19th Parliament · 1st Session
The House of Representatives, on the . 23rd June, adjourned to a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker, and to be notified by him to each honorable member. The House met pursuant to such notification.
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
States Grants (Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave) Bill 1950.
Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1949-50.
Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill (No. 2) 1949-50.
Supply Bill (No. 1) 1950-51.
Supply (Works and Services ) Bill (No. 1) 1950-51.
Wool (Contributory Charge) Bill (No. 1) 1050.
Wool (Contributory Charge) Bill (No. 2) 1950.
Wool (Contributory Charge) Assessment
Bill 1950. Wool Realization Bill 1950. Wool (Reserve Prices) Fund Bill 1950. Nationality and Citizenship (Burmese) Bill
Tariff Board Bill 1050. Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1948-49. Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill 1948-49.
– by leave - Honorable members have been recalled because of the developments in Korea; developments which in the result have involved Australiana in operations of war and are therefore matters proper for the consideration and judgment of this House and of the country. Korea- may seem, particularly to any who have not realized how small the world has grown in terms of peace and war, quite remote from us. Let me therefore state the material facts briefly.
The Kingdom of Korea was annexed by Japan in 19-10, and remained for 35 years under Japanese occupation. In the Cairo Declaration of December, 1943, Britain, the United States and China agreed that “in due course Korea shall become free And independent “. This declaration was incorporated in the Potsdam Proclamation of July, 1945, which was incorporated in the Japanese Instrument of Surrender to which the Soviet Union was a signatory. The division of Korea at the 38th parallel resulted from General Order No. 1 by General MacArthur to the Japanese Government- requiring Japanese forces north of this line to surrender to the Soviet Union and those south of the line to the United States forces. The Korean people are one racially, and the two sections are economically complementary. The south, contains the majority of the population and the rice-growing areas while the north has the hydro-electric works, the mineral deposits and industries.
At Moscow in December, 1945, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics “with a view to the re-establishment of
Korea as an_ independent State “ agreed that a joint Soviet-United States’ commission should consult with the Korean democratic parties. This Joint Commission met in 1946-47 but reached a deadlock owing to the insistence of the Russians on excluding many Korean political groups and individuals. The United States brought the Korean question before the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, 1947. A United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea was set up to supervise elections which were to lead to the establishment of a national government for the whole country. Australia was elected a member and the Temporary Commission operated through 1948. The Soviet and eastern European representatives maintained that Korea, being a matter connected with the peace treaties, was not within the competence of the United Nations and blamed the United States for the breakdown of the Joint Commission. The Ukraine, which had been elected a member of the Temporary Commission, refused to take part in its work.
The Temporary Commission failed, after a number of efforts, to establish contact with the authorities in North Korea and had to limit its activities to the south. The Interim Committee of the General Assembly therefore directed the commission to work in such parts of Korea as were accessible to it. The commission observed the South Korean elections in May, 1948, which, it declared; were “ a valid expression of the free will of the electorate in those parts of Korea accessible to the commission”. The General Assembly thus elected Dr. Syngman Rhee as President and the Government of the Korean Republic was inaugurated on the 23rd August 1948. It is recognized by 28 States.
The administration set up at Pyongyang in North Korea has’ been recognized by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and by ten other countries allied to the Soviet group. The General Assembly in December, 1948, adopted a resolution, of which Australia was a sponsor, recognizing the Government- of the Republic as a lawful government and recommending the withdrawal of all occupation forces.’ A new commission, including
Australia, was established, which has been active in South Korea since February, 1949. Early in 1949 the Soviet announced the evacuation of its forces from North Korea. Verification of the withdrawal of the American forces was completed by the commission by June, 1949. The Soviet opposition to the commission was maintained at the General Assembly meeting in September, 1949, but the commission was re-constituted and observed the second general election on the 30th May, 1950. Further efforts by the commission to make contact with the northern regime met with no response but Pyongyang radio launched a propaganda campaign for unification on the 7th June, 1950.
On the 25th June, forces from North Korea commenced a series of attacks against the Republic. The commission drew the attention of the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations to the dangerous situation. On the same day the Security Council met without the attendance of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It determined that the armed attack constituted a breach of the peace and by a vote of nine, with one abstention, Yugoslavia, called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and directed the authorities in North Korea to withdraw. It called upon the members of the United Nations to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of the resolution. On the 26th June the commission reported that its view was, following the latest reports of fighting and direct observation by its military observers, that North Korea’s attack was a well-planned and full invasion of South Korea, and that the South Korean forces had occupied purely defensive positions and were taken completely by surprise. The commission also expressed the view that North Korea would not heed the Council’s resolution. On the same day President Truman, in one of the most notable statements of modern times, described the attack as unprovoked aggression, and said that in consonance with the call of the Security Council, the United States would vigorously support the efforts of the Council by ordering United States air and sea forces to help the Korean Government.
On the 27th June, at a further meeting, the Security Council recommended that -
Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may bc necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area .
That resolution was immediately approved by seven members, and subsequently by India. Egypt did not participate in the voting, and the sole dissentient was Yugoslavia. More that 40 members of the United Nations, including all British Commonwealth countries which are members, have accepted the Security Council resolution. Only four nations have opposed - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia; two have been non-committal - Egypt and the Yemen; while several have not yet replied.
The Australian Government took prompt steps, which it now invites honorable members to. consider. On the 29th June it communicated to the relevant authorities a message saying that it had decided to support the resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations by placing an Australian naval force in Ear Eastern waters, namely, the vessels Shoalhaven and Bataan, at the disposal of the United States authorities on behalf of the Security Council for the purpose of furnishing assistance to the Republic of Korea. On the following day, the ‘30th June, we announced that the Australian Government, in further response to the resolution of the Security Council, had decided to place at the service of the United Nations, through the American authorities, the Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadron stationed in Japan.
I am aware that these steps have been criticized, not by the mass of the Australian people, but by some so-called peace movements. Unhappily for the” great and sacred name of peace, some of these’ movements to which I refer are designed to do no more than persuade our people that peace is the goal of some other government or governments, but not of their own. Such movements are dangerous. Their purpose is to inhibit our own proper preparations for defence while encouraging possible enemies to press forward war - like measures, calculated upon a supposed division of opinion or unwillingness to fight for survival in the democracies. But there will be some who are critical because they feel that intervention in Korea means a provocation of a third world war. To them I would say on behalf of the Australian Government three things -
First, the Charter of the United Nations, representing a great experiment for peace, was unanimously approved in this Parliament and commands the support of all political parties in Australia.
Secondly, the resolution of the Security Council is the clearest possible expression of a decision by that body that Worth Korea has been guilty of unprovoked aggression against the south, and is also in terms a request to member nations to furnish assistance to the Republic of Korea to repel the armed attack. It must be clear to everybody that to ignore such a resolution or to reject its request would be to help to reduce the world organization to futility. United Nations must be taken as a whole. We cannot accept such benefits as we can get from it and reject the burdens which its Charter places upon us. Nothing could be more fantastic. Nothing would be more out of line with the Australian character and history.
Thirdly, it thus becomes apparent that the present conflict in Korea is on our side no outburst of old-fashioned power politics. On the contrary, the outcome of the conflict will determine whether the United Nations is efficacious for peace. It would be a tragedy for the world if the United Nations failed in this first crucial trial of strength.
It is therefore a perversion of the facts to treat the help now being given by a score of nations, including our own, as provoking a great war. It will, on the contrary, if it is effective, do more to prevent a third world war than almost anything else that could be imagined.
To sum up : These events, which seem so remote in point of space, are not remote in point of significance. They are a reminder that the peace of the world is threatened and that, as a British and democratic nation, we must be not only willing, but also ready. As we are mem- bers of the British Commonwealth of Nations, we must be prepared to stand by our sister nations. As we are subscribers not only in the letter but also in the spirit to the Charter of the United Nations, we must be ready to give force and meaning to the letter and spirit of the Charter. Preparation is all. And no nation can be prepared overnight. Time does not wait for us; nor does the malice of aggressive power; nor does the arrow that flies by night. I therefore, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government in Australia, call upon Australians to give support, by enlistment, to Australia’s naval, military and air forces here and now. All our services need recruits. Preparation that comes too late is but virtue wasted. Contrary to the impression of some good people, the forces of peace always need strengthening.
So that there will be no shadow of misunderstanding, let me state the position of the Government and, as I hope and believe, that of the Opposition, quite simply.
We are for peace. We do not understand aggression, but we will resist it with all we have and are. We are, with all our imperfections, a Christian nation, believing in man’s brotherhood, anxious to live at peace with our neighbour, willing to go the second mile to help him if he is less fortunate than we are. We do not seek to tell another country how it shall live or how it shall govern itself. We intervene in no domestic dispute. But just as we seek the deep, still waters of universal peace, so do we know from bitter experience that the waves of war sweep right around the world.
If there is to be a world organization for peace there must be a world acceptance of the responsibilities to maintain it. In one breath to speak of our allegiance to the Charter, and in the next to ignore the resolution of the Security Council would be either hypocrisy or cowardice, of neither of which has Australia ever been adjudged guilty. In the light of the circumstances I have described, I move -
That this House, having before it the Charter of the United Nations and the recent resolutions of the Security Council in relation to Korea, approves of the action taken by the
Government in placing at the disposal of the United Nations the forces indicated in the statement of the Prime Minister.
– The motion which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has just moved will have the support of honorable members of the Opposition. No party in the history of the world has fought more for the guidance of the world by the United Nations organization than has the Australian Labour party. “Without any bitterness, I say that I hope that sections of the press of this country and mme politicians who have spoken disparagingly of the work of the United Nations organization and, particularly, of the work of my very distinguished colleague in connexion with that body will see fit to retract with a full sense of shame what they have said about Labour’s complete and absolute support for the United Nations organization. Magnificent work has been done in connexion with that organization, not only by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), but also by very many able public officials. It was a Labour government which, in the first place, accepted the invitation to send an Australian representative to San Francisco where the United Nations organization was launched. Honorable members of the Opposition have always believed that only by means of a world organization can the world hope to achieve peace and aggressors be punished and defeated. Consequently, we have always given our complete and. absolute support to the United Nations organization, knowing the many great difficulties that faced that organization in obtaining the support of the nations in a practical as well as in a theoretical sense.
The Security Council of the United Nations organization has now declared that an act of aggression has been committed by the North Korean Government against the people of South Korea. I appreciate the fact that the Prime Minister, in his statement, has refrained from engaging in a discussion of the political convictions of the various parties associated with this matter. The simple fact is that the United Nations organization has declared that an act of aggression lias been committed. I suggest that the question which now requires consideration is whether what has happened does, indeed, constitute an act of aggression. If it does, the United Nations organization will have the complete support of the Australian Labour party.
The Prime Minister’s motion and the action of the Government in offering its assistance to the United Nations organization must, in the circumstances that face us, have the full support of honorable members of the Opposition. The important question is not the type of government in North Korea and in South Korea, but whether one government has committed an act of aggression against another and whether this is a circumstance in which the world organization, the United Nations, should take action and request its members to prevent further acts of aggression and to retrieve the situation to whatever extent may be necessary. To-day, it is North Korea and .South Korea that are concerned in this matter but to-morrow or next month it may be countries in other parts of the world. Much as we dislike the system of government of North Korea, we are not hypocritical enough to say that we believe there is perfection in the government of South Korea. Indeed, I could say a great deal about that matter from my own personal information. However, the Government of South Korea is not the subject of discussion to-day, and it is not the matter upon which a decision must be made. The question is whether there has been a wilful and wanton act of aggression by one country against another, and if so, whether this is a suitable case for the application of the principles of the United Nations. The Australian Government has joined with other governments in giving certain assistance in this matter, and that action we support. It is true, as the Prime Minister has said, that repeated attempts have been made by the United Nations to keep the peace in Korea. Korea has a history extending over some thousands of years. North Korea contains 10,000,000 people and possesses the largest part of the industrial capacity of Korea as a whole. South Korea contains 20,000,000 people and is mainly an agricultural area. North Korea is able to export its products i to Manchuria and other eastern countries, but both North Korea and South Korea are complementary to each other as far as the economy of the Korean peninsula is concerned.
I hope, as we all do, that the action being taken by the United Nations will be successful. It will be a demonstration to the world, and to those who might become aggressors, that there exists a body of 59 nations determined to maintain peace. There are always those who are anxious to make war, and who laud with great eloquence the heroism associated with battle, but the great masses of people throughout the world abhor the very thought of war. The Prime Minister has said that he know9 of no reason why the action taken in Korea by the United Nations, or taken according to its advice, could lead to a third world war. I agree emphatically with him. I think that the action which lias been taken under the auspices of the United Nations is more likely to prevent a third world war than to cause it. I do not believe that the people of any nation in the world seek war. The action that has been taken in the Korean dispute, if it is successful, will prove to the world that the United Nations is something more than a body for passing resolutions. It will prove that when world peace is endangered by a dispute between two countries, the trouble can be settled by mediation and conciliation. It will show that if one or other of the disputing parties is not prepared to conciliate or mediate under the auspices of the United Nations, then the other nations who are members of that organization will play their part in nullifying acts of aggression. I trust that the forces of the United Nations in Korea will be successful and that when success has been achieved a real attempt will be made to establish in that country a democratic, liberty-loving government, which so far has not been possible because of the actions of certain people in North Korea. It is true that for some time past Korea has been, if not under military occupation, at least under the influence of the peoples of other nations. Ultimately, in accordance with the Cairo and Potsdam Declarations, Korea must be given complete independence and self-government. It has been said by a famous English statesman that good government can never be a substitute for self-government. Recently, Pandit Nehru, speaking on behalf of a great number of the Asian peoples, at .Singapore, said that pernicious doctrines advocated by the peoples of other parts of the world could be defeated in Asia only by the granting of selfgovernment to the Asian : peoples. I could discuss that statement at great length but I do not propose unduly to prolong this debate.
The events that are taking place in Korea must have very far-reaching implications on the people of Australia and of other countries. The Australian Labour party believes that before further commitments are entered into by the Australian Government in relation to Korea, the Parliament should be consulted. I realize, of course, that certain replacements of personnel must be made without delay. None of us can foresee the future. Gazing into the crystal bowl gives us no indication of what the future may hold or what success may attend the intervention of the United Nations in the Korean conflict.
I am glad that General MacArthur has been appointed to lead the forces of the United Nations and that the flag of the United Nations will fly over the armies engaged in stemming the aggression /of the North Koreans. I appeal to the Prime Minister to make a definite statement relative to the extension of repatriation benefits, war gratuity .and similar benefits to members of the Australian forces who serve in Korea and to their dependants.
– If I may interrupt the right honorable gentleman, certain technical matters in relation to the forces in Korea are now under consideration. He may be assured that adequate provision will be made for such matters as he has mentioned.
– I thank the Prime Minister for his assurance. I assume that s full statement will be made in regard to the matter at a later date. The Australian Labour party has always firmly supported the United Nations and it fully supports the intervention by the forces of the United Nations in the Korean conflict. We realize that the United States of America will have to carry a very heavy burden in that conflict, and that before the trouble is brought to a successful conclusion other nations may also be heavily involved. Australia was proud to he associated with the United States forces during World War II. I had some personal experience of active co-operation with the United States forces during that conflict. I hope that the harmonious relations that have existed between our two countries in the past will continue. I agree with Pundit Nehru that the strong upsurge of nationalism in Asia must eventually lead to the granting of self-government to many Asian countries that have not enjoyed the benefits of self-government in the past. The granting of selfgovernment to India, Burma, Ceylon, Pakistan, and to a great degree to Indonesia, has resulted in a wave of enthusiasm for self-government throughout Asia. I trust that the operations against the aggressors in Korea will be quickly carried to a successful conclusion and that the Korean people will soon be granted a form of self-government because only by that means will they find contentment and happiness.
– This day will be regarded as an historic day in the annals of this country. It is pleasing not only to the Parliament hut also to the Australian people generally to find that the Opposition is wholeheartedly ‘behind the action of the Government in connexion with the Korean conflict and that it so strongly supports the motion that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has submitted for the consideration of the House. Australia did not hesitate to accept its full responsibility in this matter as a member of the “United Nations. The Government realized that the strength of the United Nations can be measured only by the determination of its members to maintain the peace of the world. It was with gratification that we observed the prompt action taken by the United States of America and the United Kingdom in Korea. The determination expressed by those two great countries strengthened the Australian Government in its decision to accept, on behalf of Australia, the full responsibility that devolves on a member of the United Nations and on a most important part of the British Commonwealth of Nations to do whatever it can to preserve world peace. It is pleasing to note that the Opposition in this Parliament should so wholeheartedly support the actions already taken by the Government and those which it intends to take in relation to the Korean conflict. This is the first testing time in which the United Nations has been called upon to declare itself. I am sure that the democracies of the world will accept their responsibility, and, indeed, intend to carry it out in order not to bring about another war hut to prevent another war. They will do this by acting expeditiously in response to the declaration of the lini ted Nations. We seek to establish lasting peace and goodwill among the nations of the world. For that reason, I am glad that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) has supported M» motion of the Prime Minister.
.- The fact that the motion made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) will meet with support from all honorable members does not lessen the importance of discussing it. Such discussion will add to its weight when it is carried. I do not wish to detail the remote, or even the immediate, causes that led to events in Korea. That is not the first occasion on which the United Nations organization has intervened in Korea. As the Prime Minister has pointed out, the promise of independence to the Korean people was made by the allied leaders in 1948 in the Cairo Declaration. Under that declaration the Korean people were promised freedom after nearly 40 years of what was described in the declaration itself as “ enslavement “ by the Japanese. In spite of that promise and the fact that the declaration was subsequently ratified by Russia, and in spite of all the attempts that have ‘been made outside the United Nations to have that undertaking carried into effect, it was not carried into effect. So, in 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations discussed the matter and appointed a commission to go to Korea for the express purpose of doing preparatory work in order that the people of Korea should be given their independence. The people of Korea are not two different peoples. In 1948 that commission reported -
The Koreans from both North and South Korea belong to the same race, speak the same language, cherish the same customs and traditions, and have the same fervent love of country. Forty years of Japanese occupation and traditions of feudalistic rule have neither dampened the fervour and political passion of the Korean people nor weakened their historical, ethnic, economic and cultural unity as a people. Both this passion and this unity have periodically manifested themselves in patriotic outbursts.
Throughout, Australia took its part as a member of the United Nations Commission on Korea. We have been ably represented on that body. Our presentrepresentative is Mr. Jamieson, who was preceded by Mr. Shaw and Colonel Jackson. The reports that those representatives have furnished have been invaluable to the Government. But what has happened? The United States forces were withdrawn from South Korea. At the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations held at Paris in 1948, the Australian delegation was against the withdrawal of the United States forces from that country, but the United States delegation insisted that the withdrawal was earnestly desired by the people of South Korea themselves. The withdrawal took place, and no doubt that fact has given an opportunity for the perpetration of this wanton act of aggression. In 1949 the report of the United Nations Commission on Korea summarized the position existing in that country in the following words: -
There is much military* posturing on bot] sides of the parallel. This holds a serious danger of provoking open military conflict. Military conflict in Korea would mean the moat barbarous civil war. The Union of Soviet Socialist “Republics continues to refuse to have any dealings with the Commission; it lends countenance to northern leaders in bellicose utterances and in a ‘refusal to con lider ways of adjusting existing difference’ on any plane of relations between north and south.
The report added -
All this induces equal and opposite reactions in the south. -The Government is hastening the pace of its military preparations and is pressing the United States for military aid beyond “that already received. United States military personnel advise and assist in thi? training of the -Republic’s forces, as on the other side of the parallel military personnel of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics reportedly perform like services for tinnorthern forces.
No doubt the position in the interim had been modified to some degree. But the fact is that since 1947, North Korea has been completely closed to the United Nations. Over and over again, reports of the commission on Korea disclosed that it could not obtain access to North Korea to find out what was happening there in order to further its effort to establish a united, independent Korea in accordance with the promise that was made to the Korean people under the Cairo Declaration of 1943. Such a state of affairs has naturally produced in South Korea a feeling of intense animosity. No doubt, the people in the south have made mistakes, no doubt serious mistakes. These have been set out in the various reports and it is not necessary for me at this juncture to refer to them. At this point, I emphasize that action taken by the United Nations under its Charter does not depend upon any judgment of the causes of aggression. The United Nations simply seizes upon the fact that the territorial integrity of South Korea had been infringed by North Korea without any recourse by the latter to the processes of conciliation and mediation. North Korea has taken the law into its own hands. That is the situation to which the action taken by the Security Council is addressed, and that is all upon which we fasten in order to justify the action that the council has taken and the action that the Government has taken in placing armed forces at the disposal of the Security Council.
It is not correct to say, as has been suggested by the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), that this is the first occasion on which action has been taken by the United Nations, but it is the first occasion on which action of this precise character has been taken. Previously, the Security Council has issued ceasefire orders, and on such occasions, in Palestine and in Indonesia, those orders have been obeyed. In addition, the Security Council, acting under the United Nations Charter, has intervened in other disputes. The Security Council and the
General Assembly of the United Nations have had many successes in the international field in preventing and limiting disputes and in extending the area of agreement thus enabling final agreement to be attained. However, this is the first occasion upon which when heavyscale invasion was threatened the United Nations has acted through the Security Council in order to repel such an unlawful act. That fact makes the occasion one of the greatest moments in the history of the world, the United Nations, the United States of America and the British Commonwealth. It is, therefore, most important to examine the grounds upon which our decision in the matter is based. If we agree with the clear mandate? of the Charter of the United Nations, it is the duty of all members to obey the Security Council and restore the peace. That is the clear intention of the Charter, and it is to be hoped that the response to the Security Council’s resolution from other countries will be as effective and as immediate as has been the response that has-been made by the United States of America and members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I believe our duty in the circumstances is clear. No one can tell positively what the consequences of our action will be. Will it tend to prevent, or hasten, a third world war? We are in the midst of speculation when we consider those questions? We cannot possibly tell. We only know that the duty is cast upon all members of the United Nations to take this very kind of action, and if we do our duty, then I believe that the consequences to the world will be more favorable than they would be if we were to turn our back on the United Nations. That is the broad principle which we are invited to adopt. The wording of the motion bases action fairly and squarely upon the Charter of the United Nations, and the Opposition agrees with it, but there are one or two supplementary matters in addition to those mentioned hy the Leader of the Opposition to which I should like to refer.
I believe that the importance of this operation, from a military standpoint, has been under-estimated. That fact is not surprising, because force was not expected. However, very many difficulties apparently confront the forces of the United Nations, led as they are at present by the United States of America. I suggest to the Government the importance of co-operation not merely by placing forces at the disposal of the United States of America but by direct intervention by this Government both on the military side at the command centre, and at the meeting of the Security Council when these matters are being debated. It is only, in a sense, through an accident that this situation has reached the stage of a Security Council resolution which is valid and effective. That accident is the fact that Soviet Russia has been absent from the Security Council for a period of nearly six months, and was absent when the resolution was adopted. Had Russia been present at that time, the probability is that the . resolution would not have been carried in accordance with the United Nations Charter. However, the fact is undoubted that the resolution is binding. I think that the argument to the contrary, which has been advanced by Mr. Gromyko, the VicePresident of Soviet Russia, is completely unsound. His argument is to the effect that the fact that China is not represented on the United Nations by the Communist Government of that country invalidates the resolution. But the question of accepting a government which represents a member-country of the United Nations is entirely a matter for the Security Council itself.
The second point made by Mr. Gromyko is based on Russia’s deliberate absence from the Security Council and the point is specially untenable. But we should remember that the occasion may come when Soviet Russia may wish to return to the .Security Council in order to debate this matter. I think that the Government and the Parliament should adhere firmly to the resolution that has been carried, and carried, in my opinion, as a valid resolution. I support the statement ;by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) about the possible developments of United Nations intervention so far as Australia is concerned. The Government will need the support of the Australian people and of the Parliament especially if, as seems possible, the campaign is to be a long one.
The Parliament should he consulted frequently if .there are military developments of a kind that may reasonably be anticipated now. “
I also consider that the Security Council, at the same time as it is pursuing its military objectives, should never lose sight of the fact that the supreme object of the United Nations is to prevent war and that when war breaks out, to try to bring it to a conclusion. I believe that high level political conversations might be undertaken with advantage, and that it may be possible, as has been suggested by the decision of the Opposition, to secure an armistice in Korea on the absolute condition that the forces of North Korea shall retreat to their own territory. Conciliation may not be possible, but I believe that an attempt should be made,
I should like to conclude my speech by paying a tribute to one figure who emerges as a great world leader in this great crisis, a gentleman whose courage, persistence and ability have been underestimated by too many. I refer to the President of the United States of America, Mr. Truman. He took the action which showed his love of peace and of the United Nations organization. At his inaugural early in 1949, President Truman placed in the forefront of his foreign policy the objective of “ unfaltering “ support for the United Nations. No doubt there have been a few setbacks in the history of the United Nations, but there have also been many successes, and the support of the President of the United States of America has been of crucial importance to the world. I believe that his decision of a few days ago, which was made 90 promptly when all were waiting for a lead, will prove to be of immense benefit to the peoples of the world. After all, what do they want, and what are they entitled to receive after two world wars? They are entitled to a condition of affairs in which they will be freed from aggression of this character which takes us back to the events that preceded the second world war, when, in one country after another the Axis powers marched, and the League of Nations was powerless through lack of loyal support. Sanctions were attempted, but they were not cirri ed into effect. I believe that the part of the Charter which is being applied to-day, not only in America, but also here in Australia, does mark the difference between the United Nations and the League of Nations. I pray that the fighting in Korea will come to an early and successful termination, and that the United Nations and the peace of the world will be strengthened thereby.
– I am sure that the House is exceedingly satisfied to have heard the contributions by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) in support of the motion. No one can deny that this occasion is of tremendous significance not only to the people of this country but also to freedom-loving peoples throughout the world. It is indeed a momentous occasion, because, for the first time in the history of this Parliament, we have been asked to support action’ by our Government in implementing the principles of the United Nations. It is momentous because, for the first time, the United Nations has been given strength by different countries throughout the world to carry out its obligations. We on this side of the House agree with the Opposition about the great principles upon which the United Nations is founded. We have said - and this is our first opportunity to show that what we believe we put into action - that the United Nations could not succeed unless the powers that stood behind it were prepared to undertake their obligations. To me, it is one of the most satisfying features of the events of last week that the United Nations was supported quickly and was given leadership by the United States of America. I join with the right honorable member for Barton in paying a tribute to the President of that country. We, as a. Government, have said quite distinctly that our policy is directed to having the closest possible collaboration between the United States of America and ourselves, and when we were called upon to act, we did so promptly. I welcome the statements by the Leader of the Opposition and the right honorable member for Barton.
To-day marks an occasion when we indicate to the world, as one democratic nation, that greatly as we love peace, it can be purchased at too great a sacrifice if it involves submission to aggression. We have acknowledged quite clearly that aggression in any part of the world can mean aggression everywhere else in the world. We should not have learned anything if we did not remember that Japanese aggression in China, which was condoned by other nations, led to the outbreak of aggression in other parts of the world - first by Mussolini in Abyssinia, and then by Hitler in Europe. News of the action of this Government, with other governments, in supporting the United Nations in Korea will go out as a message to all freedom-loving people in the world that there is a widely representative body of nations that is prepared to stand steadfast against aggression wherever it may take place. The point has been made that we are not concerned with the type of government that exists in South Korea or in North Korea. We are not concerned whether either one is a good government or a bad government. We are solely concerned with the fact that one government and its people have been subjected, entirely without provocation, to a violent and arrogant act of aggression by another government.
It is fortunate that, when these events came to pass, a commission of the United Nations was functioning in South Korea and was able to report direct to the Security Council and supply it with factual material upon which to proceed. While referring to the commission, I should like to pay tribute to the leader of the Austraiian delegation, Mr. Jamieson, and the two military observers who are with him. In difficult circumstances and under conditions of danger, they discharged their duty, as we should expect any Australian to discharge his duty in such an eventuality, with great ability and great distinction to their country. The commission reported certain factual conclusions to the Security Council and I think that, when I indicate the nature of them to the House, honorable members will be satisfied that any suggestion that there was provocation on the part of South Korea, or that South Korea engaged in an invasion of North Korea, as has been claimed, is entirely wrong. The reports of the commission included a number of findings, which I shall summarize for the convenience of honorable members. First, it reported that the North Korean regime had consistently launched propaganda attacks against the southern republic, had been responsible for threatening activities on the frontier, and had given encouragement to subversive elements in South Korea. Secondly, it reported that, before the invasion took place, North Korean forces already held some salients on the southern side of the 3Sth parallel. There had been civilian evacuations and some increased military activity, but the South Korean army had been organized entirely for defence and without any troop concentrations. The lack of air support and heavy artillery made a southern invasion of North Korea impossible. There were no signs of supply dumps of ammunition or fuel in forward areas and there was little transport activity. The South Korean commanders had instructions to retire in case of attack to previously prepared positions. There could be no more complete declaration in relation to the intentions of South Korea than that finding by the commission, which was on the spot.
The commission is a very representative body, consisting as it does of members from Australia, China, France, India, the Philippines, El Salvador and Turkey. The findings that it reported to the Security Council were unanimous. The reports have established beyond doubt that any suggestion that there was provocation on the part of South Korea or that it first invaded North Korea is completely unfounded. The third conclusion stated in the reports was that the northern attack was a well-planned, concerted and full-scale invasion of South Korea. The forces of South Korea were occupying purely defensive positions on the frontier and were taken completely by surprise. In its fourth conclusion, the commission declared its belief that North Korea would not heed the Security Council resolution or accept the good offices of the commission in Korea. It suggested that the Security Council consider sending an invitation to both parties to agree to the appointment of a neutral mediator or request member governments to undertake immediate mediation. The right honorable member for Barton has suggested that mediation should be a constant consideration. I agree with the right honorable gentleman, but, of course, mediation cannot take place unless both sides are prepared to mediate. I have no doubt whatever that South Korea would willingly agree to mediation to-morrow.
One can only hope that ultimately there will be a unified Korea and that this single nation, divided artificially at the 38th parallel as the result of purely historical circumstances, will be able to establish its own type of government and determine its own destiny. The right honorable member for Barton may rest assured that Australia will contribute to that end insofar as it can do so. I am sure that he will agree with me that we cannot make terms with aggression in any circumstances, either here or anywhere else in the world. Whilst we are now engaged in trying to repel aggression, we have made it quite plain already, as the United Nations has done, that, if the forces of North Korea are prepared to withdraw beyond the 38th parallel, there is no reason why mediation should not settle the dispute between the governments of the two areas. The situation is not simple, as the right honorable gentleman knows. Notwithstanding every effort that has been made by the United Nations commission in Korea for some years, it has utterly failed to bring thu two portions of the country together. That h’as not been due to any inefficiency or lack of determination on its part. It has been due solely to the fact that North Korea would not agree in any circumstances to participate in any discussions.
It is significant that the last tree election in South Korea took place only on the 30th May last. Shortly afterwards, the Government of North Korea requested that South Korea should receive a declaration dealing with the unification of Korea. That declaration was handed over, but the attack was made soon afterwards. One can only conclude that the attack, made with such strength as was used, had been under preparation for a considerable time pre- viously. Nobody can know what the ultimate end of the conflict will be. However, I agree entirely with the statement that was made by the right honorable member for Barton when he said that, whatever the consequences may be, there could have been no alternative. Either we measure up to our obligations in this world whatever the consequences may be, or we utterly fail to meet them - and in that way lies disaster.
It is important that, in our approach to this problem, we should regard it, first, as a case of action by the United Nations, not action hy any single power or group of powers. Secondly, we should regard it, not as action against any nation, but as action in support of a nation that has been subject to aggression. If those two facts are kept in mind in our approach to this issue, there is every hope that we can confine the area of conflict within Korea itself.
The fifth conclusion that was reported to the Security Council by the United Nations commission in Korea contained a unanimous expression of gratification at the Security Council’s resolution. The commission declared that it would gladly undertake its part, but pointed out its failure over a period of eighteen months to contact the Government of North Korea or to make any impression upon it. In the light of those findings by the commission, I think that we may rest assured that our action was justified and was the proper action to take. We have said on more than one occasion that Australia is desirous of collaborating with all peace-loving nations in the Pacific region and in SouthEast Asia in order to preserve stability and peace. But words would be hypocritical indeed if they were not accompanied by actions. Therefore, the United States of America acted in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council, and this Government, when it received the request of the Security Council to give immediately whatever aid and assistance that lay within its power, provided such Australian forces as were then available for the purpose of giving police assistance to South Korea in resisting aggression. I am sure that the right honorable member for Barton will agree with me that it would not have been possible to have acted with promptitude if the Parliament had had to be called together first. The Government had to act quickly. It did so and, having done so, it took the very proper action of calling the Parliament together to appraise it of the action that had been taken.
I do not desire to examine the legal aspects of the contentions of Mr. Gromyko in regard to the validity of the Security Council resolution, but I agree with the right honorable member for Barton that the passing of the resolution was well within the legal authority of the Security Council. On more than one occasion in the past the Security Council’s resolutions have been held to bc valid, despite the fact that one of the greater powers, a permanent member, had not voted. In June, 1948, a resolution was passed concerning Kashmir whereby the Commission of Mediation was directed to proceed to the area of dispute and take certain action. That resolution was adopted by eight votes with three abstentions, including those of two permanent members, China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On the 15th July, 1948, a resolution whereby the Palestine situation was determined to be a threat ro peace was adopted by seven votes to mie, with three abstentions, one of which was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1948 a number of resolutions concerning Indonesia were adopted with the abstention of one or two permanent members. . On the 4th March, 1949, a proposal by the United States of America recommending admission of Israel to the General Assembly was adopted by nine votes to one with one abstention, the United Kingdom. In interpreting the Charter, Soviet Russia itself, on more than one occasion, has accepted the position that abstention from voting by a permanent member did not invalidate a resolution. Moreover, Article 28- of the Charter of the United Nations organization reads -
The Security Council shall be so organized nf to bo able to function continuously.
If the argument which has been advanced that one permanent member, by abstaining from attending or voting, could completely destroy the whole of the machinery of the Security Council it would mean that the council would not be able to function continuously. So both ;by the construction which the nations themselves have placed on Article 27 and by the positive obligation imposed on all nations under Article 28, the validity of the resolution of the Security Council is beyond dispute. That being so, the Government has met its obligations by making available the forces that have been notified in the speech of the Prime Minister. I hope that it will be understood throughout the world to-day that nothing can be gained by escaping from obligations. When aggression occurs, this country cannot stand aside and, in the end, not have visited upon it the consequence of that same aggression. This is a day of moment because it will give hope to freedom-loving peoples, not only in Asia, but also throughout the world. They will see that democratic governments are prepared, even at great risk, in the great cause of peace to stand by those who have been subjected to aggression.
.- Everyone who works and plans for a happier life for the human family knows that peace is essential to the (fruition of those plans and I suppose that most Australians of whatever class or creed have shared much the same feeling as honorable members concerning the onrush of events in Korea in the last few days. It is natural that each day’s new headlines sharpen the feelings of horror, fear and almost of despair in the ordinary man and woman. The events of the past few days may be the means of avoiding a third world war. I believe that there are good grounds for thinking that that is so. It is also inescapably true that the events of the last few days may be the means of bringing close the culminating tragedy of atom bomb and other great instruments which may make it impossible for further human life to exist on this planet. As the ground of social and economic progress which was lost in World War II. is slowly and painfully regained it can be realized that the outbreak of a third world war at the least must bring nothing but misery, anguish and suffering to the ordinary people of the world whether, in the long run, they be numbered among the vanquished or the victors, so called. There is no longer any glory in war, even if there ever were. To-day, there is only stark horror and dreadful tragedy.
I think it is natural that certain questions should spring unchecked from the hearts and lips of many ordinary men and women. Why could not the Koreans have been left to fight out their own differences? It seems clear that if that had been done the North Koreans would have overrun the South Koreans within a matter of daysand peace of a kind would have been reestablished in Korea. Why did America have to intervene, to prolong the struggle and create the risk of America fighting the battle of South Korea and Soviet Russia fighting for the cause of North Korea and so bring about a third world war? Even if America had to inter,vene, why did the British Prime Minister have to pledge United Kingdom forces for the struggle? Above everything else, what business is it of Australia? I think that that is a perfectly natural question for the ordinary man and woman to ‘ask. Why should Australian naval and air forces be offered? Why should the return of the Australian forces from Japan be suspended, an action which might eventually lead to their being thrown into the struggle?
Such easy and natural questions are not easy to answer unless, of course, one is a pacifist and believes in no resistance of any kind to violence of any kind. If a man who is a pacifist desires to determine his attitude to this matter he must ask himself whether his pacifism is of such a kind that would cause him not to resist an intruder in his own home and not to believe in the protection of a police force against organized violence and crime in his own community or in the use of an organized, collective, international force to resist national aggression. If he does not even believe in that sort of protective action, then his answer to all these questions is easy enough. The answer is easy if he is a convinced member of the Communist party who is satisfied that the intentions of Soviet Russia are peaceful and that the spread of Soviet influence and power in the world can bring nothing but benefit to the human race. The answer is equally easy if he is a Russia-hater, who desires to see the overthrow of Russia at whatever cost in blood and suffering; or if he is a man who happens still to believe in the value of war and to see glory in the conduct of it. The ordinary man and the ordinary woman do not fall into any of those categories. They may still wish that the western world had not intervened in Korea, and that the Communist Government of North Korea had been permitted its quick victory with the corresponding expansion of the Soviet sphere of influence, but with perhaps the staving off of the dread outbreak of a third, world war. I suppose that no one can think along those lines without being assailed by uneasy memories of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler and of the consequent postponement of World War II., which brought the betrayal of Czechoslovakia and other countries. That appeasement immeasurably strengthened the Nazi military position in Europe, but brought in its train World War ti. just the same and made the eventual crushing of the Nazi aggressor so much longer delayed and so much more costly in human blood and suffering.
In response to the questions which spring to the lips of every ordinary man and woman, only one final and resolute answer can be given. That answer is embodied in the stand to which the Australian Labour party has always been committed. We say that there is no hope of maintaining peace in the world unless the United Nations can he made strong to promote international understanding, strong to check and counter the aggressor nation and strong to lay the foundations of eventual world government which will dissolve national barriers and national prejudices against human brotherhood. We know that the United Nations has taken its stand in this matter and has called on all member nations to support that stand. We know that Australia is one of those member nations. For many years we have given lip service to the cause of the United Nations, and there is, therefore, only one course open to us.
Many of the grounds on which the Security Council reached its decision can be criticized. It is true that Soviet
Russia refrained from voting, and that the vote of China was cast by the representative of General Chiang-Kai-shek instead of by a representative of the actual government of China. There are points upon which the Security Council’s decision can be criticized, but those points are immaterial to the issue with which we are confronted. It is true that much can be said in criticism of the South Korean Government, just as much can be said in criticism of the Government of North Korea. That also is completely beside the point and is immaterial to the issue confronting us, upon which I believe this House is completely united. That is whether the authority of the United Nations is to be maintained or not, and whether the upholding and strengthening of the United Nations is the only road to world peace that we can see. To abandon the United Nations in this crisis would be unthinkable after we have for so many years given our allegiance to its principles.
It is said that President Truman took a. calculated risk when he ordered American forces to defend South Korea. I suppose that by that is meant that he took the risk that such action now,, while risking precipitating a third world war, could be the means of halting aggression and opening the way toward enduring peace. If the Security Council had not made the decision that it did and if the unprovoked aggression that the United Nations stands to counter had been allowed to proceed in Korea, the real battle for international security and a collective system of organized peace would have been lost without the firing of a shot. Australia must take its part in upholding the United Nations in Korea. I hope that everything will be done, by way of mediation and conciliation, to bring about the ultimate withdrawal of the North Korean forces. We must realize the risks and the final course to which we may be committed by the carrying of the motion that has been submitted to this House to-day. Now that we are on our course we should be prepared to follow it to the end.
– I suppose that in the course of human events it is almost invariably the case that things which may be of an’ earth- shaking and nation-shaking character should lose much of their significance by reason of the common-place circumstances in -which they are discussed. One cannot but feel, after having heard the eloquent speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the supporting speeches of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) and the statements on behalf of the Government by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) and the Leader of the Australian Country ‘party (Mr. Fadden), that the House should congratulate itself that in a time of great international crisis a united Australian approach has been made to the question now before it. When one looks back over the history of world affairs one sees an extraordinary difference and an extraordinary resemblance between the events taking place now and those that preceded the second world war. Because of the difference rather than because of certain resemblances one takes hope from those facts that by the grace of God the world may escape a third world war. I was one of those who supported the idea of the League of Nations. I saw the events that followed the attempt of the world to establish upon sound foundations an international judicial system which would bring to the arbitrament of the nations those quarrels which might have led to destruction and warfare. I was one of those who watched the weakness that arose through the inability of great nations to agree upon a common course of action in the face of a. common danger. If w© trace the events that led to the second world war we shall realize the significance and the full importance of the resolution that has been moved to-day. Above all, we shall realize the great and outstanding significance of the statement made by President Truman on behalf of the United States of America.
The events that preceded the outbreak of World War II. brought about crisis after crisis in the affairs of nations, but in the face of those crises there were divided counsel and weakness. If, at some significant stage, Great Britain, the United States of America and France had taken a determined stand and followed it up by action of the kind that has been taken on this occasion under the leadership of Mr. Truman, we might not now he discussing the motion .before the House because the world would have conducted its affairs in a civilized way. Instead of leadership, there was muddled thinking. Challenge after challenge from aggressor nations eventually led to a world conflict. “We witnessed the invasion of the Saar ,by Hitler’s hordes; then the invasion of Austria; and, perhaps the greatest calamity of all, the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, slowly at first, but with mounting rapidity, as .a part of Hitler’s scheme to dominate the world. Finally, the world’s sense of self-preservation was aroused and the free nations of the world joined forces to prevent the final act of aggression against Poland which ultimately brought about a world conflict.
There are two outstanding features in the situation that now exists. The first is that there is no muddled thinking and no divided counsel on the part of those who lead the United Nations. On this occasion Ave can take great heart and face the future with higher courage because the United States of America, the greatest nation in the world to-day, has accepted this first serious challenge to the authority of the United Nations, and has received the immediate support of the British Commonwealth of Nations, of which we are not an unimportant part. ^Approximately 40 nations have already reaffirmed their adherence to the principles of the United Nations and have signified their determination to prevent unwarranted aggression. Because of the remarkable difference between what has happened on this occasion and what occurred in the years that preceded the outbreak of “World War II., there is a great possibility that we may be able to prevent the outbreak of a third world war. If we cannot prevent it by these means, we shall not be able to prevent it by any means. I was strongly impressed by the statement of the Leader of the Opposition that in pursuance of an agreement made prior to the outbreak of the present conflict the United States had withdrawn its forces from southern Korea. I and many others know that two years ago strong military forces were established in North Korea under the leadership and control of an outside country, and that in pursuance of the agreement to which I have referred, the United States provided in southern Korea what was, in effect, only a police force. Previously South Korea, which had been under the control of a foreign country, had suffered national disturbances which prevented the orderly control of its affairs. Already people are indulging in a foul smear campaign against thi-. United Nations because of the action taken by the United States forces in Korea. I do not wish it to be though! that I believe that any person in this House is engaged in that campaign ; it is encountered outside. The assertion has been made that the United States is taking part in the Korean war for reasons of imperial aggression. If ever there waa a fantastic untruth surely such a statement comes within that category. The withdrawal of the United States forces from southern Korea surely furnishes convincing proof of the determination of that country to honour the terms of the agreement in order to permit the southern Koreans to manage their own affairs. If the United States had intended to pursue a policy of aggression surely it would have maintained in southern Korea a large standing army which could have smashed the attempt by the northern Koreans to overrun the country. Only because the United States forces were withdrawn does the military advantage now lie with the industrial north of Korea. I wish to make that point clear not only to honorable members but also to those who may be listening to me in order to give the lie to this infamous propaganda.
The crucial issue that lies before thi: country has been clearly stated by the Prime Minister; it is, whether we should permit naked aggression to go unchecked before all the possibilities of peaceful settlement of matters in dispute have been explored. In this instance it is a matter not only of naked and unashamed aggression but also of deliberate refusal to carry out the obligation to accept offers of mediation. The events that have taken place in Korea show clearly that the aggressors have resorted to the law of the jungle. At a function held prior to World War II. I was seated at the right hand of a very eminent Britisher. I asked him, “ Do you think that war is inevitable ? “ He replied, “ If you were dealing with normal people, I should say No but you are dealing with gangsters. If you give a gangster something, he wants more, and if you then give him more he is not satisfied until he has the lot, and sooner or later you have either to lie down and let him walk over you or shoot it out with him “’. If ever there was an attempt at international gangsterism, it is to be found in this unwarranted aggression on the part of the forces of north Korea against their southern neighbours.
Since the end of World War II. Australians have been living in a kind of fool’s paradise. It is inevitable that people who for years have suffered from the repressions brought about by waT should swing -to the other extreme. Apart from the dissident elements that are attempting to destroy our industrial efficiency and harmony there is a natural tendency among our people to make the best of the holiday that they believe they have earned. The time for that is already long past. It is not sufficient for this Parliament, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to carry a motion such as that now before us. It will be no more than a pious resolution if not a mockery, unless it is. supported by the determination of the Australian people to -work for the development and defence of the country in a manner not attempted since the demobilization of our forces after the last war. We are faced with a problem that challenges the virility and the determination of our people. There are in Australia vast resources awaiting development, and we must develop them if we are to discharge properly our obligations under the Charter of the United Nations. We are, in a sense, trustees, and we can justify our title to Australia only by putting every ounce of energy we have into its development, and by working in a spirit of co-operation and goodwill that has been unfortunately missing since the war years. The Parliament is being called upon to take a step of great historical significance. By the resolution which, I have no doubt, will be agreed to, we shall bind ourselves to accept grave responsibilities as a nation in this and future crises. We are binding ourselves to see this matter through to a successful conclusion, no matter what may be the ultimate ramifications. Let us all be clear on that. The time has come ‘when we all, irrespective of our political differences, must tell the people that they must stop fooling about. They must get down to the job in hand, and maintain continuous production. Loyalty to one’s country is expressed, not only by donning a uniform and carrying arms, but also by maintaining whole-hearted and continuous effort in every field of activity. Only by making such an effort can we justify our claim to hold this country.
.- -It was a foregone conclusion that the motion before the House would receive the approval of the Opposition, particularly having regard to the manner of its presentation, and the prevailing circumstances. Collective security, through the United Nations, was always the ideal of the Labour Government. The statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) will be welcomed, I am sure, throughout the nation as a sober, factual presentation of the position in Korea, and more particularly of the circumstances leading up to the armed conflict that has necessitated the taking of police action by the United Nations. The legal aspect of the matter has been clearly and concisely stated by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). As I have said that this motion would have the support of the Labour party was a foregone conclusion, because of its unswerving policy in respect of the United Nations. But the utterances and attitude of members of the present Government have not always been such as would lead one to expect similar support from them. Were it not for the fact that some men will die in thi3 conflict before it ends, andthat there will be suffering and misery such as follow every clash of arms, I should be the last to introduce a discordant note ; but, in justice to those who will serve and suffer, and to the people of Australia who know that, because we live in the Pacific with Asiatic neighbours, this is more than -token approval, some things must be said. I ask the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) how he reconciles his support of this motion with his attack on
Mr. Trygve Lie, the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, in which he charged him with Communist sympathies. It was due to the dauntless vigour of Mr. Trygve Lie, and to his powers of organization and direction, that the Security Council, in concert with the United Nations, was assembled for the taking of the dramatic step that led to the intervention of the United Nations in Korea.
The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) has, upon occasion, damned the United Nations with faint praise. I point that out in passing, not by way of bitter criticism, but merely as a reminder that we should not become too smug. We are now confronted with an issue that will be settled, not in the quiet dignity and comparative futility of this chamber, but on the field where men are to fight and die. That fact justifies a little harshness and plain speaking at a time like this. We are faced with war because, when guns are going off and men are fighting there is war, even though we may, as in this instance, describe it as police action. It would be well if responsible Ministers were to realize that fact. For instance, a few days ago, the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Francis) addressed seventeen recruits at H.M.A.S. Rushcutter, the Royal Australian Navy training depot, and he was reported as follows : -
He told them that the Australian Government had given the Balaam, and Shoalhaven to the United States Command for action against North Korea. “You are joining up at an interesting time,” lie said. “ Lads like you in the same position are now popping shells off Korea against Communist Koreans.”
Of course, they are doing nothing of the sort. Our forces, where they are engaged, are participating in police action on behalf of the United Nations. We expect more decorum from a Minister who makes public statements, even though the Minister for the Navy, when asked to amplify his statement, said -
I was only speaking figuratively.
But to return to the motion: I think this is a splendid thing in one way, and a grievous thing in another. If “ Chamberlainism “ and appeasement precipitated the last world war, there is no course open to the United Nations, after the failure of tortuous attempts to reach a working arrangement in Korea, but to do what has been done. Nevertheless, no matter how high-minded are the motives of the United Nations, it must be confessed that it was completely beaten by the propaganda of Russia. For instance, the newspapers have published a three-column statement by Gromyko setting forth the Russian attitude, while we have yet to see a balanced statement from the United Nations. Not until the Prime Minister made his statement here this afternoon, did we have the issue put clearly before us. Until now, the statement of the Soviet deputy foreign minister was the first extensive comment on the situation that appeared in the press, apart from the communiques relating to disturbances in Korea itself. No official counter statement was issued by the United Nations, and even at this stage no rebuttal of it has yet been made. The information that it disseminated was grossly inaccurate. I, myself, was not able to contradict it until I had heard the statements that have been made in the course of this debate by the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley). That is not a good position for us or the United Nations to be in if we have to battle with the problem of universal peace by means of police action to counteract aggression. I agree entirely with the statements that the Minister for External Affairs has made in relation to the overall picture. The report of the Australian representatives on the United Nations Commission on Korea is most illuminating, concise, and factual, and establishes as a fact, now that abundant evidence has been made available on the point, that all the justification is on our side. But that has not been the position during the last week, and the Australian people must have been dismayed by the reports on which they had to rely for their information. Being ignorant of the facts, they were fair game for the propaganda that was put out with the ulterior motive of defeating the objective of the United Nations.
Whilst I do not intend to speak at Length, I should like to touch on several other matters. An Australian Mustang fighter squadron has been placed at the disposal of the United Nations forces. I recall my association with those airmen when I led the parliamentary delegation to Japan. They were so placed at Iwakuni that they could be called upon in the event of an emergency, and they have now been called upon to go into action. I say with great pride that I have never had the pleasure of staying among a finer collection of young Australians than I had when I visited the squadron. If the honor as well as the serious task of upholding national prestige must rest with Australians, it will rest safely in the hands of those young men. During my visit to Japan the members of the squadron engaged in battle practice for two days and their striking efficiency was apparent to all. General MacArthur and Sir Horace Robertson, Commander of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, have never ceased to sing the praises of that unit which with a small Australian naval unit is already engaged in this affair. They will be worthy representatives of Australia in that task.
The question arises of what the Government proposes to do about their future. “We have yet to be given a clear statement concerning the Government’s proposals in respect of what pay and compensation are to be provided for these forces. It was reported in this morning’s press that they would probably be covered by the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act. I understand that the Prime Minister said something about this matter, but I now suggest that the Government should “give to the House a. clear and complete statement on the subject. I make that suggestion because it is axiomatic that no matter how patriotic a government may be in the first flush of war, it is not so patriotic when the debts begin to come in, with the result that the actual participants in the conflict do not receive so good a deal as everyone would wish to give to them in the first heat of battle. Therefore, the Government should make a statement on this matter immediately.
Are these airmen to be paid by the United Nations? “What does the Government estimate that the cost of our assistance will be? These men are
actually engaged in this police action that has been taken in the name of the United Nations. However, many of the 40 nations that have endorsed thi9 action will be able to give merely token approval because the disability of distance from the sphere of conflict or limited resources. Such nations can add only to the spiritual and not to the physical strength of the United Nations in this conflict. However, Australia, which is a small nation in the Pacific, is already contributing men and material, including ships and aircraft, to the cause of the United Nations. The Government should immediately make a statement dealing with the pay and compensation that will be made available to these forces. Whether these men are fighting under the first peace flag of civilization or as separate units under the flags of their respective countries does not matter, beause in these circumstances money is a secondary consideration and dollars do not count. The conflict must be settled only by feats of arms.
I also emphasize that there men will bear the brunt of the early attack in this conflict. All of us are aware of the situation that has already developed in Korea. We know from the various communiques that the position from the standpoint of the United Nations’ forces is not good. In view of the circumstances that the Prime Minister has outlined we, necessarily, could not expect those forces to be favorably placed. We know of the withdrawals that were made at a very early stage by the American forces and the South Korean forces. Therefore, those who are engaged during the present stages of the conflict must inevitably suffer casualties. Their dependants will be in need of support. The Government should not deal in any niggardly way with the pay and compensation to be made available to these men. I am sure that it will not be guilty of doing that. However, it is appropriate that the Government should be reminded of its responsibility in such matters. Therefore, the Opposition would like it to make a complete statement immediately on this subject to the Parliament and to the people.
In addition to the battle for peace that has now become an armed conflict there is also the problem of the propaganda war. One thing that has emerged from this unfortunate incident in Korea is that we are not entirely friendless in Asia. The Prime Minister of India and the Prime Minister of Pakistan have already taken sides with the United Nations in this incident. That fact is most important because, as the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) pointed out, nationalist governments by their very nature are weak, and should some fall before aggression, others in the East will he confronted with similar difficulties. It is pleasing to note that by the use of correct propaganda India and Pakistan have been able through their leaders to assess thenreal position in relation to this incident. It is a very important fact, indeed, that the governments of India and Pakistan view the conflict from our standpoint. The fact that the people of those countries live in areas that are dominated by people of Asiatic outlook is more important than would at first appear.
Another important consideration is the possibility of arranging an armistice. At what stage can an armistice be arranged ? That problem must cause the Government some concern. We are approaching this struggle in a proper way. We know that it was not commenced in circumstances favorable to the Americans, but that it has been undertaken because the United Nations, under its charter and through the resolution of the Security Council, has made action imperative. I reiterate that we must watch the propaganda that will be indulged in by our opponents in this matter and must ensure that the views of the United Nations, either through the United Nations itself or through the Government, shall receive adequate publicity.
Secondly the Government should immediately make a statement dealing with the pay and compensation to be made available to Australians who are already engaged in the conflict or are likely to be engaged should it develop to greater proportions. And, thirdly, we should do everything in our power to strengthen the forces of democracy in our own country by enabling our people to appreciate fully what this action means. In view of the fact that World War II. has just been concluded and that the comparatively few years of peace since have been years of struggle and rehabilitation, no Australian can feel happy about this development. The situation in Korea had become intolerable. Had the United Nations not endeavoured to maintain peace by engaging in what appears on on the evidence to be a just cause it would have followed into oblivion the League of Nations which, because of its own inefficiency, was not able to stand up to the responsibilities that were placed upon it. As a young country, we are forced into participating in what is one of the most remarkable episodes that has occurred in world history. The peace-loving nations in the world that have dedicated themselves to the preservation of peace through the solemn Charter of the United Nations and to the moral belief that the only way to preserve civilization and to prevent the atom bomb from being used is by the maintenance of perpetual peace are now forced willy nilly into conflict as the result of armed action in Asia. What will come out of this we cannot foresee, but, so far as we are able to judge, our conscience is clear. We have entered this remote struggle with heavy hearts, unwilling that even one man should lose his life, but hoping that by disciplining an unruly nation that seeks desolation and destruction, peace may be preserved, even at the price of a temporary conflict.
.- E propose to emphasize some aspects of the Labour party’s statement on the Korean situation. We have suggested that the contribution that Australia is to make in Korea should be, as the United Nations charter contemplates, fair and reasonable, having regard to the total membership of the United Nations, and to the capacity of the contributing members. The Labour party has also suggested that, whilst approving of commitments already undertaken by the Australian Government in relation to Korea, no additional commitments should be accepted without the approval of the Parliament.
I disagree with what the Government has done, not in respect of commitments, but in respect of its treatment of the Parliament. According to the statement that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made to-day the forces from North Korea commenced a series of attacks against the Republic of South Korea on the 25th June. On the 29th June, the Australian Government informed the appropriate authorities that it would support the decision of the Security Council of the United Nations by placing certain Australian naval units then in Japanese waters under the command of the American forces defending South Korea. Subsequently - the next day, I believe - the Government also announced that a Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadron stationed in Japan would ‘be made available to the same command. I should have thought that, immediately such action was contemplated, the Parliament would have been summoned; but the Parliament has met only to-day, the 6th July. This action on the part of the Australian Government is completely at variance with that taken by the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the United States of America. Immediately the attack upon .South Korea was launched, the Prime Minister of Great Britain’ made a statement to the House of Commons and the President of the United States of America sent a message to Congress. In the British Parliament, several statements have been made since the 26th June. On this very day, the House of Commons is debating a motion almost identical in terms with that now before this House. The Parliament of the United Kingdom has had several opportunities to discuss the matter. The Congress of the United States of America has been in constant session. Unfortunately, in this -country, members of the Parliament received advice only two days ago that the Parliament would re-assemble to discuss happenings of a week or two ago. I believe it to be the duty of any government in a real democracy, to consult the Parliament in every time of crisis, and particularly at a. time when lives are being risked in warlike action. The Government has not treated the Parliament properly in summoning it at such a late date.
– Whom did the Labour party consult before making its decision?
– The Labour party was not consulted about whether or not the Parliament should be called together. There cannot be the slightest doubt about where the Labour party stands in relation to the United Nations. Ever since 1948 the platform of the Labour party has included the following paragraphs : -
Steady and unwavering support for the United Nations and for the purposes and principles declared in the United Nations Charter.
Co-operation within the British Commonwealth of Nations in order to ensure cooperative action against aggression.
I invite the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) to present me with evidence that similar sentiments are expressed in the platform of the Australian Country party. I should also like to hear something from members of the Liberal party about the warmth of their support of the United Nations. I recall that, during the life of the Eighteenth Parliament, sneering comments were made about the United Nations by men who are now Ministers. They include the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. .Spender), the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony), the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen), and the Prime Minister himself. I can quote some of the opinions that were expressed by the Treasurer only last year on the very issue that has now arisen, namely, Russian pressure on other countries. On the 21st March, 1949, the Treasurer said in Brisbane -
The United Nations organization is no bar to the Soviet.
Yet to-day, the right honorable gentleman had the temerity to say that he believed that the Opposition was whole-heartedly behind the Government’s action in support of the United Nations. When he was in Opposition, the Labour Government would have been very pleased to have got some support from him. We wanted real support in those days. The Minister for External Affairs, having a guilty conscience, interrupts me. I shall refer to a speech that he made on the 16th February, 1949, criticizing my distinguished colleague, the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), the first and “ only Australian President of the United Nations. This is what the present Minister for External Affairs then said -
In ])is apologia for the United Nations, the right honorable gentleman dealt with what that body had achieved in the Balkans and Palestine.
The honorable gentleman further sneered -
He told us how hard it had tried to achieve world peace and how nearly it had reached success. and then he continued to sneer -
He said that the United Nations would ultimately bc successful if it kept on pegging away.
In .view of those utterances, assurances of support for the United Nations in this crisis come rather astonishingly from the toughened lips of Government spokesmen. I should not have made these comments if the honorable member for Gippsland had not asked me whom the Labour party had consulted. The Labour party has always wanted the United Nations to function. It helped to form that organization and has always defended it. “We who belong to that party are defending it now, but we also want this Parliament to be treated as a democratic parliament should be treated. We want it to be consulted about all the commitments that this country is to undertake in Korea or anywhere else where the United Nations may feel compelled to act to preserve world peace.
The Prime Minister expressed the view, and it was echoed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), that the action taken in Korea might prevent a third world war. I suppose that humanity hopes that that will be so, but I have my own views on the matter. I believe that events in Korea will neither hasten nor prevent a third world war. What is happening in Korea, is symptomatic of a general condition of affairs that will inevitably produce a third world war. It is foolish to imagine that this happening in Korea may be an isolated event that will have no effect upon subsequent events in Asia or in Europe. To me, the Korean affair is like the Abyssinian affair of 1935 and the Manchurian affair of 1937. Those two happenings were preliminaries to World War II. which began in 1939.
World war III. might arise out of Korea or out of other events that can happen in Asia or in Europe this month or next month. World War I. broke out in August, 1914, and World War II. in ‘September, 1939. Russian satellite powers such as Bulgaria, Roumania and Hungary might apply pressure to Yugoslavia next month, and, again, the world might be presented overnight with a situation which even now we do not contemplate but which could very well happen.
I am sure that when the House adjourned on the morning of the 23rd June last, the Government had not in mind that something was about to happen in Korea. Probably it had not received advice of the existing situation, yet subsequent events were then in the course of being made. A few days before the attack by North Korean forces on South Korea, Mr. John Foster Dulles, the Republican party adviser to the American State Department, General Omar Bradley, and the Secretary of Defence, Mr. Johnson, were in Japan. Mr. Dulles addressed the South Korean legislature. We now know that trouble, of which we were completely unaware, had occurred between North Korea and South Korea, for some period before the actual outbreak of hostilities. To me, it is idle to believe that a division of the world into two blocs, one Communist and the other one non-Communist, can continue indefinitely without a final ‘breakdown of relations and an eventual resort to arms. Those two sets of rival and antagonistic philosophies or ideologies must clash in other places, as they have already clashed in Korea. Everybody knows that rivalries, no matter in which realm they begin, inevitably lead to bitterness and hate. We in this Parliament are only deluding ourselves if we think that the great mass of Australians, and, indeed, the great mass of the people throughout the world do not expect another terrible world war cataclysm. As recently as yesterday Mr. Dulles expressed the following opinion in the United States of America : -
Americans must sacrifice to match the offensive power which Russia supplies to its friends.
I believe that this event in Korea is just one facet of the problem of world peace. The United States of America and the other democracies have to face that problem against those who are supporting the north Koreans. Mr. Dulles went on to say -
The invasion of South Korea was an attempt at international murder.
If that be so, we cannot be far away from a final clash in Europe or in Asia. Mr. Dulles also stated -
The job is not a light one, and before it i« finished we shall all have to .pay a price.
And then he spoke a terrible truth -
Already to-day in Korea our youth are beginning to pay the final price of life itself.
Therefore, we’ should realize that when we leave this chamber to-day, we cannot confidently expect that international peace will be secure for two months, or that before the Parliament meets again, nothing untoward will happen anywhere in the world. I think that events are rushing to a climax, and that before this debate concludes the Government should give an undertaking to consult the Parliament regularly between now and the date that was originally fixed for the resumption of the sittings of both chambers. According to the original proposal, the budget session will begin in September, but I believe that events are so shaping themselves that we should meet several times before that month, if only for a day, in order to assert the supremacy of the Legislature over the Executive, and so that the Parliament itself may be consulted on. the commitments that have been made by the Government in the name of Australia to the cause of the United Nations. Those consultations should take place before the events happen, if that be possible.
I return to the matter of whole-hearted support of the United Nations. From time to time, Australia’s contributions to that body and to its various agencies have been criticized in this Parliament. On the 15th April, 1948, the present Treasurer, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, urged a reduction of Australia’s contributions to those agencies. He also opposed the scholarship system that had been introduced by the right honorable member for Barton for the education of Asian students by Australia, so that they might help to establish goodwill in their own countries towards Australia. In the course of his criticism on that occasion the right honorable gentleman said that the United Nations was a morass of councils and the like. I welcome the conversion of Ministers to the cause of the United Nations. Indeed, I welcome them as latter-day saints. I hope that they will live up to their protestations, and be really whole-hearted supporters of the cause of democracy in future. We are certainly living in difficult and perilous times, and no one can foresee precisely what will happen. A third world war, whilst it might bring victory to the democracies, might destroy civilization temporarily. In such a cataclysm, neither humans nor property would escape. But we have set our course in supporting the United Nations in Korea, and we must go forward on .that course, and do as much as we can to make the organization a lasting one. We must ensure that the Australian people, to whom we are finally responsible, shall be kept as well informed of the development of events as it is humanly possible in the light’ of security and other matters to keep them advised.
.- The matter that disturbs me at this period is that a government is in control of the affairs of this country that is almost identical with the one which failed so dismally in handling the affairs of this nation in another critical situation at the outbreak of World War II. I sometimes wonder whether many members of governments in other countries are of the calibre of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender), who would dearly love another world conflict, and are greatly disturbed by the possibility that mediation and conciliation may succeed in producing a peaceful settlement in the Korean dispute. Ear from emphasizing that part of the statement by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) in which reference was made to that possibility, the Minister for External Affairs seemed to resent the mere suggestion of mediation and conciliation. It is significant that the Government hesitated to summon the Parliament to meet in Canberra to-day.
In my opinion, it decided to recall honorable members only because the executive of the Parliamentary Labour party had announced its intention to discuss the Korean situation. The Government was afraid that the executive would declare Labour’s policy on the matter and would criticize the delay in summoning the Parliament.
The Leader of the Opposition has asked for an assurance that Australia’s commitments shall not be in any way increased Until the Parliament has been consulted, yet the Government has not given that undertaking, nor has it indicated when honorable members will re-assemble here. What my colleague, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) said is perfectly correct. As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister, in a critical situation such as that which exists to-day, proposes to pay another visit overseas. I have a clear recollection that in the early days of the last war the right honorable gentleman, who at that time also was Prime Minister, wanted to run away overseas– ~&r. SPEAKER.- Order ! I think that the honorable member had better come to the terms of the motion before the Chair.
– I am coming to the motion-
-In a rather roundabout way.
– If the Government is asking the House to support the motion made by the Prime Minister, surely we are entitled to offer our criticism and to indicate those matters in which we believe the Government to have been remiss in the handling of this situation! My opinion is that if the position is as critical as we believe it to be, and as it has been stated to be, then the Prime Minister should remain in Australia so that he can be available to call the Parliament together, if the” need arises, in order that we may discuss the course of world events. No member of the Parliament can say now that he knows from the mere announcements made from time to time exactly to what Australia has been committed. I should like to know whether the Government has entered into any secret commitments for the employment of Australian forces in any theatre of war, because as a matter of fact I–
– The honorable member had better ask Jock Garden that.
– The honorable., member for Bass (Mr. Kekwick), who has just interjected, is so concerned about the welfare of this country that when he found he had a parliamentary stamp allowance he wanted to take the money instead of the stamps.
– The honorable member has picked on the wrong man.
– Obviously, the views of such a man are not worthy of consideration, and I entirely dismiss him as being a email man with a very small mind.
Returning to the matter with which I wad dealing, namely, the failure of the Government to take the Opposition into its confidence in any way, I point out that it would not even inform the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) of developments so that the right honorable gentleman would know to what extent the country had been committed. It is significant that the Government has announced that it proposes to step up its plans for compulsory military training. That announcement naturally gives 11SC to the suspicion that the Government has the idea that it may have to use conscripted men in theatres of war other than those concerned with the immediate defence of Australia. The Labour Opposition has made its position very clear in this matter. It believes that there should be no conscription for national service other than for the actual defence of Australia itself. It is just as well, therefore, that the Parliament and the people of Australia should know exactly where they are proceeding.
What are the objectives of the Government in the present crisis? Let us examine them for a moment. Of course, in the view of the Government this discussion is quite all right while it is “ one-way traffic “, but the moment the Government hears criticism of itself it becomes resentful. Did it call the Parliament together merely because it thought that it would meet as a selfadmiration society and that no criticism would be offered of the Government?
– I rise to order. I think that the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) should be called upon to withdraw the offensive remark that he has just made.
– T did not near the alleged remark.
– Hp. said : “ Because the Government knows the ‘ Commos ‘ are here “.
– Was the remark applied to any honorable member by name?
– It was obviously addressed to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), and was intended as a criticism of him. I ask for the withdrawal of the remark, which suggests that Communists are members of this chamber. As far as I know, there are no Communists here.
– I do not know about that. No honorable member has taken objection to the remark as being intended to apply to him.
– I take objection to the remark because it is offensive to me.
– Order ! The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) is not an occupant of the Opposition front bench. If the remark complained of could be applied to any individual member it is out of order, but since the remark did not apply to any individual member there does not appear to be any real ground for objection to it.
– Any member is entitled to object to an offensive remark. You, sir, have so held on previous occasions.
– I should like to be referred to any ruling to that effect which I have delivered.
– Before those unruly interruptions I was proceeding–
– Order ! The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) was quite entitled to raise a point of order.
– I think you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that the honorable member for Mallee is not entitled to interject while another honorable member has the floor.
– If that rule were observed strictly there would be considerable periods of comparative silence.
– I say that the Government cannot be trusted in such a critical situation as that which confronts Australia to-day. Honorable members who care to take the time to examine Hansard will find that the responsible Ministers of the Labour Government which took over from an antiLabour administration during the last war placed material before the Parliament which showed conclusively that that Administration had left this country in a defenceless condition. As a matter of fact, the anti-Labour parties’ idea of defending Australia was to have Australian forces fighting in every theatre in the world where there might be a conflict, in utter disregard of the requirements of our own defence.
It is true that the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition generally have unanimously supported the United Nations when members of the present Government criticized that body and urged that we should abandon our allegiance to it. It is only because the United Nations wants military action now that the political parties opposite have rushed in to support that body. Let us examine what has actually happened. As the Opposition has pointed out, we do not propose to set ourselves up as judges of the exact situation because we are not sufficiently acquainted with the facts. However, we say that if world peace is to be preserved it is necessary that the alteration of national boundaries shall not be effected by force. That is all that the Opposition has said. Concerning the decision of the United Nations in the present dispute in Korea, we therefore say that Australia should support the efforts of that body .to settle by negotiation and mediation the various disputes that are threatening the peace of the world to-day. It is also right that we should face the facts of the situation in Korea. I daresay that any member of Parliament who has closely examined the position throughout Asia generally will agree ‘ with the view expressed by the Opposition to-day, that Asiatic nations, regardless of the form of government proposed for them, would prefer even an inferior form of government provided it was one of their own choosing.
It was said in the debate to-day that the South Koreans had requested the Americans to withdraw because they did not want any further interference with their internal affairs. It is clear, therefore, that when we speak about democracy and self-determination for the Koreans we should remember that the Koreans do not want a government supported by outside force, but prefer to determine the matter of their government for themselves. In saying that, I hope that eventually the Koreans will be able to determine in a peaceful, orderly manner, and by ballot, the government which they prefer. Indeed, we hope that eventually the intervention of the United Nations will afford the two factions in that country an opportunity to settle their present dispute in an orderly manner. In any event, it is to be hoped that the present conflict will be confined to Korea, and that it will be ended quickly by conciliation and mediation. Despite the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs about the failure of conciliation in Korea, I believe that the United Nations should continue its efforts to settle the present dispute in a peaceful way. That is the line adopted by the Opposition in this matter.
As a member of the Opposition I say that we are fearful of entrusting the present Government with the control of the affairs of the nation, particularly in a critical situation such as that which at present confronts us, because we do not know to what action it might commit us. Is it not a fact that certain members of the present Government who were members of the Australian Advisory War Council during the last war were in favour of deploying Australian troops for the defence of other countries throughout the world at a time when our own national safety was threatened? Indeed, there are many instances of their failure to place the interests of Australia first. We believe in democratic co-operation with other nations and organizations, but we also believe that we ought not be unmindful of the first necessity, which is the defence of our own country. We have a vast expanse of territory to defend and we have only a population of 8,000,000 people. There is a limit to what we can do in assisting the United Nations to carry out its decisions, and we ought to recognize that limit. Some honorable members opposite would suggest that we had not reached that limit until we had denuded this country of every able-bodied man. I want to know whether the Government will give an undertaking that there will be no further commitment in respect of Australia in any theatre of operations unless this Parliament is first assembled and consulted. Unless such an undertaking is given, the people naturally must be very disturbed about the nature of any decisions that may be made by this Government in the future.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to-
That leave of absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of its next meeting.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker, which time of meeting shall be notified by Mr. Speaker to each member by telegram or letter.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Bank Act - Appointment Certificate - G. J. F. Anderson.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Interior - W. D. F. Caine, A. A. Dean, C. J. Marsh.
Social Services - E. F. Bennett.
Works and Housing. - S. H. T. Abbiss,
E. H. Frost, D. A. Stockdill, K. . J. Woodward.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (3).
Lands Acquisition Act - Land, &c, acquired for Postal purposes -
Holland Park, Queensland.
Port Augusta, South Australia.
Quarantine Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 27.
House adjourned at 5.2 p.m. to a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
s. - On the 6th June, in reply to a question, upon notice, asked by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) concerning the number of employees in the Commonwealth Public Service, I undertook to supply additional information as early as practicable. I now wish to. advise the honorable member that the number of Commonwealth employees as at the 31st December, 1949, and the last pay period in April (19th), 1950, respectively, was as follows: -
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1. («,) 34,8.18,977 bushels, (6) 24,200,239 bushels, (o) 115,174,784 bushels. 2. (a) (is. 8.018d. a bushel, (6) Cs. 7.453d. a bushel, (c) 14s. 7.759d. a bushel.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 July 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1950/19500706_reps_19_208/>.