22nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to inform the Senate that I have received, through His Excellency the Governor-General, the certificate of the Lieutenant-Governor and Administrator of Western Australia of the choice by the Parliament of that State of Thomas Charles Drake-Brockman to hold the place in the Senate rendered vacant by the death of Senator the Honorable Harrie Stephen Seward.
Certificate laid on the table and read by the Clerk.
Senator Drake-Brockman made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
Audit Act - Finance - Treasurer’s Statement of receipts and expenditure for the year 1957-58, accompanied by the report of the AuditorGeneral.
– My question of the Leader of the Government refers to a frontpage statement in to-day’s Sydney “ Sun “ to the effect that federal members and senators receive a salary of £3,250 per annum, plus a tax-free allowance of £600 to £800 a year. Could the Minister advise me whether the salaries of honorable members and senators are, in fact, based on a figure of £2,350 per annum, less tax, plus an electoral allowance of between £600 and £800 a year? Could he say how this salary compares with that of responsible newspaper reporters living in Canberra?
– The position is as stated by the honorable senator, and not as stated in the press. I have no comment to make concerning the responsibility or otherwise of newspaper reporters.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health whether he has seen a report by Dr. Gordon Murray, the director of the Gardiner Medical Research Foundation of Canada, to the effect that he has developed a serum which has added months, and in some cases years, to the lives of cancer victims. Could the Commonwealth health authorities investigate the reported serum and in due course could the Minister make a statement to the Senate concerning its efficacy?
– I will take the matter up with the Minister for Health and let the honorable senator have the information which he seeks as soon as possible.
– I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise whether, on 19th November last, customs officers seized a car worth £3,000 from Mr. S. E. McCallum, a Brisbane businessman? Is it not a fact that this car was brought into Australia legally, and that all customs duties upon it had been paid? Did not Mr. McCallum act in good faith throughout the whole transaction? Is it not true that he committed no breach of customs regulations? Would not the car have been sold if Mr. McCallum had not issued a writ which succeeded in preventing that from happening? If the car had, in fact, been sold by the department, would any of the proceeds have been paid to Mr. McCallum? If the answer is in the affirmative, would that not have amounted to confiscation of the property of a man who had committed no crime, and was innocent of all wrongdoing? Will the Minister examine the case with a view to returning the car to its rightful owner - Mr. S. E. McCallum, of Brisbane?
– The Department of Customs and Excise would not, in any circumstances, act outside the law. Naturally, I have no personal knowledge of the individual case that the honorable senator has raised. I suggest to him that when he wants answers in respect of individual cases, he should bring the matters to my attention in the normal manner, because one cannot supply an answer without knowing the details of the particular case. If the honorable senator will place his question on the noticepaper, I shall provide him with an answer at the first opportunity.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport a question. In order to put him in the picture I preface the question by saying that at the present time both Tasmanians and Victorians, and, indeed, any persons wanting to travel from the mainland to Tasmania by sea, are being seriously inconvenienced because of the delay in the return of the Bass Strait ferry steamer “ Taroona “ to the service following her annual survey. Passengers’ cars and general cargo booked cannot be shipped as no alternative vessel is available. My question is: Will the Government please take cognizance of the fact that next year “ Taroona “ must undergo a four-yearly survey by Lloyds representatives, and that this will mean that she will be off the Bass Strait service for a minimum period of four months? Secondly, will the Government take early action to ensure that a replacement vessel will then be available, because the absence of a passenger shipping service for four months would have a very serious effect on the economy of Tasmania?
– I shall be very happy to bring the matters raised by the honorable senator to the notice of my colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
– I direct a question to the Minister for National Development. In view of the fact that the coal industry is slowly regaining valuable export markets, and that there are other markets available in South America and in Asia, will the Government consider providing a subsidy in order to get these valuable markets for Australia and so enable our export income to be increased and our coalfields developed?
– The honorable senator raises the question of the export of coal. I remind him that there has been a really dramatic change in the position in that our exports of coal last year were of the order of 800,000 tons. If we can sell 800,000 tons of coal overseas in competition with coal sold at world parity, it is rather difficult to justify the granting of a subsidy on coal for export purposes. At the same time, I must say that we have been able to obtain a portion of this overseas trade by virtue of getting lower railway freights in the same period in certain areas. I think I should say to the honorable senator that the problem at the moment is not so much world parity and the need for the subsidy as the facilities at the port of Newcastle. At the moment, the loading facilities at Newcastle are, I think, being worked as hard as they can be worked, and a long freight haul from the western coalfields is entailed if the port facilities at Sydney are utilized.
– I preface a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral by saying that no doubt he is aware of the valuable news service being provided by stations 3WV, Horsham, and 3WL, Warrnambool. Will he give consideration to the institution of a midday news broadcast from these stations, as such an extension of the service appears to be fully justified?
– I shall be very happy to bring the matter before the Postmaster-General.
– Has the Minister for National Development seen the statement reported recently in the “West Australian “ purporting to have been made by the Honorable H. E. Graham, Minister for Housing in Western Australia, in which it was claimed that 5,500 houses are required annually in that State, and that now the back lag in building had been virtually overcome? Does the Minister consider the figure of 5,500 to be an accurate estimate of Western Australia’s annual housing needs?
-I read the statement attributed to Mr. Graham with a good deal of interest because it confirms what I have been saying in other parts of Australia, for which I have been criticized. I believe that the housing shortage in Western Australia has been overcome; that it is well on the way to being overcome in some of the other States; and that we have reached a stage at which it is of more interest to regard the housing figures for the separate States rather than the aggregate for the whole of Australia. One can then see what is happening in the separate States. I believe that the housing shortage, for all practical purposes, is now restricted to New South Wales and Victoria. We want to see the figures for those States. We also want to see the direction in which finance for housing becomes available, because the next logical step forward is to relieve governments of providing the large amounts of money required for housing, and to encourage private investors to come back and do the job. My department estimates that 4,850 houses represent Western Australia’s annual need, and not 5,500 as quoted by Mr. Graham. However, the eventual test as to which figure is correct is the annual demand.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is the Minister aware that the comparatively huge number of 66,000 people were registered as unemployed at the end of June last? Does he know that the registered number of unemployed fell many thousands short of the actual number of people out of work? Can he indicate what satisfaction or consolation it is to those who are unemployed to be told continually that they form part of only a small percentage of the total work force? Will the Minister indicate whether any action has been taken, or is contemplated, to absorb these unemployed persons?
– I refer the honorable senator to the statement issued yesterday by my colleague, Mr. Harold Holt, which indicates that during the month of July the number of persons seeking employment fell from 67,100 to 65,900, while the number of jobs available increased from 15,900 to 16,500. Mr. Harold Holt most carefully points out in his statement that the number of those registered as seeking employment constitutes only 1.6 per cent, of Australia’s total work force of 4,000,000 persons. In other words, the number of unemployed in Australia, contrasted with the total work force, is probably lower than in any other country in the world.
– Will the Minister for Customs and Excise inform the Senate what his department intends to do with the imported shillelagh at present lying in custody in Sydney?
– The department is at present conferring with the New South Wales police. They have an objection to this type of weapon being imported in any quantity, but I think that in the case of a single one they may take a different view. As soon as the department has concluded its negotiations with the New South Wales police, I shall make a statement on the matter.
– I should like to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for decentralization.
– The Minister for what?
– If there is not such a Minister, there should be because this is rather an important matter.
– There is no such Minister, so the honorable senator will be only talking to himself.
– I will direct the question to the Minister for National Development - in other words, to Senator Spooner. I refer to an announcement that the Wool Buyers Association has decided that Goulburn, as a wool selling centre, does not exist. Therefore, the association has succeeded in its determination to destroy a successful country industry. The Commonwealth Government professes to be in favour of decentralization, but has not made any worthwhile effort to prevent this set-back to the process. Will the Government adopt effective measures to have this position rectified and at the same time see that the wool buyers do not exclude other established centres from their rosters?
– The honorable senator might have gone on in a logical sort of way and said that the same newspaper report indicated that a local company had been formed, in a decentralized sort of way, to remedy the very deficiency of which he complains.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Will the Minister make a statement indicating what his department proposes to do to make the cyclone warning facilities on the north-east coast of Queensland more efficient than they appear to be at the present time?
– The Minister for the Interior has furnished the following reply: -
Considerable attention is being given to the problems of detecting the development and movement of tropical cyclones over the Coral Sea before they approach the Queensland coast. Already the tropical cyclone warning system has been built up for the most effective practical use of the best technical knowledge available from the United States and other countries which have devoted millions of pounds in seeking solutions. Our American friends have complimented Australia on the standards which have been reached. A close investigation of the Bowen cyclone of 1st April last has shown that the Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning of the approach of the cyclone on the basis of the evidence available for analyses as soon as it was practicable to do so and that the tropical cyclone warning system operated efficiently to provide the public at Bowen and surrounding districts with as much warning as was possible. The procedures and techniques are being continually revised to take advantage of advances in knowledge and technology. In conjunction with a number of other detecting devices, radar is now used in a co-ordinated chain to track the storms when they approach the coast. Funds are now being provided for the construction of new meteorological radio buildings at Mackay and Cairns so that radar equipment can be installed to search over both these localities before the end of 1959. When they are completed there will be no part of the coastline from Cooktown to the New South Wales border which will not be covered by the radar screens.
– I have received from the Prime Minister a reply to a question which stands on the notice-paper, in the name of Senator Tangney. The question is as follows: -
The reply reads -
This question was addressed to me by the honorable senator in the final week of the last sittings. As it was not practicable to provide her with a reply before the House rose, I replied to her in a letter dated 3rd July, 1958. As the honorable senator is aware, my reply was as follows: - 1. Sufficient is already known of the special housing needs of paraplegics. It is considered that the position could be met by incorporating the following features in homes: - (a) wider doorways to permit easy passage of wheel chairs; (b) provision of ramps in lieu of steps; (c) provision of hand grips and overhead lifting chains to toilets and bath rooms; (d) modification in height and layout of kitchen equipment for the benefit of paraplegic housewives. The incorporation of these provisions in the design of a new house would not involve any great additional cost, perhaps in the order of £100 to £150. It would, of course, be more difficult to adapt an existing house to meet these needs and, depending on the house concerned, would probably prove more costly than in a new bouse. The designing of houses to meet the. needs of paraplegics does not present any problem and it is not considered necessary to have the Commonwealth Experimental Building Station carry out any particular investigation.
It does not seem appropriate for the Com? monwealth Government to interest itself directly in this aspect of the matter.
No. There are other equally deserving classes of disabled persons such as amputees, blind persons and sufferers from tuberculosis, all of whom would be greatly assisted by houses built to special designs. In these circumstances it does not seem fair to give special benefits to paraplegics.
– The Minister for Defence has furnished me with a reply to the following question upon notice, which also stands in the name of Senator Tangney: -
The Minister’s reply is as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade has furnished the following reply: -
A group of twelve representatives of various state-owned trading corporations arrived from mainland China early in May. I understand that the members of the group have now returned to mainland China. The Australian Government raises no obstacle to the short-term visit of such commercial groups. The visit of this party was at their own initiative and details of the visit were arranged by Australian firms. During the stay of the party in Australia there were no official discussions with the Department of Trade and no official negotiations have been suggested. The group have made their buying and selling contacts through the Australian businessmen who arranged their visit.
Motion (by Senator McKenna) - by leave - agreed to -
That Senator Critchley be granted leave of absence for one month on account of ill health.
– I present the following report of the Public Accounts Committee: -
This report of the Public Accounts Committee is one in a series that is designed to simplify the form and content of the financial papers that are submitted annually to the Parliament. In simplifying the form of the financial documents, the committee has been at pains to avoid sacrificing anything essential in the content of the documents.
Behind all our objectives is our aim to have all these papers available to the Parlia-, ment at as early a date after the beginning of the financial year as possible. Honorable senators will appreciate the progress that has been made in this direction if they recall that in 1951 the Budget was presented on 26th September while the Finance Statement, the Auditor-General’s Report, and the Supplementary Estimates relating to the previous year’s accounts were not presented to the Parliament until May, 1952 - almost eleven months after the close of the financial year, when most of their usefulness was lost.
This year, assisted by the several changes which I have mentioned, and other steps, the Budget and these other documents have been presented to the Parliament within seven weeks of the close of the financial year. In those seven weeks the accounts have been checked and balanced, the manuscripts prepared, and the printing donea memorable achievement for which full credit must be given to the Treasury, the Audit Office and, by no means least, the Government Printing Office.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Debate resumed from 6th August (vide page 23), on motion by Senator O’Sullivan-
That the bill be now read a second time.
– The bill is an exceedingly short one, its main purpose being to deal with the post of Deputy Commissioner of Patents. As the law stands, the Commissioner of Patents is also the Commissioner of Trade Marks, but that position does not obtain in relation to the Deputy Commissioner of Patents, who does not become automatically the Deputy Commissioner of Trade Marks. The bill proposes to correct that position. It is obviously a desirable administrative change.
It is not possible at the moment, under the Public Service Act, to appoint an individual to hold two positions. The measure that has been submitted will effectuate the change to which I have referred and make a very small grammatical alteration in another section of the Trade Marks Act. That act, the Senate will remember, was consolidated and vastly improved in 1955. The Opposition, Mr. Deputy President, has no objection to the passage of this measure.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henry) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators are requested to consider a bill relating to duties of customs which have been in operation since 15th May, 1958. The alterations are based on recommendations made by the Tariff Board in its reports on the following: -
Artificial silk piece goods.
Copper in the form of blocks, ingots and pigs.
Metal-working drilling machines.
Refrigerating appliances and parts therefor.
Forged carving steels, knives and forks.
In each instance the Government has adopted the Tariff Board’s findings concerning the assistance to be given to the in dustries. However, in the case of the copper industry, the Government proposes to accord assistance partly by duty and partly by bounty instead of wholly by way of duty protection as recommended by the Tariff Board.
Examining each of these six reports in turn, I can tell honorable senators that, in respect of woven artificial silk piece goods, additional tariff protection is being provided on a sliding scale for such piece goods having a value for duty of less than 80d. per square yard. The new duties are 2s. 6d. per square yard less 15 per cent. ad valorem for goods admissible under British preferential tariff, 2s. 8½d. per square yard less 15 per cent. ad valorem under the intermediate tariff and 3s.1½d. per square yard less 15 per cent. ad valorem under the general tariff.
Under these rates, the amount of duty payable increases as the value for duty decreases. Over 80d. per square yard, the previous rates of1s. 6d. per square yard British preferential tariff,1s. 8½d. intermediate tariff and 2s.1½d. general tariff, continue to apply.
Turning to copper, I point out that it is proposed to admit copper blocks, ingots and pigs free of duty from all countries when the determined price of copper, based on the weekly average of the London Metal Exchange quotations, is £275 Australian or more per ton. However, when the determined price of copper is less than £275 per ton, a duty of £1 per ton for each £1 by which the determined price of copper is below £275 per ton becomes payable. With the current price per ton of copper in the vicinity of £250 Australian, the duty payable is about £25 per ton.
It is the intention of the Government to supplement this tariff protection by a bounty of £45 per ton on copper sold on the local market. The bounty legislation, which will be the subject of a separate bill, will contain a profit-limitation clause and other provisions usual in such legislation. Payment of the bounty will assist local producers of copper to meet competition from overseas suppliers and at the same time will keep the selling price of copper at a reasonably low level for users in Australia.
Another amendment proposed relates to metal-working drilling machines. Protective duties are being provided for vertical drill- ing machines having automatic feeds and drilling capacities exceeding nine-sixteenths of an inch but not exceeding 2¼ inches. Also, as a cost-saving, the intermediate tariff and general tariff rates on other drilling machines are being reduced.
Under the tariff structure which was in operation prior to 15th May, drilling machines which were subject to nonprotective rates were specified in the Customs Tariff Schedule. Other drilling machines were included under a general heading and were dutiable at protective rates. Implementation of the recommendations of the Tariff Board made it possible to alter this arrangement and to specify in the schedule those drilling machines on which protective rates of duty are imposed and to apply the non-protective rates to all other drilling machines.
Following the Tariff Board’s report on refrigerating appliances and parts, the duties on refrigerators with gross internal capacity of 16 cubic feet or less and used for food storage are being reduced from 30 per cent. to 20 per cent. British preferential tariff and from 47½ per cent. to 37½ per cent. otherwise. Other refrigerating appliances and parts for refrigerating appliances will continue to be dutiable at 30 per cent. British preferential tariff, but the new rates under the intermediate and general tariffs are 47½ per cent. ad valorem.
A minor amendment has been made in respect of forged carving steels, knives and forks. This bill deletes from the Tariff Schedule the deferred protective duties which were provided some four years ago on the recommendation of the Tariff Board and which have not been brought into operation. The Tariff Board, following its recent inquiry, is satisfied that the protective duties should not be retained, and these are now being removed.
The last of the tariff alterations proposed in this bill relates to certain timber products. Veneers, when having a value for duty not exceeding 28s. 6d. per 100 square feet, were previously subject to ad valorem rates of 12½ per cent. British preferential tariff, 30 per cent. intermediate tariff and 37½ per cent. general tariff, whilst veneers exceeding 28s. 6d. per 100 square feet were subjected to fixed rates of duty of 3s. 9d. British preferential tariff and 10s. 7½d. otherwise.
The amendments proposed for veneers by this bill are twofold. Firstly, the dividing line between the ad valorem duty and the fixed rates is raised from 28s. 6d. to 44s., thus subjecting veneers in the area 28s. 6d. to 44s. to the protective ad valorem duties and, secondly, higher fixed rates of 6s. 3d. British preferential tariff, 13s. 2d. intermediate tariff and 16s. 6d. general tariff have been imposed on veneers exceeding 44s. per 100 square feet.
The tariff items relating specifically to plywood door panels, to undressed timber for use in the manufacture of doors and to spars in the rough are being deleted, and these timber products now fall under other appropriate items. Although the items relating to plywood door panels and to undressed timber for doors are by-law items offering concessional entry, imports of these timber products are almost non-existent and adequate supplies of the products are readily available from Australian sources.
I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The bill now before honorable senators amends the Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) 1934-1958 by omitting the items relating to spars in the rough, to timber for use in the manufacture of doors and to plywood door panels. These items are now redundant in view of the deletion of the related items in the Customs Tariff 1933- 1958.
The provisions for veneers have also been altered to ensure that the margin of preference accorded to veneers admissible at British preferential tariff rates of duty is maintained.
I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henry) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to omit from the Custom’s Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1958 item No. 95, relating to undressed timber for use in the manufacture of doors. The item is redundant in view of the deletion of its counterpart from the Customs Tariff 1933-1958. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Bill 1958 increases, from free to 2s. 6d. per 1 00 square feet, the duty payable on veneers, the value for duty of which exceeds 44s. per 100 square feet and which are imported from the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. This amendment is complementary to that proposed in the Customs Tariff Bill (No. 3) 1958 and is designed to honour our international obligation to maintain certain preferential margins on veneers. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 6th August (vide page 49), on motion by Senator O’Sullivan-
That the following paper: -
Statement on the Middle East Situation by the Minister for External Affairs, dated 6th August, 1958- be printed.
– When the debate was adjourned a fortnight ago, I had made the point that I approached this problem with a great deal of humility because of its size and complexity, and because of the way in which it was changing, almost from day to day. I had also made the point - a point which might, because of the cooling of the general atmosphere which has since taken place, seem strange now - that the man in the street was confronted with a situation which he had not experienced since 1939. I was referring to the general feeling that war was imminent, and I criticized the Government for not sharing that feeling. 1 had something further to say regarding Senator Wordsworth’s comment that the actions or utterances of the Australian Government would have very little effect in the councils of the world. I said that he had missed the point, that the Government should at least have called Cabinet - preferably the Parliament - together in order to give a clear lead to the Australian people. In such crises as these - which may come again - it is not wise to have a dichotomy of thinking in the minds of the people as to where the Government stands on any particular issue. The point is not what stand the Government will take, but whether its stand is clear to all.
I asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) to comment on a most unusual statement by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) that Australian troops would not be part of any United Nations force which might be sent to the Middle East because this country was a signatory to the Seato and Anzus pacts. I was staggered at the thinking inherent in that statement. It seemed very strange to me that a duly elected Australian government could not say, in any particular crisis, where Australian troops would or would not be used. I again seek a reply from the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs as to whether the Minister for the Array was correctly reported, was misreported, or was, in fact, giving the view of the Government. If that latter was the case, 1 should like the Minister to refer to the prohibition in the two international agreements which prevents the Australian Government from sending troops to any theatre it chooses.
When the debate was interrupted I had reached’ the all-important point of nationalism in the Middle East. Honorable senators will recall that I said that light could appear to fall differently on the same object, according to how people looked at it. I pointed out that it was the duty of every one to encourage nationalism in the Arab countries, but that if it were not a narrow nationalism - if I might use that term - confined within the borders of one country, but one which would erupt into mob violence, assassination and murder, it must be watched very carefully by the nations of the world because it provided a natural set-up for outside interference. That is not the kind of nationalism which we should attempt to foster. One cannot countenance nationalism in all of its many forms and derivatives - each adopted by a different group. If nationalism is to mean a kind of “ Arabism “ we have no reason to oppose it, but if it is to mean the domination of the small countries of the Middle East by one or two of the greater Powers it obviously carries within itself the seeds of a third world war. That is the kind of thing which must be taken into account by countries outside of those which we are discussing to-day.
Since I made those points events have moved fairly rapidly, but none the less logically. We have had the spectacle of Soviet Russia, which had been clamouring for a summit meeting at the highest level suddenly reversing its attitude and agreeing to a meeting of the General Assembly, as had been suggested by the United States of Amenca some time before. One of the most important events has been the trip made by the Russian leader to Communist China. This was followed by a military build-up on the shores of China opposite Formosa. While not, perhaps, significant in the present crisis, it must nevertheless be marked down for future reference. Apparently the junior Communist partner summoned the senior partner, and we then saw a complete reversal of attitude on the part of the latter. This is said to flow from the fact that Communist China has not a seat in the Security Council while the Government of Formosa has. That, of course, has been the position all along during the long period when Soviet Russia was demanding a summit conference. However, the important thing is that these highlevel talks are to take place. It may not be vital that they be held under one head rather than under another.
We have seen the immediate recognition of the new Government of Iraq - perhaps a bitter necessity. Senator Wordsworth said that his experience of that part of th£ world prevented his being surprised at the assassination which had taken place there. He felt, in fact, that that was what one might expect in that area. But at least the martyrs of old seemed to think it was “a virtue to have their names written in the history books. The modern ones will not get that. We recall that people have been murdered; people in high places and leaders of governments have been almost forgotten in a few weeks. President Eisenhower’s statement was, I felt, the focal point of world thinking. Macmillan, in his talk, dealt with some of the things that were mentioned by President Eisenhower. Gaitskell also mentioned them a fortnight ago and said that there was a tending toward a Middle East force to preserve law and order in that area. Of course, this is a question of a new organization.
This matter was roundly debated at the time of the failure of the old League of Nations. I remember the comparisons made with the League of Nations when the United Nations was formed, and this question of being able to enforce decisions on an international level was prominent. We overcame the difficulty in Korea by having an ad hoc force to deal with one particular problem. The next set-up would appear to be an international force to deal with one theatre of the Middle East problem. If that could be done, as Senator McKenna envisaged, that may enable the ultimate goal of maintaining world peace through, the United Nations to be attained.
Eisenhower’s scheme has been criticized, by the Russians, but that was to be expected.-. After the occupation of Lebanon ;and Jordan. they engaged in n great propaganda battle. I sometimes think that Russia places more value on the propaganda weapon than we do.
This propaganda weapon is concentrated on the occupation forces in Lebanon and Jordan, and is used to say that the Eisenhower doctrine is a way to dodge the issue of withdrawal. But it goes further than that. Russia has an age-old policy, as mentioned by Senator Wordsworth, and it existed before the coming of world communism, lt was proclaimed in the old Czarist days, and it has been tried by the new leaders of Russia ever since they came into power in 1917. It must be realized that they are most hopeful of success to-day. The effort is more determined to-day. It is more determined because it is not only the age-old policy that is proclaimed. Russia, obviously, is a more efficient nation to-day than it was under the old Czars. To this policy has been added the cold war technique. The picture the Russians are trying to paint is a vastly different one from that of a few years ago. In 1918, I think, there were two sovereign countries in the Middle East. To-day, 1 think, there are ten. Some one may correct me if I am wrong. So the Russian menace to-day is raised in conditions more propitious for the designers than ever before in recent history. But it is not to say that because we have seen so many volte faces over this problem, we may not be able to get somewhere with this force. I think the seed is completely ripe. Probably it is a long time since we have known a leading up to this focal point, which has been expressed by Eisenhower, by so many world leaders sitting on both sides of parliaments in the various countries of the world.
This is probably the second opportunity in the Middle East because wrong as I feel the invasion of Israel by Britain and France was in the Suez crisis, I think equally the Americans were a little hurried in coming down narrowly on the side of law. The rule of law forbids invasion, and therefore, the troops must be withdrawn from these countries. I think that, the act having taken place, there was an opportunity to impose this type of discipline in that area which, after all. probably gives rise to a vastly more important question than Lebanon and Jordan. When we start to put priorities on wo-ld problems, we cat into deep water. But I feel the question of the freedom of Suez, border raids on Israel, the antagonism of Egypt towards some of the other countries are all vitally important and could, therefore, have been better argued from a position of force than from the position that was arrived at and which was criticized at that time. Therefore, 1. think here is probably the second opportunity to deal with this problem.
The solution, of course, will not succeed unless it does actually reach down to the people, lt does, in fact, deal with the question of oil. The moment you mention these two matters in the Middle East you are liable to bring a lot of words down on your offending head. In the early stages we were accused by a lot of newspapers of forgetting the people. The people have the habit of being forgotten by more countries than the Middle East, lt is not true to lay the blame entirely at the door of the oil buyers in the oil countries of the Middle East. After. all, we are inclined to lump those countries together, saying, “This is the Middle East”, forgetting that they are different countries and have different problems. Some of them have as much oil as is needed - as 1 was going to say in Australia-
– In Western Australia.
– Queensland, anyhow. We are inclined to lump all these countries together. The position can be improved by a new type of oil agreement at the government level rather than at the private individual level. As Senator McKenna pointed out in his speech on the Middle East, the income rate per capita in Kuwait is higher than in any other country. The trouble is that the money is not being reticulated to the people. “ Under the old type agreement. I do not see how you could have insisted on that, but under a government set-up there would be a better chance of it. With a Middle East force in being, there would be a better chance of having that happen.
– Then you favor the Middle East force?
– I am merely pointing out the criticism that has been levelled. It is entirely true, as in most other countries of the world, that these people are entitled to a better standard of living and I am trying to indicate ways and means of moving towards that desirable goal. When you mention the question of oil, you are inclined to bring down abuse on your offending head, because people say you are interested only in oil. After all, the world is entitled to be interested in the oil of the Middle East because the oil is not only for the people who are producing it. The users are entitled to protection from other people. It is not only a matter for the people buying the oil; the people who are using it are vitally concerned.
Middle East oil is necessary to the economy of Western Europe. Therefore, if mob violence breaks out and if the people of other countries are in danger of economic strangulation because the flow of oil is threatened, Middle East oil becomes an international responsibility. I hope that I am not taken as making a plea for the protection of the oil interests - using the expression in the narrow sense as we know it by private companies to-day.
I f we do not grapple with those two problems, we will not solve the final problems of the Middle East. I do not pretend for a moment that the formulation of a solution by the General Assembly will be easy. We will not get complete unanimity among nations which should have a vested interest in the maintenance of peace in that area. But there is no doubt that if we can establish peace in the Middle East, the ripples must spread directly to Africa.
The small African countries are already being called into this orbit. As I said in my speech on 6th August, it is very difficult to decide how far the Middle East influence extends into the great African continent. If the ripples go that distance they must break on land far beyond that continent.
Probably the Middle East problem is one of the most difficult that this generation has had to face. However, its solution will bring to our reach a great prize which we should bend all our efforts to gain. It is a challenge to the people of this generation - probably one of the greatest challenges, and perhaps the final challenge, to the United Nations itself.
– I congratulate Senator Willesee on his contribution to this debate. I listened to his speech with great interest. I feel he was endeavouring to put forward something of a constructive nature as food for thought on a question that must be exercising the minds of most thoughtful people in Australia to-day. The honorable senator’s speech was one of the best I have heard from him in a long time and one which did not hammer ad nauseum the theme songs of the radical political thinkers in this country and overseas, as those of so many of his colleagues in opposition are inclined to do.
The matters raised by the ministerial statement in regard to- Middle East security are not new. The problem of the Middle East is as old as history and has always figured largely in international affairs. Many of the factors that collectively constitute this problem have existed for at least some centuries. I have not any doubt at all that neither our generation nor the generation of a century hence will see a solution to the Middle East problem. The best we can hope to achieve in that area is harmony.
I shall recapitulate a few of the factors that make the Middle East the most troublesome spot in the world. Many are well known and many are traditional. It is an area in which white, black and brown races meet and not too often fraternize, and it is an area in which the great religions of the world clash. These problems are as old as history .and there simply is no solution to them. Many great trade routes of the world cross, recross and converge in the Middle East, the greatest being the Suez Canal. One cannot expect that great international problems will not arise in an area through which great international trade routes pass. Those two factors alone make the Middle East an area in which there must always be problems which give rise to a situation of unrest and insecurity. However, when one adds the problem of Soviet policy in the Middle East, one has a combination of circumstances which become almost a nightmare. Russia’s aims in the Middle East with respect to a warm water port, as well as an increasing interest in the gateways to India, are not new but rather historical. I venture to suggest that even if Russia to-morrow became a nonCommunist State, her imperialist aims still would be directed towards the Middle East. I suggest further that if and when communism ceases to exist, the Soviet still will have an objective in the Middle East.
Those factors are well known to us all. Taken individually they are bad enough, but collectively they become a formidable problem. We are faced also with some modern problems. First and foremost is the question of oil. I was interested to hear Senator Willesee’s remarks on that matter. We should never forget that the Middle East is the source of supply of about 75 per cent, of the world’s oil requirements. As well as providing cheap oil, the Middle East indirectly is keeping in employment hundreds of millions of workers throughput the world, not only in the Western democracies but also in other countries.
Far too much emphasis has been placed Upon the interests of the oil companies, both in Australia and in other parts of the world. The basic problem is the maintenance in employment of hundreds of millions of workers in all continents. We must not forget that many millions of pounds sterling and many millions of dollars were devoted to the discovery and exploitation of that oil. The Middle East people did not find the oil. British, American and Dutch interests, spending good hard cash, found the oil. It must not be forgotten that there are solemn and binding agreements between the sovereign states of the Middle East and the oil organizations of several other nations as to the ownership of the Middle East oil. I utterly reject the suggestion that any one has a right to that oil except those who are entitled to it by international law - that is, the British, American and Dutch oil interests.
I utterly reject the proposition that because oil is found in a Middle East country, the dictator government for the time being of that country has any right to take it from the interests which are entitled to it under international law. That proposition is bad in law and is morally wrong. Some people in this country seem to think that this oil is not really the property of the interests that possess it by law and by moral right. They are inclined to think that it is only a matter of time before one of the dictators of the Middle East, as a matter of right, steps in and nationalizes the oil industry there, and that nothing will be done about it. I utterly reject that proposition.
– Who cut up the Ottoman Empire?
– I know that Senator O’Byrne does not agree with my proposition. He is a true socialist, but even a true socialist cannot have it both ways. A law-abiding socialist must obey the law. I contend that the right of ownership of the oil in the Middle East is denned by legal agreements that cannot be broken, but Senator O’Byrne say that the fact that he is a socialist puts him above the law and, therefore, he has a right to take what does not belong to him. That is what Colonel Nasser did. We sometimes hear people in this country say that Colonel Nasser had a right to grab the Suez Canal. The only right he had was the right that was behind his arm when he did it - the right of force. His actions were unlawful.
The argument that I am advancing is that although the laws of a particular country can be enforced within the boundaries of that country, international law cannot be enforced as yet. That is the grave weakness of the position of the British, American and Dutch oil interests in the Middle East. There is nothing to protect their lawful interests. Anybody who is prepared to argue that there is some justification in law for grabbing oil in the Middle East that belongs to those organizations is skating on very thin legal ice. My point is that if Colonel Nasser, Comrade Khrushchev or any other dictator threatents to grab the oil in the Middle East, we must be prepared to use a degree of force commensurate with the risk involved to stop him grabbing it. The issue is as clear as that - to me, at any rate.
At this point I wish to refer to the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) in relation to Iraq. He claimed that the British Government, and the Australian Government too, were quick off the mark in recognizing the revolutionary government of Iraq. I do not know quite what point the honorable senator was trying to make. I do not know whether he was suggesting that Australia and Britain should not have recognized the revolutionary government of Iraq, but I think he was suggesting that it was only because of the importance of oil that that recognition was given. In that context, he complained that the recognition was somewhat hasty. In reply to Senator McKenna, I ask these questions. Why should not we have recognized the revolutionary government of Iraq? Is not oil of the very essence of our economy? Should we make an enemy of the government of a country which, to a very large extent, can control our destiny? Should we deliberately make an enemy of the de facto government of such a country?
– It does not show much gratitude to our friends.
– What is the alternative? Are we to march in and colonize the place, without a request from its government?
– I think we could have waited a while.
– We want to maintain friendly relations with the sovereign states of the Middle East. Lack of recognition of their governments will not help us to maintain that friendship.
I pass to another important factor which tends to make the Middle East problem one of the greatest problems facing the Western democracies. I refer to the rise of the nationalist movements in the Middle East and to the rise of the state of Israel. In this respect we should remember one or two important facts that must be considered when formulating policy. In the first place, we must not confuse the rise of Arab nationalism with the imperialist aims of Colonel Nasser. I do not think that the aims of the policy of Colonel Nasser are on all fours with the true aims of Arab nationalism. In fact, I think that Nasser is tending to weaken Arab nationalism. If the sovereign states of the Middle East are not very careful, they will find that they are merely pawns in Nasser’s hand’s, with no national integrity of their own. I invite the Senate to consider these facts in relation to the rise of Arab nationalism. It is due almost entirely to the efforts of a British government that there are any sovereign Arab states. The British, in pursuance of the policy that Senator O’Byrne decries, set up those states - supported, of course, by America. I suggest that, having been responsible for the creation of these young nations, believing that there was a great future for the Arab race, there is a moral obligation on Britain to ensure that those nations will continue and prosper. Therefore; when two of those nations invite British and American troops into their own countries for the purpose- of maintaining security, can anyone object?
– Security for whom?
– I again ask: Can any one object, other than the friends of the Communists, including some of the members of the party to which Senator O’Byrne belongs? Mr. Curtin invited the Americans into Australia when our security was imperilled. Did the Labour party object? If it was good enough for an Australian Labour government to solicit support at that time, is there anything wrong with a sovereign Arab State making a corresponding request to the American and British Governments in similar circumstances? When we consider that in those circumstances the British and American Governments did only what was asked of them, plus the moral obligation which I suggest Britain has towards those States, surely no further argument is needed to justify their action. I go further and say. that, if such intervention should mean war, we would have to be prepared to fight.
Senator McKenna’s objection to that intervention was expressed in this way, in effect: Can we, that is the British and Americans, do these things and then object if the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics marches into Syria, for example? He attempted to argue that we should not have moved into Lebanon and Jordan because, having done so, we could not object if the Russians marched into one of the other Arab States. An elementary argument like that is not the whole consideration. It depends, of course, upon the reason for which we march in. If the Russians were to march into the State of Syria or any other State at the request of the government of that State for the purpose of maintaining stability and for no other purpose, I would agree with Senator McKenna; but does any one suggest that the Russians would march into Syria for that purpose? Surely every schoolboy would know perfectly well that the purpose of the Russians infiltrating into a country would not be to maintain that country in its sovereign state but would be quite the reverse. That is where I would quarrel with Senator McKenna. The honorable senator cannot establish the proposition that we could not object to Russia marching in. Of course we could object. I do not believe for a moment that the Russians would be marching in for the purpose of maintaining the sovereignty of the State.
– That is what they did in Hungary.
– I almost think that Senator O’Byrne not only agrees with what the Russians did in Hungary, but approves of it.
– Their excuse was that they did it to uphold the sovereignty of Hungary.
– And then they murdered the man who was at the head of the government!
– Let us proceed with the reasoned argument I am trying to advance in regard to the Middle East. I think that the final factor in the Middle East security and the one which has directly provoked all this trouble is the rise of Egyptian imperialism, led by Colonel Nasser. At this point I disagree quite strongly with Senator Willesee’s statements about the Suez Canal. The honorable senator argued that it was quite wrong for Britain and France to go to protect their interests in the canal and that it was also wrong for the Americans to have stopped them. I cannot understand that argument. I suggest that it has no logic and does not add up. Either the British or the Americans were wrong. I believe the Americans were wrong. I still think history will show that Eden was correct and that the fact that the British and French were forced to withdraw from the canal could well prove to be a second Munich and the commencement of World War III.
Colonel Nasser has only one objective - the complete obliteration of all British and American interests in the Middle East. There can be no compromise with a dictator who has such a policy. Nasser’s policy is precisely the same as that adopted by Hitler prior to World War II. I suggest that his very acts, sayings and hysterical outbursts prove what I am saying to be correct. I insist that there can be no compromise with Colonel Nasser’s policy. I repeat that he has only one objective - that is, the Middle East for Colonel Nasser. In seeking to attain that objective he is being very ably assisted directly by the U.S.S.R., and indirectly by very many people, even in this country, who go about throwing cold water on or actually criticizing the efforts of Britain and America to prevent that state of tragedy from developing further.
It is not only a question of preserving security in the Middle East. If Nasser is allowed to go further - nobody can suggest for a moment that he will stop - where will he finish up? What state is next on his list? Is it Iran? Is it Saudi Arabia? I suggest that that is the crux of our present problem in regard to the Middle East.
The very fact that within the last two weeks Khrushchev and Nasser have become most bitter in their denunciations of British troops having moved into Jordan illustrates what I am saying. The very fact that Nasser, in reply to the Eisenhower proposition for the solution of the Middle East problem, claimed in his usual hysterical way that he would not consider a plan for the Middle East until British and American troops had moved out proves conclusively that our policy has been right and that for the first time the two democracies, Britain and America, have won a splendid strategic victory over the forces of despotism in the Middle East.
I have tried, briefly, to recount the various factors that contribute to this problem of Middle East insecurity. They include the racial and religious differences, the significance of the convergence of the trade routes in that area, the Russian traditional aim, and such factors as oil, Arab nationalism, and finally, the rise of Egyptian imperialism. When we add all those factors up - and they are all seething at the moment - surely we cannot but admit that the problem is fraught with great difficulty and that the responsibilities on Britain and America are truly grave and great.
The question of course arises: Can the plan submitted by President Eisenhower succeed, through the instrumentality of the United Nations, in keeping the Middle East cool? I think that that is the 64-dollar question at the moment. I am not one who has any doubts about the final efficacy of the United Nations. I have grave doubts as to the final efficacy of such a plan. We all are cognizant of the weaknesses of any scheme under aegis of the United Nations. Briefly, as we know, President Eisenhower’s plan has two points: First, a plan for large sums of money to be spent in the Middle East for the uplifting of living standards, and secondly, for a United Nations police force to be placed somewhere in the Middle East for the preservation of law and order.
We all know the grave weaknesses of such a plan. In the first place, it would be slow to act. One could imagine, in a state of crisis, long discussions taking place between the nations concerned as to whether the police force should move in or stay put, and meanwhile the crisis might have passed. Of course, any such scheme would be sabotaged at all points and at all times by Russia. That, again, would be an inherent weakness in any United Nations police force to preserve the integrity and security of existing Middle East countries. But I think that a further difficulty in the way of such a scheme is that the United Nations has no trained diplomatic, security or intelligence services. How could any armed service hope to act without the aid of those services? I cannot see that it possibly could succeed.
Of course, the United Nations has not a foreign policy, and I hope that it never has one. T may be wrong, but I do not see how an armed force could be constituted and take action without a well-defined foreign policy. By “ foreign policy “, I mean a policy related to the problems that are occurring in the Middle East. There is an inherent weakness in the lack of this prerequisite to the use of armed forces. Finally, of course, the so-called police force that might be constituted would, at the best, be a polyglot force, with all the weaknesses of such a force. Those of us who have been in uniform will appreciate the difficulties associated with an armed service that has, perhaps, four or five different nationals in the one unit. The weakness is aggravated by the fact that at any moment the personnel of any one nation could be withdrawn according to the whim of the nation concerned, because the men of that polyglot force would remain at all times - and therefore at all critical times as well - nationals of the countries from which they came.
I mention those weaknesses because they exist and because they are serious. 1 do not think we should, at any time, throw the responsibility for the preservation of security in the Middle East to a body like the United Nations, or entrust it to an armed service comprising units from a United Nations police force. I think that the responsibility is far too great and too serious, and that a successful solution in those circumstances would be far too difficult to achieve. 1 am trying to be realistic. But I do suggest that, with all the weaknesses of the Eisenhower programme, we should, to use a common expression, give it a fly. It will, of course, require, again as a condition precedent, acceptance by the Arab nations themselves. We cannot force the wishes of the United Nations, or the presence of its armed services, on an Arab State, any more than we” can do so on one of our own States. Therefore, the prerequisite to such a plan is the consent of the nations themselves. If that can be obtained, I think and believe the plan should have the support of every democratic government; but I have certain reservations to make regarding that state of affairs.
Having won the present round in the tactical conflict with Colonel Nasser and Comrade Khrushchev, we should not walk out and leave the field to them. We have won a round and we should capitalize on that victory. I believe that it was a splendid strategic victory when the British and the Americans moved quickly into the Middle East at the request of the nations concerned, and T still think that, irrespective of any United Nations organization that may be set up. we should continue to be prepared to move in if the security of the Middle East is placed in jeopardy, in circumstances that warrant the use of force. I think that that is the only thing that Nasser and Khrushchev appreciate. If we are not prepared to employ armed force to keep the Middle East clear of Communists, we should sav so now and get out, because T firmly believe that the only solution to the preservation of peace in the Middle East is a good bavonet with a rifle on the end of it.
– The old sabre rattler!
– That is called sabre rattling by interjectors like Senator O’Byrne, who preaches the Communist doctrine in this Senate at every possible opportunity.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I ask that that remark be withdrawn. I resent it very much.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Pearson). - Order! Is Senator Vincent prepared to withdraw that statement?
– No, I am not prepared to withdraw it. I believe that it is a true statement. If Senator O’Byrne disagrees with the proposition, I shall welcome it if he will get up and disprove it. I suggest there is nothing unparliamentary-
– On a point of order, Mr. Acting Deputy President: I have directed your attention to a statement made by Senator Vincent which I resent very much indeed. I ask that you will request a withdrawal of that statement, because it is completely untrue.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! I rule that there is nothing really offensive in the statement, and I think that Senator Vincent is in order.
– I move -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Will you state your objection in writing? (Senator Benn, having submitted in writing his objection to the Acting Deputy President’s ruling) -
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. -Senator Benn has moved that my ruling regarding the statement made by Senator Vincent; to the effect that Senator O’Byrne preached the Communist doctrine in the Senate, be rejected. His objection reads -
I believe that the statement was offensive and that your ruling was therefore wrong.
Is the motion seconded?
-I second the motion.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. -The motion has been proposed and seconded. I advise the Senate that, in accordance with Standing Order 429, the motion having been made and seconded, the question stands adjourned until the next day of sitting.
– I submit that would be the case provided there was no motion to the contrary, andI formally move -
That the question of dissent requires immediate determination.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Under which Standing Order do you submit that motion?
– Under Standing Order 429, the one to which you have referred. Shall I read it?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Yes.
– It reads -
If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the President, such objection must be taken at once, and in writing, and motion made, which, if seconded, shall be proposed to the Senate, and debate thereon forthwith adjourned to the next sitting day-
Now we come to the relevant words - unless the Senate decides on motion, without debate, that the question requires immediate determination.
Accordingly, I have moved that the question requires immediate determination.
Question put. The Senate divided. (The Deputy President - Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid.)
Majority . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The debate will be adjourned to the next day of sitting.
Earlier, I tried also to establish the proposition that no armed United Nations force could do our fighting for us in the way proposed. I do not believe that any such force would have the necessary efficiency. I have mentioned the other weaknesses which I believe to be inherent in such a proposition. However we should endeavour, with the concurrence of other established nations, to set lip the elements of President Eisenhower’s plan. I believe that there is no alternative to that: We should give it every support, provided always that we maintain our own foreign policies in regard to the Middle : East.- I want to emphasize the proposition that to throw the political and practical, responsibility into the hands of the United Nations is not to absolve ourselves from the duty to form and maintain a foreign policy; for the Middle East, or for any other part of the world. The very constitution of the United Nations provides that that body regards the formulation of foreign policies by its integral parts as being of its very essence. There are in this country too many people who blithely pass the buck - if I may use that expression to the United Nations to excuse the absence of a foreign policy in these matters. The very best way I know of starting trouble is to throw one’s responsibility upon an organization like the United Nations. I support the Eisenhower plan for the Middle East, particularly insofar as it contemplates the establishment of a fund for the raising of living standards and the setting up of an international police force, but I insist that we should not depart from our own foreign policies, which have recently been so vigorously and successfully applied. If we do we shall once more have the chaos that we had in the past.
My final point is that the foreign policies of Britain and America must be as one. We remember the tragedy of Suez. We know that it resulted from a disagreement between Britain and the United States of America on the implementation of foreign policy in one of the most vital regions of the world. And we will see that again unless both Britain and America walk as one along the road to progress and eventually, I hope, to world peace.
.- The present situation in the Middle East is one on which it is very easy to be dogmatic’ but very difficult to be sure that one is right. I agree with Senator Vincent when’ he says that the action taken by Britain and’ the United States in the Middle East situation was justified, but ‘I am quite prepared to say that only time will prove whether that is entirely so. The redeeming feature, or the best feature of the action that hm been taken is that Britain and the United States are acting together. I am glad to see that happening, because I believe that in the co-operation of the British Commonwealth of Nations, the United States of America and the other democratic countries we have the best hope of world peace.
The Middle East, as every one has said, is a vital area. It is the land bridge which connects the three great continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. It is, therefore, of immense strategic importance, particularly in the present state of the world. There have been difficulties in the Middle East for many years, but particularly since the conclusion of the last war. I think that some of the seeds of the present difficulties can be found in the attempts that were made to bring about a settlement in that area, and in other areas, at the conclusion of the second world war. As we know, that was a period of great instability throughout the world. Communism, with its head-quarters in the Soviet Union, attempted to make use of that period of instability for its own purposes. To combat the attempts of international communism to make use of that period of instability we had, for example, the Marshall plan and other plans that were put forward by the democratic countries for the purpose of bringing about a better settlement in the world. The Marshall plan was conspicuously successful in Europe, but it was not so successful in other areas, particularly the under-privileged areas such as the Middle East.
I think it is instructive to look at the reasons for the failure of the efforts of the democracies in those areas to find ready acceptance. In those reasons we can see much of the cause of what is happening at the present time. When America and the countries that supported her endeavoured to give assistance to some of those countries, for the purpose of promoting stability in those areas, they met with difficulties. The new States - some of the Arab States, for example - were very proud of their independence. They were suspicious of efforts to help them through a feeling that behind those efforts to help there might be imperialist designs. There were also keen jealousies between a number of those States, jealousies which were exemplified at times in protests that they deserved more assistance than some other nations who were receiving help. Then again, the States were inclined to resent the questions that were asked at times as a condition of receiving assistance, and they were inclined to resent the conditions that were put upon the assistance that was offered to them. One conspicuous example was this: When they sought arms, America and other nations which were prepared to assist them tried to make it a condition that their arms should be of such a character that they would be available only for defence and not for aggressive action. Not without some reason, some of the Arab States felt that that condition was designed to prevent them from taking action to eliminate the State of Israel.
For that, and for other reasons, there was a tendency in the area to resent the attempts of the United States and the democracies to assist in the Middle East; and there was a feeling - a growing feeling - of resentment towards them, which was exemplified in attacks upon them from Arab sources on the ground that they were just imperialist or colonial in their views. Arab nationalism, which had certainly been to a big extent opposed to us in World War II., actually promoted this feeling of resentment and this feeling of antagonism towards Britain, America and the other democracies which, after all, had a most vital interest in the Middle East.
And there was another factor - the growth of what Mr. Aneurin Bevan, of the British Labour party, has termed an urban proletariat in many centres of the Middle East where it had not previously existed. That urban proletariat came as a result of the opportunity for employment round the big oil centres and as a result, also, of increased industrialization and the assistance in a number of projects that was given to the Middle East countries. That urban proletariat was particularly open to Communist influences. It is to some extent from that group that much of the support for the action against the interests of the British and the Americans and the democracies has come in the East to-day. So the situation is that the very well-meant efforts of Britain, America and the other democracies to assist the Arab States did not meet with the reception that they had hoped for. There was a rise of Arab nationalism right throughout that area, and the feeling of antagonism towards the democracies grew because it was believed that they were the defenders of Israel. They had no alternative. They had caused Israel to come into being and they had an obligation to defend it. But the fact that they were prepared to defend Israel undoubtedly weakened their position in the Middle East in the eyes of the Arab nations. As a result, when America attempted to prevent certain Arab countries arming with a view to making attacks upon Israel, those countries turned elsewhere, and it was in that turning elsewhere that Russia saw its opportunity. As a result, Colonel Nasser in Egypt was offered by Russia large supplies of Czechslovak arms, to be paid for with Egyptian cotton. . When he accepted that offer of assistance, the democracies attempted to put the screws on Egypt by refusing the funds they had previously suggested would be available for the building of the Aswan Dam, giving as the reason the fact that if Egypt was in a position to make its cotton resources available for the purchase of arms, it should make them available for the dam project.
Russia took advantage of Egypt’s resentment at the action of the democracies and promised assistance to Nasser if he would embark upon his adventure at Suez. He did so; he received support from Russia and he was able to mobilize a certain am’ount of world pressure against the attempt to invade by Great Britain and France. The British and French attempt was a failure, and Nasser’s prestige was raised so high that he came to be regarded throughout the Arab world as a leader.
It is hard to say whether we would be better off to-day if Britain and France had persisted in the action they took. At the time I supported them, and I cannot help feeling now that if they had continued with their policy we would be no worse off to-day that we are. Probably we would be better off. I had that feeling then; I have that feeling now; but it is difficult to be dogmatic because many factors that would make a big difference to our outlook must be considered.
Because Nasser’s prestige was raised by his success in the Suez incident - a success which sprang largely from the fact that Britain and America were working in opposite directions - he was able to induce Syria to accede to his rule. One sees in the Middle East to-day similar prospects of accession to his rule by other Aarab nations. If he were the type of ruler in whom one could feel confidence, and if his regime were not of the type that we hear so much about, one might feel that there was perhaps some hope of stability in this unity of nations in the Middle East, but to my mind he is another dictator and the regime he represents is only slightly, if at all, better than the one he supplanted. The world faces grave dangers in putting great power in the hands of a man who has not revealed, up to this stage at any rate, the kind of background that inspires confidence. He has shown that he is prepared to be a tool in the hands of Russia which, as Senator Vincent pointed out, is merely pursuing the imperialist plans and policy which have been pursued in that area over the last 200 years.
Russia’s policy is to make use of the existing forces in the Middle East. She is prepared to supply arms on terms that repayment be made in raw materials, but she does not insist upon very stringent terms of repayment. She offers a minimum rate of interest, realizing that by doing so she is inducing the countries concerned to tie up their raw materials for the purchase of arms. Russia is weakening the economy of those countries and is doing nothing to raise their standards of living - rather to the contrary. However, from the Communist point of view, anything that reduces the standard of living anywhere is of great value because that area becomes more prone to Communist infiltration.
Because of her long-range plans, Russia is prepared even to sacrifice the representatives of the Egyptian Communist party. They have been banned without any protest from Russia and they have been gaoled without any protest from Russia. The Soviet Union has cynically justified the sacrifice of her own tools by saying that many of the leaders of the Egyptian Communist party were more nationalist than Communist in their outlook. They have been sacrificed because Russia knows that other Egyptians and Arabs will be trained who will be more internationally and more communistically minded.
To-day, we have the amazing situation that the Soviet Union, which poses as a workers’ and an anti-fascist organization, is prepared, in pursuit of her long-range plans, to support a government which is controlled by hyper-nationalist army officers, a militaristic government of the type to which communism ought to be irrevocably opposed. But that government is supported by the Soviet, and even permitted to treat with the utmost cruelty supporters of communism in Egypt. Russia realizes that in the long run she has everything to gain by that system.
By supplying arms to the Middle East in return for their raw materials, Russia tends to force the trade of those countries into the Soviet bloc. In addition, the possibility exists that she may be able to corner their raw materials which can be of great assistance from a strategic point of view in the event of war. Rumours are current that Russia now intends to extend her influence in the Middle East. Having gained control, as it were, of the foreign policy of those countries, and having gained control to a large extent of their raw materials, Russia is now reported to be setting up her own international bank in the Middle East in order to attempt to integrate the financial systems of the Arab countries with her own.
The area shows all the ear-marks of Communist intrigue - infiltration and the attempt to provoke that kind of stress from which communism reaps the biggest dividends. Therefore, in determining whether we support the action that was taken by Britain and America, we have to bear in mind that the , democracies had vital interests in that, particular area which were threatened by aggressive international communism acting through militaristic forces which were the willing tools of the Soviet. In my view Britain and France were not attacking the liberties of a free people, because the Egyptian people are not free. The democracies have npt acted against their best interests because the standards of living of the Egyptian. and Arab peoples are being sacrificed to-day by the sale of their raw materials in return for arms - the old cry of guns before butter. I support in every way the action that was taken by Britain and America in Lebanon because it was essential that they1 should act to protect the vital interests of the democracies. ;
Much criticism has been levelled at the leaders of- those countries, which could be said to lean towards the West, King Feisal, King Hussein and the President of Lebanon; but I have not found anybody to suggest that the conditions in Iraq are any better now than they were under the previous regime. Even those who oppose the action taken by Britain and America admit that probably those now in control in Iraq are no better than their predecessors. In my view they are worse. After all, those people who supported our action in Iraq during the second world war when it was vital that that country should be retained under our control, were the people who were executed during the revolution. It is well known that those responsible for the murder in Iraq, not only of men, but also of women and children, were prepared to support Hitler, and were associated with his agents in the attempted revolution which was prevented through the assistance of Nuri el Said and others who are dead to-day. After all, they were our friends. Despite Senator Vincent’s suggestion that it was inevitable that we should recognize the present Government of Iraq, I say it is regrettable that, almost the next day after we had held in London a service of memory for our former friends, we recognized their murderers. I do not see anything to be proud of in letting Russia beat us by only a short half-head in recognition of the people who destroyed our friends..
We have other friends in Jordan and Lebanon for whose assassination the Egyptian radio has been calling every day I am glad that we did the decent thing and went in to their assistance. I read with horror a suggestion in the press that if a revolution breaks out in Jordan, British troops will not interfere, no matter what happens. I hope that that is untrue.
– Who made that suggestion?
– There appeared in a number of Australian newspapers during the last few days the definite statement that British troops have been instructed to stand by and not interfere if an attack is made upon the King of Jordan.
– I think the Australian newspapers were reporting what appeared in two smaller British newspapers.
– That statement has been made. I hope it is not true, because if it is true it is a disgrace to the Commonwealth to which we belong. I hope that we will see an urgent contradiction of that statement, which, if it means anything at all, means that we are prepared to sacrifice our friends in the hope of doing business eventually with our enemies.
– They did it in Iraq.
– I regret that it has been done. One thing that upset me the other night was to see a picture showing Mr. Robert Murphy smiling at a conference with the murderers of King Feisal. Some people may say that it was inevitable that we should1 recognize the present government of Iraq, but I think we will lose more than we gain by it.
– Has it been established that the present head of the government was directly responsible? In all revolutions you get outbursts of mob violence which may not have been directed by the person who leads the revolution.
– From my reading of the press I would say that the present rulers of Iraq, far from seeking to avoid responsibility for the murder of the previous rulers, are actually glorying in the fact that they brought it about. I regret that recognition has been given to them, because I think it is bound to have bad effects.
Let us look at the situation, not only in the Middle East, but also in the East. There are a number of regimes in the Middle East and in the East which the democracies have bolstered up for the purpose of attempting to form a defence line against the march of aggressive communism. What will the people who rule in those countries think when they see other people in the same position as themselves - people who accepted the backing of the democracies - suddenly attacked from inside their own countries and then murdered, and the very next day the democracies, through their representatives, recognizing the new regimes and indicating feelings of the greatest friendship for them? What will happen to our allies if they believe that if they are murdered, the next day we will do business with the people who destroyed them? If there is one way in which to destroy the front against communism throughout the world, it is to make people who are on our side feel that we will not back them when they are in trouble.
What happened in Hungary? The Russians backed the Communist Government. There was an uprising of the people. The Russians marched in, quelled the uprising in blood and put their supporters back in control. If 1 were an eastern ruler, or if I were the premier of an eastern country in alliance with the United States of America, I would think after what happened in Hungary, that the Russians at least stick to their friends. After seeing what had happened in Iraq, I would say to myself, “ It looks as though I will have to look after my personal interests “. If we do not defend our friends, we will very shortly have no friends left in these areas. That is common sense. Their attitude will be: Why line up with the democracies if the democracies will sacrifice us in a day? The ugly contrast is the kind of support that the Communists give to their friends.
I support what has been done in Lebanon and Jordan. Friends of the democracies are being threatened every day over the radios of Arab nationalist countries, which call for the murder of all rulers who are on our side. I support the action that has been taken to defend our friends and I hope that we will continue to defend them. If we do not continue to defend them, we will soon have very few friends left.
I do not think that we will profit very much from our recognition of the present rulers of Iraq, any more than Britain profited from its recognition of red China in 1949 or 1950. The late Mr. Chifley summed up the reasons for the recognition of red China when he said that red China was recognized for economic reasons. British companies had huge investments in red China and Britain recognized red China in the hope of saving those investments. It did not save them; they have all gone. I do not think that we will get anything from our recognition of the present rulers of Iraq. Temporarily they pretend not .be against us, but actually they cannot be anything else, because while they are smiling at our representatives, assuring them that they are not antagonistic to Britain and America, a press campaign in Iraq is calling for unity with Nasser’s Government. An agreement has been reached whereby 300 Egyptian teachers will be drafted to schools in Iraq. The director of the Baghdad University is now to be an Egyptian. In countries where it cannot afford its own representation, Iraq will be represented by Colonel Nasser’s Egyptian Government. Let us face the facts. Iraq is to be a part of the Nasser set-up from now on. In those circumstances, we can place no reliance on the present government. We will not get anything out of our recognition of it.
Our oil interests in the Middle East are therefore in grave danger. People have said that Russia does not need the oil. I question that statement. Her oil resources had a pounding during the recent war and, with her immense industrial expansion and the industrial expansion of China, she would have no difficulty in disposing of the Middle East oil if she could obtain it. When all is said and done, if she is prepared to supply arms to Nasser’s government, what more natural result could there be than he should pay for those arms with oil? I say, therefore, that in my estimation the democracies have suffered a major economic and military defeat in the Middle East. If they pull out - it is said they are going to pull out - they will do so without any firm promises for the future.
We are told there will be a summit conference. People are very much summit conference-minded at the moment. In fact. I have received three letters within the last week suggesting that there ought to be a summit conference on this side of the chamber. Let me say that I have not very much faith in summit conferences, internationally at any rate. Most of the summit conferences that have been held since the last war have resulted in the democracies making concessions which were later found to be unjustified. If we look at the summit conferences held at Yalta, Teheran, Geneva or elsewhere, we see that the final result was that we made big concessions in the hope of achieving world peace, but we got nothing in return. All we did was to sacrifice more of our friends like Poland and North Viet Nam.
What are the terms of the proposed summit conference? Recently at Minsk, Khrushchev made it perfectly clear that if he went to a summit conference he would go there to discuss what he could get out of it, not what the democracies could get out of it. His words were -
We have declared and we declare now that we do not intend to meet for a discussion either of the question of the people’s democracies or the German question. in other words, he is prepared to go to a summit conference to discuss Formosa and the Middle East but not to discuss Hungary, Poland or Germany.
The nature of these summit conferences tells against the democracies every time. Immediately they are held, an immense propaganda barrage is mounted from within the democracies by left wing organizations and newspapers, which demand all sorts of concessions from our side in the interests of world peace. But not a word is said in the Communist countries to embarrass their negotiators or to interfere with their viewpoint.
– What is the alternative?
– The alternative is co-operation between the British Commonwealth, the United States and the other democratic countries, first, to adopt a position of strength - not to yield one inch further but to fix a line and say that they will not go in for further appeasement. Having done that, they should set to work to improve the standards of living and conditions generally in countries such as those which are embraced in the Middle East.
– They should have started long ago.
– They should have started long ago, but the opportunity is still there to start now. I believe that, if we had that line up of the British Commonwealth, America and the other democracies, if they said they would not go in for any more appeasement, and if they collaborated to assist the underdeveloped countries to improve their standards of living by making available the sums that President Eisenhower has mentioned, there would be more chance of getting somewhere than by talking about summit conferences, particularly when you know that the people whom you will meet at the summit conference will make promises that they have no intention of keeping after they leave the conference room. I do not believe for one minute that we will get anywhere by giving way, by further retreats, or by appeasement. If we take that strong line, we have a greater chance of the countries that are not within the Communist orbit getting on our side and staying with us. Plenty of them do not like communism and do not want to be on the Communist side, but we must prove to them that if they stay on our side they will be protected. We cannot protect them if we run away.
I say, therefore, that 1 support the action that has been taken by Britain and the United States in the Middle East. I think it was the only action they could have taken. 1 hope they will remain strong and will be in no hurry to get out. If I were there, I would say that I would get out of Lebanon and Jordan when Russia got out of Poland, Eastern Germany, Hungary and such areas. I think that would be a fair proposition to put up.
The only other matter about which I wish to speak is the United Nations. I support our continued participation in the United Nations, but I do not believe in giving to it tasks that it is not able to perform properly. I think that the principle behind the United Nations is good. We ought to have a good look at the suggestion for a United Nations police force in such areas as the Middle East. There are tremendous difficulties in the way, but the idea has a lot to commend it. If we had a United Nations force to take over these areas, we would not have so much recrimination and suspicion.
In my opinion, we will get world peace if the democracies make a sincere effort to improve the living standards of people in the underprivileged countries and if they do all they can to advance the principles for which the United Nations stands. Up to date, it has had difficulty in putting those principles into effect because some countries have entered the organization not for what they can put into it but for what they can get out of it. I still think that in principle the United Nations is a wonderful institution, but we must not expect too much from it nor place upon it a burden which it cannot bear. The idea of a police force has much to commend it, and I hope it will be further examined.
That is all I have to say, other than to repeat that foreign affairs is a subject about which we cannot be dogmatic or sure. We can only study what is happening and try to make up our minds. In making up my mind, I am quite definite that we will get more if we stand firm than if we continue to run away.
– I congratulate Senator McManus upon the speech he has made, and with most of it I agree. On the matter of the recognition of the Government of Iraq, all I can say is that I am dubious. I interjected merely to put a point which I think we ought to be clear on - that is, that the responsibility of a revolutionary government for what went on before it took over has to be established. Generally, the principle of recognition does not depend upon the morality or the nature of the government concerned. At least, the British policy has always been that the principle is whether the government is stable and is one with which we can maintain terms not necessarily of amity but which enable us to live together. If the Government of Iraq is such as Senator McManus believes it to be, this very dubious recognition may turn out to have been a wrong step.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– There are a number of points that I think have been clearly established in this debate and I do not intend to labour them, but I shall briefly state them so that the Senate will know where I stand. The first point is that Britain and the United States were fully justified in intervening in Lebanon and Jordan before putting the matter before the United Nations. I think that Senator Gorton’s speech, which has not been answered by anybody on the other side and which I think has been tacitly agreed to by some of the speakers, established that. Secondly, I agree that the United Nations Charter expressly allows for this by permitting both individual and collective defence, and the intervention was simply “ collective defence.
Thirdly, I agree with the oft-repeated statement that the presence of oil in the Middle East, and the necessity for other countries to get oil, is a major cause of the conflict, but that should not lead to any stupid misunderstanding that only the interests of oil owners or oil company shareholders are considered, because the interests of everybody in what we call the Western world are affected by the withholding of oil. Fourthly, I agree with the Eisenhower policy of sending all material aid, mainly from the United States of America, to these Middle Eastern countries; and fifthly, I agree that we all should participate in the United Nations and, so far as possible, act through it.
I want to discuss now a problem that most speakers have hinted at or addressed themselves to in one way or another. Senator McManus did so, I think, in a masterly fashion. I refer to the question whether our participation in the United Nations means that we trust to it entirely for our own security, and if we do not, what other means and methods we should adopt. The League of Nations did not stop what was called power politics. The idea that a nation’s weight and influence depended on its industrial strength, its population, its capacity for making war, subsisted all through the years between the two world wars and has survived the second world war. The power conflict to-day, instead of being allayed by the creation of the United Nations, seems more terrible than ever. We have to recognize its existence. We do not free ourselves from it by denying it. If there is a power struggle, or an attempt by one group of powers to prevail over another, we can be with one or the other, or we can attempt to be neutral, but I doubt whether any one can be neutral if it suits the interests of either power group to, in some way or other, interfere.
India is pursuing a policy which is professedly neutral, and so far, of course, it has succeeded. Switzerland has been neutral for centuries; Sweden has been neutral, and Norway has been neutral. At least Norway was neutral until it was attacked and overrun. Sweden to-day is making more complete preparations against attack from the Soviet bloc than any other country, because Sweden knows that if a world conflict intervened it could not remain neutral. To any one who knows what is behind the scenes, neutrality to-day is impossible unless its suits the aggressor to leave us neutral. Therefore, I think that our security lies in our having within the United Nations, the greatest group of powerful allies that we possibly can have.
This debate has been mainly confined to the Middle East. I intend to go beyond that, Mr. Acting Deputy President, butI think that everythingI have to say is relevant because it leads out of questions that have arisen in the debate, and I think that it will be better that I should try to tell the Senate of a few things about which I have made a careful study, rather than to repeat the; arguments which, I think, are completely effective already and which I, therefore, merely support.
One of the greatest events within the last few days has been a completely peaceful revolution in Algeria and in France. That has been very imperfectly reported in Australia, and grossly distorted pictures have been given. My reason for bringing this matter in is that I think that this revolution will, if it succeeds, make an enormous difference to the power grouping. As we know, Europe for centuries either dominated the world or could ignore the rest of the world. So far as our ancestors were concerned, Europe was the world, and so far as we are concerned, Europe was the world until during the second world war.
We all are alive to the significance of Asia to-day. We want to understand Asia, but we do not want to follow the foolish attitude adopted by people who talk in slogans without realizing what they mean, and who say, “We are part of Asia. We have to do what Asia does. Our policy has got to be Asian “, and so forth. Our policy is global and must be so. We must take into account the whole world; but this country is the child of Europe. Our modem immigration policy, which is a modification of the earlier one, when we really wished to admit none but people from the British Isles, is a recognition of that fact. I do not think that any one, in his efforts to be friendly with Asia, with Africa, or with any other part of the world, will consent to destroying that policy, because our traditions come from Europe, and we understand people from Europe to a greater extent than we do people from elsewhere. I hope that when this country is fully populated, we will not need to worry about migration policies at all, and that we can let any one come who wishes to come; butI want to see as many people of European stock here as quickly as possible, so that we have a well settled and developed country. Modifications with regard to Asia or Africa may then readily be made.
I am addressing myself specifically to France because it is recognized that that has been the weak point in the United Nations. France was heavily defeated in the war. It was rescued by its allies and by the efforts of those very brave French citizens - half a million of them in the end - who, against the government that had been established in their country by collaboration with the enemy, fought on our side, some very heroically. When the Fourth Republic was established, General De Gaulle, who was the first provisional President, hoped to set up a stable executive. 1 am not one of those, as everybody knows, who believes that parliament should be subject to the executive; but we have worked out - or the British worked out and we have followed it and adapted it - a system of responsible government which functions, I think, quite well,’ although it did not originally. The first government in New South Wales lasted, I think, six weeks, and there was no government that lasted more than five years until Federation. In many other parts of the British Empire there have been unstable governments. Under the Third and Fourth Republics, the French nation never learned to get a stable government, because of a French outlook which cannot be ignored. De Gaulle’s attempt to do that failed, and not being an ambitious politician, but a patriot first, he simply left politics, retired to the country and remained merely as the head of a general, rather amorphous, movement which wanted a change of the republic’s constitution. Time has fully justified his action.
We have had only one change of government in our federal sphere since the end of the war. The French have had fifteen, and some of the governments have lasted only a week or so. That simply means that there never has been a stable executive. While so engaged, they had colonial wars on their hands. The one in the Far East has been ended, and the French have withdrawn from that area altogether. The one in Africa is much more complicated, and I think I should say, as a prelude to this - and this links very definitely with what has been said about the pan-Arab movement - the position of the French in North Africa is not commonly known to be quite different from that of the ordinary colonial power.
There were three countries which the French dominated - Morocco, Algeria and Tunis. In Morocco and Tunis, they were in exactly the same position as the Germans, or the British, or any other European power which annexed a backward country. Morocco was a very old state. So was Tunis. They were organized societies, and the claim that, colonialism being ended, the French should get out of those places, is, I think, justified. And it has been done. The Sultan of Morocco is now free, and the President of Tunis is now free. Tunis has replaced its former royal ruler. That country has a president, Bourquiba, a very able man, who has a European education. In fact, in his habits, taste and manners, he is very like a Frenchman, and he is not unfriendly to the French.
Algeria is quite different. There was no Algeria before the French went there. There was a series of tiny states governed by beys and deys, and people of similar names, scattered along the north of Africa, with very few people in the hinterland at all. Those people in the north of Africa, those local rulers, were nominally subject to the Sultan of the Turkish Empire, but were in fact independent. They were actually pirates. Curiously enough - and it is a pity some of the American journalists do not know their own history better - the first people to intervene, in the nineteenth century at any rate - there were sporadic invasions by Europeans before - were the Americans. No doubt all honorable senators have heard the hymn of the American marines -
From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli.
The man who ordered the invasion was none other than President Jefferson, the complete pacifist, the man who did not believe in mixing in war or taking any country outside America, the man who believed in complete isolation! But he happened, in office, to be a practical man. He did quite a number of things that were quite contrary to the political creed he professed. Amongst other things, he took possession, by purchase, of the whole of Louisiana, which was not merely the present Louisiana. It was an enormous area out of which I think about ten States have been carved.
Getting back to North Africa,I point out that the Americans were the first people to intervene. In 1814 the British sent an admiral - I think it was Exmouth - to bombard Algiers, but these were only sporadic attacks. During all this time, the pirates of Algeria and Tripoli were preying on the peaceful commerce of the Mediterranean, capturing ships and enslaving the people.
In 1830, a vigorous Minister of France said, “ We will put an end to this once and for all “. He sent a strong expeditionary force that took Algiers, and the French have held it ever since. So, when people want to put Algeria in the same position as other African States, or States in the Far East, they should remember that the French took it over from a nest of pirates. It has grown simply because the French have established civilization there, and the Moslems, no less than the French, are colonists. They are all colonists. I am satisfied’, from my own reading, that the majority of the people of Algeria want to remain united with France. But there is a revolution on, and the rebels have been supplied with arms from Tunis. I do not think they have received any from Morocco. They may have received a fewcases from Morocco, but the weapons came mainly from Tunis, and this, it is alleged, with the connivance of the Government of Tunis.
The last French Cabinet but one, that of M. Gaillard, failed because of an incident, which has been variously reported in the Press. A punitive expedition bombed a village in Tunis. The allegations and counter-allegations in connection with that incident almost reach in proportions the allegations and counter-allegations in the Orr case. They are incredible. There is no doubt that there was an attack, but it was not ordered from Paris. It was a sign, not strange to those who have been following Algerian affairs, that the army was acting as an independent authority. I do not know whether it was ordered from army headquarters, but it was ordered without authority from the French Ministry, or anyone in France. It was ordered by a local authority. He alleged it was justified because this village was a machine-gun nest from which aeroplanes were being consistently shot down. Naturally the Americans felt, as I think most of us did, that was a terrible incident, and it showed that there was a nation which could neither make peace nor make war. That position had to be ended. Gaillard was not responsible for that but it brought him down. Pflimlin attempted to form a ministry, and while he was in the initial process of doing so came this incident which I shall not call a rebellion, but which has ended in rebellion - this strange movement in Algiers.
In the Library is to be seen an illustrated French magazine, “ Paris Match “. I think it is the best popular illustrated magazine in the world. The photography is marvellous and the articles and reporting are excellent. In that magazine will be found a f ull account of recent movements there.
– Is it in French?
– The honorable senator can peruse the photographs. They are in the universal language and they are magnificent.
– Are they of beauties?
– No. The photographs are not of the type the honorable senator has in mind. It is one of the very best types of popular magazines, more on the lines of some of the older English magazines but much brighter, and I think much more efficient.
In Algiers two movements had been planned. There was an army revolt. There is no question about that. There was a group of colonels and generals, I think Massu was the leader of them, and they were determined that the army would do something. But in collaboration with them there was a movement, mainly of settlers, citizens in Algiers, both French and Algerian. It will take a good deal of investigation, I suppose, to learn when they all came together, but suddenly it exploded and a committee of public safety was set up. It occupied the main government building in Algiers, and for twelve delirious days the crowds went there, made terrific demonstrations, but did not hurt anybody. The only instruments to keep order were tear gas bombs, which some of us here know are very painful but do not inflict permanent injury.
The government dared not order the revolt to stop. It had no means of doing so. Pflimlin ordered Salon, the commanderinchief, to take control. I do not think Salon was a conspirator. I think he found himself between two fires, but he appears to have come out of the difficulty very well. It looked for a moment as though the people would rally to the constituted authority. Those people were not threatening a fascist revolt. They were continually crying for De Gaulle. Those who know the history of De Gaulle should know how he comes to be in the unique situation in which he is. He was the one Allied general - he was only a brigadier at the time and therefore commanded only a brigade or small force - who was universally victorious in the terrible fight on the Western Front. Furthermore, the Germans were victorious because they adopted the methods he had advocated, but which other generals as well as the French Government refused to adopt. When the French Government capitulated, he came out of France of his own accord, went to England and made himself the rallying point for the whole of the French nation. Mr. Churchill is supposed to have said that the heaviest cross he had to bear in the war was the Cross of Lorraine, which became De Gaulle’s symbol because it was formerly the symbol of Joan of Arc. I should say that was a complete compliment to General De Gaulle. After all, although Churchill was a great war commander, it was necessary, as Australian governments found, to enforce one’s point of view. De Gaulle came out of that very well. The other remarkable thing is that, during the brief period for which he was President of France under the provisional constitution - before the old republic came back - he carried through, with a united ministry representing every shade of thought in France, more social reforms and reforms affecting industrial conditions than any other French government in recent history. France was industrially a backward country. In many ways it was a rich country, and the peasants were probably among the most prosperous in the world. At the time France was not very greatly industrialized and there was an enormous amount of home manufacture. Those of us who were there 40 years ago were amazed at the number of windmills and watermills that we saw. We were surprised at the evidence of what seemed to us to be a medieval society. France is now being industrialized and is changing from a cottage industry nation to a nation of factories - but without the terrible struggles which accompanied the British changeover. France, of course, had had its industrial troubles, but they were of a minor degree only. They did not affect the whole economy of the country as had British industrialization.
That is the record of this man De Gaulle. When people write to the press and say that he is a mere fascist, they show that they do not know anything about him. After the revolt in Algiers every one was hesitating. Then suddenly came the coup in Corsica. From the military point of view that was the most interesting event of all because a certain soldier who is known as “ cuir ne2 “ - he wears a leather strap across his broken nose and is thus a most sinister looking figure - flew over and took possession of Ajaccio and two or three leading towns in Corsica. The military authorities did nothing, nor did the police or the civil guards. The public officials said that they would yield only to force, but they themselves did nothing. That provided an enormous lesson and was decisive in bringing about a peaceful revolution in France.
The various parties decided upon a public demonstration. In the meantime debates were going on in the Assembly. One group wanted to re-form the old United Front. In 1937 fascism had been the great danger. I want to emphasize that. Communism then seemed much more remote. The radicals, the socialists and the Communists formed a united government under Leon Blum. Blum was a socialist with a policy very much like that of Mr. Chifley, Mr. Curtin or any other socialist at that time. The union with the Communists did not last very long, but the United Front did stop what looked like an attempt at a fascist revolt. Some one thought, “ We will stop De Gaulle by doing this “. In the magazine which I have before me honorable senators will see a picture of the demonstration which took place. Friends of mine who were present have told me that it was the most peaceful demonstration that has ever occurred. People were asked to assemble, and they did assemble. The numbers involved were variously estimated at between 30,000 and 200,000. No one was hurt. They merely shouted “ Vive la République “ and waved tricolor flags. However, the other people were doing the same thing. That is the most curious aspect of it all. The symbols of the republic were used by both sides. The Committee of Public Safety - an invention of the French revolution, which had stopped the rot, had driven the enemy back and had made France independent when she was being invaded from all sides, was the instrument the opponents of the existing regime wished to use.
There has been no overt fascist move at all, and there has been no move from the royalists. A few sentimental people have said, “We should call back the King “. There is, of course, a Pretender to the French throne who figures in the social news but otherwise is not taken seriously. I cannot deny that there are fascist elements in France. There are in many countries, and for that reason I should have feared anything like a military invasion from Africa. That was the possibility which every one saw.
Among the statesmen who have risen in France since the last war, I admire greatly Bidault, who belongs to what is called the Popular Republican Movement - a post-war movement of the Third Republic. The parties which professed to put the point of view of the leading church - the Catholic Church - were mainly considered to be on the right. They were, very largely, people allied to the royalists and more reactionary interests, but Bidault founded a popular republican movement which is professedly Christian and definitely democratic. Even more, it is a movement for social reform which is somewhat ahead of the radicals. “ Radical “ of course is a very deceptive term. The radicals of whom I speak believe in the radicalism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Their two fundamental tenets are that there must be a republic - a representative government - and that education must be under the State. I am sure that many of them are rather conservative, and this new church movement is definitely to their left.
But to return to Bidault. Bidault said, when the various authorities were still thinking that the old republican form of government might be saved, “ Gentlemen, do you not realize that this is the last time any one will offer us a parachute to keep off the locusts? “ Honorable senators will see the parallel. De Gaulle is the parachute and the locusts are the parachutists. One can imagine what would have happened if this terrible new technique had been employed and the army in Algeria had been in the position which many ignorant people have asserted it was in, and had planned an attack - as Franco did. The challenge of Franco was there. I think that was what convinced almost every one. From my reading of the French newspapers, and from what I have been told, virtually every one in the French Assembly - no matter what point of view they represented - in the end agreed that De Gaulle had to come.
It is hard to get an idea of the character of De Gaulle. He stood stiffly aloof and spoke briefly. He said he was prepared to take over the republic. When the affair in Corsica occurred Pflimlin sent for him privately and asked, “ Will you disavow Corsica? “ De Gaulle did so very definitely and made it clear that he was not a fascist leader. Furthermore, he said publicly - and it has been so recorded again and again - that he would on no account take power by force; that he would assume power by legal means only. What did that mean? The government of the day could not trust its own police. Corsica had proved that. It could not trust its army, and if a military coup occurred by the use of parachutists, a new and terrible method, there might be a dictator in Paris. He might be one who knew nothing about political methods, who was an enemy of freedom, and who would attempt to set up an army government. I do not think that he could have succeeded. It would only have resulted in a terrible civil war which would have ruined France. At that stage the President of the Republic said that there were only two alternatives - - De Gaulle or a popular front. The popular front could not have been formed. Only the radicals, the socialists and the Communists would have joined it. No one trusted the Communists, and the key man in the final stage was Guy Mollet, the leader of the socialist party - the man whom I compared in ideals and character to the late John Curtin. He said to his own supporters, who were against any kind of capitulation to De Gaulle, “ It is either De Gaulle or the Algerian colonels, or Duclos. The Algerian colonels mean a government like Franco’s. Duclos means a government under Moscow.” I think that the realism with which the majority of the radicals and the French socialists faced that situation shows that there is a chance for a: very stable government. When De Gaulleformed his Ministry, he chose mainly parliamentarians. He picked them from the various parties - nearly all the parties - and he also took in a number of leading public servants who had actually been governing the country for long periods, because the Ministers had been in office for such a short time that they hardly knew what it was all about.
The constitution that he is proposing is one that we would regard as quite unacceptable and unsuitable to us, but we have got to remember that in France things have always been different, and that this is an attempt to give France stable government. It will be called the Fifth Republic. The French will probably have a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, a ninth and a tenth republic. The form of government is changed. In the past, changes of ministry have meant, in effect, nothing. Ministers regrouped in a slightly different way, the assembly talked continually and at length but possibly with little effect on the country at large. Very many people, of course, whose natural attitude is pessimistic to everything, say that it will not last. You can think of all sorts of contingencies. De Gaulle could possibly be succeeded by a military dictator, but I do not think so. I think the ordinary temperament of the French people is such that that would not take place. Evidence that that is not feared is found in this: De Gaulle is now warmly supported by the very people who have always suffered from fascism. Nobody in France has supported him more strongly, from the reports that I have read, than the Jewish community. If there had been any danger of fascism, would the Jewish community support him? That is the strongest evidence that he is not Hitler-like as to character. He is a general of tremendous ability. He has been a politician of consummate ability. He constructed the government out of ruins, and he did not attempt to hang on indefinitely. He preferred to retire to the country and write his memoirs. He is 67 years of age, and at 67 a man may have all his faculties - I have not yet reached that age - but he is not likely to go on to the sort of adventures that a man of the type of Hitler could. Hitler is said to have precipitated the war in his early fifties because he thought he would have no chance of winning it if he waited until he was older.
The proposition I am putting is that there is the greatest hope that the Western world will be strengthened, that the Algerian prob lem will be solved and that, consequently, we will be rid of this spectre of a pan-Arab empire under a dictator of the type of Nasser. What the Americans feared was the continual struggle - getting nowhere, futile, ineffectual - and that the relations between the French and the Arabs would lead Bourgiba to join the other bloc. Bourgiba is an honest national leader - a much abler and better type - and if you can get reconciliation in North Africa, part of the problem will be solved. But greater than that, within the United Nations we will have two powerful friends to Western governments. If those two powerful governments worked together - I am referring to Western Germany and France - the smaller nations will fall in with them. Senator Hendrickson seems to be completely uninterested in this. He has often tried to alarm us about the economic consequences to this country under a revived Europe, by the common market and so forth, and I think he ought to be interested because I think this strengthens the chance of that.
– I cannot follow you. I do not know where you are.
– I am referring, to the possibility of Europe being re-united - united in such a way that instead of being more or less a liability to the United Nations, it becomes an asset. That is what I have been leading up to the whole time in giving this account of the struggle in France. I say that the strengthening of France makes the possibility of that European union much greater than it has ever been. I believe that the interest of the people in Western Germany, in the smaller countries such as Belgium, Holland and so forth, and in France will mean that in the United Nations, instead of having merely Great Britain, Canada, one or two other Commonwealth countries and the United States that we can rely on, we will have powerful support from Western Europe. That, and the pacification of North Africa and the amelioration of the conditions in the Middle East is what I hope for in this matter.
Therefore, I conclude by saying that we cannot separate this Middle Eastern problem from the whole problem of global peace. The greatest possibility of global peace is for the countries which have been free and strong and civilized in the past to be fully restored so that all of them - not America alone - can give aid to the backward countries. The old relationship between colonialism or imperialism - call it what you like - and the backward countries is gone. No one wants to restore it. If they are to recover and develop, they need capital goods. They need the help from the civilized countries - ourselves, as well as the others. And it is on that and not on a mere paper observance of the United Nations that I rely on in my hopes for peace in the world.
.- I can quite understand Senator Hendrickson’s predicament in not being able to understand Senator McCallum’s speech, because if you were listening in to the radio and heard the song, “Witchdoctor”, it would be just about as understandable as the farrago of roundabout nothingness that we have heard from the honorable senator. He did not touch on the main spot that we are discussing. He took us on a trip through the northern parts of Africa and France but he said nothing about the vital spot in which the people of this country are urgently and vitally interested, and about which we should have heard much more in detail from a senator who has given so much of his time to the study of history. He must know that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) said in his ministerial statement -
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.
That is utter hooey, and it was put in the statement to try to pull the wool over the eyes of the people. The Minister cannot fool all these people because, basically, they understand the issues that are at stake.
I wish now to refer to the gobbledegook that was spoken by Senator Vincent. You would think he had been reading the latest communique from Cloud Cuckoo Land, when he said that the moral law of the Middle East must be upheld. I ask honorable senators whether the moral law is being upheld by the successive shakey sheiks who were set up as the remnants of the Ottoman Empire, who have had harems, who have taken away men’s manhood and put them into service as chattels and slaves for hundreds of years. That system which brings about the complete degradation of the dignity of man is the system that Senator Vincent wants to uphold and perpetuate. It is the sheerest hypocrisy to talk about the moral law in this issue.
The honorable senator also said that the international law cannot be implemented. In my view our Department of External Affairs, tagging along behind British and American diplomacy, has suffered a great defeat in the present situation, even worse than on a previous occasion when Sir Anthony Eden, with the approval of his henchman, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), blundered into and out of the Suez Canal. On the other hand, Soviet diplomacy scored a victory. We have made a very grave diplomatic blunder in this whole affair. The only hope of a solution to this problem, so far as the West is concerned, lies in the international law and the United Nations, the same United Nations that Senator Vincent and his colleagues in Australia, and most of the countries leading western thought, have sabotaged, insulted and well nigh destroyed. One very seldom hears a speech from honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber during a debate on international affairs that does not belittle the United Nations. Fundamentally, their foreign policy is the policy of the big stick, the largest numbers, and right being on the side with the biggest army. That Middle Ages philosophy is being challenged to-day and being found wanting in every aspect.
Senator Vincent also said that Nasser is tending to reduce Arab nationalism. Irrespective of anything that Nasser has done with regard to that matter, the action of the democracies in the present situation would neither cement nor foment Arab nationalism to the point at which the Arab nations would become completely united. Unfortunately, the rallying point of Arab nationalism was the Israel situation and the number of Arab refugees who were displaced as a result of the setting up of the State of Israel.
– By whom?
– By the United Nations, which did a great job in giving the Jewish peoples a national home, but the United Nations and the great powers of the world must bear the responsibility for what has happened since then. The wealthy nations have great monetary interests in the Middle Bast but so far have done nothing to give the Arab refugees any rights or dignities as human beings.
There is a lot more history behind the present situation than the Minister for External Affairs would lead us to believe. During his speech he also said -
After the first world war the Ottoman Empire was carved up into these various principalities, sheikdoms and kingdoms for the sole purpose of dividing and ruling. The previous rulers of the Ottoman Empire sold the right of their various states to foreign countries, with the result that practically half of their revenue was being used to pay the debts owed to England, France and other European countries. The British people, following their policy at that time, wanted to establish a sound basis, and it was in their interest to have on their side certain kings and sheiks who would protect British holdings in that area. That has been the pattern of the whole of British colonial policy. That is how the British Empire became so great. While it lasted, it brought great wealth and benefits to us as units of the Empire.
The same may be said of France. After the first world war she dealt with her monarchs and set up presidents with their own little spheres of influence. But in all these cases the presidents, sheiks or kings were only figureheads. They always had their political advisers who were very carefully selected.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the British Empire brought no benefits to those whom it governed?
– I did not say that. As a matter of fact, in my view the British brought great benefits to the Empire in the manner in which they instituted the system of law to apply in the colonies.
– That is better!
– The British did a tremendous job in the process of civilizing their empire. Our missionaries did a magnificent job in taking the word of God to uncivilized countries, but behind the Bible and the cloak of the missionary came the trader. One honorable senator said to-day that a little bit of competition brings out the best in us, but it also brings out the worst. The same position applies in the Middle East to-day. Who will receive the greatest benefit out of the existing situation?
I return to the statement by Mr. Casey, in which he said -
To play up the importance of oil as the dominant factor … is to distract attention from the actual causes of it and from the principles at stake.
During the 1939-45 war the international oil cartels were in a very happy position. They had head-quarters in Europe in a little principality called Liechtenstein, which was situated in the centre of the holocaust of the European war, but there was no rationing of commodities and no restriction of movement in that principality. It is interesting to note, as revealed in correspondence, that the fuel used by British pilots in the battle of Britain was subject to a royalty that was paid to Germany. I mention that fact to indicate the type of thing the international oil cartels can do, and to show that any one who decries their power is closing his eyes to reality.
The “Current Affairs” bulletin of 30th June, 1958, mentions Iraq, a division of the Middle East oil lands, with the major concessions made up as follows: - British, 23.75 per cent.; American, 23.75 per cent.; British-Dutch, 23.75 per cent.; French, 23.75 per cent. Then we go over to Iran and we find that the percentages are British 40 per cent., American 40 per cent., BritishDutch 14 per cent., and French 6 per cent. For Kuwait, they are British 50 per cent, and American 50 per cent. For Bahrein, we have America, 100 per cent. Coming down to Qatar, we have British 23.75 per cent., British-Dutch 23.75 per cent., American 23.75 per cent., and French 23.75 per cent. Someone else must have move,- in on the racket, because we find there an item “ Others 5 per cent.”. In the neutral zone we have American 100 per cent., and in the Saudi Arabian zone we again have American 100 per cent.
That illustrates what is happening to-day.. We are sending armies to Middle-Eastern countries to support individual oil companies. If these oil companies were governments, and if there were governmenttogovernment agreements, then, of course, we could ask the governments of these countries why they are not improving the standards of living of their peoples, and ask them to tell us why Arab nationalism has such a wide field for cultivation and expansion. But that is not the position. Our armies are readily available to move into these countries to protect the interests of private companies. We are vulnerable in this respect in the same way as we were vulnerable over the Suez Canal, when an agreement made 100 years ago was forced on to people three generations later. But that is the political philosophy of members of the Government and their colleagues throughout the world. Anyone who challenges that philsophy gets the “ Vincent smear “; he is called a Communist. We have to face up to the fact that these are questions that the whole world is asking, but the answers were not forthcoming in the statement that was made by the Minister.
Let me refer in passing to the international nature of the oil companies. I happened to be a prisoner of war in Germany with Sir Henri Deterding’s son. He was a gallant naval officer, a lieutenantcommander in the Fleet Air Arm, who was shot down over Narvik during the early days of the war, in 1940. During the period of his internment, the Germans came to him and said1, “ We cannot keep you in a prisoner-of-war camp. You can have your freedom.” He said, “I do not want my freedom “, and they said to him, “ Your mother is living in Berlin. Why not go and live with her? She has a beautiful apartment there.” Sir Henri Deterding is one of the leading men in these arrangements that have taken place since the war. That gives us an idea of the international mix-up and the international disturbances that can be created by these interests. As I have pointed’ out, the oil lands in the Middle East belong to vested interests, whether they be oil companies or shaky sheiks.
The situation is that we are trying to uphold something that is being challenged throughout the world. We are trying to uphold the right of certain people to take advantage of all the developments of modern science, to rely on agreements made long ago and to keep nations in poverty. A study of the facts will show that, due to hunger, ignorance, squalor and disease, the expectation of life of the fellaheen in the countries we are speaking of is about 38 years. According to Western standards, a man can expect to live for three score years and ten, but, because of injustices, inequalities and the maldistribution of the great wealth of the countries of the Middle East, there has been no improvement of any consequence in the living standards of the people there.
Mention has been made of the great things that Britain has done for her colonial empire. I think it was somewhere about 1453 that the Roman Empire was overthrown. At least the Romans built some roads.
– It was a bit before that.
– I am speaking of the capture of Constantinople, when the Roman Empire was brought to an end in the East.
– That is the Byzantine Empire. You should read history books.
– The honorable senator has read history books that have a slant. They have taught him very little.
– You are in a bellicose mood to-night.
– I have every reason to be in a bellicose mood, because I have been badly insulted. While I am in this mood, I should like to say how I think we must appear through the eyes of the people of the Middle East and the AfroAsian people. It has been our tradition to disregard them. As a matter’ of fact, I understand that one great colonial man in South Africa, Strijdom, has put a lot of Africans in concentration camps for treason, because they disagreed with his policy. I think that one of the churches there has even found it necessary to alter the Bible to read that God created the white man and then created the black man for the benefit of the white man. That sort of thing is tolerated in that part of the British Commonwealth. If ever a nation should be expelled from the United Nations, it is South Africa. What can we expect from those people?
Senator McManus said that all the Western countries must co-operate. We will not have anybody to co-operate with eventually. We are antagonizing and alienating all other human beings, no matter what their political colours may be.
– Whom do you mean by “we “?
– This Government and the present American Government. I intend to quote in a moment from a speech made by President Eisenhower. It will show what President Eisenhower thinks when he is speaking before his peers, his fellow men in the United Nations. I also intend to quote something which shows what Mr. Foster Dulles, the American Secretary of State, thinks when he is playing the game of poker in international affairs. He has all the cards up his sleeve. In the international game of poker he produces dogeared cards, or kings, such as Farouk, Feisal and others.
Our foreign policy is such that we are alienating other peoples. Let us consider the position of India and Japan. The “Sun” of 18th July contained an article dealing with the intervention in Lebanon and Jordan. The article states -
The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru, said that outside intervention by a world power in the internal affairs of Irak might lead to a world war.
India’s problem, he said, was whether to shut its eyes or to do something.
The Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Aiichiro Fujiyama, was also critical, and called for the withdrawal of the U.S. troops at the earliest possible opportunity.
On 20th July, in the Melbourne “ Herald “, under the heading “ Mr. Kishi’s switch. Japan yields to U.S. pressure “, an article appeared in which it was said - “The Americans certainly cracked the whip on the Kishi Government,” a British diplomatic source told me. “ All the evidence here supports the assumption that Washington, having decided at last to take a strong line in the Middle East, is now insisting that its friends and allies in Tokyo and elsewhere must stand up and be counted.
– Is that “ Pravda “ or “ Izvestia “?
– That is Richard Hughes, writing from Tokyo.
– For which agency was he reporting?
– He has not quoted the agency. The point is the coloured people of the world have been stood up against their will by our foreign policy when our policy should have been courting them and wooing them to our side.
In my opinion, the effort of the Minister for External Affairs to brush off lightly Arab nationalism was an attempt to make political capital out of the move into the Middle East, ostensibly to combat communism but basically to protect the oil interests there. I would be the last one to say that oil was not absolutely essential to the economy of the Western world. We must find some way of guaranteeing continuity of supply, and I point out that it took only five days after the slaughter in Iraq, which was so roundly condemned, for us to get a guarantee that the oil interests would be protected. Following a mere statement by the new Iraqi Government that the oil interests would be preserved, recognition of that government came from all over the place. In spite of that, the Minister says that the importance of oil was not one of the priniciples at stake.
President Eisenhower, during his speech to the United Nations, which was delivered after this report was available, said, in effect, that events all along the line had proved that we must switch our original snap decision. The Japanese, after saying they wanted the troops to be withdrawn, introduced a motion to the United Nations, but it was vetoed. That motion, of course, was in keeping with the famous and favorite desire of the Japanese to save face. But President Eisenhower was very candid, perhaps even more so than he realized, when he said -
Change indeed is the law of life and progress. Western diplomats must realize that there is a new concept of international affairs to-day.
President Eisenhower also said -
The danger of atomic war gives rise to another danger - the danger that nations under aggressive leadership will seek to exploit man’s horror of war by confronting the nations, particularly the small nations, with an apparent choice between supine surrender and war.
If we are fair, we must admit that the Arab people have a viewpoint and that they are entitled to it. Would it not be reasonable for the Iraqi people, the Syrian people or any of the Arab people in the Middle East to adopt those words of President Eisenhower? The President further said -
In most communities it is illegal to cry fire in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?
Let us reflect upon the value which Colonel Nasser could give to those words by using them before his own Arab people in the streets of Cairo.
President Eisenhower continued -
Pressures such as these will never be successfully practised against America, but they do create dangers which could affect each and every one of us.
He added -
The immediate reason is two small countries - Lebanon and Jordan. The cause is one of universal concern.
I believe that the main cause of concern is the fact that we have tried to dissociate the present situation from the Suez Canal incident and the rise of Nasser. Our default and our backing of King Farouk, who was displaced and is now living in Italy, left a vacuum in which Nasser was welcomed.
Just let us consider the politics associated with the proposed Aswan Dam, the promise that Nasser was able to make to his shirtless people about the irrigation of the Nile Valley, and the future that he was able to present to those who had empty, pinched bellies. But, because of political gerrymandering, the offer to which Nasser was pinning his hopes was withdrawn. He said, in effect, “ They are going to play us a dirty trick. We will take their asset in the Suez Canal “. And he had quite a number of points in his favour. The canal was to come back to him in the very near future - I think in 1966. There were no negotiations for compensation of the shareholders before the troops approached the canal, but in the final analysis compensation was paid. Ships are now sailing through the canal. The Western world, indeed the whole of the world, can get guarantees that, as long as it likes, its ships will be able to sail through the canal. I expected someone to ask, “ What about Israel? “
The point is that we lost prestige at that very decisive time, when we could have used the same technique as was adopted in instituting the Colombo plan. The opportunity to try to win friends and influence people was lost by so-called orthodox diplomacy, by not letting our left hand know what our right hand was doing and, because a few little terms could not be settled, withdrawing the offer that was made. That is not good enough when we are dealing with situations as explosive as that in the Middle East. For the whole of history, the Middle East has been the meeting place of East and West. It has been said that never the twain shall meet. In these days of modern communications and transport, the twain have to meet in order to exist. Whether it is on the diplomatic level or any other level, they have to meet for the future peace of the world to be assured. If we try to sharpen the differences, as Senator McManus advocated to-day, we shall court the greatest disaster that could overtake mankind - a thermo-nuclear war. Some people may think that they will gain by a thermo-nuclear war, or that they could get the first shots in. I suppose that they would be in it themselves, anyway. In previous wars, you could send the boys over and get a good little racket for yourself. When they came back you could build up the pressures for another war. Every one will be in the next war and every one will share the same fate.
Unfortunately, because of the balance of politics to-day, and due to the power of propaganda and of vested interests, the truth is not getting through to the people at all. Senator McCallum referred to the history books in order to get his dates right about the French Empire, but the history books accentuate only one side of the picture. The minds of many people, in their understanding of world problems, are onetrack.
– Does the honorable senator think that we are getting the truth from Russia about its methods and the state of affairs behind the scenes?
– I am certain that we are not. I do not think we are even trying to get it. In fact, I do not know whether or not we want to do so.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Russians would give it to us?
– I do not think we have been trying to get it. I do not want to enlarge on that aspect at the moment, but perhaps during some future debate we may get the opinions of the honorable senator. He may then tell us how we are to go about getting behind the minds of other people, whether they be Egyptians, Indians, Chinese, Russians, Africans, Indonesians, Malayans, and so on throughout the whole of the world. That is the only way in which we can solve these problems. The idea that we can sit complacently behind the missile bases, with therma-nuclear warheads, and expect people to have confidence in us merely because we have within our hands the ability to destroy the whole world, indicates a very poor and barren product of our civilizations, past and present.
I want to refer to the following passage from President Eisenhower’s speech: -
Respect for the liberty and freedom of all nations has always been the guiding principle of the United States. This respect has been consistently demonstrated in our unswerving adherence to the principles of the Charter, particularly in its opposition to aggression, both direct and indirect . . . Nothing 1 have said is to be construed as indicating that I regard the “ status quo “ as sacrosanct.
Yet, there is not one honorable senator on the Government side who does not implicitly believe that the status quo must be maintained, even at the expense of a thermo-nuclear war. President Eisenhower went on -
Change is indeed the law of life and progress. But when change reflects the will of the people, that change can and should be brought about in peaceful ways.
After all, change has occurred in Lebanon since the recent situation developed. One president called for outside assistance, and the mud had hardly dried on the boots of the troops who crossed the beaches before another president had expressed his views. As in all of these problems, it is a matter of relativity, of what we mean by a call from the government of the day. Senator McCallum referred to the number of governments that there have been in France in recent years. When we refer to a call from the government, which government do we mean? Of what political colour? Of what party? Those things are relative. In the same way, nearly all the problems of our time have ranged round the word “ liberty “. What is liberty? There is not one person in this chamber who can define it, or who can define freedom, democracy, or communism. No one can specifically define what those things are. Yet, a battle of words, and possibly also a battle with thermo-nuclear bombs, can be fought because of the very lack of ability to interpret the meaning of those words.
I wish now, Mr. Acting Deputy President, to mention a matter that was referred to by President Eisenhower when he said -
The United States forces will be duly withdrawn whenever this is requested by the duly constituted Government of Lebanon or “ when they are no longer exposed to the original danger “.
We have a disagreement about what the original danger is. I believe that the original danger is the long history of exploitation of the under-privileged people of the Middle East countries. To me, the original danger is that the major oil companies will haw to hand over their rights to governments. There will have to be arrangements between the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, particularly, and the wishes of the people of all the Middle East countries must be exercised in seeing that justice, decency and dignity are given to them. It was stated recently in another place that the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Limited, or B.P., started off with £5,000,000 worth of investments and in the short space of approximately 20 years, increased them to £450,000,000. Some one has been jinked. Some one has had to go without.
Finally, on the matter of inflammatory propaganda, President Eisenhower said that inflammatory propaganda fomenting civil strife and subverting the will of the people in any State had been discouraged. He said “ If we of the United States have been at fault we stand to be corrected.” There is no shadow of doubt that both sides of the ideological line are embarking on a terrific tirade, or barrage, of propaganda, in trying to get their story over.
– Do not the Communists use jammers?
– I am not a boogiewoogie fan. I do not know what jammers are.
– Surely the honorable senator knows what radio jammers are?
– I suggest that the honorable senator is a raspberry jammer. The United States has pledged itself, through its President, to preserve the right of peoples and nations to determine their own destiny.
Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Israel, Crete, Cyprus, Greece - all eventually will determine their own destiny. President Eisenhower said -
The people of the Arab nations clearly possess the right of determining and expressing their own destiny. Other nations should not interfere so long as this expression is found in ways compatible with international peace and security.
As I have said, if we can justify the entry of British and American troops into Lebanon and Jordan then, in the eyes of the Asian people, Russia can justify her entry into Hungary. Russian wanted to maintain the status quo in Hungary.
– Are you equating the British and American actions in Lebanon and Jordan with the Russian action in Hungary?
– I am not equating them at all; I am saying that in the eyes of the Asian people it will take some very fast talking on the part of the British and Americans to justify their entry into Lebanon and Jordan. To the Asians, the British and Americans would need to talk just as fast as the British and Americans are suggesting the Russians need to talk to justify their entry into Hungary.
President Eisenhower said -
We have the opportunity to share in a great international task. That is the task of assisting the people of that area-
According to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) that is not the task ahead of us at all. President Eisenhower went on - and assisting them in programmes which they desire to make further progress towards the goal of human welfare that they have set.
– You had better read what he said.
– That is what he said.
– It is not.
– I do not want to argue, but I have copied the report verbatim.
– I can tell you what Mr. Casey said. I have it here.
– I am not referring to what Mr. Casey said; I am quoting what President Eisenhower said. Mr. Casey dodged the issue. He told us something that was completely wrong.
– You said he was not interested in the development of these people in the Middle East.
– It has taken him a long time to become interested. He had enough experience of what these people needwhen he was Governor of Bengal. During his term there, Bengal suffered from one of the worst famines in history. Mr. Casey had ample experience then of the hunger and misery being suffered there and one would expect that after such an experience he would dedicate his life to uplifting the standards of the Indian people.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Anderson). - Order! The honorable senator must not reflect upon, an honorable member or an honorable senator.
– I bow to your ruling, Sir. Let me say now that the whole western world has a moral obligation to give a lead, to show some sense of the
Tightness of things, to endeavour to inspire the under-privileged people of the world with a realization that our way of life can lift them from their traditional and historical bondage. For too long have the oil companies and the international exploiters been, able to call in the forces and the arms of their governments to defend their interests; for too long have private companies been able to associate themselves with, governments for the purpose of bludgeoning and battering their way towards their goal.
That system is now open to challenge; it has all fallen flat since the last world wai . The whole idea of gunboat diplomacy, the whole idea of wielding the big stick, the whole idea that all that is needed to make everyone quiver is to show a gunboat has disappeared. It is essential that we meet all people throughout the world on equal terms. The wealth of the world was given to all the people of the world and those who are less fortunate than we are must be accorded the means of enjoying their just share of it. After all, President Eisenhower has spoken of the need for elevating the standards of these people, the need for uplifting their dignity. Why, twenty years ago anyone who suggested uplifting the “ WOW “, as these Egyptians were called, would have been branded a Communist. To-day, however, because they are united, because of the strength of Arab nationalism, their voice is being heard in places where it will carry some weight. I sincerely hope that there will be an end to this series of blunders, and that this will be the last occasion upon which we on this side of the Senate will find it necessary, as we did during the Suez crisis, to remind honorable senators on the Government side that they cannot hold back the tide. Unless we are prepared to face up to this challenge; unless we are prepared to show leadership similar to that which we have shown in so many other fields, similar to that which we have shown in our great advancement in scientific discoveries; unless we make available to these people the benefit of the progress we have made in the development of techniques and know-how, we can never hope to encourage or attract the friendship of the under-privileged people in other parts of the world. Unless we make such an approach to those people, we shall find that our prestige, instead of increasing, will diminish.
Finally, 1 hope that there will be an end to this bungling in our diplomatic relations with the Middle East and eastern countries, that this will be the last occasion upon which we on this side will find it necessary to point out that our policy on such important issues is diametrically opposed to that of the Government.
– If I were to say all that I could say about the weakness of the case put forward by Senator O’Byrne, I should not have enough time left to state my own arguments. That being so, I shall content myself with joining issue with him on only two points. The first relates to the Suez crisis. Although I have not been to Suez recently,I have had the fortunate experience of having spoken to the last man to leave Port Said when the British and French had almost defeated Nassser. I have also had experience of the feeling of Egyptian nationals towards the British nation. Strangely enough, their feelings are entirely the opposite of what Senator O’Byrne would have us believe them to be. The rightthinking people of Egypt have a warmhearted feeling of friendship for Great Britain.
The other matter upon which I should like to comment is Senator O’Byrne’s reference to the entry of Russian troops into Hungary. In comparing the entry of Russian troops into Hungary with the entry of British and American troops into
Lebanon and Jordan, he was most unfortunate. I suppose he has read what the United Nations has had to say about the entry of Russian troops into Hungary. I suppose he has also read what the United Nations has had to say about the entry of British and American troops into Lebanon and Jordan. That being so, how can he say that the two cases are similar? I think that is a fair description of what he attempted to do. He supported the United Nations, and quoted from its proceedings, but I ask him whether he has read the United Nations report on Russian actions in Hungary. Has he read a United Nations report regarding the British and American entry into Lebanon and Jordan? If so, can he honestly say that they are similar? I think all fair-minded people will agree that they are not, and Senator O’Byrne did not do himself justice in contending that they were. World events in 1958 are so similar to those of 1938 that I cannot help expressing the fervent hope that the terrible catastrophe of 1939 will be avoided in the year 1959. We all know that in 1938 Hitler threatened the world. In 1958 Krushchev threatened world peace. The threat is similar in both cases, but Krushchev has learned something from the Hitler technique. He threatens world peace by by-passing the United Nations.
Senator O’Byrne was so vocal about the United Nations that he might well have mentioned the fact that his champion, Khrushchev, has attempted to by-pass the United Nations by proposing what is a very cunning scheme. He sought, for reasons of strategy, a summit talk completely outside the United Nations. I have already mentioned that Khrushchev ravished Hungary. Let me go back to 1938 and remind honorable senators of what happened at Munich. It is fair to say now that many people judged Chamberlain rather harshly on that occasion. They condemned him for bargaining with a dictator - for accepting a dictator’s assurances. The same people now shout that the free world, and Great Britain and America in particular, should rush headlong into a similar meeting with Khrushchev. It was very clever of Khrushchev to ask for a summit conference which he had no intention of attending.
Chamberlain had had no experience of double dealing when he met Hitler, but what do we know of Moscow? We know that the Soviet has broken treaty after treaty. We have noted the excuses for attacking Poland, Hungary, Finland and Korea. In the face of that it is time to be realistic and appreciate what the very near future might hold for the world. There are two great nations in the world to-day and we might, therefore, have either a free world or a world dominated by communism. That might be brought about not by armed force but by infiltration in strategic countries. Communism will infiltrate and then overthrow countries, zone by zone, throughout the world. To-day Khrushchev threatens the free world with war, and uses that threat as a cudgel with which to dominate it. He does not want the United States of America and Great Britain to withdraw from Lebanon and Jordan under an agreement made by the United Nations. I remind Senator O’Byrne of that fact. If that happened it would rock his false charge of aggression. He would much rather see an abject withdrawal, similar to that at Suez, in apparent response to Russian threats. That would cause Great Britain and America to lose face with the Asians.
It is true that the Middle East is closely linked with Pakistan, Indonesia and Burma. Here, too, we see the artful designs of Russia and red China, which have flattered these countries with their purposeful generosity. In the Middle East we see the rise of the Arab league, or of Arab nationalism -call it what you will. We have known for many years what would happen. I suppose that Sir Winston Churchill gave the Arab movement its greatest impetus when he said that British forces would leave Egypt. There are in the United Arab League about 40,000,000 souls. Of these roughly 19,000,000 are in Egypt, 4,000,000 in Iraq and 4,000,000 in Saudia Arabia. However, the Baghdad pact embraces at least 130,000,000 souls. Surely they, too, are worthy of some consideration in the scheme of Arab nationalism. Surely they deserve the right to live according to their own way of life. We note, particularly, that Pakistan has 75,000,000 souls.
Let us have a glance at Turkey for a few moments, because she is strong in a military sense. It is significant that Russia has recently carried out armed manoeuvres on the Turkish border. Tt is significant also that Russia has exploded atomic bombs, not on her own vast hinterland, where there would be no danger to anyone at all, but much closer to home. I have mentioned Pakistan and Turkey because they are both members of the Baghdad pact. The United Arab Republic envisaged by Nasser and Khrushchev would exclude Persia and other countries, particularly Turkey, as those countries, in the opinion of the Egyptians and the Russians are not peaceloving countries such as Egypt and Syria. They charge these countries as aggressors contemplating an attack on Iraq. That is the usual technique. It is well known throughout the world.
I am very glad that Senator O’Byrne mentioned Israel’s position. It occupies a very vital position in the Arab Republic. I know that Senator O’Byrne will agree with me when I say that Israel was created by the United Nations. But what of its position in the Arab Republic? Israel has been subjected to raids and pillage and slaughter by Egyptian troops under the leadership of Nasser. Israel has a democratic government. Surely that is something for which the Opposition should give Israel praise. In this chamber and elsewhere, I have heard doubts raised as to whether some of these countries have democratic governments. But Israel has a democratic government. Can this be substantiated as true in respect of the members of the proposed Nasser Arab Republic? On a future occasion, I should like Senator O’Byrne to express clearly his attitude regarding Israel. He used the word “ we “ very glibly. When I asked him to say whom he meant by “ we “, his reply was completely nebulous.
A consideration of the present situation in the Middle East must embrace not only Egypt and her neighbours, but also Iraq, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria and other Middle East countries, and even Africa. Cyprus cannot be abandoned. We have heard a lot from the Opposition about what has happened in Iraq. I believe that there was a revolution by the Army, but the Opposition has remained discreetly silent on that matter. Knowing the Opposition’s hatred of the Army, I thought that some honorable senators opposite would have something to say about that revolt. Would they approve of such an event in any country of the free world - the overthrow of the government by the army? Would they support such a revolt if it occurred in Australia - because they supported it in Iraq. This is evident from the speeches that have been made by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) in another place. The reports of their speeches are available for any honorable senator to read. If Australia were in danger, would honorable senators opposite oppose the entry of friendly nations into Australia or New Guinea to support us?
The revolution in Iraq highlights the future of Kuwait, that fabulously rich oil territory at the head of the Persian Gulf. A significant event occurred a few weeks ago, when a conference was held in Syria between Colonel Nasser and the ruler of Kuwait. I quote from the “ Edinburgh Scotsman “, which saw Colonel Nasser as a Nile crocodile with smiling jaws welcoming little fishes - fishes that could be Yemen and Lahej, whilst Kuwait would be a rich gleaming scale.
Kuwait is nominally under British protection and, by treaty, is responsible for its foreign relations. Kuwait was created by British and American oil companies. It has a population of a quarter of a million souls. It is the source of more than one-half of Britain’s oil imports, and the production of oil is increasing. There was recently an important development. In order to enable the super tankers to by-pass Suez, a new pier is being constructed at a cost of £8.000,000.
Oil has brought great wealth to Kuwait. Its income from royalties is now £110,000,000 a year. This money is being used wisely and well for housing, education and welfare. Education and medical services are provided free. Scholars, assisted by general grants, can study at any university in the world. There has been a prominent development in relation to schools, roads and hospitals, and good pay is provided for the army and for the civil service.
One might well ask why Kuwait should flirt with Nasser. 1 think that perhaps one reason for this is that her teachers come mainly from Egypt. But in spite of this strong Egyptian influence for the United Arab Republic, Kuwait has not been anxious to join the federation with Iraq and Jordan. Perhaps it does not want to share its wealth with other countries. However, Nasser does receive support and admiration for his policy in relation to Egypt. The people of Kuwait are seeking a greater say in the government of their country. Its mixed population includes Syrians, Egyptians and Palestinians. It is well known that at the outbreak of war with Turkey in 1914, Britain recoginsed Kuwait as an independent State, and under British protection. Kuwait’s ruler can go anywhere he wishes and discuss foreign affairs with whomever he wishes. However, if a signed agreement is to come into operation between Kuwait and another state, the ruler must consult Great Britain.
Recently, the chairman of the Kuwait Advisory Committee made an ominous statement to the effect that concentrations of foreign troops on its soil would not be allowed. Britain has sent troops to Bahrein. Egyptian troops could come in and seize Kuwait, and Iraqi troops could come from Basra, but perhaps the greatest threat of all to Kuwait would be an internal threat. Any revolt inspired by Russia could oust the present ruler and cancel the existing treaty with Great Britain. Russia wants to foment this trouble and so deprive Great Britain and the other nations of the free world of their supplies of oil. With all these conflicting influences at work, we must follow the course laid down by the charter of the United Nations. If Khrushchev is bent on world war, no conference will stop him. If he is not, why give him special treatment outside the United Nations, of which Russia is a member? If he is anxious foi peace in the Middle East, let him ensure it through the United Nations.
– Russia does not have the numbers in the United Nations.
– That is pure poppycock. If Khrushchev is such an emissary of peace, he hits only to show his willingness to go to the United Nations and discuss the matter.
– Russia does not have the numbers.
– Of course Russia has the numbers. Khrushchev has not the will or the intention to discuss the matter in the United Nations. He does not want to see the world at peace because he says he is going to conquer the world for communism. If you are prepared to agree that he has said that, you are prepared to say that that is the best thing for the world.
– You are very funny.
– The honorable senator said it to-night repeatedly. Believing that the aim of many people in the Middle East is to establish a united Arab republic, Britain and America have for years worked towards that end. It is not something that has arisen in the last few weeks. The democracies believe in that aim and have striven for years to attain it. I believe that the standard of living of the people in some of the Arab countries is lower than that in the Western world, but that . is no responsibility of the West.
– That does not apply to the harems.
-I shall allow the honorable senator to speak for the harems, and I shall accept his word. Great Britain and America have contributed enormous fortunes, by way of oil royalties and in other ways, to the Arab countries, but the application of that money has been a matter for the Arab rulers. The British and American Governments cannot be blamed for the poverty that exists in those countries. A visit to the Middle East would show the honorable senator that Great Britain and America have been the greatest force for peace and development that has ever existed in the world, provided, of course, he did. not look through his red spectacles.
A strong Arab republic with a democratic government that is given the chance to rule wisely is the aim of the West, but Russia’s plan is to overthrow the democratic government in every country and enforce communism. Great Britain and America are prepared to go to the aid of the Arab States to assist them to rule themselves in safety and security and to sell their oil to whichever country in the world they wish without being subject to communistic control. Does Senator O’Byrne want the Communists to control all the oil in the Middle East too? That is the impression 1 gained from his speech to-night. I support the action of the Australian Government in associating Australia with the laudable aims of Great Britain and America.
.- It has not been my practice to intervene in debates on international affairs, and in departing from that practice to-night I wish to indicate my reasons to this chamber. I have always felt that international affairs cover a wide field in which it is comparatively easy for people who have not made a detailed, particular and expect study of the subject, to speak with some degree of attractive glibness without going to the root cause of the problems which are implicit in the international situation facing us today. International affairs is a subject on which ultimately only those who have studied it carefully and are expert on it should speak. The amateurs should not do so.
While stating those reasons for not contributing to earlier debates on international affairs, I must say that I have attempted to maintain at least a passing and intelligent interest in a matter that must be of tremendous concern to every thinking Australian and to every thinking person in the world. I join in this debate because of the changed circumstances which make it necessary for me to present, on this rather concentrated issue of the Middle East, the point of view of a body of opinion which might expect to have that point of view expressed through my agency. When a great international issue arises, such as that which exists today, the Government should have before it the opinion of the country it governs as expressed through members of Parliament and through various organizations. The Government is entitled to have its attitude on any problem confirmed or rejected. If public opinion is contrary to the proposals of the Government, the Government should be correspondingly constrained and restrained. In circumstances such as these, significant points of view should find some mode of expression. For that reason, with some diffidence, I intrude into this debate.
During this debate honorable senators have dealt with the broad principles, specific issues and particular complications of an extremely complicated situation. They have honestly tried to express their point of view in the interests of Australia andof world peace. However, as one would expect as a debate of this kind proceeds, the opinions and points of view have become distilled, and we can see more clearly the matters on which the Government is supported and those on which it is not supported. It is impossible to approach any problem of .international affairs without looking first at the broad international scene and trying to assess the particular situation as against the world situation. This problem must be considered against the clash of two tremendous world-shattering ideologies which are finding their expression, on one side, in a number of great democracies, and on the other side, in one great autocracy and a number of lesser autocracies. The small nations to-day are moving in the shadow cast by that tremendous conflict of ideologies. Undoubtedly, if the position were otherwise, the point of view, the actions and the steps taken by those small nations would be completely different from what they are to-day.
Therefore, in trying to assess the attitude that this nation should adopt, we must consider our position in that same shadow of universal conflict. On the one side there is the Soviet Union, which has its own approach to life and conduct in international affairs. We ask fh-st of all: To what extent is the Soviet Union interested in the rise of genuine nationalism? I do not answer that question; I merely pose it as a question that must present itself to our minds when we attempt to assess our own or any other national position, in the general sense. Correspondingly, we must, in fairness and equity, ask: To what extent are we of the democratic world - we on the other, side in this battle of ideologies - interested in the rise of genuine nationalism in the countries in which we now find it emerging?
Taking the Russian attitude first, we must, from our own knowledge, from the Russians’ own conduct and from their statements of their philosophy, draw certain conclusions. We must draw the conclusion that the Soviet Union, being a sort of sacred mother of a certain political and philosophical idea, contemplates in its thought, in its literature and m its international conduct the international adoption of the political order which it espouses and which it is trying to project into other countries. That is the first conclusion that must be drawn - that international communism has a world target, and that, by one means or another, the Russians are attempting to bit that target. They are striving with a dynamic energy that is almost incredible, and by means that perhaps would be considered intolerable in democratic countries.
They have throughout the world dedicated disciples, people who devote their lives, with a genuine and valid enthusiasm and a complete personal inner conviction, to the idea that this system should be nationally and internationally adopted. They devote and dedicate their lives to having their point of view adopted, by one method or another, in the nations of which they form a part. They want to substitute a completely different social and political order.
When you come to assess the world position, or any part of it, or anything that is a manifestation in one way or another of the world situation, you must start with the premise that there is one power which, in all its public statements and all its activities, and through its adherents and disciples, is dedicated to the adoption, politically and socially, of the principles for which it stands. Of course, the difficulties in the way of bringing .about the international adoption of those ideas are many, but undoubtedly such a power is primarily interested in those countries which are in a state of some turbulence, in which some transposition is taking place, or some translation of the existing social order. It regards the occurrence of such events as a propitious and opportune moment at which to sow its political ideas in beds that have been newly-ploughed, so that they may root and grow freely and quickly. That is the first factor which must affect our considerations in approaching this and other international problems.
Then we turn to the United States and Great Britain. They have their own political ideas - ideas with a long history, particularly in the case of Great Britain. They have democratic political ideas which have found acceptance in one form or another in the great majority of the countries of the world. But, strangely enough, in spite of their immense pride in their type of political system, there is not the same dedicated intention or attempt to sell their political and social ideas to other countries.
– Is that not an inherent part of the system?
– It possibly is inherent in the very thing itself. The system works effectively and gives a measure of liberty and emancipation. It is there for all to inspect and for all to adopt who may care to do so. With the expertise that comes from the operation of this system over so many years, Great Britain and the United States are prepared to help, with their guidance, any nation which may decide that that is the type of political and social order in which it is interested.” But there is no selling of the system on the part of Britain and the United States. They do not attempt to force their system on any country. We find in no country outside the British Commonwealth any group or body of people who are dedicated to the adoption of the British parliamentary or democratic idea, in the same way as we find groups of people in this and other Western countries dedicated to the adoption of the Soviet political idea.
The Americans may sell the American way of life, but they sell it only as a matter of commerce, lt is something that you buy in package form. You do not buy it because the Americans want to sell you “ pop “ tunes; you buy it because you like “ pop “ tunes. If the American influence is spreading around the world, that is not due to a preconceived and determined1 plan, but due to the Americans’ ordinary channels of commerce, and perhaps their national ingenuity. If people are interested in the American way of life, it comes to them in that way. The British have no intention of trying to translate Charing Cross to Kings Cross, and correspondingly, the Americans have no intention, and never have had any intention, of trying to translate the Middle West to the Middle East. Those are the complete differences between the two competing ideologies. Against that background I ask honorable senators to consider the microcosm of the problem in the Middle East.
What are the relative strategically advantageous positions of the two great competing ideologies? Let us take first of all what I call the geo-political situation. Russia is a great land power. She is substantially entrenched in a great mass of Europe and a part of Asia. She has around her a body of satellites - countries which have come under her aegis in one way or another, with varying degrees of loyalty and affection.
Geo-political writers tell us that the nation that is situated on a large land mass is in a very favorable strategic position and that other nations are at a tremendous strategic disadvantage compared with it. Great Britain and the United States have long lines of communication. I am not using that term in the military sense, although it applies there too. In the first world war, Germany found that her internal lines of communication, as always projected in German military thinking, were of tremendous military advantage. The internal lines of communication on the land mass of Europe are of tremendous advantage to the country which controls them. On the other hand, extended lines of communication are a tremendous strategic disadvantage in the world of commerce and trade and in the general conduct of national operations. From that point of view, Great Britain and the United States suffer a considerable degree of disability compared with the Soviet Union on military, trading and commercial grounds.
We also stand in a position of disability historically because, whatever may be said about it - I use the metaphor I used earlier in my speech - we move under the shadow of colonialism. Historically, the shadow of colonialism lies around us and will continue to lie around us. It is a disability under which we must always act. We are in the position that our motives will always be suspect. The historical record, rightly or wrongly, will tell against us, particularly when it comes from the mouths of those who want to do us an injury. We stand in that nationally and strategically disadvantageous position when compared with the Soviet Union.
The Soviet is in an extraordinarily happy situation in regard to the land masses of the world from Europe to Asia. Like Janus, the two-headed god, she can look to Europe and to Asia. Although Russia was a semi-Asiatic power, historically she has turned to Europe. Perhaps for the first time in her history, she is now turning to Asia. The Soviet Union can have a tremendous advantage in any dealings with Asiatic people, because, in the minds of the Asiatic people, she is Asiatic, or at least partly so. Therefore, I assess the tremendous disabilities of the Western world in relation to international problems on the points I have made.
History tells against us. So also does our situation on the sea lanes of the world. The advantage is not in our favour because of the other points I have made, too, one after the other. Moreover, we have not this dedicated idea of selling our way of life. From that position of disability, the British Commonwealth, and Australia standing with it, must assess their attitude to international affairs.
What is the position of nations that are so placed? We have heard over the years a concentration of opinion, of literature and of expression about the responsibilities of the Western Powers. As far as 1 can see, Great Britain and the United Stales are being held up as nations that have tremendous responsibilities but whose inviolable rights are not concerned. I think - and 1 use Senator Mariner’s term - that we must approach this question with complete realism and that, at the same time as we acknowledge the rights of others, we should similarly stress our own. As we acknowledge our own obligations, we must similarly acknowledge the obligations of others.
What are our rights? Senator O’Byrne, with some of whose statements I would not have agreed - I agree with others - referred indirectly to the self-determination of nations. No nation can aggregate rights to itself merely by determining that they are rights. Rights are something which must be freely acknowledged by others; otherwise we would merely have a viewpoint that was imposed by tyranny, by force. The rights that Great Britain or the United States of America may express will not necessarily find universal acknowledgment. Nevertheless, those countries have tremendous rights which are in direct relation to the very great national and international obligations that they have assumed over the yeaTs, which they assume to-day, and which they will be expected to discharge in the future. Those rights are not related merely to their ability to enforce them. Enforcement, when you have no justification for your claim, is indefensible. That is not the position which I would expect Great Britain and the United States, and Australia standing with them, to assume.
The rights that are inherent in those nations because of our initiative, our work, and the gallantry of men who sit in this chamber and who are much better equipped for that reason to speak on the subject, must be preserved nationally and internationally, because from them flow the obligations that we have nationally and interna tionally. To try to stress the obligations and duties of the Great Powers while continually attempting to limit their rights and even deprive them of those rights is to deprive those powers of the opportunities of which the Western democratic countries, which have some inspiration of liberty, are attempting to take advantage in the interests of the world at large.
In my opinion, rights are in direct proportion to the national and international obligations of those who insist upon them, it is all right for us to speak about the rights of the smaller nations, but I ask honorable senators who are listening to me whether they are prepared to abandon in any way what I regard as being rights in this community - our standard of living, the level of income, of our people, and the hours of the work in which they are engaged. I regard the preservation of those rights as being the solemn responsibility of this Government, or any other government that may be in office, to the people of Australia. They are things which we have built up. But, if we are to preserve them, we must preserve the right to discharge our obligations.
– How did we get them?
– We got them by the hard work and the initiative of our people.
– That is what these other people are trying to do.
– I agree. I shall come to that in a minute. Not for one moment would I deny to the people who enjoy no such rights the full opportunity to obtain them. To deny them those rights would be indefensible in any moral sense at all. All I am saying is that there is this accent on what we should give, on what the United States and Great Britain should give and what they owe to the world, but forgetfulness about what those countries owe to their own citizens. So far as their rights to their own people and the rights of other people who are dispossessed can be reconciled, to that extent, with a large measure of charity thrown in, these powers must be called upon to do, and be expected to step in and do, something for the dispossessed people in the poor and impoverished countries.
In a sense, and for that reason, the present situation resolves itself into a moral problem of the first order. But, as Senator
Mattner said, we must approach the matter with tremendous realism. We must not become bogged down in words. We must not become bogged down merely in idealism. This is a tough and practical problem which may require the Western powers to make sacrifices, but those sacrifices can be made only to a certain, point. The pressure that comes externally onto the Western powers is the kind of pressure that would deny to mem their rights but which requires them to give all the time to people who undoubtedly should and must receive justice. Therefore, 1 repeat that we must approach the problem in an atmosphere of complete and absolute realism. I do not care to what party I or any other honorable senator belongs; we all must strive to preserve the standards, we have and at the same time, from, the largesse which is ours and the pool of wealth that we may share, bring to other nations of the world that measure of justice which so long has been denied to- them.
In other words, what we must realize is that it is not a mere question of bringing peace te the world. It is more than that. Surely the United Nations has been conceived and operated for more than that. The United Nations is not an organization which merely hands down formulas for peace in a particular crisis, be it great or small. What we must try to do is to find a peace that will not be based on the conflict of uneasy political policies trying to rub shoulders as it were, but which will be a new international order which contemplates that the rights of people shall be preserved and protected. It must also contemplate that the rights of the great powers will not be abused; that the position in which they find themselves will be acknowledged as being difficult; that they will be entitled to preserve the standards that they have already created and which, in justice, they are_ entitled to preserve.
I would not stand by and be prepared to see any denuding of the Western Powers to the point where we would be not merely donor nations, whether in money, technology or justice, but international mendicants, with our own economies crippled because of circumstances which had made it impossible for us to carry on. Therefore, to try to divorce this whole question of the Middle East from oil savours, to me, of complete international’ unrealism. I agree that oil is one of the fulcrum points of the whole of this controversy. I do not think that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) should have gone on record, in the terms in which he spoke, to the effect that oil was not the question which was involved in the Middle East crisis. It may. not have been the question immediately involved - and that is so in respect of Lebanon - but it is the overriding consideration and should be regarded as such.
– That is all that the Minister said.
– If that is all that he said, I merely make the comment that he spoke accurately. But he did not state the whole of the circumstances of the case as I think they should be stated.
If oil is the problem that I believe it to be, then it must be acknowledged internationally that that is so. The problem has to be solved in real terms, not in terms conjured up in the imagination, or in the idealism, of people who just speak on international affairs. We have to acknowledge that it is necessary for the Australian economy, for the British economy and for the economy of the United States, if those economies are to function at the high modern technological and industrial level, to have a life-blood stream of oil. Only if that stream continues to flow can the standards of living of our countries be preserved. Other nations, great and small, have to recognize that fact. When these Middle East countries are emerging from their age-long condition of colonial subjection, or whatever we like to call it, we have to see, as a matter of obligation and duty to our own people, that they emerge into a social and political order which will acknowledge their rights - not merely to acknowledge them, but also to state those rights for the people of the Middle East, if necessary - and to insist on their international observation and recognition. In other words, that is something that must be done bi-laterally.
We who, in our own lifetime, have seen an empire dissolve before our eyes, an empire of which we were a part, and who have seen a Commonwealth substituted for the old imperialism - are we going to stand by and do nothing, knowing the tremendous consequences for the free Commonwealth, of which we are a part? Could we afford to stand by, in this condition of international turbulence and of national turbulence in the Middle East, if there were substantial evidence that advantage was being taken of the position that was arising there by those who might want to substitute one imperialism for another? I do not care whether it is a British or a Communist imperialism, an Arab or a Soviet imperialism. These are the critical moments in history for the people of the Middle East, and we owe it to them, as they emerge from this cocoon into the light of true nationalism, to see to it that their freedom shall not be perverted or prostituted, whether by imperialism among the brown people, or imperialism enforced in the international sense in which, as I have said, the Soviet Union has an interest and a determined intention to enforce the cause of its political philosophy.
I think, Mr. Deputy President, that those are the considerations with which we must approach the Middle East situation. The Minister for External Affairs placed before the Parliament the facts as reported to him by competent observers and by people on the spot who, I take it, reported honestly and accurately the circumstances at the time. As they presented the facts to him he presented them for our consideration. The circumstantial evidence indicates that the very things we dread are going to occur; that the justifiable nationalism of these people is subject to immediate perversion, and that imperialism can be substituted at the very time that imperialism universally is being destroyed, posing an economic threat to the free nations of the world. The evidence which was placed before the Government, as it was placed before the House, is in my humble opinion sufficiently cogent to warrant the action taken by the United States and by Britain in sending, at the invitation of the governments concerned, forces to the two countries we are discussing. I think that that was completely justifiable. But that, of course, does not solve the problem. It can be solved only at the international level. I believe that it can be solved through the United Nations, but it must be solved by an approach from complete goodwill and with complete political and national integrity.
– From all sides.
– That is what I saidcomplete national and political integrity. There must be a genuine regard for nascent nationalism, whether on the part of those who, in the past, by mistake or carelessness, by indifference or cruel exploitation, have profited and to-day are bearing the sins of the profits they made; or whether on the part of those who would substitute a new colonialism, an intellectual colonialism, for the imperial colonialism that is gone. Unless, on both sides, these ideas are abandoned, and unless the Arab question is approached with absolute sincerity, there is not likely to be any solution of it. Not only will peace be threatened throughout the whole world, but we shall have a state of society in which there must undoubtedly be opportunities for the continuous international disruption of trade. Trade and commerce will be used as an international weapon of aggression, as an international weapon of intimidation, greater and more forceful, and possibly even more drastic in its political consequnces, than any material aggression or acts of military aggression in the past tragic history of the world.
I conclude on this note: In the circumstances of the case, I think that the action of the United States and Britain was justified. They had an invitation from the governments concerned. Those governments were genuinely concerned, on the facts, because of intervention from outside disrupting honest attempts to form their own nations in their own way. But if we are going to support economic commissions in the Middle East we must be careful of a number of things. I have heard a lot of criticism of what powers have done in cases where operating companies have signed contracts for the exploitation of natural resources. I say with some feeling that it is very difficult in those circumstances for one of the contracting parties to make it a term of the contract that the revenues that go to the other party shall be expended in his country in a particular way. That is not easy to do, and I know how an attempt to do so in this country would be resented. It would do much more harm than good if an internationally operating company undertook to come here and exploit our natural resources, and if it were made a term of the contract that a certain proportion of the royalties that would accrue to the government should be spent on social services or defence, or something of that nature.
Something must be done for these people of the Middle East. It is only fair that the wealth that comes out of the Middle East countries should in some way flow back to improve the conditions of the people and raise their living standards. But it will take a tremendous amount of diplomacy to do that without creating a situation which, at the end, is worse than it was at the beginning.
– But you do not do that with a rifle.
– Of course you do not. Debate interrupted.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Honorable A. D. Reid). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 August 1958, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1958/19580819_senate_22_s13/>.