18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Eon. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the shortage of galvanized iron in Tasmania at present) owing to an ever-expanding building programme, will the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel ask his colleague to make a check of supplies due to be shifted to Tasmania from Newcastle and endeavour to speed up such shipments ? I am aware that quotas from each State are agreed upon by the Premiers and that the Minister cannot alter Tasmania’s quota; but I should like to know whether that quota is being shipped in full to Tasmania!
– As the honorable member has indicated, the Commonwealth allocates supplies of galvanized iron and other materials between the different States on a basis agreed upon by the States themselves and the Commonwealth has no power to interfere with that allocation. A statement supplied to me a week ago set out the quantities Tasmania was receiving of its quota of certain supplies, including galvanized iron. In respect of some supplies, for example, re-inforcement rods for concrete work, that State had obtained more than its requirements. I am not able to inform the honorable member the exact position in relation to galvanized iron.
– Approximately 948,000 tons of steel products were awaiting shipment at Newcastle and I know that ships left that port fully loaded yesterday and to-day.
– I was aware that some months ago there was a Dack-log of supplies at Newcastle awaiting shipment, but the Minister for Shipping and Fuel arranged with the Waterside Workers Federation that additional labour would be supplied for the purpose of handling, that back-log. The latest information I have received from him was that ships were being loaded and’ that no great quantity, of galvanized iron is now at Newcastle awaiting shipment to other States. However, I shall check up further on the position.
– Will the Minister for Defence inform the House ‘in detail of the effect on the development of the defence programme of the delays which the Prime ‘ Minister ‘ has alleged are occurring in the supply of equipment and material? Has the Minister considered the published statement by Sir Thomas Blarney that the standard of Australian defences at present is the lowest it has been for 30 years !
– Order ! The honorable member is not in order in importing the debatable views of Sir Thomas Blarney into a question he is asking in this House.
– It is not my purpose to do so; I am asking a question in order to ascertain the facts.
– Sir Thomas Blarney has no right- to have his views expressed in a question asked in this House.
– Is it a fact that the standard of Australian defences is .at present the lowest for 30 years! What are the present numbers of volunteers in the militia forces of Australia and what proportions do these represent of the 50,000 men supposed to have been enlisted in the militia? How many ships of the Australian naval squadron would be available for service immediately if they were needed? Is it a fact that’ the Royal Australian Air Force is now so weak that not one squadron other than those with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force could at present take the air on an active service basis? If this statement is not true, how many squadrons and of what type are at present sufficiently efficient for immediate service?
– I am not aware of the content of any statement made by Sir Thomas Blarney on this subject. It is .true, as the Prime Minister has said, that the guided weapons project in South Australia has not proceeded as fast as wc should have liked because of the shortage of certain materials, but progress has been satisfactory, nevertheless. Generally speaking, it is not true that the state of Australia’s defence preparedness is unsatisfactory. It can at least be said that we are much better prepared for war than we were when the honorable member for Fawkner was himself a member of a government before the outbreak of the last war. Those parts of the honorable member’s question which I have not touched upon involve so much detail, that I ask him to put it on the notice-paper.
– Has the Minister for External Affairs received information about the shocking conditions in the internment camps for women and children on the island of Chios? I understand that there are in the camps 1,820 women, of whom 220 aTe in solitary confinement. The number of children is not known to me, but perhaps the details are known to the AttorneyGeneral. Has any action been taken by Australia, as a member of the United Nations, to have the abuses in this and similar internment camps corrected? What are the prospects of relief being afforded to those unfortunate women and children ?
– I understand that the honorable member refers to internments or detentions ordered by the Government of Greece. There is no general right of intervention in such a matter. There is raging in Greece a very bitter civil war. If the honorable member will place her question on the noticepaper I shall see that an answer is prepared giving what information is available.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Defence, in the absence of the Minister for Air, a question relating to the policy of the Royal Australian Air Force towards aero clubs. Is it proposed to recognize trainees and qualified members of aero clubs in connexion with the development of an Air Force reserve? Has provision been made for the attestation of aero club members as members of a Royal Australian Air Force volunteer reserve? I am seeking this information at the request of the Rockhampton Aero Club, which is carrying out extensive training of young men in that area.
– The Minister for Air is unavoidably absent, but I. undertake to submit the honorable member’s question to him, and an answer will be supplied as soon as possible.
– Is Mr. Norman Mighell a director of British and Dominion Wool Disposals Limited, a representative for Australia? What fees are paid to Australian directors on the board? Is Mr. Mighell at present in Australia on official business as Assistant High Commissioner for Australia in London? Is the Government paying his expenses, and those of his wife? If so, will consideration be given to the fact that Mr. Mighell is also here for family reasons? If Mr. Mighell’s visit is official, is there any reason why the High Commissioner in London should come out to Australia immediately on Mr. Mighell’s return to London? Would it not be possible to avoid this costly duplication? What is the expected cost of these visits ?
– It is true that Mr. Mighell is visiting Australia. The arrangements for the visit were made through the Prime Minister’s Department, which controls the High Commissioner’s Office in London, and they were approved by me. Mr. Mighell will certainly continue to receive his salary, but the representation allowance paid to him while in London will not be payable during his visit to Australia. Mr. Mighell is a most distinguished public servant and has a very fine record. That will be acknowledged by members of every government under which he has worked. I believe, and most people will agree with me, that men who represent Australia overseas should make periodical visits to their own country, because otherwise it is very easy for them to lose touch with the local atmosphere. Visits to Australia are of great benefit to such men. It may be perfectly true, as the honorable member has said, that Mr. Mighell’s visit has been timed to coincide with an event associated with his family. I think that that event is the marriage of his son. However, I make no apology at all for Mr. Mighell’s visit to Australia. 1 shall try to inform the honorable member of the cost associated with the visit. The Australian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Mr. Beasley, will visit Australia later. That visit also has been arranged at my suggestion, not at Mr. Beasley’s suggestion. Mr. Beasley has been away from Australia for some time and, although he has had personal conversations with me and the Minister for External Affairs and has been in constant communication with the Government by cable, I consider that he should have the opportunity to discuss various matters with members of the Government and, if necessary, with anybody else associated with this Parliament. He should have the chance to hear their views and to answer any questions that they may wish to ask. He has been away long enough to warrant his making a visit to Australia, and I have agreed to his doing so next year. I shall endeavour to inform, the honorable member of the approximate amount of the expenses that will be associated with the visit.
-CIS. - The newspapers today report that the Broken Hill Pro prietary Company Limited is examining its establishments with a view to determining the extent to which it will be compelled to reduce production because of the shortage of coal. Having regard to the importance to the Australian economy of the production of iron and steel and the many subsidiary industries that are dependent upon iron and steel, I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel what steps the Government has taken, or will take, to ensure that adequate supplies of coal will be made available to the vital iron and steel industry?
– I discussed the matter this week at considerable length with a representative of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and went into details regarding, the future progress and production of that industry. It is true that increased production of coal is essential to the increased production of iron and steel. Both this Government and the Government of New South “Wales have been unremitting in their efforts to have the production of coal increased. There are certain mines which are particularly associated with steel production. It is true that, due to a dispute which was not directly associated with the miners themselves, a stoppage occurred at the Burwood, the Lambton B and the John Darling mines, in consequence of which between 7,000 and 8,000 tons of coal were lost. I was informed yesterday afternoon by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel’ that in consequence of the stoppage Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited would have to draw some of its coke-ovens at Newcastle. Every attempt is being made ‘by the Joint Coal Board to settle the dispute. Nothing could be more lamentable than that industrial trouble not directly associated with the miners themselves should cause hold-ups in the steel industry. This year the overall production of steel is expected to amount to approximately 1,250,000 tons. The maximum capacity of the steelproducing plants in Australia is 1,750,000 tons. Factors other than coal are involved in steel production, although at present coal is the major consideration in increasing steel production. Additional labour is needed both in and around the mines and in the steel industry itself. The provision of additional labour has been the subject of consideration by the Minister for Immigration and by representatives of Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, whose names I shall not mention because they do not desire publicity - they are leading representatives of the company - and arrangements have been made to endeavour to provide such additional labour as is required. Arrangements have also been made for the construction during this year and next year of hostels at Port Kembla and Newcastle to house the additional man-power required. Expenditure on that account this year will be limited to £1,500,000, because of the shortage of man-power. The Government has also entered into a joint arrangement with the Government of South Australia and Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited under which additional housing accommodation will be provided for workers at Whyalla, the cost to be shared between the parties concerned. Nobody appreciates more than I do the fact that additional coal supplies are urgently necessary if the production of steel is to be increased. Additional quantities of steel are sorely needed for the new construction programme. The honorable member may rest assured that I, the Minister for Shipping and Fuel and the Minister for Immigration, in association with representatives of the steel-producing companies, are doing everything possible to meet the position.
– Is the Attorney-General aware that the declared policy of the Liberal party and the Australian Country party is to ban the Australian Communist party? Is he also aware that although the Liberal party and the Country party have been in office in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia for many years no action has been taken by those administrations to ban the Communists? Will the Minister make inquiries to ascertain the reason why the Liberal party and the Australian Country party have not carried out their declared policy of banning the Communist party?
-Order ! The honorable member for Moreton, who is evidently objecting to the question, has just asked one that contained a lot of tedious repetition. The honorable member for Martin may continue.
– In the light of the facts that I have mentioned, can the AttorneyGeneral say whether the announced policy of those parties is simply an election catchcry, or would their attempts to implement that policy be equally as ineffective and chaotic as is their attempt to administer prices control ?
– I rise to order. The honorable member’s question, which does not relate to the administration of any public department, is, I submit, entirely out of order.
– The Chair differs from the honorable member. The question is in order.
– The question is very comprehensive, and is not easy to answer. I shall answer the second point in the question first. It is a fact that in the States mentioned by the honorable member the anti-Labour parties have been in office for a considerable time. With regard to the first portion of the honorable member’s question, which is to the effect that the announced policy of those parties is to ban the Communist party, I am not sure that that is the policy of both parties, because I understand that whilst the Australian Country party has always advocated banning the Communist party, the policy of the Liberal party is still in a state of flux. For example, in the .State of Victoria the policy of the Liberal party appears to be concentrated more on banning the Country party than on suppressing the Communist party.
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether the statement in this morning’s press is correct that high-level talks are taking place in Washington between Mr. Dean Atcheson, the United States Secretary of State, and Sir Oliver Franks, the British Ambassador to the United States of America, in an attempt to break the deadlock in the negotiations on wheat prices under the international agreement? Will the Minister say whether the discussions that have already taken place concerning a new international wheat agreement have arisen from demandsby the importing countries for considerable reductions in the minimum price of 2 dollars a bushel that was fixed under the 1948 agreement? If so, can the Minister say what maximum and minimum prices the importing countries are offering?
– I have no knowledge of high-level talks concerning wheat having taken place between the United States Secretary of State and the British Ambassador, although I know, of course, of the discussions that are proceeding at the international wheat conference in Washington, concerning which I have received reports. I am unable to reveal the nature of those reports to the House because the information I have is confidential, and its disclosure might have a deleterious effect on the negotiations.I can assure the House that the Government is anxious to make the most beneficial agreement possible for the wheatgrowers of this country. Our delegate to the international wheat conference was fully briefed before he went abroad, and be will not depart from his instructions without an express direction from the Government.
Mr. Fuller having addressed a question to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture,
– I ask the honorable member for Hume to repeat his question.
Mr. Fuller having repeated the question,
– The question is out of order, but if the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture considers that he has been misrepresented, he may ask for leave to make a statement.
– I have been misrepresented, and I ask for leave to make a statement.
– Is leave granted?
Opposition Members. - No!
Leave not granted.
– In view of the recent substantial increase in the cost of production in the poultry industry, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform me whether any action is being taken to review the terms of the egg contract with the United Kingdom? If no such action has been taken or is contemplated, has the Minister considered granting a subsidy to the industry in order to bring the cost of production more into line with the prices prescribed for eggs under that contract? What progress has been made by the committee appointed to establish the cost of production in the poultry industry, and when is its report likely to be presented to the Minister?
– Representatives of the poultry industry did make representations to me indicating that, in view of increasing costs, they considered that the existing price arrangements under the egg contract with the United Kingdom made their industry unprofitable. In these circumstances, and at their request, I submitted to the Division of Agricultural Economics a suggestion that that organization should survey the cost of production in the poultry industry in Australia. That survey has been proceeding for some weeks, and I expect to receive the report within a week or two. The honorable member has asked whether the Australian Government has requested the United Kingdom Government to review the price in the egg contract. I can only say, in reply, that the Australian Government honours its contracts and its promises. The egg contract with the United Kingdom is of five years’ duration. The Australian Government has directed the attention of the United Kingdom to the fact that there have been some increases in the cost of producing eggs in this country, and has suggested that as the result of those increases, sufficient eggs may not be forthcoming to reach the target figure that the United Kingdom Government set when negotiating the contract, and, therefore, that the United Kingdom Government may see fit to consider whether it will increase the price payable
Hinder the contract. The Australian Government has no intention of breaking the contract with the United Kingdom. I am sure that the people of Australia would be revolted if the position were reversed, so that the cost of production decreased and the United Kingdom Government suggested to Australia that we should reduce the price payable unde the contract to our egg producers. As soon as the cost of production figures are received, I shall consider whether I can make them available.
– Will the Government consider paying a subsidy to egg producers?
– There is no possible hope of the Government paying a subsidy to the producers under existing conditions.
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture furnish the House with a comparison of the present production in primary industries with that of the pre-war years?
– Only recently T. made a press statement outlining the value of Australian primary production now compared with that of previous years. Stating the matter, briefly, the prewar value of our primary products was approximately £211,000,000, compared with £600,000,000 to-day.
– Never mind about money value; give us particulars of tonnage.
– A statement that I made some days ago was published in part by the Daily Telegraph. In the article published in that newspaper certain comments made departed from the facts, and misrepresentation was indulged in.
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Darling did not make any request for information contained in an article published in the Daily Telegraph. He asked the Minister to furnish a comparison of present-day agricultural production with that of pre-war years.
– Reference to the Daily Telegraph article should not be included in the Minister’s reply.
– Wheat production in 1948-49 is expected to be about 24 per cent, above the average pre-war crop. Other important crops which are likely to be above the pre-war production, are expected to show increases on pre-war figures as follows: - Barley, 85 per cent.; oats, 40 per cent.; sugar, 23 per cent.; apples, 12 per cent.; dried fruits, 17 per cent.; bananas, 22 per cent. ; potatoes, 50 per cent. ; wool, 4 per cent.
– What about rabbits?
– Rats, Country party poisonous venom, 100 per cent. The other figures I wish to quote are - Beef and veal, 2 per cent. ; pig meats, 5 per cent.; total milk, 5 per cent.; and eggs, 70 per cent. When these figures were furnished in my week-end statement I added that due to the effects of restocking following drought losses, and the continued high demand for wool, mutton and lamb production may be still about 5 per cent, lower than that of pre-war years. That portion of my statement was omitted from the press report and the following substituted in lieu: -
This year’s wheat crop would be about 24 per cent, above the average pre-war crop, but mutton and lamb might still be about 5 per cent, lower than before the war.
Figures of its own calculation were then set out in the press article to support its suggestion that we are worse off, not better off, than in pre-war years.
Another statement in that newspaper article, which is not my statement, is illuminating. It asserted that the £1 which bought twenty shillings worth of goods in 1939 to-day buys only 13s. 8d. worth. It therefore seems a matter of simple arithmetic to decide that primary products worth over £600,000,000 in 1948 make us financially much better off than the £211,000,000, which was the average annual value of primary products for the five years ended 1938-39. Our values and volume of production of the crops mentioned .ire likewise up.
– In view of the importance of the meat producers being acquainted with the fullest possible information, seeing that they own the product which is the subject of negotiation, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture ensure that beef producers are represented at any discussions relating to long-term meat contracts with the United Kingdom or with plans to increase beef production?
– The routine followed by the Commonwealth in relation to meat contracts with the United Kingdom, although similar to that followed by the Government of which the right honorable member for Darling Downs was a supporter in 1938-39, is superior to that practice. A contract was entered into by the then Government with the United Kingdom Government through the Australian Meat Board, and the members of the board, who in many instances represented proprietary interests, were in possession of the terms of the contract for at least a fortnight before the rank and file primary producers in this country knew them. The Curtin Labour Government assumed office at a later stage, and following amendments to the Meat Export Control Act, the primary producers were given majority representation on the Meat Board. The practice now is that the board, which has majority representation of primary producers, makes recommendations to the Government, which then negotiates contracts with and accepts full responsibility for such negotiations with the United Kingdom Government. As soon as a decision is arrived at, it is announced by the Australian Government. No interested person has any prior knowledge which would enable him to speculate to the detriment of the meat producers of Australia. That procedure will be continued. The Government will take full responsibility. It would be impossible to interpose between the United Kingdom Government and the Australian Government a representative of meat producers or of any other interests who would have no final responsibility. The bulk purchase contract system, which was initiated by a government supported by honorable members opposite, has the substantial advantage that the meat producers of this country are not the victims of speculators, who buy at one price and sell at a substantially higher price in tho markets of the world.
– I have received considerable correspondence regarding tho shortage in my electorate of such commodities as wax matches, sewing cotton, cotton singlets and towels. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development inform the .House whether the Australian Government has any control over the manufacture and distribution of the goods to which I have referred? If it has, will he say what stops are to be taken to ensure that those shortages are overcome?
– The Australian Government has no control whatever over the manufacture or distribution of the articles to which ‘the honorable member has referred. The Government’s control over them expired a long time ago. If there is a shortage of these commodities in Queensland, it is due either to the fact that there is a general shortage throughout Australia or that the manufacturers are not allocating a fair share of their output to Queensland. I do not thing that there is anything that the Government can do about that matter. However, I shall direct the attention of the Minister for Supply and Development to it, and I am sure that, if he can assist he will do so.
– Will the Minister for Immigration say whether, in the event of a certain case coming before the High Court shortly, he will be represented by officers of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department or whether, in view of the fact that the AttorneyGeneral, the head of the law department, obviously disagrees with him, he will resort to private enterprise-
– Order! The Chair does not object to the honorable gentleman asking what counsel are to be engaged, but it strongly objects to his pre-judging the case by stating that one Minister is in conflict with another. The honorable gentleman’s question was in order up to the point at which he inquired about counsel. It is common knowledge that writs have been issued. In those circumstances, it is quite wrong to say in this House that there is a conflict over the case between two responsible Ministers. I shall not permit that to be stated in a question.
– I have no knowledge of a writ having been issued, except from what I have seen in the newspapers. I have heard you say time and again, Mr. Speaker, that we must vouch for the accuracy of press statements.
– The honorable gentleman is trying to be funny at the expense of the Chair. I want it to be clearly understood by him and by all other honorable members that when a case is before a court I will not permit questions in this House to be used to prejudice the case. The Attorney-General may reply if he sees fit.
– I did not ask my question of the AttorneyGeneral.
– As the appointment of counsel is the concern of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department I call the AttorneyGeneral.
– My question was addressed to the Minister for Immigration.
– The honorable member for Barker has no choice in the matter.
– I desire an answer from the Minister for Immigration or not at all.
– I am not concerned with what the honorable gentleman desires or with what Minister he wishes to pick. It is common knowledge that questions asked of a Minister must concern the affairs of his department or its administration. The Minister who appoints counsel is the Attorney-General. I call the Attorney-General, who may answer the question if he desires to do so.
– There are two points that are of importance from the point of view of the honorable member for Barker. First, writs have been issued and the case is pending. Secondly, the appointment of counsel lies in the hands of my department, and no doubt excellent counsel will be appointed.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether, in view of his Government’s friendly relations with and championship of the Indonesian Republic, he has yet made arrangements for a reasonable indemnity for relatives and dependants of the Australian soldiers and nurses, some of whom went into that territory under a safe conduct, who were murdered by the people whom the Attorney-General is now championing?
– The statement contained in the first part of the honorable member’s question is inaccurate. There is no special relationship between this Government and the Indonesian Republic. Regarding the second part of the question, I inform the honorable member that the relatives of the men in question received the full compensation from the Australian Government due in respect of those who lost their lives on active service, and claims were lodged immediately with the Indonesian Republic on behalf of Australia. I shall ascertain whether any further information is available and inform the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for
Immigration a question regarding the recent return to England of many British migrants, largely due to their inability to find accommodation in Australia. Their return to England has given rise to some adverse publicity for Australia in the
British press. Many of those people had paid their own fares which involved an expenditure of considerable capital. So as to reduce to a minimum the number of migrants returning to England because of housing shortages, can the Minister say whether any arrangements for temporary accommodation at hostels or camps could be made with the States in such circumstances, or, better still, whether he could arrange a co-ordinated plan with the United Kingdom regarding the admission of housing materials from Britain?
– Nobody likes to see any good migrant going away dissatisfied. Some British people who paid their own passages to Australia have gone back, but the number is very small. I have seen comparative figures of the numbers who have returned to Britain from Canada, the United States of America and other places much closer to Britain than Australia, and those numbers are very much greater than the number of migrants who have returned from Australia-
Mr.White. - Hundreds have gone back from Australia.
– The newspapers said that there were 120 people returning to England on Moreton Bay. Officers of both the Department of Immigration and the Department of Information went on board that vessel but could not find those 120 persons. The captain of Moreton Bay said that there was nothing like that number of people returning to England on board his vessel. He also said that those who were going back were no loss to Australia. He said that some of those returning had said on the way out that they had come for a tour, and travelling to Australia was the best way of having a good winter tour. The captain also stated that these people had said that they did not intend to stay in Australia. One very warm-hearted person offered one of those migrant families a home and a job for the father, but the father of that family, who had been only three weeks in Australia, said the time had come for him to make his decision on whether to stay, and he had decided to go.
– I suppose he found the climate did not suit him.
– The reason may have been the climate or something else. I can supply the honorable member for Balaclava with the figures of migrants, including those who came to Australia under both free and assisted passages, who have returned to Britain. Of 20,000 who have come to Australia 385 have returned. Of 2,660 British sailors who took their discharges in Australia after the end of the Pacific war and were entitled to repatriation to England at the expense of the British Government within twelve months of their discharge, only86 went back to England, and most of these went for family reasons. We are considering building hostels in the capital cities and elsewhere to house single British migrants to begin with, and I discussed recently with the honorable gentleman some plans that we have for taking over further hostels in various parts of Australia.
– Is that accommodation being provided for British migrants?
– Partly, in some instances, but in some places it is being provided entirely for British migrants. I remind the honorable member that in a recent speech Lord Tweed smuir, who is a son of the late John Buchan and lived in Canada for many years and commanded a Canadian regiment, said that most of the people returning to England from Canada and Australia showed more wishbone than backbone.
Debate resumed from the 15th February (vide page 291), on motion by Dr. Evatt -
That the following paper be printed: - Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 9th February, 1949.
– I do not propose to discuss in detail matters which have been dealt with by previous speakers. I appreciate very much the manner in which the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) set out the subject-matter of the debate. In his speech he did not descend to sabrerattling, and he did not try unfairly to justify any action that has been taken by the Government in the international sphere. He placed before the House the broad principles of the Government’s foreign policy. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) made a good, analytical speech, and, although I do not agree with much that he said, he too confined his attention to the broad principles of Australia’s foreign policy. I trust that other honorable members who participate in this debate will help not only our own people but also the people of other countries to realize that the Australian Government is directing its efforts towards the preservation of peace and has no desire to do anything that will create bitterness which, ultimately, must give rise to enmities and hostilities throughout the world.
I propose to deal with the Government’s policy as enunciated by the Minister under the three following heads: - First, Australia’s unswerving support of the United Nations and its policy, secondly, our relationship with the British Commonwealth of Nations ; and, thirdly, the desirability of establishing maximum co-operation with the United States of America. Personally, I should give priority to our relationship with the British Commonwealth of Nations over our support of the United Nations organization, because I believe that notwithstanding the value of the United Nations unless we can maintain close co-operation with the British Commonwealth of Nations particularly with England itself, we shall not make very much progress with any foreign policy that we may pursue. Whilst we may query individual decisions taken by Great Britain, nevertheless British foreign policy has proved most successful and most beneficial to the world as fi whole. Therefore, I should give priority to our relationship with the British Commonwealth of Nations over any other aspect in our consideration of the Government’s foreign policy. However, the Minister was justified perhaps in mentioning first our support of the United Nations as he has approached international affairs on the broadest possible basis.
T have been amazed at some statements made by certain honorable members in condemnation of the exercise of the veto at meetings of the United Nations. The Minister has always been consistent in that respect, but the Leader of the Opposition when he expressed approval of the United . Nations and, at the same time, objected to the exercise of the veto- must realize that if the veto is abolished the alternative is for member nations to abide by majority decisions. Members of the Opposition have also complained that the Minister for External Affairs has exercised a dominating influence in the United Nations. I cannot comprehend the reason for such a complaint. I cast my mind back to the peace conferences held after World War I. At those conferences Australia was represented by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) who also became prominent because of the initiative he exercised as this country’s representative in the councils of the nations. Indeed, only recently a spokesman for another country has laid the blame for certain conditions existing to-day at the door of that right honorable gentleman because of what he was able to achieve at the peace conferences after World War I. .The right honorable member for North Sydney played rather a dominating role at those conferences. Indeed, as the result of his outspokenness and his success in gaining recognition of his point of view in the drafting of the peace treaty at that time, he was acclaimed upon his return to Australia and many people in this country advocated that substantial recognition should be made of his work in that respect. Therefore, when I hear people to-day condemning the Minister for External Affairs because of his initiative in the United Nations organization I wonder whether they would prefer that Australia’s representative should be merely a follower and that Australia should be content just to run after the other fellow rather than that this country should be enabled to play an effective part at international conferences. Such criticism of the Minister as we hear to-day also makes me wonder whether those who air such views so freely are not influenced by party political considerations. On previous occasions in this House I have paid tribute to the great work that the Minister has done on behalf of Australia. Moreover, the recognition which he has received from representatives of other nations shows very clearly what they think of what he has done at various international conferences.
The great bugbear in regard to the United Nations is the power of veto. Honorable members opposite have complained bitterly of the veto as exercised by Russia. I agree with them that the veto can be exercised improperly, but wc should remember that unless the provision for the veto had been included in the Charter there would have been no United Nations and no Charter.
– Does the honorable member think that the United Nations is any good now that we have it?
– Before the League of Nations was inaugurated-
– The League of Nations got us into one war.
– When the League of Nations was first formed, I expressed the opinion that it could not be effective unless it were provided with the power to enforce its decisions. The League failed because the only power it had was the power to impose economic sanctions. When sanctions should have been applied against Italy over the Ethiopian incident, although Britain was perpared to act, the other nations were not. When Japan began its attack upon Manchuria the nations as a whole were not prepared to enforce economic sanctions. I do not agree with the honorable member that the League of Nations got us into war, but it was responsible for giving us a false sense of security, which led to a reduction of armaments, including the sinking of battleships, by Great Britain. However, before there was any League of Nations, the world became involved in the 1914-18 war which was the greatest that had ever taken place up to that time; and prior to the outbreak of that war the nations had arranged for themselves pacts and alliances of the kind now advocated by honorable members opposite. Indeed, the only alternative to the United Nations is a system of pacts with other nations, but such pacts did not prevent the first World War.
I turn now to the position in Indonesia to-day. In the first place, let me say that I do not take up an anti-Dutch attitude.
In this matter I am not thinking of the interests of the Labour party only, but of Australia as a whole. Honorable members opposite may ask whether 1 hold anti-Communist beliefs, and I certainly do, but in regard to foreign policy generally I believe that we should try to avoid adopting a hostile attitude towards any country. As for the Dutch, I remember reading some years ago that their colonization of the East Indies had been wonderfully successful. Whether that is right or not I cannot say, because I have never been to the East Indies. When we raise the standard of living of a backward people we must recognize the implications of such action, and pay due heed to the wider aims and ambitions of the people concerned. There may be fault3 on both sides in Indonesia and I have no wish to cast a stone at one side or the other. I know something of the part played by the Dutch early in the war. I remember the odds against them, and I do not join with some who are prepared to blame the Dutch for not having held back the Japanese. ‘We, ourselves, in conjunction with the British, were not able to stop the Japanese at Singapore. “Indeed, I believe that, but for the help of the United States of America, we should not have kept the Japanese out of Australia.
That brings me to the matter of cooperation between Australia and tho United States of America, in regard to which it is1 necessary to take a broad view. Some honorable members are inclined to exaggerate incidents or remarks bv Ministers or members. That will not help us in our foreign policy. It is impossible to get complete unamity in political parties. It sometimes happens that, a person who does not agree with his party’s policy will express a personal opinion, which is pounced upon and published as the opinion of the party as a whole. The Labour party is not committed to enmity with any nation. As a party, we strive for peace and justice. The Minister for External Affairs has been attacked for the strong action he has taken in regard to various matters, and he has been accused of passing off his own opinions as the policy of Australia. The Minister is in his present position because the Labour party believes that he is a man who can form sound judgments. I shall be candid. I do not agree with him 100 per cent, and he knows it, but I do not know anybody in this House to whom I would rather entrust the direction of Australia’s foreign policy. I make that declaration not for the sake of back-scratching but because of my respect for the Minister’s experience in such matters.
I do not take great exception to the analytical way in which the Leader of the Opposition dealt with the subject of international affairs in this House last night, but he referred to one subject without clarifying certain details. The right honorable gentleman spoke about what I assume to be the Atlantic Pact, and declared that a pact such as that required power on the part of the contracting countries to enforce its terms. He said that such an alliance of nations could be an adjunct to the United Nations and could give effect to ite decisions. There is great danger in any such belief. Pacts are very satisfactory if we are included in them, but if we happen, to be excluded and are not able to get what we want we are not happy about them. Pacts have a habit of changing from year to year. During World War I., our troops crossed the Indian Ocean under the protection of Japanese warships. Less than a quarter of a century later, our troops again crossed the same ocean under attack from Japanese warships. Experience has shown that, in trying to aline different nations in pacts, we run the risk of losing old supporters to groups that are allied against us. That danger is inherent in the proposal made by the Leader of the Opposition. Nevertheless, I do not condemn his plan wholeheartedly on that ground, because I consider that there was a certain amount of reason in his arguments. Since the United Nations organization was formed, the nations of the world have not progressed towards peace and harmony as they should have done. Hostilities ended ever three years ago, but we have not yet concluded peace treaties with Germany and Japan. The reason for that failure is that the dominant nations have not been able to agree among themselves upon the terms of the treaties.
We believe that the treaties could be completed if Russia would consider their terms in a fair and reasonable way. But I do not know how we can persuade Russia to do that. If, whenever we have the opportunity to reach agreement, representatives of other nations abuse Russia as offensively as they can, we are not likely to secure any early agreement amongst the great nations for the conclusion of peace treaties.
Many critics have declared that Australian representatives have taken the initiative too often at international conferences. Assertiveness, I fear, is a characteristic of Australia. One of our main characteristics is to take things haphazardly and another is to barge in whenever we think that somebody i3 in trouble. The latter attribute has been evidenced in our leadership in international affairs. I admit that I have sometimes thought that it would be fair for other nations to take the initiative instead of leaving- Australia, as one honorable member has said, to “ bell the cat “. We should not be called upon always to do that. However, strong leadership is often necessary. When I was in Washington two years ago I attended, in company with the Australian Ambassador to the United States of America, two meetings of the Far Eastern Commission, upon which eleven nations are represented. I was impressed by the fact that, at both of the meetings, the initiative in matters that called for action was left to the representatives of Australia and New Zealand. The representatives of India, China, France, the Netherlands and other countries took a prominent part in the discussions, but, when positive steps were called for in dealing with Japan, the Australian and New Zealand members had to take the lead and the others followed. I witnessed at those meetings examples of the trouble that commonly impedes progress at international conferences to-day. As soon as one nation proposes a course of action, the representatives of another nation take exception to some word in the formal proposal, usually a word which has no great significance. I do not know whether that is the result of language difficulties and limited knowledge of the full meaning of words that are used. However. it seems to me that delegates at conferences strain unnecessarily at such details with the result that progress is delayed.
Apart from the two principal speeches that have been made, this debate appears to have developed into a discussion whether the Dutch policy in Indonesia is right or wrong instead of remaining on the broad plane of foreign policy. I am convinced that the policy of this Government should continue to be based upon the United Nations Charter, which gives expression to the principles that we support. I agree with honorable members opposite that Australia should not carry all the responsibility of taking the initiative in the settlement of international disputes, but we should not cavil at leadership by Australia’s representatives when they are able to put forward proposals that would be of benefit to the world. The old proverb that a prophet is not without honour save in his own country applies to our Minister for External Affairs. Other countries have honoured him, yet many people in Australia decry and attempt to belittle his actions. Let us consider the alternative to the United Nations. If we want to destroy that organization, re-arm, and engage in the old game of power politics, we should say so straight out. I appeal to honorable members opposite not to say, “ 1 believe in the United Nations “, and then, in the same breath, “ We must have pacts and power to carry out its obligations “. If we wholeheartedly attempt to do the best we can for the world, without resorting to war and the piling up of armament, which can only be destructive, our foreign policy will be helpful to Australia in particular and to the world in general. [Quorum formed.’]
– This debate, which was initiated by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. (Evatt), has thrown into highlight two matters, one that the Government’s policy is based solely on the United Nations, and the other that the Opposition, which directs itself to the realities of the situation, wants some support other than that of the United Nations in facing the difficulties that lie ahead. The speech made by the right honorable gentleman was made, in my view, not in his capacity as
Minister for External Affairs of this country, but in his capacity as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. I say deliberately that one has only to read the right honorable gentleman’s speech to find established beyond any doubt the fact that when he came into the House his purpose was to advance the reasons why the United Nations should be supported. In my view, he has been so carried away by his internationalism, that either he has lost sight of or he is unmindful of the strategic and vital considerations that affect Australia. His speech could be summarized in a very few words. In the first place, he said in effect, “ We stand steadfastly by the principles of the United Nations “. Then he said, “ We stand for co-operation with the British Commonwealth “. And, finally, he said, “ We stand for co-operation with the United States of America”. There is nothing new about that. The right honorable gentleman has been saying such things for the last five years, but on every occasion on which he has spoken he has avoided, it seems to me, the real issue which any Minister for External Affairs should face, namely, in what way, if at all, the vital interests of this country are affected by events on the international stage, and in what way we propose to deal with the problems so created. Indeed, the truth is that on all occasions he has avoided facing the real issues affecting this country. If one reads the right honorable gentleman’s speech, as I have done again and again in order to ascertain what I could learn from it, one sees that it consisted of an apologia for the United Nations. He asked in effect, “What else is there to stand by?” He asked rhetorically, “Do honorable members believe in the United Nations ? “ He might, with as much point, have asked us whether we believed in the principles of Christianity, and the Christian way of life. Such a question would be equally pertinent and- would have as much bearing upon the real issues that face this country as have the questions asked by him. He spoke of justice in round general terms. He said, in effect, “ We stand for justice “ ; but he seemed, if I may say so, to be peculiarly oblivious to the injustices which are taking place in other countries in the world, and to be unmindful of the fact that in Russia alone, as information in the hands of the Government must reveal, there is reason to believe that between 8,000,000 and 12,000,000 people are held in slave camps. He speaks in high and glowing terms about the charter affecting human rights, but when he came down to the things that so vitally affect this country he said practically nothing. His speech could . be summed up in the words, “ The United Nations : What else is there ? “. Obviously thrown into a subsidiary position was co-operation with the British Commonwealth and with the United States of America. We have not witnessed very much co-operation with either the British Commonwealth or the United States of America on vital issues during the period that this Government has been in power. In his apologia for the United Nations the right honorable gentleman dealt with what that body had achieved in the Balkans and in Palestine. He told us how hard it had tried to achieve world peace and how nearly it had reached success. He said that the United Nations would ultimately be successful if it kept on pegging away. The speech of the right honorable gentleman contained not one word about matters which are of vital significance to this country, the events which are taking place not only in Europe but also in Asia. At the commencement of his speech the right honorable gentleman said -
I propose to deal in a broad and comprehensive way with the foreign policy of this country, the relationship of this country particularly to the United Nations, to the British Commonwealth, to the great region of the Pacific and South-East Asia.
Where, in his speech, was any reference made to the Pacific and South-East Asia, except the recital of events that have taken place in Indonesia, which was obviously coloured against the Dutch, and his observation on China which he would not have made but for an interjection by the right honorable member for North Sydney ‘Mr. Hughes). In a speech which purported to deal with foreign affairs the Minister, in answer to an interjection, made only a brief reference to China, where mammoth events which may have most serious and far-reaching consequences for the whole of South-East Asia, and particularly for Australia, are taking place. So lightly does this Minister regard his obligation to inform this country of the problems which face it to-day and which may face it to-morrow that he vouchsafed this sole observation in regard to China -
The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) has referred to China. A long and tragic war has convulsed that nation-
We all knew that, of course, before he said it - and delayed the rehabilitation to which the long-suffering people are entitled.
We also knew that, I hope. He continued -
In my opinion, it would be strictly proper for the United Nations to endeavour to mediate there for the purpose of saving the lives of countless innocent people.
That was all that the right honorable gentleman said about China. He made no reference to the civil insurrection in Burma, or to the events that are taking place in Malaya which constitute a continuing threat to British power and prestige in that area.
– The right honorable gentleman had only an hour in which to speak.
– Extensions of time were granted to enable him to conclude his speech. No limitation was placed upon him.
– The honorable member need not expect that a similar courtesy will be extended to him.
– I do not want any extension of time; I can say all that I need to say in the limited time allowed to me. The Minister said not one word about the position in Japan, and the economic and political consequences to this country of what is taking place there. I regret that not one word was said about those things. The right honorable gentleman would not have said three sentences about China had it not been for the interjection of the right honorable member for North Sydney. When he dealt with another important part of the world, the area of the Atlantic and the continent of Europe, he said nothing about it except to give us his version of what took place in Berlin. If I may say so, his intervention in the Berlin dispute contributed nothing whatever to the solution of that dispute; indeed, I believe that it broke down a great deal of what Great Britain and the United States of America had achieved. In everything that he has done he has shown a bias towards Russia, and nothing that he has said contains any real criticism of Russia. Perhaps it is due to the fact that in this chamber not so long ago lie expressed the view that he had been satisfied two or three years earlier that Russia was not concerned in aggression throughout the world. Why, indeed, he had sat down at the table of the mighty; he had sat down with the leaders of the world ! And he was quite satisfied that the Russians did not have aggression in their minds but were concerned only with the preservation of their own interests, ls that the kind of approach that is needed in foreign affairs to-day - an approach that is completely divorced from reality? Is it not ‘obvious to every honorable member who is watching the course of events in the world to-day that a struggle is taking place because of the Russians’ objective of world domination? But apparently we must not speak of those things; we must go along, contenting ourselves with what I call “ international cliches “, the jargon of “ internationalism” that is so current at present. I am concerned about the vital interests of this country, which, so far as the speech of the Minister revealed, are not in his mind at all - unless it can be said, in fairness to him, that he sees the vital interests of this country only in terms of the United Nations.
When we speak of peace in the world, let us put this proposition quite plainly: either there is no forseeable danger of aggression in the world to-day, in which event there is no need for a foreign policy ; or there is a danger, in which event there is a very vital need for a realistic foreign policy. If aggression, from whatever source it may come, is to be stopped, it can be stopped only by power. Does any honorable member imagine that in the forum of the world to-day public opinion, strong as it can and might be, could prevent the outbreak of war to-morrow if one major power decided to go to war ?
That is the problem which we must face. Obviously peace can be preserved only by power. That power can be vested in a single nation which dominates the whole world - and that is not a concept to which we would submit; it can be vested in an international organization capable of securing and enforcing the peace of the world - and such an organization does not exist to-day; or it can be distributed. No other alternatives remain. Yet we had to listen to a speech from the Minister which dealt only with general, pious objectives. What I should have thought we needed was a statement of the vital interests of this country that are at stake; not the repetition of a set of principles with which no honorable member can find much, if any, reason to disagree. The Minister should have set out the concrete means by which he seeks to attain those objectives. I regret that I must speak in this way, but it is my belief that the Minister has been so carried away by his internationalism that he can no longer properly serve the real interests of this country. I repeat that I regret the necessity for having to utter that criticism, but I am obliged to do so.
Look what is taking place in Asia today, an area that is of vital significance to Australia. In the course of this debate we have heard a great deal about the Dutch. All I want to say is that it is about time the Government made up its mind whether it wants to exclude all white people, other than Australians, from that area. I do not argue with that point of view for the moment. It may be that the Government would say: “They have no right to this area; they came out here to exploit the peoples of A.sia, and they have exploited them for over 300 years.” Of course, we have heard all that before, and I know that it is the view held by the right honorable gentleman, because it is well-known that he has said on a number of occasions that the days of “ colonial government “ are ended. Let us pursue the application of that view to its logical conclusion. If we do. the Dutch must be excluded from Indonesia ; the French must be excluded from Now Caledonia and the Pacific; the Portuguese from Timor; and the British from Malaya. There can be no doubt about that. But if that is its view, let the Government have the courage to say so. For my part, I cannot reconcile the vital interests of this country with such an approach ; on the contrary, I believe that, in the difficult and uncertain days that lie ahead, it is a very good thing to stand by white friends. I make no apology for having made that statement. I do not go into the dispute with Indonesia beyond saying this : that the Minister who, throughout his speech, spoke of justice so much, gave very poor justice to the Dutch when he instructed his delegate to go to the Delhi conference, knowing that the Dutch had not been invited and would not be present at that conference. One of the most vital principles of justice is that no person should be condemned without a hearing. Yet this Government sent its representative to Delhi, having already pre-judged the Dutch, and in the knowledge that they would not be given an opportunity to express their viewpoint. What is the result of our participation in that conference? Apart from its effect upon the Dutch people who fought with us during the war, let us examine its bearing upon the White Australia policy. Either we believe in that policy or we do not. We on this side of the House believe in that policy, and we take a realistic view. The Australian Labour party pretends to believe in it, but is doing everything to destroy it. It sent its representative to Delhi to take part in a condemnation of the white people in South-East Asia - to condemn the people who fought with us in days which we so easily forget, except for political purposes. The Government condemned the Dutch by participation in the Delhi conference, and allied itself to a policy that will ultimately destroy White Australia. That conference affirmed that white people had no right in South-East Asia, and declared that the Dutch should get out and leave the entire area of the so-called Indonesian Republic to the political body set up by the collaborations with the Japanese, and those who have, in fact, the blood of white people on their hands. What is to be the result of our participation in the conference which made that decision? Let us examine that for a moment. There is an area adjacent to our own possessions in New Guinea, and that area is called “ Dutch New Guinea “ - in case the Minister for External Affairs has forgotten about it while he has been in Paris. If Indonesia has to be handed over to the Indonesians, so has the whole area of Dutch New Guinea to be handed over to the natives. And if the natives have a right to govern themselves in Dutch New Guinea, why have they not a similar right in the mandated territories administered by Australia? If so, we ought to get out of there, if we are to be logical. If, for example, a republican government arose in Papua or New Guinea - either one engineered from outside, as was the case with the so-called republican government of Indonesia, or one that arose spontaneously - and demanded the right to govern itself, then, if we are to be consistent, we should have to get out. Indeed, if we do not get out, apparently the United Nations will take the matter over, or Mr. Nehru will call another meeting at New Delhi to give us a short date before which we must vacate the area.
– On the same reasoning, we should get out of Nauru.
– Exactly. The same arguments apply. Why do not the French get out of New Caledonia ? Is the Minister’s memory so short that he has forgotten that New Caledonia, up to the time when those who now sit on this side of the House engineered things so that the Vichy-ites were excluded from the government of that island, presented a vital threat to this country? Strategically it will always do so. With the increase of air power, it becomes very much so to-day. The logical result of the policy which the Minister has pursued, because nobody else’s policy is involved, is that the French should get out of New Caledonia, the Dutch out of Indonesia, the English out of Malaya and the Portuguese out of Portuguese Timor. Then, certainly, we should be alone, and to whom should we turn in time of trouble? His answer is. to the United Nations.
I realize’ that, whilst it is well to criticize, the critic should also suggest alternatives. I analysed as best I could in a short space of time, how power must be in one of three entities. If nations are without power, they cannot hare peace unless mankind has so adjusted itself as to live in peace without any power. I was astonished when the Minister asked, during his speech, “ What alternative is there to the United Nations? “. I interjected, “ What about the North Atlantic Pact? “ Up to that point in his speech, the Minister had had no intention whatever to say a word about that pact. Why? Because his thesis in this Parliament was the thesis of the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations who believes that that organization is the only body which should be supported. The Minister said that the foreign policy of every country can be found in the Charter of the United Nations. Is it to be assumed, therefore, that under the Charter of the United Nations in the world of today, there can be no conflicting interests except such as may be resolved within the Charter of the United Nations? Words, words and more words can result in the complete devastation of this country unless we are aware of what is happening and take steps to meet the situation. I believe that as a matter of policy, we should endeavour, by every means open to us, to persuade the United States of America to accept commitments in this area, but the Minister has done everything to persuade America to withdraw from it. Reference has been made more than once to Manus Island by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) and many other honorable members on this side of the chamber, including myself. We said that if that island could have been leased for a long period to the United ‘States of America, the strongest nation in the world, it would provide a bastion for this country against aggression. For reasons best known to himself, the Minister dismissed this upon rather general ideological grounds. He said that Australia must resist the idea that we can give any portion of our territory to any other nation. In truth the giving away of any of our territory was never involved. A long-term base such as England has ceded to the United .States of America, in the Atlantic, was all that was involved. Yet the Minister rejected it. Perhaps he can remember a fact that is of vital significance in a consideration of present day problems. The official view which was held in the early days of the war against Japan and which General MacArthur fought bitterly from Australia, was that this country was of no strategic consequence in the war against Japan. Members of the Advisory War Council will recall that attitude only too clearly, and it was only because of General MacArthur’s constant fight to break down that view in the United States of America that it was ultimately abandoned. A similar view could be adopted more easily to-day by those in the United States of America, who condition and frame policy, and determine military aid. Consequently, the need is even more pressing for us to attract commitments in this area, and not to rebuff them. When I referred to the North Atlantic Pact, the Minister made a significant statement that showed his complete illogicality when he comes down to realities. He said -
I say that there is no alternative to the United Nations.
I understand by that statement that if the United Nations cannot get any teeth, none the less we must put up with the organization, or we must sit by and say, “Well, there is no alternative, and if aggression occurs, which cannot be stopped by talks at Lake Success, it will be just too bad “. That is not my approach to the problems of this country, and I cannot imagine that it is the approach of any man who really has the interests of Australia at heart. The Minister asked, “ Is there any alternative to the United Nations?” and I said, “ The Atlantic Pact seems to be some alternative”. I invite honorable members to listen to the Minister’s reply to that interjection. He said -
No, it is an addition. 1 appreciate the point that the honorable member for Warringah has taken.
The Minister always does appreciate points made by honorable members on this side of the chamber. He continued -
I referred to that before when I mentioned European and American regional co-operation. Regionalism is good, and is recognized in the charter of the United Nations under certain conditions.
I now invite honorable members to read what seems to me to reveal the
Minister’s illogical approach when he is faced with realities -
It is good because you may, in the long run, be faced with the position where the United Nations, devoid of physical power to carry out decisions, is unable to meet the situation, and, therefore, you are forced back upon other alternatives. Therefore, I say that the Atlantic Fact is supplementary to the United Nations.
If I may say so, and, of course, it is not for me to criticize the Minister unduly, there cannot be a more complete lack of sequence. He says, in effect, “ There is no alternative, but we may be faced with the position that the United Nations cannot deal with a matter, and so we must fall back on an alternative, and, therefore, I say that the Atlantic Pact is no alternative “. That is the line of reasoning which he adopts. The truth of the matter is that he realizes that the Atlantic Pact is undoubtedly an alternative to the United Nations. One of the objectives of the United Nations is that all the nations of the world shall agree to resolve their problems together by settled procedure under the Charter; but, if one major nation refuses to do so, the only alternative for those who want to preserve their way of living is to find succour among themselves. A fight to-day on the ideological stage of the world, reflected as it is in the international sphere, is a fight, without doubt, between the East and the West. It may be in the end, as I hope it will be, that that fight will be resolved without any hostility because we shall have shown to those contiguous to the western world that we have a better way of life than they have. I should have thought that that idea underlined the realistic approach of the United States of America to the problem. America has used Marshall Aid as an instrument of foreign policy, and has said, in effect, We must convince the world in the end that we have something to sell and something to defend. The only means by which we shall ultimately convince people in Russia and the countries under Soviet domination is to show them, first, that we have no aggressive designs against them, and secondly, that we are capable of living on high and rising standards and have the strength to maintain our own way of life “. Bit by bit, the knowledge may percolate into the minds of the people contiguous to the Western. Zone that there is something interchangeable in ideas as well as in commercial life. I believe that we should give particular attention to negotiating a Pacific Pact with the United States of America and Canada and other nations in the Indian Ocean-Pacific Ocean area, such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines Republic and, in that way, work towards the ultimate goal of peace. While working towards the ultimate objectives of the United Nations, let us walk in strength and not in weakness.
I felt obliged to make those statements. As the Minister knows, I have a deep regard for him personally, but on this matter, personal regard is of no consequence. The great danger with which we are confronted to-day is that Australia is being led along the path of internationalism, and is sacrificing its own vital interests. The White Australia policy is being imperilled by the course that this Government is pursuing. I know that the word “reality” is treated with contempt by some of the intellectuals on the other side of the chamber, but as we live in a world in which power still rules and in which there is still great cruelty, reality demands that we should leave the path of internationalism and direct ourselves more and more to the vital interests of this country.
Despite the high h onour that was conferred upon the Minister for External Affairs by his election as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, upon which I offered him my congratulations, he cannot serve two masters. He cannot, as Australian Minister for External Affa irs, serve the cause of the United Nations, and, at the same time, also serve the strategic and vital interests of Australia.
.- The speech that has just been delivered by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) is typical of those that he makes on the occasion of every international affairs debate in this House. I take it that we are Australians gathered together in the Parliament to make a fairly level estimation of how the United Nations is working if that is the matter under discussion. Whilst I have no doubt of ‘the patriotism of the honorable member for Warringah and of his desires and feelings upon these matters, it seems *o me that on every occasion when foreign affairs are debated in this House his reason is clouded by hatred. The honorable gentleman burns with jealousy and suffers from a sense of personal frustration to the degree that he does not make out a case as good as that which he makes out under normal circumstances, although he fervently desires to do so. That is a part of the background of the Opposition in relation to discussions on foreign affairs. Its aim is to whip up a hatred complex and to talk of matters in a destructive fashion when the situation is one which calls for calm consideration. All thi9 hatred is directed against the Minister for External Affairs because of his handling of foreign affairs. Before I go further E desire to make an explanation and offer an apology to the House. I said quite recently that the foreign policy of the Opposition came to us by air mail. I wish to correct that statement. I am now convinced that it comes by slow sea mail, and as second-class matter.
The speech that was delivered by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) last night shows that his long voyage has not added much to his political stature. The right honorable gentleman indulged in a long and windy harangue before he really got going on the question of the United Nations and attempted to make a complete rebuttal of the usefulness of that organization as well as to worsen the relations between the Dutch and o ourselves. He concluded with a burst of rhetoric which achieved the headlines but did not touch the heart and soul of the Australian community, nor indeed, the problems that confront us. The Australian people are honestly seeking a means of establishing universal peace and, unless we destroy their faith in it, they’ believe that there is something good in the United Nations. I was dismayed to hear and read what the right honorable gentleman said in the criticism of the United Nations. According to the Sydney Morning Herald of to-day he said -
The paradoxical truth is that the world has never had so many charters, assemblies, councils, committees, rules, resolutions or reports. Yet the world is in a ferment and peace hangs on a thread.
The report also contains the following passage -
He criticized the championing of the United Nations organization by the Minister for External Affairs, Dr. H. V. Evatt.
The honorable member for Warringah attacked the United Nations and said of the Minister for External Affairs that all he can see is the United Nations, that he believes that there is no other alternative, and that it is the only body which can guard the peace of the world. Once again the honorable gentleman’s frustration is revealed. Together with the Leader of the Opposition, he savagely attacked the United Nations as, in effect, a useless collection of people passing pious resolutions and getting nowhere. By some strange juxtaposition of ideas, they advocated the use of force again. Members of the Parliament, including myself, have had soubriquets attached to them. It has been the habit, with which I do not entirely agree, to refer to the Leader of the Opposition as “ Pig Iron Bob “. After the speech that the right honorable gentleman delivered last night, it should be “ Blood and Iron Bob “. I have never heard so much philosophy in the manner of Nietzsche, the German philosopher, on the strength of the strong arm. The right honorable gentleman’s dilemma appeared to be where to find the strong arm. As to his criticism that the Minister thinks only of the United Nations, since he is president of the General Assembly of that body, is that a bad trait in his character? I think it is a splendid one. What amuses me about the frank disavowal of the United Nations by the Leader of the Opposition is that it is in contravention of the existing policy of the Liberal party and of the united Opposition, although it is, I understand, always subject to dramatic change. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that you will pardon the use of the word “ united “ in that respect. Plank No. 1 of the Liberal party’s platform says without equivocation -
Full Australian participation in the United Nations organization and acceptance of the responsibilities arising under the Charter.
The Leader of the Opposition accepts that responsibility by damning with bell, book and candle everything that the United Nations has done. The honorable member for Warringah added his quota to the general hate campaign against the United Nations. The quality of frustration has pervaded the Opposition to such a degree that it must tear down. Honorable members opposite have become, by virtue of their political isolation, isolationists in international affairs. Their ideas are those of 50 years ago.
Certain points that were made by the Leader of the Opposition call for some answer. By condemning the United Nations as useless, he ignored the work of 57 nations, the devoted work of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) and- the splendid co-operation of many people who are looking for a peace formula. The right honorable gentleman threw all that aside with a rhetorical flourish and said that what we want here, right in our own backyard, is a foreign affairs committee so that we can talk things over. The right honorable gentleman does not like committees or reports, but he wants us to bring them closer to home so that he can have the satisfaction of being “ in the swim “ in relation to foreign affairs. If the committees and reports were -to be enlarged into a world conference, open to the peoples of the world, the right honorable gentleman would not want them. He would say that they were futile and that we must revert to power politics. He pleaded for the establishment of a foreign affairs committee in the cause of freedom and parliamentary practice. He wants that committee to function in this House. I am a newcomer to the Parliament, but I know that the right honorable gentleman is not, and never has been a co-operator so far as parliamentary committees are concerned. I have had the privilege of being a member of the Social Security Committee of this House. After the last general election, the Leader of the Opposition refused to allow any members of his party to serve on the committee. It is not in existence today because of his action. A former member, Sir Frederick Stewart, went on strike, and the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) felt that it was necessary to withdraw his forces, and he retired. The right honorable gentleman closed down on social security, which is of great assistance to the achievement of peace in our time or in any other time. When he talked glibly of establishing a foreign affairs committee, there was no sincerity in his words. The history of the Opposition in relation to co-operation is very bad. After the war it walked out of the War Council and refused to cooperate in defence. The culminating point is the vicious attack on the United Nations. There has been talk of something which can be used as an alternative to the United Nations organization. The Minister has welcomed these pacts as supplementary aids to the United Nations. People with the backgrounds of the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Warringah should be very careful how they dicker with the question of the development and the maintenance of peace in our time. There are serious people outside of the Parliament who are awaiting guidance from one side or other of the House, and they weigh words carefully. There was nothing very strong in these suggestions, at least to my mind, and I say it with diffidence, in the contribution of the. Leader of the Opposition. Another point raised by the right honorable member with some heat related to unemployment and the Charter of the United Nations. He tossed the subject aside with the airy gesture with which we are now so familiar. I interjected at. the time that he was reiterating Professor Hytten’s theories. In addition, he misquoted Mr. Herbert Morrison, who he said was a well-known socialist. This was to give the quote an added strength. I know that the right honorable gentleman ° got around in Britain very extensively, insisting from the time he arrived there that he was so thoroughly British. No one doubted him. If there is anything that the British detest it is visiting Australians or others insisting that they are something that they are not. We can, of course, imagine his joy at being there, but this super insistence upon his being British is treated by the people in England as some sort of malady that affects people from “down under”. They consider that Australians and New Zealanders should not try to sink their identity. Whilst the Britishers like to meet and welcome people with a dominion point of view, they detest so-called Anglo-Australians, Anglo-Africans or Anglo-New Zealanders. Brushing aside my reference to unemployment, although it concerns all of us vitally, the right honorable gentleman wanted to know what was the new plan for a depression. He had not heard of it. This I very much doubt. The necessity for full employment was incorporated in the United Nations Charter at the San Francisco conference, in which the Minister for External Affairs participated as strenuously as in other matters. It was written there despite the opposition of almost every country. I point out that when unemployment, starvation, misery, degradation and the hundred and one things which feed on the festering body of poverty in a community, overtake the security of a people, war is inevitable. He said that even the socialist British Government does not believe in full employment any more. I was indeed surprised that the right honorable gentleman should so twist a statement made by Mr. Herbert Morrison.
– That is a complete distortion of what the Leader of the Opposition said.
– At some other time, I shall deal fully with the suggestion of distortion, but in the meantime I shall continue with my theme. In his reference to the unemployment question, the right honorable gentleman suggested that Mr. Herbert Morrison, when thanking America for the Marshal aid, said that but for it there would then have been 1,000,000 unemployed in Britain. What does that prove? Absolutely nothing, except that he was attempting to be specious and misleading. He was not talking of the events of a balanced economy in a country dedicated to the finest mission of all - to see that the people had a decent standard of living - but about a broken economy. Time and again, the Opposition has used the misery of blitzed Britain to draw tha scandalous inference that the British Labour Government had discarded the idea of full employment. I deprecate the criticism that we have heard of the
United Nations, which is an organization for the preservation of the peace. Make no mistake about it, full employment is a part of the plan of the Charter of the United Nations. It has been given another slant because it is fashionable to suggest that full employment is a failure, and that the United Nations is a myth. If we throw away those ideals we shall merely become beggars struggling along between wars and admitting that it is beyond the wit of man to contrive some method by which peace can be universal and pervading. Although Opposition members speak about a conference being abortive, or a resolution not being carried out, I point out that the nations of the world have been plunged into wars periodically ever since the days of Adam and Eve. There has been mortal strife between son and son since the early days of creation. This debate is the more important because the eyes of the world are trained on Australia to-day, since the leader of the United Nations, a son of Australia, is amongst us. I wonder what other peoples must think of Opposition members trying to pull him down while he is doing such a splendid job? The word “ realism “ has been used frequently by honorable members of the Opposition, and “ evacuation “, too, I am sorry to say, has been evident during this debate.
– That shows how interested they are in foreign affairs.
– There are only two members of the Opposition present.
– We must apply a true and honest realism to this matter of the United Nations and consider what positive work has been accomplished, rather than what it has failed to do. The Minister for External Affairs mentioned in his speech, and I heard reference to it also in speeches outside this House, successes such as at Kashmir, which did not even secure a paragraph in the press. The right honorable gentleman made the most interesting observation that catastrophe, danger, fear, depressions, and similar things are new. The prevention of such things is not new. Little mention is now made in the press of the Good Neighbour policy in the Netherlands East Indies, or of the work in relation to the Palestine problem. I note that another “ Ben “ has succeeded to power in Palestine, so that it may now be a matter of “hands across the sea “. No doubt, my friend, the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein) will agree that it is a very fine thing. Some very fine work has been done in Palestine. At one time a blood-hath was not unexpected there. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) ha3 ridden his horse in other places time and again, and has said, “I do not like the Gyppos. They should have been killed off “.
– He did not. Why does not the honorable member try to speak the truth now and again?
– He said he did not like the “ Gyppos “ and inferentially he said there was not much merit in pulling the fight off. That is the point of view, perhaps a little more cultured, expressed by the honorable member for Henty, but essentially it is the same rubbish. The Palestine issue was one of the tremendous chapters in the preservation of peace, written by the despised United Nations. The rhetorical ambuscade of the Leader of the Opposition mean nothing against the solid work and energy put into these achievements. I thought that the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) was the only man who objected to reading matter, but his colleague opposite, who is his closest collaborator at the moment, speaks of too many talks, too many reports, too many conferences; in short, too -much information on how to prevent conflict between the nations.
Somebody has been talking in the terms of dictatorship again. That is very dangerous. Dictatorship has certainly depleted the already sere ranks of the Opposition in the past.
The Indonesian question was very brilliantly dealt with by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). It is fine to see the younger members of this Parliament addressing themselves to such important matters. The honorable member for Fremantle traversed the points at issue without heat and with a calm, mannerly analysis, and I am sure all honorable members enjoyed his speech.
I shall not say much about the Dutch situation except to mention that the suppression of newspapers and other odd things that are being done are worth commenting upon. Such actions are not all done by one side. My friends of thepress - and I regret to say they are becoming fewer and fewer - might note that in Indonesia twelve daily newspapers havebeen under suspension for one reason or another. Mimeographed newspaperscarrying photographs of the leaders of theNationalist movement have been suppressed so that the natives of the hinterland will not know who the new leaders are. Such actions, whether taken by the Dutch or any one else, are very dangerous.
The whole story of the United Nationshas to be taken in a world perspective. The objects of the United Nations must be recognized as long-range, and not beregarded as a political football to bekicked about in this chamber. But, because of a terrific amount of world publicity, mis-statement and misplacement of fact, separation of fact from context, and the whole flow of misinformation that goes on in this world to-day, the people are being misled about the real worth of the United Nations. Nowadays we are greeted in the morning by a radio commentator, and with leading and misleading articles in the newspapers, and articles by individuals who claim to be experts on this and that, and who give the long arm of coincidence a terrific twist to suit their press masters. Despite that, however, there are plenty of honest peopleassociated with the press.
Recently an alleged news item of tremendous significance to the nations’ of the world threw many countries into a state of consternation. The newspaper story to which I refer concerned the alleged proposed withdrawal of the American forces from Japan. That mischievous message came through but was denied by the American representative who said that he gave no off-the-record interview. Theoriginal story came to this country in a few paragraphs and then a colleague of the man who wrote the story wrote twocolumns about what his mate had said,, and then his mate wrote two columns about what he had said. The story was cabled back and forth and this journalistic “ jiggerypook “ got into the world’s press. There was nothing in the story.
-Was one of the two journalists the honorable member mentioned, a Mr. Warner, who was a Liberal party candidate in the 1943 general election ?
– I do not know if that is so. I read in a newspaper this morning that a team of journalists in Japan have stated that in no circumstances short of the rack will they reveal the name of the man who was alleged to have given the information upon which the original story was based. I suggest that these journalists gave the information to each other and that it did not come from any responsible source.
The realities of life come home to a man who has a visual education of life, who sees at first hand what is war and what is peace. It is easy to become academic while professing to be realists, in this question of the United Nations. Burnt into my memory and heart are some of the things that I saw during the Australian parliamentary delegation’s tour of Hiroshima. I quote from a little booklet describing the results of the atom bomb raid on that city. It says -
The bomb exploded at 8.15 a.m. in clear weather on6 August, 1945, at about 570 metres altitude, the first flash appearing at about 1600 metres altitude.67,860 buildings were burnt or wrecked, and casualties amounted to: Dead, 78,150; wounded, 37,425; missing, 13,983; refugees, 176,987; a total of 300,545 persons.
When I add that the total population of Hiroshima was 343,968 one begins to realize the awful consequences of the atom bomb. In its experimental stages, the atom bomb was dropped from the wrong altitude, but was sufficient to destroy a city which had been specially selected as a guinea pig for the experiment. I saw that city. I walked around it. It is a city, which, like Canberra, is ringed by blue hills, and is crossed by rivers ; it had a number of industries and some cultural buildings. They were devastated, although not to the absurd extent stated by some quasi-scientific writers who stated that there had been almost total obliteration of the city and the poisoning of ground and water. Still, it was awful! It was more awful to witness when one contemplated what could happen in the future with the use of the perfected bomb. The members of the delegation will remember that in that city there is a bank building. On that sunny morning at 8.15 o’clock, a Japanese and his son were approaching this mercantile institution to do the cleaning. They sat on the terrazzo steps of thebank waiting for the doors to be opened, and the blast of the atom bomb obliterated them, but left an X-ray of two human beings burned into the marble. That, of course, was purely experimental. That was just an indication of the undreamed-of slaughter which lies in the future.
What the Opposition fails to realize in its attacks on the United Nations is that the bomb did more than destroy a Japanese city, sweeping away its shanties and wooden houses and shattering walk, twisting the course of rivers, tumbling the world into chaos. It blew away an era and brought in a fresh one. It blew asidethe old war of cannon and gun and bayonet and sabre, and the rhetoric of the people who send others to war, and brought in a fiercer era. If honorable members opposite do notbegin a discussion of foreign affairs with that thought in mind they are not realists, but fairy, poetical and fantastic figures of the past.
The whole question of the United Nations began in August, 1945, when the use of the atom bomb gave us a new world problem. The questions that now concern the man in the street are whether there is to be unrestricted use of the atom bomb; and whether we and our allies have stock-piles of the material necessary for our protection. Also, to what organization and to what conditioning of education by that organization should we devote ourselves. The answer is, “ The United Nations “.
Sitting suspended from12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the atom bomb and the strange reluctance on the part of the Opposition to perceive the significance of this tragedy. In order to supplement my point, I shall quote from a report published in the Daily Telegraph of the 22nd January last of a speech made by the Leader of the Opposition in the Sydney Town Hall on the preceding evening. This quotation further emphasizes my contention that there is a complete absence of appreciation on the part of the Opposition of the work of the United Nations in relation to the atom bomb and, indeed, of the devastation caused by the atom bomb. The extract reads -
Dealing with the Berlin blockade and the Berlin airlift which he saw while abroad, Mr. Menzies : “ The Western democracies said ‘ if we arc to be excluded from Berlin by road and by rail, we have the choice of flying our way in, or we can shoot our way in . . .’
A Voice. - “ Or use the atomic bomb “.
– “ Or use the atomic bomb “.
Those are the people who are talking of realism. Another feature of the meeting addressed by the Leader of the Opposition which must rest uneasily on his conscience is something even more frightening than the atom bomb. It is the newspaper picture of the old nien who listened to his speech on that occasion. I have in my hand a photograph of some of them; Dobell could not have done better. The photograph shows four old men leaning on their sticks listening to this talk about the atom bomb which is to devastate the youth of the world. I am not insulting those who have grown old, as have those men who attended that meeting. But I am terrified at the thought of the men who have become old in thought in the face of this new terror. If the greatest protangonist of Labour had attempted in the Sydney Town Hall that evening to justify the party’s policy of working for peace and in support of the United Nations organization they could not have cited a more terrible commentary on the work of the Opposition than that photograph which has amused and, perhaps, horrified many thousands of people.
I conclude by referring to the plea by the Opposition for realism and for unity against war. When we have regard to their own party political differences, what a sorry collection of people do we find that .they are to demand unity in a world which is already united in the United Nations! They are disunited to a shocking degree. They are quarrelling among themselves. In making a bid to settle those differences the honorable member for New England distinguished himself recently at a party con- ference by appealing to the Australian Country party to join the Liberals. But he was howled down. His motion was not seconded, and he waa chided by his own party secretary in the daily press. If that is the sort of realism and unity which the Opposition parties ask us to accept in our approach to world problems, not only the Government but also the people of Australia will reject it. Then we have the spectacle of the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) taking to the bush like a scrub steer and refusing to be roped by the honorable member for Indi who wants to lure him on to the plains and keep him on his own selection. The honorable member for Bendigo prefers to rampage on the heights, and will not be brought in on any pretext. Is that the sort of unity which the Opposition parties suggest we should apply in our consideration of the great difficulties confronting the world? It would be amazing if it were not so tragic, that these things should be brought forward by members of the Opposition, who speak with their tongues in their cheeks.
Summing up, the point to which I take exception in the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition is his allegation of a lack of co-operation in this House in relation to the appointment of a foreign affairs committee which he regards as desirable. So far as parliamentary committees are concerned, he has gone on strike by his refusal to allow the Liberal party to be represented on the Social Security Committee, by his action in walking out of the Advisory War Council and by his party’s general lack of co-operation with the Government in respect of defence matters. His attack upon the United Nations was purely personal. Instead of being pround, regardless of party considerations, of the great work performed by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), the Opposition has placed the Minister on the political chopping block. But as with their statements with respect to lack of unity their axes are blunt, and consequently there is no danger of the Minister’s head being severed from his body. The serious thing about the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition was his attack upon full employment under the pretext of criticism of the United Nations, turning the press against it and hounding it down. He may consider that the United Nations is not a bulwark against war. But, the United Nations organization does not make war easier even though its influence may still be restricted, its activities diffused, and, its organization not yet complete. It is a human barrier of over 50 nations against the depredations of war. The main point of the attack by the Leader of the Opposition on the United Nations was that it was a masked attack upon the full employment clause of the United Nations Charter. That was plain to see. A similar attack has been made by Professor Hytten, who has advocated a plan under which eight out of every 100 Australians would be condemned to the scrap heap in order that the Australian economy might be made easier for such people as Professor Hytten, who of course, would not be in any danger of being starved, and those who advocate such a plan are in no danger of being required to render war service. Such a policy would bring about another war which would be fought not by the aged but by the young. One of the most important things we must watch in the Opposition’s attacks are the side issues which disclose the real reason for their destructive attitude towards the United Nations. Therein lies the real danger.
– We have listened to a characteristic speech by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) in. the course of which, while discussing the foreign policy of Australia, he took the opportunity to attack the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) in a purely party political fashion and thereby showed the fear which the Government entertains for the success of the campaign which the Leader of the Opposition has been carrying on in his visits to all the States since his return from overseas. The honorable member for Parkes, with that complete lack of realism with which be charged the Opposition, talked about the Opposition advocating unity among the nations and said that the world is already united in the United Nations. Could any one make a more untruthful statement? The debates of the United Nations, both in the General Assembly and in the Security Council, and the use of the veto by Soviet Russia, have proved conclusively that the nations which are members of the organization are far from having reached unity in their deliberations and in their efforts to establish that peace which the peoples of the world desire-
– What unity is there in the Australian Country party?
– I am not discussing the position of political parties in Australia to-day. I propose to discuss what is the best policy for Australia in order that the security of our nation may be maintained.
I join with other honorable members on this side of the chamber in congratulating the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) upon his elevation to the high positions to which he has been elected in the United Nations. However, with respect to his policy, it is sad for me to have to say that in turning his eyes towards the world scene and the United Nations he has forgotten the people of Australia and the defence of this continent. In his speech he said that he proposed to deal with the foreign policy of Australia in a broad and comprehensive way. He then proceeded to lay down certain principles and said that we should give steady and unwavering support to the United Nations. No honorable member on this side of the House has any quarrel with that statement. We are prepared to support the United Nations and the principle for which it stands. The right honorable gentleman went on to say that we should seek to settle threats of war in conformity with the general principles of justice. The history of all world organizations of nations, from the grand plan of Sully down through the League of Nations to the present organization shows that they cannot settle threats of war in conformity with general principles of justice unless there is, in effect, a policeman to enforce their decisions. The Minister for External Affairs admitted that the United Nations possesses no means for enforcing its decisions unless the great nations take action to that end. The Minister further said that the object of the United Nations was to solve international problems of economic and social significance by promoting respect for human rights, and the advancement of all dependent peoples. No one will want to quarrel with that, but such sentiments are in the nature of “ a light on the hill to use the expression of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley). “We all can turn now faces to the light, but the Minister has not told us how to reach it. The foreign policy of any nation, whether it be Australia, the United States of America or Great Britain, should be directed principally towards the security of its people in time of war. We must ask ourselves whether the policy of this Government, and of its architect, the Minister for External Affairs, is likely to achieve that result.
I disagree with the honorable member for Parkes on the subject of realism. There is no realism in the speech of the Minister. As the Leader of the Opposition said, the peace of the world hangs by a thread. We are on the very brink of war, which might break out at any time when it suits Russia to change its policy from trying to conquer the world by its present methods to one of direct and open violence. The result of this Government’s policy is that we have alienated the sympathy of large sections of the white race, including the Dutch in Indonesia, and the British in Malaya. We have done that at a time when we have neither an air force, an army nor a navy of effective strength. We have driven away our great war-time ally, the United States of America, to which the late Prime Minister, Mr. John Curtin, turned, as he told us, without any inhibitions at all with a plea for assistance to save Australia from the Japanese. In addition, we have flaunted our White Australia policy in the face of what the Minister himself describes as the rising tide of nationalism in Asia. I believe that we have, as the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) said, jeopardized the White Australia policy by seeking to apply it in the most aggressive way possible, thus making the people of Asia hostile to us; while at the same time, by alienating the sympathy of the Dutch, the British and the people of the United States of America, we have left Australia at the end of a broad, open highway for invasion from the north. All the Minister offers in exchange are the principles and ideals of the United Nations. He holds out no prospect of help from the great powers. He does not offer protection by a close alliance with the United States of America, or by the formation of a co-operative defence plan for the Pacific. Instead, he leaves us to rely for protection upon a debating society which passes resolutions, although, even according to his own statement the resolutions cannot be enforced. The speech of the Minister for External Affairs was a specious one, because he cited various examples of what he called the successes, or near successes as he put it, of the United Nations. He spoke of Palestine and of Indonesia, and the effect of the mediation of the United Nations on the Berlin airlift’. The Minister’s account of those “ successes “ reminds one of the advertisement of the Babu who advertised in a newspaper in India that his qualifications included “failed B.A. “. The so-called successes of the United Nations are not successes at all, but are, in actual fact, failures. Let us look at what happened in Palestine. The Minister drew a picture of how the United Nations had prevented bloodshed in Palestine, and had secured substantial justice. Speaking of the partition of Palestine, he said that he believed the day was not far distant when a full settlement would he reached in that country. Let us look at what had happened. Then the conciliation commission consisting of representatives of Turkey, France and the United States of America was set up. The representative of the United Nations was murdered. Fighting hai gone on, and yet the Minister claims that the action of the United Nations in regard to Palestine was successful. He conveniently omitted to mention that the boundaries of the present Israeli State are not those fixed by the ad hoc committee set up to- effect the partition of Palestine. There are different opinions of the effectiveness of the United Nations intervention m Palestine. I quote the following from a recent article in the London Economist: -
To all intents and purposes, the United Nations has washed its hands of the Palestine problem. ‘Die office of Mediator has been brought to an end. In its place a threepower commission - consisting of the United States, France and Turkey - is entrusted with the task of securing a peaceful settlement. . .
The partition plan proposed by the first United Nations Commission is not mentioned. The proposals put forward by Count Bernadotte are specifically excluded. The Commission must therefore put out into the stormy seas of Palestine without a compass or n chart. . .
All in all, there seem to be very few grounds for supposing that the Commission will fare better than has any previous effort of pacification initiated by the United Nations and if this disappointing possibility in fact proves true, the situation in Palestine will be deter mined, as it has been throughout 1948 - by force of arms - with incalculable and disastrous consequences not only for the Middle East, hut for the west. . .
That is the sort of success of which the Minister for External Affairs has boasted. Much has been said of the Dutch action in Indonesia, and of Indonesia itself. Mention has been made of the Linggadjati agreement between the Republic of Indonesia, and the Dutch and the other States of the Netherlands East Indies. Under that agreement, the Indonesian Republic was to be only one State in a United States of Indonesia. There was to he a partnership of several States, and of the Netherlands Government. We should remember that the quarrel between the Dutch and the Indonesians is not a quarrel between the Dutch and all the States of the Netherlands East Indies. The Dutch quarrel is only with those who set up what was called an independent republic in Java and Sumatra. The Dutch have no quarrel with the States of Borneo or of East Indonesia. Moreover, the agreement provided for an interim period while the Linggadjati agreement was brought into effect. During that period, law and order had to be maintained, but events showed that the Soekarno Government was either unwilling or unable to preserve order and the Dutch were driven to enforce order fending the completion of the agreement, do not propose to use as evidence anything that may have been said by the Dutch or the Indonesians, and therefore
I have turned to what may be described as neutral sources in order to learn what the peoples of other countries who suffered from atrocities committed by the Indonesians in J ava and Sumatra during that period had to say. In August, 1947, the chairman of the Chinese organization in Batavia broadcast to the world, and to the United Nations in particular, an. appeal to stop the atrocities that were being committed upon Chinese residents of Java and Sumatra. He declared - and the statement has not been contradicted - that 1,831 innocent residents of Tangavang had been murdered by. Indonesians in June and July, 1947. He asserted that the republic could not control its army and that the lives of Chinese and the chastity of their women were in danger. The Minister did not mention that. Not one word was said about it by his colleagues. Neither he nor the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), who out-Heroded Herod in his attack upon the Dutch Government, spoke one word about the Dutch point of view on this problem or about the sufferings of the people who had been the victims of murderous attacks by the Indonesians. In August, 1947, the Indian community of Sumatra petitioned Pundit- Nehru, giving details of murder, torture and arson, and stating that Soekarno’s Government had not been able to control the situation. They declared that the Dutch police action had been a boon, not only to foreigners but also to the Indonesians. In the light of those declarations, it ill became the Minister and his representatives to support Poland and the Soviet before the Security Council to force the withdrawal of the Dutch to the areas that had been occupied by the respective parties prior to. the police action in 1947. The Dutch have never said that they will not carry out the terms of the Linggadjatti Agreement. I now come to the police action that was taken by the Dutch in December, 1948. All I say about that is that if 48,000,000 people in Java are as hostile to the Dutch as the Minister and his supporters have said, it is curious that their resistance to the Dutch army, which set out as a police force for the United Nations to restore order, was so weak that fewer than 100 Dutch soldiers were killed. It indicates to me that a very energetic minority, under Soekarno and his de facto government, is falsely trying to convince the rest of the world that the whole population of Java is dissatisfied with Dutch rule.
The history of Netherlands administration during the 350 years of Dutch occupation of the islands of Indonesia contradicts the claims of the minority. It was the Dutch administration that preserved to the Indonesian people in 1870 the right to hold the bulk of their lands against acquisition by foreigners. After doing that, the Dutch moved towards according self-government to the Indonesian people on the lines which Great Britain adopted for its dominions. In the light of history, it is fantastic to declare that the Indonesian people hate the Dutch and have not worked contentedly and at peace under Dutch control. Their conditions have been improved and their population has increased. “We have been told time after time that the way to increase population in Australia is to improve conditions of living in this Commonwealth. If that be true, the Dutch must have improved the living standards of the Javanese and the Sumatrans to the very highest degree, because their populations have increased at a rate probably faster than that of any other race. Who are the people who oppose our war-time allies, the Dutch, so violently? They are the Communists and the Australian Government. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) pointed out last night how the policy of the Australian Government had changed under the influence of the Waterside Workers Federation and other Communistdominated unions in Australia. The result has been that, although Australia was willing in the first place, according to statements made by the Prime Minister, to allow Dutch ships to operate between Australia and Indonesia, the Government wilted and gave way when orders came to it from the Communist unions, the Communist party of Australia and, no doubt, from Moscow itself.
I now direct attention to another way in which the Minister for External Affairs endeavoured to mislead us in his speech. He said that there was now far greater co-operation between Great Britain and Australia than there had been previously. He referred to the Berlin air-lift and to the action of the United Nations, instigated by himself, in relation to the dispute between the controlling powers in Berlin. The inauguration of the Berlin air-lift was the first really determined effort by Great Britain and the United States of America to show the Soviet Union that it could not get away with aggression everywhere in the world. The determination of Great Britain and the United States to feed the people of Berlin by means of the air-lift and to save Europe from collapse was the strongest decision that had been taken in Europe since the war. It was much stronger than anything that the United Nations had done during its history. Honorable members will recall that, at a very critical stage of the air-lift, the Soviet Union announced its intention to carry out air exercises over the air lanes. That was a virtual ultimatum to Great Britain and the United States of America to discontinue the air-lift. It was an act of aggression against Great Britain, and the Prime Minister said at the time -
There is no question that Australia supports the Western Allies.
But what did the Minister for External Affairs do ? He conferred with the Secretary of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Trygve Lie, and sent a personal note to the parties suggesting the negotiation of a settlement at a round table conference. That note must have caused the greatest possible embarrassment to Great Britain and the United States of America, because its appeasing terms implied that all parties to the controversy were of equal guilt. I ask the Minister whether he took that action in co-operation with Great Britain? Did he consult Mr. Bevin before he sent the note to the three powers? If not, the action was sabotage of the nonCommunist powers and he should be condemned for it. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) has rightly declared that the great danger to the free nations of the world to-day is the unrestrained imperialism of Soviet Russia, which is waging undeclared war against the democracies. A study of the enormous growth of Soviet power in the world during the last 30 years makes one realize how aggressive the policy of the Soviet Onion has been. The United States Notes and World Report of the 7th December, 1948, contained maps and charts which showed that, in 1918, the Communists were fighting desperately to hold a portion of Russia, but that, by 1948, the Communists ruled over nearly one-fourth of the world’s population, had taken over ten countries in Europe, held part of Germany, and controlled the richest part of China, which they appear likely to control entirely soon. Furthermore, outside Russia 120,000 Communists are active in 56 countries. Their drive through China is now taking them towards South-East Asia and Indonesia. The whole plan aims at Communist domination of the world under Soviet Russia. The nations which stand as the strongest opponents of the plan are the United States of America and Great Britain. The foreign policy of the Australian Government has been detrimental to the safety and the security of this country. It would have been far better had the Minister paid more attention to the safety of the Commonwealth than to have contented himself with making airy statements in regard to principles of conduct among the nations with which none of us would disagree.
T propose now to refer to Manus Island as an important part of our defence plan. The subject of Manus Island has been raised by me, by the honorable member for Warringah and others on many occasions. Manus is the largest island in the Admiralty group. It is about 60 miles long, and has an average width of 12 miles. At the north-eastern end of the island is a group of coral islands which form the limits of See Adler Harbour. When the United States forces recaptured the island from the Japanese they established a large naval and air base there. By August, 1945, they had laid down 2,600 yards of berths for ships and numerous air strips. During the war, Manus became a place of primary importance in the defence of the South-West Pacific area, and of Australia and New Zealand in particular. In pre-war years the island could not have been regarded by Australia as of great economic or strategic importance because in normal times fewer than 100 European officials, traders and missionaries were located there. In 1945, the Sub-Committee on Pacific Bases of the Committee of Naval Affairs of the American House of Representatives presented to Congress a very interesting report- on the strategic value of Manus Island.- It is obvious from what happened in later years that the report was taken to heart by the American Government, because Congress acted on the recommendations contained in it. The committee reported that the possession of Manus Island by the United States would secure a line of communication to Australia and New Zealand against an aggressor from all directions except the west. In an earlier part of its report, dealing with Manus and other sites of American bases on islands mandated to or claimed by other nations, the committee said -
We cannot permit any link to be in the hands of those who will not or cannot defend it.
The committee assumed that as a part of its defence policy in the Pacific the United States would fortify the island and thereby undertake the task of preserving peace and preventing aggressive action in that part of the Pacific area. Describing the United States defence strategy in the Pacific, the committee said -
Briefly, our strategy of defence in the Pacific should revolve about a centre line running north of the Equator, through the Hawaiian Islands, the Marshalls, the Carolines, the Marianas and the Philippines . . .
To maintain the centre line we must have protection against advances from either the north or the south . . .
It is obvious that we cannot permit enemy forces to occupy Australia or New Zealand, for to do so would make our centre line vulnerable from attack from the south.
The committee pointed out that the United States had not only led the fight in liberating that area but also established, at great expense to American lives and money, American bases, particularly at Manus in the Admiralty Islands. The report continued- -
Manus would be a purely military and naval base. Perhaps . . . some extra territorial arrangement could be effected.
The Minister for External Affairs has said that we cannot give up sovereignty over any Australian territory. I remind him that Article 77 of the Charter of the United Nations gives power to any member to transfer its trusteeship over any territory to another nation if it desires to do so. The Government’s decision in regard to Manus Island is one of the most disastrous decisions affecting the safety and security of Australia that has ever been made. The Minister refused to agree to the American proposition that the Americans should be permitted to occupy Manus, fortify it and maintain air bases on it, thus enabling America to become responsible for the defence of Australia. If, after some years, American policy had changed, and America had said, “We propose to move out of the island completely”, we would have had the opportunity to maintain the naval and air bases that were in being. However, we refused outright the request of the Americans and bundled them neck and crop out of the island. Since then the military installations on the island have largely deteriorated and have become covered by tropical growth and are lost for all time. Vast quantities of equipment and large numbers of houses which had been established by the Americans have been disposed of. The Minister has said that we propose to reconstruct the base for our own use. The Government intends to establish a tiny base there for our single aircraft carrier and small fleet and for the diminished air force which we have at present Had the United States been allowed to continue in occupation of Manus, we should have had the protection of that great power for as long as it maintained its present defence policy. The sorry part of the whole matter was revealed by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley), when, dealing with the conference of Empire Prime Ministers in the Senate on the 4th July, 1946, he said-
The conference was called by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and it was agreed that the discussion should mainly concern the subject of defence in the Pacific . . . The Leader of the Opposition(Senator McLeay) referred particularly to the advisability of making available bases in the Pacific to the United States of America. Perhaps I cannot do better than repeat what the Prime Minister had to say on that point -
It will be recalled that before I left Australia Cabinet approved of a memorandum on the general basis of approach to regional security in the Pacific, including the use of bases by the United States in which the following questions of principles and procedure were laid down: -
The view of the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff could not be agreed to that there is no strong objection on military grounds to the recognition of American sovereignty over certain islands in the Pacific and that this concession should be a bargaining factor for American support in other directions.
Thus, the Prime Minister, from the defence viewpoint a non-technical man, and the leader of a Government consisting in the main of men who have never had any military experience, set his views against those of the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff.
– The American subcommittee on Pacific bases to which the honorable member has referred dealt with Pacific bases other than that at Manus Island ?
– Yes, the subcommittee covered the whole position of American bases in the Pacific. The Australian Government acted against the advice of the British Chief of Staff, and contrary to the views of the American Naval Sub-committee. It has left Australia deficient in defence, and has prevented us from weaving the United States of America in the defence of Australia and New Zealand.
.- Whenever an Australian achieves eminence in world affairs, we are glad, and I, as a member of the Australian Parliament, join in the congratulations that have been offered to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) upon his election to the high office of President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Although that international organization has exhibited much futility, it has had some achievements, and possesses great power for good. In theory, it stands for what is just, but it will be judged by the practical results that it produces. We have to decide upon policies that are democratic and best. If our representative at the United Nations can make the discussion veer in a direction that will preserve peace and bring the greatest happiness to his own country and all other countries, we can applaud him.
Having made that statement, I express the opinion that if the right honorable gentleman would only use his energy and ability towards achieving greater Empire unity, about which he has said very little indeed at any time, and greater accord with the United States of America, he would make an enduring name. Whenever the right honorable gentleman has returned from abroad and the House has debated international affairs, members of the Opposition have emphasized that a nation of the dimensions of Australia cannot have its foreign policy decided by one man, regardless of his ability. The Minister for External Affairs should obtain the opinions of a cross-section of the Australian Parliament. I recognize that the Government must dominate foreign policy, but at least the Opposition should have a voice in framing it. The Government should appoint a committee consisting of senators and members of the House of Representatives from the three political parties in this Parliament, and obtain their views upon Australia’s role in international affairs. If the right honorable gentleman would adopt that proposal, he could then be sure -that at international conferences he would be speaking the mind of the Australian people. Some honorable members have carefully examined various decisions that he has made. A commentator in an English newspaper recently described him as the “great deviationist - the Tito of the British Commonwealth”. The Minister may consider that that description is unfair criticism, but the strange decisions that have been made from time to time, and the manner in which he has played up to the minor nations instead of to those nations that really count for good in the world, such as the British Empire and the United States of America, must have astounded many people.
The name of the Minister, I regret to say, will be for ever associated with the most shameful page in our history. I refer to the treatment of the Dutch. I shall not deal with that subject at great length, because the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), the honorable member for. New England (Mr. Abbott) and others have given chapter and verse about the episode. By the time J apan had surrendered, terrorists in Java had been armed, and many British soldiers had been killed in operations against them. The Dutch then endeavoured to revive the administration in the Netherlands East Indies. At this point, I remind the House that the Dutch have controlled the Netherlands East Indies for more than 300 years, or more than twice as long as people of British stock have been in Australia. However, Australia, through the Communist-controlled Waterside Workers Federation, immediately sabotaged the Dutch effort. No doubt, the Australian Communists were acting under orders from Moscow. Communist influence is world-wide, and Communists endeavour to cause turmoil and will prevent the restoration of peaceful government. The dictators in the Kremlin desire a state of lawlessness to prevail in the South- West Pacific. At a propitious time, and no one can say how soon that will be, the Communists hope to gain control of this country. There may be another world war this year. I am not a pessimist, but I believe that World War III. is possible in 1949. At present, many countries are engaged, not in a shooting war,, but in a shouting war at the United Nations. The representative of the Soviet vetoes every proposal designed to improve the social conditions of mankind. There is turmoil in Indonesia and Malaya, and a civil war has raged in China for more than a decade, urged on by Moscow. In Australia, there . are militant trade unions that take their orders from Moscow, and dominate the foreign policy of the Australian Government. If the Minister for External Affairs does not take heed and pursue a wise policy, ‘ he will never be forgotten as the guilty man who did not take proper measures to check further encroachment by Russia. When the Waterside Workers Federation imposed the ban on the loading of Dutch ships in Australian ports, the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) immediately asserted that the Government would ensure that the vessels would sail from Australia. However, the ships lay idle in Australian ports for nearly three years. Some were described as “mercy ships “, which were to carry medical supplies to Dutch women and children who were still in concentration camps in Indonesia. Apart from that aspect, Australia lost valuable trade as the result of the ban. We cannot afford to lose £30,000,000 or £40,000,000 worth of trade simply because waterside workers refuse to load ships destined for the Netherlands East Indies. By our policy, we greatly embarrassed the Dutch. We prevented them from restoring order in the Netherlands East Indies. Had we left them alone, they would have restored order, and the Indonesians would have been given a measure of self-government. Largely through Australian interference, and because the Minister for External Affairs did not pursue the proper policy in this country,” the Dutch were hampered and order was not restored. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Minister abdicated his powers to Mr. Healy, the militant leader of the Waterside Workers Federation, an unashamed Communist who has become the de facto Minister for External Affairs. The Minister has preferred to go to distant parts of the earth and tell other nations how to solve their problems. He could have solved an important problem in Australia had he had the mettle to do so, and had he refused to submit to outside dictation. He preferred to quarrel with a small white community rather than antagonize the Waterside Workers Federation. The Communists have infiltrated into a number of leading Australian trade unions, and receive their orders from an alien country, which seeks to dominate the world and will not be baulked by words. I do not place all the blame for these happenings on tha shoulders of the Minister for External Affairs. The Government as a whole must bear the full responsibility. I emphasize that the Australian Government preferred the “Quislings” of the Japanese to our allies, the Dutch. Soekarno and Hatta collaborated with the Japanese. During the war, at a time when Australia was threatened, they went to Japan and were decorated by the Japanese. Yet it is on their behalf that we are quarrelling with the Dutch to-day. I remind the House that Holland was overrun by Hitler, and 30,000 citizens of Rotterdam were killed in a bombardment after the Dutch had surrendered to overwhelming force. While their homeland was being trampled underfoot by the Nazi invader, the Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies were our allies in the war against the Japanese. They lost their fleet in battle at sea. Their merchant ships conveyed Australian troops to fighting zones. Their families felt the impact of war to a greater degree than did people in Australia with the possible exception of the relatives of those who fought. But we have ignored all those facts. The Minister is obsessed with the necessity for an international organization. Ultimately, no doubt, such an organization will achieve many beneficial results. The Minister has yielded to the pressure of outside groups instead of acting fairly, humanely and loyally towards the Dutch. Lest honorable members may think that the statements which I have made are wholly my own criticisms, I shall quote a statement which the Minister made in this House and has never retracted. He said -
Having no clear evidence to the contrary and having during the Inst four years come to know some of Russia’s greatest statesmen, I take the view that the Soviet Union’s policy is directed towards self-protection and security against future attack. In my opinion, its desire is to develop its own economy and to improve the welfare of its peoples.
If the right honorable gentleman believes that, and he has not retracted it, how futile it is that he should leave these shores to preside over such a body as the General Assembly of the United Nations. He has been associated with Vishinsky and other Russians who, with the veto and with vituperation, have attacked everything that is democratic. They have attacked Britain and the United States of America almost daily. Progress has been made from time to time, but does it compare with the criticisms that they have made of our friends? If that is still the Minister’s attitude and belief, it explains why we have not done more in Malaya. We could have done infinitely more there, and from time to time I have asked questions about the assistance that we could have given the British in Malaya. If any one thinks that the position in Malaya is safe and that the Communist uprising there has been defeated, let him be disillusioned. We heard the Prime Minister, in a statement that was, in my opinion, a disgrace to Australia, say, and I quote his meaning if not his exact words, “ There are only something like 20,000 British people there. They are not here for the good of their health. The profit motive drives them “. Have we no pride in our race and in the men who go to distant parts of the world to teach people how to be civilized and democratic? Malaya is all too dog,. to Australia. The Communist bid there lias been almost successful, even though ti brigade of guards and other British troops are stationed there. The British people and troops are still on the defensive. I know from letters I have received from planters that the British go in fear of their lives when they travel from point to point. Terrorists and murderous gunmen with machine guns and other weapons shoot them down. The British are safe only in the cities and in their homesteads, where they are wired in and protected. At any time the Communists can stop production by shooting the Malays who are still at work and by making it impossible for industry to carry on. That is, of course, the prelude to Communist and Russian conquest. The terms “ Communism “ and “ Russia “ are synonymous. Marxist communism is a hideous dogma and a loathesome creed. It is based on purely materialistic ideals and has nothing spiritual in it. Although it starts with the benevolent idea of State ownership it ends in the concentration camp, the firing party and terrorism in all its aspects. This talk, shouting and tumult at United Nations are the prelude to Communist conquest and the suppression of liberty and free speech. There are people in this country who look on the Communistpolicy as something that is benign and something that may bc good for us. We all know of otherwise well-meaning people who have been led to believe that in communism there is some chance of an eartbly Utopia and a better world. Surely they have been disillusioned by now. Surely they know that in Russia to-day there are something like 12,000,000 or 14,000,000 slaves.
– I bet that makes the honorable gentleman’s mouth water.
– What a mind has the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) ! If he has any pride in his British ancestry, which I doubt, in view of the speeches he has made in this House, he knows that in British communities slavery ended in the days of Wilberforce. To-day one of the most powerful countries in the world has millions of its people in slavery, and is treating them like animals. The passage from the Minister’s speech that I have read explains why, with the use of blackmail and murder, Malaya is in a very difficult position indeed. It explains to a certain degree the position in Palestine, and the Minister must take some blame for his meddling there. We know that the Zionists are intensely nationalistic and that in their fight they have gone beyond the bounds of what is right and proper. We know that British soldiers were assassinated by them and that -two sergeants were strangled and that booby traps were tied to their bodies. We know that Royal Air Force aircraft were shot down while engaged in reconnaisance near the Egyptian boundary. The character of Count Bernadotte was. if I may use the word without being blasphemous, Christlike. He went into Jerusalem although he was warned that he would be killed, and he was killed for his beliefs. He was the head of the International Red Cross, one of the greatest international bodies in the world, although it is not so vocal as is the United Nations. Count Bernadotte was the mediator for the United Nations, and he was shot down like a dog in the Holy City. Have we heard any great protests at the death of that great man? This Government has given full recognition to the Israeli Government. The British Government has given it merely de facto recognition, and not full recognition and the blessing that our Minister for External Affairs would give to it. The man who was suspected of the murder of Count Bernadotte and was tried for the crime was Yell in, the leader of the
Stern Gang, a gang of assassins and terrorists which took many good lives. He was tried and sentenced to eight or nine years imprisonment, but the sentence has been waived under a political amnesty and he is now a member of the Israeli Parliament. That is the Parliament and Government to which we have given our recognition. I am warning my countrymen of the dangers of having a wandering Minister dabbling in the affairs of countries that he has never visited. He should go to Indonesia, to Malaya, and to Israeli. Jerusalem under other governments was free of access to the nations of the world. It was the foundation of two great religions and it played a big part in the foundation of a third. Now, as far as we know, it is to be the sole territory of the government which has been given full recognition by the Australian Government, which means the Minister for External Affairs and in spite of the United Nations.
In Greece, which would, had Britain and the United States of America not assisted it, been overwhelmed by Russia, a civil war is raging. That war was promoted by the Communists and by the Soviet States of Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria. Bulgaria is now under Communist government, after a reign of terror and countless executions. The Leader of the Bulgarian Opposition and Leader of the Peasant party, a democrat who fought against the Germans, was executed for his political beliefs. Those three nations have raised armies with which they have attacked Greece. For some years now they have been fighting the Greeks in the Greek mountains, first under General Markos and now under some other ruffian who has taken his place. We know that Russia is backing them to the full. One of the first utterances of the Minister when he became president of the General Assembly of the United Nations was that the affair in Greece must be settled. Colonel Shepherd, an Australian and a reputed Communist, has stated that there should be immediate negotiations between the Greek Government and these rebels. The Minister interfered when the Greeks proposed to execute certain men. He said that they were trade union leaders. One of the masks of Communists now is to call themselves trade union leaders. They are debasing the trade union movement. The unions must expel these men, with their hideous cult. The Minister intervened in Greece and said that the Government must not deal with those men in the manner intended. It was proved in the end that they were not trade union leaders but were Communists who were recruiting fighting men from outside their own country and plotting to betray Greece to Russia. They were assisted by members of the Australian community, men whose names are commonplace and who have appeared in the precincts of this House and have sat on the benches behind Government members. These men have all the amenities of the capital cities of Australia at their command to carry on their propaganda.
One could go on and on in this strain. In China, where 400,000,000 people have been in conflict for more than a decade - and: that is one person in every five in the world - we have seen the collapse of democratic government. Chiang Kaishek, who was our hero when he fought the Japanese alone in 1937, is now discredited, and the country is being overrun and drifting into chaos. When the Minister during the last few weeks, as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, made an offer of mediation by the United Nations the Communists gave him a rude reply. They said, in effect, “ This is our business. It is a domestic matter. You keep out of the ring.”
It is this meddling in the domesticaffairs of other nations that has brought Australia’s name down. In times of crisis and of war Australia has acquitted itself well. In :a shooting war it is highly thought of, but in this shouting war all the goodwill and esteem in which we were held in past years have, because of meddling and muddling and nuisance diplomacy, been lost. I quote now some opinions about us from other parts of the Empire. The Canadian newspaper, Montreal Star, reporting that Australia at the United Nations meeting in Paris had opposed a Canadian proposal, said -
Australia’s extraordinary isolation perhaps explains the ignorance of at least some Australians about the facts of life. This we may take to be the excuse for the stupid outburst of an Australian delegate against Mr. Pearson’s proposal.
The Australian apparently “ blew his top “, and said that “ whatever is fixed up “ by the Great Powers had more importance in Canada’s eyes than matters decided by the smaller Powers.
We seem to remember a time in Australian affairs when that distant continent’s people were glad enough to have something “ fixed up “ by the Great Powers. That was when Singapore had fallen, and Japanese planes were bombing Port Darwin. We don’t remember any violent protest from Australians about the way Americans “ fixed up “ things.
They were glad enough to get help.
One might have imagined that, henceforth, sensible Australians would have realized that the Big Powers are so-called because they have the power which the small nations do not possess.
A commentator writing in the English Financial Times said -
I wonder whether the Australian Commonwealth would so warmly support the Indonesians if they decided to emigrate from their over-populated island into “ white “ Australia.
The British Socialists, while taking full pride in the Government’s “strong arm “ tactics in Malaya, continue to scold the Dutch for their infinitely more patient treatment of the Indonesian terrorists Soekarno and Hatta, who both climbed to power as quislings of Japan.
Most curious of all has been Australia’s behaviour. An Australian delegate was rushed to the Asian conference at New Delhi, and an Australian representative at the United Nations Security Council meeting outdid the Russians in abuse of the Dutch. “Why should we permit our name to be lowered in the opinion of the world through the meddling of Ministers who go abroad? A world organization is a great objective for good. There are those who say “it was the Minister’s pandering to the 50-odd small nations of the United Nations and not the bigger nations that won him the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly. It was his action in dotting 200 Australian diplomats all round the world in places like Brazil and Chile, which do not do threepennyworth of business with us, that helped to build him up, but did not increase Australia’s prestige. A small country cannot blow itself up and look big simply by dotting representatives around the globe. Australians have their good points and Australia has developed throughout the years, but if we are to spend millions of pounds on a department in an attempt to get a synthetic prestige, it would be better to recall our Minister and keep him at home.
I again urge that we must have a parliamentary committee to discuss foreign affairs so that we shall have continuity, in the same way as Britain has continuity in its foreign policy. Visiting Australia now is a former British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Anthony Eden. “When the Churchill Government was defeated, Mr. Bevin took over the forthright foreign policy of Great Britain and gave it that continuity that has always been its principal characteristic. Yet here, in Australia, we have a foreign policy that is haphazard, inexplicable enigma that nobody understands because of the deviations of our travelling Minister for External Affairs. It must be very flattering to have a journal called The World publish the right honorable gentleman’s photograph on the front page as a dominant world figure. No doubt with Providence on his right hand and Molotov on his left the right honorable gentleman could solve any problem. But we must look at matters differently.
Let us look at Russia’s menacing attitude. We have heard little of any Australian protest about the Russian blockade of Berlin. That was an act of war on the part of Russia that would have produced a conflict a few years ago. By its actions in Berlin, Russia has forced the air forces of Great Britain and the United States of America to feed the capital of a country that only recently they had pounded into submission. Russia says that it is not allowing the railways, canals and roads serving Berlin from the west to be used because of technical reasons. We all know that that is so much nonsense. We can see also what Russia is doing in other parts of Europe. We have seen that country’s pressure on Finland, and its pressure’ on Norway to prevent that country from entering the Atlantic Pact. We know that Russia 13 ready for war. It lacks the atom bomb, but if we can believe Messerschmitt, the German aircraft designer who designed many of Germany’s aircraft that were used in the last war, we have a disturbing picture. Messerschmitt has de;clared that with the machinery that the Russians stripped from Germany they have ten aircraft plants that can outbuild the whole of the aircraft industry of the United States and Great Britain. I, personally, do not believe that, but, even if the statement be only moderately true, it arouses a sobering thought, because it is on our air forces that we must greatly rely to protect ourselves. We know that the great Russian Army could sweep across Europe with only small forces opposing it. Our air power is the weapon upon which we must then depend for the next phase should Russia attack us. Therefore, all the talk at meetings of the United Nations means nothing. When Russia has finished its blackmail programme and feels that it is ready to strike, it will strike, and possibly it is only the knowledge that America possesses the atom bomb, whilst Russia does not. that keeps it from making the decision to attack immediately.
Let not the Minister take the United Nations too seriously. Theoretically, it is a grand organization. Previously, there was a similar organization, the League of Nations, which was intended to bring to the world the conciliation and arbitration that we in Australia know in industrial affairs. It failed to achieve the purpose for which it was established. Some day the ideal of a world organization will become a reality, but it cannot be hastened and when there is a nation organized for war and against democracy, prepared to destroy democracy whenever it can, ready to make war when the time seems opportune, it is useless to talk of cooperation with it. Czechoslovakia went into Communist bondage recently. Many of us met Czechs who were in the Royal Air Force during the last war. I know of one who recently sent out a message from behind “ the iron curtain “. The message said -
Do not write to any one in this country that you know. Life is not worth while if you do.
Czechs who valiantly fought the Germans have been executed by the Russians, and Czechs who are not Communists have been pushed to the borders of Czechoslovakia, their homes having been taken from them and a capital levy imposed upon their wealth. They were people like us, citizens of what was a model democracy under President Masaryk. I am quite sure that the Minister knew Masaryk’s son. I knew him, too, and I do not think that he committed suicide by throwing himself out of a window as the Russians said he had done. i believe that he was thrown out of the window in the Russian manne]’. Now Czechoslovakia, dominated by Russia, has no voice of its own. My friend has now reached a refugee camp in Germany. A comrade of his, of high rank, is now in Britain, and has declared that he would rather be a cowherd in a free England, as he is, than hold high rank in his own enslaved country. That is the position in Czechoslovakia to-day, an industrial country, which Russia has absorbed with its great Skoda arms factory. Cannot honorable members opposite see that all this is a part of a pattern for world conquest ? If our representatives who have abused the Dutch at conferences, and our Minister for External Affairs, cannot see the writing on the wall, they should no longer represent Australia. A new outlook is needed. There is no spiritual outlook in communism. We are on the defensive against a powerful force which is tearing the world in two. The Minister for External Affairs has not protested sufficiently against the encroachments of communism. In Australia our defences are a farce, in spite of our programme for the expenditure of £250,000,000 over a. period of five years. A great deal of that money, of course, is to be spent on the guided weapons testing range, and that is good, but I am thinking of the training of men for the armed forces. The Minister. for Defence said to-day that the present position in regard to defence is better than that which obtained when war broke out. I dispute that. Bad as the position was then - and I was one of those who protested against, it, and left the then Government in order to emphasize my protest - the fact is that we had four militia divisions, eight squadrons of aircraft and a fleet, which is practically non-existent now. At the present time, we have no worthwhile defence force despite our big defence vote. When all the talk is finished, and Russia is ready, only a strong right arm will count. All the vapourings in Canberra. and all the talk of the United Nations will not count for anything. Let us concentrate on permanent mutual aid within the Empire. “We know what such aid, as between the United States of America and ourselves, meant during the war. We have seen how well esteemed British rule has been in the affection which Pakistan and India still retain for Great Britain, which ruled them for so long. Let us work in the closest concord and amity with the United States of America. In that way we can press back the red tide, and, in our generation, will have done the right thing for the future of democracy.
.- This debate has taken a rather peculiar turn, so far as participation by Government supporters is concerned. The Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) initiated the debate by making a statement, and he was followed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). On this side of the House, there followed a few front rank speakers, and one or two others, but on the government side no one except a few back-benchers has been game to utter any opinion at all. Is it that they will not speak unless the proceedings are being broadcast, or are they unwilling to” commit themselves? It is well known that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) and the Minister for External Affairs are much at loggerheads about these matters. “Why is not the Minister for Immigration here to express his opinion? “Where are all those travellers whom the Government recently sent abroad ? Surely it is time they came into the House to give their support to the Government which sent them away. But no one can be found to support the Government’s policy with any conviction except the Minister for External Affairs himself. A few back-benchers read matter which clearly had been prepared for them by the Department of External Affairs - and pretty poor stuff it was. Government supporters will not even stay in the chamber to listen to the debate’. The Minister for External Affairs visits us rarely enough, and one would think his supporters would want to hear him.
The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) criticized the Leader of the
Opposition for the way in which he had conducted himself in England. He said that the Leader of the Opposition had given the impression of being far too pro-British, and not half enough Australian. “Well, we on this side of the House want a foreign policy that is Australian, and not a foreign policy that is merely international. “We want a policy designed to promote the interestsof Australia. I believe that the honorable member for “Warringah (Mr. Spender) put his finger on the difficulty in which the Minister for External Affairs finds himself when he said that the right honorable gentleman is filling far too many offices. At one moment he is pleading before the Privy Council; the next moment he is chairman of the General Assembly of the United Nations ; and a little later he is dividing Palestine. Once in a while he comes back to Australia, and gives us some sort of an exposition of foreign policy. The trouble is that he must either pursue the United Nations policy - that is, internationalism - at all costs, or he must expound a policy designed to’ meet the needs of Australia. That is what we have been looking for, but we have not seen it.
It seemed to me that the Minister for External Affairs had attempted to tie the debate down in a rather clever way. He sought to identify himself with the United Nations, and he chose to interpret any “criticism of the United Nations as being a direct and personal attack upon himself. That, of course, is nonsense. Every one in this House supports the principles of the United Nations. As for personalities, it would be petty to deny that the Minister for External Affairs has won notice for himself in the deliberations of the United Nations, or that Australia has shared in the prestige that attaches to him as the result of his work. No on& on this side of the House has any desire to direct personal criticism against the Minister, but we are entitled to ask whether the United Nations has acted in accordance with its principles. In particular, we are entitled to ask whether the actions of the United Nations have been such as to increase the security of Australia. After all, we are supposed to be debating Australia’9 foreign policy, not the United Nations and its policy. I have yet to hear in this debate any fair statement of the foreign policy of Australia, any statement of national principles, anything which indicates where our proper interests lie, or what path we are to follow in order to preserve our interests and security. We are entitled to ask whether Australia has profited from the actions of its representatives abroad. Are we any better off as the result of the speeches of the Minister for External Affairs and his representatives in overseas assemblies? Have we more friends as the result of what they have done, or have we fewer? Of what use is it for our representatives to get into the headlines if we lose our friends?
Finally, it is certainly a part of the duty of members of this House to criticize the way in which the Minister for External Affairs presented his case in the statement that he made. In that statement, he was not content to present the facts. He did not speak as the envoy of Australia who had gone abroad, and had returned to give a dispassionate account of what he had seen and done. In his statement, he revealed himself as a most partisan, inaccurate, unjust and misleading reporter. In order to illustrate what I mean by a misleading and partisan report, let me refer to certain events in Palestine and Indonesia. I apologize for alluding to those countries, becauseI am quite certain that, so far as Indonesia at any rate, is concerned, we have heard all that we ever want to hear. If we contrast the way in which the Minister spoke of the conflict in Palestine and that in Indonesia, his partisanship is revealed. I quote his words as follows: -
How was the Assembly to act? I take this again by way of illustration of these principles. It was to act, in accordance with the Charter in conformity withjust principles and just procedures.
I apologize for not quoting the right honorable gentleman’s remarks fully. In the interests of brevity, I am unable to do so. He continued -
A special commission of inquiry and investigation into the Palestine problem was appointed by the Special Assembly of 1947. . . The commission did an excellent job. The undertaking was a very expensive and costly one for the United Nations, but the commission returned to the United Nations Assembly in September, 1947, with a report and recommendations. After looking at all the facts and investigating all the circumstances, its recommendations to the General Assembly were that, agreement being impossible between Arab and Jew, a political partition of Palestine was the solution that was just to Jew and Arab alike, that there should be economic union between the Arab and Jewish portions of Palestine, and that special trusteeship provisions should be made to protect the holy cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. . . .Part of its recommendations was that the Security Council of the United Nations should treat any attempt to Iter by force the settlement recommended by the Assembly as an action inconsistent with the Charter and that it should be ready to take appropriate action if that occurred? After nearly three months of analysis and debate, the decision was reached. It was based upon justice and it was reached impartially. . . . But for the United Nations action, in my opinion, there would have been a full-scale war in Palestine, probably leading to war right through the Middle East. . . . finally the Jewish State was established in accordance with the decisions’ of the United Nations Assembly.
He also referred to the preservation of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and other holy places. I mention that because it seems to me to outline a course of action. First, the Minister dealt with the principles upon which it was claimed that the United Nations had acted. In his speech, the words “justice” and “ fairness “ are reiterated again and again. We went on to say that the action taken was perfectly equitable and just and that the solution was based upon justice. Thus we were brought pleasantly to the stage at which we could congratulate ourselves about having overcome such a thorny problem. Could any collection of half-truths be designed to give a more totally false impression of the facts ?
– Do not be silly.
– Setting aside all the talk about the principles of fairness and justice, let us examine dates and times. As I have said on many other occasions, I have a particular interest in Palestine. I claim to know something about that country as I spent some years of my life there. The solution submitted by the committee showed that its members were completely ignorant of local conditions.
– The honorable member is referring to the committee which visited Palestine ?
– Yes, and to the final solution which its members agreed upon. The parties to which the solution was supposed to apply regarded the solution as foolish, provocative and unacceptable. They fought against it by force of arms regardless of anything that the United Nations might do. As a result a backward and ill-prepared people were driven off their land with much attendant suffering and misery, not by the Jews, but by German, Russian and Slav mercenaries. Any one who has taken the trouble to follow the course of the fighting in Palestine will admit that that is true. The United Nations mediator, Count Bernadotte, was murdered, Jerusalem was seized and in a short time the Middle East was in a state of ferment. Lasting injustice was perpetrated by this attempted mediation on people who, though they were not organized and powerful, are numerous and have very long memories. The so-called solution of the Palestine problem undoubtedly sowed the seed of unrest which may well result in a future war. Yet we are asked to believe that this so-called “ just “ attempt to solve the problem set an example to the nations of how the United Nations could work to better the state of the world. If we examine this matter with any degree of honesty we must admit that this so-called solution of the Palestine problem was a perfect illustration of bungling and revealed the complete impotence of the United Nations. Australia may one day find itself in a difficult position and it would be well advised to take advantage of the lesson we have learned of the powerlessness of the United Nations to direct the course of events into safe channels.
Let us consider what has happened in the Netherlands East Indies, because there are certain similarities between the conflict in the Netherlands East Indies and the differences between the Arabs and the Jews. I do not intend to go into the rights and the wrongs of these disputes. I merely say that in both countries the United Nations has been defied and the opposing interests have resorted to arms to settle their differences. The differencebetween the two spheres of conflict is notthe justice of the respective cases but rather that certain of the participants have friends and were in a position to bring power to bear on the United Nations and its members. Both the Arabs and the Jews were in that category, the Jews because they have friends throughout the world, and the Arabs because of the Arab League, and the Arab countries which border Palestine. The Indonesians also had certain friends. They knew that all the Asiatic countries would support them without question. So also did the Communists at certain stages. But the Dutch were in a different position. Exhausted, broken and impoverished by the war, they were not in a position to muster any powerful support, or any powerful friends. In other words, they could be abused, bullied and misrepresented at will, and entirely without fear. The Minister has taken that course in dealing with them.
For a few moments, I shall describe the course of events in Indonesia, without the least feeling about who has been right and who has been wrong in the quarrel that has developed there. In the first instance, there was a rebellion or revolution - call it what you like - and some fighting occurred. Secondly, the United Nations ordered a “ cease fire “. The Dutch, who could easily have cleaned up the opposition, as the British are doing without hindrance in Malaya at the present time, obeyed the order. The United Nations could not have enforced a “ cease, fire “, and the Indonesians, who had murdered some Australian soldiers and had publicly threatened the “White Australia policy on more than one occasion knew that this extraordinary un- Australian representative abroad would back them in whatever they did at the expense of the Dutch. The position deteriorated. The Indonesians knew that they would be supported, and, because the United Nations was powerless to enforce its decisions, fighting broke out again. No one can argue with that broad outline of what occurred in Indonesia. I do not take sides with either of the two parties, but shall point out what the Minister has done. “Without any reference to the rights and wrongs, or adherence to the history of the dispute, he has attacked the Dutch, hip and thigh, throughout the controversy. What he has done has been as nothing compared with what other Ministers have done on other occasions. The Dutch have been prejudiced, misrepresented and attacked. Whatever the rights a.md wrongs of the case may be, those tactics are not the means whereby a peaceful and permanent solution of that problem may be found.
– The honorable member has given a most inaccurate description of the Australian Government’s action in the matter.
– I believe that my description will stand for accuracy against the statements of the Minister. T turn now to the Pacific sphere. I should like to know whether we are to play an Australian part in our foreign policy. I have listened in vain during this debate for a summary of the Pacific situation, and a recognition of our position, taking into account the developments relative to the attitude of the United States of America, the British and the Dutch in this sphere. To enlarge on that point, I remind the House of the recent talk about the United States of America withdrawing from the Pacific area. I do not know whether or not that report is true. I have the assurance of other speakers that it is probably not true. But it is certain that there is a growing reluctance in American public opinion to accept responsibilities of any sort in this area. That attitude adds points to the urgency which we should show in formulating a policy for our own protection. The preservation of our standards, our security and the White Australia policy should be the whole keystone of our foreign policy, yet honorable members opposite consistently ignore it. At times, I find it most, difficult to speak of what we call the foreign policy of Australia, so curiously is it at odds with the demands of the situation and our national interests. Small and weak countries in circumstances similar to ours, such as the Scandanavian countries and the South American republics, are at pains to increase their friends and allies, to enter into defensive alliances and to pursue a policy for the protection of their friends and themselves. Australia does not do so. Our representatives attend the ‘meetings of the United Nations, and Australia pursues an international policy without regard to anybody’s interests, least of all our own. The scene here is changing. The importance of recognizing that fact is even greater now, because we are in grave danger as the result of those who have been our traditional allies movingout of this zone. Our danger, I contend, is increased day by day by every conceivable act of folly committed by this Government - folly in foreign affairs, in the field of migration and in the sphere of defence. In our precarious position, we need allies. But what do we do? We insult our allies. There is no need to talk about that subject. The Leader of the Opposition outlined in a way which could not be misunderstood what the Dutch reaction must be to the treatment that has been meted out to them from Australia.
Apart from the Dutch, there are also the Americans. No greater bastion or help could have been afforded to this country than the establishment of a powerful American base on Manus Island, yet the Government talked the Americans out of that proposition, and they have left that area. That is the truth of the matter. A few days ago, the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Riordan) talked about maintaining Manus Island as a great Australian base. What awful rot! There is not so much as a platoon of men on Manus Island, and a destroyer could take possession of the place to-morrow if an enemy desired to invade it. We in this country urgently need friends.
I come now to the unfortunate part that the Minister for Immigration has played in this field. He has so administered the White Australia policy that we are entitled to ask ourselves whether the Government is sincere in its championship of that policy. I do not think that that policy could have been administered in a way more certain to bring it under fire and into disrepute than it has been at the hands of this Government. It is most serious when those who believe in a White Australia, or say that they do, constantly act in such a way as to bring the White
Australia policy into ridicule. This country, in order to preserve its security, also requires a powerful defence force. Of that matter, I have no need to speak, because our defence force, outside a few thousand men, most of whom are only partly trained, does not exist, and has never been in a worse state in such a troublous time.
That is all that I shall say a bout general policy. I desire to add a few words about some particular problems which apply to us. The Minister forExternal Affairs referred to mandates, and enunciated some of those principles of justice and equality for which the United Nations stands. I shall examine how far those principles have been applied to some of the mandates under our own control. Of New Guinea. I do not need to speak, because the bubble of publicity with which it has been built up has suddenly collapsed in a way of which honorable members are aware, and to which it would not be proper for me to refer at this time. However, I desire to make reference to Nauru, which is under our control. Nauru is a mandated territory, and the mandatory powers are Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. The mandate is administered by the Commonwealth of Australia. That valuable island has been under our control since the Japanese evacuated it, and a great deal of maladministration has occurred in the conduct of the affairs of the European, native and Chinese peoples there. I know that what I say is not generally known to honorable members, because although people at Nauru have consistently written to the Government, and Government officials at Nauru have persistently written to the departmental head, there has been no general public recognition of the difficulties, and of the deterioration of the position. Some time ago, the conditions reached such a stage that a serious riot occurred, and some people were killed. It is a disgrace to us, who administer the island, that certain unfortunate Chinese should have been beaten to death by a mob in the street, whilst others were bayoneted by policemen in the Government gaol. A pretty story indeed! No public mention of those events was made until a considerable time after the Minister had been placed in full possession of the facts. Certain government officials in Nauru at the time contended that the position had come to a head mainly because of defects in the administration, and they asked that certain radical changes should be made. Their requests were ignored. The position has gone from bad to worse. Council of Chiefs, the only body which the natives have to present their views to the local administration and Canberra, has written to Australia asking for a full investigation of the affair, and complaining about injustice and maladministration on the island. I have seen a copy of the letter that was sent by the Council of Chiefs not only to the department but also to the United Nations. The Minister has spoken of the Dutch exploiting the native population, and has expounded loose but grandiose theories about equality and our duty towards the so-called indigenous native inhabitants under our care, yet under his very eyesa gross injustice is going on that will bring us into disrepute in the eyes of the world as a mandatory power. Whilst we are discussing principles which have been so fairly enunciated in the Minister’s speech, let us apply them at home and in the territories that we administer.
I desire to mention briefly the trials in Europe of Cardinal Mindszenty and members of other churches. I admit that the Government has made some sort of a protest in the matter. It protested after protests had been voiced from every pulpit in Australia-
– That is not so. The Government protested before any other protests had been voiced.
– If I am wrong, . I shall accept the Minister’s correction. It was my impression that other protests had been made in Australia before the Government made its protest. In any event, the Minister required no spur and no authority from the Government to complain in the most forceful terms when the Greeks proposed to execute a number of Communists; but I have yet to learn that he made a similarly strong protest against the conviction of Cardinal Mindszenty and the members of other churches in Europe. I desired to raise that matter very briefly, as I have done, and there I shall allow it to rest.
I turn now to a subject that should be beyond the range of party political controversy. It is the trial of German war criminals. Article 6 of the Charter of the United Nations affirms that every one is entitled to a fair and an impartial trial. The document is more or less an enunciation of Christian principles which should be applied to government and the administration of justice. It is difficult for any politician to refer to these trials without getting into hot water. I have read accounts of the treatment of Germans who were not criminals in the sense that they were not cruel men. Principally, they were soldiers. They have been degraded, dressed in convict garb, kept in gaol without trial for some years and subjected to every insult to which a soldier can be subjected. On the other hand, people like Schacht, Von Papen and Krupp, who really profited from the war and were responsible for the policies that caused it, go scot-free. I cannot criticize the war crimes tribunals because I do not know enough of their procedure, but it seems to me that the principle of justice which should underlie these trials is being disregarded. I commend that point of view to the Minister for External Affairs, who is a lawyer and, therefore, interested in justice and the proper working of legal machinery. I confess that I can see no justice in the spectacle of the trial and condemnation of some Germans who were purely military leaders. To protect myself from misrepresentation I point out that my remarks are not meant to extend to the German political leaders and those bestial creatures who are being, very correctly, executed for their horrible actions. I am referring only to those men who carried out their duties under orders. I hope that the Minister will find some opportunity to express a view along those lines, if he agrees with me.
I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that the best approach to all these problems is a non-party one. The foreign policy of Australia is not a matter for the judgment of one man or one political party. If the present intensely individual line is continued, and it applies not only to policy but also to the Department of External Affairs and to personal appointments in that department, there are certain to be great changes in the foreign policy of this country when a change of government occurs. Speaking quite without passion on the subject, I say that that would be deplorable. It can easily be avoided if the Minister will adopt a less intransigent and more co-operative attitude.
.- I welcome the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) back to his usual place in the House. We are pleased to see his long unfamiliar face again. I congratulate the right honorable gentleman upon his election as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, but I cannot help remembering that the election of another distinguished Australian, Mr. Bruce, as he then was, as President of the Council of the League of Nations heralded the sudden demise of the League approximately three or four years after his accession to that elevated position. If history repeats itself, we may lose the United Nations.
I was not present when the Minister made his speech, but I have since read a report of it. I was dismayed to find that there was no mention in it of a close neighbour to Australia, that is, Africa, and especially the Union of South Africa and the British African possessions. When we are considering our foreign policy we should remember that Australasia and British Africa are really the only two great areas in the southern hemisphere in which there are British institutions and in which English is one of the recognized languages. I believe that our hopes for a White Australia and for the peace of the world are closely bound up with a strong integrated British Empire. One of the essential factors in the strength of that Empire is the control of the Indian Ocean, which is one of the great ocean crossroads of the world. That fact should have been treated as being of cardinal importance to Australia’s foreign policy. The governments have sold out in the Mediterranean and no longer control that area. Some years ago the British Government, with the consent of the Australian Government, said that it was prepared to let British troops go from Suez even though thousands of Australian troops had fought for it. For hundreds of years the route from Asia to Europe was round the Cape of Good Hope. The only other way of getting to Europe from Asia other than through the Panama Canal, which .might easily be made inaccessible to us in atomic warfare, is round Cape Horn. We could easily be kept out of the South Atlantic if we did not have control of Africa itself and thus be cut off from both routes to Europe. I regret that the Minister did not deal with this matter. If its effect, not only on our Empire relationships, but also on our Empire policy had been fully considered, there might have been a great change in the manner in which we handled the Indonesian situation and in our relationships with the Dutch. It has been said for .many hundreds of years that .the safety of a nation and people must bo. the supreme law. We should ask ourselves who are our real friends? Who are those who will support us in our hour of need ? They are the ones who matter, and not the people who will give us a vote now at a particular assembly. We want to knew who are those who will fight for us when we are in difficulties, stand shoulder to shoulder with us when the odds appear to be against us, and hold the breach’ with us when it seems as if the Empire, including ourselves, is crumbling. The first set of friends wo have is composed of those people who are inside the British Empire, the Commonwealth of Nations or whatever it is called at the present time. The second set of friends a.re the Americans, who have stood by us in the past. The third set is composed of the free peoples of western Europe - the Dutch, French, Belgians, Portuguese and Scandinavians - who fought shoulder to shoulder with us during the last great struggle. Portugal has been an ally of Britain for more than 200 years. How can we bind more closely to ourselves our brothers in the British Empire and those countries that have similar ideals to ours? A lot of unrealistic nonsense has been talked about our foreign relationships. When we find that the present occupants of territories which concern us have been told that they should get out of them for the sake of the original inhabitants, we wonder whether we are living a chapter of Alice in Wonderland. For instance, it is said that the Dutch should get out of Indonesia and leave that territory exclusively to the Indonesians. On whose behalf should the Indonesians get out? In Java there are temples that they erected 400 or 500 years ago, when they first conquered the country. In Palestine, we have gone back nearly 2,000 years so as to put the original inhabitants back. Others say that the British should get out of Malaya. Do we, as a part of the British Empire, stand for that? Does the Government subscribe to the policy that the British Government is pursuing in attempting to maintain its possession of Malaya and to control the extremists and revolutionary elements there? Does it say, “ Let the Moslems be thrown out of India or Pakistan because they only went then; four or five hundred years ago “ ? Who is to be left untouched ? Should the Australians be thrown out of Australia and let the land be given hack to the aborigines. One finds in Australia that apparently the descendants of the original inhabitants are the only people who can be directed as to where they shall live, except the wharf labourers, who may br directed under the Stevedoring Industry Act as to where they shall work. That is the position in Australia. We can send half-castes and aborigines away from the places in which they have lived for the last seven or eight years. Should the Australians throw themselves out of Nauru, Christmas Island and New Guinea? What right have we to be in those places if we apply the principles that apparently guide some of the Government’s actions with regard to these matters? Our actions should be determined not by such considerations but by the safety and destiny of Australia, and particularly of a White Australia. The only way in which we can ensure that safety is to build a new British Empire. That Empire is held together by the great traditions of the past. It has shown that it can weather every storm and that it, in the words of Emerson, “ in the hour of danger has a pulse that beats like a cannon It has faced up to all disasters with a stern and unflinching courage. The British Empire is ideally situated for defence against atomic attack. Its territories are scattered throughout the globe and its constituent members are practically all islands, connected by the oceans of the world. We should realize that it is not Britain, India or Canada which is the weak point of the British Empire but Australasia and British Africa. Since time immemorial the major cause of war has been the pressure of population and the search for living room by overcrowded nations. What is the position to-day? Asia has over 1,000,000,000 people, Europe over 400,000,000, America 300,000,000, Africa approximately 60,000,000, and Australia and New Zealand approximately 10,000,000. There are enormous resources in these two most undeveloped and lightly populated continents in the world. Australia has abundant raw material and resources. We have a relatively small population and, because of that, we have a relatively small defence potential. It can, however, be made a very great potential if we set to work in the right way. While this development takes place, our defence and security lies in the British Commonwealth of Nations. We have been inclined to take too much for granted the fact that, because we have so many of our people situated in two or three very crowded cities in the eastern part of Australia, Australia is simply one of the Pacific nations. But Australia is really much more concerned, as a major power, with the Indian Ocean than with the Pacific Ocean. In the Pacific Ocean Australia shares responsibility with America and various Asian countries, but in the Indian Ocean it joins with its great sister dominion, South Africa. For the last 50 years the Indian Ocean has really been a British lake. The waters of that ocean lave the shores of Africa, India, and Australia, where dwell nations that have constitutions founded on the British pattern. Those nations have been long founded, and have a traditional association with one another. They have had long contacts with English ideals and traditions. English is practically the common tongue right throughout them . all. Other countries which border or have colonies bordering on the Indian Ocean, such as Arabia, Portugal. France and Holland. and which have very important influences on that ocean, are long-standing allies of Britain and the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is very important to ensure that during all the other travels that our representatives take throughout the world there should be sufficient travel in the Indian Ocean region to enable Australia to assume greater standing in that area and to establish itself in a high official position. Our business men and. journalists and others who are able to shape and form public opinion must be able to have a background to help them to build co-operation and understanding between the two great southern continents of Africa and Australia. Such understanding and cooperation would have a very great influence on the maintenance of world peace.
The United Kingdom, Canada and the rest of the British Empire together with the United States of America command practically all the ocean highways which a re the crossroads of the world, and those countries have a community of interests with us. They all have a peculiar mental outlook which causes them to look at other people as from . overseas. They are practically all islands. India itself, which is a sub-continent separated from Asia by the Himalayan barrier, looks upon itself as separate from other Asian countries, just as islanders would do for the people on other islands. I think that because of this outlook those countries have a. very good chance of understanding one another. That also applies to our former foes, the Japanese, who have an exactly similar complex by reason of the fact that they live on islands.
It is very necessary indeed that South Africa and ourselves should have contacts which would enable us to make a proper approach to all our problems in international affairs. I think it was Hegel who 100 years ago pointed out that oceans and not land masses condition the social contacts between countries. With the coming of the atomic bomb the widely separated territories of the British Empire are very much less open to a successful attack than would be the case if they lay close together. In atomic warfare it will be too late to get ready after the attack has- started, as we have done in the last two wars. The only answer to the threat of atomic warfare is to have a stock pile of atomic bombs ready at different points so that if the enemy overwhelms one point we shall, still have other territories and bombs to use in reply. That in itself would have a deterrent effect on any nation that desired to attack us. This makes more vital than ever the need for the greatest cohesion amongst our friends. It is also very necessary to know just who ‘are our friends. A joint defence plan for the British Commonwealth of Nations is more necessary than ever because of the coming of the atomic bomb and the distances that separate the different nations of the Commonwealth.
There should be placed before this Parliament a statement of just what is being done regarding a joint defence plan to enable us to hold all strategic bases. The possession of strategic bases is of the greatest importance as soon as war starts. It may even be a deterrent to war. The first thing that a nation does in going to war is to use as quickly as it can the bases from which it can launch an attack. If it does not possess them already it seizes them as soon as possible. Fundamentally, that has always been a primary method of war, and it is essential in naval, air and military strategy. One reason why during that long period of Pax Britannica, between 1815 and 1914. there was peace in the world was largely that Great Britain, in its role of the great peacemaker, had possession of so many strategic bases. It would be madness for us to allow any of those to pass out of our hands. It seems to me that instead of completely ignoring this great ocean in the discussion of our foreign affairs, we should associate ourselves with Africa so that we might bring about conditions of . Empire solidarity and strength that might easily lead to another century of world peace. That end would be served also if we made certain that we kept, as far ‘as we can, in that area all the friendly forces of America as well. I cannot understand how the Government threw away with such levity the chance of America still retaining Manus Island and keeping there the huge base that it had erected at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, and which would have made Australia impregnable to attack from the north and the east. “What we should do now in that regard is to try and retrace our steps in that regard.
There has been much concern in the last few days over a statement that American forces may leave Japan, and that America may pull out of the Pacific altogether. “Where shall we be if we have no friends on this side of the Pacific? If we have no friends in the east then we should try to get them in the west, and the sooner the better. “We should realize anew what Australia has believed for a long time and that the integrity of Africa and the possession of the ocean life-lines around the Cape of Good Hope and through the Suez Canal, are of vital importance to this country. It was for that reason that we sent troops to a number of wars, including the Sudan “War and the Boer “War and that the bulk of our armies in the two world wars were engaged in the Middle East. “We should make even more certain now that we shall do what we can to maintain the integrity of Africa.
How is the Union of South Africa constituted? Every one knows that half of the white population is Dutch or Africaans. Every one knows that there has been a great deal of national feeling in South Africa for about a century, starting with the first Boer “War and continuing down to the present time. Surely it is the most stupid thing in the world that we should now do unnecessarily something to hurt the Dutch, especially when we need the Dutch in Indonesia to keep in check those Communist elements that have managed to gain a certain amount of control there, and some of whom were either Japanese sympathizers or actually assisted the Japanese in the last war. One cannot look at the record of our association with other countries without regarding what has taken place under this Government as a continuous series of blunders. The countries which have possessions in South Africa - Holland, Belgium and France - are the sure shield of Britain from European attack and are asking us to enter a huge organization to try and develop African resources. We should do something about that immediately. I urge that part of our policy should be the cultivation of knowledge about Africa. At the same time we should try to get into proper perspective as quickly as we can, our relations with our northern and eastern neighbours. I believe that more is needed in that respect than we have done so far. It is of no use just to send a delegation of parliamentarians. Such a delegation has real value, but what we really need are definite and continuous contacts. I should like to see contacts on every possible level - business, professional, research and official. I notice that the Americans have taken Japanese journalists over to work on such newspapers as the New York Times and sent American journalists to Japan in exchange. If Australia did that with its neighbours we might be able to get much better and more authentic news than we do at the present time.
I consider that we have spread our overseas representatives very thinly over the face of the world. We have not enough first-class men to send everywhere, and it is better to do without representation in some countries than to send third-class men there who may do more harm than good. It seems to me that it should not be competent for the Australian delegates attending overseas conferences to make provocative speeches as they do at United Nations meetings and elsewhere. Speeches on matters of high policy should be made, surely, by Ministers, and only with the full confidence and’ knowledge of the Government. I venture to say that Australia’s reputation has slumped badly in recent times because of provocative statements abroad that were clumsy, discourteous and illadvised.
.- At the outset I join with other honorable members in conveying my congratulations to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) on his election as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. I believe that it is a signal honour for him, personally, for the party that he represents in this Parliament, and above all else, for Australia. I believe also that he has filled that high office with distinction, and that his election to it was a fitting reward for his untiring efforts in the councils of the United Nations and his efforts to ensure a lasting world peace.
It is a matter of regret that in this country his efforts has not received from the press and others opposed to him in many respects, the recognition that they deserve, and I cannot help but feel, as no doubt other honorable members on this side of the House do, that there is a certain amount of jealousy of him among the Opposition parties and in other spheres of activity in our national life, where the Minister is looked upon rather as a political figure than as a man who has brought great credit to this nation. I place on record my small tribute to his efforts and trust that he will long continue to pursue the vigorous Australian policy that he has pursued for many years in the councils of the United Nations, and that he will continue to use his great abilities for a long time.
When the United Nations was established it was recognized as a gigantic experiment in endeavouring to bring a lasting world peace, but even the most optimistic supporter of it could not hope that it would fulfil all the things that it was hoped to achieve, within a short space of time. Even in our own country, in small domestic issues such as industrial disputes, we find that it takes a very long time sometimes to sort out problems. Those problems are small compared with the great matters deliberated upon by the United Nations. Consequently, it is too much to expect that in a few short months, or even years, the organization will achieve all its objectives, and that all nations will work together harmoniously. The setting up of the United Nations represented an experiment which the world could not afford to overlook. We are bound in duty to the people of Australia, and of the whole world to support the United Nations, to make it successful, and to ensure that there is no more war between the nations. The principles of the United Nations have been clearly set out, and they are worth reiterating. They are as follows: -
The main purposes of the United Nations are -
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war by intervening in all cases of threats to the peace, acts of aggression, or in situations likely to cause international friction;
to adjust and settle all such cases not arbitrarily but in conformity with the general principles of justice; such principles certainly including just procedures and the careful investigation of all relevant facts before decisions are reached;
to solve international problems of economic and social significance by promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and by requiring all nations to secure higher standards of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
to ensure the political, economic, social and educational advancement of all dependent peoples, recognizing that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are a paramount trust.
Those principles are recognized as great and desirable objectives, and are supported by all sections in all countries. Soon after the United Nations organization was formed, President Truman, speaking at the opening of Congress, said -
Nothing is more essential to the future peace of the world than the continued co-operation of the nations which had to muster the force necessary to defeat the conspiracy of the Axis powers to dominate the world.
While these great States have a special responsibility to enforce the peace, their responsibility is based upon the obligations resting upon all States, large and small, not to use force in international relations, except in the defence of the law. The responsibility of great States is to serve, and not to dominate the peoples of the world.
Those are great words from a great leader. Speaking on behalf of Great Britain, Mr. Anthony Eden, referring to the work of the conference, said -
But, ladies and gentlemen, this security cannot be created in a day nor by any documents, however admirable. It must be the product of time and of constant effort, of learning to work together, of practising and upholding accepted standards of international conduct.
It is unfair to expect the United Nations to achieve complete success overnight, when it has to reconcile the differences of so many nations, and so many people who speak different languages and hold different opinions. We must continue to support the United Nations, as the Australian Government is doing, in order to ensure the successful settlement of international disputes that might lead to war. In the course of his speech in this debate, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), in referring to the Minister for External Affairs, said -
If the Minister is seeking a general foreign policy, I am astonished that he has so constantly rejected proposals for the appointment of a parliamentary foreign affairs committee, and that he has never adopted the practice which is becoming well established in the United States of America of occasionally sending as a delegate to an international conference some one who is not a pledged government supported. As honorable members know, among the delegates that the United States of America sends to the General Assembly of the United Nations is Mr. JohnFoster Dules, who is a member of the Republican party in America, and who, it was commonly understood, would, in the event of a victory by the Republican candidate, Mr. Thomas Dewey, in last year’s presidential election, have succeeded General Marshal as Secretary of State.
The Minister for External Affairs has always recognized the importance of points of view other than that of the Government. For that reason, he invited Bishop Burgmann, of Goulburn, and Dr. Eris O’Brien, of Sydney, to attend the last meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in Paris, so that Australia’s delegates would have the benefit of the advice of representative citizens not directly associated with any political outlook. At the San Francisco conference, members of the Opposition and representatives of groups of employers were present to take part in the deliberations. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) went to that conference, and I can understand why he has not gone to any others. Ex-Senator McLeay was another who attended, and the Leader of the Australian Country party was also invited. Thus, the Minister for External Affairs, in an effort to achieve the broadest possible approach to international problems, has invited the co-operation of men from many walks of life, so that the Australian case can be put forcefully and impartially. The Leader of the Opposition stated further -
I repeat what has been said many times on this side of the House by my colleagues and myself, that there should be a foreign allans committee of this Parliament. The lack of it is a grievous deficiency. The Opposition does not suggest that such a committee should formulate policy. That is a matter for the government of the day. But it contends that such a committee should bc established for the purpose of providing the Parliament with an opportunity effectively to influence foreign policy through the existence in the Parliament of a group of honorable members with special access to information and, therefore, with special knowledge of special matters.
I am inclined to agree that there is some substance in what the right honorable gentleman says, but I cannot reconcile his statements with his attitude towards another important parliamentary committee, the Social Security Committee.
– The honorable member knows the reason for that.
– Yes, because participation in the work of the committee did not suit the political purposes of the Opposition parties. I cannot believe that any more important matter could claim attention of members of this Parliament than social security. Members of the Opposition were asked to sit on the Social Security Committee, so that, social problems might be investigated and an impartial -report brought in that would form the basis of subsequent legislation.
– We formed that committee when we were in office.
– Yes, and disbanded it because it did not suit the political purposes of the Opposition.
– When did we disband it?
– It ceased to function because Opposition members would not co-operate. If the Opposition wishes the Government to set up an all-party committee to study foreign affairs, it should at least co-operate in the work of the committee which was set up to study social problems. It would appear that the statement of the Leader of the Opposition about an external affairs committee was one of convenience only.
I was interested to hear the comment of the Leader of the Opposition on full employment. It is reasonable to believe that some members of the Opposition do not believe in full employment. Some of them desire to see a certain amount of labour unemployed in order to pro mote what they call efficiency in industry. I can remember the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) saying that, in a free society, he could not understand how full employment could be tolerated or could exist. In other words, be wished that a percentage of the people should always be out of work. The Leader of the Opposition in speaking of full employment, referred to conditions overseas. I shall not go into that now, because the subject has been dealt with by other speakers. The Australian delegates were responsible for the inclusion in the United Nations Charter of the provision relating to full employment. This Government stands for the employment of all the people in this and in other countries, and in so far as it can help towards the achievement of that objective it will do so. I am sure that the people of Australia heard with alarm the statement, of the Leader of the Opposition about full employment.
A feature of post-war international relations is the recognition by all governments and their advisers that unemployment in one country creates unemployment in others. Unemployment, for any reason, in the United Kingdom or the United States of America, will bring down prices, and cause unemployment in Australia in particular. The Labour Government has adopted the policy of full employment in Australia with no more depression; and because it cannot maintain full employment with high living standards in Australia if there is unemployment overseas, it endeavoured to have the international significance of financial and economic domestic policies understood. At a series of economic conferences under the auspicies of the Pood and Agriculture organization, International Labour Office and other bodies the Australian representatives advanced the thesis that living standards could be raised, and the objective of the Food and Agriculture organization a.nd the International Labour Office could he achieved best if each country maintained full employment. At the San Francisco Conference, which followed those conferences, the thesis was accepted, and the obligation to maintain full employment was written into the
Charter. The Leader of the Opposition at one and the same time suggests that full employment has nothing to do with international relations, and argues that employment could be maintained in the United Kingdom only by the help of the United States of America. In fact, unemployment in the United States of America is being avoided by exporting to the United Kingdom and other countries needed goods. This helps the United States of America, and it helps the United Kingdom at the present time to have American aid. Both countries are obliged to do everything themselves, and in co-operation with each other, to maintain full employment.
I do not agree that any apology is necessary for the part which Australia is playing to promote full employment. Such a policy is vital to the welfare and economic security of mankind. Indeed, outside the prevention of war, it is the most important objective we could set before ourselves. If the United Nations, in its future deliberations, is able to see that that section of the Charter dealing with full employment is given effect to it will do a notable job.
To the Minister for External Affairs, and those associated with him in the carrying out of this greatworld experiment, we must give our full support. The Minister’s foreign policy has been consistent and far-sighted, and has been directed to a predominant degree towards ensuring the peace of the world. The Minister has brought the Australian point of view before the representatives of the nations in conference, and has won for Australia an important place in international affairs. We can take pride in the fact that we have a government that has a foreign policy. We are no longer tied to the apron strings of any other nation. We have an Australian policy which all Australians will support. To the Minister for External Affairs, and those associated with him, we wish every success and trust that their participation in the deliberations of the United Nations will help to promote international peace.
.- We should have a clear mind on what is meant by foreign policy. I have been unable to find a definition of the term in a dictionary, but I should say that the best definition of the term is that it is a policy which bears upon the security of a country and the preservation of that security. Whilst peace and war are indivisible, wisdom dictates that we should direct our attention to those areas in which we can bring to bear direct influence and in which our vital interests are most concerned. How best can we do that ? If we have failed in this matter in the past we have first to ascertain the reasons why we have failed. Secondly we must consider how we can best remedy the failure of the Government to devote its attention to vital overseas problems. The events of the two world wars have shown clearly that Australia’s frontier is in the Middle East. The Suez Canal is the main artery between Great Britain and Europe and Australia and accordingly we are vitally concerned in the protection of our interests in that area. We do not know what may happen in South Africa in the event of another world war. For good reasons of their own it is conceivable that South Africans might declare their neutrality or defer their entry into the war until it had been in progress for some time. Because of that we must at all costs protect our interests in the Suez Canal zone. Australia has become more self-sufficient and increasingly independent since the end of World War LT., but it must still obtain many of its requirements from Great Britain, Europe and the United States of America. Therefore our real interests lie in an area extending from the Middle East to the Pacific. Disquieting rumours which have emanated from the United States of America - they have been officially denied but there must have been some reason for them - that the United States intends to withdraw its occupation force from Japan must cause us great concern. These rumours at least indicate that there is a growing body of opinion in’ the United States in favour of the abandonment of the occupation of Japan. Great Britain is so heavily committed in Europe that it has had to neglect its interests in the Pacific. Thus, for geographical and strategic reasons, Australia is forced to rely less and less on
Great Britain. ‘ These disquieting rumours about the intention of the American Government respecting Japan lead us to fear that in future we may have to rely on America to a lesser extent than we have in the past. It is reported in the press that many Americans have frankly said that in the past we relied on them too much and that we have been under the impression that we had merely to whistle for help and they would protect us. There is a belief among some American people that the United States is now becoming a little less interested in Japan and accordingly we should be prepared to rely to an increasing extent on our own resources. The real danger in the foreign policy of the present Government seems to be that we are overreaching ourselves. We are endeavouring to create the impression that Australia is a great world power but we have not the resources to back such a claim. I do not wish it to be thought that I am seeking in any way to belittle our war effort. I merely say that we are attempting to do too much and to have a finger in every pie. There has been a tendency on the part of this Government to open up embassies and legations in all countries irrespective of our cultural and trade relations with them. In those countries in which the possibilities of trade with Australia are negligible, no good purpose is served by the establishment of large and expensive embassies and legations. Admittedly some of these establishments in South American countries were recently closed down. We should concentrate our efforts in those countries with which we have a chance to trade and in which we are most vitally concerned. We should constantly consider how best we can help ourselves and at the same’ time help Great Britain by taking a load from its shoulders. We should be able to play a more important role in furthering the interests of the British Commonwealth of which Australia is a prominent member. I do not suggest that we should neglect Europe. We know only too well that two wars were forced upon us as the result of events which took place in Europe. We should keep ourselves very well informed of what i9 going on in all European countries. Australia is very subject to European influence. Gone are the happy days when we could lie back and say, “ A bit of a tussle is going on in Europe, but that is no concern of ours “. We must watch closely the events which are taking place there. The fact that Great Britain and America are vitally concerned with European events does not mean that we, also are not vitally concerned in them. We should be kept fully informed by our own embassies and diplomatic establishments of developments there. It would, however, be most unwise and most costly to establish embassies in all countries. As we grow numerically and in importance as a world power, we may gradually be able to do so. Australia, however, is vitally concerned with the Pacific area and’ we should be well informed of what is occuring in the countries of our immediate neighbours.
What is happening to-day in Malaya? I was disappointed that in the course of his speech the Minister for External Affairs did not see fit to mention that country. Although we hear disquieting rumours about it, the Minister merely shrugs his shoulders and says, “ Malaya is no concern of ours “. In Malaya Australians are being murdered by Communists, and accordingly what is happening there is very much our concern. Every one who was in Malaya in 1940 and 1941 will agree that Australians were concerned about what occurred in Malaya because they were forced to fight in that area. If there is a likelihood that we may have to fight in that area again we should have a voice in the planning of its defence and in its administration. If that were done we should be able to make a much better contribution towards the defence of Malaya should the need arise. We cannot have it both ways. No longer can we say, “ Malaya is of no interest to us. It is too bad that the Communists there are murdering some of our countrymen “. Great Britain is no longer able to act as the policeman of the world. Before the war squadrons of the British Navy were established in China and Singapore, and because of its naval strength Great Britain was mistress of the seas. Because of the power of the British Navy, Great Britain was able to safeguard not only its own interests scattered throughout the world, but also those of the Dominions. But that supremacy no longer exists and it is absolutely imperative that we make ourselves as self-reliant as possible in matters of defence. We seem to be slow in realizing where our real obligations lie. For too long we have allowed Great Britain to carry the burden of our protection. We should be informed of what is taking place in China. We should be told fully and frankly what is happening in India, in which we have great trading interests. We should be told what is happening in Ceylon, which looks to us for help and guidance. Yet no mention was made of Ceylon in the Minister’s speech. We must welcome the new Dominions to the British Commonwealth. We should have frank discussions with them so that there may be implanted firmly in the minds of their peoples the knowledge that the British Commonwealth is a worth-while organization. In that direction Australia could play a very important role. Very often when the Mother Country makes an approach to India the Indians, thinking back over the history of the past, show prejudice against Great Britain, and the approach fails. Australia’s strength lies in the fact that it is able to approach such countries, particularly those within the British Commonwealth, and those about to become members of that world organization, freely and without the hindering influences of prejudice. Because we are a young country we are able to make a fresh and practical approach. That is where our real strength lies in the Pacific and in the new Dominions.
I propose now to say a few words about Russia. Russia is not just a European or an Asiatic power that can be ignored. One has only to live for a short time in Germany to realize the frightening effects of Russian influence in that country. Russia has shown quite clearly that it is determined to wage a cold war. It apparently thrives on the cold war. From the meagre information we are able to obtain from Russia, we know that that country is now expending the same amount on war preparations as it did during the war. While the western democracies have cut down their defence expenditures - Great Britain has reduced its expenditure on defence to about one quarter of the war-time expenditure -
Russia is maintaining its war preparations at full blast. Russia seems determined by force of arms to create crises in many places. First, there is Berlin. I was most gratified to learn that 50 Australian pilots were taking part in the airlift. Their presence in that operation is a great psychological factor. It has shown the Russians clearly that Australians, South Africans, Canadians and New Zealanders are co-operating with Great Britain in that operation, and agree with its policy. Those Australian pilots have a fine record. They have been engaged in the airlift for only a short time, and not much has been said about them, but the principal officer at the Gatow airport in Berlin infromed me that the Australians had been trained for a shorter period than any of the other pilots but showed the best results. I know that he meant that tribute to their ability. All the dominions are in accord with Great Britain in its policy regarding Berlin. Australia, by its participation, shows clearly the significance of Berlin to the British Commonwealth.
The Russians are determined to create a crisis in Berlin by force of arms. Consequently, the United States of America, Great Britain and France have had to rush substantial forces to that city, develop a big organization and utilize some of their economic resources to put out that fire. By their policy, the Russians have, to a degree, pinned down members of the Western Union in Berlin. The Russians have also started a fire in Malaya, and Great Britain, from its meagre resources, which it can ill afford, has had to rush forces to that part of the globe. By starting fires in various parts of the world and causing members of the Western Union to use their resources to extinguish the blaze, Russia is weakening them, and retarding their recovery. Australia can play a great part at this moment by helping Great Britain to deal with the. crises provoked by Russia.
The Australian Government has completely mesmerized itself by the allocation of £250,000,000 for expenditure on defence during a five-year period. Whenever we ask questions about defence, a Minister says, “We are expending £250,000,000 on defence in five years.
Nothing like that has ever been done before in our history.” The Government hopes that every one will forget that, try as it may, it is unable to expend that huge sum, efficiently or inefficiently. The real solution is not how much money the Government has allocated but the manner in which it is being expended. Australia can derive a great advantage by cooperating with Great Britain, .the United States of America, Canada and other countries which have our interests at heart by exchanging information and even arms with them, so that we may expand our resources and defences rapidly and effectively. It is of no earthly use to refer to our defences in terms of an allocation of £250,000,000 for a five-year period. The important factor is the way in which we expend that money. We are not making an adequate effort to ensure our preparedness. We are not freely exchanging military information with our friends, and we are lagging in all our defence requirements. There is a feeling among voluntary military personnel of all political opinions that the Government is not sincere, and does not want to be bothered with raising an army. I have heard that view expressed everywhere by men in the army. They have ample evidence to support such an opinion. They meet with delays, frustrations and the official wet blanket. They voluntarily give a part of their time in order to train themselves to defend the country, but instead of receiving encouragement, they are being completely discouraged. Men who are devoting their spare time to be trained have a firm belief that the effort is not worthwhile. From the way in which the Government is tackling the problem, I, too, often wonder whether it is worthwhile.
During this debate, many references have been made to the United Nations. I was privileged to see that body in action. I do not propose, at this stage, to discuss its merits or demerits beyond summarizing the reasons why the United Nations had disappointed many people and many countries. The first reason is that it has the same fault as the League of Nations had of being unable to enforce its decisions. That fact has been recognized everywhere-. The second reason is the determination of Russia to torpedo any possible chance that the United Nations* has of succeeding. Russia does not want the western democracies to recover from the effects of the war, and is doing every-; thing in its power to retard their recovery and prevent world co-operation.. We cannot afford to abandon the United. Nations. Indeed, no honorable memberhas suggested that we should do so;. The high ideals that the United Nationsexpresses and maintains have been recognized, and are those of every country, that desires peace. So long as the United! Nations offers a means of maintaining peace, we cannot afford to neglect it… We must work towards that objective;, and assist any organization, whether it be the United Nations or a group off nations that have signed a pact, to help> to preserve peace. I considered, from my short experience as a member of theEmpire Parliamentary Delegation that visited Great Britain last year, that theUnited Nations could best help thecause by encouraging the free exchange of views and personal contacts between its various members:. Unfortunately, the United Nationshas not many of the advantages.of the Empire Parliamentary Association,, and I believe that it could profitably adopt some of them. Members of theEmpire Parliamentary Association, who met in London, consisted of persons from the various countries that form the British Commonwealth, and represented; all shades of political opinion. That,, in itself, was a great advantage. Themembers represented different politicalparties, different beliefs, different: religions and different creeds, and wereable to mingle freely. I felt that thagreat advantage of the Empire Parliamentary Association was the opportunitythat it afforded for the interminglingand the free exchange of views among thedelegates’ themselves, rather than theactual conference, the formal procedure,, and the resolutions that were passed.. The real value of the United Nationslies in bringing the representatives of the various countries together as informally as possible to exchange ideas and create confidence between man and man, and nation and nation.
The Australian delegation at the United Nations was an excellent one. It. !had a very practical outlook. I happened to be at the meeting of one committee where the Australians spoke on several subjects, and I thought that they made a most practical approach to problems under discussion. The strength of the Australian delegation lies in the fact that its members can approach the representatives of other nations without any racial prejudice and historical bias. By that statement, I mean that the Australians can mingle freely with the representatives of the other nations and cannot be accused of being the citizens of a country that had persecuted those other nations many centuries before. The Australians showed that they were most fitted to mingle freely without fear or prejudice to colour, religion or creed. They can play a prominent role in helping Great Britain, and the British Commonwealth generally, whilst at the same time helping their own country.
Our real foreign policy should be directed towards finding our real friends who will stand by us, and those whose history has shown that they will support us when we are in a tight corner. We should cultivate those friends, and even go out of our way to cement our friendship with them, so that if we are in trouble at any time, they will help us. We must remember that we are on our own in the Pacific, and that the real friends who have stood by us and who understand our way >of life and aspirations are, first, Great Britain and members of the British Commonwealth; secondly, the United States of America, which has been a wonderful friend to us, and, thirdly, the nations of western Europe, which have the same ideals as we have, and with encouragement and the right approach, will be with us. But our strength does not lie in being Australians in Australia. Our strength lies in being a part of the British Commonwealth, and in speaking with one voice with other members of the British Commonwealth. We should have a vigorous joint defence plan within the British Commonwealth, but also including the United States of America and -other interested nations that we can trust. We should have an exchange of weapons, technical information, and personnel and the respective Ministers for External
Affairs should meet for discussions so that we may learn what the other members are doing, where our weaknesses lie, and how we can assist one another. In that way we can really develop an effective foreign policy, and be a great force within the British Commonwealth for peace, whilst ensuring our own protection.
.- Australia to-day is a country without a foreign policy. It is the responsibility of the Parliament and the Government to define our foreign policy. That does not happen in Australia. The foreign policy of this country should reflect faithfully the attitude of the people towards other countries. In a democracy, that reflection can be obtained only through the Parliament, and I say that that never happens here. The Parliament is never consulted before and is seldom consulted after a decision is made. The result is that no one can rightly assume to speak on behalf of Australia. What have wo instead? It all depends upon who purports to speak on behalf of this country. The views expressed are the property of the person who is speaking at the time. If, at any time, those views happen to coincide with the views of the Australian people, it is quite unintentional. At times, we have the Evatt foreign policy. When the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) is abroad, we have the Chifley foreign policy. Sometimes the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) butts in on the world scene, and then we have the Calwell foreign policy, which bears not the slightest resemblance to the Evatt foreign policy. While the Minister for External Affairs was abroad helping to write the Charter of Human Rights, the Minister for Immigration was at home tearing his colleague’s foreign policy to shreds. Foreign policy is not confined to Ministers. There are times when we have been treated to the Hodgson foreign policy. That is- a sabre-rattling policy. It gets the spotlight every time, because it is in the Blucher tradition of foreign affairs. “ Off with their heads “ is the colonel’s interpretation of foreign policy. It is the stuff of which wars are made. Such stuff is dynamite. Unfortunately, it goes out to the world as Australia’s foreign policy when, in fact, it is the sole property of the colonel. He is not answerable to this Parliament. He has no means of ascertaining the views of the Australian people before he lays down a barrage such, as his recent denunciation of the Dutch, when he compared them with the Nazis. I say deliberately that that was not, and is not, the viewpoint of the Australian people. Colonel Hodgson thought it up in Paris. That is where it was originated, that is where it was said, and that is where it belongs. Doubtless, he thought that, if he made a statement like that in the name of Australia, he would get the head-lines. He was right; he got them. “We have had a lot of this dangerous head-line chasing. I say deliberately that Colonel Hodgson is a head-line hunter. Until he bobbed up in Paris he was a complete nonentity to the people of Australia. Few people outside Canberra had ever heard of him. He was kicked upstairs to his Paris job to make room for Dr. Burton. Now what Hodgson does and thinks is presented to the world as Australia’s foreign policy. I have no doubt that amongst the striped pants brigade of Paris Colonel Hodgson is a world figure. Whilst he may be a world figure in Paris, in Australia he is just nobody. He has no right to speak in the name of the people of Australia. There have been many other foreign policies. At one time there was the Hasluck policy, but he has seen the light since then. There was the Macmahon Ball foreign policy. He has seen many lights! We have had the Dr. Burton foreign policy, the Dr. Coombs foreign policy on trade, the McCarthy foreign policy on wheat, and the Samuel Phineas Lewis foreign policy on education. We have had the Thornton foreign policy on trade unionism, and there has even been a Sam Atyeo foreign policy. It seems ludicrous and laughable, but the fact remains that all these people have gone to international gatherings and have stood up to claim that they were speaking on behalf of the people of Australia. That was misrepresentation. They were not speaking on behalf of Australia, and they were not expressing the foreign policy of Australia. They were speaking on behalf of themselves and the “ isms “ they represented: I say deliberately to the Parliament and to the Australian people that there is only one authority that can be held responsible for Australia’s foreign policy, there is ‘ but one authority to initiate it, and but one authority to endorse it, and that is this Parliament. There is no authority other than this Parliament to represent or speak for the people. Until this Parliament is consulted, no one, no matter who he may be, has the right to speak on behalf of this country. No one has the right to commit this nation until it has been consulted through this Parliament. The Government is the Executive, and its job is to carry out not the foreign policy of individuals but that which has been agreed to by this Parliament. There can be no representation without the endorsement of this Parliament, which means the endorsement of Australia. Parliament must be supreme. Nobody will dispute that this Parliament is the voice of Australia, but this Government and many of its predecessors have consistently ignored the Parliament. As far as I know, this Government has made no attempt even to consult its own caucus. Members of the Government party have no real say in the making of foreign policy. Just as financial policy is the closely guarded preserve of the Prime Minister, with no questions allowed, so foreign policy is the personal possession, not of the Minister for External Affairs, not of the Prime Minister, and not of the Parliament, but of whatever person is expressing it. It is the policy of the person who is expounding it, and he says it is the foreign policy of Australia. An unknown individual of the Department of External Affairs can lay down a foreign policy of his own, but private members of the Labour party are not allowed to express an opinion. How often is Cabinet itself consulted? Major decisions are reached without a Cabinet meeting. Ministers were just as surprised as every one else in the country when they opened their newspapers and found what Colonel Hodgson had said. The Minister tables a voluminous report containing thousands of words, but he does not even invite constructive assistance from this House. It is all signed, sealed and delivered before we know anything about it. As soon as a report is tabled the Minister no doubt heaves a sigh of relief and starts to pack his bags, hoping that it will be months and months before he sees Canberra again. I admit that the Minister for External Affairs is a very distinguished world figure. Without question, he is a man of great ability. He has achieved high distinction and high office abroad largely owing to his individual efforts, energy and skill in that kind of politics. For all that, our Minister for External Affairs is to be very highly complimented, but that does not mean that he has any right to commit this country to his personal viewpoint on any matters that arise. It is not the Evatt viewpoint that matters. It is the viewpoint of the Australian people that should, and finally must, prevail. It is the Minister’s job to carry out the will of the Australian people and it is not his job to impose his own will on the Australian people. That is the real danger of the present state of our affairs abroad. Contrast what happens in this Parliament with the practice of the British House of Commons, which is the Mother of Parliaments. In Britain the Foreign Secretary is always given absolute priority in expounding and defining the country’s foreign .policy to Parliament. On the Palestine situation Mr. Bevin was challenged by many members of the Labour party. He met that challenge squarely. He explained his policy to the House, giving the reason for the actions taken and to be taken, and invited his critics to say where he was wrong and how they would have acted had they been in his place. That was the correct attitude. Some members of the Labour party, even after all that, still voted against him, and they were not expelled from the Labour party. The British Parliament endorsed the Bevin policy, and he had a mandate to go ahead. Does that happen here? The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) is the only honorable member on the Government benches who has ever dared to question the Government’s foreign policy. The British Parliament is invariably summoned whenever there is a major problem of foreign policy to be determined. If there is a crisis the British Government’s first action is to summon Parliament. That does not happen here. Recently this Government was confronted with a question that might well have determined the future of this country and affected the lives of children yet to be born. The Government received an invitation from Pundit Nehru to attend a conference at New Delhi. That meant that this country was being singled out for isolation from its fellow white race countries by being invited to attend a pan-Asian conference. Attendance would mean recognizing an Asian grouping of nations that one day might decide to sit in judgment on the White Australia policy. Had the Prime Minister properly discharged his responsibilities to Australia he would have summoned Parliament. I ask this question: Did he even consult his Cabinet ? Willy-nilly Australia was committed to attend that conference, and then, having gone that far, instead of the Prime Minister himself, on whose shoulders the responsibility lies, or a senior Minister, going to the conference, the Government sent Dr. Burton and, whoever he may be, a Mr. Moody. These two gentlemen did the talking for Australia. They recorded their votes and they even drafted the anti-Dutch declaration adopted by that conference. That policy was entirely divorced from reality. It made us an ally of the pro-Japanese opportunists of Indonesia, who are to-day pro-Communist. It meant breaking down a white barrier to communism. This Government must be -fully aware of the pan-Asian objectives of the Cominform. I cannot for one second believe that it does not know that. It must realize that Australia’s potential enemies are as close to-day as they were in the early days of 1942. Yet this Government deliberately destroys a bastion against Communist infiltration. It joins an Asiatic bloc against the anti-Communist Dutch in Indonesia. What will be its policy if there i9 another conference, called by the same people, to deal with the position in Malaya? Will it again join the panAsian nations and tell Britain to get out of Malaya and Singapore? Former Australian prisoners of war who spent many months in prison camps in Malaya are rightly asking what I am asking - that is, where is this country heading? Yet these two young men appointed by the Government went to New Delhi with authority to commit Australia without this Parliament being consulted.
– Is not India a member of the British Commonwealth?
– Our representatives helped to draft the declaration resolved on by the conference. “Was that done for Australia ? No ! It was done for the coloured nations. The declaration asked the United Nations to issue an ultimatum to the Dutch. What is going to he the position when the Communists at present operating in New Guinea start trouble amongst the New Guinea natives similar to that which their colleagues have started in Indonesia? I wish I could make the Government realize the implications of this whole matter. What will happen if Pundit Nehru calls another conference in support of a New Guinea native republic? Would Australia’s position be any different in these circumstances from that of the Dutch in Indonesia? On the score of length of occupancy, the Dutch would be in a much more favorable position than we would be in.
These young men then sponsored another move which was that the United N ations should invoke military sanctions, if necessary, against the Dutch. That would mean the recruitment of an international armed force to compel the Dutch to carry out the instructions of the New Delhi conference. That would mean Australians fighting against the Dutch, in support of the Indonesians. How many people in Australia are prepared to support that policy? Yet that is the policy adopted by the New Delhi conference. It is not Australia’s policy. It has never received the approval of this Parliament. How long would the White Australia policy survive under those conditions? It is completely false to assert that Australia’s presence in New Delhi helped the cause of peace in Indonesia. It was just another example of vicious old-time power politics. It was a parade of force, designed to intimidate the Dutch. Let us face the hard facts. If the Dutch leave Indonesia, Australia’s position will be much worse than at present.
The future of Australia is being decided by what is now happening in Asia. The Communists are thrusting south. Russia is carrying out, in Asia, exactly the same policy as that followed by Japan. The Japanese war-lords talked about their “ Greater East Asia Co-
Prosperity Sphere “. The Moscow warlords talk about the “Pan-Asiatic Movement “. Both had the same basic design. Both were imperialistic designs. Both were out to create a unified Asiatic bloc against the rest of the world as a preliminary to world domination. The Japanese called the war in China the “ China Incident “. The Russians talk about the “ Communist liberation of China “. Both were wars of aggression. Of the two, the Russian plan is more dangerous to this country, and more likely to succeed. It took twenty years to bring the Japanese to a halt. The same amount of time is not likely to be available to put an end to the Russian plan. Yet, we have a Minister still talking fatuously about the future Japanese menace, when we have the Russian menace right at bur back door. The future role of Japan must remain one of conjecture. There can be no question about Russia’s aims while the present imperialists are in the saddle. Which side Japan will be on will depend largely upon the success or failure of the MacArthur policy, which is anti-Communist. If Japan follows China, and becomes Communist, the outlook will be bleak indeed.
Of the position in China, the Prime Minister, in his 2S-page review of world affairs tabled in this Parliament at the end of last year,, had this to say -
As regards China, there is not a great deal I can say at this stage. The position there is at present most confused, and honorable members should not take for granted all reports they may hear regarding progress of the fighting between the Chinese Government and the Communists.
That was the information conveyed to this Parliament. Events since should have convinced the Prime Minister that he was not adequately briefed. But where do we go from there? Apparently, the Government has already abandoned the Indonesian line. It is prepared to help the Communists right up to the front door. It will not even deal with those already inside. A Communist China might well prove to be the first step towards the encirclement of this country. We could then be soon isolated. Moscow’s master plan provides for a completely unified Asiatic bloc under the direct control of Russia. The present campaign by Communist forces has only been made- possible by a Moscow version of lendlease. Whatever may be the Government’sviews regarding theKuomintang Government, the defeat of that government and the triumph of Moscow is a terrific blow. It will provide international communism with a huge army of mercenaries, available to follow the road south towards other immediate objectives.
Already, the Communists have bypassed Southern China. They have established themselves in Indo-China, the so called Vietnam Republic. They have penetrated deeply into Burma. Communists subsidized and conducted the guerrilla war of terrorism in Malaya, in an attempt to capture vital economic spoils - the rubber and oil so vital to the Russian Asiaticwar machine.[ Extension oftime granted.] They are already strongly established immediately to the north-west of this country, in Indonesia. The Indonesian Republican campaign was an example of Communist military strategy in operation.
Contrast the present position in the western Pacific with that of only seven years ago, when the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbour and Malaya. The Russians have already established their stepping stones. They have their traitors inside their objectives. They are not relying only on Communist doctrine. They are feeding native discontent, and backing nationalist movements. Above all, they are pouring huge subsidies into this undeclaredwar. Theyhave reversed MacArthur’s island-hopping strategy. As a matter of fact, the zone under General MacArthur’s immediate command is the one zone where the Communists have made no head-way. He hasoutwitted them. Japan mightwell prove to be a forward base in the western Pacific for those defending western democracy.
There is also the danger of Communist penetration in India. If the Communists can smash the existing Indian regime, there would be more hundreds of millions added to their forces. The next New Delhi conferencewould be an allCommunist conference. The Communists will spare no effort. They are prepared to fan hatred and suspicion against every western power. The possibility of such a campaign directly involving this coun try was shown very dearly in the judgment of Mr. Justice Pals, the Indian representative on the Tokyo War Trials Commission. His judgment was very disturbing to all aware of the risks we are at present running. We can expect no aid from that quarter, if his judgment is representative of Indian thinking. In spite of all these ominous signs, this Government had not shown the slightest interest in what is happening almost at our doors. Representatives of British countries were reported to have held important defence discussions in Singapore recently. This country should have been represented at the highest level. It was not. Is the Government unaware of the real dangers ahead ? The Government has doneeverything possible to wreck friendly relations with the one power in the Pacific with which we have interests in common, and which could come to our aid - the United States of America. There is urgent need for a proper understandingwith the United States Government on this position. We cannot afford to risk being caught unawares again.
The Government has also defaulted by its failure to deal with the Communist menace within. The Cominform is an admitted agency of Russian foreign policy. Australian Communists have proved theirwillingness to serve the ends of Russian foreign policy. They have been prepared to develop their organization in Australia as an outpost of that policy. How arewe to defend this country whilewe have a government that is prepared to give its potential enemies all the facilities, and all the aid, they require? Communist agents have wormed theirway into control of vital defence needs, such as transport, the fuel industry and communications. Communist agents have been given facilities by thisGoverment to act as couriers of Russian foreign policy. No adequate check has been made on the admission of Communist agents from abroad. This country is wide open. Next time therewould be no “ Brisbane line”. The Communists have already penetrated as far south as Hobart. Perhaps the Government is thinking of a Heard Island line!
There have been disquieting reports of Communist penetration into the Northern
Territory and New Guinea. Many known Communists have been heading north in recent months. They are said to have appeared even in government positions in Darwin, whilst Communist union organizers have given more attention to the needs of their organization in the Northern Territory than their membership warrants. A very responsible person in New Guinea has informed me that residents there are very concerned at the number of Communists who have obtained permits to enter. They are also worried at growing evidence that the natives are being poisoned against Australian control by insidious propaganda. The Soviet representatives at the United Nations have been altogether too well informed regarding Australian administration of its trusteeship.
Sitting siispended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– The criticism of the Russian delegates was not on the basis of hit or miss. It was based on first-hand reports. There is also evidence that Chinese Communists have been wending their way south through the islands, just as they penetrated into Malaya. .So, an Asiatic Communist attack on Darwin or Rabaul would be a proposition altogether different from the Japanese attacks. A Communist Asia is now accepted by the Communist party in Australia and throughout the world as a necessary forerunner of world communism. The Government cannot afford, therefore, to ignore what is happening to nationalist China.
– Order! The honorable member’s extension of time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Bernard Corser) put -
That the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) be granted a further extension of time.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.) Ayes .. .. ..23
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- The Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) made a very long statement to the House which has permitted an examination by honorable members of the elements which go to make up Australia’s foreign policy, and also some examination of recent developments in the international field. Upon a statement of broad principles of Australian foreign policy very little disagreement is to be found in any part of the House. As a country’s history develops, certain broad issues of policy emerge, upon which there is general agreement throughout the nation. The Minister who opened this debate, and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), who followed him, found that they were able to agree upon the fundamental elements of our foreign policy, but as the Leader of the Opposition proceeded it was readily apparent that the area of disagreement widened as he examined not the broad principles upon which administrative action is based but the plans which were made upon those principles, and the day to day administrative measures which were taken to put .them into effect. It .became quite clear, as the debate proceeded - in fact it was evident before the debate had commenced - that there is in Australia to-day very violent disagreement on certain aspects of the foreign policy administered by this Government. While that, perhaps, is inevitable to some degree, we find that in the United States of America, to take an example, over recent years there has ‘been close agreement between the two principal political parties on America’s foreign’ policy. As the Leader of the Opposition said, the Republican party, which has been the party in opposition in America so far as the presidency is concerned, has, at the invitation of the President of the United States, been represented at important international gatherings. In Great Britain a remarkable measure of agreement between the Labour party and the Conservative party has been attained in relation to the course which should be followed in foreign affairs. It is somewhat remarkable, therefore, that when under the conditions of our post-war period, the opposing political parties of other English-speaking countries have in the main been able to reach agreement on foreign policy, such violent disagreement should take place in Australia. That situation lends force to the request repeatedly made in this House by the Leader of the Opposition that there should be established a foreign affairs committee to study the problems of foreign policy, not necessarily with a view to determining policy, but in order that the fullest information may be placed before all honorable members who are closely interested in these matters. If we could not reach complete agreement on the basic policy to be followed, at least we could narrow down the area of disagreement as the result of having shared in the fullest information. I hope that on this occasion the Minister will not dismiss this request so lightly as he has dismissed similar suggestions in the past. Criticism of a nation’s foreign policy is a natural thing. I do not anticipate that what has been the post-war situation in either the United .States of America or Great Britain will continue indefinitely.
As economic factors enter more and more into the post-war situation the normal party alinements will show themselves more clearly, and as the immediate crisis passes the peoples of the nations will indulge themselves in the luxury of disagreeing on matters of detail connected with the foreign policy of their governments. But while that may be the situation there, I believe that the disagreements in Australia go far beyond the minor criticisms of matters of day to day administration. The criticisms made by honorable members on .this side of the House go to the very heart of the policy that the present Government has pursued. Therefore, I find it necessary to make a close analysis in order to see whether we can narrow the field of this disagreement, point to instances where the Government has taken the wrong track, and show the common-sense course that should be followed.
Much of the difficulty has arisen for Australia, and most of the errors have been committed by this Government because Ministers have not realized the fundamental truth about foreign policy that, whilst a country may have a long-term and a general objective, there are also short-term considerations which are no less pressing, and which, indeed, may demand far more attention from the Administration of the day. I shall explain that statement. We all share, the long-term policy and objective that the Minister has announced to the House. We all want world peace. There is nothing remarkable about that desire. It is an aspiration common to mankind at the present time. We believe with the Minister that the only satisfactory way in which to maintain world peace upon a system of justice that will commend itself to democratic peoples is through a world organization in which, if practicable, all nations are represented. That is the long-term view, and we on this side of the House share it wholeheartedly with the Minister. But we consider that, desirable though that view may be, any government which regarded it as its sole aim at present and placed all its eggs in that particular basket would be going in the teeth of all the experience of history. World peace is desirable, of course. Is it attainable?
W e have yet to learn whether it is attainable. It has not yet been found attainable in the history of mankind and so, aspire as we may, and support as we may to the best of our ability the objective of world peace through a world organization, it will be suicidal folly to regard that as our bastion and not to have due regard to the other sources of strength that are available to us.
No government, in formulating its foreign policy, can afford to ignore considerations which, whilst they may not be pressing, are represented in our eyes as either contingencies or foreseeable probabilities. What are those foreseeable probabilities so far as Australia is concerned? What are the possible threats to the security of the Australian people within the measurable future? One of them is immediately before us. It is the threat to world peace represented by Russian expansion, a threat that may be met or, in point of time, challenged even’ before the Russian threat reaches us by a counter-offensive on the part of the United States of America. That, perhaps, does not seem such a live issue as it appeared to be to the world in the middle of last year, but I know that in Europe last August, there was a widespread feeling that the clash might come then. There was also a feeling that, if the clash did not come from the Russians as the result of the blockade of Berlin which they had instituted and of other expansionist and hostile action which they were taking against the western powers, those influences in the United States of America which had argued that the sensible course, for America was to step in and crush Russia before it became too late, might become dominant. That was a live issue then, and it is still alive. The danger may not seem to be so acute as it was last August, but it certainly has not passed. The problems that existed then exist now. Immediately ahead of us is a threat to the peace of the world, and if hostilities were instituted either from the United States of America or Soviet Russia, Australia would inevitably be involved. If Australia were inevitably involved, as I have suggested, has any honorable member doubts about the side on which Australia would find itself?
Of course, there is no doubt in our minds about that. If hostilities were to break out between the United States of America and Russia, and a world-wide conflagration commenced, Australia, Great Britain and the Western democracies would certainly find themselves lined up with the United States of America. That consideration is inescapable for Australia.
I come now to the other foreseeable probability affecting Australia. In recent years, and particularly in the post-war period, there has been a remarkably rapid development in Asiatic nationalism, inspired in many instances and to a considerable degree by Communist propaganda, Communist tactics and Communist workers. That development represents a real threat to the security of the Australian people. It may not arrive so speedily as the other issue which I have mentioned, and, in the fullness of time, it may pass, but there can be no early check to the growth of Asiatic nationalism. Does any person in this country imagine where our interests would lie and who our friends would be if, as the result of Communist-inspired activity, the tide of Asiatic nationalism were to roll in this direction? Does not. that mean that Australia, while giving full support to the admirable objectives of the United Nations, and lending the weight of its own support to the development of that organization, it must line itself up effectively with those who support the democratic institutions and the way of life for which we stand. Australia would have to take that course if it were to maintain itssecurity in the two contingencies that I mentioned.
If we accept that statement as a truism, and nobody can reasonably contest it, where does it lead u9? During World War II., for the purpose of our security, we were members of the ABDA command in the South-West Pacific area. It comprised representatives of the American, British, Dutch and Australian forces. If either of the two contingencies which I have mentioned were to develop, and I do not know of any other foreseeable contingencies of a major character to threaten the security of this country, is it not a fact that we would look for our protection to those countries in the
ABBA Command which combined with us at the time of our last peril ? Does it not follow that we would look to the Americans, British and Dutch for cooperation? Those things follow as a matter of common sense. The foreign policy of a country should be aimed at achieving the security and prosperity of its people. How, then, does this Government’s foreign policy measure up to the requirements of the future which I have described ? However admirable our achievements may have been in the proceedings of the United Nations, and however energetically we may have pursued our cause there, the record of Australia in our day-to-day dealings, quite apart from the United Nations’ activities, has been disastrous. Far from creating goodwill or even retaining the goodwill that we had been able to establish with our allies during the war, and far from holding the goodwill that we had been able to develop in other countries which our efforts had succeeded in liberating, we have lost nearly every friend we had. We have certainly slapped the United States and Dutch administrations in the teeth.
– That is not true about the United States of America.
– I shall take one illustration that has been mentioned earlier in this debate. I refer to the problem of Manus Island.
– Certain statements on that subject have been entirely incorrect.
– I shall be glad if the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) will correct me, should he decide to intervene in the debate. For the present, I say that it may well prove in the subsequent history of this country that the decision regarding Manus Island was the most colossal blunder ever perpetrated by a government, in the name, apparently, of national sovereignty and on the score that Australia should not. surrender that valuable territory. When the matter was raised, the Minister for External Affairs quoted the opinion of Admiral Sir Louis Hamilton, who told the Government that Manus Island was Australia’s Scapa Flow.
– So it is. INI
– Could there be any more unreal approach to the whole matter? Where is the Australian fleet to be serviced or to be quartered at this Scapa Flow? The Minister may chide me and say that I am looking to the immediate future, aud remind me that we must bear in mind a point of time 10, 20, 40 or 50 years ahead. I contend that this generation must look immediately ahead if it is to survive. Whilst it is one thing to tell the Australian people that our population one day will be 40,000,000 persons, it is another matter for an Australia of fewer than 8,000,000 persons to talk grandiloquently about our Scapa Flow, and, in doing so, to push away the powerful friend that we would have had in these waters. Do we want this territory? Do we require the land for developmental purposes ? We already have a large continent which is relatively unscratched, and we have substantial territories under our mandate away from Australia which urgently require development. The sound policy for Australia would have been to welcome the Americans to Manus Island with open arms and to have assisted and joined with them in financing the project. Perhaps a suitable arrangement could have been made for some of our forces to be stationed there to co-operate with the Ajnerican forces. But it was not to be. The Minister took a stand on high principle, for which a splendid case can be made out from the platform or on paper. Australia is to repudiate the realistic approach to this problem and deny itself the assistance and strength of a most powerful ally in these waters. I mention that as an illustration of our treatment of the Americans in the post-war period-
– Does the honorable member state that the Americans made a request for permission to establish a naval base at Manns Island?
– I did not say that. My understanding of the matter was that the Americans desired to maintain their naval base at Manus Island and that their offer or suggested arrangement was rejected by the Australian Government.
– That statement is incorrect, too.
– Let the Prime Minister give us the facts. I assure the right honorable gentleman that on such information as we have been able to glean through the press and from answers to questions that have been asked of the Minister for External Affairs the overwhelming (body of Australian opinion condemns the Government for the action that it has taken.
I do not propose to say a great deal about the Dutch. They were our allies. Can anybody now claim that *he goodwill which was created has not been utterly destroyed by the actions of this Government? I hope that the Dutch people h, ve taken a common-sense view of this matter. However grevious the blunders may have been and however painful may have been the treatment that they have received at the hands of this Government, [ cherish the hope that the Dutch people realize that that attitude is not the attitude of the Australian people as a whole and that those actions were the manifestations of a Government which, on these issues, cannot claim the support of the Australian people.
Great Britain is the other important element in our security. It is obviously essential to the security of Australia that Great Britain and the British Commonwealth should be strong. Therefore, it is proper to examine the degree to which the Socialist Government in Great Britain and the Socialist Government in Australia have contributed to the strength of the British Commonwealth by their actions in the international field in the post-war years. It is a tragedy for the British Commonwealth that at this critical time in its history the affairs of this country and of Great Britain are controlled by Socialists, to whom the British Commonwealth is something secondary and who are concerned with the development of internationalism through international organizations. W<; have been appalled in this country by developments in the post-war years which have indicated the steady breaking up of the British Commonwealth group.
– In what way has it broken up?
– I shall deal with that question if I have time in which to do so. The Minister for External Affairs has always claimed that he is British Commonwealth minded. He has made statements which, if accepted, and I accept them as statements made honestly and sincerely, would convey the impression that to him the British Commonwealth is dominant. With all respect to the Minister, I suggest to him that in recent years be has not devoted to the promotion and strengthening of the British Commonwealth one-tenth of the time that he has devoted to the development of international organizations. That may be due to the fact that no man can do everything at once, and the right honorable gentleman has certainly tried to do much. The fact of the matter is that neither the British Government nor the Australian Government and its Minister for External Affairs have devoted a fraction of the time to maintaining and strengthening the British Commonwealth that they have devoted to the development of international organizations. That may be a tragic development for this country. When I was in England I heard an address delivered by the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Bevin, who remarked upon how closely foreign policy is linked with economic policy. That is very true. At the present time England is engrossed with its economic problems and with its desperate struggle to find from receipts from exports the money that is required to pay for imports. One would have thought that this was an admirable opportunity for the British Commonwealth to show its strength. I attended a conference in London at which 37 Empire parliaments were represented. What a tremendous aggregation of industrial, economic and agricultural strength ! If, iri the post-war years, we could have developed the cooperation that we displayed so readily when the crisis of war was upon us we could have done much to solve Great Britain’s terrific economic problem. The British Government is not Commonwealthminded. Many of the leading British Conservatives have not the conception of the Commonwealth that comes naturally to those of us who live in the Dominions. They are absorbed with the problems of Europe. Although by our combined exertions we could do much to solve one another’s problems, the possibility of using the resources of the Commonwealth to do so has been explored up to the present time. Having regard to the crisis that now faces Great Britain, does it not seem incredible that it is now more than sixteen years since the countries of the British Commonwealth met together for a full-dress economic conference? It is more than sixteen years since they met in Ottawa. No effort has been made either by this Government or by the Socialist Government in Great Britain to pull the Commonwealth countries together in an economic conference which could perhaps solve almost entirely the crisis with which Great Britain is faced.
Dr. Evatt interjecting,
– In the last sixteen years there has not been a full-dress economic conference of the British Commonwealth countries. There may have been odd conferences at which some countries were represented, but there has not been a conference which was as representative as, for instance, the conference of Parliamentarians which assembled in Westminster last year. That is a classic demonstration of the way in which this concentration upon the ideal of internationalism has caused us to lose the benefits that could be obtained from co-operation within the British Commonwealth.
I do not think it is fully realized even in Great Britain just how enduring and critical this crisis is. Great Britain has been praised for the manner in which it has increased its export trade. Progress reports have been rendered showing how the gap between the price paid for imports and the money received from exports is narrowing and how the volume of exports is gradually bringing Britain closer to the point at which it can pay for its essential imports. I believe that the worst of the crisis has not passed and that it has yet to come. Let me give an illustration of what I have in mind. Britain has been able to increase its export trade in a period of world scarcity, when the industries of countries such as Australia have not returned fully to peace production and when Germany and Japan, two of the greatest industrial countries in the world, have been, relatively speaking, out of action. Only twelve months ago the industrial output of Germany was approximately 40 per cent, of the 1936 output. It was certainly not sufficient to allow the Germans to engage in any considerable export trade. However, the very efficient joint British-American administration in Germany has achieved remarkable results in getting German industry back on its feet. The latest figures that I saw showed that the German industrial output had reached 75 per cent, of the 1936 figure. In the short space of twelve months the industrial output of Germany has almost doubled. A progressive increase is taking place. At the present time and for some considerable time to come, Germany must import 50 per cent, of its foodstuffs, and it must attempt to pay for them with its exports. It cannot do that at present; and it is being kept going by finance made available by the United States of America and Great Britain. A very large proportion of the finance is supplied by the United States of America. The same thing is occurring in Japan. Japan is being kept afloat by American finance, which is transformed into equipment and materials going into Japan. That country is necessarily importing a large proportion of its raw material requirements. The American taxpayers will not indefinitely tolerate a situation in which Germany and Japan are financed by them, and those who are administering these programmes are very conscious of that fact. They have planned that Germany is to be selfsupporting by 1952, and I have no doubt that they have a similar programme for Japan. Those countries can only become self-supporting in that period if they capture a considerable share of the export trade of the world in manufactured goods of the kind which, in many instances, are nOW coming from Great Britain. Great Britain is in an unfortunate position. Unlike Australia, which is able to produce primary products that are likely to be in demand for many years to come, it relies almost entirely upon manufactured goods. Not only are Australia and other countries in a similar situation establishing their own manufacturing industries and placing less and less reliance on imports from Great Britain, but Germany and
Japan are coining back into the field as important factors in world trade. Unless the British Commonwealth countries realize the enduring nature of this economic crisis and determine that they will pool their resources and deal one with the other as closely as they can, then, inevitably, in my view, Great Britain will crash, and we shall crash with it.
Recent developments, and I am not speaking now particularly of economic developments, have led us to talk of the new British Commonwealth or the new Commonwealth. Some .members of it apparently prefer to omit the word “ British “. The new Commonwealth is in being.
– Why not call it the “British” Commonwealth? That is the name of it.
– I call it the British Commonwealth.
– So do we.
– I am glad to have the Minister’s firm assurance that that will be the policy of this Government. He will have in mind that the formal communiqu6 which led to this controversy omitted the word “ British “. I am glad to know that in Australia all parties are committed to a continuance of the use of the word. We must ask ourselves whether the new British Commonwealth is stronger or weaker. I believe that the British Government was confronted with a very difficult dilemma in respect of some of the issues that have faced it recently. It had to make up its mind on the fundamental question of whether it was prepared to make concessions in form to countries such as India, Canada, and even Eire, which would maintain, if not the closest formal association, at any rate the closest real association between the countries which come within the British Commonwealth. Would it insist on maintaining the strict legal, formal ties, and in that way possibly lose from the former association some of its important numbers? I consider that that was ‘ a very real problem. I am not saying that tho steps that have been taken should not have been taken. The search for formulas which will hold together in an even looser association countries which might have been lost had more rigid forms been insisted upon-
– Order ! The honorable .member’s time has expired.
Alotion (by Mr. Bowden) put -
That the honorable iiember for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) be granted an extension of time.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.)
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- Because last night the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), like a proud peacock, spread his tail for all to admire the brilliant plumage of his oratory, and hoped by that superficial means to draw the attention of the House away from the important matters that are being debated, it is my intention to devote some portion of my time to a critical examination of the matters submitted by that right honorable gentleman.
The Leader of the Opposition, at least inferentially, damned the United Nations. He said, in effect, that whilst the Opposition supported the ideals and objectives of the United Nations, as, in another way, it gave credence and support to religious precepts, at the same time the United Nations was not the solution to the problems of the world to-day. As I shall demonstrate in a few minutes, the right honorable gentleman not only propounded such a thesis, but went further and prostituted his art of oratory by giving the House many fallacious instances of what he claimed were misstatements and improper conduct on the part of the Australian Government in its conduct of our international affairs policy. There is no doubt that the whole speech of the Leader of the Opposition was designed to be the basis of a clever plan whereby he hopes to camouflage the yawning chasm that exists between the policy on international affairs of his own party and the Australian Country party led by the right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden), and the policy of this Government. There are no two ways about this question. Either Australia is for the United Nations or it is against the United Nations. It is of no use to say that the terms of the United Nations Charter are mere ideals and objectives. Over and over again it has been proved by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) that the expressions contained in the Charter are not only ideals and; objectives but are also the basis of a working plan on which the hopes of the world rest. There is no doubt that the practical statesmanship displayed by men like the Minister for External Affairs, and their strength and determination to overcome the obstacles that confront the United Nations will eventually carry the day. An attempt is being made by the Opposition to characterize the policy of the
Government as being the policy of one man only. It is denied that that one man is singularly well equipped to state the policy of Australia in the international councils of the world? It cannot be denied that he speaks always as an Australian. It has never been alleged that he has conducted himself in any way that could be said to be un-Australian. That, apparently, is the real source of the Opposition’s grievance. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition has told us - and this is the initial fallacy in his speech - that the peace of the world, to use his own terms, hangs by a thread and that the world is in a ferment. To show that he speaks not only for himself, I remind honorable members that the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) has also said in this debate that “ War is imminent “, and the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has said, “We are on the brink of war “. I put it to the House that this is a basic fallacy that is being used in the Opposition’s arguments. Only a few days ago the President of the United States informed the American Congress that the defence appropriations for the current year would be slashed. The comment that arose from that announcement was that, so far as the American navy was concerned, the slashing of the appropriation would mean that America would have only a one-ocean instead of a two-ocean navy. We also read that the President had slashed the American defence appropriations not because he intended to give greater economic aid to Europe or because he desired to serve some other purpose, but because he had been assured by men who knew, that there mas no prospect of a war. Yet the Opposition has based its whole argument on the fact, as the Leader of the Opposition himself has said, that peace hangs by a thread. Those fallacies and misstatements are continued with challenges in the Government to say that it has not lost friends for Australia. That is a rather inverted way of putting a proposition that we have lost friends for Australia, but on no occasion during tho whole of his lengthy speech did tho Leader of the Opposition say anything positive about who are the friends that have been lost.
– That is correct. Who are they ?
– The Dutch.
– If the Minister for External Affairs or the Government had lost friends for Australia, how then was it that he came to be elected, by those very friends he is supposed to have lost to us, as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations? Of course it is very easy in argument to say, in a general way, that friends have been lost, without stipulating or particularizing who the friends are, or on what occasion or in what situation they have been lost. Some mention was made of Manus Island, and it was said that because we chose to equip and man Manus Island ourselves that that was a slap in the face to the United States of America. I do not propose to deal with that matter beyond saying that if the honorable members opposite who made reference to Manus Island were to inform themselves on the subject I think, to their surprise, that they would learn that the situation is entirely different from what they believe. The fact of the matter is that the Opposition has entirely based its case in this debate on the statement of propositions that are fallacies. To show to what depths the Leader of the Opposition was prepared to sink in bringing matters before the’ House which have very little relation to the subject under discussion, let me remind honorable members that, in the course of his speech, he queried whether the United Nations had any right to intervene in the Indonesian dispute. He said that he was puzzled to know where the United Nations got its authority. Then he read from Article 39 of the Charter as follows : -
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace.
Then the right honorable gentleman said that the Indonesian affair could not be said to constitute a threat to world peace. Let me quote more fully the words of Article 39. They are as follows: -
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression and shall make recommendations. or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42. to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Those words are not mutually exclusive. There is no doubt that the Dutch police action in Indonesia was an act of unprovoked aggression. It was on that authority that the Security Council intervened in Indonesia, despite the puzzlement of the Leader of the Opposition. When a debater reads only portion of a text in order to make a point it rather cheapens his whole argument.
The Leader of the Opposition also mentioned the New Delhi Conference. Speaking of Australia’s participation, he said : -
One would have thought that the interested parties, the Dutch and the Indonesians, would have been invited. . Had the Dutch no right to be heard?
Later, the right honorable gentleman said -
The conference at once stood exposed as an anti-Dutch conference, and Australia was fully represented at it. Our attendance at that conference fitted into the anti-Dutch pattern of the Chifley Government’s policy.
But let us look at the facts. The question whether the Dutch and the Indonesians should be invited was discussed, but when it was understood that the Dutch would not accept, it was decided to invite neither, but both parties submitted documents which were placed before the conference. As a matter of fact, the conference was conducted properly, and showed no animosity against the Dutch. It discussed reports to the Security Council to the effect that there had been deliberate aggression against the orders of the Council. I am sorry that the United States of America, while withholding aid to the Netherlands East Indies, did not complete its obligation under the Charter by withholding aid to Holland itself, and in that way bringing about a quick settlement of the dispute, which should not have been allowed to drag on for so long. As for the validity of the basis of the conference, let me’ point out that it was a conference of members of a regional group. Apparently, while the Leader of the Opposition applauds regional activity in Western Europe, similar activity in the Pacific is unacceptable to him. There can be no doubt that Australia’s participation in the conference was warranted on the’ information available to the Government.
The Leader of the Opposition had much to say about Berlin. In the course of his speech he used all hie debating powers, and there is no doubt that he has a remarkable capacity for debate as such, without unnecessarily paying full regard to truth as opposed to fallacy. He has also a. careful selection of words. He uses well-balanced phrases, and is capable of a nice placement of ideas. But whatever other qualities he possesses, he certainly lacks sincerity. He said that the Berlin blockade had brought appeasement to an end, and then he asked whether Australia supported a policy of appeasement. His question suggested that if Australia did anything to break the Berlin blockade it would be furthering a policy of appeasement. I need only remind honorable members that when the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) was in Berlin recently he said that the Allies should hang on at all costs. Does that, suggest appeasement? Australia, in conjunction with Great Britain and the lini ted States of America - friends which the Opposition claims we have lost - supports the policy of holding on in Berlin, which is certainly not a policy of appeasement. Then, seeing the weakness, no doubt, of that argument the Leader of r. lie Opposition went on to say that the president, Dr. Evatt, and the secretarygeneral of the General Assembly of the United Nations ought not to have directly intervened in the Berlin dispute. They ought not to have taken it on themselves to have attempted to settle the dispute. I. remind honorable members that there i3 a precedent for their action in the deliberations of the United Nations. That organization has been markedly successful in the Balkans in preventing greater bloodshed, and in bringing about a better understanding between Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia and Greece. The president and general secretary of the Assembly acted on a resolution proposed on the 3rd November to the General Assembly, and carried by 50 votes to none, and there is no record of any abstentions. It is worth a moment’s time to examine the text of the resolution, and afterwards to read the comment of outsiders on the action taken by the chairman and the secretary-general. After a general preamble, the resolution states -
The General Assembly -
In the light of that resolution, it is interesting to read what Mr. Louis Dolivet has to say in an editorial in a widely-circulated American magazine about the president and the secretarygeneral of the United Nations Assembly. I quote as follows from the article. : -
With their demand that, the Four Powers begin conversations on measures to end the Berlin crisis and negotiations leading toward the long-overdue peace treaties for Germany, Japan and Austria, they departed from the traditional position of extreme and noncommittal caution of high international officials . . .
Never before has an international official dared to intervene publicly in a most controversial issue at a critical moment. And they intervened, not with platitudes, hut by taking a clear-cut stand.
Drawing-room diplomats must be shivering in their hoots at such heresy. Certainly they are congratulating themselves on having made their own careers by never taking any initiative. Our congratulations go to Messrs. Evatt and Lie on their great courage and unselfishness and, above all, on their devotion to the high responsibilities of their offices.
Both epitomize the type of United Nations statesman who sees beyond his own person and his own country and identifies himself with the interests of’ mankind. By so doing they have rendered a great service both to world peace and to world democracy . . .
Evatt and Lie were strengthened in their determination to act and, as a matter of fact, they acted only because of the unanimity with which the resolution of 3rd November, proposed by Mexico, was adopted. Hypocrisy is not the official rule in international conferences. The resounding speeches made in support of the Mexico resolution were not mere window dressing. The President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General took the next logical step. And, by taking it, they make the United Nations what the Charter meant it to be: The “centre for harmonizing the actions of the nations “.
It is apparent that the arguments of the Opposition regarding the part played by the president of the General Assembly in regard to the Berlin dispute have done nothing to help, but are merely part of an attempt foully to blackguard the splendid work he has done. Not satisfied with his long misstatement of situations, the Leader of the Opposition asked, in effect, what was Australia’s contribution to the Charter of the United Nations. He admitted that Australia succeeded in having a policy of full employment adopted at the San Francisco Conference, but that, he said, meant nothing. He quoted the opinion of some eminent socialist Ministers of the Crown in Great Britain in an attempt to prove that a policy of full employment could not be made to work even by a socialist Government. When the Leader of the Opposition quoted Mr. Herbert Morrison as saying that without American assistance there would be between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 unemployed persons in Great Britain to-day, and that that view was shared by Mr. Aneurin Bevan and was upheld by that very sober publication, the Board of Trade Journal, he overlooked, either for the purposes of his argument or otherwise, the fact that Great Britain is suffering from a war damaged economy. Pull employment is not possible of achievement in a country, the economy of which is impaired by the ravages of war. It was only presupposed, as economists themselves say, “ other things being equal “, that full employment would function in a normal kind of society in which the raw materials and machinery of basic industries had not been laid waste by bombing and other ravages of war. The Leader of the Opposition was more concerned about the phrasing of his speech and the beautiful finery and plumage of his oratory than about hard facts. If his speech had to be classified it could be said to be a brilliant but a shallow speech. It was certainly not the type of speech, nor has any speech made from the Opposition side during this debate been the kind of speech that could be classified as utilitarian or as making a contribution either now or later to the advancement of Australian foreign policy. No statement has been made by the Opposition of what Australia’s foreign policy should he. Honorable members opposite have contented themselves by saying “ Let us make friends of the friends we already have “. I venture to add that not only have we not lost any friends but also that, through the medium of the Minister for External -iff airs, we have gained the admiration of the representatives of the nations at the General Assembly of the United Nations. The main cry in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition was an appeal for realism. While that matter has been dealt with in some part by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) who spoke about the Western Union and the Atlantic Pact, it may not be a bad idea to inject into this debate, even at this late stage, some conception of the difficulties experienced in a concourse of nations which deals with a wide variety of subjects.
– You may regard this, Mr. Speaker, as wearisome repetition, but I cannot refrain from saying that that is the kind of interjection which in itself is fallacious. Where is the evidence that Australia has not stuck to Great Britain? Where is the evidence that Australia has lost its friends? Let honorable member opposite particularize. but for heaven’s sake let them not generalize. Let them make a worth-while contribution or say nothing at all. I do not intend to occupy the time of the House by asking it to consider all the matters which may have been in the minds of the representatives of the powers when they have gone to the conference table. Let us look at what might be termed the Soviet point of view. It might be said that the Soviet would regard the United States of America as the sole beneficiary of the war. America came out of the war with its industries undamaged and its factories producing an everincreasing volume of goods. The Soviet has seen the de-industrialization provisions of the Potsdam declaration torn to shreds. It has seen western Germany, un-ler the control of Great Britain, the United States, and France restored to a degree far beyond the economic limits laid down at Potsdam. It has seen the United States in complete control of Japan and it is aware that the United States holds and retains the secret of the atomic bomb. On the other hand the view of Great Britain and the United States of America might be that they have seen the Soviet swallowing whole European countries, and that they have witnessed the continual probing of western defence at constantly shifting geographical and political points. They have seen the Soviet spheres of influence increase through the Communist parties in Italy, France, Latin America and, perhaps, even in the United States itself. They have seen the Soviet keeping the China war and the peace settlements and other attendant problems in Germany in a fluid state. These are some of the realistic propositions which face the United Nations. Their existence, however, does not indicate that the points of view of the two great powers of the world are entirely irreconcilable. There has been a great deal of secrecy on the part of the Soviet and there has been considerable prejudice on the part of the Western Powers but, despite all that, the United Nations has gone a long way towards narrowing the bounds of the divergent views and the reaching of international understanding. In relation to the implementation of the Charter there has been a decision not to use the veto in order to prevent discussion or to prevent the placing of any matters on the agenda.
It has also been agreed that where there is abstention from a vote in the Security Council, that abstention shall not operate as a veto. There have been other matters which prove that despite their apparent irreconcilability the Soviet and the United States share a considerable amount of common ground, and that the United Nations has made a great deal of progress in increasing the area of that ground. The United Nations has established a number of specialized agencies. These may be described briefly as the International Labour Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Bank and Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, Unesco, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Telecommunications Organization, the Postal Union, the World Health Organization and the International Refugee Organization. In addition, many committees have been established, including the Economic- and ‘Social Committee and the Trusteeship Committee. Although the proceedings of these committees have not always been harmonious, it cannot be doubted that, the committees have been of great value in advancing the interests of world peace. Indeed, their very existence is a marked step along the road to peace. They have endeavoured to tackle the causes of war and they have certainly developed the habit of cooperation in attempting to reach international understanding. I believe that they have created a demand for peace. We have read in the document appended to the Minister’s statement that the budget for the United Nations for 1949 amounts to approximately £ A.10,000,000 and that an additional £3,000,000 is to be provided for special projects such as Korea, Palestine, the Balkans and Indonesia. That Australia, is able to participate in these discussions which may secure lasting peace is a matter of which we may well be proud. The Leader of the Opposition stressed the importance of the conclusion of peace treaties as a prelude to the maintenance of peace. In order to support his argument, he quoted from a book written by the Minister for External Affairs. I remind him that the Minister has never minimized the difficulties that lie ahead of the. United Nations until these peace settlements have been concluded. It is hoped that at the resumed session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which will begin on the 1st April next, considerable progress will be made towards the solution of the atomic energy problem, disarmament, and Korean and Balkan problems, and that much will be done to overcome the obstacles which have been put in the way of the admission of new members to the United Nations.
.- Although the people of Australia, as far as I have been able to judge from travelling in my electorate in Tasmania., have shown an increased interest in international affairs, there is, on the part of ordinary members of the community, an apathy in regard to this subject which is so vitally important to Australia. The people, at least, are glad to know that the Government is interesting itself in world problems, but those problems seem to be too remote to impress the ordinary man or woman in Australia. Therefore, our responsibilities as members of the Parliament become so much greater. After all, we have better facilities than those which are available to the ordinary members of the community for understanding the problems that face the world. Tt is our duty to do our best to implement the ideals for which we fought and won the war. That is the bounden duty of the victorious nations, all of which should be imbued with a common desire to bring about world peace. I deprecate the attempt which some honorable members opposite have made, both during this debate and outside this House, to belittle the achievements of the United Nations.
– Be fair.
Atr. DUTHIE.- ‘Only a fortnight ago, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) addressed two meetings in Tasmania. The comment of those who attended both meeting was that most of hi? speech consisted of war-mongering. They said that the right honorable gentleman had endeavoured to write down the United Nations, but that he did not suggest any alternative to it. In his speech during this debate, he said that the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) had excessively eulogized the Charter of the United Nations. Other honorable members opposite have said that we cannot place our faith in the United Nations. What is the alternative? Admittedly, the United Nations is still a young organization in point of time. However, it is not inexperienced, because many of the individual members have been prominent world figures- for twenty years, and understand the difficulties and have learned the lessons of the League of Nations. I am sure that any attempt to ridicule or belittle the work of the United Nations or to create cynicism among the people of Australia in regard to it will induce conditions for another conflict. Great harm is being done by engendering doubts and saispicions in the minds of people. Many statements which honorable members opposite have made in this debate, if published in the press of the world, would create international misunderstanding rather than international understanding. What would the Liberal party and the Australian Country party have done, had they been in office during the last four or five years? Would they have cut Australia adrift from the United Nations? Would not they have sent representatives and observers to its conferences? Would they have ignored it and endeavoured to solve post-war international problems on their own? In many respects, their criticism of the work of the Minister for External Affairs savours of hypocrisy. In truth, they would have done precisely what this Government has done. That is the answer to their criticism. Many members of the present Opposition would, in the circumstances I have visualized, have been doing their best to secure appointment to the delegations that have proceeded overseas to attend international conferences. But to-day, they have criticized the Government for having sent representatives to those conferences.
– Who has?
– The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) may not have done so, but many of his colleagues have.
– I did not hear one of them voice that criticism.
– The honorable mem ber was absent from the chamber at that time. Such statements as “We are on the brink of war “ and “ We are on the edge of a precipice “ must have an unfortunate effect not only in Australia but also in other countries. They definitely pfivmir of nu attempt to creatp f-uspirinn and fear in the minds of the people that another world war is imminent. We must understand the international situation. We are in the midst of a period of change and re-adjustment after the greatest world conflict in our history. It is obvious that there must .be a period for settling down, a time of verbal battles and ideological warfare, and anxiety, tension and jockeying for positions in the international sphere. Such conditions are only natural. We are passing through such a period at the moment, and there is nothing fantastic about it. Similar conditions prevailed after World War I., and. indeed, they prevail after every great war. The amazing thing to me is that the United Nations has achieved so much in such a short time under such difficult conditions. It is true that peace treaties have not been signed with Germany and Japan, but we must remember that the United Nations is an organization designed, not to make the peace treaties, but to maintain the peace after the treaties have been signed. The United Nations is actually doing work for which it was not precisely intended, but it has been obliged to accept the additional responsibilities because of the long period that is elapsing before all the peace treaties are signed.
The Leader of the Opposition, in his speech, did not provide one answer to the great problems confronting Australia and other countries. The right honorable gentleman gave a destructive rather than constructive review of the situation and, at times, he indulged in ridicule. He endeavoured to cast doubt on national leaders who are doing their best to maintain sanity in the world. 1 desire to make particular reference to what the United States of America is doing in Europe. The United States of America is more firmly entrenched in Europe to-day than ever before in its history. Of course, the influence of ‘the United States of America has been felt in Europe in the past. In 1924, America formulated the Dawes plan which was a miniature Marshall plan and was designed to re-establish Germany economically and industrially. Millions of dollars were poured into Europe, particularly Germany, in the period 1924-28. Then the Wall-street crash occurred, and the credits were with drawn, with a result that, within three years, 6,000,000 people in Germany were unemployed. That, briefly, is the history of the Dawes plan. While it operated, it was most beneficial to Europe. It rebuilt Germany and set the wheels of industry in that country in motion again. The financiers then decided that probably conditions were too good, and a panic occurred on Wall-street. That panic reverberated throughout the world, and resulted in the great financial and economic depression, which affected every country. What is to happen under the Marshall plan? It is the new version of the Dawes plan, and is designed to rehabilitate war-torn Europe. The Marshall plan, in scope, is wider than was the Dawes plan, but both plans had the same fundamental ideals. Dollars will be poured continuously into the economy of Europe, including Germany, France and the countries of the Benelux group for the precise purpose of reestablishing their industries and staving off the tragedy of a financial and economic depression. The whole success of the Marshall plan depends on the period of operation. In my opinion, it should operate for at least another five or six years in Europe in order to achieve the aim of its originator. However, should another panic occur on Wall-street, leading to a restriction of credit and purchasing power in Europe, and a financial depression, there will be within two years of that time another 13,000,000 persons out of work in Europe as there were in 1932. The economic future of Europe depends on the length of time that the Marshall plan is allowed to operate.
The answer to communism in Europe is the duration of the Marshall plan. The moment a crash occurs in Wallstreet and millions of dollars are withdrawn from Europe, Russia will be able to make a bloodless advance to the English Channel, and nothing will stop the floodtide of communism from spreading throughout Holland, Denmark, Belgium and France and ultimately engulfing the whole Continent Such an occurrence would be a tremendous menace to the English economy. However, it is my fervent hope that the leaders of America realize the magnitude and importance of the task which the Marshall plan must fulfil. I believe that the plan will be allowed to operate until such time as America can withdraw from Europe gracefully and without unduly interrupting the economic life of the Continent and certainly without plunging it into a depression. Marshall aid is a holding policy. If we can hold Russia’s westward advance by boosting Marshall aid to an even greater degree, the time may come when many of the present day problems will be resolved without war.
It is difficult to speak on international affairs at this stage of the debate without repeating a good deal that has already been stated by previous speakers and with which I am in agreement. I do not intend to do that, but I should like to examine the international scene from a slightly different standpoint. On a realistic assessment of international affairs to-day, we must realize the existence of a diplomatic duel between the West and the East, and the clash of economic and political ideologies as represented by the United States of America on one side and Russia on the other, with the United Kingdom on the side of America. The “no man’s land “ in this struggle is Berlin. The city marks the furthest point that Russia has advanced westward in its history. Whether it will go even further westward is the great imponderable of world politics to-day. Whether the world is big enough for capitalist democracy and communism has still to be decided. Can that tremendous issue be resolved without a. third world war ? I believe that the fate of Western civilization depends on the answer to those problems. Is the world big enough for those two opposing ideologies? Taking the realistic view, we must recognize the existence of great differences between the west and the east. Despite the United Nations and all it has done, the Soviet is dividing the world into two camps.
Why are there such differences between these two groups? First there is the Soviet viewpoint. The Soviet fears that the United States of America and the United Kingdom intend, to impose their regimes on the rest of the world. It remembers too vividly the interventionist policy of the west during the Russian revolution of 1917. It recalls the appeasement of the Nazis in the 1930’s when Germany was intended to be strengthened as a bulwark against communism. The Soviet’s ideology is politically and economically in conflict with that of the west, and Russia has no intention, so far as we can see, of compromising on that issue. But the Soviet also fears the effects of Marshall aid on its aim to socialize Western Europe. The Soviet also fears the plan which the Western countries have evolved for the international control of atomic energy, including the appointment of inspectors to check plants and stock piles in the countries that are members of the United Nations.
– What is the reason for that fear?
– The reason is probably the ingrained fear of an eastern country of the western powers. Russia is more eastern than western. Russia’s fear of the west has extended over centuries. Many things have developed during the last 25 years probably to increase those fears, but many of those fears, I believe, are completely unjustified. However, that is how Russia regards the position. Secondly, there is the western viewpoint. The western powers fear that the Soviet is drunk with power, and desires to impose communism on the world; that the Cominform is still alive; that Communists could be a fifth column for Soviet Imperialism. The Soviet fears that Marshall aid indicates a plan to win an economic war over Western Europe by allowing the area to collapse into chaos, starvation and depression. The west also regards the Soviet’s opposition to measures that the United Nations desires to take, and its refusal ro make progress towards the signing of the peace treaty with Germany and Japan, as an attempt to breed suspicion, confusion and unrest, all of which provide fertile soil in which communism can take root rapidly. Those are the fundamental conflicts between the east and the west which may not be resolved for many years. I believe that of these conflicts the political conflict is the greatest. It is greater than the economic one because trade has a flexibility which enables it to operate between nations with different economic systems provided there is no real political clash. Political conflict between nations stifles trade and aggravates an already tense situation. That is what is happening in the world to-day between the west and the east. In his London speech regarding Marshall aid, General Marshall said that capitalism and socialism were quite compatible and could get along in one world economically. He did not say they could do so politically. It is obvious that we cannot get along together politically, and that is where compromises and adjustments will have to be made. So we find that economic peace to-day is frustrated and hampered by political antagonisms involving who is to have particular spheres of influence, and what is to be done concerning armament and atomic energy control, currency questions and so on, all of which are political. The danger spots of this conflict between east and west are Berlin, Korea, China, the Balkans, the Middle East and Iran. The United Nations has endeavoured to resolve or lessen the dangers in each of these areas. It has not yet been able to solve the problems in Berlin, Korea, China or the Balkans but it has at least prevented war over them, which is certainly an achievement. Russia is counting on the backwash of war, with its displaced persons, starvation, chaotic economic conditions, inflation and the upsurge of desire for self-government to create favorable conditions for the extension of its power and prestige throughout the world. Long centuries of cruelty, feudalism, poverty and oppression in the eastern countries and even in central Europe have opened the flood gates for the Communist ideology to-day. The peoples of Asia are accepting communism as a means of remedying these long-standing injustices. They believe that communism can give them bread, just as the Germans believed that Nazism could give them bread. That real freedom may not come with the bread does not concern these eastern peoples. They want bread and food. Self-government could provide the political answer to communism by developing a type of nationalism that would short circuit the full effects of communism.
The real issue in the world at the moment is totalitarianism versus political freedom. On the one hand, we have no free elections, no freedom of worship, expression and criticism, no freedom of mind, arbitrary arrest, the police state and political dictatorship. That is totalitarianism. Opposing it there are the four freedoms, free elections, British justice, free parliaments with political parties freely oparating, and freedom of thought. That is the conflict in the world to-day. If we are realists, we must recognize it. Whatever the United Nations aims to do and whatever it has done, this conflict is the basie conflict to-day. It may not be resolved before there is a breakdown of the western nervous system under the strain of the Berlin crisis, leading to shooting and war. It can be resolved if it is recognized that eventually the west and the east can live together in one world, with the United Nations growing in prestige and influence until the injustices of both capitalism and communism in the eastern political system and the western economic system are broken down by the great overriding Christian principles of the United Nations Charter. It will need the exercise of patience and tact over a long period to attain the ideals of the United Nations, but that will be worth while if a third world war, which would be an atomic war of frightful dimensions, can be prevented. Can these two ideologies live together in one world ? I think that we must adopt a realistic attitude and say that they can. What alternative is there if they cannot? One will seek to destroy the other in a third world war. The people of the west will try to wipe the people of the ea3t from the face of the earth and vice versa. Will there be time for us to work out a solution before such a clash takes place? Can war be prevented? I do not believe that war is inevitable, and I do not think there are many honorable members of this House who think it is, although some of them talk in a warmongering manner. By recognizing that the world is big enough for the United States of America and Russia, with the United Kingdom taking a middle course, I think that, the United Nations can resolve the present world situation. If it says that these two ideologies cannot live together in the world, its attempts to bring them together will fail, because I do not believe that they can unite in the sense that it would be possible to say that Russia had accepted our way of life and that there were now no differing ideologies. I do not think that that will come about in our time. To be realists, we must accept the fact that these two ideologies, the western and the eastern, are there, [f we recognize that they can live together and do everything we can to stabilize them in their own spheres, we should do much to prevent a third world war. Each of them should live in its own world. The factors which can operate towards the peaceful stabilization of the two worlds in the one world are, first, the limitation of fear between the two groups ; secondly, the peaceful solution of international problems through the United Nations; thirdly, the sense of unity that is growing between the western nation^, and the growing refusal to appease Russia, even though long delays occur as a result; fourthly, the narrowing down and limitation of big issues in the United Nations ; and fifthly, the need of eastern Europe for the manufactured goods of the west and the need of the west for the raw materials and food of the east. Trade, having a stabilizing effect, can break down political and economic barriers if we allow it to do so. The sixth factor is stability in the east and the west. If that could be achieved there would be an immediate relaxation of tension. The seventh factor is that communism may become nationalisttic in various countries in the near future. I personally attach a great deal of importance to this possibility. In various countries in Europe and in the east, communism is gradually becoming nationalistic and drawing away from the Russian communistic internationalism. That is happening in Yugoslavia and Poland. Those countries have become Communist, but they are not linked entirely with Russia. Their nationalism is coming to the surface and they are short-circuiting the international communism of the Kremlin. That could happen in eastern Germany, and it could also happen in China, where mandarin communism is gaming ground. An article by John King Fairbank appeared in the Foreign Policy Bulletin of the 19th November, 1948. It was headed -
What Can U.S. Do if Chiang’s Govt. Falls?
Part of the article read as follows: -
In proportion as the Chinese communists, who have hitherto gained influence chiefly in agrarian areas, get control over cities and national affairs, we can expect them to face increasing problems. If Chinese communism stays closely within Moscow’s orbit, it must eventually come in conflict with genuine Chinese patriotism.
The author could have said “ Chinese nationalism “. The article concluded with the following words : -
We have to face up to the fact that the Chinese communist movement is not only genuinely communist hut also genuinely Chinese.
Those two extracts help me at any rate to understand this aspect of communism in the world to-day. Communism could become nationalistic in many countries and so short-circuit what may be termed Russian internationalism, and thus prevent it from becoming the menace to the world that many of us fear it may become. That is the seventh way by which, in my opinion, the two worlds could be stabilized. Each nation could develop its own nationalistic outlook, although still remaining communist in its politics and perhaps in its economy. That is not an impossibility. It would tend to weaken Russia in the world outside the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It would also make the task of the United Nations much easier, although it would force it to watch closely that the new nationalisms did not go to extremes and become fanatical. The eighth stabilizing force is the creation, through Marshall aid and lend-lease principles, of strong economies in the weak nations to avoid catastrophic collapses into a depression.
Such a scheme as Marshall aid and our own Australian Marshall aid to Europe and the East that the Attorney-General has mentioned is the best counter to communism in the world to-day. Finally, time itself may accustom us to the strange, novel political situation of world powers with differing and opposing political and economic systems, living together in one world, with the United Kingdom striking a middle course between the extreme right and the extreme left - two worlds in one world of peace. Is that a possibility? I believe that it is, and that, unless it is, there will be a third world war with the two worlds out to destroy each other.
In conclusion, I should like to refer to the rise of nationalism in the East, which some of as may fear because Russia may exploit the situation for its own ends. It seems to me, from a study of history, that the East is going through, in 1948-49, what Europe went through in 1848-49. In 1848-49 there was a crop of revolutions in central Europe. Monarchies were overthrown and self-government was established in central Europe with a complete change of outlook. A new central Europe resulted from those revolutions. The same situation is now going on in the East. The eastern nations after long years of sleep-
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department - Civil Aviation - T. K. Watkins. Works and Housing - T. B. R. Honeyman, L. 0. Shields. Northern Territory - Report on Administration for year 1946-47. River Murray Waters Act - River Murray
Commission - Report for year 1947-48. War Service Homes Act - Report of Director of War Service Homes for year 1947- 48. together with statements and balancesheet.
House adjourned at 10.2 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
I and 2. The basic position is as stated by the Prime Minister in his report to Parliament on the 19th June, 1940, in that part dealing with the strategic development and distribution of the resources of the British Commonwealth. I have also referred to the Government’s policy on this matter in my statements on post-war defence policy of the 4th June, 1947, 29th April, 1948, and 23rd September, 1948. In the five years’ defence programme, announced by me to Parliament on the 4th June, 1947, the Government has assumed a substantial commitment for co-operation in British Commonwealth defence in defence research and development, and the main directions in which this effort is being made are: - (a) The long-range weapons project, which is being undertaken jointly by the United Kingdom and Australia, and which is the major item in the research and development programme. (6) Other research and development projects include the development and design of aircraft and other projects relating to armament and other war material which, on account of security requirements, cannot be reported on in detail. A jet-propelled fighter aircraft- the Vampire - is at present being manufactured in Australia and the prototype will be Tcady shortly for flight teste. When available in sufficient numbers, the Vampire will replace the Mustangs now used by Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadrons.
The Government is not aware whether any such proposals are under consideration by the United Kingdom authorities.
Motor Vehicles : Proposed New
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’9 questions are as follows : -
y. - On the 7th December, 1948, the honorable member for Bourke (Mrs. Blackburn) asked a question concerning a certain omnibus accident. Further to my oral reply to the honorable member, I desire to state that in February, 1947, tie Australian Transport Advisory Council appointed two committees to deal with separate aspects of motor vehicle construction and operation, viz. : - (1) The Australian Motor Vehicles Standards Committee to advise the council regarding constructional standards for all types of road transport, and to investigate and recommend to the council uniform standard regulations for the safer operation of goods and passenger vehicles; (2) the Australian Hoad Traffic Committee to formulate uniform road traffic laws acceptable to all States of the Commonwealth, again with road safety as a paramount consideration.’ The Australian Motor Vehicle Standards Committee presented to the Australian Transport Advisory Council, at a meeting held on the 4th November, 1948, a report and recommendations which included vehicle load and dimension limitations, braking specifications, emergency exit provisions, &c. The council adopted the report and instructed the committee to proceed with the preparation of draft regulations for presentation through the council to the Transport Ministers in each State for incorporation in State legislation. Ultimate inspection of vehicles and enforcement of regulations based on the recommended standard will, however, remain the responsibility of the State road transport authorities as at present. The Australian Road Traffic Committee has as its first move compiled a comprehensive summary of road traffic laws of the various States, and a meeting will be held in March, 1949, to discuss a number of items relating particularly to penalties for major traffic offences, in an endeavour to attain uniformity throughout the Commonwealth. The committee, and the Australian Transport Advisory Council, to whom the submission will later be made, can, however, make recommendations only, and responsibility for implementation of any recommendations involving amendment of existing laws will rest with State parliaments.
Wire and Wise Netting.
y. - On the 9th February, the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) asked a question concerning fencing wire. Further to my oral reply to the honorable member, I desire to state that while the present shortage of Australianmade fencing material exists, and in cases where the landed cost (without duty) of such material is not less than the wholesale selling price of comparable Australian-made material, favorable consideration will be given to applications for admission free of duty under customs by-laws of wire netting, barbed wire and fencing wire in all cases where licences to import such materials have been issued. The honorable member is informed that wire netting and barbed wire which qualify for entry under the British preferential tariff are admissible free of duty. As regards shipments already imported, of fencing wire, and of barbed wire and wire netting which have not qualified under that tariff, all applications for admission free of duty under a customs by-law have been granted.
y. - On the 2nd December, 1948, the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) asked a question concerning the status of temporary clerks in the Public Service in the Northern Territory. Further to my oral reply to the honorable member, I desire to state that permanent appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service, in common with other public services, is by examination which ensures both fair and equal competition and a minimum standard of general education. There is no power under the Commonwealth Public Service Act for the making of appointments through temporary service only. Moreover, such a provision would operate unfairly in a service which is based on general rules for regular appointment by examinations. It would enable some persons to achieve permanent appointment merely by the fortuitous circumstances of having been available for temporary employment. A temporary employee in the Northern Territory can obtain permanent appointment to the Fourth Division by passing one of the Fourth Division examinations, whereupon he may transfer to the Third Division by passing the clerical examination. A returned soldier is eligible to enter the Third Division if he is the holder of the Junior or Intermediate Certificate. Many in the Northern Territory have entered the Service in these ways.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 February 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1949/19490216_reps_18_201/>.