement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Lie: -
The Big Five should try to settle their differences instead of merely threatening each other, the Secretary-General of UNO, Mr. Trygve Lie, said yesterday. None of the five big nations was using UNO as it should be used, he declared. For many months there had been no serious attempt by any of them to negotiate major differences over peace treaties.
If Mr. Lie has been reported accurately, it would appear that he thinks that the United Nations has a particular function to perform in relation to the peace settlements and that the “ Big Five “ should be working through it. On the other hand, the learned Minister for External Affairs says, and I agree with him on the interpretation of the Charter, that this is not the business of the United Nations at all.
The United Nations which, as I have indicated, is not responsible for the peace treaties, cannot begin to succeed except on very subsidiary matters, until the peace treaties have been made and are functioning successfully. That is fundamental. The best international machine in the world cannot work unless the -motive power of goodwill and a genuine desire for peace is present. It is futile to endeavour to build the United Nations on shifting sands. If it is to succeed, it must be firmly based on living rock. The treaties that I have referred to cannot be made or, if. they are made, cannot achieve settlement either in Europe or in East Asia while there is acute and dangerous tension between two great powers or between groups of powers. In other words, while this tension exists there id no foundation for permanent peace, and therefore there is no foundation for an effective United Nations organization. So, I say, that whilst the settlements in Europe and in East Asia are not the task of the United Nations, they must be achieved before the United Nations can operate effectively in relation to either area. It follows from these propositions that the settlement of the Russian problem is not only urgent but also must be sought outside the United Nations altogether. If for the purpose of achieving that settlement special national groupings, special policies, or special actions are needed and they are not to be taken as inimical to either the principle or the existence of the United Nations, but as something which must be done if the United Nations is to have a. real chance in the future, and if something like the United Nations is not to have a real chance in the future, the outlook for the world will be poor indeed.
In the course of this discussion frequent references have been made to Russia. That country also figured in another debate last week.’ Does it not seem quite plain to all honorable members that the Soviet Union will continue to prevent peace settlements as long as the Russo- American conflict “is unresolved or, as I should prefer to say, as long as the Communist-democratic conflict is unresolved? While this grave tension and mutual hostility exists, it is inevitable that the Soviet will believe that its purposes will be served best by a disorganized Germany, a divided France, and a disturbed Italy. Let us make no mistake; there is just as much imperialism in the foreign policy of the Soviet Union as there was in the foreign policy of the Russian emperors. Communism is a proselytising faith committed deeply both at home and abroad, not to reform, because communism despises the reformer, but to the destruction of capitalism. We, of course, see very clearly the case against the Soviet Union, although it may be true that there are some unfounded suspicions and some unwarranted hostilities on both sides. We never know quite all there is to know about these things. However, the clear fact is that while this tension exists there will be no peace settlement, and, therefore, no chance of a full and effective life for the United Nations.
When these facts are recalled, it is at once perceived that there are certain things which do not matter. It seems to me to be just a waste of time to argue about the veto in the Charter as if it were a special artifice that some obliging draftsman could remove. The real veto is not the form of words spoken by a Russian representative on the Security Council, the real veto is the Russian attitude towards the bringing about of peace in Europe and peace in Asia, and towards proposals for evolving a method of keeping the peace by civilized means. It is the expression of a national state of mind, and it goes far deeper than a casual vote on some formal body. The truth is that while the United Nations may carry with it the hopes and benedictions of millions of men and women, it will continue to be of secondary importance - it may, indeed, be doomed to early futility - unless and until the present conflict is resolved, and those conditions begin to exist which are essential to the establishment of an effective international security body.
Now let me turn to the conflict. I believe, in common with many millions of people, that the actions of the United States of America during the war, and since, in relation to Europe are entirely creditable to it, and that there is simply no support in fact for the Soviet view that the United States of America is engaged in economic and political aggression in Europe. On the other hand, I believe that the Soviet Union has, since the war, been guilty of undoubted acts of territorial and ideological aggression, if one must use that phrase; and that it aims, either in physical terms, or in the world of political and social ideals, at the domination if Europe. If that view be wrong, the Soviet can easily correct it by suitable action in collaborating to secure real self-government in countries where self-government has been destroyed. If those statements be true, and I think I have stated them conservatively enough, how can this aggression be checked? How can a real, mutual accommodation be established ? That, of course, is the question in the mind of everybody. I do not speak to-night with the idea that I have a copper-bottomed and ready-made answer to the question. My first purpose was to distinguish between the functions of the United Nations and some things that have to be dealt with in the world to-day. For two reasons, it seems almost like an impertinence on our part even to endeavour to answer the question,’ “ How can aggression be stopped ? “ The first is that exaggerated speech, even at so remote a. distance as this, may easily do harm; and the second is that the major responsibilities attaching to any decision made upon this problem will inevitably be accepted by other countries. Still, we are a peace-loving people, who have twice in the life-time of most living men known the scourge of war - to use a phrase in the preamble to the Charter - and we are, no doubt, entitled to an opinion, so be it that we express our opinion with a proper sense of responsibility.
Therefore, let us take a quick look at the possibilities, and I state them as possibilities only. One way in which Soviet aggression might be dealt with is by armed resistance, or by a threat of armed resistance. That is a very grave matter to consider. It is, indeed, the most grave of all matters to consider. There may come a point - it has come before to-day in the world’s history - at which such a course appears to be, or becomes, inevitable. But before we talk lightly about it, let us remember that war has now become a total business, waged by a species of totalitarian organisations even in democratic countries. Human liberty, as we know, is a quick casualty in modern war. As we also know, the freedoms that have been wounded in war do not easily recover even in the victor countries. It is very doubt-‘ ful, indeed, whether liberal democracy - and the word “liberal” should be spelt with a small “ 1 “, for I have no wish to in troduce politics into this discussion - could survive another world catastrophe. Even the threat of arms is, therefore, a last resort.
At the same time, the Soviet Union must realize, and responsible men and women all over the democratic world must seriously and soberly help it to realize, that neither the American nor the British people - and I use the word “British” in its most comprehensive sense - have been unwilling to make a firm stand when the point is reached at which civilized negotiation fails. At the other end of the pole from armed resistance, or threat, of armed resistance, is a second possiblemethod. I would describe it as long and! patient discussion designed to break downs prejudice, and increase mutual understanding and tolerance. Unhappily, that course seems doomed to frustration, not only because there are enormous difficulties in establishing a common basis of thought between the Russians and ourselves, and every observer has drawn attention to that fact, but also because, in the opinion of the Russian rulers, time is running in their favour, so that their own tactics favours delay.
Therefore, I pass by the second method. Is there another? I believe there is a third course, and that is to strengthen the economy and. the will of other powers adjacent to the Soviet Union, so that their desire and capacity to maintain democratic independence will increase. The most dramatic expressions of that policy so far are to be found in the Marshall plan for the relief of Europe, and in the British Foreign Minister’s plan for a Western European union. It is ironical to recall that when the distinguished Secretary of State, Mr. Marshall, propounded his plan for the relief of Europe, it was in fact a plan for the relief of Europe. The Soviet, which now complains that the plan is designed solely to strengthen people against the Soviet Union - in other words, that it is the mere creation of a bloc - washed its hands of the Marshall Plan and insisted upon its satellite States doing the same. Now, having excluded from the area of the plan all countries except those that are outside the Russian orbit, it turns around and says : “ There you are ! This is a plan , to help our potential enemies “. It is a “curious, twisted piece of humbug, and it ought to be so described. At any rate, we are left with this : that the United States of America, through the Secretary of State backed by the President, has made perfectly clear that it has a vital interest in a European settlement and that, in order to achieve such a settlement, it is prepared to. lay out the vast sums of money that are involved in the Marshall plan. By these two means, the Marshall plan and a Western Union, and perhaps also by the institution of some customs union or by some other means, we can, I believe, strengthen the economy and the will of the other European countries so that democracy in those countries will develop a resistant strength and force. If that becomes successful, then we may have no recourse to the threat of arms and may not be committed to the long, long years of perhaps fruitless discussion.
There is another thing that can be done. It has been referred to many times in the course of debate, but it is always worth bringing before this Parliament , ana the people. We can do all that lies within our means, all over the British world, to restore the power and prosperity of Great Britain. When I read of the vast adverse balance, expressed in terms of money, by which Great Britain is confronted month after month ; when I hear and read of the troubles that Great Britain is going through and of the slow sapping of its strength, I am driven forcefully to remember that, if one thing has preserved civilization in the last 50 years, it has been the real power and the real mora] authority of Great Britain as the head of the British family of nations.
– -Order ! The right honorable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) from concluding his speech without interruption.
– Therefore, I submit to the House that the next step that is available to us is to concentrate a great deal of our attention - far more than we and the Minister have concentrated - upon restoring the power and prosperity of Great Britain.
A restoration of that kind must be accompanied, indeed it can probably only be produced by, a great movement of Empire economic, political and military co-operation. I need not elaborate that; we had the advantage recently of hearing an admirable statement on the subject by the right honorable member foi’ Cowper (Sir Earle Page). If we can in some ways - not, of course, in all ways - learn to think of the British Empire as a unit, and plan its development so that there will be the maximum encouragement and use of all its resources, the possibilities are still enormous. I believe that we have not begun to touch this problem. There are too many millions of people in Great Britain to whom a country like Australia is merely a country that produces, of habit, wool, wheat and dairy products. There are far too many people here too, who think of Great Britain in some such limited terms. We have not realized how much stronger we can be if we organize all our resources all over the British Empire as if, for the purposes of world peace, we were one unit, which must be the most powerful unit we can produce.
Then, of course, there is the other step to be taken. We must have the closest defensive co-operation between the United States of America, the British Empire and those other nations which embrace the democratic concept of life. These are not, properly speaking, alternatives. My first two points - armed force or the threat of armed force and long and indefinite discussion - are alternatives. But those other things are not alternative; they are cumulative. Indeed, they represent an1 immediate programme of action in the performance of which there is not a moment to lose. Of course, when we say these things, somebody will come along and say : “ But we must act through the United Nations organization. You are going outside the United Nations “. That is the -very confusion of thought that I. referred to earlier. It is quite idle and wrong to say that any of the peaceful courses that I have mentioned is inconsistent with the purpose and the Charter of the United Nations. Why, their plain purpose is to secure a peaceful adjustment with the Soviet on nationally selfrespecting terms! The United Nations cannot produce a peaceful settlement with the Soviet because it has no responsibility for the European peace settlement. If the United Nations is ever to function with authority and success in the great problems of the world - and I say without reservations that I hope that day will come - some such steps as those which I have outlined will have to be taken, and they will have ‘ to be taken in the first instance altogether outside the United Nations.
I believe that Australia, through its spokesman, is devoting too great a proportion of its time and energy to the procedures of the United Nations. It is as though the organization were, so to speak, a house fully constructed which in due course, by some miracle, would be able to build its own foundations. We are devoting too small a proportion of our time in these months to the matters which must first be dealt with if the United Nations is ever to have a real chance to succeed. We must learn, in point of time as well as in point of magnitude, to put first things first. The urgency of the problems that I have been discussing can be clearly shown. Consider the first problem - that of the reconstruction of Germany’s economic life. It is of firstclass importance and is not to be brushed on one side as if to say, “ If Germany and the German people remain in wreck and ruin forever, it will not matter “. Of course it will matter ! The German people have richly earned punishment, and they are not to be trusted with great military power. We know that. This generation does not need to be taught that twice. But the Germans are a virile and ingenious people, and they have a country of great natural resources. We cannot have a pacification of Europe on the basis of prosperity, human freedom and human rights if Germany is allowed to remain too long as a frustrated, impoverished and hopeless nation right across the middle of Europe, the perfect seedbed for Communist destruction and Communist violence. It is contrary to sense to say that we can. I said something like this about three years ago, and got into a mort of trouble about it. I take the opportunity to say it in circumstances in which, I believe, no honorable member will misunderstand me.
– Of course the reconstruction of Germany is essential to prosperity in Europe.
– Yes. The second matter is the Japanese peace settlement. Viewed in absolute terms and provided we could have our own way, the Japanese peace settlement is a matter of urgency, and, indeed, from that point of view, I find it extraordinarily difficult to understand the minority vote which Australia and Canada alone cast against the proposal in the Interim Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations that an election should be held in the southern portion of Korea. As honorable members who have perused the documents will recall, Korea is a country of great significance in the Ear -East, having regard to its position, ports and population The northern part of Korea is in the hands of Soviet Russia ; the southern part is free. The proposal was made in the General Assembly of the United Nations that an election should be held as soon as possible for the whole of Korea. Of course, that did not suit the book of the Soviet Union, and, therefore, the matter came again before the Interim Committee of the United Nations, which said : “ We shall conduct an election in that portion of Korea which is accessible to us “. I should have thought that that was a very sensible decision. At any rate, its adoption would mean the production of some self-government, organization and order of a free kind in one-half of Korea. There would be a government whose interest would be to resist Communist infiltration day by day, and week by week, from northern Korea. Yet, when the matter came before the Interim Committee of the United Nations, our representative, obsessed by this pedantic insistence upon procedure, took the point, “ Is this consistent with what the General Assembly decided ? It said that we were to have an election for the whole of Korea. Perhaps the matter should be referred to the General Assembly itself. We may be doing something which - I do not know - may be ultra vires “. Therefore, our vote, fortunately a miserable minority vote, was cast against the proposal. However, an election will be held. We in Australia have an interest in this matter. The people of the United States of America also have an interest in it, and it -would be a good thing if the American people knew that a substantial body of opinion in Australia thoroughly agrees with the decision of the Interim Committee, and is at a complete loss to understand the vote of the Australian representative.
Regarding Japan, may I make one comment. We hear a great deal about the successful teaching of democracy to the Japanese. This idea that democracy is a sort of subject in a curriculum, which a person can study for a year, then pass an examination in it and be a democrat, seems to me to be about the most fatuous -of all notions. Democracy is not a plant which grows readily in any soil. The “modern history of Germany clearly shows “that. Further, it is permissible, I hope, “to doubt whether a military dictatorship :’.is the best teacher of democracy. So, the Japanese peace settlement remains most important Sometimes I think that it iis almost desperately important. But how can we hope to achieve a Japanese peace settlement if the Soviet Union, which must be a prominent party to it, is devoting the whole of its time, first, to avoiding any peace settlement, and, secondly to maintaining across Europe and East Asia tension with the United States of America? Every matter which I have stated, may appear, when it is categorically set out as I have endeavoured to do, to be elementary. I have no doubt that all these propositions are elementary; but unless the governments and peoples who desire peace concentrate their minds upon the true elements which underlie any permanent solution, the world may yet pass from crisis to crisis, and, indeed, from disaster to disaster.
– The depressing feature of this debate is the number of speakers who have referred to the inevitability of war. Some of them have actually stated it in precise terms, whilst others, like the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), have merely indicated that they have no faith whatever in the practicability of co-operation by peaceloving countries through the United
Nations. I often wonder whether some of those honorable gentlemen are living in the past. Surely, the experience of all nations in World War II. taught us that no longer are we to think in terms of the departure of troops, casualties suffered, and bereaved relatives. What we have to think of is the annihilation of civilization itself. The Leader of the Opposition made no mention of the difficulties which have arisen in regard to the international control of atomic energy. But unless the nations agree to the form of control of atomic energy, another war which the Leader of the Opposition regards as inevitable, would mean the annihilation of civilization itself.
The Leader of the Opposition, in his opening remarks, said that he regretted the absence from the chamber of the Minister for Externa] Affairs (Dr. Evatt), because this debate was a discussion of not merely international affairs, but also the vital question of war. Some honorable members said that war was an immediate danger ; others stated that it might not come for a few years. That is a depressing prospect for the people of Australia and of the world generally. I hope that the elements which to-day are endeavouring to whip up public fervour to support a third world war will fail in their efforts. The press of this country is playing a great part in stirring up hostility to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Although the daily press distorts and suppresses national news, fortunately we have other means of checking the reliability and accuracy of published statements, and, it is possible in many cases to correct inaccuracies quickly. But in international affairs, we are dependent to a great degree upon the channels of communication between this country and other parts of the world. These are almost exclusively in the hands of private interests, or are under their influence. Consequently, all sorts of trash is “ dished up “ to the public of Australia, as it is in other countries, in an attempt to inflame the minds of the people, to see how they would react to a third world war. In the past, these interests before commencing to propagate another war, have waited at least a quarter of a century until a new generation had arisen and the people who had suffered in the previous war had died or their memories of it had become dim. To-day, evidently because they believe that a third world war may come much sooner, these interests have to ascertain how the public would react to this propaganda. My own opinion is that there is no immediate danger of war, hut if the non-progressive forces in the various countries of the world remain in control war will be inevitable. I propose to give one or two illustrations of the way in which times have changed and the opinions held, or expressed, by some people have changed. I remember the Leader of the Opposition speaking of the benefits bestowed on the German workers by a Nazi government; I remember him expressing the view that a prosperous Japan and a prosperous Germany were essential in the post-war world; and, likewise, I remember that during the war his hostility against and prejudice to the Soviet were hidden for political reasons, the chief of which was that the views that he held were unpopular at the time. The people of Australia, like those of many lands, welcomed the assistance rendered by the Soviet forces, and they rightly honoured those forces for their magnificent victories in the Allied cause. We all remember how the Russian forces held on during the darkest days of the war and engaged the German armies while the British Empire and the United States of America were summoning their strength. Surely no honorable member has forgotten that! Unfortunately, in international affairs, too many people take notice of the press and have their opinions swayed by articles which appear in it. On referring to the newspaper files, I find that during the war, when those in authority in the Allied countries realized what a desperate struggle was being waged and that they could succeed only by maintaining a united front, the press was anxious to foster a favorable attitude towards Russia. It did not speak or write then of the dangers of communism, or the -risk associated with Russia’s part in the victory when it was secured. I propose to read an article which appeared in the Sun, Sydney, dated ‘the 22nd July, 1939, under the heading “Democracy is Safe “. That article stated -
Correspondents in another column, alarmed at the prospect of a spread of communism, have been arguing against the proposed AngloRussian agreement …
That so much heat is engendered in the discussion of the alleged perils of “ Bolshevism “ or fascism, is a little surprising. They are merely systems of government, systems which have their merits and demerits, but not acceptable to a race bred to democracy.
The point of the correspondence is that we must not concur in any agreement with a people that adopted revolution as a means of changing ite government a little over twenty years ago. Revolution is, admittedly, a nasty business. It is accompanied by cruelties and injustices intolerable to the wise and humane man. It liberates the worst instincts of the worst elements, and sets these upon an orgy of bloodshed, rapine and destruction.
Yet France, our democratic ally, is a democracy to-day, largely because of a revolution which, for its accompanying horrors, is a model for history. In our own British story, two revolutions were necessary, with the execution of a king, before Parliament was set firmly in its place of power. To return to the days of William of Orange would be a considerable reaction - yet that stage had to bc accomplished first. The Russian Government of to-day [alls far short of what we believe is necessary for democracy, and we Ourselves would not. “go back to its intolerable censorship and controls, but it is a step further on towards freedom than the Romanoffs. A people must learn freedom slowly - it is a difficult, business. Nor is the process likely to be aided if those peoples who have advanced further on the way stand apart in pious horror . . .
I propose now to read an extract from the Daily Telegraph, Sydney, of the 10th January, 1942, which appeared under the heading: “More Muddled Thinking About Russia “. It reads -
In the Crimea, on the Moscow front, and in the Ukraine, Russia’s astounding victories continue . . .
An overwhelming majority of the peoples in the democratic world are heartened and enthusiastic as they read the day-to-day accounts of the Red Army’s progress.
That is natural.
But most unnatural i« the anxiety in some quarters about the .effectiveness of Russia’s recovery
The anti-Russian comments reported from Washington .smell like the worst kind of Fifth Columnism, because, if taken seriously, they could reduce Anglo-American assistance to our Russian ally . . .
It moist be quite obvious that when the press decides .upon a policy of goodwill in regard to a particular country it deliberately extols the virtues of that country, as it did in the case of our former ally during the war, but when it suits the press to criticize that country it does not hesitate to do so. That is borne out by a comparison of the praise showered upon Russia during the war with its present policy, which is to decry Russia’s efforts to secure co-operation among the nations of the world. As a further illustration of the way in which even members of this House can be misled by statements which appear in the press, I shall read a correction which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 12th April in regard to earlier reports concerning an alleged plot on the part Of Communists to foment trouble in Germany. The later report states -
The New York Times European correspondent, C. L. Sulzberger, says he has learned from a completely reliable source that “ Protocol M. “, allegedly a Cominform memorandum of instructions to German Communists, was a forgery . . .
When the earlier reports appeared I heard a number of questions asked by honorable members in this House regarding the matter, yet since the correction was published I have not heard any of them express any regret for their insinuations.
I come now to the matter of Czechoslovakia, which was mentioned during the debate by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). I do not claim to know all the facts in regard to the recent political happenings in that country, but I always endeavour to obtain all the factual information I can concerning any question and to consider that information impartially. In that regard, I am neither pro-Soviet nor pro-United States of America. However, the facts in regard to recent happenings in Czechoslovakia disclose that there was in the Parliament of that country at least a majority of members who were Communists, or Communist sympathizers, before the so-called coup occurred. For that reason, I fail to see that the change which took place in the internal politics of the country, whereby the Communists gained greater control, is evidence of Soviet aggression.
Turning now to Greece, it has been reported that 116 petty officers and ratings of the Greek navy have been arrested, and’ that sentence of death had been pronounced upon leaders of the Greek Seamen’s Union. Furthermore, I understand that the sentences of death have been carried out. The World Federation of Trade Unions protested against actions of the Greek Government and the attack which it is making on the trade union movement in Greece. The Government of that country has arrested, deported or executed a large number of its subjects, and in my opinion all the facts in connexion with its actions should be made known. Greece is a member of the United Nations and subscribes to the principle of respect for fundamental civil liberties which is incorporated in the United Nations Charter. In my opinion the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Russia also, should not interfere in the internal politics of Greece. It cannot be denied that the United States of America provided finance for the Greek Government and sent a military mission to that country. The Chilean delegate to the United Nations recently asked that investigation be made of political happenings in Czechoslovakia. I do not mind an investigation being made if it will disclose the facts regarding recent happenings in that country, but I consider it just as important that we should also be told the facts of the situation in Greece and of the attitude adopted by the Government of that country towards the trade union movement. It is true that a committee has been appointed to inquire into the situation in the Balkan countries, but that committee is merely inquiring into the relationship between Greece and its northern neighbours. It is not empowered to carry out any investigation of the kind which I am suggesting.
The Leader of the Opposition made passing reference to the exercise of the power of veto in the deliberations of the United Nations, but he probably felt a little bit too uncomfortable at the change in his attitude in regard to it to discuss this question at great length. When the House was discussing the ratification of the United Nations Charter, the Leader of the Opposition supported the principle of the exercise of a right of veto by the great powers and criticized the Minister for External Affairs for the attitude which he had adopted in opposing this principle. The right honorable gentleman said it was unrealistic to think that any great sovereign nation would delegate to an international body the right to make decisions affecting its future without first ensuring that there was unanimity amongst those nations. It is not fair to refer to it as the veto; it is a question of ensuring unanimity. To be realistic, it must be admitted that the Soviet Union approached the United Nations organization with a great deal of suspicion, because in the past some of the most important nations had adopted an anti-Russian attitude. The Minister for External Affairs stated that, even during the progress of the war, when conversations were taking place between the three great Allied leaders, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, the knowledge of the discovery of atomic energy was shared by two of the partners and kept from the third. In my opinion, that in itself would create disquiet in the minds of the Soviet Government and people. As these nations were working together towards a common objective, sharing their resources and sharing the risks, it was a fatal blunder to keep from the leader of one of this powerful trio of nations any knowledge of the discovery of the atomic bomb.
How did the three great powers work luring the war years? In those days ;here was no suggestion of majority decisions. It was well known that no two of the three could impose their will upon the third and that victory could be secured only by working in unison, which meant that they had to be unanimous in their decisions. Therefore, when these leaders met, whilst their views may not have coincided at first, each compromised until a decision that was acceptable to all was arrived at. That is the only way in which the United Nations can work to-day. The Leader of the Opposition, who to-day expresses some opposition to the maintenance of the veto, although in very guarded terms, and at the same time expresses faith in the continuance and the efficacy of the United Nations, knows full well that if the principle of unanimity among the great powers were removed that would be an end of the United Nations organization, and the re sult would be a grouping of nations into opposite camps. If that happened, war would be inevitable.
There has been a great deal of loose talk about the veto, but I prefer to refer to it as the principle of unanimity amongst the major nations. I agree with the view, supporting this principle expressed by the Leader of the Opposition when he spoke in favour of the ratification of the Charter . of the United Nations. It is an unrealistic approach to world problems to expect that any great sovereign nation will place itself in a position in which it must sacrifice its sovereignty to an international organization. Judging by experience, Russia probably feared that it would be in an almost permanent minority and that although - it would have the right to record a vote it would merely be amongst the- majority. This suspicion of the United Nations is to be deplored. It can. be overcome, not by abuse of the Soviet or by being vindictive and prejudiced, but by demonstrating that the democratic nations desire the United Nations to be a live body that will work towards the preservation of world peace.
There has been much misleading propaganda regarding the number of times the Soviet has used the veto. I believe there have been many occasions when the use of the veto by the Soviet could not be defended, and when it was wrong for Russia to prevent the discussion of certain matters. ‘The veto, however, has been used in relation to such matters as applications for membership of the United Nations. Whenever an application is made by n nation favorably disposed to the Soviet, the veto is used by what are referred to as the Western democracies, and when the applicant country is nominated by the Western nations, the veto power is used by the Soviet. To-day, unfortunately, the United Nations has become an organization in which there is one strong group of powers opposing another. The Soviet has been criticized recently for using the veto in regard to the application to admit Italy to membership. Russia, apparently, desires that Bulgaria, Albania, Roumania and Finland shall be admitted, but the Western powers object. In the same way, when the proposal to admit Italy comes up for consideration, objection is raised by the Soviet delegate. I am amused when I read some of the arguments advanced in opposition to the admission of certain countries - and this applies to both sides. It is remarkable that those who oppose the admission of certain nations on the ground that they are totalitarian in their outlook supported the admission of Argentina. It may be that Italy’s application for membership and its support by the Western powers has created the idea in some quarters that such action was being taken to influence the Italian people in the decision they have to make at the forthcoming elections. The same could apply to the control of the city of Trieste. I believe that the present situation with respect to the control of that city is unsatisfactory and should not be allowed to continue, but at the same time I consider it to be a mistake for the United Kingdom, the United States of America- and France to discuss among themselves and make a decision in regard to what is, a variation, of a treaty made between Allied countries and a former enemy. If any action had to be taken, it should have been taken after consultation and agreement between all the nations concerned and not between only three of them. All, these incidents create suspicion in the minds of other nations, and that applies also in respect of the operation of the Marshall plan. Everybody knows that Europe needs assistance to rehabilitate its industries and to secure a better standard of living for its people. When the Marshall plan was first suggested it met with almost unanimous approval, but when certain conditions began to be imposed some nations, wondered whether it was. not an instrument to be used for political purposes. In an excellent address the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) referred to the decision qf the American House of Representatives to include Spain among the countries to receive aid under the Marshall plan. Surely no honorable member opposite would have the audacity to include Franco Spain among the democracies of the world. It is, doubtless, only because of public opinion in the
United States of America, that there has been- hesitancy in proceeding with that proposal. It has been reported that Mr. Marshall, Secretary of State in the United States of America, said “ If Italy should go Communist it could not expect any further American aid I am hopeful that Italy will not turn to communism, and that the elections will have a different result. I certainly do not agree, however, to the use of aid to Europe a3 a means of influencing the Italian people. The decision is one for the Italians themselves to make without any influence from external quarters. lt is easy to apply names when referring to particular political elements in any country. In Australia, if people have progressive ideas, or are radical in their outlook, honorable members opposite group them together and refer to them as Socialists or Communists. In their propaganda in respect of the forthcoming referendum, honorable members opposite have implied that the Government is a Socialist-Communist Administration. Everybody knows that to be 11Iitrue because no member of the Communist party can be a member of the Labour party. They used the same argument when discussing aid to Britain. In Britain, because the Labour Government proceeded with a plan to nationalize certain- industries in order to remove them from the control of private monopolies, it immediately became a Communist government in- the eyes of honorable members opposite* They referred to our legislation to. nationalize banking as a Socialist-Communist moye. These terms are, frequently used for political purposes without any regard as to the meaning, that they convey.
I return now bo the subject of atomic energy. I have not made an intimate-, study of this subject, but I have gathered together a little information in regard to it and I have had an opportunity to talk to some of the men who know a great deal about it. What amazes me is the ease with which some honorable members talk of the inevitability of war. They speak as though it meant a few wounds or casualties, when they know that it would virtually mean the annihilation of mankind and civilization as we know it to-day. The development of atomic energy did not cease with the end of the war. On the contrary, research continued feverishly. It is admitted now that there is no secret about atomic power because any country which has the requisite industrial potential can produce atomic bombs provided that it is given sufficient time to do so. Although statements have been made that the Soviet is already producing atomic bombs, in other quarters it is said the production of such bombs will not be practicable for at least five years because the Russians have not the necessary industrial establishment. That is merely an incitement of the people who believe war is inevitable to strike before it is too late. I prefer to think of the nations of the world, not in terms of treaties or of agreements based on trade, but as millions of human beings. In the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics there are 170,000,000 people, and there ave millions of people residing in other countries. Their future means a lot to me. .1 do not believe that we should hold the idea that just because we have discovered the secret of atomic energy we are at liberty to wipe off the face of the earth the peoples of Russia, China,. Japan or any other nation. Let us be realistic about this. It has been said that we should make vanquished nations suffer;, but if we are honest with ourselves we must realize that the general community in any land has very little, if any, say, in the making of war., A ready-made decision is conveyed to the people. Simply because a man happens to be numbered among the citizens of a country, he is obliged to serve, it. I regard the people of all countries as human beings and, therefore, the thought of a future war appals me. One gentleman- who visited this- country approximately two years ago, and knew something of the production of atomic energy, said; the Americans, were then producing bombs 100 times more powerful than those which caused the destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which hastened the end of the Japanese war. He .said that those bombs were regarded as merely experimental missiles. It is dreadful to contemplate that in our lifetime we may participate in another war. The prospect is not made any more heartening by the collapse of the Atomic Energy Commission, a matter not mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. T am not able to say who is responsible for the collapse, but it is to be regretted that the discussions have ceased, because if they are not resumed, it means a return to power politics. The Leader of the Opposition said that in his opiniona return to power politics was inevitable and permanent; if that be so, I despair foi1 the future, because it means that we shall have a relatively limited number of years to live. In the final catastrophe it will not be a case of deciding who aim the victors or who are thevanquished, but of who survives. The freedom-loving peoples of the world must prevent that catastrophe from occurring. We must appeal to them that in no circumstances - no matter what the issue may be - will they resort to war. The motion to suspend the discussions of the Atomic Energy Commission was moved by the United States of America, and was contrary to the direction of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the formation of the commission to prepare a treaty or convention to ensure that atomic energy would be used solely for peaceful purposes. That treaty or convention has not been prepared and presented to the Assembly, and. accordingly it is wrong for any nation to move for the termination of the discussions. Thesediscussions ought to be continued until some agreement is reached. I admit that it is not easy to reach agreement on Buchan important matter. If atomic energy is to be used for- peaceful purposes,, it is difficult to control it so as to prevent its use for warlike purposes. It has been declared that plants that are capable of producing atomic energy forpower purposes have also the potential to manufacture the ingredients- of the atomic bomb. By bringing the ingredients together it is said to be a simple matter to manufacture an atomic- bomb. Before the suspension- of its activities, the Atomic Energy Commission made some decisions but we do not know what will be doneabout them. The first report of the commission which provided for control through, permanent management, licensing and. supervision by a process of inspection, appeared, to- be generally accepted by the member nations. The second report revealed a marked change in the policy of the United States. It was proposed that an international agency should have powers of ownership over nuclear fuel and sources of material. This was not generally accepted, but this is no reason why the discussions should have ended. Surely some kind of agreement could have been obtained in respect of the decisions contained in the first report. I hope that the discussions will be resumed. [Extension of time granted.] Should there be another world war, Australia will be in a much worse position even than it was in at the outbreak of World War II. We have not yet discovered flow oil in Australia and our territory is not coveted by some power because it would provide that nation with oil, but we have, or believe we have, great resources of raw material for the manufacture of atomic energy, and we are becoming of increasing importance in world affairs. We have a sparse population in a great area of land, and if another world war broke out, we should need powerful allies. My opinion is that Australia’s best course is not to ally itself with one group or another, but to do its best by reasoning in the councils of the nations to try to lead the rest of the world to see problems as we see them. It is with great disquiet that we read of what is intended in regard to peace with Japan. A mission of commercial interests and army officers from the United States of America, under the leadership of William Draper, Under Secretary for the Army, has gone to Japan. The gist of a statement made by him to a press conference on the 26th March, 1948, is that the United States proposes extensive financial assistance to Japan over the next five years; that the United States does not intend to hold the Japanese economy to any set levels, such as the 1934 industrial level, as proposed by the Far Eastern Commission, but intends to permit Japan to achieve as high an industrial level as it is able “without threatening peace “ ; and that his mission is considering the revival of the J apanese merchant marine to save high shipping costs. I direct the attention of honorable members to the point that there is to be no limit to the restoration of Japanese industry. . In stating that Japan would be permitted to achieve as high an industrial level as it was able without threatening peace, doubtless Mr. Draper intended to convey the idea that there is to be a limit; but who will determine at what stage that development will begin to threaten peace? Scientists have told us that industry capable of producing atomic energy is capable of producing atomic bombs and so we must view with alarm the suggestion by an authority of the United States that by its unilateral action decisions that vitally affect this country will be made. Australia should insist as strongly as it can insist, and with the support of other nations, that’ all nations which participated in the defeat of Japan, and which are interested in the terms of the Japanese peace, should be consulted before such vital decisions are made. Otherwise, our sacrifices in the common cause in the war against Japan will, be disregarded in the settlement with Japan. Honorable gentlemen opposite may say that there can be proper supervision in Japan and that there is no danger in permitting that country to regain or even surpass its former industrial capacity; but I remind them of what happened after the Treaty of Versailles. Germany declared that it wanted military and air parity with the other European nations. Finally, without the approval of the League of Nations Germany declared that it would not take any further notice of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles that it was not to have military aircraft. Sir John Simon, the then Foreign Minister in the British Government, asked the German Government, which was led by Hitler, in what year it believed that it would reach parity with the other European nations. Hitler’s reply, which caused great consternation, was that Germany had already passed parity with the British in air power. Some members of the Australian Country party probably think of Japan only as a market for their wool and other primary products The sale of our produce is important to our economy, but it is not so important as is the preservation of the lives of our people and of our nation. Of what benefit would it be if a market for our wool and other primary products for ten, fifteen or twenty years meant that at the end of that, period Japanese industries had passed their former strength and were able to destroy us? I want honorable members to take a more realistic view of the problem. We can at least make our voice heard. We do not want to be running along at the heels of some of the great groups of powerful nations.
– Only one group.
– We ought to express our own opinions. I inform the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen”) that we have given every support to the British Labour Government, which, by granting self-government to various countries under its control, has set an example for other nations to emulate. It is therefore not a matter of our not co-operating with the British Labour Government. That Government is struggling under great difficulties and the Australian Government is doing everything possible to help it. but that does not. mean that we should not express our own opinions on important matters. It is possible that people in Great Britain have opinions on the Japanese settlement different from ours, as it is not such a vital matter to them. Some decisions made on Japan are absolutely amazing. For instance, the Sydney Morning Herald, on the 13th Aprii, 1948, published the following report: -
Allied Supreme Head-quarters in Japan has officially permitted Japanese farmers in twelve prefectures to continue growing marihuana, from which the well-known narcotic can be manufactured . .
Among the general war crimes with which Japan’s major war criminals arc on trial for their lives before Sir William Webb and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East is that of systematically undermining the health and resistance of occupied peoples by causing them to become narcotic addicts.
Yet the Allied Supreme Head-quarters in Japan hr.s given permission for the production of the crop from which narcotics can be produced. I have had misgivings as to the efficacy of the United Nations organization and I have even expressed doubt as to the optimism of the Minister for External Affairs, but I pay him the tribute that if ever a man has used his best endeavours to secure settlement of the world’s problems by peaceful methods it is he. It is disturbing to read that seventeen United States senators are moving for the abandonment of the United Nations organization. That is serious enough, but, should that move gain the support of a majority of United States senators, it would mean, in effect, a declaration of war, probably not immediate war, but war at some time. It would represent acceptance of the inevitability of war between the Western democracies and the Soviet Republic. I still believe that these nations can work together. I do not accept the idea that war is inevitable.
Some people are alarmed at the growth of communism and its spread through Europe. As I have said, I have great objections to the Communist philosophy; but, at the same time, it is rather interesting to note that the Government of China, which is struggling against Communist forces, has decided to acquire certain land from its present holders by payment in bonds in order to give it to peasants. That government is adopting that policy in an endeavour to keep the peasants of China from turning to the Communist cause.
The only effective way to prevent communism from spreading is by enacting progressive legislation with a view to freeing the people, both economically and in. the political sense. Any one would imagine that all the ills that beset the world are the result of communism. The Communist party has existed in Australia for only a little more than twenty years. Before we had a Communist party in this country we experienced general strikes, and industrial unrest ; slums existed and the people suffered misery. Many evils existed in this land, but anti-Labour governments neglected to rectify them. The Communist party is not a great force in this country. It has reached its present limited strength only because anti-Labour governments have refused to face the facts. Honorable members opposite have refused to recognize that the activities of private monopolies are inimical to the interests of the people, and when this Government took action to nationalize the banks, they immediately raised the cry “ This is communism and socialism “. Evidently, honorable members opposite cannot see any difference between communism and socialism. I say to them that finally they will either have to accept a progressive policy in this country under which the Government will take over major industries and organize and manage the economy of Australia in the interests of the people, and improve their living standards or face action on the part of the people to remove from control all those who stand in the path of progress. The anti-progressive elements, and they alone, encourage the growth of the Communist party. The programme of the Labour party, which is to give effect to progressive legislation, is the best antidote to the growth of communism.
.- The Minister for Transport ,(Mr. Ward) has just delivered what one might, in other circumstances, describe as a very fine address. It would have been a fine address from a Russian delegate to the United Nations, because nobody could have prevented the Soviet cause more forcibly than the Minister has done. I doubt whether in any other British dominion, or in any other democratic country, a Cabinet Minister in addressing his Parliament would let himself “ go “ in so anti-American and pro-Russian strain as the Minister has done to-night. I shall say to his credit that he is consistent. It is not very long ago that the war ended. Early in that conflict the Germans were on top. Hitler, about whom the Minister spoke, had, in November, 1939, swept through Poland and had Europe at his feet. At that time the Communists in Australia were advocating in their newspapers that peace be negotiated immediately. Russia, at that time, of course, was the friend and ally of Hitler. And at that time - November, J939 - the Minister for Transport, speaking in this House, said -
Instead of carrying on this stupid conflict, an effort should be made at the earliest moment to summon a conference of the major powers for the purpose of ending it.
I take that statement from the Hansard report of t.ie Minister’s speech on that occasion. That is what he said when Hitler was in a position to dictate his own benns of peace to the world. To-night, the Minister has exemplified what a nonCommunist can do’ in support of the Com munist cause. He says that no member of the ‘Communist party can be a member of the Australian Labour party. 3 should like to know what are the qualifications for membership of the Communist party if the Minister himself is not a Communist at heart. He criticizes the United States of America for what it is doing to prevent Italy from going Communist. He criticizes the decisions of the United States of America and Great Britain with respect to the return of Trieste to Italy, and the actions of the United States of America and our other allies with respect to Greece. We heard from him an apologia for the rape of Czechoslovakia. He put the Russian ease in respect of the atomic bomb. There was not a thing which Gromyko, Vishinsky or Molotov would have said to the United Nations that the Minister failed to put before the House this evening. The protests of the Government that it is not tinged with communism have been refuted ‘by the Minister, if refutation of that fact were needed. He said that he had no truck with the Communists. The No. 1 Communist in Australia, the man who founded communism in this country, was Mr. “ J Jock “ Garden - the Minister’s henchman until a few months ago. Therefore, when Ministers and their supporters tell us that they will have nothing to do with the Communists, we should look at their history. I shall go farther and say that there are other members of the Cabinet who, if they are not Communists, go a long way towards doing what the Communists want the Government to do.
With respect to the Government’s foreign policy, I propose to deal mainly with our relations with the Netherlands East Indies. Not one Dutch ship has sailed between Indonesia and Australia since the war ended two and a half years ago, in September, 1945. A ban was placed by the Communist party upon the loading and manning of Dutch ships in Australian ports. Our foreign policy was taken out of the hands of the Minister for External Affairs and vested in the Communist party when it prevented Australia from trading with the Netherlands East Indies. I shaM show how the Government has progressively surrendered its foreign policy to international and local communism. Mr. Healy, the Communist secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, said -
Our policy is not to load munitions or military stores, and food is military stores.
Subsequently, the Dutch authorities in Australia gave assurances that military stores would not be sent to the Netherlands East Indies, and a week or two later the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) promised that the Government would take every possible step to ensure that mercy and food ships would be loaded. On the 3rd October, a few days later, he announced that measures had been taken to ensure that only mercy ships would leave these shores for the Netherlands East Indies. Did that announcement have any effect at all upon the Communist party? No; the ban remained. The Australian Council of Trade Unions, which includes a few moderates among its members and is not entirely communistic, endeavoured to have the ban lifted and passed a resolution to that effect. But its action did not have the slightest influence upon the Communist party in New South Wales. Mr. Monk, the secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, described the ban as the most diabolical he had ever known and urged that it should be lifted; but it remains to this day.
I shall show that despite the reported statement by the Minister for External Affairs on the 12th March, 1946, warning the waterfront unions that he would not permit Australia’s foreign policy to be dictated by them, and that he would not agree to a Communist observer being sent on Dutch vessels, when attending subsequent meetings of the Security Council as the representative of this country, he did the very things that the Communist party in Australia wanted him to do in relation to Indonesia. We, on this side of the chamber, have endeavoured to trace the connexion between Russia and the actions of the Communist union leaders in this country - men like Healy, Roach and Rowe - who are dictating our foreign policy. These individuals do not act on some sudden inspiration of their own. Their actions are the implementation in this country of a well-defined policy emanating from a central authority. That was shown clearly by the action of the Ukraine delegate, who at a meeting of the Security Council in February, 1946, protested against the presence of British troops in Indonesia, and claimed that those soldiers were suppressing the native peoples. He added that the sole purpose of having those troops in Indonesia was to protect the oil interests of the United States of America and of Great Britain. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, made the view of his Government quite clear. Speaking in the House of Commons on the 17th October, 1946, he said that in Java control had been largely relinquished by the Japanese to the Indonesian independence movement which had been sponsored by the Japanese for two or three years. That is the movement with which Australian foreign policy has now been identified. We know something of the fight that the ‘ Dutch people put up to regain control of Indonesia which, of course, was under the sovereignty of the Netherlands before the war. Answering the charge made by Dr. Manuilsky the Ukraine delegate to the Security Council, Mr. Bevin, the British Foreign Minister, said that it had been a decision of the Allies to restore territory taken from its sovereign authority. The Dutch were the first people to declare war on Japan. They were invaded and. overcome when neither America nor Great Britain was in a position to send them aid. The Japanese indoctrinated, trained, and armed the Indonesians. When the war ended the task of restoring order was assigned to British troops. When the British peace negotiator, General Mallaby, arrived in the Netherlands East Indies, he was murdered by the Indonesians. Eventually, the position in the Netherlands East Indies came before the Security Council. A truce between the Dutch and the Indonesians was arranged, but its conditions were ‘broken. I shall not go into that matter, but eventually the dispute found its way once again to the Security Council and on two occasions Australia’s vote was cast against the Dutch. The matter was brought before the council by India and Australia, mainly as the result of Communist agitation in this country. A cease-fire order was given just in time to prevent the Dutch from overwhelming the Indonesians completely and regaining control of the territory. Therefore, although the Minister for External Affairs condemned the Communists in Australia for their attitude to the Dutch in Indonesia, when it came to the casting of Australia’s vote at the Security Council either for the Indonesians who had collaborated with the Japanese, or for the Dutch who had been our gallant allies, that vote was given to the Indonesians on two separate occasions. That shows how far this Government is influenced in both its local policy and its foreign policy by the Communist organizations.
What price has Australia paid for the Minister’s urge for glory, his appetite for publicity, and his desire to make his name the most famous throughout the English-speaking world? The price has been the hostility and distrust of many nations which otherwise might have been our friends. The most recent of the Minister’s notorious activities overseas was his acceptance of the chairmanship of the sub-committee of the Security Council which was set up to consider the future of Palestine. The right honorable gentleman is always ready to bell the cat. I have before me a booklet issued by the Minister himself telling the whole story of that committee. He says that it had three courses from which to choose. It could allow the position to remain as it was; it could recommend the handing over of Palestine to the Arabs ; or it’ could favour partition. Then, showing gallant enthusiasm for the cutting up of somebody else’s country, he says that failure to reach a decision would have been tantamount to saying. “ We refuse to suggest any solution whatever; we decide to wash our hands of the whole business. We leave the parties to fight it out amongst themselves “. The right honorable gentleman adds that the Security Council can be depended upon to take action should trouble arise in Palestine.
That statement was made in December 1947. Trouble has developed in Palestine, but where is the Australian Minister for External Affairs, who was the chairman of th<» body that recommended the cutting up of somebody else’s country? He has been very silent on the subject of Palestine in the last month, even if he has been somewhat vociferous on the subject of the nationalization of banking in this country. He has found a completely new interest, whilst in the country whose future was placed in his hands, hundreds of Arabs, including men, women and children, have been wantonly shot, and many Jews slaughtered. It may be claimed, of course, that, as chairman of the Palestine Committee, he accepted responsibility on behalf of. the Security Council itself ; but by undertaking responsibility for decisions which Australia is not prepared to back with armed forces, if necessary, the Minister reveals himself as the most mischievous individual that we have had amongst our leaders in world affairs for many years. As a result of his efforts, not one vote would be cast in our favour in the United Nations Assembly by any of the Arab States on a matter vital to Australia. What has been the upshot of all his activity? The decision of the subcommittee of the Security Council to partition the Holy Land has already been upset by the United States of America and Great Britain acting independently. Only a week or two ago, it was announced that the partition of Palestine would be to the advantage of the Soviet Union; that Britain and the United. State’s of America considered that, in the interests of their own security, there should be no international force in Palestine, and that since Palestine was a strategic area insofar as the world’s oil supply was concerned, the democratic countries were obliged to ensure that their interests were preserved. It is the Soviet Union which is now pressing for partition. It is the Soviet Union which is patting Dr.
- Dr. Evatt is not known politically in this chamber.
– Well, he is known as Dr. Evatt all over the world.
– The honorable member knows the rules of the House.
– The Soviet Union fully approves the decision to partition Palestine.
I now come to the work of the Minister for External Affairs in connexion with Spain. People in Australia, or in any other democratic country, would be sorely perplexed to choose between the totalitarianism of Franco, the totalitarianism of Hitler and the totalitarianism of Stalin, but the great majority of people in the democratic countries would, when all is said and done, prefer Franco to Stalin. Therefore, I say that when he presided over the sub-committee which considered the case of Spain, and urged that action be taken by all member nations to sever diplomatic relations with that country, the Minister for External Affairs again sought to commit Australia to a policy which he could do nothing to enforce. He would not have been prepared to advocate the sending of a single soldier or aeroplane or ship to support action against Spain, but by his. support of the proposal to sever diplomatic relations he was acting in the interests of the Soviet Union, because it was the Soviet Union that wanted action taken against Spain. The Soviet Union has been trying to oust the Franco regime in Spain for a long time. It has been trying to turn Spain into a Communist country - ‘Spain, which controls the gate to the Mediterranean - is at the back door of Gibraltar and Algiers. Even, though we like Franco little, we like Stalinist Russia less, but the Minister for External Affairs has committed Australia to a policy which has made bad friends for us in Spain, also. Therefore, I repeat that the Minister is probably the most mischievous agent who has ever gone abroad to represent Australia.
– The honorable member ought to be ashamed to say so.
– It is true, and I challenge any supporter of the Government to deny what I have said about Indonesia, Palestine and Spain. Practically every word that I have said has been taken from the publication known as Current Notes for January, 1948, issued by the Department of External Affairs. If any one doubts my words, -let him read the publication for himself.
We may well ask ourselves why these things are being done? Why is it that the Minister for External Affairs is at one moment apparently opposed to Russia, and at the next moment supporting that country ? Let us look at the right honorable gentleman’s record. When the Labour
Government came into office in October, 1941, the first thing that it did was to ease the regulations dealing with Communists, and to release from custody Ratliff and Thomas, two most notorious anti-war Communists who had been imprisoned by the previous Government. The next thing which the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) did was to permit the holding of a meeting in- the Sydney Town Hall under the auspices of the Communist party while that party was still under a legal ban. The meeting should never have been permitted, but it was held, and Mr. Sharkey came out of hiding to address it. One of the resolutions carried at the meeting was that Australia should forthwith appoint a representative to Russia, and a Minister was thereupon appointed by the Minister for External Alf airs- the first appointment of an international character that he made. The man appointed was Mr. Slater, of Victoria, a member of the Civil Liberties League. I do not allege that Mr. Slater is a Communist. I do not believe that he is, but other members of the league, whose names I shall mention, were at the same time appointed to positions in Russia by the Minister for External Affairs. Mr. Fitzpatrick, of course, was secretary of the league, and in 1943 he was expelled from the Australian Labour party on the ground that he was a Communist. One of. the appointees to Russia was Mr. John Fisher, who was given the position of Press Secretary by the Minister for External Affairs. Many of us remember Mr. John Fisher in the press gallery in this chamber as a representative of the Communist journal, the Tribune. For years before that he had been resident in Moscow. He went to Russia, a known Communist and a contributor to the Tribune, as the authorized press attache to the Australian legation. The third person sent to Russia was a woman. Her name then was Miss Saxby. She, too, was well known because of her Communist activities, but she was given charge of the archives containing all the secret records that passed between Australia and our representatives in the Soviet Union. She had full access to them in the course of her duties. After she had been in Russia for some time, she changed her name to Alexandrov and, as far as I know,she is still there and still using that name. Yet this Government and its supporters declare that they have no sympathy with the Communist party!
We heard the Minister for Transport defend the Government’s actions earlier this evening and we heard his criticism - to use the mildest term applicable - of our ally, the United States of America. At the very darkest period of Australia’s history in 1941-42, when the late Mr. John Curtin was Prime Minister, it was not to Russia that the Government appealed for help. When Australia appeared to be on the point of being overwhelmed, Mr. Curtin appealed to the United States of America. We should have to turn to the United States of America for aid again if this country should get into trouble. Very little assistance could be given by any other country. Therefore, Australia’s interests are bound up with those of the British Commonwealth of Nations and the great United States of America. The situation demands a union of the English-speaking peoples of the world. I hope, as do many other honorable members, that we shall not have to face the tragedy of another war, with its possible consequence of obliteration, but we cannot live on hope. Ever since I can remember, people have been expressing the hope that they would never experience war again. Nevertheless, there have been two world wars in my time, and I am still comparatively young.. There may be other wars in the. future. Therefore, Australia’s foreign policy must be alined with that of Great Britain and the United States of. America. Those nations are our proven and trusted friends. We know that we can rely upon them and we know that there is between us an identity of spirit and faith in democratic institutions such as cannot exist between any other nations. Al though at times we may believe that our friends are not right, we must be on their side. We must be trusted by them. We must make Australia a dependable nation. The Minister for External Affairs, on his trips abroad, has not done anything to make Australia appear to other nations as a trustworthyand dependable friend.
Debate (on motion by Dr. Gaha) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 34.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 38.
Banking Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 39.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department - Commerce and Agriculture - C. W. Lattimore.
Treasury - B. E. Fleming.
Works and Housing - J. M. Hamilton, W. Tauss.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 32.
Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules. 1.948, No. 35.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948. Nos.33, 40, 41.
Excise Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 36.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Defence purposes -
Pearce, Western Australia.
Portland, New South Wales.
Department of Civil Aviation purposes - Nhill, Victoria.
Life Insurance Act - Second Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner, for year ended 31st December, 1947.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations - StatutoryRules 1948, No. 37.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Regulations - 1948 - No. 1 ( Crown
House adjourned at 10.34 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
t asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
In regard to wheat sold in Australia at 3s.11¼d. for local flour and 4s.11d., bulk port for stock feed, will he states - (a) the quantities of wheat sold from the 1940-47 crop, No. 10 pool, at each of these prices; (b) the quantity sold from the same pool for export as wheat and as flour; (c) the approximate average price realized for such exports, bulk basis, ports; (d) the total delivered to No. 10 pool, and (c) the approximate average price realized for all sales of No. 10 pool, bulk basis, ports?
Mr.Pollard. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
According to the latest estimates available for No. 10 pool - (a) local flour sales on 3s.11¼d. bulk ; basis were 33,374,000 bushels. Stock feedsaleson 4s.11d. bulkbasis were 22,230,000bushels. There were also sales for breakfast foods and sundry uses at 4s. l1d. a bushel accounting far 2,543,000bushels; additionalflourtaxproceedsbroughtthe return on flour sales to 4s.11d.; . (b) exports of wheat were12,957,000bushels. Exports of wheat as flour were27,346;000 bushels;(c) the average export return talkbasiswas 15s.6½d.;deliveries to the pool were 98,451,000;(e) . the average pool return bulk basis, was9s.2.1d. f.o.r. ports.
Mr..McEwen asked the Minister for CommerceandAgriculture, upon notice -
– Theanswersto the honorablemember’squestions are as follows : -
1946-47,£5,248,000.Theabovefiguresare basedonpricesfor wholesalequantities, bulk. 4.. On . thesame basis as for No.2 above - 1942-43, £3,240,000; . 1943-44, £6,605,000; 1944-45,£15,720,000;1945-46,£10,838,000 1946-47, £15,466,000.
1946-47, £1,000,029.The payments given were made in the years stated, but do not necessarily refer to tShe current seasons crop, nor to wheat sold in the year stated. Several payments related to transactions of past periods. The figures donotinclude the amounts paid by the community from 1938 onwards in order to provide wheat-growers with ahome-consump tion price which was higher than the export priceavailable.Subsidies paid to keep growers casts downare not included, nor isany calculation made of the saving to growers because of price stabilization on goods purchased by them.Itshouldbenotedthatfiguresgiven offer no real basis of comparison with possible results on a free marketbasis since that comparison would involve consideration of the effects of inflation in disrupting wheat and other primary production. Separate figures are notavailable for considerablequantities of wheat sold , at concession prices to wheat- growers for stock feed.
Mr.Fadden asked the Minister for CommerceandAgriculture, upon notice -
Mr.Pollard. - The answers to the right honorable gentleman’s questions are as follows : - 1.Yes. The reports are inaccurate. Permission to exportthe surplus ofgrain sorghum was given, with the provisions that (.i.) growers (and not speculators) should get ithebenefit . of export prices obtained, ((ii) all growersinthe district concerned shouldshare intheexport,(iii)export sales should be madeby a growers organization. Later a proposed export was refused because an export firmwould have obtained excessiveprofits by buying fromgrowers and selling abroad on its own account. Further negotiations resulted in an arrangement for increased returns to growers, and export was approved after this had been recommended to me by the Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Stock as fair to the growers. The delay concerned was owing to action being taken which was in conflict with the specific conditions for export which were set down to protect growers.
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to thehonorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. Plantings of vines and trees for viticultural and horticultural produce underwar service land settlement schemes are thesubject of an understanding between the Commonwealth and State Governments. This wasarrived at in January and August, 1940, when State premiers at the Premiers Conference - accepted the following schedule of new plantings of acreages for expansion of citrus,, apples, stone and dried fruit production under these schemes. The understanding does not. relate to private plantings, any control of” which is a matter of State Government policy : -
s asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Defence: Post-war Programme.
s asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are asfollows : -
Plans for the organization of the post-war
Citizen Forces are well advanced and recruiting for Citizen Military Forces will commence in July next.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information : -
n asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
Is ita fact that the Federated Clerks Union is accepting’ as members employees of the Commonwealth Public Service who axe eligible for membership of Commonwealth Public Service associations which are controlled by Commonwealth public servants?
Was the Federated Clerks Union, granted a charter to include in its membership employees of the Commonwealth Public Seivice; if so, when?
What are the names of the Federal secretary and the State secretary of the New South Wales Branch of the Federated Clerks Union ?:
Are they members of the Communist party?
– The information is being obtained.
Queensland Shipping Services.
y. - On the, 9th April, the honoxable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis), asked a question regarding shipping for Queensland ports. In accordance with my promise, I append list of ships concerned and their programmes -
2.. Vessels at Present in Queensland Ports
Time. - At Townsville. Expected time depar ture the 8th April, 1948, for Cairns to complete discharge. Thence Mourilyan, to load sugar.
Ormiston.. - At Brisbane discharging. Expected time departure the. 10th April, 1948, for Sydney and Melbourne.
Babinda. - At Bundaberg. Continues in the Brisbane to Maryborough/Bundaberg trade. At Brisbane with general. Expected time departure the 10th April, 1948, for Mackay for further discharge, thence Bowen for bunkers, thence Townsville andCairns complete discharge; thereafter load sugar probably at Lucinda Point.
Delamere. - At Brisbane, leaves, the 7th, for Gladstone and’ Rockhampton for discharge, then loads for Brisbane and Sydney.
Bidelia. - In Cairns discharging.
Inchona. - Commenced discharge 3,420 tons at Brisbane the 0th. Loads at Brisbane for Townsville and Cairns.
Aldinga. - At present in. Brisbane loading, for North Queensland ports, including Bowen if sufficient cargo immediately available to warrant diversion to that port. 2:. Vessels en. Route to Queensland.
Mildura. -Departed Melbourne the 6th. April, 1948,. for Brisbane direct with general. After discharge at Brisbane loads for Sydney, and Adelaide.
Tambua. - Departed Sydney the6th April, 194S, for Newcastle thence Brisbane to load, thence Urangan, Lucinda Point and Cairns to discharge. Thereafter loads sugar probably at Lucinda and Cairns.
Macedon. - Left Sydney the6th April, 1948, with general cargo for Brisbane.
Cardross. - Left Sydney,6th April, 1948, for Brisbane to discharge.
Caledon. - DueRockhampton about 12th April, 1948, to discharge. Thereafter loads at Rockhampton and Gladstone for Brisbane and Sydney, completing loading with Brisbane/ Sydney cargo.
Baralaba. - Due Sydney the. 5th April,, 1948, from Melbourne and on completion of discharge Loads for Brisbane and Rockhampton..
Aroona. - Left Sydney the 7th instant with 1,500 tons of gypsum for Brisbane.
Vessels Fixed or in View to Load for Queensland.
Dilga. - General cargo ex Melbourne for Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. A.S.O. have been asked to include Bowen. Loads Melbourne approximately the 13th April, 1948.
Bungaree. - Loads at Sydney for Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. A.S.O. have been asked to include Bowen.
Mombah. - Loads at. Sydney 40,000. bags of potatoes for Brisbane. Loads Sydney about the 14th April 1948.
Catradale. -Due Sydney from. Melbourne the 1.1th. April, 1948, and on completion of discharge loads at Sydney for Brisbane.
River Derwent. - Loads at Newcastle approximately 6,000 tons steel for Brisbane of which 75 per cent. is to comprise galvanized iron, piping. &c. Expected to commence loading at Newcastle the 12th April, 1948.
River Burnett. - After discharge at Mel bourne about the 13th April, 1948, loads 3,000 tons general cargo for Brisbane completing at north-west. Taismanian ports with produce, also for Brisbane.
River haddon. - Load’s Adelaide about the 18th April,1948, with- ironstone ex Whyalla for New South Wales, and proceeds via Brisbane for discharge approximately 300 motor bodies-.
Barossa. - In view to load at Newcastle the 15th to the 17th April, 1948, approximately 4,000 tons of coal for Queensland, for gas companies;, &c.
River Murrumbidgee. - Commences loading at Port Kembla on the 12th instant to lift all Port: Kembla,, north Queensland steel, &c, then, completes, with a quantity of Kembla/ Brisbane steel,, &c.
OcleanValour. -Leaves Newcastle in ballast the 13th. instant for Mackay to load full cargo of sugar.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 April 1948, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1948/19480414_reps_18_196/>.