22nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator SHEEHAN presented a petition from 779 electors praying that the Parliament will take steps to increase social service benefits for mothers and children.
Petition received and read.
– I have to report the existence of a vacancy on the Joint Committee of Public Accounts caused through the death of the late Senator Seward.
Motion (by Senator O’Sullivan) - by leave - agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Accounts Committee Act 1951, Senator Wade be appointed to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts.
Motion (by Senator O’Sullivan) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be granted to Senator Laught on account of absence overseas.
Motions (by Senator McKenna) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be granted to Senator Harris on account of absence overseas.
That leave of absence for two months be granted to SenatorFraser on account of ill health.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that a trip has been arranged by Qantas or the Australian National Travel Association for a team of top-ranking United States business executives to visit Australia. If this is a fact, why is it that South Australia, the State with the greatest industrial progress, and the State with the greatest value of production per employee of any in this country, is not included in the itinerary of such a team of business men? Does the Minister know that South Australia is renowned for its hospitality and that it would no doubt turn on its very best if hewould use his influence to have the proposed itinerary amended to include sunny South Australia?
– I am not aware of the details mentioned by the honorable senator, nor am I aware of the contemplated itinerary for the visitors mentioned by her, but I am quite sure that, as a senator from South Australia, she knows that her very distinguished Premier is in America at the present time. He may be making his own arrangements. However, I shall bring the matter to the notice of the Prime Minister.
– By way of preface to my question to the Leader of the Government in this chamber, I point out that some time ago, in the Senate, I raised the question of the imposition of a tax of £2 per head on the natives of New Guinea and Papua. At the time, I questioned the advisability of imposing such a tax on primitive people, and I also asked for reasons for the proposed action. In my opinion, the reasons given were not very sound.
I now ask the Leader of the Government whether he has read reports in the press of the widespread public horror at the brutally stupid action of representatives of the Australian Government Administration in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, where two native tribesmen have been murdered and one injured because they staged a protest demonstration against what, at best, could be described as an impostion on all males over eighteen years of age of a tax of £2 per head, which will not be payable until 31st December next. In view of the adverse world-wide publicity that must inevitably arise from this barbaric use of arms against a primitive and rightly indignant race of people, will the Minister give an assurance that a full-scale inquiry will be made into the circumstances of the shooting, and the reason why the head tax was imposed in the first place, collectable at the point of a gun?
– I did read of an incident to which possibly the honorable senator refers.I am quite sure that if he knew the facts he would not use such extravagant language which can serve no good purpose, can only give a completely false impression both in Australia and overseas, and does not do either the Senate or the honorable senator any credit.
– I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General whether it is a fact that mail posted in Launceston addressed to Queenstown is forwarded via Hobart. If this is so, will the Minister endeavour to arrange for a daily mail delivery between those two centres by means of the daily bus service now in operation, and thus avoid the two days’ delay in delivery? Will the Minister also consider using the services of Southern Airlines Limited for the daily carriage of mail from Melbourne and Launceston to Flinders Island and return so that the residents of Flinders Island may have an up-to-date mail service as well as the most up-to-date air service now enjoyed by them?
– I shall have pleasure in referring the honorable senator’s question to the Postmaster-General.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services whether he will send an official government representative to the Ninth International Conference of Social Work to be held in Tokyo from 30th November to 6th December, 1958. This conference considers not only the reports of professional social service workers, but also social welfare in its wider sense. As the theme of the conference is the mobilization of resources for social needs, and as the conference is being held in Asia, does not the Minister consider it important that full co-operation should exist between Australian agency delegates and the official governmental representative, preferably an officer of his department, in order to present an authentic outline of Australia’s views?
– The circumstances associated with the conference to which the honorable senator refers have been investigated and considered. The people who are going to the conference representing various bodies are known to the Government, and the Minister, after making inquiries, holds the view that Australia will be adequately represented. In the circumstances it is not thought necessary or desirable that an official of the department should be in attendance at the conference.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral noted the important question of privilege arising from a complaint contained in a letter from Mr. George Strauss, a member of the House of Commons in London, to the Minister? In this case, the Privileges Committee ruled that correspondence to Ministers from members was privileged, but by a narrow margin the House rejected this ruling. Will the Attorney-General examine the question as it relates to the Australian Parliament and issue a statement for the guidance of honorable senators?
– I did read some reference in the press to the matter raised by the honorable senator. Offhand - I am not giving a considered opinion - I should say that the question is one for determination by the House itself, not by any court. I should think that the House itself would be the judge of whether there had been a breach of privilege. However, I shall have the matter looked into and advise the honorable senator further.
– Will the Minister for National Development inform the Senate whether it is a fact that in some housing commission areas in Victoria there are houses owned and built by the Commonwealth as distinct from houses owned and built by the Victorian Housing Commission? Is it a fact that the Victorian Housing Commission is eager and anxious to sell the houses belonging to it to its tenants, but that the Commonwealth is not eager or willing to sell houses belonging to it to its tenants? If this is so, will the Minister inform me of the reasons for the Commonwealth’s attitude in this matter?
– All I can say is that I have no knowledge of the circumstances to which the honorable senator has referred. I do not know of any houses being built and owned by the Commonwealth in Victoria the ownership of which is retained by the Commonwealth, other than houses that may be built for Commonwealth employees. As far as ordinary building and selling transactions are concerned, I have no knowledge of any Commonwealthowned premises as referred to by the honorable senator. As he appears to disagree with me, I ask him to place the question on the notice-paper, when I will cause inquiries to be made and check the position.
Victorian Symphony Orchestra
– Will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General inform me whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission has agreed to make its Victorian Symphony Orchestra available for the forthcoming Elizabethan Trust Opera Season at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, thus causing the unemployment of musicians who have been regularly employed at the theatre for many years? If the commission has done so, will the Government confer with it and with the Musicians Union with a view to ensuring that the use of governmentsubsidized and government-sponsored symphony orchestras will not occasion unemployment with consequential loss of salary and other privileges to musicians normally employed at the theatre?
– I shall have pleasure in referring the question to the Postmaster-General and I will endeavour to let the honorable senator have a reply at an early date.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the Minister’s attention been directed to the report of the Japanese film industry for last year, which has just been made available in Australia? The report indicates that Japan produced almost 450 feature films in 1957, together with a large number of shorts, and that that flourishing state of affairs was brought about by governmental enforcement of a quota system for Japanese films, by government support of Japanese participation in foreign film festivals, and by government awards for outstanding films. In view of the importance to Australia of a healthy, indigenous film industry, will the Government consider the constitutional and economic possibility of taking similar action to stimulate the film industry in this country?
– I shall be very pleased to have the question examined.
– I should like to address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. Is he aware that the Department of the Army is utilizing the services of private interstate road hauliers to transport goods and equipment which could be transported adequately by State and Commonwealth railways? Does the Minister know that the department negotiated with the private hauliers in order to obtain reduced rates for the transport of certain goods and equipment from Nungarin, in Western Australia to the eastern States? If these are facts, will the Government take action to ensure that Commonwealth departments consign freight by the available rail service wherever possible? Further, does the Minister realize that at present every railway system in Australia is experiencing deficits and is reducing staff? In such instances as I have referred to, the taxpayer must carry the burden not only of the deficit but also of the freight. In short, will the Minister see that this practice is stopped?
– I do not know whether the honorable senator’s statements are correct or not, but I shall have inquiries made regarding them. . I should think that there must be unusual circumstances which justify transport from the eastern States to the western States by road in this case, and I have no doubt that when the explanation is forthcoming it will prove to be entirely adequate.
– I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise whether, as a result of low prices, many fishing vessels throughout Australia are being tied up. Are not Australian fishermen finding it impossible to compete with the imported product? Can the Minister assure me that cheap fish from overseas is not being dumped on the Australian market? Will he take any action necessary to preserve the Australian fishing industry?
– The information sought by the honorable senator must come from the Department of Trade. If he will put his question on the noticepaper,I shall obtain an answer for him at the earliest possible moment.
– I ask the Leader of the Government, in the absence of the Minister for Shipping and Transport, whether Sir Arthur Fadden promised at Maryborough, Queensland, that the shipyard of Walkers Limited would not go short of Government orders for ships. Is it not a fact that hundreds of workers have been, or are about to be, dismissed from that yard because of the lack of such orders? What is the Government doing to remedy this serious situation?
– As the honorable senator is doubtless aware, the Government pays a substantial subsidy towards the cost of ships built in Australia. The Government’s practice is to entourage local shipbuilding, both for the sake of fostering employment and for its defence value. The Government has established a very strict rule that no ships built overseas shall be purchased unless Australian shipbuilders have first had an opportunity of tendering. The subsidy to which I have referred is in excess of 33 per cent.
-I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General whether he will take cognizance of the fact that a change in transmitting frequency has brought very close in the frequency scale Station 3AR and Station 7QN, the national station on the west coast of Tasmania, with the result that Station 7QN blots out reception in that area from Station 3AR. As west coast listeners depend upon Station 3AR for description’s of Melbourne races and sporting results, will the Minister have the frequencies upon which these stations operate separated more widely?
– I am not aware of the technical problems involved, but I will have pleasure in bringing the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the PostmasterGeneral.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for National Development, relates to the base metal mining industry, and is provoked by the recent Tariff Board report on copper mining, which I have read with great interest. Does the Government propose to use the machinery available through the Tariff Board to consider the granting of further assistance to any other branch of the base metal industry, such as tin mining? If so, can the Minister inform the Senate whether any other sections of the industry have approached the Government for assistance in this direction?
– It is not a case of the Government using the machinery of the Tariff Board. The position is that any industry may make an application to,I think, the Minister for Trade for a Tariff Board inquiry. The Government does not originate such an inquiry; it is originated by the industry itself. I have no knowledge of any requests having been made to the Minister for Trade by other sections of the mining industry for a Tariff Board inquiry.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As it would appear that all political parties in Australia agree that uncontrolled hire purchase is a distinct threat to the Australian economy and that there is an urgent need effectively to control hire-purchase interest rates, and as the several State governments have failed to bring down legislation to restrict the ramifications of hire purchase, will the Government give consideration to submitting the matter to a referendum of the people, which could be held in conjunction with the forthcoming general elections?
– The honorable senator knows that the Commonwealth Government has from time to time discussed with the State Premiers the question of introducing suitable legislation on this matter. As to what the Government will do in regard to a referendum, it is a little early for me to give any reply.
– Will the Minister acting for the Minister for Shipping and Transport confirm that, according to the Governor’s speech at the opening of the
South Australian Parliament on 18th June last, the Government of that State is desirous of proceeding with further work under the Railways Standardization Agreement and to that end has applied to the Commonwealth Government for a grant of £50,000 to carry out a survey of the narrow-gauge lines in northern South Australia? Has the Commonwealth Government refused to make this grant available? If so, will it reconsider its decision, in view of the importance to Australia of uniform gauge lines which would link Adelaide with all the capitals of the eastern States and have an important effect on- reducing transport costs?
– I am not aware of the details mentioned by the honorable -senator in his question, but I shall have much, pleasure in referring the matter to my colleague on his return.
– My question is closely related to that asked by Senator Hendickson on hire purchase, and is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the Minister aware that legislation is pending in individual States of the Commonwealth to put a curb on the black-market in investment money, known as hirepurchase company investment? In view of the adverse effect on government, local government and normal business loans of the high interest rates offered by the hirepurchase companies, will the Government take action to obtain the authority of the States to introduce legislation to deal with this activity, which is eating out the vitals of ordinary business operations because of the inability of the banking system to compete with interest rates of 9 per cent, and 10 per cent.?
– The honorable senator knows it is not customary to, state what Government policy is or might be on any matters not yet determined.
– I desire to direct a .question to the Minister representing the Minister for Territories. Will the Minister explain, why, in the case .of Australian citizens, domiciled in the Territory, of
Papua and New Guinea, whose children of necessity come to Australia to school, it should be necessary to obtain for them, every time they return home for holidays, entry permits, taxation clearances, customs clearances, and so on? Since, in some cases, these tiresome formalities have to be complied with three times a year, would the Minister consider the possibility of obviating entirely these procedures for school children? Would the Minister also consider the possibility of instituting, a school of the air on similar lines, to that in Alice Springs, which broadcasts on a radius, of 300 miles, so that young children in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea could share the advantages of educational contact, which is lacking in these isolated outposts of the Commonwealth?
– I shall be very happy to bring these matters raised by the honorable- senator under the notice of the Minister for Territories.
– Mr. President, you will recall that last March I directed a question to you suggesting that the Australian Encyclopaedia, which was about to be “ launched “ at the Australian Book Fair, should- be presented by the Government to libraries and parliamentary institutions in Asia. In your excellent and admirable reply, you indicated your personal interest in the proposal and promised that you would cause representations to be made to the appropriate Ministers. I have no doubt that you did as you promised, because the Minister for External Affairs announced in the press a couple of days ago that Australia was presenting more than 100 sets of the encyclopaedia-, to a number of institutions in Asia. So far, I have not received any acknowledgment from the Minister concerned regarding my proposal, I ask you, Sir, whether you will be good enough to take up the matter with the Minister with a view to ensuring that, when an honorable senator makes a worth-while suggestion which is subsequently adopted by the Government, some courteous, acknowledgment is made, and- that this chamber is not by-passed as was done in this case.
– I shall let the honorable senator have- a reply at a very early date.
– I direct the following question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the fact that the Australian Wheat Growers Federation has refused to accept all proposals in the new wheat stabilization plan submitted by the Australian Agricultural Council, can the Minister for Primary Industry indicate whether he proposes to call an early meeting of the Agricultural Council to review the two major points in dispute - the yield divisor and the profit margin - so that the position may be clarified before the oncoming harvest? In view of the urgency of the matters raised, I hope that the Minister is in a position to answer the question.
– The Minister for Primary Industry has advised me that the Australian Wheat Growers Federation accepts all aspects of the Agricultural Council proposals other than the yield divisor used in the so-called cost of production formula and the council’s rejection of the federation’s request for the inclusion of a profit margin in the homeconsumption price of wheat. The select committee of the federation has asked for a special meeting of the council to consider its latest representations. State Ministers of Agriculture have been informed of the select committee’s representations and the Minister for Primary Industry is now awaiting advices from them regarding the special meeting of the Agricultural Council.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Will the Minister submit to the National Capital Development Commission the matter of more appropriate names for those administrative buildings at Canberra now referred to as “ East Block”, “West Block” and the “Administrative Building “?
– The Minister for the Interior has now furnished the following reply: -
The naming of office buildings in Canberra was raised recently by the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. The council was invited to suggest a suitable procedure for the naming of public buildings, but it has not yet had the opportunity to crystallize its views. Although this is not a matter for the National Capital Development Commission, you may rest assured that it is at present under consideration.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
Where there are two or more types of goods available in a range, does the Government direct an importer as to which particular brand or model he shall be allowed to import, or has the importer a free choice to select the brand or model, at comparable price, that he may wish to import?
– The Minister for Trade has supplied the following answer: -
I assume that the honorable senator is referring to goods which are licensed under the Administrative category, because in respect of goods which are subject to quota licensing, importers are free to import whatever goods they wish within the limits of their quota. Applications for licences for Administrative goods are considered on a case-by-case basis. In applying for a licence, an importer usually nominates the particular type and model of goods he wishes to import. The application is then dealt with on its merits in accordance with the policy in force at the particular time. Subject to the overall aim of the import restrictions of conserving overseas exchange, there is in no way any direction that any one brand or model should be imported. There is, however, the qualification that a wide range of goods of dollar area origin are not normally licensed if comparable goods can be obtained from nondollar sources.
– by leave - Senator Paltridge will be absent from Canberra until early September, for medical reasons, but will continue to administer his portfolios of Civil Aviation and Shipping and Transport. During his absence, I will carry out his parliamentary duties in the Senate. During the absence through illness of the PostmasterGeneral and Minister for the Navy (Mr. Davidson), the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper) will act as PostmasterGeneral. Senator Cooper is, however, expected to be absent for a short period, due also to illness. Questions on postal matters in the Senate, therefore, should be directed to me, and in the House of Representatives, to the Minister for Health (Dr. Donald Cameron). The Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) will act as Minister for the Navy.
Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) agreed to -
That leave be given to introduce a bill for an act to amend the Trade Marks Act 19SS.
Bill presented, and read a first time. Standing Orders suspended.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This is a short bill the principal purpose of which is to provide for the Deputy Commissioner of Patents to be the Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks. Under the law as it stands, the Deputy Commissioner of Patents has no authority to deal with trade mark matters. During any absence of the Commissioner of Patents, who is also Registrar of Trade Marks, it is customary for the Deputy Commissioner of Patents to act as Commissioner. In order that he should be qualified by experience to be in charge of the Trade Marks Office it is essential that the Deputy Commissioner of Patents should have the experience in trade mark matters. The amendment in clause 3 of the bill will give the Deputy Commissioner of Patents this opportunity by appointing him to be Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks.
This amendment is important also for another reason. The normal line of promotion in the Patent Office is from Deputy Commissioner to Commissioner of Patents. The proposed amendment will remove the difficulty that is likely to confront a newlyappointed Commissioner of Patents who has had no previous experience in trade mark matters. It is necessary to seek an amendment of the Trade Marks Act 1955 for the reason that the Public Service Act does not authorize the appointment of one officer to two positions under that act. Consequently, it could not be relied upon to appoint the Deputy Commissioner of Patents to be the Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks. The bill also adds the word “ or “ at the end of paragraph (b) of sub-section (1.) of section 135 of the Trade Marks Act 1955.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
– by leave - The statement which I propose to read is currently being made in another place by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), and I shall read it as he is making it. It is as follows: -
In the last month the world has been faced by what could have been a major threat to the independence of two small countries in the Middle East. To meet urgent appeals for assistance from the Lebanon and Jordan and to sustain confidence, the United Kingdom and the United States agreed to send forces there.
The Australian Government has been kept promptly and most fully informed of all developments in the situation both in the Lebanon and in Jordan. As honorable members know, the Australian Government has supported the action taken by the United Kingdom and the United States.
For several years propaganda and subversion emanating from Cairo, and latterly also from Damascus, have been directed against established governments in the Middle East which have maintained normal relationships with the West. These hostile tactics were stepped up in the Lebanon last May, inflaming a domestic political controversy to the point where armed rebellion took place against the Government of President Chamoun. Tt is not my purpose here to enter into a discussion of the internal problems facing the Lebanese Government, but I do say, and all the evidence points in this direction, that domestic political differences within the Lebanon were denied a domestic political solution by blatant interference from other countries.
This interference was of two kinds. The more insidious kind was subversion by hostile radio propaganda. In a country like the Lebanon where two-thirds of the population are illiterate the radio is a most formidable subversive weapon. The second kind of interference was even more serious. I refer to the large scale introduction of arms and armed men from Syria. In these circumstances, the situation in the Lebanon had ceased to be a domestic political one, and the independence and integrity of the country itself was threatened by hostile external forces. On 13th May. President Chamoun stated that “massive Syrian and Egyptian aid “, including “ automatic weapons and grenade throwers “, was being supplied to the Lebanese rebels.
It was against this background that the Lebanese Government lodged a complaint with both the Arab League and the Security Council on 22nd May against United Arab Republic interference. The United Arab Republic agreed to a discussion of the matter by the Arab League but no decision was reached in that group. As honorable members may know, the Arab League is composed of representatives of all Middle East and North African Arab States. A few days later, on 11th June, the Security Council resumed discussion of the Lebanese complaint and adopted a Swedish resolution to appoint a United Nations observer group to operate in the Lebanon.
After a month of inconclusive operations by the United Nations observer group, infiltration into the Lebanon from outside still continued. The Lebanese Government, considering that the machinery set up by the United Nations had not succeeded in eliminating the external threat to Lebanon’s independence and integrity, decided to seek the assistance of its friends within the framework of the United Nations. President Chamoun, backed in writing by his Cabinet, sought immediate and effective assistance on the Syrian border from the United States, United Kingdom and France. The United Slates complied with this request and landed a force at Beirut on the afternoon of 15th July. On the same day America reported her action to an emergency meeting of the Security Council and undertook to withdraw promptly her forces from the Lebanon as soon as the United Nations could institute adequate measures to meet the situation.
In answering the Lebanese Government’s appeal for help the United States took into account its independent evidence of the nature and extent of the infiltration which had been and still was taking place. Some of this evidence was produced by the United Slates representative in the Security Council on 16th July. On the same day the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom said thai over the preceding few days columns of vehicles had been seen crossing the frontier from Syria near Tripoli in the north of the Lebanon, where the insurgents were in strength.
In the Security Council, Mr. Cabot Lodge representing the United States quoted the following as a few of the countless acts of intervention by Egypt and Syria: -
In June the Lebanese Druze rebel leader, Kamal Jumblatt, admitted that he was accepting aid from the United Arab Republic and later he acknowledged Syrian aid including radio transmitters and receivers.
On 8th July a Lebanese aircraft attacked a large truck convoy in the Lebanon near the Syrian frontier and after an exchange of fire the convoy turned back towards Syria.
Syrian paratroops on 9th July were reported to be preparing to infiltrate into the Lebanon and seize the Beirut airport.
The United States State Department has published detailed intelligence reports from various sources covering a period from II th May to 21st June which clearly reflect external intervention by the United Arab Republic.
The extremely difficult task of the United Nations observer group was to report on infiltration into the Lebanon of men and arms from outside. Its limitations need to be clearly understood if its reports are to be kept in proper perspective.
The fact is that the observer group of less than 100 which commenced operations in the Lebanon on 19th June had access at that date only to 11 miles of the 172 miles of the border between the Lebanon and .Syria. .It had no observation posts established -in any rebel-held area by the date of its first report on the 3rd July. It was not until its second report on 15th July, that the observer group claimed that they had access to “ all parts of the frontier “. Under these circumstances it is clear that the observer group had not made - nor was it in a position to make - a definitive report on the state of the border at the time of the American landing on 15th July.
And there is .this to be said: It is beyond doubt that a great deal of infiltration of men and arms had already taken place even before the United Nations observers reached the Lebanon. The observers had to work through interpreters. The frontier area most vulnerable to infiltration was in the hands of the rebels whose obvious motive was to ensure that the observers did not obtain evidence of infiltration. It is difficult for any outsider to tell the difference between a Syrian and a Lebanese - or to tell, after the event, where they obtained their arms.
However, in spite of all this, there is everything, to be said now for establishing this observer groupeffectively on the border - late in the day though it is. But there is no warrant for arguing that serious external interference with the Lebanon -has not gone on and was not going on up to and almost certainly after 15th July. The facts are known to the Lebanese Government and to thegovernments whose assistance they sought. Moreover, the Security Council, with no dissentientsas the Soviet Union abstained on the resolution,, had, as long ago as 11th June, accepted that the situation warranted the sending of observers, urgently “ to ensure that there was no illegal infiltration of personnel or supply of arms or other material across the Lebanese borders “.
King Hussein of Jordan, who has shown great courage in his handling of a situation which, threatened him - and which still threatens him - has consistently supported the idea of Arabnationalism - indeed to the point where he discarded measures which Jordan had earlier adopted. He had replaced Glubb Pasha and British officers in the Arab Legion by Jordanian officers, and in October, 1956, he signed a military agreement with Syria and Egypt establishing a joint military command of the three countries under the Egyptian Chief of Staff. In March, 1957, King Hussein terminated the Anglo-Jordanian Treaty of 1948. King Hussein, far from opposing Arab nationalism, had given every evidence of making concessions to his reading of it - whether wisely or not is another matter.
However, in spite of this, King Hussein and his regime refused to bow the knee to the United Arab Republic, which has been conducting a virulent campaign of subversion, bribery and hostile propaganda against Jordan in recent times.
Armed revolt against the King and Government in Jordan was planned for early July, but was discovered and suppressed. Following the overthrow of the Iraqi government, a further coup was planned in Jordan for 17th July. The King and Prime Minister of Jordan requested immediate aid from the United Kingdom and the United States, stating that Jordan was faced with an imminent attempt by the United Arab Republic to create internal disorder and to overthrow the present regime.
United Kingdom reports confirmed the Jordanian assessment of the position and accordingly the United Kingdom Government flew parachutists into Amman on the early morning of 17th July. The British forces were to act only in agreement with the King and Government of Jordan. It was stipulated that they were neither to be used against Iraq nor for the purpose of releasing Jordanian troops for action against Iraq. As in the case -of American action in the Lebanon, the United
Kingdom assistance to Jordan was immediately brought to. the notice of the Security Council, on 17th July, and the United Kingdom made it clear that, as soon as the Security Council could make arrangements to protect the lawful government of Jordan from the external threat, the United Kingdom forces would be withdrawn.
This survey must contain some reference to Iraq.I do not propose to deal with the Iraqi coup in detail except to say that there can be no condoningthemurderbythemoboftheRoyal Family,thePrimeMinister,NurielSaid, and leading members of the Government -a govern- ment which had done more than any other in the Middle East to use its revenues for developmental schemes: Nuri’s policy of devoting the bulk of Iraq’s large oil revenues to long-range developmental projects may have been largely responsible for his downfall -rather than allocating some part of the large revenues to the short-range benefit of the average Iraqi, whose standard of living is low. I ventured to suggest this to him whenI last met him in London last year, but he continued to believe that the statesmanlike policy was tobuild up the Iraqi economy from the bottom, on strong foundations.
The new Iraqi Government has so far behaved with propriety towards other governments andhasbeenaccordedrecognitionbya large number of them, including the United. Kingdom, the. United States, the Members of the Baghdad Pact, Canada, New Zealand, India and a number of other countries. In the light of assurances which the new regime has given and of the effective control which it appears to have over the country, the Australian Government has decided to extend diplomatic recognition to the new Government of Iraq.
The new Government has not formally terminated its membership of the Baghdad Pact and no action has been taken by the remaining members of the Baghdad Pact to force any decision on the new regime. In view of the Defensive Treaty signed by Iraq with President Nasser in Damascus, there can be no confident expectation that the new Iraqi regime will decide to continue in the Baghdad Pact, which is now left with three Muslim members, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, and the United Kingdom. Although the United States is. not a. full member of the Baghdad Pact, Mr. Dulles- signed a declaration at the end of the recent London meeting of the Baghdad Pact members, the effect of which is that the United States regards itself for all practical purposes as being a full member.
Israel has maintained a correct attitude and has neither taken any action nor made any comment which would exacerbate the situation in the Lebanon and in Jordan. It must be assumed, however, that Israel is closely watching the situation on her borders, and would have cause for concern if encirclement by the United Arab Republic became a possibility. It would be tragic if any action were taken by any party which reactivated the Arab-Israel dispute.
It needs to be emphasized -
That American action in the Lebanon and British action in Jordan was taken only after specific and. urgent requests had been received, from the lawfully constituted Governments of those two countries;
That these requests were made as a result of sustained indirect aggression from the United Arab Republic which took the form of hostile propaganda, incitement to violence, use of agents, and the infiltration of arms and personnel;
That in each case the United States and United Kingdom respectively reported their action to the Security Council and undertook to withdraw as soon as the United Nations could provide adequate safeguards;
That the British and American forces have not been engaged in combat; nor do they threaten the political independence or integrity of any State.
I emphasize these facts as a. preliminary to examining, some of the extraordinary arguments of those who condemn the United States and United Kingdom decisions.
Attempts have been made - in Australia as well as elsewhere - to create the impression that the movement of forces into the Lebanon and Jordan was without justification in international law including the law of the United Nations Charter.
I believe that the legality of the movement of forces into these two countries cannot be in any doubt. There is nothing in the United Nations Charter, and no principle of international law, which denies to the lawful’ Government of independent States the right, whether by treaty or otherwise, to bring foreign forces into their territories for the purpose of defence against any situation which is inspired or supported from outside. Indeed, it would be an extraordinary and calamitous situation, full of the most disquieting prospects for many small countries, if the doctrine were accepted that it is illegal for the forces of one. country to be located in the territory of another when a request has been made by the legal government. Those who are prepared to accept the responsibility of arguing this strange doctrine must be prepared equally to argue that there is no justification for American, British or Canadian forces being located in. Nato countries in Western Europe as a deterrent to aggression and to be used in defensive armed action if aggression should occur.
There is also the fact of Russian forces in the countries- of Eastern Europe, presumably there at the. request of the Governments of those countries. Andcloser to home there are United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australian forces in Malaya, at the specific request of the Government of Malaya.
Is it to be argued, when a small country tells its friends that it fears for its survival and lacks confidence that a group of unarmed observers, will be capable of preventing disaster, that that country should be left friendless and alone while investigations and discussions in the United Nations proceed? What assurance is this when the small country concerned knows that there is a Russian veto which will be cynically applied in the Security Council, and a General Assembly procedure which, in the nature of its workings, could offer no immediate help?
It must be remembered that it can take weeks - perhaps months - before the United Nations could provide any effective help - if, in the face of. the Russian veto, it could ever do so. A coup and a blood bath can be brought about in a matter of days or even hours.I would remind the purist critics in this comfortably distant part of the world that they might be inclined to abandon their comfortable theoretical assumptions if their life or death depended on it, and the continued independence of their country.
It is not that the General Assembly has failed to condemn indirect acts fomenting civil strife and subverting the will of the people in any State. It did so in specific terms in resolutions as long ago as 1949 and 1950. In 1950 the General Assembly of the United Nations reaffirmed that whatever weapons are used, any aggression, whether committed openly or by fomenting civil strife in the interests of a foreign Power or otherwise, is the gravest of all crimes against peace and security throughout the world.
For a number of years the Egyptian Governmentowned radio “ Voice of the Arabs “ has been openly broadcasting over its eleven transmitters virulent incitement to subversion and revolt against established governments in such Middle East and African countries as had normal relations with the West.
On four different occasions, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed resolutions condemning the use of such propaganda designed to provoke and promote threats to the peace. Such resolutions have gone unheeded so far as the Government of Egypt was concerned. The recent radio incitement in the “ Kill Hussein “ campaign has been Egypt’s answer to the United Nations.
I do not wish to be told that the Australian Government has no confidence in the United Nations, which is demonstrably untrue. But it is true to say that the Government is obliged - reluctantly if you like- but obliged, to recognize that there are situations for which the normal machinery of the United Nations is at present inadequate. Here in Australia we should reflect seriously on the implications for our own part of the world of relying solely upon decisions in organs of the United Nations for the physical protection of a country against an external threat.
It should be a cause for great satisfaction that two great democracies have now shown that, acting with a common understanding and approval, they will fill a vacuum in the capacity of the United Nations to act promptly with armed forces; and that they do so only within the principles and confines of the United Nations Charter.
It would be a melancholy and shameful function for the United Nations to have to content itself with an attempt to restore the situation after a defiant aggressor had already achieved his aims. Anyhow the restoration of the situation would be a very doubtful business if the United Nations had to be relied upon to bring it about. As we failed to prevent or remedy the situation in Hungary, let us be thankful that the democracies acted in the Lebanon and in Jordan.
President Eisenhower said in his message to Congress that the United States acted pursuant to what the United Nations Charter recognizes as an inherent right - the right of all nations to work together and to seek help when necessary to preserve their independence. The President emphasized that the action was taken at the request of the Lebanese Government pending the taking of adequate measures by the United’ Nations and that as soon as the United Nations had acted effectively the American forces would be withdrawn.
The United Kingdom acted to protect the lawful Government of Jordan from undeniable external threats; it acted at the request of that lawful Government and it made it clear that the British troops will be withdrawn once the Security Council had made arrangements to assure the protection of Jordan from external threat and so maintain its peace and security.
Until the discovery of oil in the Middle East over SO years ago, the Middle East was probably the poorest area in the world. It is a matter of interest that the discovery of oil in the Middle East was due to the initiative of an Australian - William Knox D’Arcy - and was achieved with Australian money. D’Arcy had made a great fortune arising from his partnership in the original Mount Morgan mine near Rockhampton in Queensland. He put a substantial part of his resulting fortune into the D’Arcy Exploration Syndicate which eventually found oil in Persia, from which grew the Anglo-Persian Oil Company which developed into Anglo-Iranian Oil. I mention this fact as a matter of interest to Australians and not as having any particular relevance to the present situation.
Since those early days, the search for oil in many countries of the Middle East has been greatly and successfully intensified - until to-day the Middle East contains 69 per cent. of the world’s known oil reserves. It supplies about 75 per cent. of Western Europe’s oil. The order of importance of the Middle East countries as oil producers is - Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran, in that order.
Australia obtained 48 per cent. of her oil imports from the Middle East in 1956-57. Of this, nearly half came from Iran, one-quarter from Kuwait, one-tenth from Bahrein and one-fifteenth from Saudi Arabia. The quantity from Iraq was negligible.I understand that, since 1956-57, the proportion of oil coming to Australia from the Middle East has tended to increase.
To play up the importance of oil as the dominant factor in the present situation is to distract attention from the actual causes of it and from the principles at stake. There is no oil in theLebanon or in Jordan - nor indeed within many hundreds of miles of either country. If it be thought that intervention was designed to protect the oil pipelines, the answer is that these can be cut in Syria anyway. The Mediterranean outlets of oil pipelines traversing the Lebanon and Jordan could be cut off in Syria. This in itself is enough to show that-
the motives behind Western intervention are not to be dismissed as arising from oil;
the motives behind interference of Egypt and Syria - the United Arab Republic - are political rather than economic.
Whilst Middle East oil is important to the economy of Western Europe, it is equally important to the oil producing countriesof the Middle
East to have a ready market for their oil. Very real human, social and economic problems would arise if the regulated production and sale of oil were to be interfered with. Millions of workers in Western Europe - as well as Arab workers - depend for their livelihood on oil.
Since Turkey lost her hold on the Middle East as a result of the first world war, Arab nationalism has existed as a conception. Over the years local rivalries amongst Arab States and dynasties have militated against any overall Arab Nationalist movement coming about. However, many States in the Midle East have had governments which have been proper reflections of Arab nationalism. No State in the Middle East was more “ Arab “ than Iraq. Jordan was and is genuinely Arab. Also Saudi Arabia and the Yemen. Indeed these countries can claim to be more genuinely Arab than Egypt, which has a population of mixed blood, of which the Arab strain is only a part. The Lebanon regards itself as an Arab State notwithstanding its composite religious community.
The concept of Arab nationalism does not mean that all other Arab States should be brought under the hegemony of Egypt. The refusal of Jordan and the Lebanon to subjugate themselves to Egypt and Syria has been a major cause of the present crisis.
It is the inherentright of any independent Arab Slate to choose its associations according to its own interests. If it is legitimate for Egypt, Syria and the Yemen to operate in close association with Soviet Russia, it was no less legitimate for Iraq to jointhe Baghdad Pact with other Muslim States and no less legitimate for Jordan and the Lebanon to maintain normal associations with the West.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that what we are witnessing in the Middle East is an exercise in imperialism, with Egypt as the instigator - in an effort to dragoon the other States of the Middle East into an organization of which Egypt will be the head, under the rather spurious banner of Arab nationalism. And the uneasiness in the Sudan and Libya, Egypt’s neighbours to the South and West, reflects the possibility that Egypt’s ambitions are not confined to the Middle East.
It also has to be remembered that the Muslim countries of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan - with a combined Muslim population of about 125 millions - although not Middle East countries’ proper, have unreservedly backed the Western action in the Lebanon and in Jordan.
Both the United Kingdom and the United States have an established history of encouraging true nationalism and independence. Both countries have made every effort toco-operate with Arab nationalism. The problem however is not one of living with Arab nationalism but of living with the United Arab Republic.
What is the West expected to pay as the price for living with the United Arab Republic? If the events that have taken place in the Middle East arc any indication, the price demanded seems to be the demolition of the Baghdad Pact, the abandonment of Israel, the withdrawal of British protection from the Persian Gulf Sheikdoms, and the loss of Aden. In other words absolute withdrawal in favour of Egypt and the Soviet Union. I leave the House to say if these are demands that are likely to be acceptable to the West.
In the course of what I have said I have explained the analysis which the Government has made of the causes of the present situation.
The basic issue was, and is, whether small countries are to be undermined one by one and left by their friends to their fate. Every successful attack, however camouflaged, against the independence of such small States encourages others to repeat the process elsewhere. These attempts would not necessarily be confined to any one area.
In the Middle East, the Government firmly believes that an effective stop needs to be applied to pressures against the independence and the independent policies of small States. If this is to be done, the objective should be to put a brake on the propaganda methods of the United Arab Republic and to halt their continued subversion of other States in the fictitious name of Arab nationalism. In the crises of the moment it is not to be forgotten that the prevention of Egyptian Commando raids upon Israel and of interference with the innocent passage of Israeli cargoes through the Gulf of Akaba has been brought about only by the maintenance of an armed United Nations Police Force, the cost of which is borne by the international community including Australia.
If these and other hostile activities are to be brought to an end, the Charter of the United Nations, which is entirely observed by the Western Powers, must equally be observed by Russia, Egypt and Syria.
The task now before the United Nations is to see whether this can be achieved in practice through the machinery of the United Nations. We cannot have the slightest confidence that it will be achieved unless there is United Nations machinery which will enforce observance. For this is the result at which we must aim in the United Nations, and not merely discussion for its own sake. I pause here to remark that we ought to be clear in our minds about the difference between the Charter of the United Nations and the United Nations in action.
It is not a foreign policy to do nothing beyond refer questions to the machinery of the United Nations. The founders of the United Nations never intended it. If they had ever hoped that it would be practicable to bring about secure independence and justice by sole reliance on the machinery of the United Nations, the experience of the last fourteen years would provide the answer. It has been demonstrated that grave obstacles exist in the United Nations against executive action in defence of the principles written into its Charter.
When timely and effective action was needed, the United States and Britain took it, and this action the Australian Government endorses unreservedly. But it may yet be possible to settle the problems of the Middle East through the United Nations. It is the Government’s view that the effort should be made.
The Australian Government welcomed the idea of a summit meeting on Middle East questions inside the Security Council. The merit of this was more than a matter of continuity. Discussion amongst the leaders of the Great Powers would have taken place, if this had been achieved, in the Security Council against the background of the Charter and the resolutions of the United
Nations. In this way the discussion would have dealt, as we believe itshould, with first things first, namely the situation in the Lebanon and Jordan and the causes of those situations. It was our view that a place in the discussion should be found for those Middle East countries which are immediately and directly concerned. At the same time, nothing was to be gained by opening participation to all comers and there should have been a strict definition of interest and involvement.
It was not our view that the threats tothe Lebanon and Jordon need be the limit of the discussion. Procedures are flexible and the opportunity should be taken of testing the possibilities of agreement among the leaders of the Great Powers on other Middle East questions.
Unfortunately, there have been differences of emphasis among the three Western Powers while the position of the Soviet Union keeps changing.
The latest development is that Mr. Khrushchev is alleged to have rejected the proposal for a summit meeting inside the Security Council, and instead has apparently pressed for a special meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
It is too much to hope that the deepseated antipathies, rivalries, and imperialist ambitions underlying past crises in the Middle East can be eliminated at one stroke.
But it seems to the Government that what might first be done is to create an environment in which Governments can work out their policies free of external pressures. To this end, the Australian Government favours the creation of a United Nations Commission, composed of the representatives of Governments and located in the Middle East. It would be charged with the responsibility of investigating, verifying, and publicly reporting to the United Nations all external acts or threats of interference and subversion, whether direct or indirect.
Such a commission wouldremain in existence until the Middle East showed signs of permanent stability. The commision’s vigilance would need to be backed by a United Nations Police Force to act effectively in controlling threatened borders. The cost of such a Police Force would be insignificant in comparison with the cost of continued aggression and unrest in one of the most sensitive areas of the world, and the Australian Government therefore favours this course of action.
United Nations jurisdiction and action on these lines would create an atmosphere more favorable to the solution of one of the root causes of the explosive conditions in the Middle East namely the Arab-Israeli problem and the absence of a settlement of borders. We believe that with progress on the Israeli question it would be possible to examine whether the flow of arms can be checked and some more effective guarantee of nationhood provided than at present exists. To date, no Arab country has been free to decide, calmly and logically, the attitude towards Israel because of the emotional opposition which would be expressed by other Arab countries, all of whom have vied with one another in the degree of their antipathy to the State of Israel.
Introduction of United Nations machinery into the Middle East is only a beginning, the effect of which would be to create a Jess emotional and less explosive atmosphere. Basic political disputes would remain to be solved bynegotiation. Even that is not enough. The aspirations of the peoples of the Middle East for economic advance ment must be recognized. Economic, development for the benefit of the peoples of the Middle East should be made a matter of world interest founded on the concept of inter-dependence. This interdependence exists and cannot be denied. The Australian Government favours the creation of . an international organization to assist countries of the Middle East to develop their resources and develop mutually beneficial trade with the rest of the world. Progress in this direction would facilitate the re-settlement of nearly one million Palestinian Arab refugees, with Israel making its due contribution. In this way, genuine Arab nationalism could find the fulfilment of its aspirations, in harmony with the interests of the Western Powers and to the mutual advantage of each other.
It cannot be said that the problems in the Lebanon and in Jordan have yet by any means been resolved, although thanks to the prompt action of the United Kingdom and the United States, the fall of these States has been averted and their independence saved. This in itself will be a heartening thing to many small States in many parts of the world which no doubt will have put themselves in the place of the threatened Middle East States. The next phase will no doubt be staged in the special United Nations Assembly Meeting, the result of which no doubt the world will await with no little axiety. It is a very great satisfaction to us to know that at this time of crisis the United Kingdom and the United States are standing firmly and confidently together - with some risk to themselves - in the face of threats to the integrity and independence of small nations.
I lay on the table the following paper: -
Statement on the Middle East Situation by the
Minister for External Affairs, dated 6th August,
and move -
That the paper be printed.
Sitting suspended from 4.17 to 8 p.m.
– The statement that was read this afternoon by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator O’Sullivan) was one made on behalf of the Government by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). Events are moving so fast in the Middle East that the statement itself was already outmoded while it was being ‘read.
One great difficulty in approaching this question is knowing the facts. They are not easy to get, and very often when one has them they are difficult to assess and interpret. The situation in the Middle East is confused and confusing. There is one complete certainty - that the situation there is highly explosive and very dangerous. It could lead in a flash to a third world war and practically the annihilation of civilization by the employment of nuclear energy amongst those who mightbe embroiled in it.
I should like, Mr. President, to put the highlights of the situation as I see them to-day. My survey will not be complete but it will, 1 think, give the main features, every one of them disturbing. There is a vastEassing of American and British troops and French armed forces, naval, military, and air, in the Mediterranean and near the Middle East. That, in itself, is an inflammatory situation. There are United States forces in Turkey, British forces in Jordan, and more American forces in Lebanon, whilst Russian troops are massing on the southern border of their country where it adjoins Turkey and Persia. These forces are not well disposed one towards the other. There has been a successful revolution in Iraq. Russian planes did not hesitate to violate the sanctity of the air over Jordan a few days after the successful Iraq revolution, their purpose being to observe the landing of British paratroopers and other armed forces in Iraq. We have had charges and countercharges between Russia on the one hand and the leaders of the West on the other. There havebeen secretly arranged conferences between President Nasser of Egypt and Khrushchev, the Premier of the Soviet Union. Quite recently, there was a secretly arranged conference between the Russian Premier and the Chinese leader. The nature of the talks not being disclosed one must just assess from subsequent events the direction in which they were tending.
An unfortunate feature of the situation is the obvious differences that exist between the Western nations that give aid and comfort to the people on the other side and cause the most embarrassing delays. In an explosive situation like this, it is important on many occasions that quick decisions be made and that they be implemented without delay. It is quite true that the democracies, with their parliamentary system - their democratic system - cannot move as rapidly as a totalitarian country where there is only a summit when it comes to the question of government, where few persons have to be consulted and where a decision can be made instantly and readily implemented. One admits the disadvantage of the Western nations. They are at a long distance from each other and are compelled to confer on matters of intimate and vital moment.
Now, we have reached the situation that the recently elected President of Lebanon, where the American troops are, and to which place they were invited by the Government of Lebanon or the representatives of Lebanon, has indicated that one of the vital planks in his platform to be put into effect when he takes over on 23rd September, will be to require the departure of American troops. The Premier of that country has hastened the matter by threatening to resign forthwith unless the American troops are withdrawn.
I have put these points to the Senate as the highlights of this very difficult position with which the Western Powers are faced, with which we are involved, and with which everybody in the whole world is concerned. It is a veritable powder keg and I think, frankly, it is a miracle that it has not already exploded.
I have no desire to add to the difficulties of our great friends and allies, America and Britain, who are immediately involved in the Middle East. I recognize that without their support - the support of both of them - we in Australia would have no security whatever in the Pacific. I do not desire to embarrass them in their difficulties. I have never forgotten, and will never forget, that in the last war the Americans came to our aid at the instance of the Australian Government when we were threatened with invasion by the Japanese; how readily they responded was a magnificent gesture, and Australia might well be under other control but for, first, the imaginative approach of the Labour government of the day to America, and the instant and generous response that was forthcoming.
Our prime concern is to ease the tension in the world, to avoid the danger of war. Our second concern, allied with that, is our desire to extricate our friends, or to help them to extricate themselves from a situation which is not only embarrassing but is daily becoming more and more embarrassing for them - more and more untenable.
My third point is that we want to see a just settlement of the very many complicated Middle East problems, where there are racial differences, religious differences, economic conflicts and great social disorder for the great masses of the people. We want to see a settlement of all those problems based on justice to the separate nations which constitute the Middle East.
With these preliminary remarks, I am assuming very largely all the broad details that have led up to the position that I have outlined. It would take too much time for me to go through them in detail. I merely make a selection and I refer, first, to the events that happened in Iraq on 14th July last - not a month ago. Iraq, as we know, is a country which is a great producer of oil. I think it produces some 33,000,000 tons of oil per annum. The oil there is controlled by the Iraq Petroleum Company, which has four components: The British, French, Dutch and American. The British Petroleum Company represents the British interests; the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey represents the American interests; Royal Dutch Shell represents the Dutch interests; and Compagnie Francaise de Petrole represents the French interests. They have vast reserves of oil and, therefore, they are the owners of an asset upon which a very large section of the world is dependent. There was, on 14th July, a revolution in which the leaders - the king, the prime minister, the crown prince and others - were murdered, lt was a brutal and a shocking assault upon individuals. I agree with all the strictures that have been passed upon the brutality which accompanied the rising, but we are faced with the fact that, within three weeks, the new government had been recognized by most countries, including our own country. Britain, the United States of America, France, and, of course, Russia. I was very impressed by an article upon this very point which appeared in the Sydney “ Sun “ on 31st July, under the heading, “ When Killing is No Murder “. I regret that I have not time to read it all. One sentence is -
Nations which so recently recoiled in horror from the crime were apparently partially shocked, but not morally outraged.
That certainly summarizes the position, and I do commend the article to every honorable senator, because I know that every one here is interested in what is going on. If 1 may paraphrase the article, it makes the point that what every one is most concerned about is oil; that this is the reason why every one is so ready to dash in instanter and recognize the new regime. The article rather pictures the major countries of the world as being engaged in a race in the belief that the first in will be the first served; that in an upheaval in the Middle East, which is so rich in oil - a commodity vital to the Western democracies, if not to the whole world - it is important to have a footing in a country which possesses this commodity. I do not think that the newspaper overstated the position when it suggested that the murders in Irak were wiped out, and this speedy recognition was given, because of a need to ensure an interest in an oil-producing country. There can be little doubt about the truth of that. In other circumstances the great nations of the world would certainly have delayed sponsoring a government which had risen to power by recourse to brutal murder.
I should like now to pass directly to the statement of the Minister, who raised something that I myself should not have raised - the legality of the actions of America and Great Britain in Lebanon and Jordan. You cannot, he said, deny the legality of answering a call by a country which, fearing threats from outside, invites you, as a friendly nation, to come in and give help. I am not controverting that proposition - we did it ourselves - but if it is accepted it must be carried, in all logic, two further steps forward. There can then be no objection in law if Syria and Egypt invite Russian troops into their territory and say that, because Lebanon and Jordan are occupied by foreign troops - they feel themselves surrounded and threatened. One does not like the thought, but it is a logical extension of the argument that any country may invite an outside country to come in and help.
I invite the Senate to consider for a moment the explosive situation which would result in the Middle East if Russia, which has been trying for years to get a foothold in that region - if only to protect her southern boundaries - went to countries adjacent to those in which American and British troops were situated. It would be like putting together the white and blue powders that make a Seidlitz powder. It would cause an immediate explosion. I invite the Senate to consider my point - which I make quite objectively - that it could not be opposed in law.
The second point is that, if it is legal to enter a country with the consent of that country, the legality disappears the moment that the original consent is revoked. America and Britain now find themselves in that very difficult position. They entered with the authority of Lebanon - we concede that notwithstanding that something to the contrary may be said - but are now faced with a demand from the President-elect that they retire, and the certainty that he will do his best to enforce his demand when he takes office in September. Moreover, the Premier of Lebanon is at this moment also demanding their withdrawal. These considerations indicate what a delicate matter it is for any country to accept an invitation of that kind.
I direct attention to these two points because the Minister for External Affairs did not advert to either of them. I regret to say that America is rapidly reaching a position where it will face grievous embarrassment. Dwelling for a moment on the legal position, I say nothing about that of Great Britain, whose Parliament made the decision and confirmed the action in Jordan, but it is as well to think about the American position in Lebanon. On 25th February, 1957, President Eisenhower enunciated what has been called the “ Eisenhower Doctrine “. I can put it in a few words from his speech, which was broadcast to the world. He said -
First, in order that this constructive work may go on within these countries-
He was speaking of the Middle East countries - they must be free of the menace of international communism, which could smash all their hard-won accomplishments overnight. And so we give these countries the assurance that if such a danger develops, and if the United Nations machinery cannot deal with the danger, and a threatened country asks for our help, it can count on our help.
That was the pledge. It was confirmed on 9th March by a joint resolution of the American Congress. The decision, which was made in clause 2 of this rather lengthy resolution, reads -
The United States regards as vital to the national interest and world peace the preservation of the independence and integrity of the nations of the Middle East. To this end, if the President determines the necessity thereof, the United States is prepared to use armed forces to assist any such nation or group of such nations requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism.
That is the authority which is given to the President. Clause 3 of the resolution requires that before he applies the money appropriated for that purpose he shall give fifteen days’ notice to the appropriate Senate committee. We know perfectly well that the Lebanon revolution took place on 14th July. The request was made the same day for American troops, and they entered on 15th July. Two points are vital in that announcement of policy, and in the authority which was given to the President: Is there armed aggression? Did it flow from international communism? I shall deal with the latter aspect if time permits. It is debatable whether there was, in fact, armed aggression. As has been pointed out, there was no active assault upon Lebanon from outside. It was claimed that there had been massive infiltration from Syria.
– Armed infiltration!
– The allegation was that arms, ammunition and money were made available to rebels in Lebanon. The United Nations, to which a complaint was made in June, sent a three-party commission, which had its own observers. The commission was in difficulties at the beginning, because only a limited part of the border was available to it to build observation posts. When one reads the reports - I have taken the opportunity to read the first and second reports, although I have not had an opportunity to read the third - one finds that the observers went right, into the rebel country.
– Oh, no!
– The honorable senator says “ Oh, no “, but he is wrong, I regret to say. I shall presently deal with this question of observation in another context and I shall quote to the honorable senator paragraph 21 of the second report, which details the entry of the observers right into the rebel head-quarters.
– At what time?
– This was before 15th July. The areas into which they went are detailed in the report. They did not establish observation posts there, but they not only went into rebel areas, but also met the rebel leaders. They went to the rebels’ head-quarters. They saw their troops and* they saw their arms. Let me at this point make the comment that the two reports which I have read state that the only arms, found were French, British and Italian. The mines they encountered - and by which some of the observers were blown up - were of British origin only. Those are rather significant facts. The truth is that the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 3rd July reported that there was no mass infiltration of the type alleged by the President of Lebanon.
– This is before 15th July?
– Yes. After 1.5th July, of course, the honorable senator could have no complaint, because the report of 15th July indicates that by that time they had observation posts established along the whole line and had them completely manned. I put it to the honorable senator that there is no trouble after that date.
I invite him to look at the two paragraphs I referred to in the report of 15th July - paragraphs 21 and 26. He will find that long before the trouble blew up in Iraq and America entered Lebanon, the observers had a very good idea of what was happening right along the line. They forced their way in where they were not authorized to go. They ran many dangers, as is disclosed in the report. Some of them unfortunately encountered mines and other things, but they had the courage to go in and then to report what they had seen. Those are facts that are quite clearly established’.
The next point I make is that President Eisenhower was required by the resolution to which I have adverted to make a report in July and January of each year as to operations under that authority. He made two reports, one early in August of last year and another one in January of this. year. In each case he reaffirmed his mandate to act only in the event of armed aggression from an international Communist source - an outside source.
– That does not exclude him, nor would he argue that it excluded him, from acting on the request of a foreign government.
– I am referring to his Middle East policy as announced and confirmed by Congress. I merely indicate that when the Minister for External Affairs raised’ the question of legality of actions, we at least ought to ascertain whether the President acted within the scope of his authority or went beyond it.
– Do you suggest that that authority excludes every other circumstance under which he could act?
– No, I do not, but I do say that your own Minister for External Affairs, in reviewing this position, did not attribute the danger in Lebanon to international communism. He made an entirely different proposition. All the way through, the Minister casts the blame for intervention in Lebanon on the United Arab Republic - Egypt and Syria. He crystallized his viewpoint on that matter on page 9 of his speech, when he said -
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that what we are witnessing in the Middle East is an exercise in imperialism, with Egypt as the instigator - in an effort to dragoon the other States of the Middle East into an organization of which Egypt will be the head, under the rather spurious banner of Arab nationalism. And the uneasiness in the Sudan and Libya, Egypt’s neighbours to the south and west, reflects the possibility that Egypt’s ambitions are not confined to the Middle East.
There is your own Minister specifically eliminating any suggestion of international communism. I can find no trace of such a suggestion, although I looked for it on every page of the Minister’s speech. I find no reference to it. It is the Minister who has raised the question of legalism; I base nothing on it, beyond offering that one comment in relation to the American position. It is worth-while 1 to consider it.
I should like to deal now with the question of a summit conference. It was mooted and argued for by the Labour party. ThePrime Minister (Mr. Menzies) gave the suggestion no enthusiastic reception, and the Minister for External Affairs, I can almost say, positively rejected the idea. They were both on television on 20th July, the Sunday night after the Iraq rebellion, and the press of the following morning, reporting their television appearances, had this to say with regard to the Prime Minister -
Mr. Menzies said he would look upon any move by the Soviet for summit talks with a certain degree of suspicion.
Mr. Casey went a good deal further. I shall quote from the “ Sydney Morning Herald” of 21st July. It stated -
Mr. Casey said he could see no point in the Russian proposal for a summit meeting on the Middle East crisis.
A summit meeting could accomplish no more than the Security Council which was meeting at present. . . . Commenting on Mr. Khrushchev’s letter, Mr. Casey said he could see no point in the suggestion that a summit meeting be held on the Middle East crisis. “I would say that Mr. Khrushchev is certainly attempting to form another propaganda forum,” he said. “ I see nothing wrong with the suggestion, but I cannot see a summit conference accomplishing anything the Security Council could not. “ With the talks which have gone on in the U.N., and which will certainly go on within the next few weeks with all the necessary people present, nothing more could be achieved by a summit conference.”
On 23rd July, when Mr. Menzies made a nation-wide broadcast, he adverted to the same question of summit talks, and referring to Russia said -
It next proposed in a lengthy public communication, accompanied by threats, strong language and much false propaganda, that a summit meeting should occur between certain heads of government at a few hours’ notice. This again, it will be observed, involved by-passing the Security Council in respect of a matter already before it.
I am taking the Prime Minister up on that statement that a summit conference would be a by-passing of the Security Council. Khrushchev had asked for a summit conference of the leaders of America, Great Britain, France, Russia and India.
SenatorHannaford. -And China.
-Not China. He suggested five nations, with the possible attendance at that stage of the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations. Five nations only were involved at that early stage. Apart altogether from the desirability of getting people together to talk in a situation of great strain, the United Nations Charter plainly contemplates talks of that type between parties at difference.
In what I have read in the press, nobody has adverted to article 33 of the charter, the first part of which reads -
The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
The second part reads -
The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.
There is the clearest charter for a talk of that kind. Let such people get together and sit around the table where they can learn each other’s sincerity, form firm convictions as to who is bluffing and who is not, and proceed to iron out their differences. The Australian Labour party has always been in favour of heads of nations coming together. We have been advocating it for some years. We feel that it is a tragedy that on this occasion advantage was not taken of the opportunity that was offered. A second opportunity was offered in the Security Council. I shall deal presently with the delays that took place.
I have shown the position that was taken by the Prime Minister and the Minister for External Affairs on 23rd July in relation to talks of any kind. Now we note from the statement which was read to us to-day that they are welcoming summit talks. The pity is that the United Nations Charier was not understood earlier than when the Prime Minister spoke on 23rd July, and that the West unfortunately did not take advantage of thetwo offers that came from Khrushchev. In the light of yesterday’s events, one can be pardoned for doubting his sincerity; but at least on two occasions he made the offer. The first offer was to meet heads of State anywhere - in New York if they liked - and he nominated the following Tuesday for the time of meeting. It may well be that he was unreal in so delimiting the time. It may well be that when he made a further offer on 24th July and suggested a meeting on 28th July at New York he realized the difficulties of arranging one at such short notice.
But I feel that it is all the pities in the world that his bluff was not called, if it was bluff. Having made the offer on 24th July, he received no reply until long after the 28th July, which was the date he nominated. He received no reply from Britain until 31st July. Three days elapsed after his nominated date for the meeting before he received a reply to his suggestion. Then it was 1st August before America replied to him. Whatever the difficulties were, that was bad business. It gave to Russia a vast propaganda advantage. Khrushchev may have been bluffing. He may have banked upon disagreement between America and Britain, which unfortunately appears in various aspects of the proposals. But what a better position the West would be in diplomatically and morally had it said to Khrushchev, “ We will meet in
New York on the 28th “! What harm could possibly have come from the fact that the five leaders sat down with the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations in an attempt to iron out the problem in private? No harm could have come from it, and vast good might have been achieved, lt would have been a wonderful beginning. We feel that it is a tragedy that the present situation has been allowed to develop.
I felt great sympathy for the man who, in a leading article in an Adelaide newspaper, wrote, “ Better that a few old men talk than that millions of young men die “. That is what is at the base of the whole situation. War, death and destruction are to be avoided. Why should there be hesitation about men talking, and who better than leaders of nations accompanied by their advisers? I repeat that it is completely tragic that the situation should have been allowed to drift.
As I pointed out, after Khrushchev nominated 28th July for a meeting in New York, he received no reply from Mr. Macmillan until 31st July. On the following day, America and Britain suggested a meeting on 12th August. No immediate reply was received from the Russian Premier, but on Sth August he said he was finished with summit talks. He had made gestures, but now he wants a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
– If he really wants the talks, why is he walking away from them to-day?
– All I am complaining about at the moment is that the West missed the opportunity to pin him on his bluff and test his sincerity.
– Does not the honorable senator think he is pinned now?
– I think he appears in the worst light in running away from a summit meeting, but he has been given an excuse. He did not get a reply for quite a period of time, and then he was offered a date that he could claim with some justification was a long way ahead. From 24th July to 12th August was, by any standards, far too long a postponement for crucial talks in the highly explosive situation that had to be considered in the Middle East. That is the view I put to the Senate.
– Millions could die because of the pique of an old man.
– That could happen at any stage, and it might be any old man. One of the fears that afflict me is that, with all the ingredients of war that are waiting to be mixed in the Middle East, one man’s bad temper, one man’s senility, one man’s irritation could spark off the whole thing. It is an awfully frightening thought that the peace of the world should hang upon an element of that kind - and it could.
Unfortunately, there is to be no summit conference. Apparently America has agreed very promptly, according to the stop press news that I read to-day, to Khrushchev’s suggestion for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly - has agreed on America’s terms. Whatever that may mean was not explained in the newspaper that I saw, and I do not know what further difficulties may arise. But I do applaud the fact that Khrushchev has been taken up before being given any further opportunity to escape from coming before the bar of world opinion. I do not know whether implicit in his latest proposal is the attendance of heads of State. I sincerely hope that it is, because it would be of vast advantage to the West if the Russian Premier were obliged to speak his part in public and to be judged by the world.
In any case, I am very thankful that no violence has developed in the Middle East since America and Britain went in. T hope the situation will remain quiescent, that an honorable withdrawal can be arranged for both British and American troops, and that the United Nations will take some practical and real steps to sort out matters in that very contentious area.
I thought that the Minister for External Affairs rather played down the ability of the United Nations observers to report on Lebanon. Perhaps I may take a few moments to read two paragraphs, to which I referred some time ago, from reports of the Security Council. In the second report, dated 15th July, the following appears in paragraph 20: -
That is, the group’s patrols - have reported substantial movements of armed men within the country and concentrations at various places. For example, they have penetrated deep into the head-quarters of one of the opposition leaders right up to the village of Deir el Aachayer close to the eastern border. They were escorted by armed men and they established contact with the opposition leader and met his followers. In the area of Rachaya, its patrols have frequently come across armed groups. In Baalbek andto its north, groups of armed men have been seen. South of Baalbek land mines have been found in territory not held by the opposition. North of Baalbeck observers have established contact with the local opposition leader and seen some 200 of his men. Still further north at Zghortah observers have been on the fringe of oppositionheld territory and seen some arms and other material in use. In the Chouf region one observation group has visited the headquarters of the opposition leader and established contact with him. In this region again, large groupings amounting to several hundred armed men were seen.
I indicate to the Senate that they were moving into the area held by the rebels. Paragraph 21 reads -
The arms seen consisted mostly of a varied assortment of rifles of British, French and Italian makes. Some hand grenades were also seen at various places. Occasionally, opposition elements have been found armed with machine guns. Mines seen near the Baalbek area were of British and French makes. It has not been possible to establish from where these arms were acquired but in this connexion the remarks contained in paragraph11 of the report should also be borne in mind. Nor, was it possible to establish if any of the armed men observed had infiltrated from outside; there is little doubt, however, that the vast majority was in any case composed of Lebanese.
– How many miles of frontier are there, and how many miles of that frontier did those observers actually see? Will the honorable senator give me a comparison?
– I am speaking from memory when I say that I think that the border runs for 272 miles.
– That is correct.
-I am asserting, on the authority of their report, that they were in complete control of the whole line when they made that report.
– I doubt it.
– But that is the report.
– I read it quite differently.
– Then the honorable senator had better read it again. Although it is a very lengthy report, I have the clearest recollection from it that they are now in complete control of the whole line and that their observation posts are established.
– That is the report of 28th June?
-I am looking, at the moment, at the report of 3rd July, 1958. The letter from the SecretaryGeneral to the President of the United Nations Security” Council is dated 17th July, and the opening sentence is -
The access to all sections of the frontier secured on 15 July 1958 and reported to the Security Council in the interim report submitted by the Observation Group on that date has enabled the Group to review the position with regard to outstations and the need for Observers and other trained personnel.
– That was after the troops went in?
– It was on the day that they went in. There is the whole picture of the reports by the observation group. There is the statement by the SecretaryGeneral repudiating the suggestion of mass infiltration. One could give objectivity, at least, if not credence, to the reports that would come from the observers and from the Secretary-General. What better evidence could there be? What better authority could there be than independent authority of that type?
I should like, before I conclude, to say a word about Labour policy generally in relation to the Middle East. The Brisbane conference back in March, 1957, addressed its mind to this question and the relevant decision of that conference binds everybody in the Australian Labour party. I invite the Senate to note how closely what the Australian Government now proposes follows what the Australian Labour party then suggested. The decision was -
Conference therefore asserts that the effective promotion of a social and international order founded on freedom, justice and peace in terms of the International Declaration of Human Rights, is now the only, the imperative alternative to a clash of national and economic interests provocative of a third world war.
That was in March, 1957. The decision went on -
Such a social and international order requires international regulation and development by the U.N.O. of-
Power and water potentials . . .
Existing surplus food resources and supplies . . .
International trade routes and means of communication.
Statements made by the executive of our federal parliamentary party in Sydney recently indicated that we stood right by that decision and that we thought there should have been summit conferences. They affirmed our belief that there should be United Nations action to assure peace in the Middle East and the integrity and independence of small nations, and to prevent aggression, direct or indirect, from anywhere.
– Will the honorable senator tell us what that action by the United Nations is likely to be, or could be?
– The honorable senator’s own Government has suggested two things. His Government has suggested that there should be a commission, representative of various nations, that would enter the Middle East and observe and report upon infiltration, subversion and the rest, and that it should be backed by armed forces drawn from the nations - United Nations troops. On that point I indict the Government.
The Charter of the United Nations was open to review in 1955, ten years after it began. I recall well making a speech on that very subject in this chamber in 1955. On 27th April of that year I drew attention to the fact, in a foreign affairs debate, that the Charter was open to review that year. I also drew attention to the fact that there were defects in the organization, one of them being that there was an obligation on the Security Council to call upon member nations to make troops available to the United Nations. I begged this Government to move in the matter of getting the Charter reviewed, and I asked what it had done in the Security Council to ensure that the United Nations was given teeth of that kind. As Senator O’Flaherty says, the Government had done nothing in that direction. It still has made no move to ask for the revision of the Charter three years later. I suggested possible amendment in relation to the breaking-down of the veto in respect of certain matters, and I also made specific suggestions, that relating to the arming of the United Nations being one of the main suggestions. I urged the Government to move. Three years later, the Government is talking about doing that and giving teeth to the United
Nations. That is a point that the Labour party has advocated from the beginning.
If ever we reach an ideal situation in this world - and I do not suppose we ever shall - there will be only one army - an army under the United Nations. No other country would need an army if there were a true international society. I suppose, however, that that would not be the world, but paradise, and may be too much even to hope for; .but at least it is an ideal towards which one can work. What a relief for the suffering people of the world it would be if the burden of defence preparations and munitions, the waste of young lives in war, the wrecking of civilization, and the emergence of brutality, could all be lifted! That is a wonderful ideal. It is worth striving towards, even if we never attain it.
When one looks at the Middle East, one cannot help but see the plight of the people there. There is slavery on a large scale in some parts, abject poverty in most of it and vast illiteracy - in fact, 100 per cent, illiteracy - in some places. Tuberculosis is raging throughout the country - it has been estimated as high as 90 per cent, in Kuwait. Vast revenue is derived from oil; and a moral obligation devolves upon the nations of the world to see that the integrity of the nations within that area is upheld. There is just as big an obligation to ensure that their economic conditions are righted. A tremendous amount of social work needs to be done. There is need for vastly improved communications, vast improvement in the economy and a vast improvement strategically as against Russia. The whole world should and must take a live and vital interest in the area, and it can do this only through the United Nations.
This Government has come right to Labour thinking on this matter of the proposals that are now belatedly put before us - first, inviting the United Nations to come in, going back to the organization and inviting it to take charge of the area, and, secondly, putting up a commission and giving it armed forces. I have no complaint with that. That is the type of thing this party has been asking for in the Middle East and generally in the world since we have been talking foreign policy.
I should like to conclude with a comment upon the actions of the Government in relation to this matter. We of the Labour party regard it as amatter of complete casualness and irresponsibility that from 14th July, whilst all these matters of vital consequence to everybody in Australia, indeedin the world, were moving, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was on a pre-election tour. There were no Ministers in Canberra. Diplomatic personnel who came to this place looking for them could not find one. Not one! There was no Cabinet meeting, even, until 23rd July, ten days after the Iraqi trouble broke and we had all the difficulties in the Middle East - the massing of troops, the American landings, the British landings, the Russian movement of troops, the landing of troops in Turkey, and all the rest of it. I should say that the Government does deserve to be charged with a sense of complete irresponsibility in that matter. It was asked to call Parliament together to enable these matters to be debated, and it is a pity that this was not done. Had these matters been talked about then, had we pressed for an acceptance of those offers in summit conference, things might have been very much better.
Mr. President, I realize that this subject is hydra-headed and that one might discuss it for a very long period. Of necessity, I have had to make a selection of matters. I know there are gaps in what I have put, but at least I have expressed a viewpoint upon the situation there. I hope that we shall be able to avoid war. The Government can be assured that the Labour Opposition will lend its best energies and efforts to that end, to the easing of tension-
– Have you ever heard of the Foreign Affairs Committee?
-I have no war with the Foreign Affairs Committee; I am talking about the Middle East. I am assuring the Government that the Opposition is completely aware of the gravity of the situation to us all- to Australia, and to the world - and that we will co-operate very readily with the Government in anything that will lead to a lessening of the tension. We regret that the Government has not been more active in seizing the opportunities that were open to it and I only hope thatwhat is now proposed in the wider circle of the General Assembly will have somegood effects. With regard to that, I can only say, “ We shall have to wait and see “.
.- I think the speech we have heard from the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) on this matter is more moderate than many speeches delivered by otherson his side of the chamber have been, but I think it is remarkable nonetheless for certain omissions which it makes, and is mistaken in some of the assumptions on which it bases its argument. . I hope to show that as I go along.
At the beginning of my speech on what has been aptly described a hydra-headed subject, I should like honorable senators to look at the part of the world we are discussing as it was over the years from the end of the first world war until the period after the second world war. Having been freed from the suzerainty of the Turks by the British, that area, during that time, was probably one of the most peaceful areas one couldfind in the world in respect of international conflicts. It was composed of a number of different States, and the people of many of them were of the same nationality, but it did not pose a threat to world peace, either from rivalry amongst the States themselves or because of rivalry over the area amongst others.
That situation continued until fairly recently, after a revolution in Egypt - a revolution which, for all I know, had the support of the Egyptian people, but which it is well to remember was an army revolution. After that, the troubles in this area began. A major cause of their beginning was, I think, the supply to Egypt of arms of all kinds from Communist sources in Europe, the supply of arms which would enable it to embark, should it so desire, upon those small wars which can so quickly grow big.
I think it is just as well for us to remember, particularly when we hear talk of the overriding peaceful desires of those who rule Russia, that the act which made the disturbance in the Middle East possible was the supplyofaggressive arms to Egypt in the first place by those who rule Russia. Egypt, goodness knows, under Nasser, as under previous rulers, had enough to do in looking after the welfare of its own people, in suchmatters as health, social services andthose other things about which we hear so much, without spending its revenue on arms. As a result of the supply ofthose aggressive arms, there was a war in the Middle East which resulted in those arms being deftly removed from Egypt and placed in the custody of Israel. But the situation still remains serious because those arms were rapidly replaced.
Since then, the area has been in a state of constant disturbance emanating from Egypt and leading to a condominium or junction of the countries of Egypt and Syria in an entity known as the United Arab Republic. That, in itself, need have caused no concern to anybody, but, for years, a constant spate of radio invective has emanated from the governmentcontrolled Cairo radio against the other individual small States of the area. They were not arguments but direct incitements to murder, calling by name those whom the Cairo radio thought should be murdered and threatening them in terms such as “ Nuri el Said, the vultures will pick your bones in the street “, or “ Hussein, you must be killed as your grandfather was killed “, generally and unequivocally violating absolutely the resolutions of the United Nations passed in 1949 and 1950 to the effect that it was a violation of the peace for one State to seek to interfere in the internal affairs of another State, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of causing civil disorder or attempting to overthrow the established government by force.
This constant propaganda came to a head with the recent events which threatened Lebanon and the United Arab States of Jordan and Iraq. Lebanon was the first country threatened. She was subjected not only to this constant radio propaganda but also, it is claimed, to the massive intervention by men and arms over the Syrian border in support of the rebels. That claim by the Lebanese Government was confirmed absolutely by information received through sources open to the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Let us look at what happened then, taking Lebanon as a case for discussion. Lebanon then appealed to the United Nations against the violations of the United Nations resolutions and the United Nations Charter, and sought help from the Security Council against this intervention. The Security Council accepted, at least by inference, the truth of the Lebanese allega tions of infiltration because it agreed to the establishment of a corps of United Nations observers to police the border and ascertain the true position. Even Russia on that occasion abstained from objecting to the course of action taken by the United Nations.
The Leader of the Opposition cast some doubt on the allegation of infiltration and based that doubt on reports of the United Nations force. But I think that when assessing the strength of such reports we should bear in mind these facts: First, that the United Nations observers could, at the beginning, reach only 11 of the 172 miles of frontier, and secondly, that on 13th June, long before the observers took over, ten people from the United Nations were in Lebanon trying to police the Syrian border. As late as the end of June, 94 members of the United Nations were endeavouring to cover 172 miles of desert frontier, some of it in mountainous and almost impenetrable country. It would not be realistic to assume that such a force, in terrain of that character, subjected to the controls imposed on it by the rebels, could submit a definite report that infiltration was not taking place; indeed, it did not. The observers were allowed by the rebels to go to certain places and see certain people, and the report they submitted was to the effect that sufficient evidence was not available to say for sure that infiltration of arms or of men was taking place. Yet the United Nations had accepted the Lebanese allegations and had sent a corps of observers to that country.
Because of the limitations placed on the functioning of that corps, and because the Government of Lebanon said that men, grenade throwers and arms of all kinds were still entering that country and that the government forces were in fact being attacked, Lebanon then appealed to its friends, the United States and the United Kingdom. Let us consider that action. Lebanon was, and is, a member accepted and recognized by the United Nations. Under the United Nations Charter, it has the complete and absolute right to use force of any kind in self-defence. In addition, Lebanon was allied in a regional pact with the United States and the United Kingdom and, under the United Nations Charter, has the complete and absolute right to be in a regional pact of that kind as a means of self-defence. At no stage were any precepts of the United Nations violated or infringed.
So the United States went to the aid of the Lebanese Government and immediately reported that fact to the United Nations, stating that United States forces were in Lebanon only until such time as the United Nations could itself carry out its obligations in a proper way. The United States put before the Security Council a resolution urging that the United Nations should strengthen its observer corps, should provide police elements of greater force than the observer corps, and should allow the United States to withdraw its troops, surely an action designed to build up the prestige of the United States and influence small countries to have faith in the United Nations.
That resolution before the Security Council was vetoed by Soviet Russia. The voting on that occasion was n:ne countries for the resolution, two countries abstaining and a veto by Soviet Russia, surely a slap in the face for the United States. The Soviet delegate then proposed his own motion, that the United States troops should be told to withdraw immediately. One would have throught that if those troops were infringing the beliefs of members of the United Nations the Soviet resolution would have been passed, but it was not. Russia was the only member that voted for it.
Then the Japanese delegation, representative, I suppose, of Asian opinion, as our opponents will agree, gave notice of a compromise resolution urging that the United Nations should strengthen its observer corps and thus allow the United States to withdraw its troops. The Soviet Union gave notice that it proposed to veto that compromise proposal.
I have sought to show so far that at every turn in Lebanon - Jordan can be taken in the same case - the United States and the United Kingdom have sought to act in conformity with United Nations principles, and have acted in conformity with them, and that the only violation of those principles and of United Nations resolutions has been by that State which sought to subvert by propaganda and infiltration Jordan and Lebanon and, I believe, by veteoing an attempt to put the matter back in the hands of the United Nations.
But that was not the end of the matter. AH that happened, Sir, was this: Two small States which believed themselves to have been threatened had been preserved by proper processes and no alteration in the status quo had taken place. No new action had been taken which anybody could be taken as an attack upon their rights; no alteration at all had happened. Yet, suddenly, the world found itself apparently in danger of an atomic and hydrogen holocaust. It found itself in that danger for one reason only - because Soviet Russia, not for the first time, threatened that it would launch an atomic war and unleash the horrors of the hydrogen bomb.
This threat had been made before; the threat was now made again. And so we heard of Britain being warned not to make the final, fatal error of sending help to Jordan. We heard talk of weapons possessed which could make the ships of the Americans into iron coffins. We heard descriptions of the quantity and quality and offensive capacity of inter-continental ballistic missiles held by the Soviet. We were told that peace hung on a thread, but that that thread was entirely within the control of the Soviet Union, which alone could have started a war. And why? Not because any alteration had been made of the status quo, but because two small States which believed themselves to have been in danger of attack, had asked for, and received assistance, and were preserved.
If there was, or is, danger of atomic war as a result of actions of that kind, then it means that at any time now or in the future if a small State - and it might well be Australia, which is a small State - finds itself threatened and asks for assistance and is given assistance, the rest of the world is to be blackmailed by the threat of initiation of an atomic bomb. For my own part. I believe that the West, the United States, the United Kingdom and, I trust the Australian people, will not let themselves be deterred from acting in conformity with the principles of the United Nations and from acting in a fair and just way by the threat that if they do, then they will be subject to an attack by hydrogen weapons.
It may be that there are some who will disagree with that. It may be that there are some who prefer to submit to that blackmail rather than stand up to it and say, “ If necessary, we will do what we believe right and if you chose to launch hydrogen weapons on us because of that, your responsibility be it “ The only possible course which any self-respecting country can take is to do what is right and not to submit to blackmail.
Reference was made by the Leader of the Opposition to the summit conference, or proposed summit conference on this matter of the Middle East. I gather it was to be a limited summit conference. The Leader of the Opposition said, and it is true, that Mr. Khrushchev, having created this state of world tension, having created this threat of world war, asked for a summit meeting at once. The honorable senator proceeded to say that the Western Powers which were to go to that summit meeting were under the compulsion of con- suiting each other to see when it would suit the various governments, and therefore a delay of three or four days took place over the time limit set by the Russian dictator. The honorable senator then said that even though the Western Powers accepted - Macmillan said, “ I will go anywhere to meet you “ - they lost a wonderful opportunity and that Mr. Khrushchev - I gathered by implication; I do not think the Leader of the Opposition meant it - was almost justified in believing that the West did not want a summit conference.
The history there, of course, was that Mr. Khrushchev asked for a summit conference outside the Security Council of the United Nations or the United Nations organization. The other powers believed that this would weaken the strength - the moral strength - of the United Nations and said they were willing to have the conference within it even at a head-of-government level. Mr. Khrushchev then changed his ground and said he wanted a meeting outside it, at Geneva or somewhere else. The Western Powers agreed to have a meeting concurrently with the matter being discussed within the Security Council so that Mr. Khrushchev’s point would be largely met but the authority and moral influence of the United Nations would not be impaired.
Mr. Khrushchev has changed his mind again and wants the matter referred to the General Assembly, which, I understood, is something the United States suggested some time previously. But wherever the. meeting takes place - and it. looks as though the meeting will take place inside theUnited Nations - the basic fact to me isthat what we have seen in the Middle East is a symptom of the illness in the world and’ that whatever happens now. in the Middle East, that symptom will crop up in some other part of the world.
Until such time as every country refrains from relying on force to obtain some new objective, whether that force be radio incitement to revolt, infiltration, the sending of volunteers, or the threat of atomic destruction, there will continue to be places in the world where those countries which do refrain from those measures will still find it necessary to take a stand and say, “ What ever you threaten us with, we believe this is right and we will do it, whatever the consequences may be “.
The Australian people must make the basic decision as to which fate is worse than the other - the world to live under the shadow of a Communist dictatorship or a fascist dictatorship, or an atomic war. One of those things must be worse than the other, and the basic choice which man must make is which one he believes to be worse than the other. It is no good saying, as so many people seek to say, “ I will never give in to communism; I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees, but an atomic war is the worst possible thing that could happen to mankind “. It is no use people saying that they will submit to the destruction and the rooting out of every civilized tenet that they have believed in all their lives so long as they can biologically survive. There is a basic choice, not between war and submitting to communism, but which one is worse than the other. The people have to make up their minds whether they are prepared to run the risk of being attacked by atomic weapons in order to preserve the values that they hold well. I think these things will come again, but I believe that what has been done here has been done properly and within the concept of the United Nations. It has been a right thing to do and I am glad that this Government has supported those friends of this country who took that action.
– I listened very- carefully to Senator McKenna’s speech, and, though he discussed the legal aspect, I was still not quite sure when he had finished whether or not he agreed with the landing of troops in Lebanon and Jordan. However, from one’s reading of the newspapers one can ascertain the views of his leader, Dr. Evatt, and of the head of the federal executive of the Australian Labour party. These gentlemen have stated clearly their opposition to the landing of troops in Lebanon and Jordan. Appeasement should go so far and no further. It must then, I believe, be halted. The real mistake was made almost two years ago when appeasement crept into the Suez Canal crisis. We had there a situation which, people said, would set the world aflame, but I believe that if America and the United Kingdom had shown then the co-operation that they show now, the Middle East would have become quiet, and would have remained quiet.
Nasser has been responsible for the recent trouble in the Middle East. He has led Arab nationalism and is, to a certain extent, relying upon it. I admit its existence, but I believe that it could have developed - and was developed - under the influence of the British. Nasser has, in order to safeguard himself, incited more than mere Arab nationalism. When action was taken in the Suez crisis the British did not go in with sufficient force. If they had done so I believe that, within a week, Nasser would have been overthrown, and would not have been heard of in the Middle East again. I think that is the basis of what is happening to-day, and that if there had not been landings in Lebanon and Jordan all British influence in the Middle East would by now have vanished. There would have been insurrection in all countries where that influence existed and we should now find that Israel was the only country looking to Britain - and that only for self-protection. .
Surely the British Government has a moral right to safeguard the interests of its own people. I have not heard a great deal, during this debate about the oil question,, but I think we all realize that the economy of Great Britain and, indeed, of Western Europe relies to a great extent upon the availability of oil. Anything that threatens to destroy the economy of England or of Western Europe must be viewed seriously. I believe that the British Go vernment has a moral obligation to safeguard the British economy and to remainon friendly terms with the Arab countries. If the United Kingdom accepts the fact’ that rebellion designed to overthrow legitimate governments is imminent she must’ also accept the fact that in a very short time those governments will come within the Russian- orbit. In such circumstances she has surely a moral obligation to step in and do something about it. If she does not her economy will be wrecked and millions of her people will be thrown out of employment.
– And a few of ours also.
– Yes, but for the moment I am considering the position in England. What. I am especially pleased about is that in this situation, however dangerous it may be said to be, the Americans and the Britishhave at last combined and have displayed their joint strength. I do not believe that Russia will go to war. I think that that would be the last throw of the dictator. Therefore, so long as we show strength we shall be able to call her bluff. She is already extending her influence throughout the world as rapidly as the needs of com»munism demand. She is able to do this by her cold war tactics, and by getting others to fight her battles. I do not think that there is any danger that Russia will throw the atom bomb. I am pleased that appeasement has at last been cast aside.
As Senator McKenna has said, there is an inflammatory situation in the Middle East. That’ situation has been caused by Russian influence, or by attempts to extend Russian influence in the area. At present the Arab States are nationalistic, but this surge of nationalism has been brought about by the lure of British pounds and American dollars. If oil had not been found in those areas, and the inhabitants had been left in their native state, there would now be very little danger. However, perhaps to their detriment, they have come in touch with civiliza-‘ tion - or with what we call civilization - and they want a greater share of what their country is producing. I say that they should’ get’ a greater share. The rebellions which have taken place - in Iraq especially - are ‘ akin to what has happened in the South : American republics. One regime has overthrown another. I believe that both the”!
United States and Britain recognize that that is the position, and that is why they have had no difficulty in recognizing the new government that has been formed. However, from the economic point of view, we must, under all circumstances, make sure that British and American influence in that area is sustained.
Senator McKenna spoke about the legality of America’s entry into Lebanon. He said that according to the legislation passed by the American Senate, the President was obliged to wait fifteen days before making his decision to enter. I believe it would be presumptuous for us to doubt the legality of America’s action. American troops have gone into Lebanon but no fighting has taken place and the country, instead of being in a state of rebellion, is in a state of peace. That peace will continue because of the presence of the Americans, and the result will be that the people will have an opportunity to iron out their difficulties. The same thing has happened in Jordan.
As far as the rest of the Middle East is concerned, if British influence were to evaporate in the area we are discussing, what would happen in Kuwait, one of the richest oil-bearing centres of that area? What would happen in the Aden protectorate? British influence would be gone and very soon we would find that Russia was occupying a warm-water seaport, the possession of which has been her ambition throughout history.
I am afraid of what will happen in Iran. A rebellion has occurred in Iraq, although Russian influence was not very strong in that country, because in order to interfere with Iraq, Russia would have had to cross the neutral territory of Turkey or Iran. The position of Iran is different, because that country has a common border with Russia. Economic conditions are not very good in Iran, and we know that Russian infiltration is taking place. Were a rebellion, fomented to a great extent by Russia, to take place in Iran, it would be more serious to the Middle East than the rebellion in Iraq as far as Russian influence is concerned.
A lot has been said about a summit conference, but a summit conference would be only a medium of propaganda as far as Khrushchev and the Russians are concerned. We could not expect anything to come out of such a conference because, knowing the Russian attitude, we can be certain that the conference would be used as a medium for Communist propaganda. However, we believe that something could come out of such a conference if it were held within the jurisdiction of the United Nations. By adopting that course, we would not destroy the value of the United Nations, as some people have suggested we are trying to do. It rather amused me to hear Dr. Evatt speak so forcibly of what the United Nations will do for the world and then advocate a summit meeting outside the ambit of the United Nations. A summit meeting outside the United Nations, if it were held, could definitely destroy the value of the United Nations in peoples’ minds as a force for peace. They would say, “ What is the use of the United Nations when the big powers themselves meet and determine these matters? “
I agree with Senator McKenna that there is only one way in which the United Nations can work, and that is by having a police force that could move into these troubled areas at once, just as the American and British troops have moved into Lebanon and Jordan. There is need for a United Nations force to do that.
– What would Russia say to that proposal?
– Russia would definitely veto such a proposal, because it would upset her idea of world domination. The party to which I belong believes that the action taken by Britain and America in the Middle East was right, and what has happened since has shown it to be so. It has given the United Nations time at least to think something up. Whether the United Nations will do anything is another matter, but the action of Britain and America has given it the opportunity to do something to preserve peace in that area. T hope that the United Nations will live up to its obligations. It has already put a police force into the Suez area. Somebody suggested that the United Nations could not put a force into the Middle East, but it has already done so, although there may be constitutional difficulties in maintaining such a force for a period of time.
I repeat that the action that has been taken by the United States and Britain is correct. It has stopped the policy of appeasement that has been of great propaganda value to Russia and that has been forcing on to her side the little countries which are attracted by strength. The weaker countries will always lean towards strength. I hope that the United Nations in the future will in some way be given an executive force so that it will be able to do something. If we had had to wait until the United Nations could have done something in the present situation, I am afraid that the Middle East would have been lost to British influence. I reiterate that I believe Britain has a moral obligation to her own people to see that her influence in the oil-producing areas of the Middle East is not interfered with. If she allowed that influence to wane, her economy could be wrecked. Until new means of propulsion and new kinds of power for factories are discovered, as may happen in the not distant future, she must rely upon those sources of fuel to bolster her economy. She would be letting down more than 50,000,000 people of her own, as against the few million who inhabit the Middle East countries, if she were to allow her influence to wane.
I hope that Britain and America will continue to co-operate and will put a stop to Russian influence in these countries so that the people in the countries of the Far East, which lie to our near north, will gain confidence and eventually side with Australia against communism.
– I agree wholeheartedly with what Senator Cole has just said. I agree, too, with a certain amount of what the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) said, but I do not agree with his remarks about what he described as the irresponsibility of the Government in not calling the Parliament together earlier to discuss the Middle East situation. The statement that has been made to-day by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) explains very clearly to people of Australia what has happened and what will happen in the future as far as Australia is concerned, and I am sure the majority of them will agree with that statement. I wonder what would have been achieved if the Parliament had been called together a week or ten days ago? Do you think, Mr. Deputy President, that the summoning of Parliament would have had any effect on events in the Middle East?
I do not think that debates in this chamber and in another place would have had the slightest effect on either Nasser or Khrushchev.
– Does the honorable senator think the Cabinet should have been called together?
– I do not think that was necessary.
– It was called together.
– The Cabinet was called together, I believe, on 23rd July, but I do not think it was at all necessary for it to meet before that date. We are really small fry, and a meeting of the Parliament would not have had any effect on what has been happening in the Middle East. It is ot no use our taking any other view of our own importance. We are not quite as important as sometimes we like to think we are.
The situation in the Middle East seems to me to pose two problems. First, were the Western Powers right in doing what they did in Lebanon and Jordan? Secondly, what is to be done in the future; in other words, where are we going? The first matter is really history, but the second is one of great importance. Before examining those two problems, I, like Senator Cole, should like to go back to a consideration of the Suez crisis. Of course, that, too, is history and cannot be altered; but the fact remains that, if the intervention of Great Britain had been carried to its logical conclusion, the present situation would never have arisen. Nasser would never have reached his present position of power. Indeed, he probably would not have been alive to-day; he probably would have been killed by his own countrymen. But Nasser has gone on with great success. He managed to bring Syria into the Arab union and almost succeeded in bringing in Lebanon and Jordan. Moreover, he has helped very considerably in a revolution in Iraq.
Most of the help given in Iraq has been in the form of subversive action, propaganda, and the giving of money and arms. No one with the most vivid imagination would imagine that Egypt had either the money or the arms to supply to those who were fomenting revolution. There is only , one place that that money and those arms could have come from - that is Russia. I do not think that in this debate enough stress has been placed on Russia’s actions, but I hope to say more about that at a later stage.
I do not wish to analyse the causes of recent events in the Middle East very fully, because that has been done by the Minister for External Affairs and honorable senators. The Minister has explained the propaganda campaign by outside powers in an attempt to overthrow the lawful government of Lebanon and Jordan. America and Great Britain helped those two countries at their own request and, having done so, reported their action at once to the United Nations and stated categorically that they would withdraw their troops immediately the crisis had passed. I do not think there is any doubt about the legality of their action. Senator McKenna spent quite a long time discussing it from the legal viewpoint. Not being a lawyer, I cannot say whether he was right or wrong; but my, common sense tells me that Great, Britain and the United States were morally right and that they saved Lebanon and Jordan from destruction.
Let us consider what happened in Iraq, where the situation was entirely different. I do not think there is any doubt that there was an element of interference and incitement from outside, but the evidence is not so strong as it is in regard to Lebanon and Jordan. What has happened in Iraq conforms to the general pattern of what has happened in that part of the world. Although the overthrow of the government was carried out in a most bloodthirsty way, of which no member of this Parliament would approve, it is something that can be understood by any one who knows the country and its inhabitants. Life there is not of great value. There is a good deal of murder. In fact, the people are a bloodthirsty lot of ruffians, to put it mildly, and take great joy in doing this sort of thing. Looking at the revolution from their point of view, it almost corresponds . to the overthrow of a political party by another party in a democratic country. I think that that is the way in which history will record the Iraqi revolution.
The great thing to remember is that the revolution was an internal matter. The people of Iraq did not ask for help and Great Britain and the United States of
America did not go to their aid or interfere in the slightest degree. In fact, those countries have since recognized the new government of Iraq. Great Britain and the United States, in assisting smaller nations, intervened to save them from destruction. The Western Powers were not asked to go to Iraq, and they did not go and did not interfere. That is a point that should be appreciated by every democratic country.
Some people say that responsibility should have been left with the United Nations and that the Western Powers should not have intervened in Lebanon and Jordan. But those who planned the downfall of Lebanon and Jordan adopted a technique with which the United Nations is not able to cope. They are employing that technique in various other parts of the world, and they will go on. doing so. They foment trouble; they support insurrection with money and arms and hope to carry out a coup before the United Nations can stop it. The United Nations, as at present constituted, has not an earthly hope of stopping such moves, because it has no forces with which to do so. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that the trouble in the Middle East to-day has been fomented by Russia and that she will continue to stir up trouble. I believe that she is using the United Nations to suit her own purposes. Therefore, I say that no one can really contend that Great Britain and the United States have acted illegally, or otherwise than in the interests of the whole free world.
The second question is: Where do we go from here? To me, that is the important thing. When I say “ we “ I mean the Western nations. Undoubtedly, in the very near future Great-. Britain and the United States will have to pull out their forces from Lebanon and Jordan. What is going to happen when they do so? If the United Nations cannot put in a force with teeth, the situation will revert to the stage that it. had reached three weeks ago, because Nasser will not stop his propaganda and Russia will continue to prompt him and help him.
– The position will become worse.
– Of course it will get worse, because the Communists are having success. Why should they stop there? Why should they not go on to the rest of the States in the Middle East? Of course, they will. Why should not they, go beyond those States? As Senator Cole has suggested, why should they not go on to Iran? Of course, they will. After that, why should they not go on to Afghanistan, to Pakistan and- to Turkey with the same procedure? In fact, the Communists are winning all along the line with this method they are employing in the Middle East.
Let us consider the possible reasons for the. situation that has- developed in the Middle East. We are told that there is a lot of Arab nationalism about. There is not the slightest doubt that there is. Most people will appreciate that that is so and that there is bound to be nationalism. The Middle East countries have quite a lot in common. But how much of the unrest is due to Arab nationalism and how much to the efforts of Nasser is a moot question. Is Nasser an Arab? Many people say that he is not because, they say, the Egyptians are not true Arabs. Certainly, there is a tremendous difference between the so-called Arab of Egypt and the Arab of the Arabian Peninsula.
– One can run a little faster than the other.
– At times, they are both pretty fast runners. The next factor that must be considered is that there is a degree of hatred of the Western countries, and I suppose there is some cause for that. In the past certain things have happened in that part of the world which have not been very creditable to some of those concerned. The French, I think, are more hated than other nationalities in that area because they hung on so long and refused to get out. We can understand why they are hated.
I think that another reason for the present situation in the Middle East is the wish of the people of the area to seize resources that we have developed there, to seize the revenues from the Suez Canal and from oil, although the canal and the oil installations, as has already been pointed out, resulted from the efforts of the Western powers. The Arab countries did not have the brains, the know-how or the money to develop their countries. We have developed them, and now that they are developed, the Arabs wish to seize the revenues and installations.
– They are drawingvast, royalties, too.
– Yes, they are. The next factor concerns the low standards of living in the countries of the Middle East. By seizing the revenues that they see within their grasp, they hope to raise their standards of living. There is no doubt that the standards in some of the Middle East countries are so low that they could not be much lower, and Communist propaganda and promises to raise them are gladly accepted. In some Middle East countries in which trouble has occurred there has been hatred of the monarchy and of the system of government. I think that, in some cases, the people had reason to hate their monarchs. I do not think that the ex-King of Egypt, for instance, was a very bright monarch. No doubt, the Egyptian people had good reason to get rid of him.
For the reasons that I have given, perhaps it is impossible to combat the movements that are taking place in the Middle East. We can accept an Arab bloc for the whole of the Middle East, but we- cannot accept a Russian-dominated Arab bloc. That is the dangerous thing. I think we shall find the key to the situation if we look closely at Russia’s interest in the area. In my opinion, Russia’s action in .the Middle East is part and parcel of her campaign to achieve world domination. All those countries in the Middle East are of great strategic importance. They are the gateway between Europe, Asia and Africa. They could block not only sea but also air communications and, from a military point of view, they are tremendously important.
Russia, if she gained control of the oil in that area, could, to a large extent, control the economy of Europe at any moment she wished, not only in times of war. At a moment’s notice, she could cut off oil supplies, if only for a month, and thus create despair and despondency in Europe. Without having any reason for it, she could foment a little trouble there. She could create not necessarily a world war, but a world crisis. By such action, she could do a tremendous amount towards ruining Great: Britain. She could also do much towards seriously, affecting not only employment but the whole economy of Australia.
It is a matter almost of life and death to us that Russia should be prevented from gaining control of those oil resources.
Again, Russia would like to enjoy the trade to be obtained from that part of the world and at the same time achieve her ancient ambition to obtain a warm water port. Last but not least, by obtaining control of these countries, Russia would break what she calls her encirclement by bases belonging to Western Powers from which she could be bombarded heavily in the event of war.
All these matters are extremely important to Russia and it is vital that we prevent her from obtaining control there. For the reasons I have outlined, it cannot be doubted that Russia is behind Nasser in all the trouble in that part of the world. We cannot allow this sort of thing to go on and at the same time remain a power in this world or retain our present standard of living. If we allow this continual creation of unrest and overthrow of governments, with consequent domination by Russia of the countries concerned, the trouble will spread beyond the Middle East to the rest of the world.
In my opinion, Khrushchev’s visit to Mao-Tse-tung is part of Russia’s attempt to gain world domination. I feel we shall find that within a few weeks, as a result of that visit, trouble will break out in South-East Asia. I cannot see any reason why the same thing could not happen in Thailand, Indonesia andIndo-China. I am certain that Khrushchev went over to MaoTsetung and said, “ Look how well I am getting on in the Middle East. Cannot you cause a little trouble on this side so that we may shift attention? “ The time has come when we must insist that this type of action shall stop. It is an inescapable fact that Russia is winning the cold war, and winning it hard. This Middle East trouble is her latest success.
How are we to stop all of this? That is the 64-dollar question. Here I have to agree with Senator McKenna that it is entirely a job for the United Nations, although I do not think it will be stopped by the United Nations as at present constituted because, in the present circumstances, the United Nations is absolutely helpless. If we leave Lebanon and Jordan, and if the United Nations has not a force to put into that area, all those countries in the Middle East will go. For that reason, I believe that the first essential is that the United Nations should adopt a short-term policy, get a force together as quickly as possible and take over control from the United States and Great Britain to ensure that the countries in the Middle East are preserved.
As Senator, McKenna pointed out, the long-term policy must be one of complete disarmament, with the United Nations having the only force in the world. But here again, as Senator McKenna has stated, that will not come for many years, certainly not during my life time. The medium-term policy that should be adopted is that the United Nations should have in the Middle East a force ready to take action similar to that taken by Great Britain and the United States if similar trouble should occur in some of the other smaller States. These are all matters that certainly should be discussed at the summit talks which I think will take place now in the United Nations. There will have to bea commission along the lines suggested by the Minister for External Affairs in his speech to-day, a commission that will have a force ready to take instant action so that the United States and Great Britain will not be forced in the future to take the sort of action they have taken in the past.
I have no more to say on the matter. I think that, in the circumstances, what has been done has been justified in every way. If it had not been done we would havelost another battle in the cold war and we would have been much closer to a third war than we are.
. -I approach the matter under discussion to-night with a feeling of complete humility, and whatever I say, my utterances will be somewhat tentative, because the problem we are considering is of such a size and complexity that if it is not solved, the lives of not only every person in this chamber, but of probably most people in the world will be seriously affected.
I only wish that, when we are examining foreign affairs in general, and the Middle East in particular, we could have a black and white background, against which everything would stand out starkly and clearly. The more one examines this problem, the more one finds that one has to discuss matters against varying shades of background. In the speeches delivered to-night, and in statements made overseas, I have noticed that inevitably the whole question gets back to a consideration of cold, hard facts and an endeavour to decide what is to be done about them. It was interesting to hear to-night from honorable senators on both sides of the chamber expressions of the various shades of political opinion held in other parts of the world. I shall deal later with the United Nations force.
My humility was not lessened even when I read that Professor Gibb, dealing with the political and social development of the Middle East, had said -
The truth is that the great majority of publicists, politicians, diplomats and businessmen, and scholars not least of all, approach the civilizations and problems of the East with a complex of misconceptions which a whole lifetime is not long enough to eradicate.
How true that is of each one of us with our varying backgrounds, ambitions, thoughts and hopes! How wrong we can be, particularly in these modern times with the swiftly moving world events, particularly in the Middle East! This feeling was strengthened by the knowledge I gained through travel in South-East Asian countries which are now emerging from the colonial stage and trying to form their own governments to deal with all the problems which have bedevilled them and other countries for such a long time. Travel in those countries forces one to cast aside any dogmatic approach that might have been adopted.
It is impossible to classify all countries in that area by the term “ South-East Asian “. That is a misnomer because of their varying types of people, their differing economic and agricultural background and the lack of knowledge they have of their neighbours. I mention South-East Asia to draw an analogy with the Middle East. I am sure that the Middle East countries in my mind are not the same as those envisaged by Senator McKenna, Senator O’sullivan, President Nasser or any other person interested in that area. One finds tremendous differences in such countries in the matter of population, the economic circumstances of the inhabitants, and religion, which plays a much more important part in their lives than in
Western countries. Kuwait has been referred to as ‘the country with the highest income per capita of any in the world yet, as Senator McKenna pointed out to-day, tuberculosis is raging at a very high rate.
I shall not try to measure the progress and development of Eastern countries with a Western yardstick, but I shall refer to the situation existing a few days ago and comment on some remarks made by Senator Wordsworth. Obviously Soviet Russia is trying to use the approaching summit talks as a means of propaganda and to present, with the rising nation of Communist China, a united threat to the United Nations and the countries that are now occupying Lebanon and Jordan.
I am sure that the man in the street, the man we so often forget about, but who is so vital in times of crisis, now has the same feeling as he had in 1939. He feels that war is imminent. He says to himself, “ This time it is on. We may as well get it over because we cannot dodge it forever “. People who were firmly convinced a few weeks ago that they would never again face a world war, mainly because of the threat of atomic power, have reversed their views in the light of what has happened in the Middle East and are saying now that a third world war is imminent. If an attack were launched by the Soviet in other parts of the world, and if Communist China attacked in the Pacific area, every country, with the possible exception of Japan, Formosa, the Philippines and probably Indonesia, would be overrun. If that position arose we would be faced with a third world war.
Senator Wordsworth misses the point when he takes up the criticism of Senator McKenna that the Government did not call together the Parliament or the Cabinet. Mr. Menzies dismissed the whole matter almost with a wave of the hand and made the rather cavalier remark, “Don’t worry, Russia will not fight because she is too fond of using other country’s troops “. Whatever may be the truth of that statement, it is a dangerous stand for a Prime Minister to adopt because one day it may well be fatal to us. Senator Wordsworth does not think that the Cabinet should have been called together, and proceeds to justify his statement by saying that the views of Australia are not important in the councils of the world. But he overlooks the fact that the views of the AustralianCabinet and the Australian Prime Minister are important to the Australian people. The people were left hovering. They had knowledge of the situation in the Middle East, and of the criticisms of the Labour party in Britain and in Australia but they had no direct lead at all from the Australian Government. If the Prime Minister has not consulted even his inner Cabinet, whence does he obtain his authority for making such a statement? I suggest there is no answer to the criticism. If the Prime Minister did not feel that the Parliament should have been called together, surely the Cabinet should have met. As Senator McKenna pointed out, there should have been somelink between the Australian Government and its officers in the various capitals of the world who are duty bound to report to the Government the attitude of the country in which they are representing Australia.
I should like a statement from the Minister as to the contents of an article reported in the press under the heading, “ You won’t be sent “, which raises all sorts of complications. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) is reported as having said in Brisbane on 26th July that no Australian troops would be sent to the Middle East in the present crisis, that even if a United Nations force were sent, no Australian would be included as Australia was part of the Seato and Anzus pact area, that Australia’s role was planned for the South-East Asian area. It is news to me that anything contained in the Seato or Anzus pacts prohibits the duly elected government of Australia from sending Australian troops to any part of the world. I should like to hear the comments of the Leader of the Government in the Senate on this point, if not to-night, atsome future time when he is replying to this debate. If the situation deteriorated to such a stage that the Government decided to keep Australian troops in Australia, no I doubt the Opposition would give its com- plete support, but if I read Mr. Cramer’s remarks correctly, the Government’s hands are tied by the Seato and Anzus pacts and Australian troops - and, I assume, Australian seamen and airmen - may not be sent to any part of the world other than the Pacific theatre and, in fact, are limited to those areas covered by the Seato pact. That is a completely new conception of those two pacts,and the first that I have ever heard of it. I should like the Minister to clarify the position for me.
My criticism of America and Britain in connexion with this matter has been made on the basis of wisdom. The Opposition has offered criticism because of the danger that any new move such as this could lead to a third world war. We believe that any action that would produce, or even set the stage for a third world war carries with it a responsibility which should make any man think deeply. It is on that basis that our criticisms have been made, and not because of any dislike of the British or the Americans.
I think Senator McKenna pointed out - I did not hear the beginning of his speech - that criticism was being offered because ofthe explosive situation that had developed. There are people, I know, who criticize the United States merely because it is fashionable to do so, because it is fashionable to criticize anything American. Let me say immediately that I am not one of those people I shudder to think what sort of a world we would be living in if America had not taken the action it did in sending troops to these shores in 1942. If America had not reversed its age-old tradition of isolationism and gone out of its way to become the leader of theworld, this world would have been aworse, not a better, place to live in to-day. So, I do , not want it to be thought that we are anti-American or antiBritish. We are merely offering criticism, as we arelegally entitled to do, and as.it is our boundenduty todo,in relation to troops being in the Middle East to-day.
The problems I have mentioned in dealing with the Middle East would have been bad enough if they applied to any other section of the world,but when you move into this particular area youmove into what has been a storm centre for many decades. It has been themeetingplace between Europe and Asia. It is a strategic position; it has vital routes which linktheother side of the worldwith us. Thatdoes notmake the position any easier. Incidentally, the Middle Eastwas a trouble spot long beforeoil became the important item that it isto-day. Of course,the developingimportanceof oil hasdone nothing to abate the storm; it has only complicated -the facts of geography. It has complicated, too, the question of Arab nationalism.
Probably the most-used word in the Minister’s speech was nationalism. While the Minister was speaking I could not help wondering whether the people who are implicated in the Middle East embroglio attach the same meaning to nationalism as we do. I wonder what the term means to humble peasants in Lebanon and to Colonel Nasser in Egypt. Nationalism, as we know it, is a thing that every rightminded person should fight for. The arguments in favour of it are not heard so frequently now, but they were used often when India was looking for its independence. Even though we know for a certainty that the day a people take over the government of their own country it will slip back to some degree, that, I do not think, is the vital question. If they want to have their nationalism as we know it - the election of their government to be free from outside interference and free from inside dictatorship - even though they are unskilled in the art of government and in civil service practice at that stage, they should certainly have self-government.
To the illiterate peasant, nationalism is only another one of those expressions he hears from time to time. Illiteracy makes him a sucker for every bit of propaganda. He would not know the technicalities of the term “ nationalism “ compared with anything else. It will convey something different to him from what it conveys to us. If you follow the broadcasts emanating from Cairo to-day, you will find that nationalism means to the Egyptian Government, President Nasser and the spokesmen on the radio something entirely different from what it means to us. What they mean is a pan-Arabism, a solid Arab bloc from the Atlantic to ihe Pacific. There is no reason why the Western world should take umbrage at the fact that an Arab federation might arise in time to come. But some propagandists are broadcasting to people in Algeria and Somaliland in extremely brutal language. They consider those places to be part of the Middle East. I would not have included them in the Middle East if you had asked me. How-‘ ever, what I have said about the different meanings given to nationalism shows what can happen when a term is used loosely, as we frequently speak in a foreign affairs debate. We have no cause to oppose an Arab federation if it means the lifting up of standards in those countries. Indeed, we should be the first to support it. But if it is to be used, and as there is a danger of it being used as purely a weapon of international politics, then indeed it becomes serious and we must take cognizance of it.
When we examine these broadcasts we notice an accusation of outside interference in the affairs of those countries, and the reproach that the nationals of those countries are the slaves and tools of the imperialists, naming the United States and Great Britain. If this pan-Arabism is the type of nationalism we have seen in Hungary, obviously it carries the seeds of a third world war. Obviously, too, that is one thing that the United Nations has to grapple with. Mr. President, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to Tuesday, 19th August, at 3 p.m., unless sooner called together by the President by telegram or letter.
Senate adjourned at 10.28 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 August 1958, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1958/19580806_senate_22_s13/>.