8th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator BOLTON brought up the final report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts on the War Service Homes Commission.
Co-operation of States.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether any agreement has yet been entered into between the Commonwealth Government and the New South Wales Government with regard to immigration. If so, what, briefly, are its terms; and, if not, what is delaying such an agreement being brought into effect?
– The’ position is that negotiations have been, inaugurated and some progress has been made with them; but, so far as I know at the present moment’, finality has not yet been reached.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate: Is it the intention of the Government to spend large sums of money at Canberra, whilst the compact with our returned soldiers to provide- them with homes has not been completed,- on account of want of funds? .
– The policy of the Government. as it affects, both Canberra and the returned soldiers has bena, I think, sufficiently indicated in the ‘GovernorGeneral’s Speech.
– Following up the answer to my question, I ask the Minister for Repatriation if it is- not a fact that War’ Service Homes are being held . Up. on account of lack of funds ?
– It would npt be correct to say that the absence of funds is. the cause of the delay. The building of War Service Homes is delayed pending the re-organization of the Department and the reconsideration of the policy to be determined.
– I ask the Minister, further, to indicate when the delay is likely to be overcome?
– I placed on the table of the Senate yesterday agreements with two of the State Governments, which I presume are even now being given effect to, under which the State authorities will erect the homes in their respective States. Some of the State Governments have declined the work, and it will therefore be necessary for the Department itself to undertake the work in their States.
-I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs if the Government have by regulation or otherwise imposed any charge for inspection on the export of fruit. If not, do the Government intend to impose any such charge, and, if so, when?
– I can inform the honorable senator that no such charge has yet been imposed for the inspection, I presume he means, of fresh fruits for export. The Government have not considered the question, so far.
The following papers were presented : -
Defence Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 97, 98, 99, 100.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives intimating that that House had appointed Mr. Makin a member of the Public Accounts Committee in the place of Mr. Charlton, discharged from attendance.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
How many officers were employed in the Federal Taxation Office in South Australiafor year ended 30th June,1922 -
Thetotal amount paid in salaries and wages in thatoffice for the same year?
– The information asked for is being obtained, and will be furnished as soonas possible.
Communications with State Governments.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Expenditure of Votes
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The answers are-
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Nationality Act 1920.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– I move-
That this Senate approves the Treaty between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, and Japan relating to their insular Possessions and insular Dominions in the Pacific Ocean, signed at Washington on 13th December, 1921, the declaration signed on that date accompanying that Treaty, and the Treaty between those Powers supplementary to that Treaty signed at Washington on 6th February, 1922.
I desire to ask the permission of the Senate, through you, sir, to be permitted to make my speech on all the motions in moving the adoption of the one I have just moved, as they are all related, and it will, no doubt, convenience honorable senators if we have a debate on the first which would obviate the necessity of repeating our remarks later.
It is an indication of the enhanced status of Australia as one of the nations that make up the British Empire that this Senate, as on a previous occasion when we dealt with the Versailles Treaty, is called upon to express its views concerning the ratification of these Treaties. It is an indication that the Commonwealth, as a result of the Great War and the part we played in it, has taken upon itself immense responsibilities, and it marks a very important advance in our growth as a nation. This is only the second occasion upon which this Parliament has been asked to ratify such Treaties. On the first occasion we were asked to ratify a Treaty in which terms were dictated by the victors to the vanquished. When we remember all the chaos and trouble that have ensued, and are still present throughout the world, in consequence ofthe Great War, and which that Treaty, so far, has failed to eliminate, it is an omen of great promise that we are now asked to ratify Treaties which make the greatest step towards peaceful relation between the nations which has ever been made. There were many who during the progress of the Great War honestly believed that it was a war to end war; but there are many who must have looked upon the world with feelings of misgiving when they saw the turmoil and chaos that have since ensued, and must have almost despaired of the future of civilization and humanity. The achievements of the Washington Conference and the Treatiesarrived at, are, I think, the first ray of sunshine that this troubled world has seen since 1914. When we remember the atmosphere in which the Conference at Washington assembled, and take our minds back to the feelings and prognostications which prevailed during 1921, it seems difficult now to realize that the nations which emerged from the terrible blood bath of 1914-1918 were already not only contemplating the possibility of another Great War, but were even speculating as to the date upon which an outbreak would, occur. Perhaps not so much in the journals or press of the Commonwealth, but certainly in those of the United States of America and Japan, war was being referred to and foretold, and those two nations in particular were obsessed with the possibility of war, and were feverishly making preparations for an outbreak. These Conferences - there were two - it. must be remembered, met in that atmosphere, and in the country whichhad been for the whole of that year seriously discussing and preparing for that eventuality. The Conferences dealt with two separate sets of subjects. One, the possible cause of war, and the other the means of making war, and I believe it is no idle boast to saythat they dealt effectively with each of them. There is another outstanding difference between these Treaties and that of Versailles. The latter laid upon the vanquished the penalties of defeat; but these Conferences at Washington called upon every nation that participated, with the possible exception of one, to make sacrifices, to give up some position of advantage, some means by which it could score at the expense of the others. If we look up the long roll of International Conferences, with the possible exception of the meetings of the League of Nations, it will be found that this is practically the only occasion in history when nations met together and each made a very important sacrifice in the general cause of peace, and for the welfare of humanity. If that can be substantiated - and I think it can - we should join heartily in unanimously ratifying these Treaties.
The Conferences dealt with two separate sets of questions. One of these was the limitation of armaments, and this was dealt with by a Conference at, which five Powers’, Great Britain, the United States of America, France, Japan, and Italy, were represented. The second set referred to the Pacific and Far Eastern questions, and that Conference consisted of representatives of the five Powers I have named, and also of Belgium, China, Holland, and Portugal. I do not propose to speak at great length as to the details of the method of working at the Conferences, or the means by which the various delegations ‘arrived at and recorded their decisions in. the Committees, subCommittees, and general Conferences atthe plenary session, as I have already dealt fully with this aspect of the question in the report which I had the honour to submit to the right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr: Hughes) and which honorable senators have at their disposal. I would draw attention to one feature of these Conferences which I think, when applied as a test to what has been accomplished, is remarkable. I refer to the fact that every decision recorded, whether by resolution or as. the substance of Treaties, had to be absolutely unanimous. A single dissentient rendered it impossible for a Conference to record a resolution or to agree to a Treaty. It has to be remembered, too, that the nations which constituted the Conferences are the nations which have the greatest potential naval and. military power on this earth. When we pass in review the naval armaments of Great Britain, the United States of America, and Japan, it is seen that they rise above the armaments of all the other nations combined to such’ an extent as. practically to obliterate them from consideration. Whilst the military power of these nations may not dwarf comparison with the others, still, when one thinks of the military power of France, . Italy, and. Great Britain, and of the potential military power behind those nations, which they illustrated in such a striking degreeduring the Great War, and the potential military power of the United
States of America, it is no exaggeration to say that the nations which made up the Conferences are potentially the greatest naval and military Powers of the earth, and that an agreement arrived at by such Powers can practically dictate the conditions under which this world is to continue to carry on its government.
There were six Treaties drawn up and agreed to, and to these I wish to direct a few remarks. There were -
In addition to these there were two other Treaties, one of which, at any rate, was of first-class importance. We in Australia can hardly realize how big the Shantung question loomed in the United States of America. I did not realize it until I arrived there and became immersed in the atmosphere of the country.
– It was the imminence of the Chinese question that moved the United States of America to act.
– It had a great deal to do with the action taken. It is safe to say that to millions of people in the United States of America “ Shantung “ and “ war “ were synonymous terms; and, whilst the Washington Conference did not directly deal with Shantung, there is not the slightest doubt that it was the assembling of the Conference and the spirit it evoked that led the representatives of China to bring forward the question of Shantung, and later stimulated the action of Japan in meeting the representatives of China. Subsequently, through the good offices of Earl Balfour, on the part of Great Britain, and Mr. Hughes, on the part of the United States of America, an agreement was arrived at in regard to that province which was satisfactory to all parties.
Then there is a little island in the Pacific which, I suppose, not 1 per cent, of our population in Australia has ever heard of. I refer to the island of Yap, which, in itself, constituted a danger point in the relations between the United States of America and Japan, and might, at any time, have been the flash that would have exploded the powder magazine between those two countries
– Another war for material reasons.
– When the honorable senator says “ another war for material reasons,” let me tell him that, so far as the last war was concerned, this country did not go into it for material reasons, but for moral reasons.
– It began with material reasons.
– Not on the part of this country or this Empire. These two questions to which I have referred arose out of the Conference, and two Treaties were negotiated and signed by the representatives of the two countries directly concerned. These Treaties have removed those danger points, and Japan, to her credit, be it said, before the Treaty had been ratified either by the United States of America or Japan herself, had already taken the first steps towards the evacuation of that territory, and the fulfilment of the terms of the Treaty.
In addition to these Treaties there were twelve sets of resolutions dealing with such matters as rules for the conduct of war, and questions affecting China, to which these nations all subscribed, and which constitute obligations of honour entered into between them for their observation. All the resolutions deal with questions of the first importance, and at almost any other period prior to the war would have been the subject of Treaties. I do not hesitate to say that the nations that have subscribed to those resolutions regard them as morally binding to : the same extent as if they were. Treaties. In dealing with these Treaties I would like to say that we have accepted the responsibilities of a nation. We have hitherto been so obsessed and busy with our own affairs that we have had little time to lift our eyes to the wider horizon of international questions; but the very fact that this Parliament is now being called upon to ratify these Treaties shows the immensely important part that Australia will play in the future, when she will take a live and active interest in the wider scope of international politics. .It is because of that fact that I intend, even at the risk of wearying the Senate, to put forward, in some detail, an outline of the obligations that are laid upon us as a result of the Treaties. I feel that it is obligatory upon the people of Australia to devote more, attention to these questions- in the future. To that end I want to quote the Pacific_ Treaty, because, by quoting, it, I can give the substance of it much quicker than I can do in any other way. It is couched in simple language, which is plain and unmistakable in its meaning. It says -
The high contracting parties agree as between themselves to respect their rights in relation to . their insular Possessions and insular Dominions in the region of the Pacific Ocean. If there should develop between any of the high contracting parties a controversy arising out of any Pacific question, and involving their said rights, which is not satisfactorily settled by diplomacy and is likely to affect the harmonious accord now happily subsisting between them, they shall invite the other high contracting parties to a joint conference, to which the whole subject will be referred for consideration and adjustment.
If the said rights are threatened by the aggressive action of any other Power, the High Contracting Parties shall communicate with one another fully and frankly in order to -arrive at an understanding as to the most efficient measures to be taken, jointly or separately, to meet the exigencies of the particular situation.
This Treaty shall remain in force for *en years from the time it shall take effect, and after the expiration of ‘said period it shall continue to be in force subject to the right of any of the High Contracting Parties to terminate it upon twelve months’ notice.
The following declaration was made, and is part of the Treaty : -
In signing the Treaty this day between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, and Japan, it is declared to be the understanding and intent of the Signatory Powers :
That the Treaty shall apply to the Mandated Islands in the Pacific Ocean: provided, however, that the making of the Treaty shall not be deemed to be an assent on the part o1 the United States of America to the mandates and shall not preclude agreements between the United States of America and the Mandatory Powers respectively in relation to the Mandated Islands.
That the controversies to which the second paragraph of Article I. refers shall not be taken to embrace questions which according to principles of international law lie exclusively within the domestic jurisdiction of the respective Powers. i
Then there is a supplement to the Treaty in which the Powers declare that -
The term “ insular possessions and insular -dominions” used in the aforesaid Treaty shall, in its application to Japan, include only Karafuto (or the southern portion of the island of Sakhalin), Formosa, and the Pescadores, and the islands under the mandate of Japan.
The present agreement shall have the same force and effect as the said Treaty to which it is supplementary.
Those words constitute a declaration of friendship,’ mutual interest, mutual forbearance, and mutual consultation. There is another, important aspect of this question that should not be lightly regarded - the fact that the Treaty takes the place of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Whilst the Treaty does not constitute an alliance - and there was a sense in which the Anglo-Japanese Alliance was an offensive and defensive one - its place has been taken by a declaration of mutual friendship between not only Britain and Japan, but also the United States of America and’ France. I well remember, when the discussion was taking place in this Parliament on the question of the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, how from all parties the opinion was expressed that Britain should seek a friendly understanding with the United States of America. Well, it is there, embodied in that Treaty. We have achieved that end without in any way offending Japan’. That, I think, is of great value to Australia. As a nation, living on the shores of the Pacific, it is of immense value to have a mutual declaration of friendship and protection of the rights of the nations in the Pacific.
Now I come to the consideration of Treaty No. 3, relating to the limitation of naval armaments, and I wish to quote a statement giving its general effect. I have endeavoured, to epitomize this Treaty in the following way: -
Under the Treaty for the limitation of naval armament, provision is made for the immediate reduction of the capital ships of the United States, the British Empire, - and Japan to the following: -
This involves the “ scrapping “ or conversion to non-combatant purposes of sixty-four capital ships, of . a total tonnage of nearly 2,’000.00n tons. The H.M.A.S. Australia is to be scrapped, as there are in the British Navy a greater number of ships built since this vessel than the British quota agreed to at the Conference.
The Treaty also provides that in the future the quota of capital ships which each of the five great Naval Powers may have, shall not exceed the following: -
The Treaty, which will continue in force until 1936, and thereafter until terminated by two years’ notice, contains detailed provisions for replacement, which are based on the principle that no vessel may be replaced until it is twenty years old.
The Treaty provides for a ten-year naval holiday, and for the abandonment of all capital shipbuilding programmes. The contracting Powers have agreed not to build any capital ships exceeding 35,000 tons; these ships will not carry guns with a calibre in excess of 16 inches; other ships will not carry guns of a higher calibre than 8 inches.
The Treaty limits the number, tonnage, and armour of auxiliary surface combatant craft and airplane carriers to be maintained by each of the Naval Powers.
I have heard some criticisms in regard to the operation of this Treaty. It is said that the nations, in agreeing to it, made no . real sacrifice, and that it did not amount to effectively doing away with the means of making war. It is also stated that the day of the capital ship is past, and that air-craft will be superior.
– When we remember that the British Empire for centuries has enjoyed naval supremacy over all other nations, will anybody say that it meant no real sacrifice to Great Britain when she accepted, for the first time in her history, naval equality with another nation ? Did Great Britain give up nothing when she, the Empire that lives by sea power, agreed not to construct any new capital ships for a period of ten years, and to limit her naval construction in the way set out in this Treaty? Did it involve no real sacrifice to the United States of America, ? It is interesting to note that in the Act of Congress dated the 29th August, 1916, when the United States of America adopted by far the largest naval programme in her history, mention is made of a Conference to consider the question of the limitation of armament, and the President of the United States of America was authorized, in a proviso to the Act, to. call together representatives of the nations to consider this question. Within seven months of the passing of the Naval Act, America found itself involved in the Great War. Let us look at the position that arose as the result of the passing of that Naval Appropriation Act. The respective positions of the British and American battle fleets in 1923-24 are given in Bywater’s Sea Power in the Pacific, published in 1921. The decision reached at the Washington Conference is not, of course, taken into consideration in the compilation of these figures, which show the naval programme laid down for capital ships by the respective Governments. The British programme for capital ships of the First Class was thirteen ships; Second Class, fifteen ships; and Third Class, six ships. The programme of the United States of America for 1923-24, if completed, would have provided sixteen of these capital ships of the First Class, or three more than Great Britain; Second Class, eleven ships, or four more than Great Britain; and Third Class, six ships, or two less than Great Britain. We know, of course, that the battle of Jutland proved that in a first-class action between battleships it is only the biggest and best that count. These First Class ships comprise those armed with guns of 15-in. calibre and above; the Second Class, those ships armed with 13.5 or 14-in. calibre; and of the Third Class ships none carries guns of heavier calibre than 12 inches. It will be seen from these figures that in this race for naval armament the United States of America would, in 1923-24, have achieved supremacy. On paper, and taking the class of ships into consideration, she would then have had the most powerful battle fleet in the world. So much for those who would say that Great Britain or the United States of America made no real sacrifice.
I now come to the question of the value of a capital ship as compared with aircraft. In view of the statements which have been made as to the vulnerability of capital ships from attack by aircraft, and also the criticism which has come from some quarters in regard to the failure of the Washington Conference to complete an agreement for the limitation of aircraft, it is interesting to note the following extract from a statement on this subject made recently in the House of Commons by Mr. L. M. S. Amery, Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. He stated -
Every great naval Power was building capital ships, which the Government believed must still be regarded as the foundation of the fighting fleet.
During the recent manoeuvres of the British Fleet an experimental attack by aircraft was made on the Fleet. Statements appeared in the press in Great Britain to the effect that the aircraft registered a surprisingly large number of hits and would have escaped practically untouched if the attack had taken place in actual warfare. In view of these unauthorized and inaccurate reports, the British Admiralty found it necessary to issue the following official statement : -
I may interpolate here an illustration of the saving to Australia as a result of this Treaty. The battle cruiser Australia cost this country something like £2,000,000 to construct. She was, at the time of her construction, an up-to-date ship, able to takeher place in line of battle with battle cruisers.
– She paid for herself during the war.
– She did. Toconstruct an equivalent ship to-day which might occupy a corresponding position in the fleets of to-day, embodying as they do the experience of the war, would cost this country, not £2,000,000, but from £8,000,000 to £10,000,000. That estimate is arrived at by ascertaining the cost which the British Government estimate it will take to build what is called a superHood, contracts for which have been let, in accordance with the Treaty, because, owing to Japan retaining the battleship Mutsu, it was agreed that Great Britain should have the right to construct two super -Hoods. The estimated cost is not less than £8,000,000, and may probably reach £10,000,000 each. So that, if Australia were to-day to take action similar to that which we took when we ordered the construction of the Australia, that is the expenditure to which the Commonwealth would be committed.
Treaty No. 4 deals with the limitation of submarines and of poison gases. This Treaty has an interesting history. During the discussion of naval armaments, the British Empire Delegation, through Earl Balfour and Lord Lee, proposed the total abolition of the submarine. That did not find a single supporter at the Conference at the time. But, so powerful was the case put forward by these two representatives of Great Britain, and so strong was the appeal on the humanitarian side, that a tremendous storm of public opinion was aroused in the United States of America, whilst the Conference was sitting, backing up the British proposal. So strong was the feeling aroused by the rejection of that proposal, and so much alive were the people of America to the outrages committed by German submarines during the war that before the Conference had proceeded far after the submission of the British proposal, the American delegates themselves brought forward proposals with regard to submarines which had the effect of rendering them useless as ships of war. Let me read them -
Article I. The Signatory Powers declare that among the rules adopted by civilized nations for the protection of the lives of neutrals and non-combatants at sea in time of war the following are deemed an established part of International Law : -
A merchant vessel must bp ordered to submit to visit and search to determine its character before it can be seized.
A merchant vessel must not be attacked unless it refuses to submit to visit and search after warning or to proceed as directed after seizure.
A merchant vessel must not be destroyed unless the crew and passengers are first placed in safety.
Belligerent submarines . are not. under any circumstances exempt from the universal rules above stated; and if a submarine cannot capture a. merchant vessel in conformity with these rules the existing law of nations requires it to desist from attack and from seizure and to permit the merchant vessel to proceed unmolested.
Article II. The Signatory Powers invite all other civilized Powers to express their assent to the foregoing statement of established law so that there may be a clear public understanding throughout the world of . the standards of conduct by which the public opinion of the world is to pass judgment upon future belligerents.
Article III. The Signatory Powers desiring to insure the enforcement of the humane rules of existing law declared by them with respect to attacks upon and the seizure and destruction of merchant ships, further declare that any person in the service of any Power who shall violate any of those rules, whether or not such person is under orders of a governmental superior, shall be deemed to have violated the laws of war, and shall be liable to trial and punishment as if for an act of piracy, and may be brought to trial before the civil or military authorities of any Power within the jurisdiction of which he may be found.
Article IV. The Signatory Powers . recognise the practical impossibility of using submarines as commerce destroyers without violating, as they were violated in the recent war of 1914- 1918, the requirements universally accepted by civilized nations for the protection of the lives of neutrals andnoncombatants, and to the end that the prohibition of the use of submarines as commerce destroyers shall be universally accepted as part of the law of nations they now accept that prohibition as henceforth binding as between themselves, and they invite all other nations to adhere thereto.
The Treaty then goes on todeal with the use of asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases, and this is also condemned. I venture to say that although the British Delegation was not able to secure, directly, the abolition of the submarine, no nation that intends to abide by these rules and laws of war is going to build submarines in the future, because it is obvious that they can be of little or no use unless these laws are violated. It was put forward by Lord Lee, on the authority of the British Admiralty, that as an offensive weapon used against warships, the experience of the last war showed that the submarine is practically useless. Its use was principally, and almost wholly, against merchant ships.
I have been dealing so far principally with the action taken to .limit armament as a means of making war. A study of the Pacific and the international situation of 1921 showed that the greatest danger spot of the world was China. The Washington Conference recognised that. This danger has come about partly through the weakness of China and partly through the predatory action of other Powers following up the action of their nationals in. pursuit of trade or trade advantages.
– Will the Minister .name the predatory Powers referred to?
– I could do so, but it should be unnecessary. If the honorable senator has read history he must know them himself. I do not know that any Power is in the position to point the finger at others in this respect, because all have alike been guilty at one time or another of taking advantage of the weakness of China. Sometimes their action has been justified in the protection of their nationals. There is one historic case I have in mind, following on the action of Russia in seizing Port Arthur, and of Germany in seizing Kiauchow The British Government established themselves at Wei-hai-wei, at the invitation of China. Nevertheless the action of the British Government at Weihaiwei was an invasion of the sovereignty of China and of her rights as a nation. The expansion of trade with China, and the action necessary to protect trade and traders, led to national jealousies and the clashing of rival interests. In this matter I do not lay all the blame on the traders themselves or on the nations they represent. Some of the blame is due to China because of her weakness as a governmental entity. After all,’ when one comes to review the relations of nation with nation, internal weakness is a crime because it leads to international anarchy. There is always the right of a nation to protect its nationals, and as trade is opened up nationals, in pursuance of their just rights, proceed to trade with other countries. In pursuance of those just and lawful trade rights in China, nationals of other countries who went there were often exposed to danger as regards life and property through the weakness of the Government of China. # China has also been slow in adapting herself to what we <:all Western civilization. I have the greatest respect for the Chinese, and I do not wish it to be thought that’ I am speaking in a disparaging way of that great country, with its wonderful history and civilization. But even its greatest admirers must admit that it has been slow in adjusting itself to Western civilization, and as Western and Eastern civilizations have met and mingled, it became necessary even in the interests Of China herself, that she should adapt herself to the changing conditions. Internal dissension and civil war necessarily disturb a country and endanger the life, property and trade of the nation, and in pursuance of the policy of protecting their nationals, nations have invaded the sovereignty of China. This has brought about the danger of war, in the rivalry for trade concessions which were obtained from such authorities as could be recognised in China. These authorities, however, were very often self -constituted, and were acting without any real mandate from the central Government of Pekin, and in any case so bestowed concessions as to bring the nationals of various countries into conflict with each other. The history of the last hundred years of China has been one. of international jealousy, rivalry and clashing, and sooner or later such conditions were sure to lead to war. China is now showing symptoms of life, she is being given an opportunity to adjust herself to modern conditions, and a national conscience is now developing in China to an extent that has not hitherto been expected. China has always been a people, a race, but it cannot be said that China is a nation, although she is now in the. process of becoming one. The policy adopted at Washington in regard to China can be summed up in a few words, which in effect mean that the hands of other nations are to be kept off. The Chinese must be allowed to work out their own destiny, and nations or nationals for their own selfish purposes- must be prevented from using the weaknesses or disorders of China for their personal advantage. In the general Treaty relating to China, thePowers have expressed themselves first of” all in regard to the general principles., and secondly in regard to the details 8> give effect to these principles. These principles are set out in the following form : -
ArticleI. - The Contracting Powers, other than China, agree -
To respect the sovereignty, the independence, and the territorial and administrative integrity of China;
To provide the fullest and most unembarrassed opportunity to China to develop and maintain for herself an effective and stable Government;
To use their influence for the purpose of effectually establishing and maintaining the principle of equal opportunity for the commerce and industry of all nations throughout the territory of China; 4.To refrain from taking advantage of conditions in China in order to seek special rights or privileges which would abridge the rights of subjects or citizens of friendly States, and from countenancing action inimical to the security of such Sta tes.
The Powers have agreed to -
Article II. - The Contracting Powers agree not to enter into any treaty, agreement, arrangement, or understanding, either with one another, or individually or collectively, with any Power or Powers, which would infringe or impair the principles stated in Article I.
Article III. - With a view to applying more effectually the principle of the open door or equality of opportunity in China for the trade and industry of all nations, the Contracting Powers, other than China, agree that they will not seek, nor support their respective nationals in seeking-
It is understood that the foregoing stipulations of this Article are not to be so construed as to prohibit the acquisition of such properties or rights as may be necessary to the conduct of a particular commercial, industrial, or financial undertaking or to the encouragement of invention and research.
China undertakes to be guided by the principles stated in the foregoing stipulations of this Article in dealing with applications for economic rights and privileges from Governments and nationals of all foreign countries, whether parties to the present Treaty or not.
Article IV. - The Contracting Powers agree not to support any agreements by their respective nationals with each other designed to create spheres of influence or to provide for the enjoyment of mutually exclusive opportunities in designated parts of Chinese territory.
There is a similar provision in regard to railways. In the event of war, in which China is to be neutral, her rights as a neutral are to be recognised, and the nations will confer with each other should there be any violation of the Treaties. The motions supplemental to this provide the means by which this Treaty shall be made operative, and if (honorable senators will refer to them they will see that effective machinery has been provided by which China shall have the assistance of the other nations in protecting her rights, and such concessions as have already been granted shall be examined. Those which have been improperly obtained or have been improperly granted shall not in future be utilized by the nations or nationals so in possession of them. The sixth Treaty is in relation to Chinese revenue, and, in effect, provides an opportunity for a state of order and stable government being established in China. China is to receive back the right to control her revenue, and will receive an increase in revenue, although under the Treaty she has given up that right. Under the Treaty machinery is to be set up for determining the process by which that shall be arrived at.
I have given a general survey of the Treaties, and I would like, if time permitted, to deal more fully with the important issues involved in the subsequent motions. They are, however, before honorable senators, and I invite them to study them, as they are of momentous importance, and are framed in the spirit of the Treaties with which I have dealt.
It was a revelation to me at the Conference to note the skill, intelligence, and ability of the three Chinese representatives who put the case for their great country. In Mr. Alfred Sze, Mr. V. K. Wellington Koo, and Mr. Chief Justice Wang, China had representatives who did not compare at all unfavorably with the best of the representatives of other rations.
– The Chinese have always been noted for their diplomats.
– That is so. They submitted their case with skill, courage, and pertinacity, and deserve the commendation of their countrymen for the success they achieved at that memorable gathering.
One notable point I would like to mention is the fact that the Chinese representatives brought before the Conference the question of the Twenty-one Demands which had been forced upon them by Japan during the Great War. That was not a question that could properly be dealt with by the Conference, as it was not a body possessing jurisdiction to review Treaties entered into between the two nations. But the Conference willingly gave the Chinese delegates an opportunity to put their case, which they did very forcibly and very ably. The Japanese representatives at once took the point that the Conference was not competent to review that Treaty, because if it did the representatives of other nations had an equal right to demand that the Treaties of which they might complain should also be reviewed. It is satisfactory, however, to be able to report that before the Conference concluded, Baron Shidehara, on behalf of the Japanese Government and the Japanese Delegation, announced to the Conference that, in view of the attitude displayed by other delegates and the general desire for peaceful relations; Japan would practically abandon all rights conceded to her by the Chinese in what is known as the Twenty-one Demands, with two exceptions. That, if standing alone, would have been an achievement of which the Chinese delegates would have been very proud; but, together with the others, it was a most important declaration of policy on the part of Japan.
I mentioned at the outset of my speech Australia’s special interest in the Pacific. In addition to the limitation of naval armaments the Treaties provide for the maintenance of a status quo in regard to fortifications and naval bases in the Pacific, with the exception of those on the mainland of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. That has a very significant meaning to the Commonwealth, and T ask honorable senators to study a map of the Pacific, remembering that these two great, nations, the United States of America and Japan were preparing for war and spending millions in that direction. The conflict thought to be impending was to be a naval one, and honorable senators will see that the islands in the Pacific by which these nations were approaching each other for that deadly combat were closely involved. The naval experts told us that at the distance which separates America and Japan, taking the mainland in each case, it would be practically impossible to carry out naval warfare owing to the. limitation as regards fuel-carrying capacity on modern battleships. At such, a distance it would not have been possible for battleships of either nation to operate against each other from the mainland, and the naval strategists of these two nations were building their bases out in the Pacific. These bases were being established at Hawaii, Manilla, and Guam, and in this way the United States of America was approaching her rival. To meet that threat Japan commenced to extend her bases from the mainland down to the Pescadore and Bonin Islands. [Extension of time granted.] As a commencement had been made with the building of each of these naval bases, these two great naval Powers were approaching each other at an* angle, and the point of that angle would have been nearer to Australia than it would be to either of the contending countries. When these dread preparations had been completed, and if and when these nations had become locked in a deadly combat, the limitations placed upon their battle fleets by the fuelcarrying capacity of their ships, and considerations relating to the supply of munitions, would have caused the war ‘to have been fought nearer to our waters than to the waters of the contending nations. One of the lessons of the last great struggle in Europe related to the tremendous difficulty that neutral Powers had in keeping out of such a great maelstrom. In these terrible conflicts it becomes necessary for the parties, in providing themselves with munitions, to bring in the services, not only of their own nation, but of practically. the whole world. It is necessary to do this to keep battle fleets munitioned and supplied with fuel. Here in A us.tralia the country nearest whose shores the fighting would take place, we possess. the things that are necessary to enable fleets to fight. The very fact of that possession would be a danger to us as a neutral - a -danger that sooner or later we should be dragged “into the maelstrom. It is, therefore, of immense value to us that these nations have agreed that the build-: ing of these naval bases shall cease. They have agreed that as regards Guam, Manilla, the Pescadores, and the Bonin Islands, no further additions shall be made. Naval experts say - I make no statement myself - that it is impossible with the fleets limited as they are, and- with the provision relating to bases, for those two nations to make effective warfare by naval means, one against the other. That is the deliberate statement made by naval experts. Apart altogether from the’ terms of the Treaty that agreement aa to the status quo in fortifications and naval .bases does give to us an added security in addition to the safeguards provided in the Treaty itself. A consideration Of this question cannot be complete unless Australia looks at her interests not only in the Pacific, but also in what is called the Far-East. The Far- East is our far-North. We are of European race. Our fathers came from Europe; we have grown up to think as Europeans, and our. interests have been centered in that group of nations from which our stock has come. Whilst racially we are European, geographically we are Asiatic. Our own special immediate Australian interests are more nearly concerned with what is happening in China and Japan than with what is happening in. Belgium and Holland. War in the East, or the causes of war there, mean- infinitely more to us from our Australian point of view than anything that may happen in Belgium, Holland, Poland, or other countries farther removed. Can we disregard our interests with Canada and the United States of America? One of these nations is already a great Power, one of the greatest on earth, and the other, like ourselves, is a young country developing brawny muscle and a great and sturdy population with a progressive spirit. These are our neighbours across the Pacific. It is of interest to us to know that with these countries we shall have in the future, and have now, a friendly understanding. What better guarantee can there be for the peace of the world than a friendly understandings full and complete, between the two great English- speaking Empires of the world? Great Britain and the United States of America are nearer to each other, and understand each other better than they have done since the War of Independence. When I first went to Washington I felt that there was a spirit of distrust and hostility towards Great Britain. But I realized, as any honorable senators here to-day would have realized if they had been there, because we are trained by virtue of our public life to read public opinion, what a mighty change came over that people in the short space of twelve weeks. I say advisedly that at the conclusion of the Conference there was no nation with whom the United States of America were more friendly than with the British Empire and the British people. No nation stood higher in the estimation of the people of the United States of America. I «do not say that the Conference1 was solely responsible for that. I know that another great factor, which happily took place at the same time, had an effect, namely, the bringing forward of the Irish Treaty. These two great nations have brought themselves to a complete and common understanding, and it will take a very great wrench ever to part them again.
Naturally in Australia, because of our paucity of population and the richness of our country, we have been nervous about Japan. I frankly confess that I went to the Conference as one who suspected Japan and her intentions in regard to the Pacific. I think that suspicion had some grounds. I think it has been the policy of Japan to look out over the Pacific, perhaps quite legitimately; but while the Conference was proceeding the statesmen of Japan realized that the fate that overcame Germany - her moral isolation from the rest of the world - was a fate that Japan must, at all costs, avoid. I believe that the present policy of Japan - the policy that she put into practical effect at the Conference, and which her representatives displayed in’ every word and action - aims at avoiding that moral isolation at all costs. Japan was not the slowest to back up the efforts to secure peace. She gave practical hostages as to her intentions. Japan occupied such a position in China, in Shantung, in Siberia, and in Sakhalin as would have required a tremendous war to have ousted her, but she has voluntarily retired. She has ratified, the
Treaties and, more than that, she has already taken practical steps to give effect to the Treaties before they have been ratified by the other nations. We must accept those actions as speaking louder than words. Personally, I believe 1 that Japan is peaceful. She realizes that she has certain geographical advantages that place her in a position that will enable her peacefully, without invasion of the rights of China, to develop her manufactures to such an extent as will provide for her tremendous peculation. Baron Kato, who was the head of the Japanese Delegation - a skilful and able diplomat and statesman - is to-day the Prime Minister of Japan. He took the responsibility for most of the great decisions that Japan gave at the Conference. He conducted the negotiations in regard to Shantung. It is noteworthy that on his accession to the position of Prime Minister one of his first public statements was that his policy would be to be loyal and true to the principles laid down at the Washington Conference. , It is a great source of satisfaction for us in Australia to know that this powerful neighbour should desire to turn away from military aggression and the policy of force and to tread the path of peace. That she has done it is evidenced by the practical steps and sacrifices she has made since the Washington Conference. While, as I said recently, I suspected Japan, I believe now that Japan is earnest and sincere, and that the course which her statesmen took at Washington, and which her Prime Minister has announced she intends to pursue, is actually the policy which she now proposes to follow.
The Anglo-Japanese Alliance was subject to some criticism) but I took the opportunity in Washington to say publicly that, so far as Australia was concerned, Japan had played the game with us under the terms of the Alliance. I said that when a man treated an Australian fairly, we believed in treating him in the same way, and that we would not be the first to turn our backs’ on the Alliance. Japan, having played the game with us, and the Alliance having suited our purpose, I said that we would not be the leaders in throwing it overboard. I am glad that the Conference and the decisions arrived at there have provided an opportunity to merge that Alliance into a Treaty which, whilst it is not an alliance, nevertheless gives us an opportunity of extending the hand of friend ship to Japan along with the other nations who are parties to it. Will the Treaties stand? The United States of America, for the first time in its history, has by a large majority ratified these Treaties. We in Australia cannot realize what a departure from American precedent that is. I found that it was an obsession with the people of that country that they -must stand by the declaration of Washington; that they must keep themselves aloof from all’ the other nations of the earth. The Treaties are a revelation of what this war has done in teaching the people of the United States, of America that, just as no man can live to himself, so no nation can live to itself. Japan has ratified the Treaties, and is already taking steps to give effect to them. I have no doubt that the British Empire will do so, and it remains for France, Italy, and the other Powers to do likewise.
I submit this motion with considerable pride in the fact that the country of my birth gave me the opportunity to represent it at this great Conference, but I have a greater pride still in the belief that this is the first definite step towards peace. Our country needs peace in order that we may develop and utilize our vast continent. We should bend all our energies to that, and we certainly have breathing space in which to do it. We must not forget that weakness is a danger in itself, because ‘it often invites trouble and attack. There is not the slightest doubt that the ratification of these Treaties will enable us to devote our energies to the arts of peace and development to a greater extent than heretofore. Had it not been for these Treaties, one is appalled to contemplate what Australia would have had to take on its shoulders in the way of naval and military defence. I am proud to have taken part in the Conference, and I invite the Senate unanimously to ratify the Treaties.
– I congratulate the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) on bringing before us ‘ the first fruits of his brilliant and highly successful mission to Washington. It must be a source of intense gratification to him, as indeed it is to the members of the Senate, that our own Ambassador has appeared in the councils at Washington as an equal amongst the representatives of the greatest nations of the modern civilized world, and that he has brought back these triumphant Treaties of Peace. I think we can aptly apply to the right honorable gentlemen the same words as were used by Lord Beaconsfield on his return with the Treaty of Peace agreed to at the Conference at Berlin, when he said that he brought back “peace with honour.” Senator Pearce has brought back peace with honour. I believe that there will be peace for the next thirty years, at least, in this part of the world. I do not make a fetish of International Councils and Leagues of Nations. I know what human nature is.
– You have heard of the Holy Alliance?
– Yes; I know the history of the Holy Alliance, the Pragmatic Sanction, and all the old alliances of the nations that were formed to preserve the peace of the world and to abolish war, and I know how they egregiously failed. Although I am not a believer in the altruistic maxims which guide these international tribunals, I believe that something can be done by moral suasion. Whatever international law may be, it is not law. The rules of international law are simply pious aspirations devoutly to be wished, and they are not binding, except morally, on anybody. There are three essentials to make law - a command, a duty, and a sanction. Firstly, a command must be by a sovereign person or body capable of enforcing its command ; secondly, the duty must be due from a person or body owning allegiance to the sovereign ; and, thirdly, there must be a sanction, penalty, or reward for the purpose of enforcing the command of the sovereign or sovereign body. All these features are conspicuously absent from international law. There is no command, no sovereign, no duty, and no sanction.
But in my belief there is one way of securing perpetual peace for the world, and that is by vesting the control of the seas in the nation or nations capable of exercising that control wiselyand well. History shows that the nation that controls the sea controls the peace of the world. We have seen it in the case of Tyre, Greece, Rome, Carthage, Spain, andHolland, and when they lost control of the sea they faded into insignificance. It seems to me that we should enforce in the regions of international law the Monroe Doctrine for the oceans of the world. The Monroe Doctrine has succeeded in America; and in a way it is one of the most outrageous doctrines ever put before the civilized world. It simply means that no nation of Europe has any right to interfere in the affairs of the New World without the consent and permission of the United States of America.
– England helped in that doctrine.
– Yes. It was put forward by Mr. Canning, the great Prime Minister of Great Britain, who suggested it to President Monroe, although Monroe took all the credit for it. It has had the effect of preserving peace in the New World for more than 100 years. It simply meant that the United States of America, which was simply a little outpost of the Anglo-Saxon world, was to have control over the New World
– It has permitted warfare amongst the American nations themselves.
– It has not prevented civil war and war relating to what may be called domestic trouble. But it has circumscribed and limited the area of war. Nobody can deny that the Monroe Doctrine kept out of America such countries as Prussia, Austria, and Spain.
– It warned European Powers off.
– Yes, and the corollary of that doctrine was that, in recognition of it, the United States of America had to guarantee that the smaller and subsidiary nations of North and South America would carry out their obligations to the nations of Europe. That doctrine has been kept intact, not by the strength and power of theAmerican people, but of the British Navy. As a matter of fact, the British people get no credit at all for the fact that they have really upheld the independence and the integrity of the United States of America.
– And of the world.
– Yes. Since the Battle of Trafalgar there has beenone nation that has exercised the functions of mistress of the seas de facto, that is, GreatBritain. Yet she has never violated her obligations, nor permitted any injustice to be done, in the seven seas of the world. Our great men ofwar and our ships ofcommerce have gone to the remotest islands of the Pacific. Had they pleased, they could have ravished the inhabitants and stolen their goods, but T do not know of one solitary instance where such a thing has happened. The time has arrived when she should be recognised as mistress of the seas de jure.
– The British Navy pioneered and charted the seas for the whole of civilization.
– Absolutely. If we could get a great statesman in Great Britain of the same type and calibre as Prime Minister Canning-
– We have a very good one now in Lloyd George.
– Yes. If Mr. Lloyd George used his power and influence to put forward a Monroe Doctrine to secure that the control of the seas should be in the hands of one or two Powers, and that naval construction should be restricted except with regard to two nations - I would not mind the United States of America joining Great Britain - to enable thom to safeguard the seas, such a doctrine would have no more ill-effect on the nations of the world than did the Monroe Doctrine. This may be called a piece of Anglo-Saxon impudence, but it is no more a piece of Anglo-Saxon aggression than was the Monroe Doctrine of America. In the time of Monroe, the United States of America had very few more people than the Commonwen 1th has to-day, yet that country arrogated to itself the power to control the destinies of the whole of the New World. We have to acknowledge that the Monroe Doctrine has made for peace more than anything that has been promulgated in recent years and prior to the Washington Conference. I hope that at the next Conference of the League of Nations Senator Pearce may be able to put forward some suggestion for the control of the oceans of the world by America and Great Britain conjointly, and I think it would have a desirable in 11 u puce on the maintenance of perpetual peace, because the nations which control the seas ure in a position to influence and control nil other nations. I congratulate Senator Pearce upon having had the proud privilege and honour of representing the Common wealth at Washington, ami incidentally performing our new duties in the new status and dignity we have acquired in the councils of the great Commonwealth pf Nations.
– As this is a question of a kind on which I may be permitted to comment without it being urged against me that I am departing from that tradition of impartiality and aloofness which should be observed by one filling the position I occupy in the Senate, 1 propose to say a little which I trust will not be distasteful to honorable senators.
The Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) fully deserves all the praise given to him for his diplomatic, because diplomatic it was, representation of the interests of this young nation at the Washington Conference. I have already said that tha success which he achieved there afforded me great personal gratification: I give utterance to that sentiment once more.
Mankind sometimes is accused by philosophers of possessing in its ranks vendors of hope and illusion, which it is stated are the two supports of the human race in connexion with that tremendous burden of suffering which humanity has to bear. Whilst we may all congratulate ourselves, and the representatives of our nation, on what has been undoubtedly “achieved, I feel that none of us will plead guilty to the imputation that we wilfully vend hope and illusion, and are prepared to administer anodynes, as it were, to the human race in expressing hopes, in regard to what was achieved at the Washington Conference, that can never be consummated or realized. I am sure every one who has the welfare of humanity at heart believes that something substantial has been done, and believes that we have to a . very considerable extent averted the danger of war. It is true that man is a very combative animal, and it is equally true that since .the Armistice between the belligerent Powers in the. Great War through which the world has just passed, and since the signing of the Treaty of Peace which apportioned certain territories to people who had not enjoyed the possession of them for a long time, another great war would have broken out almost on the heels of the Peace that had been arranged, had it not been for some such action as that taken by the President of the United States of America representing the Legislature of his country, and, of course,- the collective might of the nation to which he belongs.
The Minister for Home and Territories has said something about the Treaties and resolutions, and has himself asked the question, as one of paramount importance, whether the situation brought about by the Treaties will stand. I believe it will, contingent on one item which is of very material importance in this connexion. Many honorable senators are well aware cf.the fact that two or three years ago during the progress of the Great War I gave utterance privately to an opinion which I had long entertained, that war between Japan and the United States of America was inevitable within quite a short period of time. Nobody will be better pleased than I at the conflict being averted, and the refutation and non-fulfilment of that prediction. Reading the signs of the times, watching the lowering sky for signs’* of the almost inevitable conflict, any public man must have arrived at the opinion which obsessed and terrified me. Had war between Japan and America come about, what would have been the result to” the human race already half undone because of the war through which it had passed? I believe civilization and the human race as we understand it would have practically destroyed themselves. There could have been no other result.
The Minister for Home arid Territories showed his very great ability and talent for diplomatic reference when he instanced the fact that had that war come about, it would in its first stages have been a naval war, and as it would have been fought in waters contiguous to our shores, no human power could have prevented the people of Australia from being drawn into the conflict and considered as belligerents. Knowing the psychology of our people, I ask honorable senators to consider what , Australians would have done if the warships of a certain Power had entered any of our ports and asked for succour and assistance. No Government could ‘have maintained its position in Australia that would have denied that succour and assistance, and nothing could in the circumstances have prevented Australia assuming a position which would justify her being considered as one of the belligerents. That outcome, fatal it might have been, would certainly have followed had America and Japan gone to war. Now that the situation is. clarified, and that these great Powers, in conclave at Washington, have arranged Treaties in which the signatories have provided for a situation . which on the surface at least seems to guarantee peace, references may be made which could hardly have been tolerated, and which certainly would not have been deemed discreet, a year or a couple of years ago.
I will not say that all danger of conflict has. been removed. There seems to be something in regard to human development and destiny which brings races and civilizations into conflict almost as inevitably as the sun will rise to-morrow. How far the growth of human sympathy, the better understanding by peoples of each other’s aims, and the better conception of each -other’s apparent destinies, will remove this fatal tendency of humanity, I am unable to say, but we may hope that the indications to-day foretell something of a better kind than we have been used to>. I really believe that something substantial has been achieved, but nevertheless, as I have said before, nations and races are like human being’s. Boys grow out of knickerbockers, and require to have made for them the vestments of grown men. The sapling grows into the tree and struggles with other trees for existence. That may be the normal condition, and, in fact, the inevitable habit of all animate things. This law may apply to races and nations until the crack of doom, but we do- hope that there will be a continuous development of human sympathy and understanding which, seeing that the human race suffers enough already, will animate endeavour to avert from the future of mankind the terrible dangers of war.
I see nothing in connexion with all this series of Treaties that is calculated to have a baleful tendency, except, perhaps, a weak China. There can be no doubt whatever that it was the particular seriousness of the Far Eastern position that constrained the Government of the United States, as represented by its President, to take the step which resulted in this memorable, and I hope happy, understanding. China is very close to Japan. The latter nation unfortunately imbibed those militaristic doctrines which were particularly characteristic of the people and thought of modern Germany. I am now going to speak very frankly, because before I sit down I hope to refer in somewhat eulogistic terms to certain admirable qualities of the Japanese people. I am not one of those who indulge in the fatal habit of under estimating people whose aspirations may not be parallel to their own. The great fault of the Chinese, and the fault which has landed them in so much of their national and racial trouble, is their overweening pride and sense of self-esteem. The Chinese have looked upon all other peoples as hardly worthy of being considered civilized beings at all. They have fallen into the fatal habit of continually under estimating the qualities of other races and the characters of other civilizations. To a certain extent, they may be forgiven for the attitude they have assumed, ‘because, unlike most European nations of importance,, they did not have on their borders nations with civilizations approximating to their cwn. They did not have on their borders other powerful and numerous peoples continually challenging the quality and supremacy of Chinese culture and civilization. They had no difficulty whatever in imposing their culture and civilization on the nations that surrounded them. Although now and again those nations, because of certain primitive qualities, showed themselves more or less able to master the Chinese, when they did so, they became absorbed by the Chinese, as all nations that have conquered China have been. China contains a very numerous people, possessing a civilization in some respects of a very advanced character, and the Chinese had no standard of comparison at all because there was no other civilization of which they knew that could be compared with their3. They knew little or nothing of the civilizations of India, Persia, Turkey, -or the Saracenic Empire. There was none which they knew with which they could compare themselves except, perhaps, the civilization of the Roman Empire, and they were brought into touch with that only very -remotely at one period of their history.
Japanese civilization is almost essentially Chinese. The Chinese literature and script have been followed and adapted by the Japanese. The Chinese acquired the habit of looking at the Japanese very much as we look at the Maoris - a very interesting people, but, after all, a race very little removed from savages. That was the Chinese conception of the Japanese until quite lately. They fell into error in that respect, and brought upon themselves many national’ trials, and ultimately very ‘great national humiliation. That humiliation took place in the eyes of the world. There have been conflicts between China .and other Eastern powers throughout the long history of the Chinese Empire. There have been wars between China and Japan during the centuries that are past, and the Chinese ultimately succeeded, as they always did succeed with temporary invaders and conquerors - and practically expelled the Japanese for centuries from the Asiatic mainland. The Japanese, as is well known, were for centuries confined to their island territories. This, of course, gave the Chinese a false opinion of their own power and might. They have not taken sufficiently into consideration the receptive character of the Japanese, who have adopted Western civilization to the extent they required. The Chinese civilization is characteristic of the Chinese people themselves, and has its root at their heart strings. It is as easy for a Japanese to change his opinion as it is for him to take off one coat and put on another. The Chinese cannot do that. It is well for Western civilization to understand this cardinal difference between the two nations, and to realize that for the Chinese to change their civilization requires the whole uprooting of their national, social, and economic system. The characteristics of the Chinese were born with the Chinese people, and if in some remote period they borrowed them, no one knows the source whence they came. The Chinese civilization is characteristic of the Chinese, it has grown up with the Chinese people, and the difficulty of bringing about reforms on Western lines is attributable to the cardinal difference in civilization. This characteristic has caused the condition of weakness to which I have referred, and which resulted in the humiliation of this people, and their subordinate position before other foreign Powers. As the Minister has said, the weak are a source of danger. It is always wise to be strong if one can be, because when one is strong, one can afford to be generous without being considered afraid or weak. While I rejoice with the Minister in regard to the advances which we believe have been made in the international situation. I still say it is very well for the youth of Australia to be trained in the use of arms, not for the purpose of aggression, but for the defence of those territories which are so extensive and so attractive as to invite the cupidity of other races or nations.
The Minister has covered the situation so fully that I can do very little more than comment upon his remarks. He has referred to’ the nearness of China to Australia. Manilla is very much closer to Australia in a geographical sense than are some portions of Australia to the Port of Sydney. I took very careful note of these matters on my return to Australia from China, and I noticed that, after allowing for a short period when we were delayed for quarantine purposes, it took about eight days to go from Manilla to Thursday Island, while it took ten days to travel from Thursday Island to Sydney, so a good deal of Australia territorially is almost twice as far from the administrative centre in Melbourne as certain portions of Australia are from some of the danger points in what we call the East. It is well for us to understand how close the East is to us, and how necessary it is that there should be a permanent peace.
I trust that I am not suffering from a delusion. I am sure I do not wish to invent one, neither do I wish to be regarded as a legislative vendor of delusions or of false hopes; but it is well that we should understand two or three things. If the Chinese are to lose their characteristics, and run the risk of being absorbed by invaders, whether peaceful or martial, the Japanese- are the people who are in the closest proximity to them, and who will be brought more into contact with the Chinese than any other Europeans, including Australians, can hope to be. I would like to impress upon the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, which I hope in time will not be inferior in power or reputation to the Senate of the United States of America, a few facts to illustrate the drift of my remarks. In Shanghai, where there is the greatest European community in the East, the opportunities for foreign trade were opened in 1842, and it is very creditable to the energy and developmental faculties of the European race that the Europeans in that city built up practically a new city, close to the old and insignificant Chinese city of Shanghai. The spot on which operations were commenced was really a morass, but has been transformed into a city which is now regarded as one of the great marts of the world. Notwithstanding this, the European popu lation in Shanghai has increased to only a little over 6,000 souls since 1842, which date almost synchronizes with the establishment of the city of Melbourne; but Shanghai, so far as it extends, is hardly inferior in beauty, architecture, or trade to this great metropolis. Although the French -and Americans have done great work, it is to the British race that can be attributed all that marked progress and prosperity which, that small European community has made in the East. As I have said, there are at present only 6,000 or 7,000 Europeans in Shanghai, and in 1842 there were not half a dozen Japanese. The Japanese, with the exception of a few commercial representatives, we’re not then tolerated in China, and any statement to the contrary would be one based on misunderstanding. But there are now over 10,000 Japanese in what is known as the International Settlement in Shanghai, and they return a Japanese councillor to the municipal council. Japan is at not much greater distance from Shanghai than Tasmania is from Australia, and a vessel can make the passage in about fortyeight hours. If the Japanese only know their business they must attain to the premier position among the foreign population in China. If they cease to become militaristic and become peaceful penetrators, the Japanese, because of their close proximity, must occurs a prominent place. At present the Japanese children attending the schools in the International Settlement number two or three to the total children of all other nations.
At this juncture I may say that it is greatly to the credit of the men whom Australia has sent forth in an ambassadorial capacity that we have been so well served
– We are proud of them.
– We are, indeed, proud of them. The Minister spoke of many things, and referred particularly to certain Japanese demands made on China. Undoubtedly the Japanese were so militaristic in intention that they took the opportunity when Great Britain and her Allies were passing through their blackest hour in combating the Germanic power of placing China, so to speak, under duress. We can talk freely now. although it would have been indiscreet in the international atmosphere which prevailed a year or two ago to speak as I am now speaking. When in Shanghai quite recently, the Chinese people observed a day of humiliation, which they ha.ve observed every year since the imposition of the Twenty-One Demands. I think the Chinese, as. well as many others, misunderstand the situation, because they do not quite appreciate the difficulties confronting those who consented to these Demands. The rulers of China, owing to their weakness and incapacity to withstand Japanese military aggression, agreed to the Demands .under duress, when Great Britain and her Allies were incapable of assisting because of the burdens of their own people. It is well indeed for the Japanese to have completely waived nineteen or twenty of the Demands, and it is their duty to waive the whole of them.
The Minister, very properly, I think, said that we cannot exercise any influence in human affairs when criminally weak. If we are weak when W© could be> strong, God help us. To be strong does not mean to be aggressive. The Japanese, of course, had the Chinese at their mercy, firstly, because of their proximity to China, and secondly, because they believed that Germany and her Allies would be triumphant. I know what Japanese and Chinese public opinion was in the matter. The Chinese, were favorable to the Allies, and particularly favorable to America, whom China followed as a co-belligerent. They came into the war on the example, solicitation, and advice of America, but while they hoped that Great Britain and her Allies would win, they really feared that: Germany would be the victors.
– China came into the war before America.
– No, not before America, but after. These Asiatic Powers believed that the Germanic Powers would win. The tradition of German might was fo great that the East could hardly bring itself to believe that Germany could be defeated, but, happily for the human race, Germany was defeated ; and I think that Japan has taken the lesson to heart. There are two lessons to be learned, namely, that it is necessary to be strong to maintain one’s rights, for it is criminal to be designedly weak ; and at the same time it is criminal and fatal to be continually aggressive and continually oblivious of that, moral law which, in the long run, triumphs in the doings and actions of nations as well as of individuals. I am an Australian. I know the situation in which my country-people are placed, and with which we have, as legislators to deal in endeavouring to guide the footsteps of the infant Commonwealth. I feel’ that we are like trained boxers who, confronted by perhaps a very powerful and skilful opponent, “spar for wind.” We must, in an international and national sense, “ spar for wind.” Time, time, time - that is all we demand. Time for growth, time for maturity, and time for the expansion of our assets, our industries, and our civilization within the bounds of our own continent. Anything which will give us time makes for the peace of the world.
I believe that the Australian people) - one of the fiercest of the world’s Democracies - have in them a cardinal principle of justice. I do not believe that a strong Australia would be an aggressive Australia. ‘I believe that the Australian people will develop, in international affairs, very much the same spirit as the American people have shown. They will be strong, and, because of their strength, will endeavour to be just and generous to other nations. It is easy for me to point out the defects in American policy, in her internal affairs and her civilization. There are blotches upon her escutcheon, of course; but, meeting the American people in the East, as I have done, and after having addressed assemblages of a couple of hundred Americans, I really believe that morally, in regard to international affairs, they desire to aid the spread of the spirit of justice in every way they can. That, I believe, will also be the character of the Australian people if we can only have 50,000,000 or 60,000,000 of them in this continent. These series of Treaties and resolutions, if they can remove from the world the danger of war, or even curtail that danger in any way for five, ten, or twenty years, are a priceless boon to the people of the Commonwealth of Australia, and of course to the people of the British Empire. As I have pointed out, with our increased diplomatic status, and with those rights and privileges which the Mother Country has accorded us, we could almost, by our own act, inculpate the Home Country in regard to our attitude or actions towards foreign nations, Had Japan and America gone to war, had there been* an engagement in the waters west of Australia, and had we taken action, it would have constituted us a belligerent, and it would have involved our relationship with, and the status and actions of, the Mother Country. Therefore, anything that makes for peace is to be applauded and zealously cultivated.
I would like to say something about the Japanese people. Do not let us imagine that all danger has been removed. As I have said, the cardinal danger of the future is that China may remain broken, disconnected, weak, turbulent, and anarchic, and a danger to herself, to the Asiatic world, and to civilization. A weak China invites intervention, and that intervention is more likely to come from a people whose interests are closely associated with China than from any other country. The intervention of that particular people may arouse the recriminations of other great Powers, and out of these things, and even out of smaller ones, in fact, does war come. A weak China is the great danger to these Treaties, to these resolutions, and to the eminently satisfactory position that has been set up. I do not believe that China will be forever werk, but the Chinese, in addition to their many great qualities, have in their temperament the Asiatic characteristic of fatalism. They say that, “ It has been predicted that after every great convulsion in our country, and after every great change, there will always be a period of disturbance before peace reigns.” In connexion with the establishment of the Republic, there is a generally received prophecy or opinion that there will be a disturbed period extending over eighteen years. Ten or eleven years of that period have gone, but there still remain, according to the prophecy, which, like most prophecies, may help to fulfil itself, six or seven disturbed years in connexion with the fortunes of that country. If China is going to be disturbed for a further period of six or seven years, the fortunes of thatcountry are on the knees of the gods. By the observation of the spirit and letter of this compact, which the four# great Powers have entered into, much, may be done to perpetuate that situation upon which we so happily congratulate ourselves at present.
The next danger is, of course, that the Japanese people may regard themselves as having been forced into a position which is detrimental to their national and racial interests. I do not believe that it is so. I believe that the Japanese have great advantages over all other foreign nations in the East. Whether any foreign nation can. make a permanent mark on China or not it is hard for me to say. Past history shows that China believes that she can absorb all nations and all civilizations. They have absorbed a large population of Jews. There are synagogues where the scroll of the ancient Law is exhibited, and no Jew remains who can read it. They say they have absorbed the Portuguese. These people, it is true, speak a different language and have a different religion, but the Chinese ask, “ What are they ? ‘ ‘ and . answer : “They are Chinese in blood.” They say, “ The Manchus conquered China 200 years ago because we preferred to let them. Where are they now? Where is ‘their language? Who speaks it?” It may be that their selfreliance, of which they are so confident, will see them through, but in the intervals of anarchy, about which they seem to care so very little, a great deal may happen which will endanger the relations of other civilized nations with each other, and perhaps involve us. God forbid that such a contingency should materialize into fact; but, nevertheless, it is a danger. I am content to hope for the best.
I shall now address myself to a matter which the necessity for keeping a still tongue in a head which may not be too wise has prevented me from referring to before. I mean the characteristics and temperament of the Japanese people. As Australians, we must never underestimate this island people of mixed Asiatic blood. They are a very great people. They possess all the qualities of fortitude, of self-sufficient philosophy, and of individualism which made the Roman stoic what he was. The (high-class Japanese is. a very excellent example of what a human being at his best could be expected to be. As a human being in an emergency or in a contingency he ds like the Spartan at Thermopylae. The Japanese are a modern people in whom the spirit of feudalism still survives. They have become industrialized to a large extent. They have become com,mercialized, in that they place a greater value upon commerce than they once did. A few decades ago the merchant and the shopkeeper occupied a very inferior position in the Japanese social scale. With the Chinese it waa quite otherwise. The Chinese are in every respect a commercial people, who have placed commerce on one of the highest pinnacles of their social structure. A Chinaman believes that there is nothing so satisfactory as to have two, foul-, six, or twenty, sons establish successful businesses, and become wealthy merchants. If he could see such fortune befalling him, he would regard it a9 the best of human happiness. Commerce is looked upon as one of the greatest supports of the Chinese social structure. They honour commerce and merchants and everything connected with the exchange of commodities. The Japanese, on the other hand, are a military people. They are a people with whom the stoical and feudal spirit has survived until the last decade or two. Ingrafted on all that there has been unhappily the German military system and Prussianism in spirit. The Minister has said that the Japanese spoke of expansion in the South Seas. I have in my possession, very carefully guarded, written expressions of opinion by Japanese men and University professors of the national intentions and policy of Japan, which culminate in phrases such as “ Japan must pursue a ‘jingoistic’ policy in the South Seas.” What did that bode for us. It perhaps did not bode very happily. They had become one of the most aggressive peoples on the earth’s surface, and, moreover, it must be remembered that in their encounters with Europeans they had overthrown the power of* Russia in eastern Asia, and speedily reduced such Possessions as the Germans had in China. The Japanese did not think very highly of the military qualities of European peoples. The real trouble was that, in alliance with this aggressive spirit, was a feeling of practical contempt for what we call the “ military virtues “ as possessed by European nations. The Japanese said that European troops were taken prisoners in whole armies, but Japanese soldiers would not permit themselves to be captured in that fashion. Perhaps they did not understand the exigencies of modern warfare during the course of the late campaign, but, in the war which Japan had with the Russian colossus, only 3,000 Japanese prisoners, as against 183,000 Russians, were taken. Let us remember that the Russian armies had established a considerable reputation for military achievement during the Napoleonic wars, but, contrasting that with the achievements of Russia in the war with Japan, we can understand that the Japanese did not assess the European military standard as being very high, and they would have gladly picked up the gauntlet thrown down by any Power of Europe, with the full conviction that they had every chance of absolute success. Now the Japanese have reflected somewhat, and I believe that the collective sense of the Japanese people has led them to believe that the German ideals of world power are not as worthy of emulation as they once thought them to be. Let us not altogether beguile ourselves. The Minister has been acclaimed by his countrymen for what he achieved at Washington, and all our diplomatic representatives have been acclaimed as having done very well in the interests of the Commonwealth; but how were the Japanese envoys received on their return from the Capital of the United States of America? In silence; and it was with very great difficulty, and only as a result of the exercise of official care,, that they were prevented from being made the recipients of recrimination, and, in fact, marked hostility. I believe that the Japanese will see that the real ideal for their nation is the knightly one of old Japan - the strong man who would not take advantage of the weak. I wish to see Japan assume that frame of mind which, I am sure, will secure for . her proper racial and national advantages. Her people have been proved to be courageous, and the possessors of all the necessary military qualities which can protect a nation in the pursuit and enjoyment of its ideals. If they let the *soshi, or bravos, get the upper hand, the fate that has befallen Germany, will overtake them, but if the Japanese remain true samurai, to whom modern Japan owes its origin, she will have a very great future. She will enter the fold of. the nations, and will recognise that she is not superior to any other nation, but that the objective of mankind should be that laudable pursuit of peace which I hope will make the human race eventually one.
It is well for us to congratulate ourselves on what has been achieved, but, as
I have already said, there is danger. I have been reading an account by the official reporter who accompanied Marshal Joffre to Japan when he went there at the head of the French Delegation, for the purpose, I understand, of felicitating our Ally. Whether there was any other motive or not, I do not profess to know, tut the official reporter indicates that there was some hidden objective. The French people may possibly have thought fix to send Marshal Joffre to do some other business that is not apparent to us. To show how touchy the representatives of this great race still are, I may say that, referring to the dinner given by the Japanese Government to Marshal Joffre, as the national guest, and at which nearly all the representatives of the Ambassadorial and Consular bodies were present, the official French reporter remarked that the representative of not the least of the Great Powers pleased himself by having dinner with Dr. Self. that gentleman being the official representative in Japan of the Germanic Republic. So we see from the official report that the representative of a certain Power did not present himself a* the dinner given to Marshal Joffre. but preferred to dine with the lone representative of Germany, who also absented himself. All these things indicate that human nature is still as it was.
– We might easily see an alliance between Germany, Russia, and Japan.
– Let us hope that that will not come about, but that the four parties to the Treaty will observe it in the spirit as well as in the letter. It is only in that way that the happiest results to humanity, of which we have some augury, can be achieved.
J wish the Japanese people well. I have expressed opinions hostile to their action - but not publicly - for some years past. I do not fear them for their vices, but for their great qualities, and I also respect them. They have a great future, if they will act well and wisely. Let us remember that they have very great advantages because of their proximity to, and their opportunity to further foreign interests in China. They also have added responsibilities in the direction of avoiding international friction, and keeping international peace. Let Japan observe these ideals, and let China get out of the rut, and abandon her superciliousness, remembering that it is criminal to bie wean. Then, what we hope for will be so substantially obtained as to give us that breathing time that is essential to our welfare as a people.
Senator MacDONALD (Queensland) T5.351. - I desire to add a few words regarding what the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) seems to consider to° be the happy outcome of his visit to Washington.
– I hardly put it that way.
– I have the honorable gentleman’s words. He said he could state that for the first time since 1914 there had been a ray of sunshine in the international world. Perhaps I may be pardoned if I construe that to mean that, as a result of the occurrences at Washington, we have arrived at a happy position in the world.
– Post hoc. propter hoc.
– T congratulate the Minister on the very high position he occupied at Washington. Every Australian must realize that such an honour would have been gratifying to any citizen of the Commonwealth, and this remark applies equally to all the plenipotentiaries who have represented us in Europe. I am glad to admit that a considerable amount of good was done at the Conference. Having tried to view international problems from all aspects, I think the Minister can say with some assurance that he has brought back the hope of peace. He said that there was a hope of permanent peace; but I think he must realize that that remark needs qualification, because the history of the world, unfortunately, brings us to the conclusion that the end of war is a long; way off. No matter how much we may be inclined to yield to the. protestations of faith by some of the most eminent men in the world, we are forced to the conclusion that under our present economic system, with the nations competing in trade and commerce, the time must come when we shall be faced by another such disaster as overtook mankind in 1914 I would not like it to be thought that T consider that Great Britain began the war; but T do say that the basic cause of the war was practically the same as that of other wars - those great commercial rivalries which have convulsed the world for many centuries. We have frequently heard it said that all wars are capitalistic wars. That is a somewhat exaggerated statement. Though it is often asserted that it is the Socialistic or Labour opinion that all wars are capitalistic, that view is not held in the best informed Socialist and Labour circles, because the facts of history indicate that, without doubt, there are other causes of war. So far as my reading goes, my conclusion is that the first cause of war is an undue increase of population in any given country.
– Is it not sometimes ambition ?
– I will come to that later, and there is something in that contention. If we go as far back in history as Senator Reid took us the other day, when he attempted to trace the beginning of the Aryan races, we shall find that strife between peoples arose as a result of the increase in the life force of particular nations. That increase is the main cause of war, but it, of course, produces other causes through the economic conditions that it brings about, and consequent trade jealousies and international rivalries. I do not wish honorable senators to assume that I am delivering a lecture on the subject, but I am leading up to what I think is a vital matter connected with these Treaties. The cause of the great war from which we have just emerged was undoubtedly the great increase in the population of Germany. The Germans are a progressive, aggressive, and militaristic people, and the increase in their life force resulted, as always in such cases, in the tendency to spread. I dare say that honorable senators will agree with me when I say that if, in the matter of the increase of population, France had marched side by side with Germany, and the number of her people had increased from 1870 to the opening of the last war from 40,000,000 to about 70,000,000,as the population of Germany did, not a single Australian, or, at least not a large number of Australians, would have left these shores to engage in that struggle.
There are territorial rivalries which follow on the increase of population, and the desire to seize unoccupied portions of the world, or to attack those nations that are criminally weak in the preparations they have made for their defence. Senator Rowell referred just now to ambition as a cause of war. There is something in the contention that ambition, or the desire for power or glory, which seizes certain meglomaniac minds, may be a cause of war. But that also may be exaggerated as a cause. Nations in modern times, however much they may be deluded by ruling classes or powerful individuals, are in no hurry to go to war. It is much harder in these times to drive them into war if there is not some other and more important cause, the force of which has been accumulating for some time, such as that which broke the peace of the world in 1914.
So far as the evidence which has come under my notice is concerned, I think that in the last great war Germany was the aggressor, and has less moral weight behind her than any other country in Europe. Wars between independent and militaristic nations have taken place from the beginning of time. We can scarcely mention any great nation that has succeeded in imposing its imperium on other countries which has not been guilty of the iniquity of which Germany was guilty in the years preceding 1914.
– Scraps of paper.
SenatorMacDONALD. - Yes; scraps of paper are torn up, and Germany is not the only militarist nation in Europe that has torn up scraps of paper, violated Treaties, and disregarded solemn obligations.
It cannot be doubted that these Treaties afford us protection from the northern peoples who outnumber us by so many hundreds of millions. We are told thatthe Treaty will give us breathing time. We have now a population of something over 5,000,000, and it is hoped that that will increase, and our population may be 10,000,000, 20,000,000, or 30,000,000 before the next trial of strength comes in the Pacific. But all our preparations will be unavailing unless we have the power ofthe white people of the world behind us. While we increase in population in the Commonwealth, we may expect that the Japanese, Chinese, and the people of India will also continue to multiply, and “unless we can safeguard ourselves by imposing some measure of control over Asiatic populations, the menace with which we are confronted will remain; because the same huge disproportion in numbers will continue. To my mind, the only guarantee for anything like permanent peace, so far as Australia is concerned, does not rest on these Treaties, but in the fact that, although this country may be considered, as one honorable senator has said, as geographically a> part of Asia, it is regarded, I think, by people generally as an outpost of the -white race. If we are attacked by Japan or any other Asiatic nation, our safeguard will, I think, be found in the maintenance of the colour line. I do not say this with any idea of being offensive to the Japanese, Chinese, Hindoo, or any other people whose colour is different from ours. So far as we know human prejudice, it is agreed that we cannot risk the dangers of a mixed population in tikis country. My attitude in this matter is that we should in a scientific and reasonable way point out to the people of coloured nations what in our view .are the terrible dangers of miscegenation, and raise the question of the wisdom of the adoption of some measure of scientific control of their population.
– They will not suggest that to us.
– We need more people in the Commonwealth certainly, but there is considerable reason for the .adoption of some measure of population control in Europe; and it is necessary that a similar policy should be adopted ‘by the coloured people of the world.
– In the past, with fewer people, they were in a much more miserable condition than are even. European populations at the present time.
– In some respects that may be so, but we have heard that the “Merrie England “ of several hundreds of years ago was happier than the so-called “merry” England of today. We are told that with our small population of 5,000,000 it cannot be expected that we shall continue to occupy this country when there are 800,000,000 or 900,000,000 of people to the north of us.
– Is that not reasonable?
– It would be reasonable if, consistently with my contention that the first cause of war is pressure of population, the people to the north of us came by force to invade this country. I have never taken the attitude that force does not govern the situation, because force is obviously the ultimate policeman. Every reasonable man will admit that the control of the whole world rests on force. Ultimately I believe that we must look for the solution of our problem to the fear Which the white races have of miscegenation, of the terrible evils of which we have examples in the United States of America and in South Africa.
While these Treaties . are satisfactory and pleasing in a certain degree, they- can undoubtedly be only temporary in their effect. They may tide us over this generation, and probably the next, and that will be a good thing for us, because in the interval- we may decrease the terrific gap in the matter of population between ourselves and the Asiatics. I do not deny to any coloured people lie right to exist, and to increase and multiply in the world in proportion to the increase of people of the white races. But experience hae shown us the awful mistake of the mixing of white and coloured people. The mixture is not a fortunate one. We do not want it in this country, and should endeavour to prevent it for the sake of the white and the coloured races alike. History teaches us that the races, are better kept apart in their own countries, and under a proper measure of population. control. One instance of this is the immigration policy which the people of the United States. of America have recently found it necessary to adopt. For many years the United States Government allowed the people of all countries freedom to enter the United States of America. Recently, at a political meeting in Brisbane addressed by a Federal politician, the speaker was asked what he meant by allowing -the Americans to prevent Australians from entering the United States of America. The question seemed to be somewhat of a poser, as the politician evidently had not read up the question, and the questioner did not .think it seemed right that he should be ‘travelling about -while permitting the Government of the United States of America to put restrictions on Australians desirous to enter their country, and to treat them as though they were of an alien race unfitted to be allowed entrance to the republic. The individual was not deeply concerned and did not appear to realize that it was a slight on his fellowAustralians. We have, however, been fully apprised of the situation, and now knew that the great United States of America, with an area of practically 3,000,000 square miles, which we thought it would be impossible to over-populate, has reached a stage when it has to discriminate in the matter of European immigration. It is therefore, there, a question of control of population.
– No. It is control of the movement of population.
– At any rate the number of Australians permitted to enter the Republic is limited.
– All nations are treated alike.
– Yes; I understand there is no differentiation and, generally speaking, we shall have to consider the question of controlling the increase of population. It will be necessary, in my view, for the white races to carry their economic and political control of the world to the extent of setting some bounds to the increase of the various races, coloured and white, if we are to ever avoid war permanently.
– The natural increase t
– Yes and to control international rivalry in the pursuit of wealth, which is the second obstacle to that hope of anything like permanent peace which the Minister has brought from “Washington.
I have endeavoured to outline my views, which I believe are- in accord with those of members of the Labour movement, and, while agreeing with the Minister that there is cause for gratification concerning the results of the Conference, I believe that the benefits will only be enjoyed by perhaps two generations. I do not think it will be very many years before war clouds will again appear on the horizon, and when we shall not be able to persuade the Japanese to pursue the path to’ which Senator Bakhap referred, when he said that- they had dropped their policy of military aggression and had adopted one of peaceful trade penetration. We have no guarantee that the Americans are free from imperialistic designs, although one honorable senator said that the United States of America have not displayed an imperialistic spirit. That contention, however, was denied by Professor Scott-Nearing in his publication entitled The Imperialistic Republic of the United Statex of A America. . The Americans commenced with the Monroe Doctrine and, with the assistance of the British Navy, Lave been able to give effect to it. Yet in 1898 they grabbed . the Philippines fromSpain.
– And a slice off Mexico.
– Yes, and a portion of Alaska. They have also annexed the Sandwich Islands, and undoubtedly have pushed across the Pacific in a manner that was never anticipated. Although Japan has shown a commendable spirit in retiring from Shantung, their presence in China and in Formosa show that their leaders have imperialistic designs. A clash of arms must eventually come, and although the Treaties which we are now ratifying will assist in safeguarding the world’s peace, we would be very foolish to believe that their benefits would last longer than thirty or forty years. The Minister admitted, quite frankly, that shortly after the termination of the Great War Japan and America were preparing for a naval conflict in the Pacific and that the “ dogs of war,” if not actually unleashed, were on the strain. There is only a distance of 6,000 miles between the United States of America and insular Japanese territory.
– The military authorities of the United States of America had 2,000 tons of the most deadly exexplosives known to man in one of their island magazines which has been dumped in the ocean.
– Did they have it for use against the Japanese?
– I suppose so.-
– Much of the information we receive is of a doubtful character; but the Minister, who, I presume, is in possession of authentic particulars, has said that Japan as well as other nations is quite prepared to make a substantial sacrifice, particularly in the limitation of armaments. The limita-tions, as regards Great Britain and America, are not so marked, but it is gratifying to realize that the United States of America, with her ambitious naval policy, has agreed to come into line in an endeavour to secure- a world-wide peace, although I believe it can only be regarded as semi-permanent; a “casually permanent” or “ permanent] v casual” peace whilst the present haphazard economic and political world systems continue.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motions (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That this Senate approves the Treaty between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan for the limitation of naval armament, signed at Washington on 6th February. 1922.
That this Senate approves the Treaty between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan for the protection of the lives of neutrals and non-combatants at sea in time of war, and to prevent the use in war of noxious gases and chemicals, signed at Washington on the 6th February, 1922.
That this Senate approves the Treaty between the United States of America, Belgium, the British Empire, China, France. Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and Portugal relating to principles and policies to be followed in matters concerning China, signed at Washington on the 6th February, 1922.
That this Senate approves the Treaty between the United States of America, Belgium, the British Empire, China, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and Portugal, relating to the Chinese Customs Tariff, signed at Washington on 6th February, 1922.
.- I move-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a measure aimed at improving the procedure in regard to the acquisition of land by the Commonwealth and the payment of compensation in respect thereof. It also proposes to remove certain defects from the existing Act, which have been discovered in the course of administration. The Bill is of a somewhat technical character, because the main legislation stands, and the Bill is designed only to remove defects which have been discovered as a result of litigation or administration. The Act has been found to be seriously defective as regards the acquisition and disposal by the Commonwealth of interests in land less than the fee-simple. The High Court decided in Rex v. Registrar of Titles (Victoria), ex parte The Commonwealth (20 Commonwealth Law Reports 379), that the power to “sell and convey “ in section 8 does not include the power to lease, and that persons under disability cannot lease lands to the Commonwealth. Doubthas also arisen as regards, the power of the Commonwealth to dispose of less than the full estate in any land which it has acquired. Numerous amendments are accordingly proposed with a view to enabling the Commonwealth to acquire and dispose of any interest in land. It is also desired that this full power to acquire lands should be deemed to have been vested in the Commonwealth from the date of the commencement of the original Act, and suitable provision is, therefore, made. Honorable senators are well aware that we frequently have to resume land in some of our large cities, and that these lands are sometimes the subject of various tenures and leases. Under the present Act we practically have to determine them. That is not desirable. It is sometimes necessary and desirable that a lease should not be disturbed when we do not require to terminate it for the purposes of the Commonwealth. It is sought to make the law more elastic in the directions I have indicated.
Some new principles are proposed. At the present time, on the compulsory acquisition of land which is subject to a lease, the lease ceases and the remainder of the term of the lease is converted into a claim for compensation. It is not always desirable from the point of view of the Commonwealth that the lessee should cease occupation. It is, therefore, proposed that power be given to include in the notification of acquisition a declaration that the lease shall continue, subject to conditions stated in the notification, until it expires by effluxion of time, or is otherwise lawfully determined. The provisions as to compensation for leases are to be appropriately altered to meet the proposed new conditions. The Commonwealth has lost a considerable sum of money in the past by having to determine these leases and compensate the lessees. Frequently the lessees would prefer not to be compensated but to go on with his lease, but owing to the defective power given in the Act we have not been able to meet them in that way.
Another important part of the Act which requires simplification is that relating to the compensation of mortgagees of land compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth. At the present time the mortgagee may either (a) join with the owner in making a claim; or (b) make a separate claim; or (c) waive his right to compensation and rely on his right against -the mortgagor under the mortgage. Considerable difficulty has been experienced in determining the compensation payable to the mortgagee and adjusting the respective rights of the mortgaged and mortgagor. It is, therefore, proposed to give the mortgagor two alternatives, namely: -
If he claims compensation he may be required to furnish certain particulars to enable his claim to be determined, and the payment of the compensation will discharge the mortgage to the extent of the amount of compensation. - The mortgagor may also be required to furnish
Particulars of all mortgages on the land, f the mortgagee does not claim compensation his only action is against the mortgagor. As regards the amount of compensation, the Act at present provides that the amount shall be determined by agreement between the Minister, mortgagee and mortgagor, or, in default of agreement, that the claims for compensation be determined in the same manner as disputed claims for compensation. Under the proposed system it will only be necessary to determine the compensation payable to the mortgagor, and the amount of compensation payable .to the mortgagee can then be - easily ascertained in accordance with the proposed new section 51. The proposed amendments will also prevent the payment of large amounts of interest which are at present payable. Settlement under the cumbersome and defective system in tho Act has led to great delay which has been . annoying both to the Commonwealth and to the persons who own the land or have interests in it. The Commonwealth has had to pay interest on the sums of money eventually awarded owing to the delay in settling the claims.’ Under the existing law, costs, in the case of actions by claimants for compensation, are in the discretion of the Court. This does not tend to uniformity, and it is, therefore, proposed to make definite provision as to when the Commonwealth or the claimant shall pay the costs. That will not be unfair, because there is a certain class of cases in which it ia clearly either the Commonwealth or the person from whom the land has been acquired who is to blame for the delay which has caused the costs.
It may sometimes be desirable for the - Commonwealth to be relieved of the obligation to retain land acquired by compulsory process under the Act. At the present time a notification can only be avoided by a resolution of either House of Parliament passed within thirty days after the notification has been laid before . it. Further, this provision does not apply to all lands acquired. It is, therefore, proposed to, give power to Parliament BO to avoid the notification of acquisition of any lands whatsoever, and, in addition, to give the Governor-General power to revoke any notification, in whole or in part, within six months after the publication of the notification in the Gazette. The existing provision in the Act as to evidence of the title of any person claiming purchase money or compensation in respect of land acquired by the Commonwealth has been found to be practically valueless. It is considered desirable that the section. relating to the matter be. recast, so as to conform to the Conveyancing Acts of the several States, by which forty years’ root of title is accepted as regards land not under the Torrens system. The section as amended will only apply to land under the general law. Another proposed amendment provides a’ simple method of bringing -under the Torrens system land which, when acquired by compulsory .process, is under the general law. It sometimes happens that a notification of acquisition of land includes land which .the Commonwealth is not empowered to acquire. In order to prevent the notification . being held wholly void it is proposed to validate the notification to the extent to which it refers to land which the Commonwealth may acquire. In addition to. the power to take clay, stone, &c, it is proposed to give the Commonwealth the very desirable power of taking water.
The power of the Minister under the present Act to make an offer of compensation to a claimant is retained; but. in addition, the Minister may, where there are two or more’ claimants, instead of making a separate offer to each, make one offer to all, and the claimants will be required to settle their claims inter te. It is also proposed to place on a more equitable basis the payment of interest on compensation. Thua a mortgagee will, under the Bill, be entitled only to statutory interests as from the expiration of six months from the date of the acquisition . of the land, instead of from tha date of acquisition. This is considered fair in view of the provisions as to payment of compensation to a mortgagee; In other cases, although the Commonwealth acquires the land, the owner may continue to occupy and use the land, and it is considered thatinterest should not run until the Commonwealth takes possession. That isa sketch of the main provisions of the Bill. There are other amendments of’ a minor ordrafting character. It will be seen that the Bill is a technical one, the consideration of which can best be taken in Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Senate adjourned at 6.21 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 July 1922, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1922/19220727_senate_8_99/>.