23rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Care of the Aged.
– I ask the Minister for Health: Does he recognize that although the present composition of the population of Canberra is what is described as young, the proportion of aged persons in the population is increasing and will increase steeply during the next ten years? Will the Minister inform the House whether any steps are being taken to plan for the establishment either of nursing homes, convalescent homes or geriatric hospitals to cater for the needs of the ageing population of this city within the foreseeable future? Will the Minister give what impetus he can to any planning that is taking place?
– I understand that there have been some suggestions for such provision and some planning is going on. The honorable member can be assured that such proposals will receive from the Department of Health the usual sympathetic consideration.
– I direct a question to the Treasurer. Will the right honorable gentleman have regard to the splendid fundraising efforts of parents and citizens’ associations, particularly in my own State of Western Australia, and when considering the next review of the sales tax, give consideration to remitting the sales tax on goods used in the operation of school lunch canteens?
– I am sure we all appreciate the voluntary efforts of parents and citizens’ associations along the lines mentioned by the honorable gentleman. I shall give consideration to his request and see that a suitable review is made when sales tax matters are next before us for consideration.
Mi. CAIRNS. - I direct a question to the Minister for Defence. Is he aware of statements that have been made that it is proposed to use the Woomera rocket range for the launching of long-range missiles, and to establish in north-western Australia an atomic-powered long-range radio station, and that both of these projects will be under the control of another country? If the Minister is aware of these statements, will he make efforts to ensure that an early statement is made to this House,’ and that the people of Australia are informed of the true situation?
- Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the reports to which the honorable member has referred, nor am I aware that anything of the nature he has mentioned is proposed for Australia. Should anything of that kind develop, naturally an announcement would be made in this House if it were in session, or otherwise in some appropriate way; but at present I know of no suggestion of that sort whatever.
– Has the PostmasterGeneral received representations from the Commonwealth Blind Communication Committee regarding concessions to blind persons for the installation and rental of telephones? Is the Minister empowered to grant these concessions by administrative action? If so, will he do what he can to meet the wishes of these grievously afflicted people?
– Mr. Speaker, over what I confess to be quite a protracted’ period, I have received representations from a number of bodies and from honorable members regarding the question posed by the honorable member for Warringah. He himself discussed this matter with me previously. I told the House some little time ago that I had had discussions with some of my colleagues who were involved in this matter of the provision of special telephone concessions for the blind, notably the Minister for Social Services and the Minister for Repatriation. It is only within the last week or so that I have been in a position to give a considered reply to the representations made to me. I think the honorable member for Warringah will receive advice of the final result of our discussions quite shortly. That is the position at present. This matter has received very sympathetic consideration, but it is difficult to reach a decision at the present time.
Restriction of Credit
– Will the Treasurer, in view of the difficulties that wool growers, wheat growers and other primary producers are finding in obtaining credit from the trading banks because of the Government’s credit squeeze policy, institute a moratorium in respect of their commitments while the credit restriction policy lasts?
– The honorable gentleman is, apparently, unaware of the fact that over the last twelve months advances have risen by some £143,000,000 although at the beginning of that time the Reserve Bank of Australia indicated that its policy would permit only of a modest increase in advances. I have no doubt that primary producers, among others, have participated in the increase of bank credit under this policy. Last week,I made a more detailed statement on the terms of a recent directive from the Reserve Bank and the way in which that could operate with respect to primary producers. I feel, Sir, that the terms of the directive and the general policies of this Government should make it clear that we give a favorable place to the primary producer and are most anxious that he should retain it.
– Can the Minister for
Trade inform the House whether it is a fact that, despite the growth in recent times of the trade publicity unit of his department, contracts are being let to commercial organizations to carry out Australian trade publicity work? Is the growth of this unit leading to overlapping in Government publicity services between his department and the Australian News and Information Bureau?
– I can assure the honorable member and the House that great care is taken to ensure that there is not an overlapping of the Commonwealth’s publicity services. An inter-departmental committee works constantly and carefully to see that overlapping does not occur. For example, at the recent Swiss national fair at Lausanne, nine Commonwealth departments cooperated in staging what I think was one of the greatest boosts for Australia, both in trade and in the general economic sense, on the continent of Europe.
Having said that there is care to avoid overlapping, I immediately point out that it is the practice of the Department of Trade to contract out to very experienced publicity houses, to specialists in public relations, industrial design, and advertising, and to some outstanding commercial photographers, the kind of work in which the Department of Trade is constantly engaged. This year, £1,500,000 of private money will be spent overseas, mainly through private publicity organizations in association with Government financed publicity.
– Will the Prime Minister say what action he proposes to take to protect the Australian people from the effects of restrictive trade practices and the formation of monopolies, to which His Excellency the Governor-General referred in opening the current session of the 23rd Parliament on 8th March of this year? As a promise to consider the introduction of legislation for this purpose was made by His Excellency, on behalf of the Government, and in view of the continuing trend towards monopolies, take-overs and restrictive trade practices, which are accompanied by higher prices-
– Order! I think the honorable member is giving information at too great length.
– Can the Parliament expect early action to be taken by the Prime Minister to protect the Australian people?
– The matter referred to by the honorable member for Macquarie is by no means overlooked. I am happy to tell him that my colleague, the AttorneyGeneral, during his absence abroad, has informed his mind on this very complex subject in at least two, and I think three, countries in which legislative schemes to deal with the problem have been adopted. He has had expert assistance, and I am sure that he has come back better equipped to deal with these complex matters. I would not have the honorable member believe that we fail to realize the importance of this problem, but as he will be the first to understand, it is necessary to handle it with-
– Not kid gloves!
– No, but with sufficient skill to avoid any avoidable constitutional difficulties. I can assure the honorable member that the amount of work that has been done in connexion with this matter by my colleague, the Attorney-General, is really quite formidable.
– My question is directed to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Have there been any new developments in processes for turning salt water into fresh water that give any hope that fresh water may be obtained in the inland of Australia at a cost of less than 10s. for 1,000 gallons?
– There are several processes for converting salt water to fresh water, but all of them, except the solar radiation process, require very large amounts of power, either thermal or nuclear, with the result that the cost per gallon of the conversion process is several shillings. If the water is to be delivered to central Australia the cost will be increased, of course, because of the enormous cost of all the necessary engineering works. It does not seem likely, therefore, that, in the near future at any rate, desalinated sea water will be available at a reasonable price. When it is considered that the cost of ordinary irrigation water is only a few pence per thousand gallons, honorable members can understand that this is a problem of great magnitude, and I would not expect a solution to it to be discovered in the near future.
– I ask a question of the Minister for Primary Industry. The honorable gentleman will recall that two years ago the Australian Wheat Board put before the Government a proposal to sell Australian wheat to India on deferred terms, as is being done by Canada and the United States of America. I now ask him, in view of the expense of storing the carry-over from last year’s crop and the great crop this year, whether the Government made any decision on the Wheat Board’s proposal or is now considering or reconsidering it.
– The Government certainly is at all times considering all aspects of marketing wheat and the fact that we have had some surplus stocks. Any arrangements for contracts of sale to India become involved with the decisions of the Wheat Utilization Committee, and the United States of America comes into the picture there. We are not considering at the present time selling wheat to India on deferred terms.
– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Is the right honorable gentleman aware that there are strong indications that the time to be devoted to the debate on his statement on the United Nations General Assembly will, in the view of some honorable members, be unreasonably restricted? In view of the first importance of his statement and of the subjectmatter to which it is devoted, and in view of the fact that this House has had very little opportunity this year to discuss international affairs, will the right honorable gentleman interpose his own unique authority to ensure that there is no gagging or unreasonable restriction of the time for this debate ?
– In other words, will the Prime Minister put the honorable member on the list?
– I am sorry to disappoint my friend, the honorable member for Parkes, but I have not a little list, and therefore whether anybody will be missed or not, I would not know. I have enjoyed the great advantage of having my colleague, the Treasurer, acting as Leader of the House. He organizes these debates, if that is the right word, and I have no reason to believe that his arrangements will not be reasonable. I, myself, of course, attach importance to this discussion, but I have no reason to think that I should intervene in any arrangements about the currency of the debate that may have been made at this stage.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it a fact that a statement made by the general manager of the Australian National Line indicates that freight increases on cargoes carried in the line’s vessels are 2300 Questions. [REPRESENTATIVES.] contemplated to take place later this year, despite a revealed profit of £1,300,000 on its operations last financial year? Will the Minister give an assurance that no increases will take place? 1 ask for this assurance in view of the very serious consequences to the Australian coastal trade that such increases would involve, and especially their effect on the development of the Northern Territory, which relies to a very large extent on the services provided by the line.
– I assure the honorable member that at the present time there is not before me any recommendation for increases in shipping freights. I should like to say, however, that it is quite right and proper for the general manager of the Australian National Line to bring before this House the fact that costs are rising, for, as we know, the line is run on business-like principles which require it to show a profit. Although attention has been directed to the present situation, there is not before me, as I have said, any recommendation for the increasing of shipping freights.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer a question. Will the right honorable gentleman amplify a statement which, according to the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s news service, he made yesterday at a display organized by the Australian Wool Bureau? The statement was to the effect that lower wool prices were giving wool an advantage in its competition with artificial fibres. Does the Minister consider that price is the sole factor or even the principal factor in determining the successful marketing overseas of Australian wool?
– I wish I had the time to deal adequately with the question raised by the honorable member for Gwydir. I think he will sympathize with me when I tell him that, having been asked to open this Australian Wool Bureau display yesterday, I was told to do so in the space of five minutes. I pointed out that for any Australian public man to be asked to talk on the subject of wool in the limited time of five minutes is almost like asking a clergyman to explain the Bible in ten minutes. I did say that, to an Australian audience, there was no need to extol the
Questions. virtues of wool as a fibre or to stress the importance to this country and its economy of our principal export product. Of course, I would not argue that price is the sole or indeed the principal factor in wool marketing. Wool is, as we know, the unrivalled fibre, certainly surpassing any synthetic. Research in recent years has given to wool the advantages which were formerly enjoyed solely by the synthetic fibres. Wool is now shrink-proof, it can be set with a permanent crease and has all the other advantages claimed for the synthetic product, as well as the natural advantages that we all know wool possesses.
I made the point that it was a matter of some concern to the Government and to the wool industry that there had been such marked fluctuations in price during the past ten years. I pointed out that from the extraordinarily high average price of 144d. per lb. reached at the time of the Korean crisis, there had been these fluctuations, some of them quite marked, over the decade, and it was really remarkable that at the end of this ten-year period the average price of wool was lower than it had been in any of the earlier ten years. I certainly do not applaud that fact. I think that wool is under-priced in relation to other fibres at this time. However, I did say in passing that we could at least take some consolation from the fact that this made wool a highly competitive fibre. It not only possesses all the advantages that I have mentioned, but also is available at a price which should make it very attractive to any processor.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. In view of public concern at the shortage of skilled tradesmen and the apparent declining interest in trades apprenticeships by youths of requisite abilities and aptitude, can the Minister say whether any action is contemplated by the Government to assist in remedying this position? In particular, can he now outline the objectives and proposed organization of the Commonwealth technical training week to be held about the middle of next year? This advice is being earnestly sought by various technical bodies in New South Wales.
– I do not think it is correct to say that there has been a marked decline in the number of people who are applying for apprenticeships and for technical training. In fact, technical colleges are full. As to the general tenor of the honorable gentleman’s question, I think he must know that education is a State responsibility. The Commonwealth Government makes the money available to the States, and the States have an adequate supply of money. If honorable members read the recent report of the late chairman of the New South Wales Public Service Board, they will find that he at least was proud of what has been done by that State in terms of both technical and normal education. As to the last part of the honorable gentleman’s question, I will obtain some information for him and will let him have it.
– I address a question to the Minister for Hearth. What age groups have been covered in Australia so far in the anti-poliomyelitis campaign? Is it intended to extend the campaign to cover the whole of the community as sufficient stocks of Salk vaccine become available? Have experiments been conducted into the breeding of the rhesus monkey in Australia? Is there any further evidence which would indicate the successful use of an oral vaccine for poliomyelitis?
– The age groups so far covered are those up to 44 years. There is now an ample supply of Salk vaccine, and there are no longer any priorities among age groups. The vaccine is available freely to all the population. So far as I know,’ there have been no experiments into the breeding of rhesus monkeys in Australia.
As to the honorable member’s fourth question, it is not considered that there would be any advantage in introducing oral vaccine into Australia.;. The present ‘ injectible vaccine is considered to be. highly effective and quite satisfactory.
– I ask the Treasurer whether it is the practice of the Commonwealth, through its departmental organiza tions, to pay its officers and employees by cheque. Is it common banking practice to require that cheques deposited may not be drawn against until cleared, and does clearing, even in the city of origin, sometimes take .three days? Does the Minister know whether the Commonwealth Bank, or any of its agencies, is enforcing this clearance requirement, and that this has the effect of delaying by several days payment to the officers or employees concerned? lt means, in fact, that pay, which should normally be available on Thursday, is not available until the cheque is cleared after the week-end.
– I think that the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory knows the answers to that series of questions as well as, if not better than, I do. He has apparently studied the -practice which obtains in these matters. But I shall take up with the Treasury officers the particular questions atthe end of the series he put to me, and see whether I can enlighten him on the practice and whether some change in it might be possible.
– I ask the Treasurer whether he has seen the reported statement of- the -Premier of Queensland that an application was lodged with the Commonwealth Government for financial assistance for drought relief. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether that application has been received. If it has been, when was it received? Again, if it has been received is it in the ‘ course of being processed, and when is it expected that a decision will be reached?
– I gave a reply to the honorable member for Wide Bay last week in connexion with this matter. At that time, my inquiries had shown that a formal application had not been received. I took the opportunity then, to indicate the general .attitude-, taken by the Commonwealth Government in the. .past to requests for drought relief. .1 gather that a formal application’ has been received since I mentioned this matter in the House last week. It is currently receiving departmental consideration, and no doubt it will come to Cabinet for consideration without any delay.
– My question to the Minister for Trade refers to the forthcoming visit to this country of a Swedish trade ship, and in particular to the announcement that this trade ship will visit all Australian capital cities. Can the right honorable gentleman state the tonnage of this ship, what is its draught and what steps are being taken to bring this vessel along the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Molonglo rivers to the national capital?
– I do not know the tonnage and draught of the ship. In any case, I am afraid the honorable member is too optimistic.
– Is the Minister for Social Services aware that the achievement of decentralizing the administrative offices of his department is greatly appreciated? Is it the intention of the Minister to continue and extend this policy? If so, can he give particulars of future action?
– I have pleasure in answering the honorable member by saying that I believe the action of the Department of Social Services in achieving great advances in decentralization is generally appreciated. That practice will continue. As soon as a community is large enough to sustain the minimum staff necessary effectively to carry out the functions of a regional office of the department, a regional office will be established. It all depends upon the number of people who require to be served in that way. In every State these regional offices have been established, and I am happy to say that they have been most effective.
– What about Mildura?
– If there is any locality of particular interest to the honorable member for Mallee, be it Mildura, Boort, or any other locality in the federal electorate of Mallee, I will be happy to give it consideration as soon as the population reaches the necessary density.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and
National Service. I have received a telegram in the following terms: -
Closure Grenfell flour mill in fortnight thirteen unemployed following monopoly purchase stop Grenfell needs industry forty men forty women stop town council and unemployed co-operative request ask questions urgently about Federal aid stop Advise newspaper and me.
It is signed “ Lee Serisier “, who is the Labour candidate for Calare. What does the Minister propose to do about the matter?
– In political matters like this I will take as much notice of Lee Serisier as I would of the Leader of the Opposition.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. With reference to the location of new iron ore deposits in Western Australia, has consideration been given to a plan similar to that which was approved for new proven deposits of manganese? Is it proposed to approve export licences based upon a percentage of new iron ore resources discovered, thus preserving for our own needs adequate supplies? If not, will he take up this proposal with the Minister for National Development?
– I will convey the honorable member’s question to my colleague in another place and will secure an answer for him.
– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Can he explain why the Statistician has not published the weight given to items in the C series index for eight years or the items themselves for two years, and why he never published the weight given to items in the interim index which has now been discontinued? Will he ensure that the weights in the new consumer price index are regularly published? Alternatively, will he secure an explanation which will dispel the mystery and misapprehension which surround the compilation and computation of such indexes?
– The honorable gentleman has created a bit of mystery by the form of his question. I will have to analyse it carefully to see that he gets a considered reply to it.
Restriction of Credit
– Can the Treasurer inform the House to what extent the credit difficulties of primary producers are due to the fact that bank credit now constitutes a diminishing proportion of total credit, so that Reserve Bank policy bears with undue weight on primary industry, which has no alternative source of credit? Will the Treasurer assure the House that the Government is considering the problem that has been created for primary industries by the fact that the Reserve Bank has been forced to operate its restrictive policies over a rapidly diminishing share of the total credit available to the Australian community?
– A little earlier to-day I gave some figures showing the extent to which bank advances have increased over the last twelve months. That increase has been very considerable. Indeed, even in the most recent month for which figures are availableI think the advance increase was of the order of £11,000,000. It is difficult to believe, therefore, that any serious problems have arisen yet for primary producers generally.
To the extent that the directive and advice from the Reserve Bank or, for that matter, the general attitude of this Government, have become involved, we have made it clear at all stages that we regard it as very important that the export industries should be able to continue in full and efficient production. I have no doubt that the Reserve Bank has taken that aspect fully into account, in the advice that it gives and in its actions. That would be true also of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. I have no reason to believe that the commercial banks other than those under government jurisdiction are not also proceeding along these lines.
– My question to the Treasurer is supplementary to the one which he has just answered. He stated that he did not think that primary producers and others were faced with any credit problems. Is it not a fact that primary producers, home-builders and others who want funds for purposes which are generally agreed to be essential are, in fact, finding it most difficult to obtain those funds? Is this not because the central bank now has control over only about 20 per cent, of the total funds loaned as against about 50 per cent, six or seven years ago? Does this not mean that funds are being diverted from the controlled area into the uncontrolled area? Will the right honorable gentleman face this problem and suggest some way to overcome it?
– I have already referred to the situation of the primary producer in reply to two questions to-day. So far as the fringe banking activities to which the honorable gentleman refers are concerned, the Prime Minister has previously told the House that this is a matter which is complex and is receiving the consideration of the Government. I do not feel that I can usefully add to that at this point.
– I address a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Do the present estimates indicate that there still will be large or record wheat and barley crops this season? Will the recent rain in Queensland substantially improve the prospects for the wheat and barley crops in that State? Is there now sufficient storage for these two crops in all States?
– Estimates for both the barley and wheat crops indicate that there is likely to be record production. There have been substantial rains in the south-east corner of Queensland, including most of the wheat area, but I should think that they arrived too late to affect the crop materially. Western Australia should have sufficient storage for all of the commodities that it stores - oats, barley and wheat - but, because of the surplus which was carried over from the last wheat crop, the position in that State will be somewhat tight; there will be nothing to spare. That will be the position also in the central and Riverina districts of New South Wales in relation to the wheat crop, which the growers seem to think will be a record. I think the storage position in the other States is satisfactory.
– The honorable member has referred to a problem faced by those responsible for providing both the national and the commercial television services in Hobart. The. transmitters are placed about 4,000 feet up on Mount Wellington. It was necessary to site them at that height so as to give as wide a coverage as possible over the somewhat difficult Tasmanian terrain. This has brought with it other problems, such” as that referred to by the honorable member, including the. problem of icing-up. Those problems were envisaged by the engineers of both the national and commercial services in their planning of the transmitters and their siting on Mount Wellington. I think that they have done a remarkably good job. The commercial service had some unfortunate experiences at the beginning, when great blocks of ice smashed through a roof and did a great deal of damage to equipment. Nevertheless, the service has continued in spite of. a great number of difficulties caused by icing-up and that sort of thing. I want to point out, however, that for. the purpose of dealing with these problems special provision has been made for housing the staffs of both the commercial and the national stations. I think that everything possible to deal with the special conditions in Tasmania has been done by all those associated with the matter. I would include in that . statement the assistance given to those stations by the electricity authority, which has done a very good job in providing the necessary power for the stations, and which itself has had to face the same conditions as the television station licensees have experienced. In those circumstances, I think that those responsible for both kinds of television service have done an excellent job in providing the programmes that they are providing, and from the reports that I have received I do not know that there would be any justification for adopting the suggestion made by the honorable member.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that the Minister was personally responsible for. saving a mob of cattle from fire at the week-end, and does he agree that this instance of practical help to the cattle industry is typical of the administration of his department?
– Order! I think that question is outside the responsibility of the House.
– I ask the Attorney-
General a question without notice. The honorable gentleman is reliably reported, on his return from the United States, to have advocated the use of tape recorders in evidence and also to have advocated the use of tape recordings of evidence. I ask him, Sir, whether he will state what he actually said and what he proposes.
– I am delighted that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition realizes that his words “ reliably reported “ were misplaced, because it is not true that I said the things that he appears to attribute to me. What I did say was this: There is developing a need on occasions to receive into evidence material that is tape-recorded. It is well known that tape-recorded material is very readilysubject to faking, andI was interested while I was abroad to find out what safeguards could be devised to ensure that evidence of this kind was admitted only under appropriate conditions, and to see that the courts were not. misled by its use.
So far as tape recording of evidence is concerned,I do not think that I made special reference to it beyond this: I am interested in the manner of recording evidence in court. It is becoming tremendously expensive, and shorthand writers arc becoming harder to get. I did examine mechanical shorthand writing and what use was being made of it and what success was being achieved with tape recording. We have had some experience of it in the High Court of Australia and I doubt whether it is as satisfactory yet as it could be. Those are the things I looked into, and that is what I said about them.
– What about micro films?
– I also said that I was interested in trying to save industry and traders the expense of keeping records over long periods of years in expensive storage space. I have been considering the question of whether the records could be destroyed after they had been placed on microfilm, again under suitable safeguards.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
The recommendations in the report will be adopted by the Government, and the enabling legislation will be introduced shortly.
– I wish to inform the House that it is my intention to issue a writ on Thursday, 27th October, for the election of a member to serve for the electoral division of Higinbotham, in the State of Victoria, in the place of Thomas Frank Timson, Esquire, M.B.E., deceased. The dates in connexion with the election will be fixed as follows: - Date of issue of writ, Thursday, 27th October, 1960; date of nomination. Thursday, 17th November, 1960; date of polling, Saturday, 10th December,1960; date of return of writ, on or before Saturday, 14th January, 1961.
-Pursuant to Standing Order No. 17, I lay on the table my warrant nominating the Honorable William Crawford Haworthtoact as Temporary Chairman of Committees when requested to do so by the Chairman of Committees.
– I move -
That leave of absence for one month be given to the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) on the ground of parliamentary business overseas to the honorable member for Banks (Mr. Costa) on the ground of public business overseas, and to the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. George Lawson) and the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Russell) on the ground of ill health.
I had intended to move for leave to be granted to the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), but he has arrived in the House’ to-day and we are glad to see him back. I have no doubt that he represented Australia very well while he was away with his colleague at an important conference in Asia. The honorable member for Banks is away with the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), butI do not notice any motion for leave of absence for the honorable member for Mackellar. He will be returning to Australia fairly soon.I am sure that the honorable member for Banks will acquit himself as creditably as he does in Canberra.
The honorable member for Brisbane is not in serious ill health, but he is not very well, and his doctor hasadvised him not to come to this House again until the autumn session of the Parliament. The honorable member for Grey is recovering after a series of serious operations and is not likely to be present at sittings of the House this year. He, too, hopes to be back in the. autumn session.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 2293), on motion by Mr. Menzies -
That the following paper: -
General Assembly of theUnited Nations - Ministerial Statement - be printed.
Upon which. Mr. Calwell had moved by way of amendment-
That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - “ the Prime Minister erred in not conferring with all Commonwealth countries before moving his amendment to Mr. Nehru’s motion, failed to serve the interests of Australia and the cause of world peace, provoked a public disagreement among Commonwealth countries and compromised Australia with the new members of the United Nations “.
– Mr. Speaker, the House is at present discussing a paper which concerns the attitude of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in the recent debate at the United Nations General Assembly. It is interesting to note that the Opposition has moved an amendment which expresses its attitude and the way it views the very serious submissions that were made to the United Nations General Assembly by the Prime Minister. Before proceeding, I propose to give a brief synopsis of the Opposition’s point of view as expressed in the amendment. The Opposition declares that the Prime Minister - . . failed to serve the interests of Australia and the cause of world peace, provoked a public disagreement among Commonwealth counties and compromised Australia with the new members of the United Nations.
That, Sir, is an indication of the Opposition’s point of view on this matter. Recently, an Australian proposition submitted to the United Nations General Assembly succeeded in attracting only four supporters from a potential of 98. The proposition was put forward by the Australian Prime Minister. The right honorable gentleman’s attitude and his proposals were bitterly criticized by the leaders of many nations although Australia had previously enjoyed warm and friendly relations with a number of them. The question that arises is this: Was the Prime Minister aware that his proposition would provoke such bitter recriminations and inspire such weak support from members of the United’ Nations? Alternatively, did the right honorable gentleman deliberately decide to set Australia against the biggest part of the world on this very vital international issue? Surely it is a case of one or the other. Many Australians wonder whether the Prime Minister has been too cavalier’ and casual in his attitude to the United Nations generally and especially to the importance of the great international debate that took place in the Assembly recently.
After all, the issues were of very great importance. Not only was the happiness of the people of the world involved in the debate; it also affected their general welfare and indeed their survival. Australia’s administration of New Guinea was also taken into account. Many countries have shown that they do not agree that we are making a complete effort on behalf of New Guinea. They feel that we have been rather sluggish in granting democratic opportunities to the people of New Guinea.
– Where have we failed?
– The honorable member for Lyne, who has interjected, is a member of the Government’s Foreign Affairs Committee and is aware of these things. He would be the first to require the Prime Minister to be in his place at the United Nations General Assembly so thai he could adequately defend Australia - if a defence could be offered - against the charges that have been levelled at us concerning the administration of New Guinea. These were the issues that were to be debated before the United Nations. We recall that it was not the intention of the Prime Minister to participate. Then the Assembly was going to discuss a number of important issues. The admission of mainland China to the United Nations was to be debated. This is a vital issue. It involves a country of some 600,000,000 people, and there seems to be every indication thai the vast majority of countries, in the near future, will be inclined to support the admission of China to the United Nations although the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) apparently does not desire that and disagrees that it is a possibility. But that is the fact of the situation. The admission of China to the United Nations was to have been a topic for discussion. Whether the Prime Minister concurred in that proposal or otherwise, it is important to recognize that there was a need for him to be present.
Australia’s overseas balances were also a consideration in connexion with this conference because they had been deteriorating at an unprecedented pace for a long time. In other words, there was good reason why Australia should make a great effort to improve its relations with other countries.
This was a vital need. What caused the Prime Minister to be unenthusiastic about going to the General Assembly when, apart from the other issues that I have mentioned, there was an opportunity to do something to lift our overseas balances which are deteriorating at a rate never known in the history of Australia?
Then there is the question of nuclear warfare. There is an atmosphere of great urgency around this question. There are also the disarmament proposals and the subject of the cessation of nuclear tests. This is not just a parliamentary talking point; it is a matter about which people all round the world can be inspired to great enthusiasm because it is recognized by realistic people that this issue threatens the future of mankind. We do not want people to treat important matters of this type in an offhanded fashion. The Prime Minister should have been eager to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations to deal with the question of disarmament.
It was reported in a Sydney Sunday newspaper a short time ago that it would soon be possible to construct for about £800 - the price of a small motor car - a plant to provide uranium for atomic bombs. In the past, the cost of such plant has been the deterrent to the production of nuclear weapons. That difficulty is now to be swept away and, in the very near future, any country will be able to have an atomic bomb, lt will become impossible to police disarmament when this state of affairs manifests itself. According to this newspaper article, some observers fear that the new process will enable twenty or more countries to make their own atom bombs by 1964. Surely there is urgency about disarmament. Consequently, the Prime Minister should have been eager to have been at the General Assembly. He has been too cavalier and casual in his approach to all the matters associated with the United Nations.
In the near future, some countries which have no particular record of responsibility, and countries which have recently become independent nations will be able to possess nuclear weapons. I should imagine that the Prime Minister, as the leader of a country which has not the benefit of this great protection or means of aggression - whichever way you want to look at it - would have some regard for the future of the Australian people. The means of mass annihilation and destruction will shortly no longer be the prerogative of only four nations but will be spread among all sorts of peoples - some of dubious background and intention. So the decision to abandon nuclear warfare must be taken now before the world can be held to ransom, perhaps by one of the newly-emerged countries.
Yet the Prime Minister did not even intend to go to the United Nations, despite these very vital issues! Up to the last moment, he considered that these issues were not sufficiently important to justify his attendance. They were big enough to attract people such as Mr. Eisenhower, Mr. Khrushchev, Mr. Nehru, Dr. Soekarno of Indonesia, Tito of Yugoslavia, and Mr. Nash who went all the way from New Zealand. They also attracted Mr. Diefenbaker from Canada; Mr. Macmillan took the trouble of going from the United Kingdom, and President Nasser and a host of other famous international people apparently thought, “ These are important matters and if I want to serve my country I shall be at the United Nations “. But what did the Australian Prime Minister say? He said, in effect, “ I do not think the meeting is important enough to justify my attendance “. After all, he is not only the Prime Minister of this country, but also the Minister for External Affairs.
The Prime Minister decided to send the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) to the General Assembly. He was content to send the most recent arrival in the Australian Cabinet. That indicates how much importance the Prime Minister attributed to the matters that I have mentioned. It is fair to say that he decided to send as the representative of the Australian people, one of the most recent arrivals in the Commonwealth Parliament. I consider that these issues rate a lot more attention from the Government than they have received up to date. The Prime Minister, only a few days before his departure, assured this Parliament that he had no intention of going to the United Nations. He said, “I have complete confidence in the AttorneyGeneral “. We felt on this side of the House, as I think most honorable members opposite and most Australians felt, that Australia’s Prime Minister, regardless of what party he represented, should have been at the General Assembly. At the last moment, a change was made.
We are entitled to know some things. Did the Prime Minister lose confidence in the Attorney-General suddenly? What prompted him to go to the General Assembly? Was he prevailed upon to go by the United States of America or by the United Kingdom? After all, it would not be the first time, as all honorable members will agree, that he had done the bidding of the leaders of the United Kingdom. What caused him to go to the United Nations? These things obviously need some sort of explanation. He went like a reluctant dragon. He was called to the highest stratum of international statesmanship. He was swept up overnight to the highest citadel of spokesman for the capitalist world. How wonderful he must have felt. He revelled in this newly found capacity, lt must have tickled his ego to be there. But, in the twinkling of an eye, the whole thing blew up and came crashing down about his ears, along with Australia’s hardwon prestige and international standing.
It was as though nuclear warfare, a subject which the United. Nations at that moment was contemplating, had suddenly turned with all its fury to annihilate the Prime Minister. It was all shockingly disastrous, humiliating for the Prime Minister and damaging to Australia. There are a number of questions to be answered. I want to know whether honorable members^ opposite feel that Australia can afford not to have ‘ a’ Minister for External Affairs in future: Can the Prime Minister.’ continue to make such an expensive hobby of inter-national affairs and the portfolio of External Affairs? Do honorable , members opposite riot think that these matters are’ important enough to justify the attention of one of their number or has ho one on the Government side the ability necessary to do this sort qf.work? Can our diplomacy, in future bt,, characterized by events such as the Suez fiasco? History shows,that it was, a. fiasco, In that case, for purely egotistical reasons, the Prime Minister accepted the, most discredited, brief in. the. history qf. internation;^ diplomacy: .. ‘_‘_ .,-.”‘’ .1 ,’ . - Can- we -risk any more adverse: reactions pf- then type, that resulted from ‘our condone.ment :01.. .the . disgraceful. discrimination practised.- in South Africe under the policy of apartheid? I am sure that our bungling of that situation demonstrated the need for closer attention to- international affairs. I believe that we tan no longer go on subordinating ‘Australia’s point of view to thai of the ‘ United- States of America or of any other country. In foreign affairs, we have to wait for the mail from the United States and if it does not come we! are left without a voice on very important issues. Our Prime Minister has -become known in international circles as “ Little Sir Echo “-i-the echo of the United States. It is obvious that: he has done the bidding of that country on this occasion.
Why did he choose to scrap with a heavyweight in international affairs - Mr. Nehru of India’, the most respected of all the Afro-Asian leaders? Can any one deny that he was fighting out’ of his class? He took on a heavyweight and was completely outclassed. He obviously made no contact Wim Mr.? Nehru before delivering his speech in the United Nations ‘ General Assembly. I doubt that he made any- contact with any of the Afro-Asian leaders or, for that matter, with any pf. the leaders of Commonwealth countries. The great. Commonwealth of Nations was apparently ignored by the Prime Minister. . As- the Sydney “Daily Mirror” said- on 6th’ October - ‘
When . Mr, Nehru , finished his speech, Mi. Menzies’s reputation as an international statesman was left in ratters 6n:the floor pf the Assembly.
-Who said-‘ that?
– That was the “Daily Mirror”, and’ I think it. is a fair summary of the ‘ situation. But nearly all the’ newspapers of Australia, including those which have hitherto been eager to extol the virtues of the Prime Minister, have agreed with the proposition that the right honorable gentleman compromised Australia in a most unfortunate manner by speaking as he .’did iri’ the. United Nations General Assembly. I have quoted the remarks of the Sydney “ Daily Mirrror “, and I remind Honorable members that the Sydney “ Sun “ on the same’ day said -
After Mr. Nehru had finished addressing . the Assembly Mr. Menzies- strode from the conference hall, flushed ‘and ‘obviously ‘upset. “1 can’t take this, told .reporters. …. ;, t- How did- all this happen? Did the Prime Minister- seek the views- of the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield ‘Barwick); who: went to the United Nations before he did? If so, did the Attorney-General agree with the Prime Minister’s plan to put Australia in a position in which it could command the support of only four nations in the United Nations out of a total of 98? The Attorney-General may be unjustifiably escaping scot-free from criticism. He does not seem to be getting any share of the blame. I do not know what happened in this connexion. Did the Prime Minister discuss the matter with the officers of the Department of External Affairs? I would like to know whether our officers in that department shared the Prime Minister’s point of view. The Australian people would like to know whether there has been a deterioration in the standard of our Government’s advisers on international affairs.
Did the Prime Minister ignore all the Commonwealth countries? Did he have discussions with the New Zealand representative, for example? Did he consult with the representatives of any of the Commonwealth countries or of any of our Asian neighbours? Did he consult, for instance, with Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia or Japan, or did he just stride arrogantly into the General Assembly saying to himself, “ I am going to say whatever comes into my head, without any regard for the welfare of Australia or the attitude of any other country “?
Was the Prime Minister blissfully unaware of the eruptive nature of his proposals? Was he so out of touch with world opinion that he discounted even the remotest prospect of the violent reaction that did, in fact, follow his speech in the General Assembly? If this was so, then the Prime Minister is entitled to our sympathy, and I extend it to him. But he must expect to be reproached for risking Australia’s prestige and its international standing and reputation, which, as all Australians will recall, once stood at the highest possible level in the United Nations. That was in the days, of course, when Australia was so highly regarded that an Australian graced the presidential chair of the United Nations General Assembly. How proud we all were at that time, when a member of this Parliament from the Labour side, a Labour Cabinet Minister, commanded the enthusiastic support of every country in the world, and presided over the Assembly at a time when the United Nations had a tremendously important job to do. How we have fallen from grace, when we can now count on the support of only four nations out of 98!
Were the results that followed the Prime Minister’s speech the ones that he expected? Alternatively, has he been surprised at the results? Has he failed, as few others at such high levels have failed, properly to assess the situation? If I am wrong in suggesting that he failed in this way - and I could be - then I do the Prime Minister an injustice. If he did not fail to foresee the miserable degree of support his proposals would attract, then he apparently said to himself: “ I have a proposal which is grossly unpopular. It will not win support, and it will incur the wrath and indignation of nations hitherto our friends and allies “, and then set himself resolutely to the task of throwing away most of the support that Australia had previously been able to command from many Commonwealth countries and many of our Asian neighbours to the north.
Either the Prime Minister foresaw the results or he did not. I refuse to believe that the former is the case, because such irresponsibility could not be attributed to any Australian Prime Minister, regardless of his party affiliations. No Prime Minister of this country has ever displayed such a degree of irresponsibility. To foresee the results, and to pursue such a course of action nevertheless, would be completely anti-Australian. It would represent a deliberate attempt to ruin our reputation with countries with which it is important that we should enjoy the friendliest relations. It would probably justify the invoking of the proposed new provisions of the Crimes Act in proceedings against the Prime Minister, because it would be a deliberate attempt to discredit this country in the eyes of friendly nations.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) has been quite false to the name of his electorate. He spent almost the whole of his time in this debate in fashioning Aunt Sallys in order to have the pleasure of knocking them over. I shall not bother to reply to him.
Yesterday, there was a disturbance at the Essendon airport. The industrial wing of the Labour Party, the leaders of which have been chiding and criticizing the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for having visited Mr. Khrushchev when in New York, have invited one of the most belligerent bench.men of Mao Tse-tung to visit Australia, and offered to act as his host. When other persons who themselves, or whose’ relatives, had been treated severely and cruelly by Chinese Communists, tried to indulge in a little peaceful picketing, the Labour Party organized some tough guys to come along and disperse them, to break down their placards and generally to deal with them roughly. These same tough guys are those who demand freedom to parade in the Melbourne streets with placards, and who have even attempted to influence some of our industrial courts by mob demonstrations. These conflicting attitudes display neither logic nor sound thinking.
In the same way, Labour speakers in this debate display no logic when they practically claim to have fathered the idea of the Summit meeting, and then criticize the Prime Minister most strongly for proposing in the United Nations General Assembly an amendment designed to bring about another Summit meeting. As I say, such an attitude on the part of honorable members opposite is neither logical nor reasonable. These tactics are adopted by the Labour Party, 1 believe, in order to divert attention from the internecine strife in which its left and right wings are involved, the two wings wanting to fly in different directions, with the result that the machine stays put on the ground. As I have said, it is for the purpose of diverting attention from its own troubles that the Labour Party has concentrated its attacks on the individuals involved, rather than on the principles at issue. When Australians are interested as never before in foreign policy, no better evidence of lack of perspective, innate weakness and sheer inability to rise above self in the country’s interests could be given than that which has been displayed by the Labour Party in the way it has approached this debate. Honorable members opposite serve neither their country’s cause nor their party’s advancement by these tactics.
The year 1960 has been a year of destiny; whether it has been a year of grace or disgrace is a matter for the individual point of view. The United Nations General Assembly has staged an international drama which, if it has done nothing else, has attracted the attention and interest of the world. The actors may have played at times to thin audiences in the Assembly itself, but they played to packed houses in the auditoriums of the world. Some, like Olympic athletes, arrived, competed in their special events, and then went away. Others stayed longer. Now that the leading actors or star performers have gone home, the United Nations has settled back more or less into its own routine. But, believe me, in view of what has happened, I do not think the United Nations will ever be the same as it was before.
The winds of change, which descended on Lake Success and ruffled its surface at times into waves of destructive denunciation, were not, for the most part, warm and healthy winds. As a matter of fact, they were much more akin to the icy blizzards of Antarctica. Mr. Khrushchev’s speeches alternated between the sticky sweetness of sugar candy and the acidity of “ the answer’s a lemon “ - and a great big green lemon at that. He alternated between rocketry and drollery in such an irresponsible and unpredictable fashion that the world has been led to believe that he is as great a paranoiac as Hitler ever was - and therein lies the danger. The show would have been fun while it lasted if it had not been that the fate of the world as well as the fate of the United Nations was balancing on the knife edge of the Communist desires for world conquest, fashioned out of the war threats of Mao Tse-tung and the phony peaceful co-existence of Mr. Khrushchev. While the spotlight of the world was turned on Lake Success, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you had the same tactics of Communist advancement going on in other parts of the world, for example in Laos. You had the Czechoslovakian delegation laying the foundations for a takeover in Mali, and the Russians providing arms for the F.L.N, in Algeria. In other words, the Communists direct the spotlight at one point and in the shadows they go ahead with their secret tactics of conquest.
Do not think for one moment that the attack in the United Nations is over because the star performers have gone home. The attack goes on day after day; in the Security Council, in the Political Committee, in the Economic Committee - in every committee - in every assembly, in the lounges, in the corridors. The_Communists have sent out word to their delegates that Mr. Hammarskjoeld must be hounded out of office in the same way as was Mr. Trygve Lie, and the United Nations is to be altered to suit Mr. Khrushchev or else. I quote what he said when he was departing -
If you want war, you’ll get it . . . I’11 go down but if I do I’ll drag you to the bottom with me.
Again how reminiscent of Hitler in his concrete caverns in Berlin!
When our Prime Minister decided to go to the United Nations, there was hardly a dissentient voice in Australia. He stood side by side with other world leaders from the West - Mr. Eisenhower, Mr. Macmillan and Mr. Diefenbaker, on the one hand, and on the other hand, leaders such as Mr. Nehru, King Hussein, Mr. Olympio of Togo, Mr. Lorenzo Sumulong, from the Philippines, whom I understand Mr. Khrushchev called a jerk, and the Prime Minister of Nigeria. Our Prime Minister stood up to the attacks of Mr. Khrushchev and on one occasion himself led what I believe was a very successful counterattack. If he had done nothing else but deliver that counter-attack in the second speech that he made in the United Nations General Assembly, Australia would have felt that his going had been well worth while.
Now that all this is over, the time has come for us to take stock - to reflect on the past and build for the future. Where does Australia stand in the world of to-day? Are we, as it were, flying blind in a cold war white-out, knowing neither our direction nor our destination, or are we in close and constant communication with others who, like ourselves, are seeking to find the airstrip where there is freedom, where there is justice and where there is a chance to develop improved standards of living by sharing, not monopolizing, this world’s goods?
Let us forget individuals for a moment and turn our attention to one very important point of policy - namely, this problem of summitry - on which so many seem to place such high hopes but which, like a snow palace, seems to disappear in the heat of the controversy engendered every time we get near it and meetings take place. The British Prime Minister has never wavered in his belief that a Summit meeting was one of the best ways to ease world tension. For a time it appeared as if he would succeed. He visited Mr. Khrushchev in Moscow and he persuaded, I believe, a reluctant President of the United States of America to go to Paris. Mr. Khrushchev was quite keen on a Paris Summit meeting until he found that the other three powers were in agreement. When he thought that they were in disagreement and that he might gain something from the Berlin situation, he was for a Summit conference. But with the clarity of hindsight, U2 incident or no U2 incident notwithstanding, it seems perfectly obvious now that Mr. Khrushchev was determined to break up the conference when he found that the odds were three to one against him. He decided that he would stage his own world conference on the much wider stage of the United Nations, with the back-drop and scenery partially set to his own direction. In the United Nations orchestra, the violins and the strings may have been playing the better music, but with no conductor, the brass wind instruments attempted to drown them out.
The real Summit meetings at which I believe something might be achieved were the private meetings that took place between leaders of nations in New York, without television, without spotlights, without the presence of the press and without an audience. If you cannot get anywhere at those meetings, you cannot get anywhere at the grandstand Summit meetings.
Not long ago our Prime Minister said - I have no reason to believe that he has altered his opinion in any way - that a great deal of spade work had to be done before Summit meetings could meet with success. His amendment, by means of which he tried to bring about a Summit meeting, was, I think every one will agree, based on the very highest motives, but, unfortunately, did not produce the best results. The assessment of the results I am content to leave to others, but I have endeavoured to do some homework. I have endeavoured to find out what 1 could from the Asian newspapers that are available in our own library. I have found very little, if any, evidence to justify the trenchant criticism that has been levelled at the Australian amendment in certain quarters.
– What about the statement made by Tunku Abdul Rahman?
– What was it?
– He said that it was a terrible thing that one of the statements that was made had been made by a Commonwealth leader.
– He may have his own opinions. I could not get the Malayan newspapers, but I got the Indian and Japanese newspapers and others. In a leader, the “ Japan Times “ stated -
In view of what has passed, it would seem to have taken a good deal of political courage to make such a proposal, but we very much doubt, even if the four powers agreed to meet, whether any valuable results would be obtainable.
I think that that is a very fair statement. There may have been some others. As I have said, there was very little, if any, evidence to justify the very trenchant criticism that has been levelled at the Australian amendment.
May I say, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the danger that 1 see with regard to these Summit meetings is that so many people will be led to expect so much, when all that we can expect is that Mr. Khrushchev will once again use these elevated platforms in order to provide another grandstand for his propaganda performances.
I should like to quote the last paragraph of the leader in the “ Japan Times “ also. It reads -
The nations do not trust one another and this is what makes the task of the United Nations Organization so difficult, and the meeting of heads of government of the great powers ineffective. Could further diplomatic action be taken to modify this almost universal distrust before the leaders come to talk together? It might be wise to try something in this direction.
That is what I feel is probably the wish of the vast majority of us here.
Apparently Argentina was much better informed, as its amendment achieved at least some of our Prime Minister’s objectives. The statement by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that the fivepower resolution would have been passed if the Australian amendment had not been moved is nonsense. The Argentine amendment was tabled at the same time, and as a result of the voting on it, Mr. Nehru withdrew his resolution.
This brings me to the second factor in Australia’s foreign policy about which I want to speak. And I can speak only for myself, although, judging by the events of the past decade, I do not think that I have been entirely a lone wolf. Family ties, racial ties, ties of belief in freedom and justice, all are strong bonds of steel between at least the older members of the British Commonwealth of Nations and between ourselves and Great Britain. Nevertheless. I do not believe that Australia’s foreign policy should allow this country to be jockeyed into a position in which its foreign policy seems to consist fundamentally of our being a mouthpiece for the West, and I think that is where the divergence has taken place. Here in the south Pacific we have a position of great responsibility and unique opportunity, as the only western nation in the far eastern clime. Differing from our neighbours, we are yet akin to them in that we were a colony, received our independence and hope to continue to develop our country and improve our standard of living. In this respect, we differ very markedly from those people who once were free and are now satellite slaves of the Russian or Chinese Communists. Without cutting any family ties, without affecting our affinities or friendship with any other power, great or small, and without approving of all their policies, Australia should be a member, fundamentally, of the Asian group, helping to interpret the East to the West and vice-versa. We should have, I believe, asked to be at Bandung. We were entitled by our geographical position to be there. Now it will be more difficult, but we can still make the request and we can still have our own policy. It will mean much hard work, but with patience, selfeffacement on some occasions and perseverance I firmly believe it can be achieved, and this is our role, our destiny and what we ought to do in order to achieve our own democratic desires.
The reds are implacable, undeviating, merciless and tireless. They will use fear and threats. They will carry on the cold war and Mao Tse-tung may even try to carry on a hot war, but I believe that the majority of the Russian people, the Chinese people and the satellite people desire peace and freedom just as much as we do. The smaller nations and the less powerful nations which desire peace and improved living standards can be an influential instrument in moulding world opinion. They may yet assist materially in convincing dictators that they want to go forward to better standards of living and not back into the dark ages. Acting together, we can exert much greater influence than leaving our opinions to be expressed by some one else. Maybe at some time some of us could act as negotiators or even as chairmen of meetings of the great powers. As Mr. Diefenbaker said, “ We, the middle powers, and the smaller powers, cannot remain silent “. We could not commit any one but at the same time we represent hundreds of millions of human beings who are just as interested as any one else is in freedom, peace and progress. Australia’s place is among them, particularly in our own geographical region. I would like to see itinerant ambassadors appointed for Europe and instead of most of the money that we now spend on diplomacy being used to support the chancelleries in Europe, much more should be spent in developing our relations with the smaller nations of Asia and Africa.
Finally, whether honorable members agree or disagree with my opinion as to the foundations on which our foreign policy should be built, may I draw the attention of the Government to another very important fact. Modern diplomacy in this age of ever-swifter travel facilities is based largely on personal contacts and knowledge which comes only from daily personal application and study. Obviously, this calls for Concentrated effort, particularly under the present difficulties, and necessitates, 1 respectfully suggest to the Government, a full-time Minister for External Affairs. I know that the present Minister is extremely busy - he has been away - but here we have one of the most important debates on foreign affairs that we have ever had and the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman), who is now at the table, is left to try to do his best.
.- It is difficult to understand what the Parliament would be debating if it were not for the amendment moved by the Opposition. The amendment in essence is a criticism of the demeanour of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). The issue of substance at the United Nations - one resolution that two great powers should meet and another resolution that four great powers should meet - is so unimportant that it would not be worth the Parliament taking four days to debate what is a procedural question in the United Nations. After all, the “ big two “ met at Camp David without any resolution from the United Nations and the “ big four “ met at Geneva and Paris without any resolution from the United Nations. So it is in what lies behind these several positions that we must find the significance of the matter that is being debated here.
During the course of this debate, a good deal has been said1 about Mr. Nehru and a number of references have been made to his neutralism. I think this is a word that we need to look at and try to discover whether it has any meaning other than the meaning of the very old-fashioned word “ neutrality “. I suspect that the word “ neutralism “ is just a piece of meaningless jargon. If Mr. Nehru is a spokesman of neutralism, it is in his policy over the years that we can try to find some meaning for the word. Is it pacifism? Clearly, he used armed force in Hyderabad, in Kashmir and1 on the northern border of India in the face of the Chinese threat. So Mr. Nehru, whatever he is, cannot be called a pacifist - one who objects to the use of military force, because he has used it.
Is neutralism ideological indifference? In India, the State of Kerala was taken over by communism and for a time it appeared that Mr. Nehru regarded it as a model of co-existence. However, as that Government proceeded, it finally reached the point where 160,000 people, were committed to gaol for political reasons and, with the opposition it provoked, there was constant disorder. Mr. Nehru used military force to throw out the Communist Government of Kerala. He has also made many statements in which he has said that the Communist Party of India is utterly servile to China and utterly opposed to Indian interests. So it cannot be said from Mr. Nehru’s career that he is ideologically indifferent. This is not to say that he supports the antiCommunist powers in the world scene, but within his own country he is not ideologically indifferent and has made repeated statements attacking the position of the Communist Party of India and finally he took action against a Communist State government.
Does “ neutralism “ mean that Mr. Nehru has a particular partiality for the United Nations and makes this the cornerstone of his foreign policy? That could conceivably be one angle of neutralism. However, in the Kashmir dispute, there were thirteen decisions of the United Nations, none of which Mr. Nehru accepted and all of which Pakistan accepted. So it cannot be said that he is prepared at the expense of Indian foreign policy or what he regards as the Indian interests, to give supremacy to the United Nations.
When it comes to the point, this jargon word “ neutralism “ in relation to the conflict between the Eastern powers and the Western powers simply means that Mr. Nehru desires to be neutral. There is no need to turn this into a swear word. The United States of America, throughout the nineteenth century and through to 1917, had neutrality as the cornerstone of its foreign policy, and from 1919 to 1941 endeavoured to revert to neutrality. It failed on both occasions. It became involved1 in two world wars, and has abandoned neutrality as a policy ever since Pearl Harbour. Nevertheless, as a power it endeavoured to be neutral. Many other powers have made neutrality the foundation stone of their foreign policy. Switzerland did this. I remember a member of the Swiss general staff telling me how his commander-in-chief was summoned to Basle early in 1940. The head of the German general staff said to him, “ We could take Switzerland “. He said, “ Certainly you could take Switzerland; it would cost you 1,000,000 dead and would take you eighteen months “. The head of the
German General Staff said, “ Yes, that is our calculation, too, so we are not going to do it “. Switzerland got away with a policy of neutrality, but it was not necessarily because of that policy; it was because of the height of mountains.
Two other powers were endeavouring to pursue a policy of neutrality - Belgium and Holland. Holland succeeded in doing so in the First World War, but failed in the Second World War. Belgium did not succeed in the First World War but in 1939, she abandoned her alliance with Britain and reverted to neutrality. She was attacked in 1940. She had no mountains; she had flat plains, and she was over-run. No provocation was given by Belgium or Holland. The mere assertion that the foundation of your foreign policy is neutrality does not constitute a magic protection. It did not do so for those two powers.
Norway, Sweden and Denmark had almost 150 years of neutrality, if we exclude the attack by Prussia on Denmark in 1866. Sweden managed to maintain her neutrality in the Second World War, but under circumstances which the other former neutrals regarded as odious, because Sweden’s neutrality was a neutrality which permitted the passage of German troops across Swedish territory to police Norway. Germany did not develop an all-out attack on Sweden because, in the course of such an attack, the iron-ore resources of Sweden would have been completely wrecked and made unavailable to Germany. So a geographic factor, and an asset were the basis of Swedish neutrality. Norway and Denmark were pursuing policies of neutrality and giving no one any provocation, but they were completely over-run.
I do not think that Mr. Nehru’s policy can be explained in terms of pacifism, ideological indifference or even neutrality when he put up the proposal that the United States and Russia should meet together. It is no secret that Mr. Nehru is alarmed at developments on his northern border. It is no secret that he regards the forces in Peking as being much less responsible in their attitude to the possibility of a hydrogen bomb war than anybody else. He has spoken quite freely of their complete ruthlessness, based on his experience of the people who come from Tibet. He has also expressed the view that whereas the United States and Russia have much to lose if there is a hydrogen bomb war, there are forces in China which consider that China has very little to lose in such a war and would survive it better than any other country. In other words, the present ideological dispute between Peking and Moscow underlies Mr. Nehru’s move to get the United States and Russia together to talk. He might be right in his analysis or he might be wrong in his analysis, but, if that is the basis of his proposal, then the Australian Prime Minister’s proposal in relation to it is irrelevant. You can see that he would regard it as most urgent that these two powers, which might be a counter-poise to the influence of Peking, should come to an agreement about the possibilities of war. The proposal to revert to an ordinary summit conference was irrelevant from his point of view.
The questions of the United Nations and the circumstances under which it works, are also worth considering to-day. The United Nations operated over Korea in the special circumstance that the Russians had walked out of the Security Council and had not imposed a veto. Had they remained and imposed a veto on the decision of the United Nations to send troops to Korea, the war in Korea would not have had the characteristic of a United Nations action. India was neutral in the Korean affair and, in fact, her neutrality caused the Indian commander to be the responsible person in the transference of prisoners from side to side.
The United Nations worked over Suez. When the British were directed to get out of Suez, they got out. In that situation, India was shocked. In fact, the whole of the Middle East and, perhaps, a very large part of the coloured world was alienated. For the first time, Australia was really regarded as a responsible power. In India, we had mostly been regarded as a dinghy pulled in the wake of a British man-of-war, but during the Suez affair we were regarded as parties principal, much to our cost. The United Nations operated over Suez basically because there was a conscience in the public opinion of Britain that caused a reversal of policy.
The United Nations operated over the Congo, but we ought to remember that the nature of United Nations intervention in the Congo has changed. There was agreement between the East and the West when the United Nations action was for the purpose of ejecting the Belgians. The Belgian troops left and then the Congolese army mutinied. Up to that point, the United Nations intervention had the support of the Communist powers. That was a very special circumstance. But everything that has been done since then in the name of the United Nations has met with opposition from the Communist bloc. Had the Communist powers foreseen what was going to happen in the Congo after the ejection of the Belgians, it is doubtful whether there would have been any United Nations action over the Congo at all.
The United Nations did not operate over Hungary, because the Soviet Union, having taken action over Hungary, announced that it would permit of no United Nations intervention in Hungary. You had to risk a world war or face the fact that the United Nations was totally impotent over Hungary. The tragedy of the Hungarian affair from the point of view of the West was that the policies of the Australian Prime Minister and the then British Prime Minister in relation to the action in Suez at that time took away the moral discredit that would have fallen upon the Communist policy. Their action in Suez probably arrested the attention of the coloured world much more than did what was happening in Hungary to Europeans. The United Nations operated in Korea only because the Russians absented themselves from the Security Council. Its action in Suez depended upon the conscience of British public opinion. In Hungary it was totally ineffective. In the Congo there were unexpected circumstances which developed after the original intervention, which was to get the Belgians out.
When you are pressing for a summit conference, it is important to be very clear as to what the negotiations are to be about. There is a settled diplomatic technique of trying to create the agenda. If the agenda is to discuss whether Russian troops should be in Poland and Hungary, clearly there are no ideological gains to be made by the Soviet from such a discussion. If the discussion is on Australian aborigines, apartheid in Sharpeville, or something like that, clearly there are ideological advantages to’ be gained by the Communist- world’. So the battle for the agenda is; the real point in all summit discussions. I think it is important to note that Mr. Khrushchev has said- on a number of occasions that the questions of Hungary, Poland and the whole of the eastern countries are settled questions and will not be discussed. In other words, he will discuss issues which will advance Communist power and he will not discuss issues which- will not advance Communist power.
This brings us back to one aspect of the Prime Minister’s experience in the United Nations, which affects us all. Here we see the Prime Minister batting on rolled-out wickets. He has won five elections and his speeches are applauded with “ Hear, hear’s “ by a majority. But when he- spoke in the United Nations, dreadful things happened. He was greeted with statements such as, “ You exterminated the aborigines in Tasmania “, and “ What about the Australian aborigines? “ And the Prime Minister’s strokes, which are perfectly timed on Australian wickets, began to take on an aspect of some hurry. I do not make that as a statement, in personal derision. We might as well face the fact that on some of these colour questions, until we can speak to our neighbours inside this country, we will not have very much authority in speaking to our neighbours outside it, and in Africa especially.
I know that when the British Commonwealth Parliamentary Association people came here and we saw _them at banquets being received by State Premiers, and at long- and boring length the Premiers dilated on our wealth and development - which they cannot possibly imitate ^ in an equal period of time - what the visitors talked about was aborigines. Look into your own hearts. If anybody gets up. here and makes . constitutional . points about Tibet by saying it. has always been recognized by Britain as an integral part of China, does that answer your heart? Does it answer the heart of any coloured person if we ‘get up here and say that .the aborigines are a State and not a Federal matter? What they are trying to do in relation to our treatment of coloured people is what we are trying to do in relation to what is taking place in Tibet - to assess the intentions of a group of people. They want to know where we stand on this question, because communism is not advancing in the world to-day through Marxism. It is not persuading the Chinese’ peasants or any one else about the theory of surplus values. What it is basically advancing on in the rest of the world is this question of race. As far as Africa and most of the Asian countries are concerned, class war is race war. They happen to coincide; and race prejudice or race reconciliation can speak right into the hearts of millions of people who would not be interested in economic analyses. In their attitude towards us on this race question will be found their attitude towards this nation permanently.. . We have it in our power on race questions in this country to win friends in Africa, by a policy which can speak into the heart’s of coloured people.
It is not. an answer for us to pretend that we can go to international conferences and point the finger at any power. It is childish when you hear criticism in this country of the United States of America in relation to negroes. Tens, of thousands of negroes have passed through universities in the United. .States, but only two aborigines have passed through universities in this country. We talk about apartheid, but I suspect that assimilation ,is a more, immoral policy than . .apartheid, because apartheid presupposes the . right- of people- to exist. It suspect^ that in.. our, philosophic thinking by . “ assimilation “ we mean we believe that the aborigines, as a people, should dis: appear and be absorbed into us - a piece, of spiritual arrogance which leaves apartheid floundering. . They are the things we are being made . to think about, . and after the experience of ‘the’ Prime Minister having what’ may appear to . be irrelevant tilings, like “You exterminated the aborigines in Tasmania” or “What about. your Australian ‘ aborigines? “ said to him, I can see hope that, the Government may realize that the peoples of aboriginal face may very well be among the most, vital’ ideological issues iri the world to-day’. In that case . his attendance at the United Nations may well have- been a gain. ‘
.r-I hope the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) does not think that I was not interested in all the things’-he had io say, if
I am unable to discuss the many points that he raised in his speech. 1 think, however, that there will be time for me to. say something about our own responsibilities in regard to our aborigines; and those of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. To begin with, I would like to discuss as closely as possible the report made to this House by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the amendment that has. been moved by the honorable, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). The first thing I want to say is that I oppose the amendment. I believe that .it is a great ;pity, from the Australian point of view, that he moved it at all. After the sudden wave of criticism in this country when the Prime Minister moved an amendment to the five-power resolution at the United Nations, more and more people have come to realize that the Prime Minister did serve the interests of this country and the cause of world peace by his action.
I have referred to the sudden wave of criticism! We know that there are some people who are looking constantly for some opportunity to criticize the Prime Minister,. Some do it for political reasons and some do it for personal reasons. The former are what may be referred to as “ professional knockers “, and as you know, Sir, we have some of ‘them in this House.
-Whom are you referring to?
– I was .not including the honorable gentleman. . ‘ Let. us look, at, some of the .facts of the situation. As soon as the vote, on the amendment at the United Nations Assembly became . known in this country the critics, without waiting, to, see its effect, started their work. The first thing we must remember is that it was an amendment to a motion. The Prime Minister of Australia, at the United Nations, made it quite clear in his speech that he understood completely the motive’s of the Heads of State of the five powers in proposing the motion. He agreed with their belief that it would be a bad thing for the’ United’ Nations- if all the Heads’ of States ‘there assembled left’ the United Nations without making some form of decision. ‘
He said that while he had, ftp quarrel with the first three provisions of the, proposed resolution he believed that the final one - that is the’ one calling’ for a meeting between President Eisenhower’ and Mr/Khrushchev - was bad for the interests of all the nations of the free world. The reasons for this he stated quite frankly. As I understood it, the main reason was that the final resolution, to which I have referred, concentrated on two people named as individuals, being the Heads of two States, and that such action would lend strong emphasis to one big phase of Communist world-wide propaganda, namely, that the whole world conflict in which so many nations of the world are now engaged is solely between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. We know that this is not true.
Another reason was that both President Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev had said plainly that they could not meet under the conditions proposed. The conditions proposed, I think, would refer mainly to those enunciated by Mr. Khrushchev himself. However, . one of the results flowing from the amendment moved by the Prime Minister, although it was defeated, was that it not only paved the way but made it possible for Argentina- ,to move its amendment, after which the five-power resolution was withdrawn. I think the- honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) supported that view this afternoon.
While’ speaking ‘ of the’ resolution we should remember’ that the Prime Minister made his- main statement at the United Nation’s’ Genera?’ Assembly later : the same day. Those of us who had the opportunity to hear- ‘and see the proceedings on TV or the radio, or to read the Prime Minister’s statement,, will. agree that it .was a magnificent speech.-, , It answered, the rantings of Khrushchev and., put before the Assembly clearly and concisely;. the .beliefs and ideals of the- free nation’s. ‘ Those two speeches, made on, the one, day,, must, I believe, be taken together. They were, the acts of a strong man. advancing’ the cause qf , the democratic countries. I feel .sure that the Prime Minister did this because he realized what .other .people are now ‘realizing - that Mr. Khrushchev went to tile’ ‘United Nations Assembly to lead it towards his own objectives, or at least tb torpedo its effectiveness. me t ruth is that/he, ‘failed.’’ the1 Australian Prime ‘ Minister’ contributed 1 a ‘ good deal to this, defeat by his actions. He was npt act; ing for any person’ or for any nation; he was acting1 solely on his ‘own strongly-held convictions. People are looking back now 6n this meeting of the assembly as the one which Mr. Khrushchev attended to stampede the United Nations into following his own line. So far he has failed to do this.
Let me remind you, Sir, of some of the things which Mr. Khrushchev tried, and failed, to do. He failed to have his proposals for the Congo accepted; he failed in his attack on the Secretary-General of the United Nations and in his attempt to divide the United Nations; he failed in his proposal to have Communist China admitted to the United Nations Organization, and he failed in his proposal to have debated in plenary session the problems associated with disarmament and the U2 incident. The only small success that he achieved was to have colonialism debated in plenary session.
I agree with the honorable member for Chisholm that Mr. Khrushchev will not accept this defeat lightly, and that his campaign will continue to be waged in the councils and committees of the United Nations. When this session of the Assembly is viewed in its proper perspective I believe that it will be remembered as the one in which Mr. Khrushchev tried to get leadership and failed. The Prime Minister of Australia contributed greatly to that defeat. Now that the Prime Minister has returned to Australia, the Leader of the Opposition has stated that he failed to serve Australia and the cause of world peace. What nonsense is the Opposition amendment!
Some people have stated that the amendment which was proposed by the Prime Minister at the United Nations damaged our harmonious relations with some of our Asian friends. As you know, Sir, I try to the best of my ability to keep abreast of affairs in the countries to our near north, both by personal contact and by correspondence. During the last few days I have conducted also my own research among the papers that are available to us from those countries. I have found no sign of this severe criticism to which the Opposition has referred. It has appeared only in some newspapers in Australia. As a result of the publicity that has been given to this contention of the Opposition, some misinformed Australians have been tempted to make a similar criticism.
One Indian newspaper referred to the criticism in a broad sense, but as the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) pointed out, Mr. Nehru’s outburst was more severely criticized in some Indian newspapers than was the Prime Minister’s speech. The severest criticism that I could find of the Australian Prime Minister was contained in a long leading article which stated, among other things, that the debate in the assembly was a confused one; that the Australian amendment was unnecessary; that it was disappointing that Australia had brought forward the amendment, and that the five-power resolution had had to be withdrawn following the debate. The Australian amendment, it is true, contributed to the withdrawal of that resolution.
It may be of interest to quote an excerpt from a statement contained in one Australian newspaper because several of them have made strong criticism of the Prime Minister’s actions. When referring to the Prime Minister and the need to promote and keep friendship with our Asian neighbours, this newspaper article states -
Australia will never count for much in world councils until our spokesmen show that we have a mind of our own.
The newspaper then criticizes the Prime Minister for the fact that he stood up and stated with great force what was in his own mind; not supporting any person, not currying’ favour with any nation but doing the very thing that the leading article to which I have referred said that the Prime Minister, as our chief spokesman, should do to show that Australia has a mind of its own.
It must be remembered that the Australian Prime Minister was criticized for consulting only with the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States of America and not with the leaders of some Asian countries, particularly Mr. Nehru, before proposing his amendment. But the Sydney newspaper which contained this criticism had on its front page a photograph of President Nehru and Prime Minister Menzies in personal discussion before the Assembly met. So it is apparent that some of this criticism is completely illogical and ill-founded.
To sum up the situation, I say that the Australian Prime Minister believed sincerely that part of a resolution which was moved by Ghana, India, Indonesia, the United Arab Republic and Yugoslavia was not in the interests of the free world. The Prime Minister of India disagreed with the Prime Minister of Australia, but that does not necessarily make our Prime Minister wrong. Many Asians themselves do not agree with Mr. Nehru. The Australian Prime Minister urged that a meeting should be held at the earliest possible date between the President of the United States of America, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union, the President of the French Republic and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Subsequent events are now proving the Australian Prime Minister to be right.
During the week-end I had the opportunity to travel and to discuss with a number of people the debate which is now taking place in the House. I was surprised and pleased to learn that many people have taken an interest in this debate and have said, “ Thank goodness that Mr. Menzies stood up strongly against Mr. Khrushchev and his rantings at the United Nations “. Therefore, the amendment which has been proposed by the Leader of the Opposition does not express the opinion of the majority of the Australian people.
I have said that because Mr. Nehru disagreed with the Australian Prime Minister’s amendment it did not necessarily mean that the Prime Minister was wrong. The Prime Minister believed the amendment to be necessary, and an ever-increasing number of people now believe so too. The Prime Minister stated his view at the United Nations, and I believe that Australia must never refrain from amending or even opposing a resolution for fear that in so doing we might hurt some one’s feelings. Many of our Asian neighbours and friends see Australia as a base from which another bridge can be built between the East and the West. Our friends would soon lose faith in us if we bent hither and thither with every pressure. We must not act contrary to our principles just to please one person. If we did so, we would deserve to be rejected by our neighbours forthwith. f wish now to say something which is slightly away from the main topic I have been discussing. In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, and again on
Thursday night when he gave this House his report, the Prime Minister mentioned that Mr. Khrushchev made certain references to the Australian territory of Papua and to our trust territory of New Guinea. According to the translation of Mr. Khrushchev’s speech which has been circulated to honorable members, Mr. Khrushchev, in referring to Australia’s responsibilities in Papua and New Guinea, together with the responsibilities of several other nations, said that the variant of colonial regimes - trusteeship - had outlived its usefulness, together with what Mr. Khrushchev termed “ the disgraceful system of colonialism “. He added that to this day no definite dates have been estimated for the granting of independence to the trust territories, including the biggest of such territories. He named several, including New Guinea. He continued to say that nowhere has the trustee system justified itself, that it must be buried together with the entire colonial system, and that the relations formed between peoples in colonial times must be replaced with new relations based on equality, friendship and mutual respect. If one took some of those. words at their face value, one would find little with which to disagree. The point, however, is that Mr. Khrushchev and his administration provide the worst examples of holding downtrodden peoples in a firm grip, giving no target dates for their independence and having no programme for their liberation.
On the other hand, we have the great good fortune of having before us a concept in which we are working together with the leaders of the two countries for which we have responsibility in trying to solve the various problems facing their people. 1 believe that those attempts are affected, to a great degree, by the pressures that come from Communist countries. I believe it is true to say that the Communists want selfgovernment to be given to countries like New Guinea before the people there are ready for it, and before their leaders have had sufficient experience to be able to lead independent nations. The result of giving independence too early might easily be the establishment of Communist dictatorships in those countries. What we are doing in the areas for which we have responsibility, as has been pointed out in a debate held in this House recently, is to encourage a large number of the native New Guinea’ people to become educated so that they will be able to take up the responsibility of leading their own people. We are supplying education ‘ and social services.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The fifteenth session of the United Nations now taking place in New York has proved itself to be one of the most important meetings in the history #of that body. Its importance is emphasized by the fact that it was attended by the greatest galaxy of leading figures in the international field ever to take part in debates at the General Assembly. The significance of the present session is also emphasized by the action of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who, after having stated that he had no intention of attending the session, changed his mind and attended it with, 1 believe, very disastrous results for Australia.
I think it is well to remind the House that in its charter the United Nations pledges itself to bring about, by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, the adjustment and settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace. In view of that pledge I think that the significance of the present proceedings of the United Nations is impressed upon us. Many people are far too prone to criticize the United Nations. It is interesting, therefore, .to contrast statements made in this House in 1945 by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), with the present attitudes of these gentlemen. As I pointed out a moment ago, the United Nations pledges itself specifically to solve by peaceful means situations that could lead to a breach of the peace. I remind the House that while the United Nations has its critics, it also has had its victories. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), dealt adequately with these victories, but I should like to run through them very briefly again. I claim that the victories of .the United Nations in recent years have been Greece, Korea, Suez and Lebanon. At present, the
United Nations is giving its attention to the Congo.
In order to appreciate the difference that developed at the United Nations , meeting between .the leader of the Indian nation and our own leader we should, take our minds back, first, .tq the resolution that was submitted: -by the five nations, to which our Prime Minister moved his amendment. The concluding paragraph of the resolution read -
Requests as a first urgent step the President of the United States of America and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics to renew their contacts, interrupted recently, so that their declared willingness to find solutions of the outstanding problems by negotiation may be progressively implemented.
The Prime Minister’s amendment to that resolution gave rise to the differences that developed at the United Nations, particularly among members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Our Prime Minister, unfortunately, seems to be a strong supporter of power politics. I think that if we subscribe to a doctrine which -involves our being dragged at the heels of other nations because of power politics we have no future. 1 think it well to quote an extremely important statement made by the President of Indonesia, dealing with this particular question, which was also quoted by the Prime Minister in his speech. The statement was -
Those four great Powers alone cannot decide the questions of war and peace. More precisely, perhaps, they have the power to disrupt the peace, but they have no moral right to attempt, singly or together, to settle the future of the world.
That is precisely where Mr. Nehru and our Prime .Minister disagreed. Now I turn to the changes of opinion that have .taken place in honorable members opposite over the years. When .the Treasurer was on this side of the chamber, on 6th September, 1945. he made a statement which T shall quote in support of the statement by the President of Indonesia which I have just read out. The Treasurer said -
The smaller nations can contribute to the peace of the world by the fellowship and understanding which they are able to bring to the problems of one another because, as we have seen in the past, the peace of the world as a whole has become disturbed, not always because of something that has happened between the Great Powers -but frequently -because friction has developed between small powers.
So, apparently even the Treasurer, when sitting in opposition, had a different view from the one he expressed in the House last week. I believe that everybody in the British Commonwealth of Nations was disturbed at the differences that sprang up between .the Prime Minister of Australia and Mr. Nehru. The Prime Minister’s amendment was aimed, in effect, at a resumption of the Summit talks. When replying to the amendment, Mr. Nehru was at great pains to explain the difference between the amendment and his resolution, and why he refused to accept the amendment. Mr. Nehru even went to the length of questioning whether the amendment was in order because it differed completely from the resolution submitted by the five nations. Mr. Nehru said he was at a loss to understand the reasons for the amendment. Referring to our Prime Minister, he said -
The Prime Minister, in his argument, talked about a conference. Why does our resolution suggest a meeting or a conference? I would beg him to read the resolution again and again, because he has failed to understand it. It does not necessarily suggest a conference or a meeting. It suggests a renewal of contacts.
That is basically the difference between the resolution moved by Mr. Nehru and the amendment proposed by the Prime Minister which was so ignominiously defeated later. The right honorable gentleman was at pains in his amendment to make a case why the two great nations, the United . States of America and Russia, should not meet but that the conference should be extended to cover Great Britain and Prance as well, lt is interesting to note the response of Mr. Nehru who said, again referring to the Prime Minister of Australia -
Then again, he asked, “ Why should two people meet? Why should not four meet? Why dismiss the United Kingdom and France? Why omit them from summit taks? “ These are quotations which I took down when he was speaking. “ Why all this? “, he asked. Well, simply because there is no “ why? “ ‘about it - because nobody1 is dismissing anybody, or pushing out anybody, or suggesting it. He has again missed the point of the draft resolution and has considered, possibly, that there is some kind of, shall I say, secret .motive behind, this. I really regret that any such idea should have ger 2 abroad.
The draft resolution was put forward in all good faith for the purposes named in it, and to suspect it of some secret device to push somebody, or not to pay adequate respect to some country, is not fair for the honourable gentleman. Indeed, I regret to say that the Prime Minister of Australia has done very little justice to himself in proposing this amendment or in making the speech he did. And L am sure that, this Assembly will not look at this matter from the superficial’ points of view which the Prime Minister put forward, but will consider it from the basic point of view which is of the highest importance to this Assembly and to the world.
– The Prime Minister did not say it. was a secret device.
– I have quoted what Mr. Nehru said when he posed a hypothetical question, and his query in replying to the question asked by the Australian Prime Minister: Why should two people meet? The difference between the two propositions is quite obvious. Mr. Nehru recognized the- impossibility of getting Summit talks immediately. He knew that it would be some lime before they took place eventually. Even Mr. Khrushchev was reported in the press last night to have said that he was quite willing to attend at the Summit in about twelve months’ time. Mr. Nehru recognized that it was impossible to get a Summit meeting quickly and that it was essential in the meantime to renew contacts between the two great powers, Russia and the United States of America. Those contacts had been broken at Paris and it was in the interests of world peace that Mr. Nehru’s resolution should be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Prime Minister of Australia was not very careful in choosing his words when he moved his amendment in the Assembly. He made some very sweepingstatements, and Mr. Nehru took him up on this point. Mr. Nehru said-
The Prime’ Minister of Australia then said that we; the- sponsors of this draft resolution, had fallen into some Communist trap which was aimed at. describing .the world as. being divided up, or as dealing wilh ,two great protagonists and ignoring’ the ‘ world!
What tHe Communist technique may be in regard to this matter I am not aware. It may be, it may not be; I am not particularly concerned with those techniques. Bur it seems to me that the Prime Minister of Australia’s technique is obvious. It is, “ There are these four great Powers “ - whom we respect, of course, whom we honour - “ so leave it to them. What business has this Assembly to deal with these matters? “ It is obvious - his. amendment says so. Now surely, this kind of thing cannot, should not, must riot be accepted - this idea, this approach. .
Mr. .Nehru emphasized time and time again the necessity, for contacts, between the two leading nations of the world, not for the purpose of having a discussion or talks on the Summit level, but to renew contacts. The Prime Minister of Australia apparently was not able to appreciate the difference between Mr. Nehru’s proposition and his own. Any who read Mr. Nehru’s speech must be impressed by the scathing criticism he directed against our Prime Minister. Mr. Nehru has gone to great pains to point out that he was not concerned with Summit talks at this juncture. He realized that they were impossible. He recognized the problems involved and the tedious delay that must ensue before such a meeting. All he was concerned about was an immediate contact. He said that the purpose of the amendment moved by the Prime Minister of Australia was the defeat of that objective. He believed it was in the interests of world peace that the two great nations should meet.
The Prime Minister of Australia has quite an unfortunate record in international affairs. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) referred to the Suez crisis. A sequel to that was the situation that developed in Hungary. It is obvious that Russia had noted that England, and France had mobilized forces for use in the Suez area. Russia went ahead immediately to reinforce its armed forces in Hungary because it knew that England and France could do nothing because of the Suez situation. The difference between the situation in Hungary and that in Suez, of course, was that the United Kingdom and France ultimately withdrew from Suez and submitted to United Nations supervision. In Hungary, the Russians refused to allow any one from the United Nations to come in. By then, of course, it was all too late. I have not the slightest doubt that, in Hungary, the Russians took their cue from the situation which was promising to develop in Suez.
– That is a funny one.
– If it is a funny one, you might be able to explain it better than I can. The events in Hungary followed closely upon the happenings in Suez. If the honorable member can give a better explanation, he is entitled to do so. I have not the slightest doubt that the resort to force, or the promise of resort to force, by the
United Kingdom and France which even mobilized their armed forces in the Mediterranean, gave impetus to the move which Russia later made in Hungary.
It has been suggested that our Prime Minister seems to follow far too much the trend of English and French policies; that his mind is directed more to what happens in Europe than to what is happening in Asia. It is quite understandable that the United Kingdom and France should be Europeminded, because what happens in Europe is of the utmost importance and, in many instances, vital to those countries. But, while appreciating their point of view and acknowledging that policy as being sound. I say that it does not necessarily follow that we must tag along. That is precisely what has happened far too often. It is happening with disastrous results to us in the international field. We should turn our minds to Asia and try to capture the minds of Asians. 1 know perfectly well that that will not be an easy job. We have a lot of prejudice to break down, but I am certain, also, that as our destiny will be determined by developments in Asia, we should concentrate more of our time and policy on Asia rather than on what is happening in Europe.
.- It is always a pleasure for me to follow the mild-mannered and honorable member for Dalley (Mr. O’Connor). Whatever else he has to say, he is always generous in his criticisms. 1 rise to express my own views on the question before the House. The lamentable distortions of the sequence of events which led to the Australian Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) attending the General Assembly of the United Nations and the part which he was subsequently called upon to play in the proceedings are surely cause for some concern to those of us who believe that public opinion should be informed,, and, Mr. Deputy Speaker, should be based on truth and accuracy.
Fortunately, these grievous distortions were confined to one or two of the metropolitan newspapers - few in number - thai are patently opposed to the Prime Minister as a man, and to the people who are violently opposed to the policies which it is his duty to espouse. That, Sir, in my opinion, is the complete explanation, and it is as simple as that. There are newspapers that can find no merit in what the Prime Minister has to say on the great issues that confront the world and which confront our own country, just as there are people who, for purely political reasons, must contest whatever he has to say, whatever his reasons are. That is no new departure.
Right from the very beginning of his political career, which began some 32 years ago in the Legislative Council of the State Parliament of Victoria in 1928, and which continued in the Legislative Assembly of that Parliament one year later, before he entered Federal politics in 1934, the Prime Minister has been what might be described as a controversial character. Endowed with great natural gifts and capacity for the kind of prodigious industry which is usually described as hard work, he has invariably won the admiration of friends and the adulation of those who share his political views, and, conversely, he has invariably excited the enmity and frequently the envy of those who are opposed to those views. These are the inevitable and inescapable consequences of brilliance in all its forms.
When the then Right Honorable Richard Gardiner Casey was elevated to the House of Lords in the British Parliament, it was necessary for him to resign his seat in the Federal Parliament and his portfolio as Australian Minister for External Affairs. These events naturally enough, created a vacancy in the Federal Parliament which it was comparatively easy to fill by he who is now the honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess). A vacancy was also created in the Federal Cabinet, of great importance to the people of this country, and, I believe, to the people of the free world. It was at that point that the Prime Minister reached the decision, for good and sufficient reason, I have no doubt, that he himself should become the Minister of State for External Affairs. It was a decision that met with the approval of his friends and, naturally enough, with the disapproval of his political enemies but it caused no great disputation at the time.
Honorable members know that meetings of the General Assembly of the United Nations are usually attended by ministers of state for external affairs, although their titles vary from country to country, and rarely by Prime Ministers except when the dual offices are held by the same person. In this instance, in the absence abroad of the Federal Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), the Australian Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs found it inconvenient, if not inexpedient, to be present at the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations. He met that situation by selecting the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) to represent him and to lead the Australian delegation and may I be permitted to say that he could have made no better choice.
It was at that point that the unpredictable Mr. Khrushchev, the head of state of the Soviet Union, elected to lead the Soviet delegation which, of course, included the Soviet Minister for Foreign Affairs. No other head of state, at that stage, had proposed to supersede his foreign minister although there was some public discussion at the time. The suggestion was made that, since the leader of the Soviet Union was going to New York, it would be expedient for the United Kingdom Prime Minister, the President of France, and the President of the United States of America to be there. But there was no great public discussion. It was not until it became obvious that the Russian leader was going to perform that the question of the attendance of other heads of state actually arose. By that time the General Assembly was in session.
The Australian Prime Minister, who is also our Minister for External Affairs, had every right to attend the General Assembly. He had every right to represent his country. But he preferred to remain at his post in this Parliament until it became obvious, when the British Prime Minister and other heads of state decided to attend the General Assembly, that protocol demanded his presence in New York. The decision to attend was not exclusively his own, and when it was made it met with the approval of Government supporters and members of the Opposition alike. Indeed, I was deeply touched when I heard the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) refer to the decision reached by the Prime Minister to attend the General Assembly. This is what the honorable gentleman had to say -
On 27th September, after it had been announced that Mr. Nash, the Prime Minister of New Zealand’, was attending the United Nations, I asked the Prime Minister whether he was likely to change his mind and attend also. On that day he said he saw no reason why he should change his mind. On the very next flay he announced in the House that he had changed his mind. We of the Opposition were pleased that he was going to New York. He certainly went with the goodwill of most Australians. I personally wished him well in what seemed to me to be his greatest assignment! his most important overseas mission.
These were generous expressions to come from the man who leads the Opposition in this Parliament, but they were uttered, I believe, with all the sincerity at the honorable member’s command.
When the Prime Minister arrived in New York the proceedings of the General Assembly were well advanced. The Russian leader, Mr. Khrushchev, had already performed and, on the character of that performance, Yugoslavia, Ghana, the United Arab Republic, Indonesia and India had formed’ the impression that if the world were to -be saved from disaster it could only be by the meeting of two men, Chairman Khrushchev and President Eisenhower, to give both gentlemen their official titles. It was those five countries, and the impressions that they gained, that gave rise to’ what came to be known as the five-power resolution, which was moved by President Soekarno. But it was already known that no meeting of the kind envisaged could ever be acceptable to either Mr. Khrushchev, or .Mr. Eisenhower.
For the General Assembly to carry such a resolution appeared, to the essentially practical mind of the Australian Prime Minister, to ; be the height of absurdity. His views were shared by the United Kingdom, the United States of America,’ Canada and France and, presumably, some 40 other countries, including the Soviet Union, which subsequently abstained from voting on the question. There was no time for the Prime Minister to indulge in protracted negotiations. Nearly 100 countries were represented at the General Assembly, and it would have been physically, impossible to contact even a, majority of .the representatives of those countries. The United Nations had either, to go. down to its folly, or it had to be’ diverted an alternative .proposition that would be both possible and practicable, and which would expand the purposes of the five-power resolution, To that end, the Prime Minister, who was scheduled to speak later on that day, moved an amendment seeking a Summit meeting of the four atomic powers, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and Russia. Peace, argued the Prime Minister in his inimitable way, is not the prerogative of any two men but the responsibility of the United Nations under its original charter, and any exploratory meeting should be attended by the representatives of the four great powers equipped to preserve the peace of the world or armed to violate it. Who in this House or in this country would contest or contradict that point of view?
It was in the course of moving the amendment that the Prime Minister, as is his subconscious custom, excited the admiration, and even the adulation, of those who shared his views, together with, unfortunately and unhappily, the enmity and even the envy of those who were opposed to them. There was no escape from that situation. Pandit Nehru, who had been prevailed upon to accept responsibility for the. original resolution, was driven to wrath.. Lesser men have had a similar experience and, I am afraid, lesser men will have similar experiences in the future, whenever the Prime Minister addresses himself to -any public question.
The five-Power resolution was already doomed by the attitudes of Mr. Eisenhower and. Mr. Khrushchev, but it was not to be damned by the cold logic, of the Australian Prime- Minister. Mr. Nehru rose in his wrath, and lashed, at the. Australian Prime Minister with words - of - what can only be described tas unctuous, innocence. He did not- .know why the Australian Prime Minister should have moved the amendment, he did not understand his. language or his intent, he could not bring himself to believe that the Prime Minister had given adequate consideration to the terms of the resolution- and he was deeply shocked.
Those were the expressions used by Mr. Nehru’ when addressing himself to the amendment moved by the Australian Prime Minister, as a matter of urgency, to the original resolution, which had no prospect of- success, suggesting, as it did, a meeting between :two men* Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Eisenhower. Since this meeting was clearly impossible, having regard to the attitudes of the two persons involved, the amendment proposed that a Summit conference should be held as soon as practicable of the representatives of the four great Powers.
True enough, the amendment was negatived. Nor did the resolution survive. It was withdrawn on the very arguments that had been put forward by the Australian Prime Minister, that a meeting between any two men, one of whom was in no position to commit his country to anything, could serve no useful purpose when the responsibility for collective security lay entirely with the United Nations as a whole.
Later that day the Prime Minister addressed himself to the General Assembly. I have seen him on television making that speech, and this was a new experience for me. I have heard the speech through the same extraordinary medium, and I have read the speech. It may be- that I am. a prejudiced witness, although I have always loathed adulation in all ,-its forms, bul l am convinced that it was one of the finest speeches ever delivered in the English language. That is high praise,, .but high praise is needed to counter the distortions that have been designed to reduce the. stature of a man who, in his own fight, is a world figure, and who. -on the sheer merits of his natural gifts, richly deserves to be a world figure. We in., this House have cause to be grateful for the valiant attempt made by the Australian Prime : Minister , at the General Assembly of the United Nations to save that organization from its- own folly.
The tragedy of the recent meeting of the General Assembly; Sir, was not the rejection of the amendment moved by the Australian. Prime Minister, the adoption of which remains the only hopeful prospect we have, or the complete withdrawal of the original five-power resolution, which had no prospect of success. The tragedy was in the attitude of the leader of the Soviet Union, who sought to disunite, to divide and to disrupt the United Nations. His attack on the Secretary-General, Mr. Hammarskjoeld, was designed to win support for his subsequent -proposal for the appointment -of no fewer than three secretaries-general. That proposal . provided for the -appointment of one secretary-general to represent what the leader of the Soviet Union described as “ the West “; one secretary-general to represent what he described as “ the East “; and one secretary-general to represent what he described as “ the neutral powers “, to use the very words of the Soviet leader. The subtlety of that proposal is in the implication that if there are neutral powers within the United Nations there must be belligerent powers also, and that the belligerent powers are those countries committed to Western democracy on the one hand and to Eastern socialism on the other. Any person who applies himself to a study of that aspect of this question must reject a deduction of that kind, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If it were true that the West, on the one hand, and the East, on the other, are belligerents and that between them there is a great group of neutral nations not committed either to Western democracy or to Eastern socialism - -
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, we have just heard from the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) the sort of running speech that we might expect. He had the whitewash brush out and. he read word for word a speech prepared possibly by the Department of External Affairs under instructions. We know that instructions have gone out from the ‘Cabinet that Government supporters are to bring out the whitewash brush and make sure that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) looks a clean white. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), on his return from overseas, adopted the same line. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), who went overseas to act as Minister for External Affairs, has been absent from the House throughout this debate. As I have said, we know that there has been sent out the instruction, “Whitewash the Prime Minister “, because the right honorable gentleman has commited one of the greatest blunders in international affairs that this country has ever known.
I ‘believe that all’ thinking Australians were greatly -annoyed at the action of the Australian* Prime Minister in serving as a rubber stamp for the United States of America -and the United Kingdom at this important meeting of .the United Nations General Assembly. This was a vital meeting - a meeting oh disarmament. It is about time the Australian Government, on behalf of the Australian people, spoke with its own voice in world affairs and ceased to be a rubber stamp for the United Kingdom and the United States. In order to see the attitude of the people, one has only to refer to all the great newspapers of this country, with the possible exception of one. After all, there is some doubt whether the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ can be regarded as a real newspaper. We all know that it is just a yellow rag of little journalism. We know that the only reason why it supported the Prime Minister was that its publisher, Sir Frank Packer, had received a knighthood from this Government.
I refer Government supporters, and particularly the Minister for Social Services, who is a member of the Australian Country Party, to “ Muster “, which is described as the official organ of the Graziers Association of New South Wales. The leader in its issue of Tuesday, 18th October, 1960, bears the heading, “ Our Foreign Policy Needs Overhauling “, and concludes with these words -
That journal is there referring to our being always a rubber stamp for either the United States or the United Kingdom in international affairs.
I think that the most regrettable thing is that at this important meeting of the United Nations General Assembly the Prime Minister of Australia continued to be a rubber stamp. Some people have even called him a ball carrier. In its issue of 3rd October, 1960, the Melbourne “ Herald “ reports a despatch from its Washington correspondent under the dateline, “Washington, Sun.”, in these terms -
The Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies, appears to have been given the task of “ carrying the ball “ for the Western Powers at U.N. this week, diplomatic sources said to-day.
We all know that the Australian Prime Minister had a discussion with Mr. Macmillan, the United Kingdom Prime Minister, and with President Eisenhower. I have no objection to such discussions. In fact. I think it is good that the Australian Prime Minister has discussions with those gentlemen. For the benefit of Government supporters, I say that I think it was advisable for him to have the discussions that he had with Mr. Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union. I do not disagree with those things. When the Prime Minister left Mr. Macmillan and President Eisenhower he did not come out as an exhibitionist and try to make capital for himself by describing all the intimate little talks that he had with those gentlemen. But he became an exhibitionist after his discussions with Mr. Khrushchev.
I think it is time this Government, and particularly the Prime Minister, faced up to the real issues confronting Australia. We know that the real issues lie between two great powers. We know that the United Nations has come to be a deterrent to a limited war. We know that probably the United States and Russia are the only great powers, with the possible exception of the other one which has been branded an outlaw by the United Nations - the People’s Republic of China - which can stand up against the United Nations. Therefore, we say that these powers should come together. The proposition put forward by Mr. Nehru was a practical one. Mr. Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev came together at Camp David and had informal chats during Mr. Khrushchev’s visit to the United States about a year ago. I think that all people who looked for world peace were heartened by the discussions between these two great leaders - these leaders of two ideological fronts. People were heartened to think that these leaders could come together as individuals and talk over some of their differences.
Time and time again, the Prime Minister in his speech placed the blame for the failure to hold discussions now on one side - the Soviet Union. Opposition members say that there are faults on both sides, but we believe that the great powers must come together and until such time as some effort is made to settle the differences between them, the cold war will continue. Mr. Nehru accused the Prime Minister of Australia of continuing the cold war. One could go on discussing these facts, but the question we must answer is this: What is Australia’s role? Though we are really part of Asia, Australia has always adopted the view that it still belongs to Europe. An examination of the voting in the United
Nations shows this. The hand of Australia is always raised with the old European powers, the old capitalist powers. Australia voted with these old powers on the great human problems that arose in South Africa as a result of its apartheid policy. On this recent question of talks between two great leaders, the five powers, called the neutral powers, came forward with a practical proposition. What happened? Australia connived with the two leaders on the Right and said, “ We want to be the star pupil “. When introducing his amendment in the United Nations, the Prime Minister said -
As I am making my maiden speech in this Assembly . . .
It was certainly like the maiden speech that any new member makes here - fumbling and full of loopholes.
– Have you read it?
– Certainly I have read it. It showed no understanding of the basis of the original resolution, which was moved in an effort to break down some of the differences that exist and to try to stop the continuation of the cold war. I have watched the Prime Minister for quite some time. Before I became a member of this House, I noted his policy on Suez, Lebanon and Jordan. I recall that he used to be opposed to Summit talks. Then twelve or fifteen months ago he spoke to Mr. Macmillan and became pro-Summit. When that happened, I rose in this House and commended him on his action. I was grateful to learn that he could change his opinion. From being anti-Summit, he became pro-Summit. But many honorable members on the other side of the House were not very happy about having Summit talks. The honorable members for Moreton (Mr. Killen), Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), Griffith (Mr. Chresby) and many others were not happy when the Prime Minister became proSummit, but they are happy now that he has again entered into the cold war. T wish to refer to a report in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of 6th July, 1959. At that time, the Prime Minister was returning from a trip abroad during which he had visited Mr. Macmillan. On his way back to Australia, he went to New Delhi. The “Sydney Morning Herald “ reported -
The Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies, left New Delhi to-night by air for Calcutta after a three-day stay in the Indian capital. He told reporters that his talks with the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru, had covered most of the’ problems now facing the world. He added, “ I have learned more than he has because he knows more than I do. I am going away delighted.”
He was grateful for what he had learned from Mr. Nehru, because he had seen the light and had decided that the Summit was the thing. When Summit talks were not popular, Mr. Nehru advocated that they be held. Now one would think that Mr. Menzies is the great advocate of Summit talks. But the real truth is that he is not the advocate; he is once again the advocate of the cold war. He knows that a good deal of machinery, paper work and arranging various matters, is necessary before a Summit meeting can be held. The resolution of the five powers did not seek a Summit meeting; it was designed to bring about an informal chat between the two great powers in an effort to break down the differences between them after the unfortunate Paris failure. But Mr. Menzies wanted to snag the resolution. He did not want this informal chat to take place, because, if you want to know the truth, he was doing the dirty work of the Western powers. Reports in the newspapers of the world show that this is so. At the conclusion of his speech in the United Nations only a few weeks ago, Mr. Nehru said -
Now, I am all in favour of a summit conference, but I realize and this Assembly realizes that it cannot be held in the next few months. Therefore, we should have to wait and spend our time, presumably, in daily prayer that this might take place and that war might be avoided.
I issue a challenge to honorable members on the Government side of the House. You are a government of free enterprise and of capital’’’ a. You pay by results. I ask you to say in your cold and calculating way whether the results of five votes out of 99 is worth paying for, or whether it is complete humiliation. You know that it is a humiliating result. I want the Government of Australia to follow a positive, progressive and independent foreign policy. I do not want it to follow the line of any other nation; I want it to follow a positive and progressive line. Once before, under the leadership of Dr. Evatt, Australia followed a positive and progressive line. The name of Australia was then respected throughout Asia; but to-day the name of Australia is not respected through Asia.
The honorable member for Chisholm said that no press reports in Asia were adverse to Australia. He quoted a few of these reports, and mentioned the “ Japan Times “. T know something about the “Japan Times “. It is owned by United States financial interests in Japan. At the time of the demonstration against the military treaty between the United States and Japan, every other newspaper in Japan, Englishspeaking and Japanese-speaking alike, opposed the treaty, but the “ Japan Times “ supported it. Yet the honorable member gives the “ Japan Times “ as his authority for saying that there was no Asian criticism of Australia’s action. I want to take the honorable member for Chisholm and other Government supporters to task. We had a friend in the Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman. Within a week after the Prime Minister of Australia made his speech in the United Nations, the Prime Minister of Malaya made a. trip to England. He said that he had a plan for solving the problem of the differences between Holland and Indonesia in connexion with West Irian. Had he consulted the Australian Prime Minister about it? After all, Australia is very close to South-East Asia. After going to Great Britain with his proposal, the first statement made by the Prime Minister of Malaya was that it was regrettable that members of the Commonwealth should make important proposals without conferring with all the other members of the Commonwealth. I suggest that this was subtle criticism by the1 Prime Minister of Malaya of the Prime Minister of Australia.
I should like to refer to another issue. The Australian Government has to face up to realities in dealing with the problems connected with world peace. I said earlier that world peace can be ensured through discussions at the United Nations. For the past eleven years the People’s Republic of China has been excluded from the United Nations. It has been outlawed by many nations of the world and in my .view has been kept out of the United Nations purely for cheap political purposes. Because of that, the 650,000,000 people in China are not being recognized. I point out that the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, Mr. Hammarskjoeld, in his speech commemorat ing the fifteenth anniversary- of the United Nations, said that there were regrettable gaps in the membership of the United Nations. We all know what he meant by “regrettable gaps:”. One of those regrettable gaps is caused by the absence of the People’s Republic of China. If we are to have peace on this earth, we must bring all the powers together so that they may sit round the table and negotiate. The United Nations has many problems to solve. I admit that there will be difficulties to be faced in the years ahead, but we must not have a one-track mind. We must not be adamant that certain countries are right while others are always wrong. We have to be honest in dealing with these issues.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) is an amazing character. One week he talks about the shocking opinions expressed by the capitalistic press. To-day, he waves before us a copy of “ Muster “ and says, “ I. now quote from an influential newspaper “. I suggest that “ Muster “ finds its way into the wastepaper baskets in the party rooms in fairly large numbers. Then the honorable member says, “You cannot quote from the ‘ Daily Telegraph ‘. It is just a yellow rag.” Of course, his opinion of the press varies with what is published. One week what a newspaper says makes it an influential newspaper; what it says the next week makes it a yellow rag.
The honorable member for Reid said that in framing its foreign policy the Australian Government had always jumped with the United Kingdom and Europe. Towards the end of his speech, he said that he was an advocate of the recognition of red China.
– Of course I am.
– Then how does the honorable member tie up his argument? That is one issue on which he cannot say that we have jumped in accordance with what Great Britain has done. What Great Britain does is her business, and what we do is our business. But I do not want to devote the short time allowed to me during this debate to discussing the recognition of red China. I want to get back to the real points connected with the matter under discussion. It seems to me that the debate really eventuated-
– What debate are you talking about?
– I would not expect the honorable member to know, and I shall attempt to tell him. If honorable members care to examine the resolution submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, copies of which were circulated to them last week, they will notice that it was promoted by five nations and moved by Mr. Nehru. It was to the effect that there should be a meeting between Mr. Khrushchev and President Eisenhower. It is interesting to note that in his speech last Thursday evening, the Prime Minister said -
It was well known that Khrushchev was not going to meet Eisenhower - unless, of course, Eisenhower went through the remarkable performance of apologizing about the U2 incident and withdrawing all his claims about the RB47 incident - and that the President himself had said that he was not going to meet Khrushchev on those terms.
Regardless of whether the amendment was moved, it is obvious that if the Assembly had agreed to the suggestion put forward by those five nations, nothing could have come from it. That being so, it is surprising that, in his speech to the amendment, Mr. Nehru said -
Now this is a very extraordinary idea to put before this Assembly - that is, that these matters, these so-called summit meetings and the rest, are private concerns of the four eminent dignitaries, Heads of State or Prime Ministers, of these four countries. Where does this Assembly come in? Where do all of us who happen to be in the outer darkness come in?
Surely the situation is not much altered when, instead of asking for a meeting of the heads of two powers, you request a meeting of the leaders of four powers. Almost exactly the same people will be in the outer darkness to which Mr. Nehru referred. The important thing to keep in mind is that we should not consider what effect a decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations has on one of the world leaders, whether he be the Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, or the supreme head of the Soviet Union. The only way in which we should consider any matter before the United Nations is from the point of view of the effect it will have on the ordinary people of the world. Surely the important consideration is whether the ordinary man has a greater chance of survival after a meeting than he had before a meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations. I do not suppose there is any one in the world to-day who imagines that the position of the ordinary man is any safer now than it was in September of this year. The fact that his position is not any safer is not the result of any action taken by the Prime Minister of Australia or by Mr. Nehru. It is the result of action taken by Mr. Khrushchev at the United Nations, when he demonstrated quite clearly that Russia’s policy was to continue to bully and push about the other nations of the world in its attempts to get what it wants.
I come now to the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). It states -
The Prime Minister erred in not conferring with all Commonwealth countries before moving his amendment to Mr. Nehru’s motion.
Was the Prime Minister under any obligation to confer with all the Commonwealth countries before moving the amendment? In fact, the only other Commonwealth country involved in the amendment was India itself. Who are we to know just whom should be consulted? Nobody has stated yet whether the resolution as moved by Mr. Nehru was the brain child of Nasser, Tito, the head of Indonesia or the head of Ghana. Why should the Prime Minister of Australia, representing this country, have to associate with any one at all before he expressed a view, which, as he said in this House, was what he believed to be the view of the Australian people. The amendment says further that the Prime Minister -
Who are we to say whether the Prime Minister’s amendment failed to serve the cause of Australia or failed to serve the cause of world peace. Surely, in this year, 1960, the cause of world peace cannot be solved until the world gets down to a solution of the problems of the armaments of the countries of the world and until the world finds a way to prevent destruction by atomic power. Nobody could accuse the Western powers of wanting war, and it has been stated that the Prime Minister spoke on behalf of the Western powers. He has been accused by members of the Opposition of attempting to speak only for the Western powers and of not consulting any one else. But ever since the atomic age began, the Western world has sought means to prevent destruction by atomic weapons.
The attempts of the Western world to arrive at terms for disarmament and to see that the world disarms have been met by rebuttals by the Soviet at every stage. If we study the history of armaments in the world since 1945 we see that the Western countries had nuclear superiority until about 1949 when Russia exploded her first atomic bomb; and thereafter without atomic weapons the Western nations would have faced destruction by the Soviet owing to the overwhelming superiority of its conventional forces and armaments. I want later to go briefly through that period of our history since 1945 and see what happened then in Europe. After all it is in Europe that our future may be decided, as it was decided in two world wars during our lifetime. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition also charges that the Prime Minister - compromised Australia with the new members of the United Nations.
The final vote that was taken provided no proof that the Prime Minister compromised Australia with the new nations in the United Nations. So, there is no substance in the amendment. During the course of his speech on Thursday night, the Leader of the Opposition said that if we adopted the attitude which the Prime Minister adopted at the United Nations in sabotaging the motion put forward by the five nations - of which India was the principal - we would be helping to drive those people in a direction in which we do not want to drive them. It is ridiculous to say that the Prime Minister moved his amendment to the motion moved by the five powers with any idea of sabotaging it. It was a genuine attempt to solve the problem that confronts the world to-day - the rule of force.
– What was wrong with the resolution?
– It called on two powers to discuss the future of the world. Here, again, we have to be careful. To-day there are places throughout the world where tension is high, and some one has only to touch off a match to destroy the world. Probably the main trouble spot at the present time is Berlin. I will come back to this matter, but will deal first with the interjection of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward).
The Prime Minister told us on his return what Mr. Nehru said, but it is interesting to hear what Mr. Khrushchev said during a speech lasting two and a half hours last week to 15,000 people in Moscow in regard to his impressions of the United Nations conference. Among other things he attacked the Western policy on disarmament and in uncompromising terms accused the Western powers of colonialism. He strongly criticized Britain’s colonial record and said it would make one’s blood freeze even to read about it. Yet here we had a resolution that called for a conference between this man and the leader of the United States of America. That was an absolutely naive approach to the whole problem. Speaking in Moscow last Thursday night, Mr. Khrushchev said -
We propose a Summit meeting after the Presidential elections in America, to solve the German peace treaty and the problem of Berlin.
Mr. Khrushchev further stated that it was useless for the United Nations to meet unless the Heads of States could attend, and that a special meeting should be called to discuss disarmament. He said there must be a change in the secretariat of the United Nations and he called into question the organization of the Security Council. Finally he said that Britain is still suppressing with force and cruelty certain colonial countries and that this was a sign of the decline of the British and not of their rising strength. Is it not odd that Britain is not suppressing with force and cruelty any country in the world, but that Russia is suppressing countries all over Europe by cruelty? Is not that, to use Mr. Khrushchev’s own words, evidence that Russia is showing signs of decline and not of rising strength?
That brings me to another point. Why should we object to a two-power conference between Mr. Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev? Since the war the main defence effort of the Western powers in Europe has been the Nato forces, and Nato planning has followed different lines as it went along. When Nato was originally formed we had nuclear superiority and the Western nations believed they had the answer to Russia’s advance. But in 1949 Russia developed nuclear weapons, and the situation changed. When Nato met in Lisbon in 1951, it decided on a massive re-armament programme with conventional weapons. The Western nations began to realize that since both sides were in possession of nuclear weapons - soon after Russia developed the megaton bomb in 1953 - each side could wipe the other out and that if any struggle occurred it would probably be in the field of conventional weapons. Now, three years later, new tactical weapons with atomic warheads have been developed, but their use will not destroy a whole nation. Then it seemed there was a move to contain the conflict in Europe; and the American view seemed to be that as long as that could be done the tactical weapons could be used there and there would be no need for the struggle to spread to America.
– How could you contain the conflict in Europe?
– That is an intelligible question.
– Answer it in an intelligible way.
– The difference between the honorable member and the honorable member for East Sydney is that the latter is capable of occasionally putting forward an intelligible question. In April of this year, when appearing before a congressional committee, the Secretary of State in the United States of America, Mr. Christian Herter, said that the President would not involve the United States of America in an all-out nuclear war unless the facts showed that the United States of America was itself in danger of devastation. In other words, provided that Russia refrained from attacking the United States of America, that country would use only conventional weapons to defend Europe. Honorable members opposite say they cannot see why any one would move a resolution asking for a four-power conference at the Summit. Yet they would agree to a two-power conference between Mr. Khrushchev and President Eisenhower who would then decide the fate of Europe but not that of America and Russia.
Admiral Charles Brown, who commands the Nato forces in Southern Europe, in October, 1958. stated -
I would not recommend the use of any atomic weapon, however small, when both sides have the power to destroy the world.
I believe that both President Eisenhower and Mr. Macmillan would agree with that statement. If the truth be known, so would Mr. Khrushchev.
What we have to guard against, and what can destroy us, is fear of what might happen to us in the future. We must not allow the Russians to get away with what they have tried to do. I believe that the Prime Minister’s amendment was. proposed in an effort to bring the possessors of nuclear power back to a meeting to discuss the question of disarmament with which the future of the world is bound up. The Prime Minister should be commended for his amendment. Instead, the Opposition is attempting to condemn him for it.
Sitting suspended from 5.56 to 8 p.m.
.- Mr. Speaker, to initiate this debate we heard a most extraordinary speech from the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). Gone was all the arrogance, the oratory, the self-confidence and the egotism. Although we had read in the press that he had taken a thrashing from Mr. Nehru at the United Nations, I was unaware that he had been so affected by it until we heard his speech in this chamber. He was like a punch-drunk fighter. Let me quote a few passages from his speech to show you that the man who made it was not the Prime Minister we knew who left this country to go to the United Nations. Here is the commencement of his speech, in which he said -
Sir, I arrived at the United Nations General Assembly on the afternoon of Friday, 30th September. The general debate was on. President Soekarno spoke for two hours. He circulated a copy of his speech. The speech consisted of 66 pages of foolscap. There was an added slip circulated. It was marked “ Vital “, and was to be inserted at page 65.
That is typical of the speech that was delivered by the Prime Minister for 90 minutes in this chamber, and he left a number of important questions unanswered. What the Opposition would like to know is why the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) was supplanted. He was sent to the United Nations, and we were assured in this chamber that the Prime Minister was quite satisfied that he, the Prime Minister, was leaving this matter in the “capable hands” of the Attorney-General, according to his own description. But almost overnight the position changed, and the Prime Minister was just like a poodle dog answering the whistle. The call had come from overseas, and so the great Australian Prime Minister had to leave to take his place in the United Nations. He described himself as the “ new boy “, and he acted like a new boy, and he came back here like a thrashed cur into this chamber.
It is not the first occasion on which the Prime Minister has blundered in his intrusion into these affairs overseas. He was like a fighter who is overmatched, who has won a match at Bullamakanka and then thinks he can fight for the world’s championship. We know exactly what the result turned out to be. We are all aware of what happened in respect of the Suez incident. You remember the assurances that the Prime Minister gave to this chamber. He told us-, after he failed to secure a satisfactory settlement in his interview with Nasser, that the Egyptians could not operate the Suez Canal. According to him, all you had to do was withdraw the pilots and the Egyptians could not possibly carry on. Well, they have carried on. Once again it was proved that the Prime Minister’s judgment was completely at fault, and that he was fighting out of his class.
Now, what has he done on this occasion? He has antagonized all of Australia’s neighbours. You have only to take a map and you will find that right throughout the Asiatic countries not one country is supporting the Prime Minister on this occasion. Not even our sister dominion, New Zealand, supported him. It is rather interesting to note that Sir Garfield Barwick, the AttorneyGeneral and former Acting Minister for External Affairs, has not been in the chamber since this important debate commenced. I believe that the Attorney-
General is keeping out of this debate because he was going to support the resolution moved at the United Nations by the five neutral countries. Word was received that he had expressed an opinion in support of the resolution. It was only with the intrusion of the Prime Minister that that support was withdrawn. The Sydney “ DailyMirror “ of 7th October published a report under the heading “ Sir Garfield stunned “. The report said that following his arrival Sir Garfield-
The Attorney-General naturally is not very pleased about this happening. I am not wrapping up the Attorney-General as being somebody who could have done any better than the Prime Minister. I merely say that he could not have done any worse.
That is the exact situation that existed in regard to this particular matter. The Prime Minister has gone out of his road to tell us that he was not the fall guy on this occasion. He was the leader, according to his own statement, of a proud and independent nation. I remember the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) in his contribution saying that the only people who had criticized the Prime Minister’s performance at the United Nations were one or two metropolitan newspapers in this country. I have taken an extract from the “ New York Times “, which shows that evidently some of the American newspapers had the same idea about the Prime Minister’s performance as the people controlling the press in this country had. That newspaper said that it was - a thankless effort to get President Eisenhower out of what Washington viewed as an embarrassing situation.
It referred to the Prime Minister as “ the Good Samaritan from Down Under”, lt said -
Mr. Menzies was persuaded to go to New York by the opinion of his Cabinet-
I would not believe that part of it, because I do not think they have a thought in their heads - and “ certain free-world statesmen” that he could perform some valuable but undefined service.
So it is not only in this country that newspapers believe that the Prime Minister was the fall guy. It is also believed in other countries.
Now let us turn to the resolution to which the Prime Minister took such objection at the United Nations - what is known as the “ neutral countries resolution “. The Prime Minister in his speech to the United Nations at least conceded that he did not doubt that the sponsors of the resolution - and the sponsors were nations friendly with Australia, some of them members of the British Commonwealth of Nations - were imbued with the highest motives. But then he scoffed at them. You remember his speech. He asked, who were these nations? Then he enumerated them, and because they were small, unmilitary powers he treated them with the utmost contempt.
What was the position at the United Nations? The neutral countries wanted a Summit meeting of two powers. The Prime Minister said that he wanted a Summit meeting of four powers. He wanted a Summit meeting of four because, he said, it was impossible to get a Summit meeting of two, since Eisenhower and Khrushchev would not meet. If they would not meet on the basis of man to man, how could he get them into a conference of four?
It seems to me that what the Prime Minister did was to set out deliberately to torpedo this effort of the neutral nations to have a meeting between Khrushchev and President Eisenhower. When all is said and done, what was it, according to what we are told, that broke down the Paris Summit meeting? It was a conflict between President Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev - not with President de Gaulle of France, not with Mr. Macmillan, the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The Paris Summit conference failed, according to all reports, because of a disagreement between President Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev. Is it not only logical to state that if you want to get a Summit conference to deal with world problems effectively the first thing you have to do is to get the two men who are quarrelling to meet, in order to see if they can find a basis of agreement, before you proceed to call the four atomic powers together?
The Prime Minister tried to ridicule Mr. Khrushchev. You cannot determine, from what the Prime Minister said, what type of man Mr. Khrushchev is. In one sentence he was telling us ‘about Mr. Khrushchev taking his shoe off and pounding the desk trying to attract attention in the General Assembly. We had the Prime Minister trying to make out that Khrushchev was a man bereft of reason, was stupid - yet, almost immediately after the speech made in the chamber of the General Assembly, the Prime Minister, on his own initiative, requests a meeting with Mr. Khrushchev for ten minutes. The Prime Minister told us it extended to 80 minutes. He must have found Mr. Khrushchev a very interesting personality. They must have found something to talk about. Is this the same Mr. Khrushchev about whom the Prime Minister has talked on occasion after occasion as being treacherous and deceitful, as a man who wants to bring about disaster in this world? Yet the Prime Minister of Australia talked to him for 80 minutes. What was the Prime Minister’s objection to a Summit meeting of two? According to the Prime Minister’s speech, he thought it would be a wrong thing to divide the world into forces supporting the U.S.A. and those supporting Russia. I think it would be a bad thing, too; but according to some of the speakers on the Government side, they believe that everything that the Western powers do is right and everything the other nations do - the others that are associated with them in the United Nations - is wrong. Let me give the House a much more realistic view regarding the situation between those two great countries. This speaker said -
In dealing with or assessing actions or intentions of a foreign power, particularly one in which political institutions and philosophy differ so sharply from our own, there is always the danger of over-simplification. This danger is to be avoided. It is not a question of being pro-Russian or antiRussian. If we glibly group other nations into those which are always right and those which are always wrong, we shall commit a childish error, and the end will be disaster.
The person who uttered those words was none other than the present Prime Minister of Australia. That was the opinion he expressed on another occasion; and it is exactly the opposite to what he said in the United Nations. This Government has never liked the United Nations. It would like to destroy the United Nations Organization if it had the opportunity. So the Prime Minister set out to move his famous amendment. He got five votes out of 93. Judged on our electoral law in Australia, he would have lost his deposit. Speakers on the Government side made a great feature of the fact that the U.S.S.R. had abstained from voting. They wanted to convey the idea that Russia was not opposed to the amendment and, therefore, refrained from voting. That happening might be described as another example of a breakdown in a unity ticket. This Government wanted the U.S.S.R. to support it. Here is another interesting point: You know that Government speakers claim that three of the four atomic powers supported the amendment; but I have searched the records and it is interesting to note that apparently the only speech made in favour of the Australian amendment was made by the Prime Minister of Australia himself. The others merely gave tacit support because they probably took pity on him and did not want to leave him on his own.
Reference has been made to the second speech that was delivered by the Prime Minister on a television broadcast. Anybody who studied that telecast will notice that there were tiers upon tiers upon tiers of empty seats; and1 probably there were tears as well. After the right honorable gentleman’s speech was finished, you could see him going up the aisle with vacant seats on each side. When he arrived where the Australian delegation was seated two of its members were laughing and the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) had his head on his hands as though he were crying. That seemed to be the Prime Minister’s only support. What did Mr. Nehru say about the Prime Minister’s first speech? Mr. Nehru said that the more he listened to Mr. Menzies, the more confused he became, and he added -
I beg the distinguished Prime Minister of Australia to read our resolution again and again because he has failed to understand it.
That was the opinion of this great leader. I remember the former Labour Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley, saying on one occasion when speaking of Mr. Nehru -
He has all the learning of the West and the wisdom of the East
Yet this great leader - and do not forget that he is leading a great nation which is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations - was insulted and affronted by the speech and the actions of the Prime Minister Minister of Australia. I have said that this Government has never believed in the United Nations. I think it was my friend, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. O’Connor), who referred to speeches that were made in 1946 in this chamber. Let me tell the House what the former Minister for External Affairs, now Lord Casey, said in this Parliament on 2nd April, 1957. That is a bit more up to date than 1946, and this is what the right honorable gentleman said in referring to the United Nations -
Nobody takes any notice of it.
That statement was made by Lord Casey. This Government has never believed in the United Nations. When Mr. Hammarskjoeld, Secretary-General of the United Nations, was speaking on the fifteenth anniversary of the establishment of this great organization recently, one of the things to which he directed attention was the fact that there were gaps in the membership. He said that they had not been able to bring in all the other nations. But what did the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) say? He has such little understanding of the world situation that instead of bringing nations into the organization, he wanted to encourage Mr. Khrushchev to get out of the United Nations. He said -
It would be a much better organization if Khrushchev got out.
Can honorable members conceive of any statement so ridiculous? If the United Nations is to succeed, it can not possibly afford to have any of the great military powers outside the organization. What damage has the Prime Minister done to the British Commonwealth of Nations? There has never previously been an occasion on which two leaders of British nations have openly attacked each other before an international organization. It has always been the firm belief of those who have faith in the British Commonwealth of Nations that you have to try to reach common ground. If you cannot reach common ground in facing important world problems, British Commonwealth conferences are completely meaningless. Therefore, I say that the Prime Minister has done great damage, not merely to the United Nations organization itself but also to the British Commonwealth of Nations.
It is rather noteworthy that even South Africa, to whose aid the Prime Minister went not so long ago, did not support him. South Africa refrained from supporting the Prime Minister’s amendment. I remember being told on a former occasion by one of my colleagues in this Parliament who was in South Africa with the Treasurer, that the Treasurer in delivering an address in that country said -
If I were a South African, I would be supporting the Government.
He would support the apartheid policy of the South African Government. Can you imagine anything more damaging than this kind of statement by a member of this Parliament when overseas? The Treasurer said that Australia’s prestige was never higher. He said that the Prime Minister came back to this country with an enhanced reputation. How do you measure reputation in the international sphere? The Prime Minister submitted an amendment to the United Nations organization, and obtained the lowest vote ever recorded in the history of the organization. Yet he and his supporters come back and talk this foolish rot about enhanced reputations and Australia’s prestige never being higher. This is not the first occasion on which the Prime Minister has failed Australia. He has been built up as a world figure; but he came back from his visit to the United Nations Assembly completely deflated. He did not display his old belligerency, the old will to fight. He was a beaten man when he spoke for 90 minutes and took up the time of this chamber last week. Even some of his colleagues do not regard him as such a great leader. He ought not to be allowed to go outside Australia to do further damage to our reputation. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) said, speaking of Mr. Menzies -
The greatest national service he can render Australia would be to quit politics. Those of us who stand for a vigorous policy are anxious that Mr. Menzies’ inevitable failures should not block the path of future progress.
The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) said in this Parliament, referring to the present Prime Minister -
The Australian Government needed a leader with the three essential qualities of courage, loyalty and judgment.
We remember that on that occasion the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), who is now sitting at the table, had so little regard for the Prime Minister that he refused to serve under him. Let me read another reference. The Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) wrote in the history of the war -
Having reached an impeccable conclusion by faultless logic and demonstrated the argument clearly to the public, he had a sense of achievement and an expectation that from that conclusion the inescapably correct consequences would flow.
– Order! the honorable member’s time has expired.
– We have listened to one of the characteristic speeches of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). This display of bitter class hatred, mulling over the things of the past, would, with only a change of the subject-matter, have fitted a score of speeches by the honorable member for East Sydney over the years. He professes to believe that two men with irreconcilable differences could have been directed to meet by the United Nations General Assembly and that something fruitful could have come from that meeting. We do not think that that was possible. But the honorable member has a chance to prove his belief. What about the Labour Party caucus directing the honorable member for East Sydney and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) to go away and have a chat and come back with everything happily settled? That would be the test. The honorable member for East Sydney would impress us if he could demonstrate, by achievement, that something along those lines could happen. But I am afraid that we shall be disappointed. The honorable member was, as one saying goes, talking with his mouth.
This debate, of course, rates more consideration than that. It is based upon the report of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who has returned from the United Nations - that great organization upon which so much of the hope of mankind depends. It is not a simple organization. It was designed, from the outset, to operate in two separate great conventions, the Security Council where the power of decision and the only power of enforcement reside, and the General Assembly, the place of debate, where all the member nations meet, conduct their political discussions, and endeavour to influence the great powers and world opinion. I emphasize that the discussions of the General Assembly are political discussions. Consequently, it might almost be said that the General Assembly was designed as a place of propaganda. I think it is not an exaggeration to say that any place of political discussion inevitably becomes a place of propaganda. Certainly it is correct to place that interpretation on what transpires in this place.
Clearly, Mr. Khrushchev went to the United Nations on this occasion in his capacity as a master propagandist to endeavour to influence a great number of new member nations and to embarrass the older nations of the West. It was when our Prime Minister found that Mr. Khrushchev was in a position to embarrass the Western powers that he took the wise and experienced course, not of speaking, as he might well have done, against the motion of the so-called neutralist powers - meeting their proposal in head-on collision - but of providing an alternative proposal.
It is true that his motion was not successful in itself; but it is equally and undeniably true that it achieved the purpose for which it was intended. Within a few hours, the motion of the neutralist powers was withdrawn by them in the face of the opinion that had clearly developed in the General Assembly following the amendment and speech of our Prime Minister; and it was replaced by another motion which was. in the end result, very little different from that proposed for Australia by the Prime Minister. So there was substantial result from the Prime Minister’s action. There is no purpose in my retracing the whole of the incidents that occurred. I could not do better or indeed half as well as the Prime Minister himself when he dealt completely with this subject-matter. It is now clear that he made one speech - his minor speech - on the amendment and another important and enduring speech later in the day.
What is the attitude of the Labour Party to this? The Labour Party seems to be making two particular suggestions. One is that the Prime Minister or the Australian delegation were not fully awake because they did not count heads before the Prime Minister moved his amendment. That idea is implicit in the amendment proposed to the House at the present time. What is it that the Labour Party would put to us? Is it that whoever speaks for Australia should decide what is right in the interests of the Australian people and then, having decided what is right, should go around and count heads, and if he cannot count enough heads he should abandon what has been decided as being right? The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) may do this in the Labour caucus with advantage, but it is not what Australia wants of its spokesmen in the United Nations. What is right is right, irrespective of whether you command a majority or not.
The second point of criticism made for Labour is that Australia has, by moving an amendment which happened to be counter to Mr. Nehru’s proposal, grievously impaired our relationship with Asian countries and with Mr. Nehru in particular. How immature do Opposition members think that Mr. Nehru is? Do they think that this is the only sophisticated country in the world - the only country in which people can have a debate, differ vigorously, and yet not come to hate each other? Let us give other countries the credit of being grown-up as we hope that we are. The truth of the matter is that, in the General Assembly, the Prime Minister crossed swords with Mr. Nehru in debate, a decision was reached, and no bitterness endures. Indeed, the newspapers, over the week-end. recounted Mr. Nehru himself as denying, in a press interview in New Delhi last Friday, that the recent occurrences at the United Nations had produced any hard feelings between India and other Commonwealth nations. Mr. Nehru particularly mentioned Australia and the United Kingdom, and Mr. Nehru’s word will do for me. I do not need a judgment on what Mr. Nehru thinks from the Labour Party caucus room, designed to get political advantage. So, both counts upon which the Opposition’s criticism is founded are baseless.
This debate would be more fruitful if it were turned to an examination of Australian foreign policies of the day - what they are, why we have them and how we could improve mem. We have foreign policies that are designed to meet our circumstances in the short term and foreign policies designed to meet our situation in the long term. This is a dangerous world. None of these debates would be necessary if it were not assessed as being a dangerous world. We have allies who fought with us in two wars during the lives of many of us in this Parliament. We have great friends and our relationships with them are embodied in treaties - the Anzus Treaty and the Seato Treaty. Our foreign policies, in the short term, are related to our great friends on whom we rely and if we are to rely on them, surely they must be made to feel that they can rely on us in their day of need, either in the military or the diplomatic sense. The stand taken by Mr. Menzies at the General Assembly was dictated by this policy of encouragement of mutual reliance. We have our great friends and we know that they will stand by us in our need, and when they need our help we will be ready to give it. That is Australian foreign policy. It is directly concerned with the security and safety of this country to-day and in the near future.
In the long term, geography dictates that Australians of future generations must live beside the countries which are to-day described as the under-developed countries of Asia and Africa. We are conscious of our moral responsibilities to these countries. We have a keen interest in their political stability, and hence we also have a keen interest in their economic stability. We have an interest in assisting to stabilize their economies, in order to eliminate the most fertile ground in which communism can work. We Australians have many common interests with these so-called under-developed countries. We are young as a nation, as many of them are young as nations. We are also under-developed. We are not underprivileged, but we are under-developed in the physical sense, and we face problems similar to those of the other under-developed countries. We experience difficulty in selling bulk commodities in the markets of the world, just as they do.
A clear, common interest is shared by Australia, which lives by the sale of bulk commodities on world markets, and countries like India, Ceylon and Malaya and the countries of Africa and, indeed, of South America, which also live by selling their bulk commodities, be they rubber, tea, copra, cocoa, coffee, jute or other products. We face identical problems in world trade, and because of that fact those countries see us as people worth being friends with, worth discussing their problems with. We constantly stand up in international forums alongside our good friends of the under-developed countries, we helping them and they helping us in these economic matters. They realize that besides having a common interest with them, we have also an affinity with the great industrial powers of the West, and they appreciate that we can be of even greater assistance to them because we have a foot in each camp, as it were.
The population of these under-developed countries represents a very substantial proportion of all mankind. In Asia and Africa, and in central and South America there are 1,000,000,000 human beings who can be included in the under-privileged class. These are people whose average annual income amounts to no more than £A.50 a year. Whatever contribution we can make towards helping that very large section of humanity must be considered a useful part of our foreign policy, and we work constantly towards that end.
There are many ways in which humanity is divided into different groups, such as by creed, colour, race and history, but nothing divides humanity into groups more clearly than differing economic circumstances. In the circumstance in which one group of humans depends for economic survival on the sale of bulk commodities, while another depends on industrial strength and experience, we are alined with the underdeveloped countries. They know it, and we can work with them, and we do work with them in close co-operation.
In this sphere of activity we are recognized in every international forum as being among the leaders. We are leaders in experience of the problems involved, and we are constantly taken into the confidence of the other under-developed countries. They have problems so immense that our problems, by comparison, appear minute. In 1958, the total adverse balance of payments of the under-developed countries was as great as 3,750,000,000 dollars, and in that year they were given an immense amount of financial aid, to the extent of 1.700,000,000 dollars. This represented half the amount of the discrepancy in their balance of payments.
Nothing could be more helpful to these people than the adoption of policies designed to increase their returns from the sale of bulk commodities. It has been shown that a drop of only 6 per cent, in the prices received by these countries for their bulk commodities would wipe out the value of all the tremendous amount of financial aid that the world collectively extends to them. It has been calculated that they need additional income of 3,500,000,000 dollars a year in order to survive on a decent basis and to have a chance of improving their educational facilities, building up their health services and developing their industries to the point where there would be prospect of their becoming self-sufficient.
They do not want aid in the form of charity. They want to achieve self-respect by standing on their own feet. If the value of their bulk commodities could be increased by only 12 per cent, they would be able to earn the extra 3,500,000,000 dollars needed, and they would1 be transformed from dependent countries, in the economic if not the political sense, to independent countries. This is the direction in which Australia can endeavour to make contributions towards helping these peoples. It is part of our policy to assist in this way. Real independence is not achieved simply with political independence. These countries will have real independence only when they have economic independence, and 1 remind honorable members that economic independence is the wall that will hold back the tide of Communist expansion. We are, therefore, working for all that is right in the world when we work towards the economic independence of the under-developed countries. We are fighting to help them in their need, and their need is desperate. In 1950 they were adding to their population at the rate of 18,000,000 a year. By 1960 the figure had increased to 29,000,000 a year. By 1975 it is calculated that they will be increasing their population at the rate of 50,000,000 a year. In other words, five times the present population of Australia will be added to the population of these countries yearly.
The improvement of the economic position of these under-developed countries is what we should be working for, instead of trying to make one bunch of Australians hate another bunch of Australians. Let us try, in this field of international affairs, to achieve a bi-partisan foreign policy, so that we may become known as a country that really does want to help the people of countries that are in need. We can thus make a great contribution to the well-being of the world At present we are not feared: we are respected. Because we are a small nation we are not feared. Because we have a skilled Public Service, and because we can argue with effect and produce results, we are respected by the other nations. We do not give aid in order to win friends and influence people, in the sense in which that phrase is frequently used. We give aid for the purpose of helping people over a rough patch, but the real purpose of our giving aid is to help the other countries to stand on their own economic feet. There can be no peace without contentment, and there can be no contentment when survival depends on charity. That is what this Government believes, and that is one of the bases of our foreign policy.
I say, Mr. Speaker, as my time runs out. that there can be no more impenetrable wall for communism than a wall of economically free and truly independent nations, and it is the objective of this Government to help to build such a wall. That is one of our real concerns, and our work in this direction is certainly not incompatible with our own vital interests. To work in this way is to work with pride and to be a real world leader.
In conclusion let me say that this part of our foreign policy is unassailably right, is morally valuable and is in Australia’s greatest interest. This is the way in which our foreign policy is framed, but I should also remind honorable members that while danger lasts we will always be close to our great friends in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
-Order! The right honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Speaker, the second half of the speech just made by the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) was as good as the first half was bad. Unfortunately, the first half alone had relevance to the speech which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made last Thursday night - the 90-minute speech which in its length would have done credit to Castro and in its tedium to the Minister who has just resumed his seat. The Minister put in blatant terms what the Prime Minister took an hour and a half to say. The rationalization which the Prime Minister gave for his performance following his Sunday morning’s discussions with President Eisenhower and Mr. Macmillan was that the motion proposed by Mr. Nehru was sabotaged; it was spiked. As the Minister for Trade briefly and blatantly puts it, the purpose of the Prime Minister’s amendment was achieved; the motion was withdrawn.
The Minister came out with several impeccable statements as to what our policy should be. He said that we should do what is right regardless of the consequences. On this occasion, of course, we did not do what was right, and we should have known what the consequences would be. The Minister said that we should consult with our allies and friends in the treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America which is known as the Anzus treaty and with our friends and allies in the SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization. One of our allies in Anzus, of course, did not support us and most of our allies in Seato voted against us. The basic fact is that in the United Nations, on this five-power resolution we did not have to choose between proven friends and people who were not friends; we deliberately provoked disagreement between two sets of friends.
The motion which Mr. Nehru moved on behalf of the five neutralist powers, as they are called - the five non-alined powers, as we should properly call them - was in fact a relevant contribution to the reduction of tension in the world, because it promoted the resumption of contacts between the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union. The amendment which the Prime Minister proposed sought to increase to four the number of persons between whom these contacts were to be resumed. But there never had been a break of contacts between the leaders of France and the United Kingdom on the one hand and the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union on the other hand. The leaders of France and the United Kingdom were continuously in contact with both the others. It was the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union who were no longer talking to one another.
The Australian Prime Minister deliberately provoked the situation by two features of his amendment. First, he should have seen that one does not reduce tension merely by trebling the voting and negotiating power of one of the two parties which were not talking to one another. The second thing was that he deliberately put in his amendment a noting - in effect, an approval - of the communique issued after the breaking-up of the Summit conference last May - a communique which was issued by the United States, the United Kingdom and France. That is, he asked the United Nations to accept one point of view. It is quite clear, Sir, that the Prime Minister had no prospect of success for such an amendment.
The overriding issue which was in the minds of the five non-alined powers was that if the United States and the Soviet Union are in agreement on any issue there can be no effective disagreements between any other powers. That is the case even if the other atomic powers - the lesser atomic powers, which are the United Kingdom and France - are involved in hostilities. That was shown very clearly in the Suez Canal fiasco. The United Kingdom and Prance initiated hostilities in that incident. Hostilities ceased promptly, and ignominiously for the two parties which had started them, because the United States and the Soviet Union were in agreement that hostilities should not continue on that issue. The fact of the world situation is that if the United States and the Soviet Union are in agreement there can be no hostilities between any other countries. The five non-alined powers were in a particularly good position to promote a solution along the lines of their motion, because they, of all the countries in the world, are most apt to get support from the rest of the world. It is characteristic of the Prime Minister that he referred in such ari offhand way to the five powers concerned. Last Thursday, he referred to the proposal sponsored by “ Yugoslavia, the United Arab Republic, Indonesia and others”. The other sponsors whom he did not name were the Prime Minister of India and the President of Ghana.
– He mentioned them elsewhere.
– Yes. He referred to them consistently as “ the distinguished leaders “ and so on, with heavy sarcasm concerning all of them. We all were mentioned as distinguished in that long tirade. The Prime Minister of India came in for three characterizations in terms like “ distinguished “ or “ my very distinguished friend”. India was the first considerable country to emerge from a state of dependence to a state of independence. It is the most populous nation in the United Nations. lt is the most populous democracy in the world. It has, not by force but by prestige, the primacy in Asia and Africa among all the nations of those continents which belong to the United Nations. Yet the Prime Minister deliberately snubbed and thwarted the Prime Minister of India by his amendment. The other person whom the right honorable gentleman omitted to mention was the President of Ghana - the president of the first colonial country in Africa to be admitted to the United Nations.
It must be conceded at least that we in Australia should give some heed to the wishes of Indonesia. Indonesia is our nearest neighbour and the most populous country in the Indian Ocean area. It is the leader of the Moslem world, which, of course, comprises the biggest bloc in the United Nations. Pakistan may have an equal population, but it has been compromised, in the eyes of the Islamic world, by its receiving subventions from the United States of America. Whatever the Prime Minister may think of Indonesia, however much he may envy the demagoguery of the President of Indonesia, the fact is that Indonesia, more than any other country, represents the Islamic world in the United Nations.
– I think that could be challenged.
– What country is the honorable member’s candidate as spokesman for the Islamic world?
Again, Sir, Yugoslavia has to a certain extent been detached from the Slavic world, and should be encouraged to that extent. The United Arab Republic, second only to Indonesia, represents the Islamic world and is the most powerful nation in the north of Africa and the Middle East. It is true, df course, that the Prime Minister has some resentment against it, because it was the cause of the first diplomatic disaster he brought on Australia by his personal interventions. He humiliated us over the Suez Canal incident.
It is just as well to realize where he has put us in the British Commonwealth of Nations. He is the one who, when he wants to cover up for South Africa, expresses his belief in discussing the problems of that country in secrecy among the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the countries of the British Commonwealth. On this occasion, he did not consult with any of them. He did not consult with them on the Sunday morning or the Sunday afternoon, and we find that New Zealand and South Africa abstained from voting on his amendment and that of the other Commonwealth countries, Ghana and India, which proposed the original motion, and in addition Ceylon, Malaya and Pakistan voted against us.
The Minister for Trade referred to the position in relation to the Anzus treaty and Seato. He might also have referred to the position in relation to the Central Treaty Organization, which is known as Cento, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is commonly known as Nato. The members of those organizations did not support the Prime Minister either, or the United States or the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister says that he was not the fall guy, but I think he may not realize that in all good faith, and with pathetic eagerness, he picked up the ball which the United States and the United Kingdom were not prepared to put into play themselves. But it is not good enough that he made a mistake in this instance; still less that he should have made it for a second time. The Minister for Trade referred very properly to our skilled public servants. We have skilled public servants in our diplomatic service. Were any of them consulted on the likely reaction?
– Then I am glad to hear that they are not to blame for the fiasco that ensued, because the Prime Minister did not mention that he consulted with the public servants or with the AttorneyGeneral, who was the head of our mission to the United Nations, or with the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who was passing through. Apparently there were Australian diplomats who did anticipate the reaction. Apparently they were consulted. We are forced, therefore, to the conclusion that they were ignored. The Prime Minister discounted their advice or thought it was misplaced.
Only two conclusions can be drawn from the Prime Minister’s performance on this occasion. He either did not know or did not care what the reaction of our neighbours would be. Sir, I have said that it is not the first time he has indulged his own personal vanity and itched to cut a great figure on the world stage. Suez was the other occasion. He has an Atlas complex; he must indulge his belief that he can shoulder the problems of the whole world. We can, at least, take some comfort that on this occasion he had four countries to support him. On the occasion of the Suez incident, he had only the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand under its former Government.
– That is not bad company.
– But not very numerous company, and what is wrong with the company we have in the Indian Ocean? This is the pathetic position in which the Prime Minister had placed us in the 1950’s. Throughout that decade he was the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Nehru was the Prime Minister of India and Dr. Soekarno was the President of Indonesia. There was an unexampled opportunity for the leader of Australia to establish cordial and understanding relations with the leaders of the other two great powers in the Indian Ocean. The opportunity was lost. It was gravely imperilled in the Suez business of four years ago; it has been further imperilled in the fiasco of this month in New York. The Prime Minister, of course, never hesitates to make a great show of his disasters. All the world can see when he flops.
There are three ways in which we can test his failures. He is not a man who is averse to travelling abroad or to meeting other distinguished statesmen, as he would call them, or distinguished representatives. He has made one visit to Indonesia. He made it a year ago and he waited ten years to make it. He has made very few visits to India. He and Lord Casey made a comparatively great number of visits to most other parts of the world and, although India and Indonesia in the Australian context should bulk very large, they spent less time in India and Indonesia than they spent in any other country bordering on the Indian Ocean.
We notice the Prime Minister’s attitude, moreover, in the whole apparatus of our diplomatic representation in those areas. The average representation and other allowances paid to our high commissions, embassies and consulates in Europe and North America are twice those paid to our high commissions, embassies, legations and consulates in Asia and Africa. The representation and other allowances for our heads of missions in Europe and North America are in all instances higher than those paid to the head of our mission in any Asian or African state. It is quite clear that the order of priorities with the Prime Minister and Lord Casey was, “The old world comes first; we do not need to establish proper representation amongst our neighbours “.
Thirdly, as the Prime Minister told me four weeks ago in answer to a question on notice, there are only three countries in Asia where we have at least one diplomat who speaks the principal local language. They are India, Indonesia and Japan. In all other posts we do not have even one diplomat who can speak the principal local language. I shall recite them. They are Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, Laos, Malaya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. All of these countries, of course, voted against the Prime Minister’s amendment. We cannot speak to them in their own language. It is quite clear that the Prime Minister puts no great value on the goodwill of our neighbours or on understanding our neighbours.
– That is unfair and untrue, and you know it.
– Well, I have quoted the Prime Minister’s own figures. You can look up the Budget papers to see the amount ws spend in those posts. We spend twice as much in any European embassy or consulate as we spend in any Asian embassy or consulate. Except in three instances, we do not have any person who can speak the principal local language in any of our Asian posts. Is that the way to make friends or to influence people?
Australia has a greater opportunity and obligation than any Western country to make the aspirations and heritage of the West understood in Asia and particularly in countries around the Indian Ocean. We have had the whole of the 1950’s in which to do it under the Prime Minister and he has missed that opportunity. It is no use raking over the past except to profit from it, and we should at least learn that during the 1960’s we must work and work hard to understand the aspirations of those countries. The Prime Minister’s attitude was clearly and exhaustively shown in the 90 minutes of his speech last Thursday night, in which we bore with him in silence. Again and again he reverted to the theme that the atomic and nuclear powers should alone determine the peace or the destiny of the world. That is not a view which is held in the United Nations now.
The old days of 1945 and subsequent years, when the United States of America had a majority - a two-thirds majority if it exerted itself - on any issue in the United Nations, have now gone. Russia has a smaller bloc still than the United States, but the largest bloc in the United Nations is formed by the new nations which have emerged in Asia and Africa in the last few years. Australia is in a very good position to influence them, because it was born with the British heritage which many of them had thrust upon them and which they have chosen to continue. We have the opportunity in the countries around the Indian Ocean in particular. The countries which have the majority in the United Nations are not impressed by nuclear or atomic weapons.
They cannot afford to indulge in them; they have no money to spare for this purpose. It irks them - to use the Prime Minister’s term, it vexes them - to see the wealthier countries dissipate their substance on atomic and nuclear weapons when these resources could be used to raise the standard of living of all mankind. Australia, which is not and also cannot afford to be a nuclear power, has for ten years missed the opportunity to interpret the new nations to the old world, and the old world to the new nations. We have yet time, but less time than the Prime Minister or his entourage realize, to mend our ways and to restore the links with Asia which he has now on two occasions so abruptly and blatantly broken.
.- As one who was not in New York, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) cannot know anything about what transpired there between the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) and their official advisers. Yet, knowing nothing, he builds up a case on the foundation of his ignorance of the matter.
The first thing we should do is put this matter in perspective. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition compares the incident which has just occurred in New York with the Suez affair. He treats this passing phase, this mere incident of the debate in the United Nations, as something of fundamental world significance. This is another case in which our press has grossly misled us. In the United Nations hundreds of motions are proposed in the course of a year. Votes are taken or amendments are moved, and the delegates pass on to the next issue. Most of the motions or amendments make very little difference. As the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) pointed out earlier, if you searched the press of the world you would find very little reference to them. This particular episode, however, has been blown up until it is out of all proportion and has been taken out of its context.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition referred to a number of matters, one of which was the places to which the Prime Minister travels. The pity of it is that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition does not travel, because his need to travel is so patently very much greater than that of the Prime Minister. He referred to the fact that the allowances paid to Australian diplomats in America were twice as high as those paid to Australian diplomats in posts in Asia. If he had visited the two places, he would realize that, whatever the allowances may be in Washington, our ambassador there certainly is not as well endowed as are the ambassadors and representatives of other countries. Certainly his position does not compare very favorably with those of many of the Americans with whom, in the ordinary course of events, he deals from day to day. On the other hand, one of the problems in Indonesia is that many of the Indonesian cabinet ministers are relatively poor men who are embarrassed by displays of riches. They ask diplomats into their homes with great diffidence because they feel keenly the difference between the allowances paid to foreign representatives and those paid to them. To compare the allowances paid in North America, or even Europe, with those which are necessary for the maintenance of suitable establishments in Asia is ridiculous. If we equalized the allowances, we would either make the position of our representatives in North America impossible, or we would separate even further the representatives of Australia from the inhabitants of the Eastern countries.
Great play has been made in this debate on the brush that occurred with Mr. Nehru. It is suggested that Mr. Nehru was put out because the Australian Prime Minister did not consult him before moving the amendment. The fundamental question is: Who brought in the motion? In the United Nations, if a country wishes to bring forward a motion and have it passed, the normal procedure is for the mover of the motion to consult other people. We should ask in this case, not whether the Prime Minister consulted Mr. Nehru before moving the amendment, but whether Mr. Nehru sought Australia’s support and the support of other British Commonwealth countries for the motion. That is the crucial question. It is patently ridiculous to suggest that before some one moves an amendment he should consult the mover of the motion. It is suggested that the Prime Minister broke some Commonwealth front in connexion with this matter. For 35 years, before and after these independence movements, the Commonwealth countries have never been able to agree on a common line of foreign policy. Incidents such as this one occur quite often. This, like so many others, will shortly be forgotten.
It is natural that Mr. Nehru expressed himself with some anger when interrupted in his favorite and famous act - that of the cooing dove - which he performs, as a neutralist, safe under the shield of the United States armed power and in the name of a country which is heavily dependent on the United States for its material progress in the world. He has other acts. He periodically attacks the United States. From time to time, he gets a certain pleasure from biting the hand that feeds him. That is understandable, in view of his political circumstances. So also indeed is the attitude of .this great protagonist of peace when he deals with Kashmir. When Mr. Nehru deals with Kashmir, his attitude is as hard as that of Hitler was.
But let us not suppose that the relations between Australia and India depend solely upon the relations from time to time between our leaders and people like Mr. Nehru and Mr. Krishna Menon. If the relations between the two countries depended on such things as that, they would indeed be based on shifting sands. That would be an insult to the great body of intelligent and well-informed opinion in India which does not follow Mr. Nehru in all his postures and which strongly disagrees - and expresses that disagreement frequently - with Mr. Krishna Menon. We have to remember that India was the scene of empires and a widespread civilization when we were still in the tribal state. The relations between informed and intelligent people in India and in Australia are, by and large, friendly. They are the foundation of our relations with India, not some passing debate and vote in the United Nations.
Leaders of countries are here to-day and gone to-morrow. This ridiculous personality cult, which is reflected in the desire for a summit conference has led to much difficulty. The tide in the affairs of men and nations moves on. Changes occur, irrespective of leaders. Here, surely, is where the inherent wisdom of the motion moved by Argentina comes in. The Leader of the Opposition referred to this motion, proposing a change from persons to nations, as following in the wake of Australian sabotage. All I can say is that that is essentially a sound and well based mode of conduct.
What are the characteristics of the leaders of the nations - of the men who we are told should now be brought together to solve the problems of the world? What are the characteristics of the leaders of the largest and most important nations in particular? The characteristic of most leaders, the one which brings them into positions of power and prominence is certainly not a knowledge of foreign affairs or even of the foreign interests of their countries; it is usually very close attention to their own domestic affairs. What separates them, by and large, in most places - let us face reality - is no great gulf of wisdom between them and their environment, but a certain skill in jostling others away from the spotlight. Let us, in friendly spirit, consider the leaders of the United States of America and of Soviet Russia - without being unfriendly and without passing any insults. What brought President Eisenhower to power in the United States? He had long experience and was a great military leader, a popular leader; but the immediate cause of his rise to power - be had those things which other people had, too - was that he had a beaming smile, which clothed humanity with goodwill, and that magnificent gesture with upstretched and outstretched arms, doing with two arms the “ V “ sign which Churchill did during the war with two fingers, raising cheers whereever he went throughout the United States.
– Did he take his boots off?
– As time rolls on there are fewer gimmicks of novel character left. What are the credentials of Khrushchev? He is, for the time being, the most prominent leader of the Communist world. He is not divorced from the political forces which put him there, and if he slips or gets offside with somebody or with the major forces within Soviet Russia he will doubtless be liquidated, as he liquidated many others to get where he is. We can be sure that in any such conflict he will be about the first on the draw but he, also, could disappear.
What, therefore, is the great virtue in bringing these two figures together? It is not their experts or their two nations that are to meet, but the two men, face to face. Expressing some doubt about the wisdom of this process is apparently the great sin committed - in the eyes of the Opposition - by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). In other words, he did not think that the world’s greatest grin should be presented face to face with the contemporary king of hocus-pocus, who has endeavoured to turn the proceedings of the world in the United Nations into a kind of barnyard circus. This is the Prime Minister’s sin, apparently; yet had this procedure been adopted, it would have been entirely useless. It would have raised fresh hopes, only to have them dashed once more. But it does come back to this curious cult of the Summit. This Summit idea, which I have been trying to trace, appears to owe its origin - as far as I can make out, and 1 hope I can be corrected in this matter - to words used by Sir Winston Churchill, to whom we all owe so much, but whose words at times also deserve close scrutiny and criticism.
As a war-time measure a Summit meeting of the great military leaders in World War II. may have made sense. The end was simple. The exercise was to win a war, a particular set objective which, in the end, must necessarily be of limited character. So it was natural for the leading characters who participated in those ,grand designs to take the attitude that you unfurl a map and move armies around and then carve up the world and, having done that with success you may come to think that it is for other supermen to do the same thing with the peace. Here, I suggest, lies a very great snag for the democratic powers - to build up this idea of the Summit; that somehow you bring the head of the leading States together to solve the world’s problems. But in fact what you almost inevitably do is to bring together to make far-reaching decisions people who, fundamentally, are not conversant with the whole range of their country’s interests, particularly in the field of foreign affairs. If anything should have been a lesson to us it was the Summit conferences we had during the war which dealt with peace.
Teheran and Yalta gave us very much to regret, and that is something from which we should take warning not to be so prone to fall for this gimmick of the Summit.
What the Prime Minister put forward in this connexion is of very much more limited character - that the four atomic powers should get together, when there is a certain range of foreign affairs which can obviously be discussed by those who might have their hands on the trigger. But what they decide by themselves is of very limited character. It does not get to the foundations of the forces upon which peace and war ultimately depend. The arms which people have, whether they are hydrogen bombs or not, are the weapons that they will use. The fundamental threat to world peace is not the hydrogen bomb or the atomic bomb, but the ferment in men’s minds and the proselytizing creed of communism which will use every means and every occasion to secure the domination of the world. It is simply deluding our people to say that there is some quick way out by which the threat to humanity can suddenly be removed. This great issue will be with us for several generations, because it takes that time at least for any great creed - and communism is a considerable creed, when alined with great power - before its force dies down and the threat which it postulates gradually subsides.
In the meantime, have we to be so fearful of it? This challenge will meet us in every walk of our lives, in economic matters and in political matters and above all in the minds of men. We should combat it in every way and in every field we can because, if we do not, it will be we who go under. We have only survived so long because for generations our ancestors have had steady nerves and a clear eye. If, in fact, we are to survive again the form may change, but our chances may be greater. The threat of war and annihilation has always hung over man. It has hung over most men most of the time since men first appeared. In this case we have the great advantage that in the world to-day whoever presses the button to let loose the hydrogen bomb cannot himself expect to survive. That is the fundamental change which has been brought about in human affairs, and with that background we shall fight our struggle in other fields and we shall survive - not by pursuing this ridiculous gimmick of the Summit, but by well thought-out national policies on every front throughout the coming years.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) sets out to correct certain situations which have developed since the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) developed the ambition to shine at the United Nations. As the result of his two trips abroad, one which has been touched on so frequently, the abortive visit to Suez, and the more recent one which is now being discussed, we come to look at the political anatomy of Robert Gordon Menzies and reach the conclusion that we in this country have taken too much for granted. We realize that the frog that sang so sweetly in this very small puddle made no noise at all when transplanted abroad. In fact, like so much Australian flora and fauna he does not transplant too well. When the winds of India struck him at the United Nations he wilted and died on the vine.
We have all been humiliated because the Prime Minister has been such a supremely arrogant man. He has had ambition ever since the days when he was deeply, widely and heavily outmatched by the former Minister for External Affairs and leader of this Party, Dr. H. V. Evatt. He has always wanted to shine abroad. Surely Shakespeare’s warning as contained in “ Henry VIII.” could be applied to Robert Gordon Menzies. Shakespeare said -
I charge thee, fling away ambition. By that sin fell the angels.
There certainly was a reverberating noise at the United Nations a few days ago when the Prime Minister of Australia attempted to do things that he could not do. Why could he not do them? He could not do them because he has no humanity. He does not understand people; he does not understand even the people of this Parliament. You may get the beaming smile or the noble order of the brush-off, depending on the day. the temperature and the circumstance. How can you transplant that kind of personality to the United Nations and say, “ Tn the name of this country, go in and win? “ He does not believe in going in and winnine. He believes in being in the right clubs and knowing the right people. The right people are President Eisenhower, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and other celebrities.
The point that was made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) a short time ago regarding the Prime Minister’s complete neglect of the Asian scene is valid. It sums up his character and his failures. He belongs to the Prime Ministers’ and Presidents’ Club. No one is foolish enough, although the analysis has been deep and wide in relation to the incident at the United Nations, to think that this striking down of the Prime Minister resulted from only one action. It was a towering sequence of events which annoyed the Afro-Asians. If the Prime Minister had any worthwhile advisers or any one near him who had any prescience of what was done; if he even had some one who could count heads in the United Nations, he would not have made the egregious errors that he made in standing like Horatius at the bridge. But there was no bridge, so he fell into the Tiber.
The trouble was that the Prime Minister did not speak in a representative sense. He was a messenger boy for the great powers who said, “ Send us Menzies from Australia. We want some one to snatch a burning brand from the blaze; some one to pull our chestnuts out of the fire and some one to run our messages for us “. He went gladly. The Australian people know this. While this situation was developing and while we on the perimeter of Asia have not an Asian friend because of our bad record in foreign affairs since 1949, this man strutted amongst the superior colonizing groups of the world. They may be great nations such as Great Britain; they may be powerful nations and in control of to-day’s events, such as the United States, but in passing from the southern hemisphere, where he lives and has his being, to the northern hemisphere, the Prime Minister never looked to the right or to the left to see the travail and sufferings of these emerging nations of Asia and the new nations of Africa.
I do not believe he knew that representatives from fourteen new member nations had flown into the United Nations in those weeks bewildered, strange and awkward, seeking some kind of recognition in this strange new world of unity and co-operation which they expected to find. What did they find? They found that they were put in their place firmly. Nehru was smouldering after what happened in Africa with Verwoerd, who supported the Sharpeville massacre, who stood for apartheid and who was supported in this House by the Prime Minister because he was a good member of the club.
From my own feelings and not from anything factual that I can bring to bear, I claim that the Gluckman case was another instance of members of the Prime Ministers’ club standing together. Sir Roy Welensky of Rhodesia and Nyasaland would know something of the reasons why Gluckman was excluded from New Guinea.
Does anybody think the Asian people just go to sleep and do not see what happens? We have seen tyrannous conduct in South Africa, where some shocking incidents have occurred. A man sharpened his knife on the wheel of a car and a murder was committed in the full blaze of the African sun. Does anybody think that the millions in Asia and Africa missed1 those events? Of course they did not! Associated with it all was Australia’s conduct - so unlike the Australian but so like the Prime Minister of this country who likes his mates and his club. Then we permitted the other oddity of conduct in regard to Professor Gluckman. Although we talk about freedom for New Guinea as soon as we can grant it, and about releasing the natives from darkness into light; although we talk about helping them by introducing many of the processes of government and by educating them, erecting schools and hospitals and providing markets and the know-how of modern industry in a modern world, at the same time we drop the guillotine on Gluckman and say, “ Despite your record as a social anthropologist you may not go into New Guinea and talk to the people there “. Was that lost on the people of Asia and Africa? Did they think nothing about it? Of course they thought about it and they put another mark against us.
So, when we float in with our comfortable friends, the United States and Great Britain - we on this side of the House pay tribute to them for what they have done in the past and what they are likely to do in the future - we must be logical. There are other nations which cannot be snooted and ignored. Power politics was the only thing that the Prime Minister had to sell at the United Nations. He had no idea of how the United Nations had changed. Surely, when he swept the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) to the wall, ignored his very presence and took his own brief, one could have expected big things. Even the speech which every one talks about as being so remarkably good was merely an expression of the horrors of which we have heard in this House. China must not be recognized by the rest of the world; we must wait a certain time before we allow the natives of New Guinea to emerge from outer darkness - all the patronizing nineteenthcentury gunboat philosophy’ and diplomacy. The people of the world are awake to all that now, and they merely shrug their shoulders and say, “ Here is another one of them “.
When the Prime Minister introduced his footling little resolution as an amendment to what the Afro-Asian bloc was trying to do with the assistance of the other neutralist powers, it was doomed to failure because there was the feeling that surely he did not represent the young democratic country of Australia which, by implication, was ignoring them. Surely they must have felt that he was merely a power politician who was drunk on words.
That is the mistake that we have made. We have mistaken words for actions on the part of the Prime Minister. He is well described by what was written by that famous writer, Sydney Smith, who, when referring to William Pitt the Younger, said -
He was one of the most luminous, eloquent blunderers with whom any people was ever afflicted. For fifteen years I have found my income dwindling away under his eloquence, and regularly in every session of Parliament he has charmed every classical feeling and stript me of every guinea I possessed. At the close of every brilliant display, an expedition failed or a Kingdom fell, and by the time that his Style had gained the summit of perfection, Europe was degraded to the lowest abyss of Misery. God send us a stammerer, a tongueless man . . .
There is the situation. We have been very kind to the Prime Minister. One of his Ministers is bleating in the distance, but he knows that to be the truth. There has been a debacle and a loss of prestige overseas.
Surely even the merest tyro in politics would have seen the way things were going. But the Prime Minister does not. Where he goes sweep the angels surrounded by the archangels, the dominance and the thrones. Wherever he is, is Heaven itself. But in this case he ran into the typhoon from the Indian Ocean and was well and truly dealt with.
I think that the analysis of the two voting issues made by the Leader of the Opposition and by other members later on. and recently by the Deputy Leader of the Oposition. was done most brilliantly, showing exactly where the stumbling block was. After a record term as Prime Minister, after many visits abroad, why is it that these things are not in order, and why has not the Prime Minister realized that the United Nations is not the Federal Parliament of Australia? It is an organization with world interests. Did he do anything to win friends or influence people? It seems, as has been said by reputable newspapers, that he was made the ball boy, that he was made the dummy in this expedition. To the point of calamity, he has let us down in international affairs. There was no thought for the fourteen new nations, no thought for the touchiness and irritability of those new emerging nations that hate the very thought of what they have gone through in the past - colonialism, cruelty and starvation, the last of which they are still going through. Democracies like India and the other small nations across the perimeter and the borders of Africa, were doing a job of sober peaceful planning, and doing it in the democratic way. “ Out of my road “, says the boy from Australia. “ I am going to see the big shots. We are going to do our stuff. We are the atomic powers. We are the big boys that make the noise. We are the lads with the bomb. We are going to make all you fellows sit up and take notice. I shall” see nobody except these friends of mane, who have been my friends since childhood.” Inherent in that attitude is snobbery and a lack of appreciation. The thing that caused him to fall on the banks of the Nile caused him also to collapse on the banks of the Hudson. If you removed the United Nations to Geneva, he would eventually find himself jumping in the lake.
That is the way in which the situation evolved. The idea of the Prime Minister being an ambassador at large is finished with. The idea of his being a man who can be called in when things are difficult - like the vacuum cleaner mender - is finished with. On both occasions he cut off the current and plunged the room into darkness. They do not want that any more. They are looking for a good honest-to-God tradesman who can go ahead with the job.
After listening to the case made brilliantly by many of my colleagues there is no need to linger longer on the tragedy of the United Nations except to say that a reputation has fallen to pieces at the United Nations, and that we may be responsible for it, by paying too much attention to eloquence and not enough to performance, for relying too much on poesy and not enough on practicality.
Now let us see the effects of this disastrous foreign policy that crashed at the United Nations. What is it doing here? What is the effect of our foreign policy at home? The continual moaning and groaning about red China - “ We must not recognize it! “ - has created an appalling position so far as the average Australian is concerned. He may have no time whatsoever for continental China. He may be much the other way. But do you think he would support basher gangs at aerodromes, with notices and batons, knocking visitors to this country whose vises had been issued by a Minister of State, the Minister for Immigration? That is one of the outcomes at home of the Government’s foreign policy. There is a build-up of the fascist element who lie perdu during the week and are at call when they are wanted. I do not know whether they are freedom fighters or just plain gangsters, but as soon as the Government wants to manufacture an incident so that it can get into the press, they are ready and willing to provide that incident. They provided it years ago in the Petrov case for the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who wanted to put up a phony incident and said that Mrs. Petrov was saying to him in Russian, “ I do not want to go back to Russia “. I am sure, after the verbal evidence, that she was saying something entirely different in Russian to the honorable member for Mackellar.
The point I want to make is that the foreign policy that is used in this country is a degraded foreign policy. For instance, take the case of the Chinese visitors. We have a debate in the House, sometimes of a scurrilous nature, about the Chinese, to whom we sell £18,000,000 worth of goods every year, and who are now buying our steel. Whether we like it or not, it has been able to get through, and so has our wheat and our wool. After we have asked our own trade unions to process these visitors who are the guests of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, we find that some underground organization, some poor miserable show that is a disgrace to Australia, is able to turn up at every aerodrome and attempt to intimidate the visitors. Well, if that is foreign policy, associated with immigration, I want none of it. If we are not prepared to be decent to our visitors, let us not have visitors. How many of us have been from the north to the south, from the east to the west of China, without let or hindrance? Yet people from China who are invited to look at another part of the world are given the shabby outside of Australianism, the sort of inherent fascism that is cultivated by a foreign policy such as the leader of this Government sets up before us.
We want to see an end of these storm troopers, because what happened is bad for us overseas. It is not lost on the AfroAsians, it is not lost on the Chinese, that these men, sent here with goodwill to exchange ideas, are intimidated. I was horrified to read that in Queensland - which is a fine State - the policemen turned their backs. Since when have the police in uniform been other than the administrators of the law? One said, “ I did not see anything. There was not much of a rumpus anyway.” It is the duty of all citizens to keep decorum in this country. If we invite people here under a foreign policy arrangement, and then attempt to bash them, how far down are we, and how long would we last if we put up a proposal in the United Nations on humanitarianism? No wonder the Russians are saying, “ Look at your record in northwest Australia with the aborigines “. No wonder other countries are saying, “ What is your record in New Guinea? “ Probably they are distorting it, but it is in retaliation for the things that this Government does, and which arise out of its attitude to the United Nations.
The Prime Minister himself for years hated the very term “ United Nations “.
Whenever it was mentioned by Dr. Evatt the Prime Minister made some slighting reference to the United Nations which indicated that he had no time for it. Neither did the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt).
To gloss over the 80 minutes of completely boring and sotto voce conversation that we had here the other night, I took notice of how many times the Prime Minister insulted, by the big word, the people he knew. Here are some examples - “ My distinguished friend, the Prime Minister of India “; “ my distinguished friends, Mr. Macmillan and Lord Home; “ “ the distinguished Prime Minister of Great Britain “; “ my distinguished friend, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition “; “ my distinguished friend, Mr. Nehru “; “ my distinguished friend, the Prime Minister of India “; “ Mr. Nehru, my very distinguished friend “; “ my distinguished colleague, the Treasurer “; “ my distinguished representatives at the General Assembly “; “ my distinguished colleague, the Minister for Territories “. Finally he referred to “ my late respected and distinguished friend, Julius Caesar “.
– Who said this?
– The Prime Minister, in his speech, tying one thing up with the other. Since time is short I get back to the points that were raised. In the United Nations we have had a diplomatic defeat of the first magnitude. We have lost seaway with the new Afro-Asian nations who are flooding the United Nations - 99 of them, and there will soon be one hundred. The small number that voted for us would, on the evidence, show how much influence we had on the United Nations. No matter what sort of apologies are made by the Minister who will follow me in the debate - the Minister who lost his job, who was sacked on the spot and told to stand by till the Prime Minister had had his say - no matter what might be said by the Treasurer, no matter what might be said by the stooges surrounding the Prime Minister, the position is clear. The “Sydney Morning Herald” put it in the right perspective when it said that no matter how you argue this point, and no matter how you get around this argument, there has been a fall in Australia’s prestige.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Bowden).
Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I am very grateful to the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) for a very useful quotation which 1 might paraphrase in these words - What a pity God did not give us a stammerer and a stutterer and so save us from this eloquent, blundering fool; because we have just listened to the sort of speech that would not have gone down on the Yarra bank on a wet Sunday afternoon. It is a great shame to see an erstwhile great party now reduced to an agglomerate of politicians producing a speaker like the honorable member for Parkes to put its view on a very important matter of foreign policy. It is a great pity to see the Labour Party in such a plight.
But my purpose to-night in speaking in this debate is not to waste many words on people who have not said very much. 1 would like to put this incident into proper perspective. Five pretty tough gentlemen in world affairs proposed a resolution at the United Nations Assembly as a sort of manoeuvre. They were Tito, Soekarno, Nehru, Nkrumah and Nasser. They are very tough and all of them are realists. If they could have sat in the gallery of this House to-night and listened to the immature talk from the Opposition side, I am sure they would have laughed, and laughed and laughed. These people know the world, and they are sufficiently mature to understand that in a parliamentary skirmish, when one section tries to manoeuvre and it does not come off, it does not result in deep feelings or great international disturbances. It is an event of the moment. They went home and they have long since forgotten about it. If the Opposition and some of our newspapers were as mature as the sponsors of the resolution in the United Nations Assembly, we would have forgotten about the incident too.
– No wonder the Prime Minister superseded you.
– lt shames me not that I made a place for the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). On. 5th October, the Prime Minister made two speeches. We have heard a great deal about the second speech, but very little about the first. Let me say one or two things about the second speech before 1 pass on.
– This is old stuff.
– Order! Honorable members who are interjecting have already made their speeches. They should be satisfied and remain silent.
– Let me say something about the second speech first. In that speech, the Prime Minister, in a forthright and trenchant manner, condemned Soviet Russia for attempting to wreck the United Nations, for attempting to unseat the Secretary.General of the United Nations and for trying to prevent the United Nations from acting in an executive capacity. The Prime Minister exposed Soviet Russia as a colonial power. He called attention to the barbarous and unremitting manner in which Russia is holding under the people of the captive nations of Europe - people who are not only entitled to be free, but people who are also able to be free and to look after themselves.
That speech made a very great impact on the Assembly. I do not depend for this judgment on any condescension of newspapers; I know it because of the many representatives of many nations who went out of their way to speak to me personally in laudatory terms of what the Prime Minister had said. Unlike the Opposition, I was proud, as an Australian, to receive their congratulations. At the end of that speech, the Prime Minister stood as a champion of freedom and of the little people of the world; not the big people, but the little people. He was a great exponent of human dignity. He was known in that capacity to the representatives in the United Nations Assembly, and in that capacity he is known to the people of the world. He must come to an Australian Parliament to find those who would bring him down.
Do not make any error about what the world will assume from the amendment that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). The world will believe that Australians are not behind their Prime Minister, and that would condemn him for what he did at the United Nations Assembly. Let us not overlook the fact that the people of the world do not worry about parliamentary and procedural niceties. They will interpret this amendment in the broad and in its substance. The Opposition’s amendment represents a statement that Australians do not agree that Russia is to be condemned. It will be taken as an indication that Australians do not agree that Russia is a colonial power holding down people who should be free. That is how the world will interpret this amendment. The Opposition in this Parliament will climb onto any bandwagon; on this occasion it is only a wagonette. The Opposition is being towed along at the tail of a newspaper campaign. There is nothing original in its current move. If the newspapers had not carried on an old feud and performed the way they have, we would have heard nothing from the Opposition. It is just flogging the criticisms of newspapers whose opinions and criticisms members of the Opposition mostly despise.
I would now like to tell the House briefly what occurred in respect of the resolution that was submitted to the United Nations Assembly, because it should be understood. The proposal of the five nations was made while Dr. Soekarno was making his speech in the general debate in the General Assembly. It was quite plain that his speech had not been prepared for such a draft resolution, which was dubbed in at the end somewhat out of place. That was on Friday afternoon. The draft resolution had not been canvassed with anybody. I want to make that quite clear; nobody had been canvassed about the resolution, and that in itself was most unusual. When you look at the resolution, you see that it was an attempt to get the Assembly to pass a resolution by a fairly snap manoeuvre. That is clear when you know the time table. Mention of the resolution was made by Dr. Soekarno on Friday afternoon. The resolution was proposed formally by Mr. Nehru just after Dr. Soekarno ceased to speak. A remark was made that the sponsors would like it to be dealt with expeditiously. On Monday in the general debate while Mr. Nehru was making his speech for India and towards the end of it, he referred to the resolution and asked that it be passed unanimously and expeditiously. When he had finished, there was no further comment on the resolution.
On Tuesday, the President of the General Assembly said that, having heard Mr.
Nehru’s request, he took it that the Assembly would go on to debate and vote upon this resolution that day when the speakers in the general debate had finished. I ought to tell the House that the ordinary rule in the General Assembly is that a matter added to this agenda is not debated for seven days after it is put on the paper. This announcement by the President immediately raised protests because, mark you, all the delegates there were not heads of State or of government. Many of the nations were represented by their permanent representatives and these had to consult their governments as to what they should do about the resolution. The representative of Argentina said, “ Let us adjourn the matter, at least until to-morrow “. After a show of hands that was agreed to.
On Monday afternoon, when the Prime Minister’s amendment was circulated, it was at least known that Mr. Nehru had asked for an expeditious hearing. We were not going to have all the time that is normally given in these things. As, for reasons that I will give in a moment, the resolution was quite unacceptable, but was a resolution against which we could not vote without some difficulty, it was quite plain that some amendment would have to be made, if we were going to provide grounds upon which the resolution could be beaten. So the amendment was put in. In these procedures, you put in your proposal and it is typed out and circulated, but it is moved at a later stage.
On Wednesday morning - as you remember, the President had asked that the matter be taken and it had been adjourned on a show of hands until Wednesday - the Prime Minister moved his resolution in clear and lucid terms. It is no good anybody saying that the Prime Minister cannot put a matter lucidly. That is important because Mr. Nehru said that he could not understand the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister put his point of view and stated why he did not like the resolution. After another delegate had spoken, Mr. Nehru got up and spoke in a parliamentary manner. The United Nations after all is a kind of parliament. Indeed, is not the great hope of the world that it shall become a parliament in which people will have their differences, will make hard speeches, and will give and take hard knocks rather than resort to force of arms? Surely the great hope is that the United Nations will become the parliament of the world with all the give and take of a parliament. If I and my colleagues on this side of the House were to take seriously everything that was said about us by the Opposition we would be put away in Callan Park. In my short time, I have learnt that much, at any rate.
– Where is Callan Park?
– lt is a place where some of us may end up - I do not know which of us will. On the Wednesday, Mr. Nehru made his speech, and he made it in the parliamentary sense. He said that he could not understand the Prime Minister. He said that he could not understand the amendment; that it was a jumble of words and not an amendment at all. He was splenetic. I know that in his Indian fastness he regrets it now as so many of us do after we have been splenetic in this House.
Then we had the afternoon session in the general debate, the matter of this resolution being adjourned till 8.30. It is assumed by the Opposition that nobody did any negotiating or lobbying, but the fact is that the whole of that afternoon was put in in conversation, not only by folk who favoured our amendment but by people who were endeavouring to get another amendment. Argentina, Japan and Norway were trying to get an amendment of the same kind as these sponsors agreed to ultimately, along with others. Right up to the dinner hour, there was a great deal of negotiation. Then Mr. Nehru said that he would have no changes. He became inflexible; there would be no change. Thereafter you know what happened. In the voting it transpired that the Assembly was not prepared to ask that there be a meeting of two or four - or to put pressure on any person. It would not accept our suggestion for a Summit meeting. It would not have Nehru’s suggestion of a bilateral meeting. The delegates, in substance, said, “We will have none of this “. They were not ready for any such thing. We were right in our assessment that they were not ready for it. But we had to provide a vehicle to aid the expression of their dissent, and we did. As the Opposition has said, we were successful.
Could I, Mr. Speaker, in the few minutes left to me, show why the original resolution was completely unacceptable? I am astounded to hear that the Opposition would have favoured it. Just think of what the situation was: The two leaders, Eisenhower and Khrushchev, had exchanged letters. Nobody who read them could think for a moment that the two leaders were going to meet. On top of that, no one with any sense of practical politics, knowing that President Eisenhower had said that he would not meet Mr. Khrushchev unless the RB47 fliers were released, could imagine that he could agree to a meeting without that condition having been fulfilled, when one of his own administration was standing for the presidency. There could not be a more foolish and impossible idea. Nobody could imagine that the resolution could achieve anything. But let me assume that President Eisenhower could have agreed to meet Mr. Khrushchev as a result of the assembly’s pressure. What would that have meant? It would have meant that the assembly had approved of Mr. Khrushchev’s statement as to the U2, and was endorsing his conditions.
– Of course it would. On the other hand, if Khrushchev had abandoned his conditions and met President Eisenhower unconditionally, it would have meant that the assembly was endorsing President Eisenhower’s point of view. The people in this assembly are not immature as are members of the Opposition in this House. They knew very well that the manoeuvre of trying to rush this resolution through was designed to incommode somebody and they would have none of it.
I have heard it said thai the proceedings caused a rift with our Indian friends. But let me point this out to the House: The resolution was beaten by the use of a procedural device. This was the legitimate device of requesting that the parts of the resolution be voted on separately. Each part would then have to be carried by the necessary two-thirds- majority. It was in that way that this resolution was beaten. I thought that the Afro-Asians might feel badly, not about our amendment, but about that particular procedural manoeuvre. I made it my business as I left the hall that night to speak to several of them. They gave me one of two replies: Either they said, “Well, it is plain enough; there was a manoeuvre and it was outmanoeuvred “, referring to the sponsors, or they said, “ They were too inflexible and they were hoist “. That is the sort of talk we would hear around the House after somebody’s amendment had failed.
In truth, the amendment now before the House shows how immature the Opposition is. Its members are not moving in a world of real men and real people, because this incident at the General Assembly meeting - it was not even a tiff - did not raise a ripple.
But what has been left behind - and do not let us underestimate this - by the Prime Minister has been a profound impression. The matter was not well reported in Australia but, in his speech, the Prime Minister emerged as I have said as a champion of freedom standing against oppression and bullying of the little people, and as an advocate of the dignity of man. I ask this House to throw the Opposition’s amendment out with very smart contempt and let the world know that Australians believe what the Prime Minister said in his principal speech.
– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
.- The speech just delivered by the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) does nothing to help honorable members understand what prompted the actions of Australia’s representatives at the United Nations General Assembly, which resulted in strong criticism being expressed by other nations represented at the gathering. As a member of this Parliament, I resent the Minister’s slighting reference at the beginning of his speech to the five powers that were responsible for proposing the resolution to which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) moved his amendment. I feel that the Attorney-General has done less than justice to his subject to-night. Although he sought, with his usual eloquence, to give the House an explanation of what happened at the meeting of the General Assembly, I am afraid he left many gapsthat will need to be filled in.
I fully support the amendment that has been proposed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). I believe it is a timely expression of the feelings of honorable members of this Parliament about what transpired at the United Nations. Whatever did transpire there was not helpful to this country nor to the cause of peace. That being so, I feel that there is a need for us to review the foreign policy that has been pursued by this Government, so that we may avoid a repetition of what has recently occurred. Universal regret is felt at the fact that no positive steps were taken at the recent meeting of the General Assembly towards the furtherance of world peace.
The Prime Minister has endeavoured to explain the unprecedented happenings in which he figured so prominently. The right honorable gentleman, representing Australia at the General Assembly, sponsored a certain amendment that has been widely criticized by many countries represented there. The Prime Minister’s efforts at the General Assembly have exposed Australia and its delegation to grave resentment and strong challenge. The caustic comments of certain countries that have been spoken of as the neutral powers were as unfortunate as they were regrettable. Australia need surely not have been placed in this invidious position. There was a time when this country had considerable influence at the General Assembly, particularly with the smaller nations, which comprise the majority of the member nations at this world forum. Our stocks have fallen considerably in the opinion of many countries that were formerly willing to accept Australia’s advice.
There is something wrong with our foreign policy. The Prime Minister’s statement leaves us guessing as to some aspects of the part he played in these recent world talks. First, he has not given us a satisfactory explanation concerning the reasons for his leaving this country with such urgency to attend the meeting. He came here one day and flatly denied that he had any intention of going to New York, but the very next day he declared that he had changed his mind and intended to proceed immediately to the General Assembly. He received some information from somewhere regarding the need for him to attend. I want to know who communicated with him and persuaded him to change his mind about attending the meeting.
I have a feeling that it was possibly the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who urged upon him the need to attend. As soon as the Australian Prime Minister reached New York, he went into a huddle with representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom. This appears from the statement of the Prime Minister himself. At those discussions interest evidently centred on methods of extricating some of the democratic powers from the embarrassing position in which they felt they had been placed, and it was apparently decided that the Australian Prime Minister might be a satisfactory person to propose an amendment in the General Assembly. What astounds me is that before such an amendment was put forward, evidently no canvass was made of the representatives of other nations to see how much support could be expected for the proposal. This shows inexcusable neglect on the part of the leader of the Australian delegation and also the professional officers of the Department of External Affairs, who should have made such a canvass and informed the Prime Minister as to the degree of support that he could expect. Neither the Prime Minister nor anybody else should have exposed this country to the ignominy attaching to such a crushing defeat of an important proposal submitted to this world forum.
Mr. Nehru has been spoken of this evening as having expressed very strong resentment against the Australian amendment, and in view of the attitude adopted by the Prime Minister himself in this matter, I feel that it might be appropriate to put on record what Mr. Nehru actually said about the situation. I have extracted some of his remarks from the report of the proceedings of the United Nations General Assembly on 5th October, 1960. Mr. Nehru had been speaking, and continued -
Nothing can bc worse than this Assembly arriving at a stage where it cannot move, and just delivers speeches about general problems. Therefore, it was with considerable surprise that I received the next day or the day after, this paper containing an amendment on behalf of Australia.
I read it with care. I found some difficulty in understanding it. I read it again. And the more I read it the more surprised I was that any member of this Assembly should have put this forward as an amendment.
I venture to place before this Assembly my reasons for this. I do not know the rules, perhaps, of this Assembly, but it is not an amendment. The Prime Minister in his speech made it quite clear that it is not an amendment, although it may be called so. Therefore it was not an amendment.
I have the greatest respect for the Prime Minister of Australia, more especially his keen mind and ability. I wondered if that keen mind had not tried to cover up, with a jumble of words, something which had no meaning at all or the wrong meaning. So I was particularly keen and anxious to listen to the Prime Minister of Australia in order that he might throw some light on this aspect of this question which I had failed to understand. And I listened in with great care. The more I listened the more confused I grew. And the more I listened the more I realised there is no substantive idea in this motion, but some idea of just dislike of what the five nation resolution had suggested.
Those are the words of Mr. Nehru, and they clearly indicate the strong feeling and concern of the Indian Prime Minister about the action of the Australian delegation in moving as it did by proposing the amendment.
As I have said, it seems to me to be incredible that some consultation had not taken place, particularly between members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, for we all realize how, in other situations, we have been prepared to talk over many of these matters in order to find some common unity in our purpose and our methods at assemblies like that of the United Nations. Therefore, I feel that the Prime Minister has done less than justice to this country in taking action as he did. It is time there were vital changes in the government of this country so that a Labour government could take charge of the treasury bench and bring back some sanity in the representation of Australia at gatherings like those of the United Nations. The present Chief Justice of New South Wales would never, when he was Minister for External Affairs, have exposed this country to the humiliation to which we have been subjected by the actions of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General at the United Nations General Assembly. In these circumstances, I feel that what happened calls for strong condemnation.
The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean) said this afternoon that there had been no general criticism of the Prime Minister and of the Australian dele gation over their attitude - that all the critcism was represented by just a few critical reports which had appeared in Australian newspapers. I have made a search of the English newspapers to-day, and I have found a good deal of criticism. The London “ Times “, in its issue of 6th October last, under the headlines, “ Australia clashes with India “ and “ Dissenting opinion on United Nations resolution “, stated -
A head-on clash of principle between the Prime Ministers of Australia and India enlivened the proceedings of the United Nations. “ The Prime Minister of Australia has done very little justice to himself in proposing his amendment and making his speech “, went on Mr. Nehru.
The newspaper actually quoted that comment by Mr. Nehru. Its issue of the following day - 7th October - carried in big black type the headline, “ Cold War Casualty at United Nations “, and stated -
Australia has also fallen victim of the cold war when her amendment moved yesterday by Mr. Menzies seeking to bring a meeting of the big four Powers at the earliest practicable date was summarily rejected by an overwhelming majority. The vote was five in favour, 54 against, 43 abstentions. Only Britain, Canada, France and the United States supported Australia in this forlorn venture.
The London “ Daily Herald “, in its issue of 7th October, 1960, under the headlines, “ Premiers in United Nations Storm “ and “ Angry Nehru attacks - and Menzies walks out “, carried a report in these terms -
Mr. Menzies, the Australian Premier, stormed out of the United Nations Assembly to-day after a blistering attack on him by Mr. Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister.
Mr. Menzies, shaking with anger, said: “ I can’t take this. Most certainly I will reply to this.”
The United Kingdom newspaper, the “ Guardian “, under the headlines, “ Menzies incurs wrath of Nehru “ and “ The Australian motion absurd “, in its column reviewing the proceedings at the General Assembly meeting, printed the following report: -
With a final snap of his jaw he asked the Assembly to pass the Five Power resolution, if not unanimously. He swept out stooping over, as he does, in his 71st year and leaving the American and Commonwealth delegates a little breathless at the sight and sound of a new, a trenchant Nehru full of scorn and rebellion and invigorating ill will.
Do Government supporters mean to tell me that reports of that kind which have appeared throughout the world will do anything to help to achieve added prestige and standing for Australia and to ensure good relations between it and other nations? The action which has given rise to these reports will be a source of tremendous discredit and prejudice to our good name in all the councils of the nations.
Finally, I come to the “ Daily Telegraph “, which, on 6th October last, carried on the front page in large black type the headline, “ Mr. Nehru and Mr. Menzies “, and printed this report -
The Indian Prime Minister said his Australian colleague, by moving an amendment to the resolution, was “ verging on absurdity “.
– Is that the London “ Daily Telegraph “?
– It is the London “ Daily Telegraph “. 1 have been quoting from the London newspapers. One could not go to a more independent source for an expression of world opinion on these matters than is constituted by the newspapers from which I have quoted. They have made their comments in very strong terms and have expressed severe criticism, as the quotations that I made have indicated. In these circumstances, Opposition members wish the world to know that the Opposition in this National Parliament is resentful of the views that have been expressed at the United Nations General Assembly in the name of Australia, because they do not represent the true feeling of the people of this country. The Prime Minister may speak for himself and the few who support him, but he has not spoken for Australia.
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- The Opposition seems to rely for its foreign policy entirely on press reports. Each Opposition member who has spoken has quoted from newspaper articles. The Opposition also relied on newspaper reports for information about the Prime Minister’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly; but the first news to reach Australia was garbled. The Opposition thought that this was magnificent news to receive just before an important by-election. But it was thrown into a dilemma when fuller reports arrived and the true position was known.
The Opposition seeks to escape from its dilemma by moving an amendment here that the Prime Minister erred in failing to consult with other nations of the British Commonwealth. Why should he have consulted the other nations? Did Mr. Nehru and Dr. Nkrumah consult with members of the British Commonwealth before movin their resolution? They did not. Did the Prime Minister of Great Britain consult with other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations before making his speech? He did not. But the Opposition says that Australia should have consulted other nations, although at the same time some honorable members suggest that we should take an independent line. Labour wants us to consult other nations because it is caucus-ridden. Labour members must confer with caucus or their federal executive before they can do anything at all, and because of this, they do not want Australia to take a proper, independent line.
Let us consider whether the five-power resolution was a good one. Not one member of the Australian Labour Party has said full-bloodedly that this was a fine resolution. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) led up to it by saying obliquely that it would have had a chance of success if it were not for the action of our Prime Minister. He wanted to know why the resolution was embarrassing to the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and he showed considerable scepticism in his speech. Let us look at the resolution. The United States, on the eve of an election, was asked to agree to a meeting between its President and Mr. Khrushchev. Would that not mean that the United States would have to negotiate from weakness while Mr. Khrushchev negotiated from strength? Is that what the Opposition wanted? This five-power resolution contained a trap. If it were passed and either power refused to meet the other, it would carry all the odium of failure. The Leader of the Opposition knew that, because in his speech he said -
Had the resolution been carried, President Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev would have been forced to attend, and the one who refused to attend would have lost the propaganda struggle among the uncommitted powers and among all the democratic powers.
The Leader of the Opposition knew it was a trap, yet he moved this amendment. He was followed by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser), one of the debating blades of the Opposition. I read through his speech and if ever there was a jumble of words, it was in this speech. The honorable member spoke of sincerity, but let us look at the persons who moved the fivepower resolution. Tito, a Communist, has no minority and no opposition in his country. Is he a man of sincerity? Indonesia, which is in conflict with the Netherlands, refuses to abide by arbitration or to go before the International Court of Justice. Is that sincerity? Nasser has refused to meet Ben Gurion and attempt to settle differences in the Middle East. Is that sincerity? Nehru is in conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir, and there is no opposition in Ghana. Are these the people with sincerity? Honorable members will recall that on another occasion Cuba move a resolution attacking Great Britain during the Suez incident.
We were chided several times about our attitude to a Summit conference. At the outset we said that such a conference was not right, but the Opposition continually harped about a Summit conference. What happened? Were we right or wrong? Did the Summit conference take place? Of course it did not! It would never have taken place while the Western nations were united. But what happened? Russia found to its horror that its policies were wrong and it defeated any prospect of a Summit conference, using the U2 incident as an excuse. But it did not convince the world that this was a sufficient reason for breaking up a four-power conference.
The amendment moved at the United Nations by the Prime Minister had every reason to succeed. It removed the faults of a bad resolution. The reaction to his amendment was a jumble of words. As the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has said, no one can accuse the Prime Minister of lack of lucidity. His speech was a clear and logical exposition of what he thought and of what Australia thought. I am quite confident that that is so. The jumble of words shows that Nehru himself was not confident of the result of his resolution.
The greatest danger in the resolution was that it divided the United States and Russia from the rest of the world. The implication was that only those two countries were concerned. That is not true, and it is a dangerous implication. America has on its side all the free countries of the world. To try to divide them is definitely to defer to the Communist aim to divide the world. Khrushchev’s purpose in going to the United Nations is quite clear. He wanted to exert influence on the new nations. He used bullying tactics as old as Adam and used the free world’s media of information for his purpose. Some people think that he was play acting. He was not, and he was not clowning. He was aiming at a very definite and sinister purpose. What would have happened if only his speeches at the United Nations were reported? He would have fallen as flat as a pancake! But by using the free press he provided himself with an unparalleled opportunity to expose himself to the full gaze of the world. He used the press to publicize himself and to threaten so that he would make the fearful frightened, and then show himself as an amiable, kindly, easily managed peasant. His purpose was to put himself in a position where he could exert powerful influence on a fearful public. The press and television provided him with all the media of information that he needed. What would have happened if he had not been given these resources and if his balcony interviews and other devices had passed unnoticed? He would not have achieved anything.
Do honorable members think that the Russians would have made similar facilities available to Mr. Macmillan, President Eisenhower or our Prime Minister if they had visited Russia? Russian television and press services would not have given them the complete coverage that the American television and press services gave to Mr. Khrushchev. He would not have allowed his nation to feel the impact of visits by these important persons. But we of the free world must always carry the burden. At one moment Khrushchev is regarded as a dangerous lunatic. He shows himself on television as a lunatic with the completely insane recklessness to start a nuclear war; but the next moment he is amiable. He shows the dangers that are being threatened and uses the world as a stage. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that if the United States and Russia were in agreement there could be no possibility of war. The implication there is that both sides are guilty. I do not think there is one person in this chamber who does not appreciate the fact that the whole of the fear and tension in the world to-day emanates solely from Russia’s attitude. Immediately after the Second World War, America began to disarm. Did Russia disarm after the Second World War? Of course not. It was not until after the Korean War that America began to rearm. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition implied that both the United States and Russia are at fault, whereas the nigger in the woodpile is Russia alone.
Why is it that Russia must have this tension? Why is it that Russia must create all this trouble? The reason must surely be obvious. It is that Russia knows that no Communist nation can live in a free world. Does any honorable member think that the governments of Russia, China, East Germany and Poland would allow the impact of a free press and a free society on their people? For how long do honorable members suggest Communist governments would live under those conditions? They just cannot live in a free world. Those who think that we can negotiate with Russia, that we can co-exist, are in for a great deal of sorrow later. To my mind, the only hope we have is that forces inside the Communist world will ultimately break away. Until that time comes, I cannot see how it is possible for any Communist country, or any socialist country for that matter, to live in a free world.
I should like to know from honorable members opposite just what the Labour Party’s foreign policy is. During this debate, it has become more and more evident that the Labour Party has no foreign policy. The Labour Party suggests that the Government is too interested in the conflict with Europe. Let us examine the position. America is the leader of the Western world in Europe, but America is also the Pacific power. Honorable members opposite accuse us of not having the sense to take an interest in the Pacific, but they ignore the fact that America is the great Pacific power. I ask the Opposition, through you, Mr.
Deputy Speaker: What is the one great power which is restraining the vast hordes of red China from overrunning the whole of Asia? It is America. Move the American shield from the Pacific, and the whole of Asia will be overrun. Those who do not realize that fact are not watching the position carefully.
The Labour Party’s lack of foreign policy was made evident during the recent debate on the Estimates. During that debate, honorable members asked that the defence vote be reduced and that we rely upon the United Nations for our security. Do not let it be thought that members of the Labour Party do not realize the dangers confronting us in the Pacific. They do realize them, because, during his speech last week, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) said -
We ought to offend nobody because we are a very weak nation. In truth, we have a very big country to defend. We can be strong in our principles, but we should not go out of our way to offend people, as the Treasurer did.
We are a very weak nation, and the one power which protects us from annihilation, the one power which ensures our survival is our great friend, the United States of America. I repeat that the Labour Party has no foreign policy, and I am rather anxious to know whether that party holds itself out as the counterpart of that section of the Labour Party in England which held a very shameful conference at Scarborough which advocated unilateral banning of the atomic deterrent. The only thing that is preventing war to-day is the atomic deterrent, yet the Labour Party in England is divided on that question. The Parliamentary Labour Party believes that England should have nuclear weapons whilst the Scarborough conference of trade unions voted against the deterrent and asked for unilateral disarmament. Of course, in a democracy we enjoy freedom of speech.
Last year, I mentioned the serious effects of statements by such people as Bertrand Russell and Arnold Toynbee. I said that these men have powerful minds, and, wittingly or unwittingly, could destroy our will to survive. I was taken to task by a columnist in an article headed, “Behind the Headlines “, for criticizing these powerful people. Honorable members might have heard in the news that was broadcast to-day that Bertrand Russell had to withdraw from the campaign against the nuclear weapon because he advocated a civil disobedience campaign. Such people as these can win for the Communists success which the Communists could never hope to achieve by relying solely upon their own policies. They will never break our will to survive, and I am wondering whether honorable members opposite agree with the view of Bertrand Russell that we, a free people, should succumb to communism. It is time people looked at these problems seriously.
It has been suggested that the Prime Minister lost prestige over the Suez crisis. I ask members of the Labour Party to recall the Prime Minister’s interview with Nasser, [f they do they will remember that the ground was cut from under him by the United States Secretary for State during the presidential elections in September, 1 956. It has been suggested that both Great Britain and France made a mistake in occupying the Suez Canal. I ask honorable members to think over that claim for a moment. I remind them that the Egyptian field army had been thoroughly defeated, and there was nothing to prevent the invasion forces of Israel from invading the sacred towns of Egypt. Do members of the Labour Party believe that such a happening would not have started a world war? If they do not think it would have led to a world war, they are very foolish people. Had that happened, the whole Arab world would have been inflamed. Yet our Prime Minister was accused of failure at that time. He succeeded then, and he has succeeded in this instance. Unlike the Opposition, I believe that we have been very successful overseas.
It has been suggested that our foreign policy in Asia is failing. At no time in our history has Australia’s prestige been so high in Asia; yet the Deputy Leader of the Opposition says we are failing. He suggests that we should strike an independent line in Asia. He seems to forget that the amendment proposed by his leader suggests that we should consult with the other members of the Commonwealth. One moment the Labour Party says we should strike an independent line and the next moment it contradicts that by suggesting that we should consult with the other members of the Commonwealth. Ever since the late Mr.
Chifley died, we have had constant differences of opinion among members of the Opposition. The Opposition has no policy. It is completely divided from head to foot.
The honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin) spoke about the need for voicing Labour’s foreign policy as that of Australia in the capitals of the world. I believe that the present Government has a first-class foreign policy. I believe that Australia has the respect of the world. She certainly has the respect of the Asiatic world, and I am confident that the Prime Minister speaks with the voice of Australia in connexion with foreign affairs.
.- This evening the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), who was our representative at the United Nations, came into this House and endeavoured to convince us all that this matter we are debating is of no importance at all. He said that it is just a minor tiff which will soon be forgotten, but I remind the House that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) took an hour and a half to try to answer this minor matter. He made the longest speech that he has made in this House since his speech on the Communist Party Dissolution Bill in 1951. If the Attorney-General was right, and if this is a minor matter of no importance, why did the Prime Minister make his longest speech for nearly ten years to try to answer it? Why was it that the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) came into the debate after him, and then the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), the Attorney-General and two other Ministers? Why has this debate been going on continuously until this late hour? Why is it that the press throughout this country, three weeks after the incident occurred at the United Nations on 5th October, is still giving wide publicity to it?
We know that on that date the Prime Minister moved an amendment in the United Nations which received only five votes. Forty-five voted against it and 43 abstained from voting. This was the first time on which the neutral nations were all lined up against the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Australia. That was the first time that they were lined up in that way and it took the Prime
Minister of Australia to produce that situation. The amendment was described by the Prime Minister of India as superficial and verging on absurdity. He said that it dealt in trivial fashion with a question of vital importance to the world. The Prime Minister of Ghana described it as heaping tension upon tension.
As 1 have said, newspapers all over Australia which normally support the Government and the Prime Minister have, with one or two exceptions, been critical of what the Prime Minister tried to do at the United Nations. As the honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin) told us a little while ago, newspapers in London took the same view, and newspapers in the United States, including the “ New York Times “ and the “ Washington Post “ have been altogether critical of the position taken by the Prime Minister. The significance of this is not that newspapers have made this criticism but that these are newspapers which invariably support this Government, and they have criticized the Government on this occasion. They have done so because there was something seriously wrong with the position taken up by the Prime Minister at the United Nations.
So it was necessary for the Opposition to move an amendment to the motion that the paper be printed, seeking the deletion of all words after “ that “ and the insertion of the following words: -
The Prime Minister erred in not conferring with all Commonwealth countries before moving his amendment to Mr. Nehru’s motion, failed to serve the interests of Australia and the cause of world peace, provoked a public disagreement among Commonwealth countries and compromised Australia with the new members of the United Nations.
It has been agreed that the Prime Minister did not confer with the Commonwealth countries. That has been excused on the ground that he did not have time and that he could not do so, so that part of the Opposition’s amendment has been accepted by the Government as true. It has been agreed that this action was followed by a public disagreement among Commonwealth countries. There can be no dispute about that. The statements have been quoted and public disagreement has been proved, but it was said that it was not his fault. I submit that it was his fault because he misunderstood completely the five-power resolution. He took it to be a resolution for a Summit conference of two. He took it to be a resolution deliberately designed to exclude the United Kingdom and France. To prove that, I quote a passage from his own roneoed speech. He said -
Is Great Britain, a nation with such a magnificent contribution in our own time to freedom and self-government, to be omitted from Summit talks? Is France, whose place in the history - indeed, the revolutionary history - of individual liberty, is clear, to be omitted?
To be omitted from what? From Summit talks. That is what he took this resolution of Mr. Nehru to mean in the first place. In the second place, he took it as a resolution to exclude the United Kingdom and France from Summit talks. That is what Mr. Nehru himself pointed out. Mr. Nehru said, referring to the Prime Minister -
I beg him to read the resolution again and again, because he has failed to understand it. It does not necessarily suggest a conference or a meeting. It suggests a renewal of contacts. Not one is pushing out anybody or suggesting it. When we suggest that these two distinguished heads of great States should renew contacts, it was not with an idea that they should discuss the affairs of the world and finalise them. It represented a strong desire, a passionate desire, to get things moving. It did represent that this Assembly should not sit by helplessly, watching paralysed, as if it could not act.
Did anybody want the Assembly to be left in that position? Surely no one with any sense of responsibility would. Therefore, it is clear that this was not a resolution for a Summit conference and it was not a resolution to exclude the United Kingdom and France. It was a resolution, as has been clearly pointed out, in its own words and in the debate upon it, to get something done as a preliminary to a Summit conference. That is the very thing that this Prime Minister of ours has advocated time after time in this House: Get something done in a preliminary sense, bring people together before you have a Summit conference. Here was a glorious opportunity to bring somebody together and he moved an amendment to sabotage it, the very thing he has advocated here time and time again. What they wanted was the kind of thing that happened at Camp David and had good results. It is said that Eisenhower and Khrushchev did not want it. Had the Assembly passed that resolution, Eisenhower and Khrushchev would have been able to find a way around their objections. It would have been possible for them, if the United Nations General Assembly accepted the resolution, to say, “We will put aside our concern with the U2 and RB47 incidents and come together as a preliminary to further developments “. It could have happened despite the objections of Eisenhower and Khrushchev.
Is it not a poor thing for this Government to justify itself in not supporting the resolution by saying that Khrushchev did not want it? As soon as the Prime Minister had succeeded in having this resolution not carried by a sufficient majority, as soon as he had stopped the meeting of Eisenhower and Khrushchev, he went outside and met Khrushchev himself. If it was wrong for Eisenhower to meet Khrushchev, why was it right for Menzies to do so? The sincerity of the position taken up by the right honorable gentleman can be tested by that incident alone. Had it not been for this amendment, this engineered amendment of the right honorable gentleman, it is quite likely that the five-power resolution would have been carried by a sufficient majority, because I remind the people concerned that this resolution of Mr. Nehru was carried by a majority of 41 to 37, but it was not carried by a sufficient majority.
– It was withdrawn.
– It was not withdrawn. It was carried by a majority of 41 to 37. If the Minister for the Interior would make a speech instead of interjecting, he could deal with that point. Surely the Prime Minister could have found out what this position was. Instead of finding out, he took sides. He became a provocateur, an agitator in the cold war. He placed the blame for the collapse of the Paris Summit conference on one party alone. He brought in an amendment which quoted the statement made by three of the parties at that conference that the blame for the failure of the conference was alone upon Khrushchev. By his amendment, he asked the United Nations to endorse the interpretation of the United States, the United Kingdom and France of the failure of the Paris Summit conference. So, was it any wonder that the Prin e Minister of India said that the am endm :nt had a tinge of the cold war about it, and went on to say -
It is ne essary that these matters be discussed quietly, no always making speeches at each other
. charge and counter charge, accusation and counter accusation. We have had plenty of them and perhaps we shall go on having them. But the fact remains that if we are to deal with serious questions it is not by accusing each other or by bringing counter accusation in reply.
But our Prime Minister did make speeches at his opponents, and the Attorney-General is proud of him because of those words that he used, this battle of words in which he engages, having refused to take part in any other sort. His role was that of an agitator in the cold war, and nothing better. Our Prime Minister has never done anything to reduce tension in the world; he has increased it. This adventure of his at the United Nations was no exception to that role. I remind the House that this fighting Prime Minister in the cold war, this man who will not compromise but who is continuously meeting his opponents with charges and counter-charges, comes in strange contrast now to the position he took a few years ago. I will quote what he said on 24th October, 1938. He said -
I repeat what I said when I came back from England - it is imperative that we should get to understand the German point of view and so help to destroy the German delusion that democratic countries do not understand her and have no sympathy with any of her ambitions. I know that when any public man offers the opinion that the German point of view ought to be studied and understood, some fathead will accuse him of being a Nazi or a Fascist.
When any one says, to-day, that the Russian or Chinese point of view ought to be studied some fathead will call him a Communist or say he is “ always on the side of his country’s enemies “. And this fathead that we have for a Prime Minister has several times said that.
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it. The Prime Minister has called people Communists for saying the same things to-day, but he decided to call people who said it then, fatheads. I think it is a fathead who refuses to consider the Russian and Chinese points of view and who does nothing but continue with these charges and counter-charges and these accusations.
This is what the Prime Minister did at the United Nations on 5th October. It is in strange contrast with what he said on 1st November, 1939. On that occasion he said -
We should be grateful to people like you-
He was speaking of the Consul-General for Japan, Akyama - who think it more clever and useful to seize upon those things on which friendships are founded and to build1 up those things which bring nations together rather than those things which drive them apart.
– Who said that?
– The Prime Minister of Australia said that on 1st November, 1939. He was willing to appeal to us to build up on those things which bring nations together rather than those things which drive them apart, when Japan was only a little more than two years from Pearl Harbour, but not now. What is he prepared to do now? He is prepared to lay stress altogether upon things which divide us and keep us apart and is willing to ignore those things which could bring us together. After long agitation he finally became an advocate of a Summit conference, which presumably he still is. The reason for the five-power resolution was put by the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru, who said -
If nothing is done now to arrest this process of deterioration then it can become more difficult even at a later stage to have these talks.
The Indian Prime Minister realized that unless something is done to relieve these tensions and stop this continuous emphasis upon the things which divide us, it will become more and more difficult in the future to come to any satisfactory agreement, or even to have talks about it. But the Prime Minister did nothing at the United Nations to arrest this process of deterioration. Instead he entered into charges and counter-charges, which conduct Mr. Nehru answered in this way -
But the fact remains that if we are to deal with serious^ questions it is not by accusing each other or by bringing counter accusations in reply.
I submit that the Opposition’s amendment has been justified. It says that the Prime Minister did not confer with the Commonwealth leaders and that in not doing so he erred. There is no evidence that he even spoke to any of the Commonwealth leaders, except the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, before he moved this amendment. It would have been possible for him to discuss the matter with several of them; and the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) says that the Prime Minister failed to serve the interests of Australia. Mr. Nehru was supported by all the Commonwealth leaders-
– Whom did he consult?
– He consulted with the Commonwealth leaders and was supported by all of them except the leaders of Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. That is the position. Our Prime Minister, I find, did not consult with any of them and was supported by only two of them. The evidence is that he provoked disagreement among the Commonwealth countries. The evidence that that was the case has piled high during the course of this debate. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition says, finally, that the Prime Minister’s amendment at the United Nations Assembly compromised Australia with the new countries of the United Nations. I submit that this was so because he misunderstood completely what the five-power motion proposed. It did not seek a Summit conference or to exclude the United Kingdom or France. It sought to bring together the leaders who were there in New York. You could not bring General de Gaulle together with any one there because he was not in New York. The motion sought to bring together the leaders of the United States and Soviet Russia to have preliminary discussions which would contribute to the holding of a Summit conference next year.
Instead of doing that the Prime Minister took up the method of the cold war - charge and counter-charge - and continued it, just as he does in this House. He showed no desire whatever to reach agreement with the new nations of the world or even to discuss matters with them. Why not? He did not show any desire to do that for the same reason that he showed no desire to do anything else but oppose President Nasser with regard to the Suez Canal. He showed no such desire for the same reason as he had shown no desire to dissociate himself from South Africa’s apartheid policy, because he is in the tradition of the imperialists. He inherits the mantle of nineteenth and twentieth century imperialism which continually looked down on the coloured nations of the world. He refused to look at the position from the Australian tradition so that we could speak to these pepole without faults in our own structure. That is the position the right honorable gentleman takes up in all his negotiations. Speaking at Griffith last night he said that if he was to concern himself with discussions with these neutral nations and curry favour with them instead of associating himself with those nations which could come to our defence in times of difficulty, he would be responsible. The position is that he sees the world situation only as a place where he, personally, can gain the spotlight and where he, personally, can negotiate with nations of great power. He assumes a situation from which war might come and does nothing to take up a position whereby negotiations with the nations of the world which have moral force behind them might lead to war being prevented.
Because the neutral nations have no atomic bombs and no power, they have no place in the right honorable gentleman’s preferences. He wants to deal only with the great nations and the great leaders who, he believes, can place him in the spotlight on the world’s stage and who, after he is successful in one of the series of international jobs they have given him to do - like Suez and like this one - might give him some appointment that will give him greater prestige and authority than the appointment he has at the present time. This has been his ambition for a number of years. There is nothing he can achieve in Australia which he has not already achieved. He wants something more important, and he can get that only through the agencies of the United Nations and the United Kingdom and by serving their purposes as he tried to do in the Suez Canal incident. And upon this occasion he hopes he will be suitably rewarded. I think the case against the Prime Minister was completed by his own statement last night at Griffith when he said -
I know I am in bad favour. I did not interpret the Australian opinion.
I think that throughout this debate that fact has been clearly demonstrated.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Pearce) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 13
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– As honorable members know, the motion before them is a form of the House that is used when it is desired to discuss the subject-matter of the paper in question. I submit that, as the ministerial statement we have been discussing is printed in “ Hansard “ and has been widely circulated, it would be a needless expense to print it now as a parliamentary paper. Accordingly, I ask for leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion - by leave - withdrawn.
House adjourned at 11.7 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Imports of outboard marine engines have been -
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 to 6. The export of iron ore from Australia is prohibited under the provisions of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations. Whilst the embargo continues the Commonwealth will not approve individual proposals for the export of iron ore.
m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 October 1960, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1960/19601025_reps_23_hor29/>.