20th Parliament · 1st Session
Mb. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– To make clear a question that I shall direct to the PostmasterGeneral, I remind him that on the 28th November last, on the motion of the honorable member for Mackellar, with the support of the Government, it was decided that it was undesirable that any person not an Australian should hold a substantial measure of ownership of, or exercise control, over, any Australian broadcasting station, whether directly or indirectly. Will the Minister inform me whether that resolution has particularly affected the purchase of Australian ‘broadcasting stations by a group of British investors? Has the Government found that some legal difficulties exist in connexion with the matter? Are conferences being held with a view to watering down the policy, which had the unanimous support of the Government parties?
– As far as 1 an. aware, the Government has not experienced any legal difficulties in connexion with this matter. The PostmasterGeneral possesses the power to refuse or decline renewal of a broadcasting licence, which is a very effective power. As far as I am personally concerned, I shall certainly make it effective. There has been no watering down of the Government’s notification to the companies concerned. Some discussions have already been concluded, and others are proceeding. I am not prepared at this juncture to gay any more about the matter.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral give consideration to assisting commercial radio stations in connexion with the broadcasting of news and educational programmes in areas where broadcasts from national or regional broadcasting stations cannot be received satisfactorily, if at all ?
– The Australian Broadcasting Control Board is formulating plans to enable practically every person in Australia to have reasonable access to broadcasts from either a regional or national station, but at the present time listeners in many areas are unable to receive programmes satisfactorily. This, of course, includes news broadcasts. I have been discussing with the Australian Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations means of making available to every commercial broadcasting station in Australia, at a reasonable cost, a news service, either from the Australian Broadcasting Commission or such commercial news service as the station may select.
– There is not much difference between them.
– Commercial radio stations should have the right of selection. The Opposition has always attempted to deny them that right. The full landline charges for news services to radio stations in some remote areas could be approximately £2,000 a year. The revenue of some of those stations is so small that they could not possibly pay that sum if they were called upon to do so, and listeners in those areas would have to go without a news service. I have almost completed the preparation of plans to make available to such stations, at a nominal charge, the news service that they care to select.
– In view of recent reports that members of the crew of the Japanese merchant vessel Orient Maru had taken photographs at Port Adelaide, will the Prime Minister and his colleagues in the Cabinet give consideration to the strengthening and stiffening of our security regulations insofar as they refer particularly to ships belonging to shipping companies of our immediate past enemies, which may be now commencing to trade with our potential enemy while still engaged with us in commerce ?
– The particular case to which the honorable member referred in the opening part of his question is known to the security authorities, although I consider that Us significance can be exaggerated. At any rate, I can assure the honorable gentleman that we know what there is to be known about it. The honorable member may also be assured that the problem that he has in mind is one that is constantly in the minds of the security intelligence organization, and will continue to be so.
– Having regard to widespread demands by primary producers and other citizens for telephones and to the fact that in many instances the Postal Department has been holding for periods of over twelve months deposits paid by applicants for telephones, I ask tHe Postmaster-General to reverse his department’s policy of retrenchment of staff and, instead, to employ extra labour so as to meet the growing demand for telephones throughout Australia.
– The difficulty of providing telephones is not entirely a question of extra labour. As the honorable member is well aware, primary producers and other people are denied not only telephones at the present time, but also barbed wire, fencing materials, wire netting, and all kinds of materials of that kind because there is an acute shortage of them. A similar shortage applies to wire required for the installation of telephones. If the Government tried to impose a priority system on the manufacturers of wire so that production of telephone wire would be given preference over all those other commitments, it would mean that people who are desperately in need of material for fencing would have to wait a longer period than otherwise for their requirements. So, I repeat, the lag in the provision of telephones is not entirely a question of labour. It is also a question of materials. If we can, in some manner or other, have the production of such materials increased, we shall be able to alleviate the position of the primary producers.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral inform the House of the present position in regard to the proposed installation of an automatic telephone exchange at Brookfield, Brisbane?
– I regret that I cannot give the honorable member the details of the position immediately, but I shall have inquiries made and let him know the full position.
– My question is supplementary to the question asked by the honorable member for Hume about delay in installing telephones. “Would the PostmasterGeneral inform me whether his department obtains large supplies of telephone wire and cable from a copper fabricating works at Port Kembla ? If so, what effect has the strike of 1,000 employees at those works had on the department’s programme of telephone installations?
– As I said’ in my reply to the honorable member for Hume, there is a very acute shortage of copper and calcide materials. Naturally, any strike or dislocation of the industry which sets back production must have repercussions throughout the country and every primary ‘producer who is seeking telephones or fencing materials is affected.
– By way of explanation of a question to the Minister for
Immigration I point out that, as is probably common knowledge, the Greeks were our very loyal allies. during the last war. Some concern has been expressed in connexion with a statement made by the official representative of Greece in Australia to the effect that Greeks were encountering discrimination in the matter of immigration. I ask the Minister whether statements that there has been unfair discrimination against the Greeks as immigrants are correct, and also whether it is a fact that alien ex-enemy nationals are permitted and assisted to come to Australia while the nationals of our gallant allies are denied more favorable treatment than they are now receiving.
– It is certainly not correct that there is any unfair discrimination in respect of the immigration of Greek nationals. I discussed this matter in Sydney only yesterday with Mr. Vrisakis, the Consul-General for Greece, and I have reason to believe that the implication that has been placed on certain remarks that he made, as they appeared in the press, is not justified and, in fact, that the press reference did not completely and accurately report what he had in mind. 1 point out to the Hon£13 that the nationals of Greece have always been eligible to come to Australia in the normal way under the terms of the landing permit system which applies to other European people. In fact, although in the post-war years there has been no substantia] emigration from Greece to any part of the world, figures reveal that Australia is second only to the United States in connexion with the number of Greeks who have immigrated in those years. The subject of an immigration agreement under which Greek nationals may be selected to work in certain occupations in Australia, the Australian and Greek Governments both accepting obligations in relation to them, and under which those selected would undertake to work for a period of two years as required by the Australian Government, has not previously arisen for discussion, but I had a general talk with Mr. Vrisakis about it yesterday. He has obtained a good deal of information from us which he will convey to his government, and we shall explore the possibility of making soma arrangement that will be acceptable to both countries.
– I desire to preface a question to the Minister for Immigration hy saying that an eye-witness who recently returned from Europe has stated that one of the most tragic problems that faced the people around whom the recent war raged most fiercely was the care and education of millions of children who had been deprived of one or both parents. Nearly all of these children are in need of some care and protection while many must be fed, housed, clothed and educated. In view of those facts and in view of the many difficulties that have confronted the Government in endeavouring to obtain the right type of immigrants will the Minister review his efforts to obtain child immigrants ?
– This Government has been anxious, as all Australian governments since the war have been anxious, to assist the movement of war orphans from Europe to this country. But the facts available to the Government on this subject are not quite in accordance with the statements of the honorable member. There is evidence that the number of orphan children in Europe who would be suitable as immigrants to Australia is exceedingly small. I do not say that there are not many orphan children there, but, very properly. the countries in which they are situated have themselves taken care of them. Families in the district in which the orphan children have been resident have taken care of them and my inquiries have shown that there is no substantial number that could usefully be brought to Australia. However, the Government has not been idle in the matter, and has sponsored the introduction of child immigrants to Australia through a number of voluntary institutions, most of which are church organizations. I think that more than £250,000 has already been made available by the Government to assist in the building of establishments to house these children. If the honorable member can inform me of any substantial number of European orphans who have not been cared for in the manner that I have mentioned I shall be interested to ascertain what can be done to bring them to Australia.
– Is the Prime Minister aware of the serious plight of returned soldier students who are studying under the Commonwealth reconstruction training scheme? These people receive, on loan, a fixed living allowance in order to enable them to continue their studies and thus are helpless victims of the vicious inflationary spiral. When the scheme started, a single man received 65 per cent, of the basic wage and a married man received 95 per cent. Now, owing to subsequent increases in the basic wage, those men receive only 38 per cent, and 51 per cent, of the basic wage respectively. Will the Prime Minister take steps to stabilize these allowances at 65 per cent, of the basic wage for single men and 95 per cent, for married men?
– I shall convey the honorable member’s proposal to the Treasurer.
– I ask the Prime Minister to inform the House whether the Government is prepared to give taxation relief to that vital section of the community which has family responsibilities by making school fees a deductible item for income tax purposes ?
– The subject that the honorable member has raised is purely a matter of policy which, as he knows, .has been examined from time to time. It is quite impossible to make any statement with relation to such a subject except as a matter of policy and at the proper time.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. By way of explanation I refer to a statement recently made by the Minister to the effect that there were at present 108,000 job vacancies throughout the Commonwealth. I am also well aware that there are thousands of seasonal workers and workers who have been displaced from governmental and semi-governmental works in north Queensland. Is the Minister aware that the 108,000 vacant positions are available only in the big southern cities, and that in any case most of them arn vacancies for artisans and not for labourers? If an unemployed man from north Queensland wanted to fill such a vacancy he would have to leave the land where he was born and bred, and had established a home with his wife and family, and travel to the southern cities. He would have to do that in spite of the fact that at present there are hundreds of new Australians working in north Queensland who enjoy at least two years’ security of employment. Does the Minister consider it fair and just that north Queensland workers should be expected to leave their wives and families and travel to the southern States while new Australians are employed with two years’ security of employment in the very areas that they would have, to leave?
– The honorable member’s statements are slightly incorrect. Two days ago I informed the House that there were 92,000 work vacancies, not 108,000, registered throughout the Commonwealth. T said that that number represented a. significant decrease from the peak registration in August last year, but that it was some 20,000 higher than the number of work vacancies recorded at the time that this Government assumed office. Therefore, there is still a buoyant employment situation throughout the Commonwealth. It is quite true, as the honorable member has said, that most of the employment opportunities are in the southern States, but in his own State of Queensland the latest figures indicate that there are about 5.000 recorded vacancies, most of them, admittedly, in Brisbane and the area close to Brisbane. I admit that a special problem exists so far as north Queensland is concerned. It is not a new problem. Indeed, it has arisen every year as far back as I or anybody else can recall. It was not unusual in the years before the war for 18,000 to 20,000 workers to be seasonally unemployed in the sugar and meat industries of that State. I recently mentioned to honor able members that there were about 1,800 registrations of people receiving unemployment benefits in that northern area. . It is not correct to say that new Australians are guaranteed security of employment for two years. They are required to work where the Australian Government wishes them to work for two years, but there is no legal liability on the Government to maintain them in employment during that time. However, this Government accepts the obligation that there should be an adequate number of work opportunities available throughout the Commonwealth so that every man willing and able to do a job should be able to find an opportunity to work. No one would claim that work can always be provided at all times at the places where people may want it. All that any government can hope to do is to ensure that the number of suitable opportunities throughout the Commonwealth is adequate to cater for those who wish to work. Whether the people in north Queensland choose to travel to jobs in other States or in the southern part of their own State is a matter for them to determine, but, as the honorable member knows, the normal experience is that as the year proceeds opportunities of employment increase in that area.
-Is the Minister for the Army determined to proceed early in March with the eviction of 200 families, including many ex-service personnel and hundreds of children, from the Watsonia emergency housing centre in Melbourne? If so, what arrangements have been made for alternative accommodation for those people?
– I remind the honorable member for Burke that there has not been and never will be any proposal to evict anybody. I make that statement most emphatically. By agreement with the Victorian Government, the Australian Government made the Watsonia camp outside Melbourne available until the end of 1951 to house people who needed accommodation. All that this Government has done is to extend the time that the camp would be available. The suggestion that evictions are proposed is a poisonous one. This Government, has agreed with the Victorian Government to extend the time that the camp would be available from December, 1951, to March, 1952.
– What happens then?
– We exptect the Victorian Government to honour its undertaking.
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform the House whether the negotiations with the British Ministry of Food for the current year’s pig meat prices, have yet been concluded? If not, when is it expected that finality will he reached in the contract negotiations? If the negotiations have been concluded, is the Minister in a position to inform the House of the new price and conditions and of the amount of pig meat involved in the contract ?
– The negotiations to which the honorable member for Corangamite has referred are proceeding, but they have not yet been concluded. Normally the pig meat prices for a year’s sale are announced about the 1st October or during November. Those who are interested know that at that time last year active negotiations were proceeding between the Australian Government and State governments on the price for feed wheat. That matter could be resolved only by the States and obviously it was quite impossible to settle the price of pig meat to be sold to the United Kingdom Government without knowing the price of feed wheat. Therefore, no attempt was made to negotiate the price of pig meat until the feed wheat price had been decided. At that point, the negotiations were begun with the Australian Meat Board, upon which producers of pig meat are represented. The basis of those negotiations was approved by the board and they have been proceeding ever since. The United Kingdom Government now adopts the attitude that as it is also negotiating pig meat prices with New Zealand, and as Australia is a comparatively unimportant supplier of pig meats, it will not reach a decision with Australia on pig meat prices until it has concluded an agreement with New Zealand. I hope that the price will be decided in the next week or so. There will, be no avoidable delay.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Supply. Is it a fact that the Government has decided to instruct the Joint Coal Board to dispose of its mining plant to private mining companies? Is the sale regarded as a virtual gift of £9,000,000 worth of mining machinery to mine owners, who have been the main cause of the- difficulties associated with the mining industry to-day? Will the Minister inform the House of the Government’s intentions in this matter?
– The question should have been directed to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. I shall cause it to be brought to the notice of the Minister for National Development, and doubtless the honorable gentleman will be furnished with a reply.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that an unlimited grant on a £l-for-£l ‘basis is being made to the New South Wales Government for .bush fire relief. During the last sessional period, the right honorable gentleman, in answer to a question addressed to him, intimated that the Commonwealth -was prepared to make a similar grant for the relief of primary producers in Queensland who had suffered as a result of severe drought and bush fires, but that it could be made only if the Queensland Government requested the assistance and the grant was administered by that Government. Will the Prime Minister say whether the Queensland Government has made the necessary request? I point out that, unless some assistance is granted to primary producers in Queensland who have suffered severely as a result of drought and fires, there is every probability that in the near future there will be a food famine in that State.
– I regret that I cannot tell the honorable member offhand what the state of affairs is between the
Queensland ‘Government and the Commonwealth on this matter, but I shall find out. The policy of the Government is to apply a similar principle whenever an application is made by a State itself.
– Is the Minister for External Affairs aware that when a motion was presented recently to the United Nations urging that an end be put to the flogging of natives, Australia’s representative refrained from voting? Was the Minister responsible for his action? If not what is the explanation of the matter. Does not the Minister agree that the action of Australia’s representative on this occasion might well arouse antagonism against Australians, and tend to encourage the spread of communism?
– The point raised _ by the honorable member is not in my mind, but I shall make inquiries and advise him later.
– Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture yet able to make a statement to the House about a payment under the Joint Organization wool realization scheme, particularly to those who have left the industry, and whose financial circumstances are such that they are in very great need of any money that may be due to them from this source ?
– I realize the importance and urgency of this matter, and in a few days’ time I shall be able to make a statement covering the whole subject.
– by leave - In my last general statement to the House on foreign affairs on the 21st June, 1951, I dealt with developments in Korea, the Japanese Peace Treaty, the Pacific Pact, and the Colombo Plan. Honorable members have now under immediate consideration the related but separate questions of the ratification of the Japanese Peace Treaty and of the Pacific Pact, and I have already outlined the Government’s views on these two issues. I believe that the time has come when I should again inform the House on the principal current aspects of international affairs. I propose to deal with the latest developments in Korea and in South-East Asia, to review the position in the Middle East, including Iran and Egypt, to report upon some aspects of the recent session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to cover some other matters of consequence.
Broadly speaking, although the fighting in Korea has continued, the main emphasis in recent months has been on negotiation rather than on the military sphere. The battle front has been more or less stabilized since the start of the cease-fire negotiations some six months ago, although valuable lives continue to be lost and our troops have had to undergo the hardships of another severe winter. The ordinary man has every right to ask why a cease-fire has not been brought about. The reason lies principally in the Communist technique of so-called negotiation, of which we have now had so many examples - in the abortive meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers, in the abusive and time-wasting “negotiations “ by the Chinese and north Korean Communists in Korea, and in the United Nations itself.
These proceedings are not negotiations in the ordinarily accepted sense. It is not a question of stating a logical case in order to persuade the other side that this or that is the most reasonable solution of the problem. We are now familiar with the Russian, Chinese and Korean Communist technique of conducting their negotiations with the idea of securing the maximum propaganda effect. Arguments are used with obvious disregard for their truth, and in spite of whether they are likely to convince the other side. Time is no object. Generally speaking, the technique appears to be to state dogmatically, to reiterate, to abuse, to confuse, to withhold agreement on every point until the last possible moment and to endeavour to wear down the other side.
During recent months, we have watched this process at the co-called cease-fire talks in Korea. The concessions made by the Communist negotiators have been few, although at long last they did agree that the military demarcation line would be the actual line of military contact and not the 38th parallel. On the other hand, the Communists have fought hard to maintain the right to rehabilitate air fields in North Korea if and when an armistice is signed and for the compulsory return of all prisoners of war and displaced civilians, despite the fact that many of them are understandably unwilling to be sent back to North Korea or China.
Agreement may well be reached soon upon a cease-fire and armistice for Korea, although it would be unwise to be too sure about this. The democratic countries with forces in Korea will, of course, continue to do their utmost to reach agreement in spite of constant provocation and the continued and almost inhuman test of their ipatien.ce. If and when agreement is reached upon a ceasefire and armistice, the next and more difficult step will be to try to secure agreement upon a political settlement in Korea.
The General Assembly of the United Nations will be reconvened to discuss and approve arrangements for political negotiations as soon as a cease-fire has been reported by the unified command. Australia, together with our allies in this struggle, firmly opposed Soviet attempts to introduce discussion of the Korean situation at the session of the General Assembly which has just concluded. It is our view that the field negotiations currently being conducted by the military commanders, in which political questions have been deliberately excluded by the United Nations, should not be interfered with or complicated by premature public debate and controversy about the ultimate political settlement to be sought in Korea. On all of these matters,, including the terms upon which General Ridgway is negotiating, Australia is in full consultation with the United States, the United Kingdom and other governments. Australia and the other governments primarily involved in Korea have for some time been exploring together alternative methods of negotiating a political settlement, consistent with the principles of the United Nations, after the Communists take the initial step of joining with us in a cease-fire and agree to settle this matter by negotiation. It is, of course, most important that any agreement upon a cease-fire and armistice should be carried out in good faith. In this connexion, I draw attention to the statement made by Mr. Churchill in his speech to the United States Congress on the 17th January, when he said -
We welcome your patience in the (Korean) armistice negotiations and our two countries are Agreed that, if the truce we seek is readied only to be broken, our response will lie prompt and effective.
When I spoke to the House on the 27th .September, .1951, I reported upon the visit I had then just made to SouthEast Asia and the East. As I said then, the political, economic and military situation of these countries is of firstclass importance to Australia. Since September there have been new developments, not all of which have been for the better. In Indo-China the Communist Vietminh forces -have made strong attacks in the Hanoi area in the north of Indo-China and, although French and Vietnam forces appear to have the situation under control, Communist pressure has been heavy. The recent death in a hospital in Paris of that great soldier and striking personality, General de Lattre de Tassigny, was a great blow. I take this opportunity to pay sincere tribute to his outstanding work in Indo-China during his short but dynamic period there as Military Commander-in-Chief and High Commissioner. I am confident that the vigorous, brave and determined spirit which he spread will be a lasting inspiration to Frenchmen and the Vietnamese to complete successfully the task of subduing Communist Vietminh forces in IndoChina.
In Malaya, too, Communist forces have had local successes. It is with the utmost regret that I speak of the killing, at the hands of Communist bandits, of Sir Henry Gurney, High Commissioner for the Federation of Malaya. Following upon his death and the change of government in the United Kingdom, the British Colonial Secretary, Mr. Oliver Lyttleton, visited Malaya and made a personal examination on the spot of the situation there. As a result, a distinguished soldier, Sir Gerald Templer, has been appointed High Commissioner and has been given wide “powers to deal with the bandit problem. A number of changes in senior British personnel is also taking place. It is to be hoped that these changes, and new plans that are being developed to cope with the situation in Malaya, will prove successful. The task, however, is extremely difficult, and it would be wrong for honorable members to believe that there is .likely to be any easy or early solution.
In Burma the situation is particularly disquieting. As I was not able to visit Burma during my journey to South-East Asia last year, I made a particular point of calling at Rangoon for a couple of days on the way to the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in Paris. Burma occupies a key position in South-Sast Asia. At present it is torn by what amounts to civil war, which has caused great damage, dislocated communications, cut down production in many parts of the country, and prevented the legitimate government from exercising authority in many areas, some even quite close to Rangoon. Burma shares its northern border with Communist China, and, in addition, Chinese Nationalist forces have been reported within the borders of Burma. The problem of subduing Communist bands within Burma, the possibilities of clashes inside Burmese territory between Communist and Nationalist Chinese troops, and the further possibility of invasion of Burma by Chinese Communist forces, cause much anxiety to the Burmese Government.
I believe that honorable members will agree that developments in South-East Asia are vital to Australia and that we must have early and accurate information on what is going on there. In September of last year, I said that in the near future I would recommend to the Government a review of Australian representation in the area. I am glad to be able to inform the House that active steps are being taken to fill the gaps in our Australian representation in South-East Asia. We have now arranged with the governments concerned to open new Australian legations at Saigon and Rangoon and to raise the status of our consulate-general’s office in Bangkok to that of a legation. We are also about to strengthen our representation at Singapore.
There is evidence in recent weeks that other governments share our views on the serious situation in South-East Asia and the need to preserve that area from Communist aggression. I draw the attention of honorable members to the following statement by Mr. Anthony Eden in. a speech at Columbia University in New York, on the 11th January, in which he referred to Indo-China and Malaya : -
These positions must be held. It should be understood that the intervention by force by Chinese Communists in South-East Asia - even if they are called volunteers - would create a situation no less menacing than that which the United Nations met and faced in Korea. In any such event the United Nations should be equally solid to resist it.
Again, significant warnings were given at the General Assembly of the United Nations in Paris. The representative of the United States on the 28th January replied to and denied Russian accusations that the United States was supporting an alleged build-up of Chinese Nationalist forces in South-East Asia in preparation for aggressive action against Communist China and other states in the area. The American representative said that the United States Government was concerned over the possible significance which this statement might have for the future of international peace, by reason of the possibility that as in the past, such Communist charges might foreshadow new communist aggression in the East. The United States representative further said -
Any such Communist aggression in SouthEast Asia would, in the view of my Government, be a matter of direct and grave concern which would require the most urgent and earnest consideration by the United Nations.
That is a formidable warning. Australia joined with the United Kingdom, France, and New Zealand in supporting these remarks. I may say that we are about to appoint an Australian High Commissioner to Ceylon. In addition, I shall shortly be able to announce some changes in our representation in other Asian countries.
Our interest in the countries of South and South-East Asia, however, is not limited to matters of security, important though they are. We recognize that we must have a positive and helpful policy towards the countries of this region. Their future depends on the way in which their political, economic and military problems are dealt with. There can be no lasting security in the absence of improved social conditions, including greater economic and political opportunity. For these reasons, an important feature in Australia’s foreign policy is now the Colombo Plan for aiding the countries of South and South-East Asia. The Colombo plan is still in its first year, and, therefore, in its early stages, but it “s gaining momentum. Under the economic development programme, we have shipped or ordered £A.3,700,000 worth of wheat for India, and £A.. 300,000 worth of flour for Ceylon.
– ls that a charge against Australian revenues?
– Yes, it is a budget item.
– It is a gift?
– Yes, it is a gift. No tags are attached to it. The equipment requirements of Pakistan and India are at present being examined to see how much Australia can supply. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) has made available to my department one of his senior officers to be Director of Colombo Plan Supplies. This appointment will speed up the provision of supplies under the economic development programme.
We have organized a number of group training courses, and provided many fellowships and scholarships for individual study in Australia. More than 100 persons from Asia are at present in this country under the scheme, and Australian experts are being provided in increasing numbers to Asian countries. The benefits from these arrangements are to be found not only in the technical training itself, but also in growing goodwill and understanding between Australia and the countries concerned. We have also been able to supply certain technical equipment, and supplies will be increased considerably after we have studied the report of a mission to India, Pakistan and Ceylon, which has just examined the requirements of these countries for technical equipment.
Canada is undertaking a programme for the expenditure of 25,000,000 dollars in India and Pakistan in the first year.. The United Kingdom and New Zealand have made agreements with countries that are recipients under the Colombo PlanSince that plan was inaugurated, the United States Administration has announced a programme of substantial aid to a number of countries in the area, and there is continuing consultation with the object of co-ordinating American and British Commonwealth aid. All the countries which are members of the Consultative Committee for South and SouthEast Asia will meet at Karachi on the 24th March to review progress, and discuss practical ways of speeding up the progress of the plan.
In short, the Colombo Plan, even at this early stage, has started to show results in the economic and social betterment of the countries concerned. It has also been a practical example of international co-operation among free countries coming together as equal partners. I hope that before long the countries which are not yet formally participating in the plan will decide to be associated with it, and work together to raise economic and social standards in the countries of South and South-East Asia. I am glad to say that Burma has decided to participate fully in the Colombo Plan, and that the Associated States of Indo-China will also participate. This will give further opportunity for us to co-operate with these other countries as equal partners, and will help us to help them, as we sincerely wish to do.
I turn now to the recent developments in the Middle East which have given the Australian Government serious concern. Honorable members will no doubt be aware, from the full press and radio reports, of developments in Iran and Egypt. I do not wish to deal with them in detail, but rather to speak about certain principles which are involved in both of them. Any community, international or national, depends for its existence on the rule of law and the observance of commitments, great and small. In the international sphere these are usually sanctioned by treaties or agreements which set the pattern of relations between countries. This does not mean that should a treaty fall out of harmony with the times, no redress is possible. Joint discussion or reference to a third and neutral party are the legal processes for amending the old agreement or drafting a new one to the satisfaction of the parties concerned. On the other hand, unilateral abrogation of a treaty leads only towards chaos and danger, loss to- both parties, gain for those who wish them ill, and above all, a weakening of the international comity. That is why the Australian Government must regret the unilateral action by both Iran and Egypt in abrogating their obligations under existing agreements.
In regard to Iran, the United Kingdom resolutely sought to avoid any provocative action which might endanger world peace, and, recognizing its obligations to exhaust all peaceful steps which might lead to a settlement, referred the dispute to the appropriate international machinery, the Security Council of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. By refusing to recognize the competence of those bodies, Iran is turning its back on the door to a settlement which by its international character would properly safeguard Iran’s own national prestige and interests. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has now come forward with proposals to re-open the Persian oil industry on an interim basis and its vice-president is at present in Teheran to discuss the principles of the bank’s plan with the Iranian Government. We hope that these negotiations will be successful for it must be clear to all that Iran cannot much longer deny itself the tremendous revenue it enjoyed from its oil resources without risk to its own political and economic integrity and to the stability of the Middle East and South Asian area as a whole. It seems to us that the final settlement, to be lasting and fair, must take into account, first, Iran’s economic needs and the desire of its Government to raise the standard of living of its people ; secondly, the very great contribution which has been made, by British brains and experience to the development of Persian oil resources and the vast capital expenditure involved ; and, thirdly, the fact that Persia alone cannot produce, refine, transport and market the oil. Such a settlement must be reached before Communist elements succeed in exploiting the danger of the present stalemate and growing instability in Iran.
The situation in Egypt developed in a different way. British troops were already in Egypt, in accordance with existing treaty provisions. The Suez Canal is a vital strategic area, as two world wars have shown - wars in which the United Kingdom and Australia and other forces have successfully protected Egypt from foreign occupation and control. Any Egyptian government which ignores the geographical and strategic facts and the dangers of the present international situation is simply burying its head in the desert sand. I remind honorable members that the former Egyptian Government abrogated the Treaty unilaterally, in spite of the fact that it well knew that it was about to receive from four sponsoring powers, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Turkey, an invitation to join in a Middle East Command. Acceptance of this invitation and a satisfactory working out of the details would have brought about a new relationship between the United Kingdom and Egypt. Instead of accepting the invitation and endeavouring to work out reasonable proposals which would have satisfied their national aspirations, the Egyptian government of the day, without apparently giving these important proposals the careful examination they deserved, rejected the invitation. Honorable members are familiar with the chain of events which followed and which culminated in the shocking riots in Cairo on Saturday, the 26th January, and the change of government two days later. Those riots could by no means be described as a natural manifestation of nationalism. ‘ It seems clear that various elements, including subversive elements and those who prefer chaos to law and order, joined the rioters. Fortunately no Australians were killed in the riots but the House will sympathize with the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada in the death of their citizens, who included the Canadian Trade Commissioner, and in the extensive property losses which amounted to several million pounds.
There have been a number of hopeful signs during the past few weeks, since the change of Government, but it is stil too early to say whether the new Administration will be able to fulfil its immediate task of stabilizing the internal situation in Egypt and of calling off the attacks on British troops by the terrorists. If that were done, a favorable atmosphere would prevail in which negotiations could be resumed. I am not without hope that a satisfactory solution to the dispute can still be found, which will take into consideration the strategic importance of the Canal Zone, the free world and the national aspirations of the Egyptian people. The United Kingdom has reiterated its willingness to enter negotiations for such a solution and there are some indications that the new government of Ali Maher Pasha may adopt a reasonable attitude to this offer. Before leaving the subject of the Middle East, I should add that, as honorable members are aware, the Australian Government accepted the invitation to join in the establishment of a Middle East Command, final details of which had still to be discussed and worked out. Negotiations to this end have been delayed, primarily because of the situation in Egypt and to some extent also because of the desire of Turkey and Greece to complete the process of their becoming members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In due course, I shall report to the House on the proceedings of the United Nations Assembly in Paris. I spent two weeks at the Assembly. It was the first occasion on which I had attended such a gathering.
I returned to Australia convinced of the importance of Australian representation at the Assembly, where, in the early stages at least, the Foreign Ministers from most countries were present and direct contact between them was possible and practicable on a wide variety of subjects. We have to be adequately repre- sented on the General Assembly and on the many committees of the Assembly in order to watch our own national interests and to add our voice and our vote to those of other countries which think as we do, in general defence of our democratic convictions.
I do not believe that it is possible, other than by attending a session of the Assembly, to realize the degree to which it reflects the antagonisms between the democratic and the Communist worlds. One has only to hear one speech by Mr. Vyshinsky, laced with abuse and vituperation, unashamed statements that black is white or white is black, and vicious propaganda, in order to become fully and grimly aware of the realities of the cold war. It has to be realized that the Assembly is used almost solely by Communist countries as a propaganda platform, not as a place where reasoned arguments are put, where there is an attempt to persuade other countries of the correctness of one’s views, or where practical steps are devised to resolve differences.
I do not for one moment underestimate the importance, the significance and the value of meetings- of the Assembly. There, at least, representatives of countries on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain can meet and hear one another speak. Absence of contact might well be worse than vituperation. Nor do I wish to minimize the importance of the work and the successful action that has been taken by the United Nations in various fields and, perhaps, particularly in the economic, social and humanitarian fields. Nevertheless, I think it essential to correct the belief in some well-meaning circles that power politics are absent from the United Nations or that the present situation in the United Nations permits a proper objective approach to be made to political problems.
Perhaps the most important matter dealt with during the recent session of the Assembly was the question of disarmament. The dreadful nightmare of an atomic war compels all of us to seek ways of solving problems peacefully and of reducing the burden of armaments upon the peoples of the world. However, the chill reality of persistent and ruthless
Communist pressure to bring about in the shortest possible time a Communistcontrolled world compels us to build up our military strength and to ensure that plans for disarmament do not result in the end in effective disarmament of the democratic world only.
In spite of the risks involved, the United Kingdom, the United States and France put forward at the recent session of the General Assembly positive proposals for disarmament. Their proposals incorporated the progress already made over the past five years by organs of the United Nations and endorsed in previous resolutions of the General Assembly. These proposals were subsequently approved by a great majority of the General Assembly. The essence of the proposals adopted is set out in the first principle contained in the resolution -
In a system of guaranteed disarmament there must be progressive disclosure and- verification on a continuing basis of all armed forces - including para-military, security, and police forces - and all armaments including atomic.
Obviously no country can afford to cut down its own armaments unless it is sure that possible enemies are doing the same. This assurance can exist only when there is effective international inspection to ensure the adequacy and accuracy of information disclosed. This basic principle of disclosure and verification has, from the beginning, been a great stumblingblock to international efforts to bring about world-wide disarmament. The Soviet Union has never been prepared to accept proper inspection. All its own suggestions for inspection have been so hedged around with qualifications as to be practically worthless, and, indeed, dangerous. The difficulties, we must hope, are not insuperable. By plugging away and never giving up the attempt, we may eventually (reach agreement. But I must warn the House of the great dangers in reaching agreement on a form of words which is acceptable to both parties but which nevertheless means different things to each of them. From time to time, proposals come from the Soviet Union which appear on the surface to be concessions to the democratic point of view but which turn out to be the same old thing once we have gone behind the words and found out exactly what is implied.
In the Assembly debate on disarmament, the democratic nations held and kept the initiative. The onus was thrown upon the Soviet Union to expose any weaknesses in the proposals put forward by the democratic powers, and to advance alternative proposals of a nature which could be acceptable. This the Soviet Union did not do. On the contrary, the Soviet representative, Mr. Vishinsky, received the proposals contemptuously. He said that he could not sleep all night because he had been laughing so much. It must be admitted, in these circumstances, that the chances of securing world disarmament are at present somewhat remote, when the threat of Soviet imperialism and aggression hangs over so many countries. Large forces from the United Nations are engaged in Korea checking aggression on the part of the North Korean and Chinese Communists, and the democratic nations have been forced to increase their expenditure on armaments and to maintain large forces in Western Europe and elsewhere. It is not enough for the United Nations to attack the problem of the atomic bomb or the problem of world armaments. The big overriding question which must be attacked is war itself, or, more specifically,, aggression. The United Nations action to stop aggression in Korea is a step in this direction. The work of the Collective Measures Committee, now approved by the General Assembly, is another step forward. The recent session of the Assembly continued its efforts to ensure that members of the United Nations are not only resolved to join together to resist aggression, but are also prepared and organized to work together for this purpose.
Any review of world affairs cannot avoid pointing out stresses, and danger areas in the world to-day. As every honorable member and every man in the street knows, there is cause for the most serious concern regarding developments in many places, particularly the Far East. South-East Asia and the Middle East. I have spoken of the growing tendency to disregard solemn international obligations, and to prefer immediate, unilateral and direct action to the slower processes of discussion, persuasion and modification of obligations by mutual agreement.
Al] these problems must be seen against the continual background of Communist imperialism, which is completely and utterly ruthless in its many manifestations. The world picture is sombre and forbidding. It is up to us to face the facts and to avoid wishful thinking. At the same time we should not underestimate our basic strength and the grounds for some reasonable optimism of the ultimate outcome. ‘T think that we should constantly remind ourselves that world war, which could well have come at any time in the last year or two, has in fact not come about. We must never regard war as inevitable. However necessary it is to build up our strength to resist aggression, our basis and constant aim must always be to avoid war - which would be atomic war - and to solve international problems by peaceful means. We must act on the assumption that we will succeed. After all, there are some solid grounds on which to rest our hopes. First in our minds is the family of nations voluntarily associated in the British Commonwealth under the leadership of our mother country, Great Britain - an anvil that has worn out many hammers over the centuries. The inclusion in the one family of peoples of the East and of the West, different races with different cultures and backgrounds, consulting together on the basis of mutual sympathy, tolerance and understanding, remains a modern miracle of the first importance. British genius has devised a system, which we can call a constitutional system, under which members of the Commonwealth can enjoy independence in fact, while continuing to maintain their close associations with one another. The continued existence of the Commonwealth is an example to the world as a whole, and the significance of the influence of its members in world councils is very great indeed.
A vast amount has been said and written about the British Empire and its subsequent manifestation, the British Commonwealth. From having been, in earlier generations, a vertical structure, it is now a horizontal structure with Great Britain now primus inter pares. The development has been a gradual one, and the necessary adjustments have been made, although the Commonwealth still has, of course, its own problems. It is never static, and its cohesion should never be taken for granted. Constant initiatives are required to maintain and improve the processes of consultation and integration. This consultation can, in my considered opinion, be adequate without devising more formal machinery, provided it is based upon mutual confidence and mutual interest and conducted by men of goodwill. Frequent contact between leading representatives of Commonwealth countries, both on the ministerial and on the official levels, is essential if we are to understand one another’s problems and to solve our difficulties. Telegrams and despatches, however valuable, must, I emphasize, be supplemented by frequent personal discussion face to face. Membership of the Commonwealth is of supreme importance for a country like Australia, which is geographically remote and is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. That organization is, of course, another basic ground for optimism. At the present time it is undoubtedly the most important bulwark of resistance against world communism, and the greatest deterrent to Communist aggression. We in Australia take comfort in its existence, and approve of its objectives. We applaud the increasing consultation between its members in the military, political and economic spheres. At the same time, I am sure I shall not be misunderstood if I say that countries like Australia, which are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, must take care to ensure that their interests are not inadvertently overlooked by the members of the organization. The decisions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are so important and so widespread in their effects that they inevitably tend to affect non-members as well as members. But there is some risk that the natural and proper tendency towards closer consultation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries could lead to a state of affairs in which some members of the British Commonwealth may be in closer and quicker touch with the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization than with other members of the Commonwealth. Therefore, it is our task to take any necessary initiatives to ensure -that closeness and speed of consultation between members of the Commonwealth shall not fall behind that which exists between members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Finally, I must refer to the outstanding part that has been played by the United States of America in the postwar years, in assisting other countries to restore and improve their pre-war economy and in providing, directly or indirectly, means of resisting aggression. The Marshall plan for Europe; assistance for Greece and Turkey; the outstanding part played by American forces in Korea; aid to the countries of SouthEast Asia, and under-developed countries everywhere, are all illustrations of the acceptance by the United States of America of the heavy obligations of leadership and of a vigorous determination to carry them out. I am sure that honorable members would wish to join with me and with the Australian Government in paying sincere and heartfelt tribute to American initiative and drive, and to the statesmanship and generosity of the American Government and people, who pay the taxes, and take the risks necessary to put these policies into effect. Tn this connexion, the Australian Government has noted with particular satisfaction the visit of Britain’s great wartime leader, and ‘present Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill, to Washington, so early in the life of his new Government, to discuss personally with President Truman the outstanding questions of the day. Without under-estimating the importance, or the influence of other countries, Australians believe that agreement between the United States of America and the British Commonwealth, especially the United Kingdom, is the most important single factor in the world’s affairs. The discussions at Washington covered a wide and important field. In addition, the friendship and co-operation between the two countries and the two peoples were noticeably improved, for which we are truly thankful.
I have sought to show that the British Commonwealth, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the intimate relationship between the British Commonwealth and the United States of America - the Pacific pact being a no] specific example - are strong safeguards for the security of Australia and other genuinely peace-loving nations. The contractual associations I have referred to are within the scope of the United Nations Charter, and are dedicated to its principles and purposes - world-wide peace and the rule of law and international justice - and they are supplementing the United Nations itself, which, during the past two years, has taken such great steps forward in mobilizing the will and the power of the free world against aggression in Korea. This is the framework within which our continued national existence can be defended. Each democratic state has to be prepared, if necessary, to fight in its own defence and to help others which may become victims of aggression. Our objectives go beyond the aim of national survival. We have the wider positive aim of world-wide security. For all countries, including Australia, there will be consequential sacrifices to be borne and difficulties to be overcome. I believe there is no doubt about the intimate connexion between the rearmament that the democratic world is being obliged to undergo for its security, and the difficult economic circumstances of most of the democratic countries. One of the prices that we have to pay is that resources which would otherwise have been devoted to social betterment in one way or another, have to be applied to ensure the security of the democracies against Communist aggression. There is scarcely a country to which this does not apply. The free world, in building up its strength so that it can protect itself, does not intend to use its strength to impose settlements by force, or to reject approaches for discussions of differences. We are ready at all times to negotiate freely and to work with all nations in finding a fair and peaceful solution of outstanding problems. In the past the democratic nations have made many approaches to the Soviet Union, and have met with many rebuffs. But, as far as we are concerned, the door is not, and will not, be closed. I lay on the table the following paper : -
International Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 22nd February, 1952, and move -
That the paper be printed.
– Will the Minister have prepared, for the information of the House, copies of the actual resolutions agreed to at the General Assembly, which are referred to in this paper, and indicate in each case how Australia voted on the proposals ?
Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.
– In accordance with the provisions of the several taxation acts I lay on the table the thirtieth annual report of the Commissioner of Taxation, dated the 31st May, 1951, together with statistical appendices, and move -
That the paper be printed.
As a result of the proceedings before the High Court in the McGrath case, it is not desirable that copies of this report be made available to press or public until the Parliament has given the necessary authorization for its publication. I have mentioned this aspect of the matter to the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), who has agreed that, in order that the report may be circulated without delay, the Opposition will not oppose the motion.
– I agree with the statement of the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Eric J. Harrison). After the paper has been printed it will become available to all honorable members, and, if further discussion on it is desired at any stage, it will be open to the Opposition or to any honorable member to bring it forward by suitable motion. On that footing we agree to the . motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 21st Feb>ruary (vide page 256), on motion by Mr. Casey -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I rise to support the Government’s policy and this bill. We have already been treated to a number of fine speeches on this measure. I propose to begin by answering a number of points that were raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), and the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird). The Leader of the Opposition stated the Opposition’s case on this matter very clearly when he said that the Labour party was completely opposed to the bill and would vote against it. He set out a series of reasons for his party’s attitude. He contended that it was the duty of the Parliament and the Government to protect Australia against future aggression by Japan, and that that should be the prime factor to be considered by the Government in connexion with a treaty of this description. That is an interesting statement. If that is to be Labour’s policy in this matter, then we must examine the general influences and factors that surround that policy. If Australia’s main pre-occupation in the future is to be worried about future aggression by Japan, can any person affirm that it is not evident that another nation, which has a particularly volent foreign policy, will derive the greatest benefit from such a preoccupation on the part of Australia? If we took the Labour party’s attitude we should be saying, in effect, that the greatest potential threat to Australia comes from a resurgent Japan. If there were justification for that view - and I do not believe at present that there is justification for it - I should say that it was singularly unfortunate that the policy adopted by the Opposition should, by a remarkable coincidence, appear to be beneficial towards the violent foreign policy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I could be pardoned for saying that certain malicious people might almost claim that there appeared to be some sinister reason associated with this fact. I shall not go as far as that, but I point out to the House and the Opposition that there would be general approval in Moscow of the adoption by this country of a policy that would name Japan as our potential foe as distinct from international Communism. I know too well, just as all honorable members know, that there will be a resurgent and new military Japan, because Japan is a virile nation. There is only one way in which it is possible to prevent such a virile nation from constituting a threat in the Pacific, and that is to exterminate it. I know very well that the Japanese received a touch of extermination at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and I know also that the honorable member for Parkes and the Leader of the Opposition, the leaders of the adult members of the Opposition, would never espouse a policy of extermination of the Japanese, because everything associated with our democratic way of life is opposed to such a policy. While a virile nation like Japan has a growing population and is subject to economic and social pressures from within, it must seek to expand. Germany is in a similar position. Let me say that, knowing full well that Japan probably will, at some future date, be a serious factor for us to consider, I still believe the most important thing in the present circumstances, is that that country be made to constitute a giant aircraft carrier anchored in a position of particular strategic value and importance in the Pacific. Japan represents the greatest concentration of industrial power available in the Pacific to the United Nations Organization. Its contribution towards the equipping of the United Nations forces now fighting in Korea has been great indeed. Millions of dollars, worth of equipment, for the use of the United Nations forces in Korea, has been manufactured in Japanese factories. The Australian airmen of No. 77 Squadron have had, working side by side with them fox years, Japanese fitters, labourers and other people in a variety of different occupations. Does that mean that they have any particular love for the Japanese? No ; it means that they have the common sense to utilize any assistance that may be available. We know full well that the sadism and barbarism of the Japanese cannot be changed overnight. No honorable member can honestly express the belief that that would be the case. The right honorable member for Barton in contending that Japan constitutes a present threat to Australia, is doing Australia a disservice by drawing a red herring across the path of those people who wish to ascertain the true facts. In 1946 we decided to make quite sure that Japan would never again be in a position to threaten Australia. But to-day we must organize our policy so as to utilize every available factor in the defence of the United Nations and Australia, and one of the most vital factors in that defence is Japan. A f amous soldier has said in this Parliament House that the treaty has been prepared so as to ensure that when Japan is evacuated by the United Nations another country will not take it by force. The best way to cause a third world war would be to vacate Japan and leave the Communist fifth column to operate there as efficiently as it operates in Australia and to establish a Soviet government. Russian forces would then move in to protect it, and the absorption of Japan would be complete.
I agree with what the Leader of the Opposition said about the militarists in Japan. There were certain democratic elements in Japan in the 1930’s which were removed by means of purges. The Japanese military class, as the Tanaka Memorial shows, controlled the country long before the war with the single ambition of world domination. They were a similar class to influential people in Moscow. The right honorable member and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) said that we should return to the policies of Potsdam and Yalta and insist that Japan must disarm completely. They claimed that only Japanese industry should be restored and that it should not include heavy industries which might be used for the purpose of making arms. That principle was agreed to by the nations represented at Potsdam, Teheran and Yalta and at other international conferences. But what are the facts associated with those conferences which are apparent to-day? The facts are that the British Prime Minister and the American President of the time and, in fact, all those who represented the allied nations in negotiations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were completely outwitted and outmanoeuvred in the realms of foreign policy by the gentlemen from Moscow. Those who advised the American President at Potsdam included such people as Alger Hiss. We now know what that gentleman did and it is apparent that in making their naive effort to achieve peace in 1946 the statesmen of the leading democratic countries were duped all along the line. If that had not happened the developments which have occurred in Korea would not have taken place, there would be no iron curtain across Europe and honorable members might not now have to disregard their consciences and pass a bill for a treaty with Japan which is not a treaty in the moral sense but a functional weapon for the purpose of bringing a vital factor into our own orbit for our use in the coming struggle.
Some honorable members have said that they are unhappy about the treaty in certain respects. I wonder if there is any need for them to be unhappy. I believe that when the right honorable member for Barton said that the principles that were laid down in 1946 should still be observed, he spoke the truth but if we were to adopt the policy that was laid down at those great conferences we should do exactly what the people in Moscow want us to do. We would adopt a policy which would be singularly beneficial to them. There is no relationship between the present position and that which existed in 1946. The strategic and industrial importance of Japan to the United Nations cannot be overestimated. The Leader of the Opposition referred to the Prime Minister’s remarks concerning the restriction on the building of longrange aircraft and submarines by Japan. I believe that the American viewpoint is that other nations cannot effectively restrict a nation to the extent desired by the right honorable member because it would find some way of obtaining longrange aircraft and submarines. Authorities consider that at least five years must pass before Japan could be in a position even to defend itself and I consider that by 1957 the problems connected with the formation of international forces will have been long concluded. The right honorable member said that the Government should not have approved of an unlimited charter for Japanese defence in 1951. I can realize his ground for saying that, but such a stand would have required that the Australian Government should inform the military advisers to the United Kingdom and the United States of America that they did not know what they were talking about. This would have placed the Government in a Gilbertian position. I do not think that any honorable member would venture to criticize those experts who have been trained for many years for their work and are in possession of information which is not available to us. Those people analysed the situation in Japan and secured information from those associated with Japanese industry. Having examined the whole position and having bonne in mind the necessity to allay the fears of those who were .apprehensive of a resurgent Japan, the Americans formulated an intelligent course of action. In other words, they put two and two together and got four instead of 3.9 or 4.1 as the Opposition has done.
The honorable member for Parkes spoke about the Zaibatsu and referred to the great cartels and monopolies which were controlled by a couple of leading Japanese families such as the Matsui and the Mitsubishi. Opposition members must realize that if the Japanese are to be kept in a position of complete economic helplessness and denied control over their own government it will be necessary to conscript Australian forces to implement that policy. The Opposition would not advocate such action as that because it would be unpopular. Nor would Opposition members have the Government follow the course that it has chosen. Therefore one is forced to the conclusion that they wish the Government to do nothing. The people who would benefit most by our doing nothing would be the people who sit in Moscow, planning control of the world. Admiting this to be a fact, how can we prevent the re-organization of some cartel system in Japan? We can do that only by police methods, and if such methods were introduced we could not make a treaty with Japan and give that country any sort of sovereign status.
I deplore the fact that such an organization as the Zaibatsu should exist in Japan, hut it must he remembered that there are comparable organizations in America and England. I cannot remember any government of Great Britain, whether Labour, Liberal, Tory, or anything else, ever having taken action against the Vickers-Armstrong-Whitworth group, or any other great armament organization which has its head-quarters in the United Kingdom. Let us consider the sincerity behind this sort of criticism that has been offered by the Opposition.
– The honorable member does not understand the difference between the two types of organization. The Zaibatsu is controlled by the military power and the VickersArmstrongWhitworth organization is not. The latter organization is engaged in the pro>duction of many things other than war materials.
– During the discussion on India’s failure to ratify this treaty, it was stated that India is not a Communist country. I .support that statement. I have always believed that Mr. Nehru and his people are democrats. Reports have appeared recently in the press that Communists polled well in India’s general .elections. It has been reported that that has worried the Indian Prime Minister. I suggest that it is a reasonable assumption, in view of current reports, that communism is grow. ing in India. I point that out to the honorable member for Parkes so that he may consider it before making any more positive generalizations of the kind that he made last night.
The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) said that the psychology of the Japanese military leaders had not changed since before the war. That is probably true, but there is very little evidence to indicate that we can compare Mr. Yoshida with General Tojo and his colleagues. One might say that Mr. Yoshida has more democratic tendencies than the rabid military leaders who controlled Japan so completely in the prewar years. Therefore, the general statement that the psychology of the Japanese leaders has not changed since before the war could be just as easily wrong as it could be right. He said that this Parliament has only one course to take and that is to fling -out this treaty. It is a sad thing that responsible people should utilize a matter of this gravity and importance for little other than a cheap emotional appeal to the deepest feelings of many people in this country.
We listened last night to a speech from the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes), which was on a level which has not been reached in this House for a long time. He spoke with great feeling and sincerity, and a deep appreciation of the real problems facing this country. I therefore find it difficult to believe that the arguments put forward by honorable members opposite are really sincere and genuine. Those honorable members conformed to the usual practice that is adopted in this House, of bringing forward a political answer to a national problem in order to gain as much political capital as possible. I do not suggest that the Government is any freer from that criticism than is the Opposition, but it is important that I should make that statement in order to clarify the position. I believe that the Japanese Government, being aware of the fact that Japan has enormous strategic importance to the United Nations, will say anything that will increase its opportunities for getting as good a bargain as possible. Following that course the Japanese Government has claimed that it wanted to join the United Nations organization. In considering that claim we should remember how Japan reacted to the last attempt to establish a world brotherhood, and without saying anything more we might look to the future and wonder how’ Japan will be reacting in ten or fifteen, years’ time. There is every hope that if Japan docs enter the United Nations organization some good will come of it. It is possible that we shall be able to keep our influence alive in Japan through Japan’s participation in the United Nations. There is no doubt that General MacArthur had a very great influence on the Japanese while he was stationed in Japan. I do not think that the American propaganda for democracy has done anything other than to get just a little below the veneer of civilization to the underlying savage oriental barbarism, which characterizes the Japanese. The Japanese are more barbaric and sub-human than any other race on the surface of the earth.
Compensation for prisoners of war was referred to by the honorable member for Parkes, and a number of other honorable members who have taken a considerable interest in it during the last five years. The only way to approach this matter is from a completely non-political standpoint and to try to obtain a real appreciation of the facts at issue. I believe that the prisoners-of-war organizations of this country, whose members were in the hands of the Japanese during the last war, will be gratified to learn that the compensation claim is to be pursued. The claim began as a claim for subsistence. After consideration for a number of years, a tribunal examined the matter and found that there was no valid claim for a subsistence allowance to be met by a payment from the current revenues of the Commonwealth. The tribunal said that the proper thing was that if there should be compensation it should be paid by the captor nations. The Government of Australia, acting on the advice of honorable members of this Parliament, accepted the fact that compensation should be paid by the captor powers which, according to the Owen tribunal, admitted their obligations under the treaty. This applies only to the prisoners of war of the Japanese, although the Owen tribunal examined the whole matter of prisoners of European powers as well as of the Japanese. When the tribunal brought in its report in 1950 it said that there was no moral obligation to pay out Australian taxpayers’ money, but that the proper principle was that the captor nations should pay. Since 1950 the whole international position has altered. The Korean conflict and the spread of international communism have forced us to alter our view of the Japanese Peace Treaty. This change in international ‘policy will deeply affect the view that the Government had already adopted, that there was a valid onus 11Don it to recover compensation from captor nations for acts of lawlessness. Just as chances in policy are affecting Australia’s attitude to the treaty so will the international foreign policy of Australia affect this country’s relations with the Japanese Government in the future. Conceivably a situation could develop in such a way that the compensation that is to be received by prisoners of war and their dependants would be smaller because it would suit the current policy of the Australian Government at the time to reduce its demands on the Japanese Government. Having creditably established a valid entitlement to its claims by having this provision written into the treaty, th<; Government should say in all moral fairness, “ If it suits us now to reduce our efforts on this matter because it is politically expedient in the international field to do so, we will give complete reconsideration to the moral obligations that are imposed on the purses of the Australian taxpayers “. The new obligations of foreign policy are affecting the Australian taxpayers on the basis of conditions in 1952. I believe that it is morally wrong to allow any change in international affairs which affects our own foreign policy to affect what we have established by writing into the treaty the principle of compensation that is derived not from hardship but from acts of lawlessness. In 1950 a man might have said, “You have decided that I shall get compensation. I will now wait for you to go to the enemy nation and get it”. But something may have happened in the meantime. The international situation may have changed and some aspects of the treaty might change also because they were dominated by the .military situation facing the United Nations at the time. Is the former prisoner of war to suffer because he has been the victim of a change in policy between 1950 and 1952? On that point I would quote the impeccable phrase of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) -
In view of the enormous human issues involved, such a thing should not occur.
I am confident that if the Government can be shown that the valid claims which it has accepted as such have been affected completely by the development of its foreign policy over the last year or so, it will see this matter in a new light and will refer it hack to the tribunal or make a fresh decision. Because of its particular association with Australia, this matter is of prime importance.
.- The debate that is now receiving the attention of honorable members proves bow vulnerable is the case for the Government in relation to foreign affairs. Its policy of international relations has always been the subject of searching criticism from this side of the House and nothing has brought it more into the spotlight than the present outlook of the members of the Government as revealed in. their attempt to define the Government’s actions in supporting the ratification of the treaty. The honorable member for St. George (Mr. Graham) in attempting to criticize the case that has been presented so far by the Opposition, said that it was a cheap emotional appeal. I pass over the suggestion of cheapness but I believe that the expression of emotion will be understood by most Australians. They may be pardoned for becoming emotional when they consider the relation of Japan to Australia. War casualties suffered by Australia at the hands of the Japanese included 18,S90 killed, 38,914 wounded, and about 22,000 prisoners of war. The Opposition makes no apology for emotion when it considers those figures. The honorable member for St. George made no attempt to answer the case that was presented on behalf of the Opposition. His contribution was one of contradiction and I have been unable to reconcile various parts of it with others. One half of his speech was devoted to statements which he contradicted in his concluding passages. He started by saying that in his opinion there was no justification for any fear of a resurgent Japan at present. Then he went on to base his case for acceptance of the treaty on the statement that a resurgent Japan would he a world factor in the near future. He charged the Opposition with suggesting that the extermination of the Japanese was the only alternative to this treaty. Such a statement is so ridiculous that it floes not merit a retort.
In an attempt to emphasize the industrial potentialities of the Japanese, the honorable member cited their contribution to the United Nations effort in
Korea. Undoubtedly the Japanese are making a contribution to the war in Korea but it is purely industrial and they are not sacrificing any man-power. Moreover they are being paid for any industrial assistance that they give to the Korean campaign. The honorable member for St. George also criticized America’s policy in Europe. He said that the policy that was developed from the Potsdam and Yalta conferences was responsible for some of the divisions that are occurring now through the world. I agree with him on that point but it is rather a belated admission from the Government side. When a similar statement was made in this House two years ago by honorable members on this side of the House who stated that the policy that was pursued during the war and at those conferences was responsible for the division of Europe as it exists to-day, the only reaction from the Government side was a roar of laughter. The honorable member for St. George also said that nothing but good could come from Japan’s membership of the United Nations. I hope that Japan’s offering as a member of the United Nations organization will be more valuable than its contribution to the League of Nations. Japan was one of the first nations to walk out of the League of Nations. It did so in the late 1920’s, because it considered that it had been slighted by a three-power naval rearmament pact that had been signed by other members of the League. If we assess the probable value of Japan’s contribution to the United Nations on the basis of its contribution to the League of Nations, it does not appear that much good will come from it.
The honorable member for St. George made an appeal on behalf of exprisoners of war. That is a matter that I do not like to talk about, because I feel that I am not qualified to do so, but I cannot permit the attitude of honorable gentlemen opposite to it to pass unnoticed. When the Labour party was in power, some honorable gentlemen who were then members of the Opposition availed themselves of every possible opportunity to criticize and attack the Chifley Government for, as they alleged, its failure to deal with the matter. They moved the adjournment of the House repeatedly to discuss it. They were almost continually on their feet, demanding that something be done for exprisoners of war and denouncing the Chifley Government for its alleged failure to do it. They even went to the people of this country and said that something should be done for ex-prisoners of war. But those honorable gentlemen who were so vocal about that matter two or three years ago, have not raised it since the present Government parties have been in power. Conduct of that kind brings the Parliament more into disrepute than does conduct of any other kind. Those honorable gentlemen who in the past demanded that the Chifley Government do something for ex-prisoners of war, now have in their hands the power to do it. If they were really sincere about the matter and were not in the past attempting to gain some cheap political advantage from it, why are they not doing now what they demanded should be done when they were in opposition?
– The Government has done a great deal for ex-prisoners of war, both of itself and in the Japanese Peace Treaty.
– I suggest to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) that he read the report upon that subject that has been presented to the Parliament. One thing that intrigues me is that secret clauses may be contained in this treaty. If it does contain secret clauses, we know nothing about them. Only time will reveal them. To say that there are no secret clauses in treaties of this kind is completely to ignore what has happened in the past. I shall cite examples that prove conclusively that treaties of this kind made between nations take two forms, one for public consumption, and the other containing hidden obligations that the parties to the treaty are expected to respect. Let me cite first the Treaty of London, which was signed in 1916 by Italy and Britain, when both of those countries were engaged in a war. Under the secret clauses of that treaty, Italy was to obtain certain territory at the conclusion of the war. In fact, it did not obtain the territory. It has now been revealed that the Russian-German trade pact, while presented to the world as being only a trade pact, contained hidden clauses specifying the precise way in which Poland was to be divided. If there are any secret clauses in this treaty, I trust that they will not involve this country to the degree to which secret clauses have in the past involved other countries. History has been made as the result, not so much of treaties as proclaimed to the world as of the unrevealed and hidden clauses that they have contained.
The Government has appealed for a realistic approach to this problem, but I have failed to observe any realism in the Government’s approach to it. A quick survey of Japan’s history shows how unreliable Japan is. In the first “World War, Japan, although our ally, took no part in the operations in the Mediterranean or European theatres of war. Certain stories have been told about why the Japanese did not participate in those theatres of war, but it has been revealed that although Japan was appealed to by the allies to send troops there, it resolutely refused to do so. Japan refused to support its allies to the degree to which it was asked to do, and kept its armed forces intact for its own purposes. >
The Labour party has always admitted that a peace treaty with Japan would have to be signed sooner or later. We oppose this treaty because we believe that it will constitute a threat to the security of this country. We consider that we are justified in asking for greater safeguards in connexion with the development of Japan. I do not think anybody is so naive as to believe that Japan will, as a result of this treaty, establish Parliamentary institutions comparable with those of the Western democracies, and permit them to function as such. Anybody who believes that Japan will do so ignores completely the traditions, history and culture of the Japanese. There is a widespread fear that this treaty constitutes a potential threat to this country. The Labour party is not satisfied with the safeguards for which the treaty makes provision. Japan has been given almost complete freedom to develop itself. Provision is made in the treaty for allied troops to be stationed in Japan, hut there will be no overall authority in that country to watch the development, not only of the Japanese economy but also of the Japanese national life. In effect, we are being asked to believe that, because we shall withdraw our troops from Japan, and allow the Japanese nation to develop its industrial potential, Japan, in turn, will help us. That is wishful thinking. It is completely opposed to everything that Japan has done in the past. Only a few weeks ago, the present Prime Minister of Japan said that China, whether it was red or green, would always be Japan’s natural market. Japan has always bought raw materials from China, and has always sold its own products to the Chinese. Geographical considerations dictate that China shall always be Japan’s best customer, irrespective of the political character of the Chinese Government.
When the new treaty is in force Japan will be admitted as a member of the United Nations, and of the International Trade Organization, after which it will be entitled to most-favoured-nation treatment. During the last five years we have been selling to the Japanese what we chose to sell, and buying from them what we chose to take. However, once Japan becomes a member of the International Trade Organization, we shall no longer be able to specify what goods we shall take from Japan in return for the goods that we sell to it. We must recognize that in future Japan will be a formidable competitor in the markets of the world. That is not my opinion only; it is the expressed opinion of those well versed in matters of trade and commerce. During the last war, we paid dearly for underestimating the Japanese. It was proved that the goods they made, both for military and for civil purposes, were of a high standard. The Japanese navy was very good, and Japanese military aircraft more than held their own until the standard of American aircraft was raised. It is not true that the Japanese can manufacture only cheap, shoddy goods. About six months ago, the first Japanese goods were admitted to the
United States of America, and American traders were amazed at their quality, which was almost as high as that of American goods, and they were, of course, considerably cheaper than corresponding American products.
So long as the doctrine of the balance of power is adhered to in international affairs, our friends of to-day may become our enemies of to-morrow. In the days of Napoleon, the English people were told that France was the natural and eternal enemy of England; yet in 1914, the French fought with the British against the Germans. In that war the Japanese were our allies, but in the second world war they almost overwhelmed us. Now, because of the disposition of power in the Far East, we are told that we must have Japan on our side, and that we are getting the friendship of the Japanese on our own terms. Let me sound a warning that the Japanese will never be prepared to accept fully the western point of view. They have proved themselves to be unreliable, and history has shown that they do not stop short of actual repudiation when it suits them.
The fears which the Opposition entertains about the Japanese Peace Treaty are very real. We have made out a strong case against it, one based on reason and not on emotion. In Australia and New Zealand, there is a population of about 11,000,000 white people, and the threat to us from the north is grave. The balance of power has shifted, and for that reason we are asked to make friends of the Japanese. We believe, however, that the terms of the peace treaty cannot be justified, and that the danger to Australia, which is inherent in the treaty, cannot be ignored. This is the tenth anniversary of the fall of Singapore, and I am sure that I am expressing the opinion of every one in Australia when I say that I have hope that the suffering and humiliation which followed that event will never be repeated. This treaty does not provide adequate safeguards for the future. It is a document dictated by considerations of power politics. The Government has asked us to be realistic, and we reply that it is true realism to place the interests of Australia first.
– Immediately before the suspension of the sitting we were privileged, if I may say so, to hear what I consider to be the best speech that has been delivered during this debate by a member of the Opposition. I refer to the speech of that mildmannered little man, the honorable member for Martin (Mr. O’Connor). Therefore it grieves me to have to point out certain inaccuracies and flaws in his remarks. Admittedly, they are of minor importance, but it is desirable that I should refer to them, even if I do so only briefly. The honorable member made repeated reference to the case against this bill that has been presented by the Australian Labour party. As far as I am able to judge, no case has been presented against it by that party. The Leader of the party, the right honorable, member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) raised certain objections to the ratification of the treaty, and, having done so, completed his speech by expressing his opposition to it. The honorable member for Martin frequently expressed his fear of the resurgence of Japan, both industrially and politically. May I remind him that there is no known way of preventing the resurgence of people who have the will and the power to rise again. The resurgence of Japan is inevitable and if members of the Australian Labour party had a sense of responsibility in regard to this matter, they would do what they can do to ensure that the resurgence of Japan shall not prejudice the people of this country. What grieved me most of all in the honorable member’s speech was his statement that although, when the members of the Government were in Opposition they had consistently advocated the payment of subsistence allowances to former prisoners of war, and had, on occasions, proposed formal motions for the adjournment of the House to discuss that proposal, since they have held the reins of office nothing further had been heard of it. That is untrue. The matter has been constantly under consideration by the Government.
– But the Government has done nothing about it.
– As the honorable member well knows no matter has been more thoroughly discussed by the Government. It established a committee, the personnel of which was approved by the prisoners of war, to examine and report on the matter. The committee exonerated this Parliament - not necessarily the Government - and the people of Australia from responsibility for the matter and placed it on the Japanese.
– That was the decision of the previous Government.
– Immediately after the committee presented its report the Government took appropriate action to protect the interests of our former prisoners of war by making claims against the Japanese for reparations, and by setting aside £250,000 for the relief of former prisoners of war irrespective of their circumstances. It is completely untrue to suggest, as the honorable member for Martin has done, that the Government has done nothing in the matter.
– That is pure hypocrisy.
– Order ! The honorable member will withdraw that statement.
– T withdraw it.
– As far as this Parliament is concerned, the matter is closed and it will remain closed until reparations have been paid by the Japanese.
The only other point in the speech of the honorable member for Martin to which I wish to refer was his obvious fear of what he called the secret clauses in the peace treaty. This document was devised by no fewer than 51 nations. Conies of it were made available to all members of the Parliament some considerable time ago. It has not been possible for me, and I am quite certain it has not been possible for the honorable member for Martin or any other honorable member, to read into the document a single provision which can be characterized as secret or likely to do harm to the people of this country or its allies. If there ever were a straight forward document, surely it is this document which was presented to us for ratification by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey).
When this debate was initiated I hoped that whatever observations the representatives of the Labour party would make in relation to the terms of the treaty, they would at least be constructive. I was greviously disappointed by the uncompromising opposition of the Leader of the Opposition to the ratification of the treaty. His speech in opposition to the bill merely confirmed my conviction that he speaks with more than one voice. When he spoke on this bill the voice of the right honorable gentleman was not the voice of the gentleman who voted with Molotov on a very important occasion, nor was it the voice of the gentleman who consistently, during his association with the United Nations, did whatever lay within his power to harm our allies and the future of what used to be called the British Empire but what is now called the British Commonwealth.
– That is most unfair.
– The honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) and I have discussed this matter very fully. I express my gratitude to him for having directed my attention to The Forrestal Diaries, which so clearly demonstrate the dual personality of the Leader of the Opposition who speaks with one voice in this chamber and in this country outside this chamber and speaks with an entirely different voice when he meets the representatives of other communities at international gatherings. For the benefit of honorable members I shall read quotations from The Forrestal Diaries. The first quotation, which appears at page 104, deals with events shortly after the Japanese surrender. It reads - 28th October, 1!)45.-
The Russians took advantage of the agitation here about MacArthur to inject this issue (the Allied Control Commission) on the same day that Acheson had censured MacArthur; said we were not punitive enough with the Japanese, were not destroying their industries, were permitting the industrialists to survive, were not taking prisoners . . . Molotov continued to press . . . for a control commission on the pattern of Germany, which Byrnes pointed out had not worked very well. They wanted Japanese prisoners, and in fact they are now using Japanese prisoners to build the railroad to Port Arthur. Evatt (Herbert V. Evatt, Australian Minister for External Affairs) saw an opportunity for personal publicity and joined Molotov in the demand but was later called off by Bevin . . .
That is the opinion that Forrestal expressed concerning the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition at that time when he was Minister for External Affairs in the Chifley Government. The entry under the same date continues -
According to Secretary Byrnes, Stalin now did not want to put occupation troops in Japan “ partly because he does not want to place them under an American commander “. But would this in turn mean barring British and Australian occupation troops? “ Mr. Byrnes did not think the British would care much, but said that Evatt certainly would - “ Evatt wants to run the world “.
The Leader of the Opposition then appeared in colours different from those in which he appeared when he addressed himself to this bill last evening. At page 532 of The Forrestal Diaries the following entry appears : - 22nd November, 194S. -
Marshall reported on the activities at U.N. from which it would appear that our situation vis-a-vis Berlin, and the Russian situation in general, is rapidly deteriorating. Evatt, who is President of the General Assembly, is an active source of both irritation and uncertainty. The result of his activities and, to a lesser extent, Bramuglia’s (Juan A. Bramuglia, Foreign Minister of the Argentine), who is chairman of the Security Council, has been greatly to undermine the American position among the neutral nations. He has succeeded in giving the impression that, after all, the Russian demands are not so extreme and unmeetable
That passage refers to the right honorable gentleman who spoke against this treaty in this chamber only last evening.
– I rise to order! Is the honorable member for Riverina in order in making a bitter personal attack upon the Leader of the Opposition on a matter that has no relation whatever to the measure that is now before the Chair?
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - That is not a matter for the Chair to decide. Honorable gentlemen must determine for themselves what they will say. If I were to rule out of order attacks by an honorable member upon another honorable member fewer speeches would probably be made in this House. I rule that the honorable member for Riverina is in order.
– I am pointing out that the apologetic attitude of the Minister for External Affairs when he was introducing this measure for the ratification of the peace treaty with Japan was entirely due to the preliminary work that the Leader of the Opposition did when he was Minister for External Affairs- in the Chifley Government. In order to present my case, it is necessary for me to quote from authoritative accounts of negotiations that preceded the drafting of this treaty. My final quotation from The Forrestal Diaries appears at page 541. It is as follows : -
Lovett discussed Indonesia and the action of the Dutch in seizing the capital and taking into custody the governmental leaders. He expressed annoyance at the gratuitous interference of Dr. Evatt, the Foreign Minister of Australia, who had, although not a member of the Security Council, addressed a communication to the Security Council expressing the view that if the United States of America had taken firm and preventive action with respect to the intent of the Dutch Government to intervene in the affairs of the Republic, the present situation might have been avoided. He (Lovett) reported that in an interview with Ambassador (Norman J. 0.) Makin of the Australian Embassy, he had expressed himself in the strongest termsas to our Government’s dissatisfaction with this unilateral action on the part of Evatt. Makin was deeply apologetic and expressed the hope that he might be able to say to his government that we would like them to withdraw their suggestions. Lovett said he would not make such a request - that was up to the Australians themselves.
The same gentleman, as Leader of the Australian Labour party, is now leading the opposition to the ratification of this treaty with Japan. He has not suggested any practical alternative.
Having exposed the right honorable gentleman in his true light so far as I am able to do so, I shall now deal with the treaty as I see it as one who participated in both world wars and also as a private citizen of this country. If ever proof were needed of the stark fact that a war of aggression is a barbarous futility for both victor and vanquished alike, surely it is to be found in this treaty of peace with Japan which we are now asked to ratify. It must be remembered that, as other honorable members have emphasized, Japan went to war in the most dastardly way. It made no formal declaration of war. It did not break off diplomatic relations. It gave no indication of its intention to engage in war. But the Japanese struck first like an assassin at a time when a treaty of friendship, was still being discussed and explored by the Japanese Ambassador at Washington. They struck on a scale that was intended to bring immediate and decisive victory to them. Humanity is not likely ever to forgive the Japanese for their dastardly attack. The House agrees, that Japan waged the recent war with all the savage brutality of barbarians. That is probably the only satisfactory way in which to wage a war of aggression;, but the mercies that Japan, after its initial victories, meted out to the vanquished, were slavery, starvation, disease, torture and death..
– What is the honorable member talking about?
– I have cause to know what I am talking about. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), if he had the same cause to know, would not oppose the ratification of the peace treaty. The atrocities that were committed by the Japanese are not likely to be forgotten. But Japan, in suite of initial victories, was utterly defeated. No surrender could have been more abject than was the surrender of Japan. No plea for the cessation of hostilities could have been more pitiful than was the plea of the Japanese. No cry for mercy could have been more generously answered. The state of war with Japan is to end with the ratification of this treaty of peace. I propose to read a passage from the concluding paragraph of the second-reading speech of the Minister for External Affairs. I have already mentioned that the right honorable gentleman, was required to introduce this measure in an apologetic way, which was due entirely to the fact that the groundwork for tie treaty of peace had been laid by gentlemen with the bitter political views of the Leader of the Opposition. The Minister said of the “treaty of peace -
If honorable members are not willing to accept it, I would ask them what alternative they would propose.
That is a direct question, and it has not been answered by those who are opposing the ratification of the treaty. Other specious alternatives, which have been suggested by Opposition members for party political purposes, can be dismissed. The honorable member for St. George (Mr. Graham) referred to one alternative to a negotiated and fractious peace, and I must repeat it now, because the time has come for the world to express an opinion upon it. I refer, of course, to the extermination of the vanquished after a war of aggression. In my humble opinion, no negotiated peace has ever been final when the vanquished has had the will and power to rise again. That is the sad experience of the world throughout the centuries. To break that will effectively, and to destroy that power forever, a negotiated peace is utterly useless. Thatis not speculation; it is the experience of the world throughout the centuries. For examples, I need go no farther back than the Napoleonic wars. At the termination of those dreadful struggles, a negotiated peace was effected, and it solved no problems whatsoever. The vanquished had the will and power to rise again, and establish themselves as reputable members of the nations of the world. A negotiated peace when it was effected after the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, the Boer War and World War I. was not final. Each of those treaties was designed to subdue and subject the vanquished, but that purpose was not achieved, and after a few years, the subdued and subjected races rose again, and the whole dreadful process was repeated.
Therefore, if it be our intention - and it appears to be the intention of belligerent Opposition members - to break the will of the Japanese and destroy for ever their recuperativepowers, we are left with one alternative: the extermination of the Japanese. People who have the will to survive cannot be subjugated in any other way. I have no doubt that, bad the Japanese been victorious, we would have been exterminated. That would have been the only satisfactory way of dealing with us. Without our extermination, our subjugation would have been impossible; and without our subjugation, the victory of the Japanese would have been a hollow sham, and could never have endured. Extermination is the logical conclusion to a war of aggression, and the sooner the aggressor realizes that fact, the better it will be. But we waged no war of aggression and our victory leaves us, as victory has always left the victorious defenders, with the choice between the extermination of the Japanese and a negotiated peace. No one seriously suggests that we should exterminate the Japanese. If we are not prepared to resume hostilities against Japan, with, as allies, Soviet Russia, pitiable Poland and Munich-mutilated Czechoslovakia, our only course is to ratify the peace treaty.
The treaty requires Japan to confess its guilt; demands the renunciation by Japan of its territorial rights outside the strict geographic limits of Japanese territory; confiscates the property of Japanese outside Japan; and requires Japan to pay reparations on a scale that will reduce it to impoverishment without destroying its economy. This treaty includes a declaration of the intention of Japan to apply for membership of the United Nations and “ in all circumstances to conform to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations “. The treaty ofpeace is designed to shame Japan, to subdue Japan, to confine Japan, to punish Japan, and to lay down the terms for the restoration of Japanese integrity. No negotiated peace can do more than that - or much less. To those of us who have made a study of history, it is obvious even now that Japanwill discharge in full its treaty obligations, no matter what they are. Japan will go to work as no nation has ever gone to work. Japan will strive for atonement as no other nation has ever striven for atonement. Japan will know a unity in defeat that no other nation has ever known, except in defeat. And J apan will survive. Nothing and no one can stop it from doing so. That is the nature of the Japanese, just as it used to be our nature when we said, with great pride -
By oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
That splendid sentiment is not exclusive to us. The ratification of this peace treaty will resolve a vexed and vacillating question. Japan will have to decide whether it will go with satellite countries of the Soviet Union, or whether it will play its part, and discharge its responsibilities with the democratic countries throughout the world.
-Order! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
.- Before dealing at some length with the terms of the Japanese peace treaty, I propose to spend a few minutes answering certain comments that have been made by the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Roberton) not about the treaty, but in a personal attack on the leader of the Australian Labour party iri this chamber. It is significant that when the Government is sponsoring a case for which there is little or no public support or justification - I refer particularly to matters relating to international affairs - a direct personal attack is made on the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) in the hope of diverting the people’s minds from the real issues. The honorable member for Riverina said that the Leader of the Opposition had done great harm to the British Commonwealth of Nations during his association with the United Nations. When I heard that criticism, I happened to recollect a statement that was reported in this morning’s press. It was made by none other than the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt). Addressing a gathering of 2,000 people - a pretty good audience for him - at the Sydney legacy anniversary luncheon, he paid the following tribute, to the Leader of the Opposition, who has been so viciously attacked this afternoon: -
I am ready tei admit: that while I disagree with his policy as Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party, Dr. Evatt, by his ability and leadership in the United Nations, did much to raise Australia in he eyes of the world. ‘
That seems to show a lack of coordination in the alliance between the Liberal party and the Australian Country party in this chamber. The best advice that I can give to the honorable member for Riverina is that he should have a chat with the Minister for National Service who, I am sure, will convince him of the true qualities of the honorable gentleman who leads the Opposition in this chamber.
I remind the House, too, that when the right honorable gentleman retired from the presidency of the General Assembly of the United Nations, a vote of congratulation was carried unanimously on the motion of the delegate of the United States of America, Mr. Warren Austin. The real reason for the attacks by honorable members opposite upon the Leader of the Opposition is that in international deliberations the right honorable gentleman has always put Australia’s interests first, whereas representatives of this Government are prepared to follow any policy at all so long as they are. able to gain some personal prestige out of it, regardless of the consequences to the Australian people. That is why we arc now being asked to ratify an agreement which I am certain would be condemned by all sections of the community if a referendum on its ratification was held.
The honorable member for Riverina also said that, under the. terms of the treaty agreement, this Government was living up to its responsibility to Australian ex-servicemen who were war prisoners of the Japanese. T recall the occasion, as I am sure other honorable members do, when the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), supported by other members of the Australian Country party, moved a formal motion for the adjournment of the House to discuss a demand that the, then Government should pay a subsistence allowance, the total cost of which would have been £3,000,000 or £4,000,000, to former war prisoners of the Japanese. They claimed that if the demand were rejected, the subsistence allowance would be paid as soon as a non-Labour government was elected to office. What have the honorable member for Mallee, the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton), and their colleagues done since the present Government has been in office? Although the Government has the power to authorize the payment of the subsistence allowance forthwith and claim reimbursement under the war reparations provisions of this treaty, so far, it has only managed to appoint a committee to consider the matter. It has run away from its responsibilities. The willingness of honorable members opposite to sell out the Australian people on issues such as that convinces us that the ratification of the peace treaty will be detrimental to the Australian nation.
I concede that the task of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) in deciding whether or not the treaty should be ratified was a difficult one. On every page of his second-reading speech he showed that he was not completely satisfied with certain aspects of the treaty. The Leader of the Opposition quoted some such passages. Obviously the Minister is quite concerned about what may happen after the treaty has been ratified. That is particularly true I believe in regard to the danger of world communism to Japan. He wonders about the threat that would be offered to Australia by a Communist-dominated Japan. Obviously he has grave doubts about our future with a powerful Japan to our north. He said that while he was in favour of partial defence of Japan, he doubted where we would stand in the future should Japan again become a formidable antagonist. Obviously the honorable gentleman is uncertain too about whether the abolition of economic controls will be detrimental to Australia, and does not overlook the possibility that they will be. He has not expressed any great satisfaction with the reparations proposals. Certainly he does not share the confidence of the honorable member forRiverina in their efficacy, but believes that in spite of the great suffering of Australian prisoners of war and other members of the Allied forces, the provisions were the best that could be obtained in the circumstances. The abolition of trade restrictions and supervision was stated by the Minister to be one of the penalties that we had to pay as a signatory to the treaty. Ratification of the treaty will mean that the Japanese will in future have full fishing rights. The Minister’s doubts are so obvious that Labour believes the treaty should not be ratified until some full guarantee of protection of the Australian people is incorporated in it.
We are discussing a peace settlement with Japan a mere six years after the conclusion of hostilities. The unspeakableatrocities of whichwe read in the
Webb report and in the reports of the trials of Japanese war criminals are still a horrible memory to all Australians. Many of the victims of the atrocities are still suffering from the effects of their treatment at the hands of the Japanese. So that I may bring my point more forcibly home, let me quote an extract from an article published in a prominent London newspaper and written by a columnist known as Cassandra, who is recognized as the United Kingdom’s leading political satirist. The article, which appeared on the 11th September last year, stated -
I havebeen looking up the files.
Six years ago certain adjectives were applied to certain people.
Here is the first list. “ War-like “, “ Predatory “, “ Cruel “, “Merciless”, “Savage”, “Depraved”, “Inhuman “.
That described the first group of people.
Here is the second fistful of 1945 epithets that were being used to adorn another race: “Unspeakable”, “Yellow-bellied”, “Militaristic “, “ Devillish “, “ Bloodstained “, “ Barbarous “ and “ Treacherous “.
It was the Germans in 1945 who were warlike, predatory, cruel and all stations to pitiless. And is was the Japanese who were unspeakable, yellow-bellied and everything including treacherous even when they were asleep.
To-day all that is changed.
In six short years the people of both these nations - all 170,000,000 of ‘em - have totally altered. General MacArthur, surely one of the greatest missionaries of all time has, almost single-handed, reformed the Japs.
The brains that engineered Pearl Harbour, the hands that turned, beat, flayed and stabbed the white man in the islands of the Pacific in Malaya, in Siam and in Hong Kong are now clean, guiltless innocent hands.
The deceitful grin of Tokio has become an honest friendly smile and the Americans have agreed to defend the democratic Japanese while the Japanese have agreed to defend the generous Americans.
It is a very, very beautiful friendship.
That article exemplifies the sceptical attitude towards the peace treaty of most people in Australia and elsewhere in the democratic world. It is too soon for us to forgive the Japanese and enter into an alliance with them. Their guilt is still fresh. They should not be accorded equal rights with other peoples until they have paid some penalty and have atoned in some measure for the unspeakable atrocities that they committed against humanity. I do not contend that they should be ground down for all time, but every criminal in our community, be he a murderer or a burglar, is required by the law to pay a penalty appropriate to the offence that he has committed and guilty nations should be treated in the same way.
The Labour party believes that Japan has not been able to expiate its crimes in six short years. This Government wishes to re-admit Japan to the society of nations too early, and it is being too generous. Under the terms of the treaty, Japan will be able to resume its former line of conduct in the very near future. I commend to the attention of supporters of the Government a book that was recently received by the Parliamentary Library, Slaves of the Son of Heaven, by R. H. Whitecross Judge Curlewis, a noted Australian soldier who was a prisoner of war of the Japanese, wrote in a foreword to the book -
A few hours reading will leave your senses bruised and lacerated.
The sufferings described in the book were similar to those that were experienced by some honorable members of this House. The author refers to the fear of most Australians that it is too soon to forgive the yellow men who are now holding out the hand of friendship. Lieutenant-General H. Gordon Bennett, the former leader of the 8th Division, expressed a similar view recently. In the Melbourne Argus of the 22nd February, he is reported to have said -
Don’t trust the Japanese. They are cheeky now and I have no doubt they will soon be building up for the next war to regain the face they have lost.
Those quotations demonstrate how keenly most Australians fear the rehabilitation of Japan. Government supporters may sit serenely in this chamber and think that all is well, but their complacence is not shared by the people. The speech of the Minister for External Affairs hinted at his uneasiness on this subject. The Opposition does not believe that the Japanese have become a reformed and docile people. They are capable of rising again and re-establishing themselves. We should not be unmindful of the fact, of which the honorable member for Martin (Mr. O’Connor) reminded us, that the Japanese have previously repudiated obligations to their allies. Their rearmament to-day constitutes a direct threat to the Australian people. I do not believe for a moment that they will be more inclined towards friendship with the Australian people than to friendship with coloured races closer to them in Asia. I ask honorable members to imagine what their state of mind would be if Australia had recently emerged from a period of occupation by Japanese troops. Would not all Australians of all ages be determined to exact retribution for their sufferings? That was the spirit of the German people after World War I., and twenty years after their defeat they rose again to threaten the rest of the world. We should wait foi1 another ten years before we accord to Japan all the rights and privileges of a democratic nation. Japan has no right to demand equality with the Allied nations until it has paid the penalty for its dreadful crimes.
What will happen to Australian industries if the peace treaty is ratified? I know that many Government supporters have no objection to trading with Japan. The honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) said in this chamber not long ago that he favoured a resumption of trade with Japan. His declaration is recorded in Hansard. He said that, if we could import goods that were manufactured in Japan more cheaply than they could be made in Australia, workers would be released from Australian industries for service with the armed forces or for employment in essential industries. What does he care if Australian industries go to the wall? His attitude gives us a clear indication of the outlook of the Government on this issue because he is a responsible member of the Australian Country party.
I am gravely concerned about the welfare of Australian industries, and therefore I object to any resumption of trade with Japan. I have no wish to see men in the electorate that I represent put out of work because of the importation of goods manufactured by men against whom they fought such a shorth time ago. I advise Government supporters to read a recently published book that deals with the industrial rehabilitation of Japan and its trade plans. It bears the title New Japan. An article dealing with the book, which was published in a recent issue of a Sydney newspaper, included the following interesting information : -
Early tins month there arrived in Sydney from Tokio a publication called New Japan which should bc sufficient to disturb thoughtful Australians. This superb production is disturbing because it depicts an efficient and ambitious post-war Japan - a Japan that commercially., is largely the product of the United States.
Wedged in between ably-designed advertisements for practically every commodity from heavy metal goods to rare old Japanese whisky, there is a fair amount of talk about democracy, a little about the blessings of Christianity and some mention of the “ hateful Korean war “.
Now for the goods and the men who finance and control their manufacture. If you are sufficiently old to take your mind back before Pearl Harbour you will probably remember such powerful family names as Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Nomura, Kanematsu and others.
The facts that are stated in the book support the contention of the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) that the old order still prevails in Japan. The same influential militaristic caste that built up Japan before the war is again in the saddle. The article from which I have quoted continued -
And the goods? Well, don’t be fooled by the idea that they have the rather palpable cheapness which distinguished some Japanese goods before the war.
The range and variety are staggering to an Australian - a member of n supposedly victorious nation - harassed by shortages, blackmarkets and chronic under-production.
They offer to the world ships, locomotives, motor cars, rolling stock of all kinds, diesel engines, structural steel.
Every chapter of the book discloses a threat to Australia’s economy. The Government and its supporters seem to be determined to ruin Australia’s industries. The next step probably will be to place orders for Australian uniforms in Japan and thus force Australian factories into bankruptcy.
Competition between Australian and Japanese goods would not be so dangerous if the industries of the two countries operated under the same conditions. But what are the methods of production in
Japan ? There are in industry in Japan over 83,000,000 people who work on the average 50.6 hours a week. That is a longer working week than is observed in any other country. The average in the United States of America is 41 hours, in France it is 45 hours, in the United Kingdom it is 46 hours, and in Australia, of course, it is 40 hours. The average monthly earnings of a Japanese worker, in terms of Australian currency, amount to about £16. Those figures are contained in a document that is available to all honorable members in the Parliamentary Library. How can we maintain our cherished standards of living if our industries are forced to compete against Japanese industries whose workers have standards very little above that of serfdom ? Is there any wonder that statements have appeared in the press to the effect that this Government has no definite policy in relation to Asian goods ? The threat that would be offered to the security, employment, and general welfare of thousands of Australians by the ratification of this agreement is revealed in the following statement that has been attributed to Mr. “Withall, Director of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures, who probably worked harder than anybody else to ensure the return of the incompetent government that rules this nation to-day : -
Australian industry views with considerable apprehension the present trade position with Japan, and believes that it will be necessary to restore import licensing with a view to protecting Australian industrial standards and employment.
The latest list of Japanese commodities for which Australian trade promoters are endeavouring to establish big markets in this country includes the following : - Collapsible cycles, motor scooters, pottery, electric lamps, motorcar parts, art silk, cotton and woollen textiles, toys and games of all kinds, drugs and chemicals, plywood, carpenter’s tools, light metal products of copper, brass and tinplate, and canned fish products. There is no limitation upon the importation of such goods at the present time. The Government has withdrawn restrictions upon their importation,, and import licences are obtainable.
That brings me to the point that has been already made by other member* of the Opposition, that Japanese industrialists and traders are being given an open go. Members of the Government are sitting idly by while thousands of Australian jobs are in jeopardy. Honorable members opposite may be anxious to see Australian workmen thrown out of work because of the importation of Japanese goods, but we on this side of the House are opposed to it. That is another major reason why we believe that this agreement should not be ratified. The Government has no mandate to force on to the Australian people an agreement which will completely destroy their standard of living, by providing for a continuance of importation from Japan of goods manufactured on the basis that I have described.
As the honorable member for Martin (Mr. O’Connor) has stated, the Labour party does not believe that for all time we can refuse to sign an agreement with Japan. But the present is not the appropriate time to do so. This agreement should not be ratified, because it is a complete repudiation of the terms of Japan’s surrender. “We believe that the Japanese should be placed on probation for a further period, in order that they might prove their sincerity. There is no need for us to rush in, only six years after the conclusion of hostilities, to shake hands with an enemy that committed unspeakable crimes on our troops, which people of fair dealing and international goodwill will never forget for so long as they live. We say that it is too early for us to ratify the treaty. It is too generous altogether.
The Opposition is opposed to the ratification of the agreement for the reasons that I have stated, H3 well as those that have been stated by other members of the Opposition. We should not rush in to ratify it before major nations that were signatories to the agreement have done so. The Labour party is vigorously opposed to the ratification of the agreement, which could well spell doom for thousands of Australian industries, and leave the Australian nation open to danger from a rearmed and powerful Japan in the future.
.–I sympathize with the fears and misgivings of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr.
Evatt), but his strictures are not all directed to the right address. The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) has spoilt his case by wild exaggerations and gross distortion of the facts. It is common knowledge that the genesis of this treaty was in Washington, rather than in London or Canberra. No government of this country would ever originate such proposals. Their label is not “ Made in Australia “. They were presented by the United States of America to the powers assembled in San Francisco last year, more as a fait accompli than as a tentative approach to an intricate problem. The United States of America declared beforehand that the provisions now embodied in this bill were to be its terms. By virtue of America’s position since the war as the principal world power - certainly in the Pacific - the opinions of smaller nations availed little. Therefore, it is unfair to cast on the Australian Government the responsibility for this treaty. You may say that the Government should have objected more strongly. It is true that a great many forcible objections were put forward from time to time by our representatives; nevertheless I believe that there is some substance in that complaint. Admittedly, we have obtained the Pacific Pact, which was a most valuable achievement. We have also been responsible, at the instigation of this Government, for having inserted a clause, for reparations for survivors of Japan’s prisoner-of-war camps, to be administered by the International Red Cross. These are great attainments, and I am sure that the House will applaud the skill that was shown both by Mr. Spender, and by the present Minister for External Affairs, as negotiators towards this end. But on the main issue, they either would not or could not induce the American Government to alter the general architecture of this treaty. Accordingly, we are now asked to concur in what I believe history will adjudge to be an act of folly, a myopic blunder, for which later generations will surely pay.
Honorable members’ views on this matter will be coloured, in part, by their appraisement of the future of Japan. It is fashionable at the moment to regard China as the Rising Sun of East Asia-
For myself, I believe that ultimately Japan will re-emerge as the dominant power of the Orient. Despite their evil attributes, the Japanese possess higher qualities of character than do other Asian peoples. They are not riven to the same degree by those bewildering differences of caste, speech, outlook and aspirations that exist in China and in India. Consequently, the Japanese are more homogeneous, more cohesive, than are their neighbours. They display greater organizing capacities, are more imbued with feelings of national grandeur, and luxuriate in dangerous concepts of destiny. Unhappily, this treaty takes no cognizance of these things. It has been formulated by men lacking intimate knowledge of the Japanese mentality. It confuses hope with reality. It assumes that all these wonderful changes that General MacArthur believed he had wrought in five years in an. ancient, mystical, ambitious nation have actually come to pass. I am sure that no honorable member here is a victim of such delusions. But doubting Thomases in the South Pacific Mr. John Foster Dulles, the principal architect of this treaty, admonishes thus -
Wo ure not yet aware of the change of mi mood in Japan.
That is a quotation from an article in the American journal Foreign Affairs of the 16th December, 1951. The next few years will reveal who is right. In common with myriads of people throughout the world, I do not believe that at heart the Japanese mood has altered one iota. They are masters of dissimulation, and if the truth were known they have probably not yet recovered from their astonishment and secret joy at the simple-minded ingenuousness of American politicians.
The treaty is open to other fundamental objections. It is, in essence, dictated by power politics, actuated by fear of Russia. Everything is being sacrificed to the short view: “Russia must be contained irrespective of any other consideration”. That is the promise upon which this settlement stands. The goal of a secure peace in the Pacific is apparently forgotten in the flurry of trying to redress a temporary disequilibrium. I am amazed at the number of people in high places who, on account of the opaqueness obscuring the future of nations, abandon any attempt at prescience and slump into the intellectually lazy attitude : “ Take care of the next three years and the future will take care of itself “. That state of mind has never before produced for any country a successful foreign policy. Cast your minds back over the great ministers who, by their percipience, have advanced the fortunes of our Empire. They had their perplexities, too. But they did not resolve them in a hand to mouth fashion, nor did they allow themselves to be stampeded by fear of one colossus into raising up another. Yet, to-day, recent experiences of Japan as the scourge of the Pacific are ignored. The misgivings of millions pass unheeded. When this treaty is ratified the occupation forces will quit the Japanese islands.
The document before us is devoid of any restriction on the rearmament of Japan. Indeed, this same Mr. John Foster Dulles, the prime advocate of this settlement, told the Japanese only two months ago that rearmament was not only their right but also their duty. Strange words coming only ten years after Pearl Harbour and Singapore and six and a half years after Japan’s surrender.
Such bare-faced expediency contains acute dangers for Australia. It is not likely to restore European prestige in Asia, a matter of great moment to us with 1,000,000,000 Asians to our north and north-west. Furthermore, once the Japanese re-assemble their forces and re-establish their armaments and ancillary war industries, are their troops, aircraft and ships, to stand transfixed as in some tableau of the theatre, forming a counterpoise to Russia? Is there not a real possibility that they may align themselves with the Soviet or some other power, as a means of recovering lost possessions, and of once again pushing southward in another predatory crusade? Of all people, the Japanese are believers in opportunism, the most gifted in seizing the main chance. I have said before in the House, and I make no apology for repeating it now, that many Japanese believe in a vast imperial destiny for their country. They see Japan as the ruler of all Asia, and Australia, in their conception, is a part of Asia.
It would seem, too, that unlimited rearmament, spurred on by American promptings, will bring about a rebirth of militarism in Japanese politics. How can it be otherwise? Are these elements likely to accept the verdict of 1945 unquestioningly ? Do not the events of the last two decades prove conclusively that these were the men responsible for Japan’s foreign adventures? One looks in vain for safeguards in the treaty against their reappearance. So intent are we on the undoubted Russian- menace, that we overlook the immediate past and indulge in a reckless gamble, the consequences of which may well be resuscitation of that aggressive militarism which it should be the prime object of an Allied peace settlement to prevent.
Rearming the Japanese will not be the deciding factor in the question of peace or war with the Kremlin. If Russia is to be held, it will be by a preponderance of democratic strength and superior weapons in Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia. What occurs opposite Vladivostock will be neither decisive nor even a major contributing factor to the determination of this fateful issue - so long as Russia is denied possession of Japanese territory. This contingency could be ensured by a limited and supervised rearmament behind the shield of prolonged Allied occupation.
This treaty is also vulnerable in that it makes no attempt to remedy the root causes of Japan’s dangerous social, economic and moral structure. Not the slightest effort is made to grapple with the population problem, yet this was one of several underlying reasons for Japan’s belligerency in the 1915-18 and 1941-45 periods. Unless we display some imagination the volcano will erupt again. But these provisions, if anything, will stoke the fire. By denuding Japan of all its overseas possessions, they will exacerbate lack of living space at a time when its population pressure is greater than it has ever been and its population is increasing at the rate of over 1,000,000 a year. Such a deficiency is certainly neither realistic nor statesmanlike and it ill behoves us to turn a blind eye to’ this important problem.
On the economic side, the treaty is bereft of clauses ordaining conformity of industrial conditions with those of the West. It does not place any restriction on the use of sweated labour, nor has provision been made for social amelioration of the Japanese masses. Although under the occupation a shorter working week was prescribed and some attempt was made to establish a minimum wage level, there is no guarantee that those principles will continue to be observed once Japan is invested with full sovereignty. Already the portents are ominous. We have read of tea sets which are manufactured in England at the cost of £3 being reproduced exactly by Japanese manufacturers and sold in the Far East for 10s. In recent weeks honorable members have heard of a costly cigarette lighter which has been copied by the Japanese and sold for the very small sum of 6s. 6d. These are merely the first wispy clouds of the coming commercial typhoon.
The gravest defect in this treaty has yet to be stated. I refer to the absence of any provisions directly designed to inculcate a loftier religious and ethical outlook amongst the Japanese people. That, after all, is the ultimate rock bottom of the whole problem. Bring about a more Christian concept of living in the minds of this ingenious and assertive race, and all the other dangers of which we are conscious will be the more readily averted. Our mission, as victors, should be to convert them, to educate them) to begin the long task of eradicating the barbaric, mercurial, unpredictable temperament which, mars their status as human beings. But the pages of this treaty are empty of such thoughts. They do not enter into such a debased chapter of expediency. Never again may we be granted the grand opportunity of undertaking the morally right and strategically wise role of bringing Christian enlightenment to these pagan, treacherous fellow inhabitants of the Pacific.
In a debate of this nature something more is required of honorable members than unrestrained praise or destructive criticism. The Minister for External
Affairs (Mr. Casey) has said with a frankness which honorable members appreciate that the treaty is not all that the Government had hoped for. As one who has had some experience of the Japanese, both in peace and in war, I wish to indicate some of the ways in which this settlement could be improved. First of all, I suggest to honorable members this basic principle. If we earnestly desire peace in the Pacific we must try to take, the long view and look at the Asian picture in its totality, in historical perspective, not solely at a foreground darkened by the immediate fear of Russia. Secondly, I suggest that the Allied occupation of Japan should be prolonged for at least another ten years. America’s shortsighted refusal to do this, combined with Great Britain’s inability to contribute appreciably, and Australia’s inability to shoulder the whole burden renders such a course impracticable; it in no way detracts from its wisdom. I believe that the Government should have pressed this- view more resolutely in the last eighteeen months and should have gone to the length of offering to provide a larger quota of troops and ships and planes for the occupation forces. There would not have been the slightest difficulty in obtaining the requisite number of volunteers for these forces. Admittedly, the cost of maintaining them would have been high, but the results achieved would have made it a fine investment for taxpayers, and a useful overseas training ground would have been provided for our men.
Under Allied control the reformation of Japan could proceed apace. What an epoch of tutelage could be ours to create ! Under British, American and Australian guidance it would be possible, for example, to introduce comprehensive educational schemes based on the best facets of Western and Japanese thought. It would be possible to reorganize much of the economic life of Japan according to Western ideas especially in the field of production, hours of work, housing and hygiene. It would be possible to evolve a political system suitable to the Japanese mentality, democratic in concept, but not necessarily based upon the institutions of Great Britain, America or Australia. Simultaneously, Japan’s acute problems in relation to the shortage of foodstuffs and raw materials and its swelling population could be tackled as matters of utmost urgency. These tasks accomplished, the case would be strong for clothing Japan with the mantle of full sovereignty and for affording it the right of unrestricted rearmament and it could then be welcomed as an equal in the comity of nations.
These, in the barest outline, are some of the principles on which I believe a settlement, aimed at producing stability in the Pacific and security for Australia, should have been moulded. Of course, every one must recognize the quandary in which Ministers have been placed. Had they rejected the United States proposals at San Francisco the treaty would still have been concluded but Australia and New Zealand would doubtless have forfeited that salvation from what might be called the wreckage of the Pacific Pact. Whilst these considerations will exonerate this Government at the bar of history, they in no way excuse the Government of the United States of America or forcing on its Allies so opportunist, so immature, so superficial a settlement which in most respects, is the abnegation of statesmanship. I believe that this treaty represents a glorious opportunity lost of creating an enlightened, democratic, progressive, peaceful Japan. It is also my conviction that, under its provisions, the United States of America has led Britain, Australia and our Western allies into profound error. Accordingly, I cannot support it with my vote.
.- It would be ungenerous if I did not pay a compliment to the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) on his excellent analysis of the very important bill now before the House. I believe that his contribution to the debate has been one’ of the most worthwhile that has been delivered since the measure was first placed before us. It is gratifying to realize the independence of thought that he has shown in approaching this most difficult matter. Apart from the honorable member for Angas, it is my conviction that most honorable members on the Government side have found themselves in a most unsatisfactory political position. A short time ago an Irish friend told me, after he had expressed a certain opinion, that it was his unanimous opinion. “We certainly could not say that there has been any -unanimity among the Government speakers during this debate either yesterday or to-day. Honorable members on the Government side are divided about the whole matter. They have grievous doubts and fears, just as honorable members on this side of the House have experienced, and most of them have been obviously speaking against their own convictions.
The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) said that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) had made a liberal approach to this matter. He said that the Minister had indicated that the Government was facing up to what it believed to be an inevitable situation, and that it had come to its expressed conclusions because it seemed to have no alternative. That is how the matter seems to me. Much evidence has been presented to the House that there has been a serious .change of front on the Government side, even among the members of the Government. In the immediate post-war period it was unanimously agreed throughout this country that never again should it be made possible for the Japanese people to become militarily powerful in the Pacific. Everybody had been convinced that the Japanese character showed barbaric strains which appeared to be a permanent part of the nature of the people of Japan. It is very dangerous to assume that there are two groups in Japan, one composed of good Japanese and the other of bad Japanese. As has been shown by the Germans, the characters of the peoples of both Japan and Germany are individually made up of good and bad qualities. The Japanese have many of the qualities associated with an appreciation of rhythm, art, children and home life, but nevertheless it is part of their nature to glorify power and to act ruthlessly in the pursuance of power. 1 believe that that is the essential make-up of the Japanese people. They have strong motives for expansion, and . I believe that it is inevitable that expan- sion must be associated with their foreign, policy. Their attitude cannot be changed over-night.
This matter of the nature of the Japanese people has greatly exercised’ the minds of honorable members on this side of the House, notwithstanding the charge by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes) that we were indulging in building castles in the air. Honorable members on this side are trying to be intensely practical. They feel that embodied in the treaty is a huge gamble, and indeed that the whole treaty is based on a philosopher’s dream. It is most unfortunate to have to make such an observation, but the Minister for the Interior was so emphatic about these castles in the air that I feel that I must repeat that this measure represents merely a philosopher’s dream. I believe that there is ample evidence to prove the truth of my statement. It is begging the question to submit that, this treaty should be acceptable to the Australian Labour party merely because it is acceptable to the Labour party in Great Britain. The motives actuating both parties are completely different. For instance, Australia is within striking distance of Japanese trade competition and military power.
The noted psychologist, James, had something very emphatic to say about habit formation in relation to character. He said that the casting off of a longstanding habit was really the work of a lifetime. That observation may be applied to the Japanese. If they become true democrats then they will have changed the habits of many lifetimes. James says that there is usually a relapse when one is changing a habit, and that that relapse might be compared to wool that is being unwound from a ball of worsted. As the thread runs off it tends to return to its old form. He said also that in changing a habit it is necessary that there should be constant exercise of the will. All this is deeply significant when it is applied to the nature of the Japanese people. The Japanese will tend to revert to their original ideals and beliefs. Moreover, one of the older generation will govern in Japan according to his old ideals of government. Also the old manufacturing and trade groups are again obtaining power in Japan, and they are bound to re-organize that nation’s economy. “When we add to that fact the additional fact that democratization is in the nursing stage, we must realize that Japanese characteristics are very likely to assume the form they were in prior to the time a change was forced on them. The Minister for External Affairs has agreed to this treaty with the gravest doubts. He expressed many doubts about whether the right thing has been done. That can he read into his speech very clearly.
– Not about whether the right thing has been done.
– I accept the Minister’s statement on that basis, but if he reflects the doubts that are current in his party I would say seriously and responsibly that this country has not much for which it can thank its representative in America in relation to the treaty. I do not recall having read that Mr. Spender made a public fight on any occasion or in any form to put forward the Australian point of view in relation to the treaty.
– The work was not done in public but my predecessor did everything humanly possible in private with the other officers concerned.
– I am willing to believe that. 1 understand the Minister to say that much had been done in private, but I say that it should have been done publicly. A good example was set when a former Prime Minister fought successfully for Australia in relation to the Treaty of Versailles and I believe that Mr. Spender should have followed the example of that gentleman when this treaty was under discussion-
– These negotiations were not conducted in public. One cannot negotiate in public.
– I can see no reason why the negotiations could not have been conducted in public. The Russian delegates put forward their case in public and most of their objections and suggestions are very well known to anybody who cared to read them. Mr. Spender made his views known very clearly when he criticized the Russian delegates and their proposals. Much was heard of that and I approve of his remarks in relation to that matter, but if he could make a public outcry about the Russians, it was equally important that he should have made public Australian feeling in relation to rearmament of Japan-
– My predecessor did everything humanly possible to forward Australia’s interests.
– That is the assurance of the Minister, but the public should have had access to such information in the usual way. I looked forward to hearing by ordinary public means just the kind of a fight that was waged by Australia’s representative at San Francisco. The treaty itself turns almost solely on the grave gamble which has now been undertaken. I can only hope that the fears that I have expressed will prove to be completely unfounded. I hope that this vacuum, to which the Minister has referred, will not be replaced by explosive gases which will be harmful to Australia in the not distant future.
There are reasons for the attitude that was adopted by the Government. I have no doubt that America had the strongest influence on Australian statesmen and there is every reason why that should be so. In a very selfish sense, I would say that America has become Australia’s rock of Gibraltar. The changing position of England and its territories and the new state of its economy emphasize that Australia can no longer expect much assistance from England in the defence of this country. On the other hand, the American democracy approximates Australia’s democratic ways and America’s relationships with the peoples of the Pacific area are similar to our own. I not only welcome the retention of American friendship but look forward to the strengthening of the relationships that we have had with America, in the past. The Australian Government had the best of excuses for being influenced by American opinion but notwithstanding that, the reason was not sufficiently strong in this instance for what I regard as the automatic surrender of Australian intuition in relation to this matter.
The Americans are very disturbed by the spread of communism in Asia and on this score alone the United States of America is willing to take the gravest risks. The risks are so great that Australia has everything to fear from them. Any one who studies the map of Asia can see that all masses of land except one small piece have been affected by communism in one way or another. Though communism has not been well received officially in Japan and has been discriminated against in public activities, it has even found its way. into the recesses of Japanese life. America believes that without internal organization, Japan might be an easy prey for Communist influence. Therefore it is determined, for good or ill, to gamble on Japan as a buffer against such Communist influence and infiltration. But even when this attitude is taken into consideration, the gravest doubts must arise on other points. The motives of America can be freely appreciated, but the methods of suppressing communism in Japan and in other countries are very faulty indeed in my estimation. Honorable members may have observed the Russian method of warfare. Russia no longer declares war on any country nor does it send Russian agents to foreign countries to break up their economy. The Russian method is to obtain nationals from a country, train them in Russia and then release them on the borders of their own country to carry out Russia’s work there which they do in much better fashion than Russians have been able to do it in the past. No State in the world has found a counter to this type of warfare, which, so far as one can judge, has met with great success. So the bloodless victories of the Russian system have spread over the greater part of the globe. The danger that I see is that if communism spreads in Japan as it has spread in other countries the Japanese ruling class may gamble on the restoration of their nationals by waging war against other peoples on the borders of the Pacific in order to bring the Japanese back to a sense of their national obligations. That is a longrange possibility, but it is a strong one, owing to other influences and other circumstances that surround the problem of the spread of communism.
I believe that such a circumstance as I have described could arise as a result of economic pressure. Now that Japan has become a free nation, it has to secureraw materials for its manufactures. The question that one must ask is: Prom where are the raw materials to come that will support the economy that Japan is about to build ? It is true that America, if it could do so, would provide those raw materials from sources other than those from which ultimately they may have to be obtained by Japan. It is true also that America would like to establish some kind of co-operation between Chiang Kai-shek and Japan. But that would not conform to the economicbalance that Japan must have if it is to - continue as a nation. So far as I know, America has been completely unsuccessful in securing the raw materials that Japan requires at the present -time. That seems to me to lead us to the conclusion that the only place from which those raw materials can be obtained is red China. If that be so, and if, despite American influence,. Chiang Kai-shek cannot bring about another type of revolution in China, there will be ample opportunities in the future for agreements to be made between China and Japan. There will be also ample opportunity for infiltration from red China to Japan. Economic circumstances, against which armed force would not be an effective weapon, mightforce Japan on to the Communist side. That is a very real consideration that must be borne in mind when considering this treaty.
If, in the future, Japanese nationalism tried to save itself from communism, war would possibly be waged by Japan on other countries bordering onthe Pacific. whatever may be the intentions of the Japanese at the moment. The real counter to communism is Christianity. But the Japanese, with their national religious beliefs, could fit. into any form of economy, irrespective of whether it was a Communist economy or another form that was disagreeable to other countries in the Pacific. There is no doubt that the consequence of this treaty could be very terrible. It is not the Opposition but the Government that is building castles in the air. I feel that the fears that the Opposition has expressed about this treaty and our view that it is a grave blunder to permit the full rearmament of Japan, are shared by most honorable gentlemen opposite. Throughout the debate, it has been pathetic to see young ex-servicemen on the other side of the House rising to speak upon this matter, about which they felt most uncomfortable, obviously because of their intuitions. I do not make that statement carelessly or with the object of trying to score a debating point. I feel sure that our fears are shared by honorable gentlemen opposite.
I am very disappointed at the provision that has been made for the payment of compensation of ex-prisoners of war. That part of the treaty is written in such a vague way that one can hardly understand what it means. I believe that an estimate should have been made of the value of the Japanese possessions that are to be administered through the International Red Cross in order that exprisoners of war could have had an indication of the compensation that they were likely to receive. Most returned servicemen’s organizations have taken a very deep interest in this matter. All the way through, they were confident that when the treaty was signed they would learn exactly the amount of compensation their ex-prisoner of war members could expect. This treaty was a grave blow to them. When they read it, they were as far from knowing the position as they were before the treaty was signed.
– It is due to us that they will get compensation.
– That may be so. I hope it will amount to a good sum, but from the words of the treaty it is difficult to estimate the value of the compensation.
– It is not known yet.
– We ought to have been given some idea of the value of the reparations for which provision is made. I hope that some substantial compensation will be paid to ex-prisoners of war, even if it be necessary for the Government to supplement the payment. I have always been of the opinion that full compensation for the persons who suffered Under the reign of this barbaric and cruel race should have been secured, and the amount known, at the time of the signing of the treaty.
The Opposition is beset with grievous fears about the effects of the treaty. I agree very largely with the sentiments that were expressed by another honorable member, who said that ultimately it will be proven that the treaty was a grave mistake and that Australia, however it was forced into doing so, was in a most unfortunate position in having to be a signatory to an agreement that will cause such grave dissatisfaction to every one even before the time when Japan may break the terms of the treaty and prove itself once again to be little different from what it was when it entered into the last war.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Treloar) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Public Service Act - Twenty-seventh Report on the Commonwealth Public Service, for year 1950-51.
Taxation - Thirtieth Report of Commissioner, dated 31st May, 1951, together with
Ordered to be printed.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for postal purposes - Lithgow, New South
Public Service Act - Appointments - Works and Housing Department - .J. D. Hipper, K. W. McDonald.
House adjourned at 4.3 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
Cost of Living.
List of “ Extra “ Items, Collection of which was Instituted in September, 1948.
Section A. - Groceries.
Prunes, dried, loose.
Apples, dried, loose.
Dates, pitted, bulk.
Peas, green, canned.
Haricot beans, loose.
Peas, blue, boiling.
Biscuits, loose -
Pickles, onions, white.
Spaghetti, in tomato.
Sheep’s tongues, tinned.
Clothes pegs, loose.
Blue cod, New Zealand.
Fish, fresh -
Section B. - Dairy Produce.
Margarine, cooking, bulk.
Milk, powdered, full cream.
List of “ Extra “ Items, Collectionof which was Instituted in September Quarter, 1948.
SectionE. - Clothing-Man.
Coat, sports, worsted r.m., size 5.
Trousers, sports, worsted r.m., size5.
Singlet, flannel, all wool, man’s.
Overall, cotton drill, combination, men’s.
Rug, travelling, wool, 60 inches by 80 inches.
Boot repairs, half -soled and heeled- (a) sewn, (b) riveted, size 5 and over.
Section F. - Clothing - Woman.
Overcoat, woollen, tweed, W.S.
Raincoat, cotton fabric, rubber-proof.
Corsets, back lacing, coutil, fabric.
Umbrella, cotton covered.
Piece goods (frockings) -
Rayon (floral),35-in. and 36-in.
Cotton (floral), 35-in. and 36-in.
Wool (plain), 54-in.
Shoe repairs - half -soled and heeled - (a) pump, (b) welt, size 3 and over.
SectionG. - Clothing - Boy (10½ years).
Coat, rain, cotton fabric, black, rubber surface.
Hat, wool felt, youths’ size.
Shoe repairs, half -soled and heeled - (a) sewn, (b) riveted, size 1 to 4 and over.
Section H. - Clothing - Girl (7 years) .
Blazer, all wool, flannel.
Dressing gown, wool.
Piece goods, wool and cotton fabrics, 36-in.
Section K. - Household Drapery.
Pillow, kapok, 27 inches by 18 inches.
Linoleum, third quality, 6 feet wide.
Carpet (runner), Al, 27 inches.
Section L. - Household Utensils.
Baking dish, tin,12-in.
Cake tin, aluminium, 8-in.
Frying pan, aluminium, 9-in.
Mixing bowl, earthenware, 9’s.
Pie dish, enamel, 12-in.
Toaster, electric, 2-slice.
Spade, No. 1, complete.
Digging fork, four-prong.
Hoe, chipping, complete.
Axe, complete, 4-lb.
SectionN. - Other Miscellaneous.
Shaving soap, stick (refill).
Bonnington’s Irish Moss.
A.P.C. powders, Bex, box twelve.
Cascara Evac., sweetened.
Antiseptic - Dettol.
y asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
How many times has the closure been moved in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Parliaments, respectively?
– The furnishing of the information sought is outside my jurisdiction.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 February 1952, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1952/19520222_reps_20_216/>.